I believe that all children have value no matter the circumstances of their conception, the challenges of their parentage, or the presence of corruption within their genetic code. Babies are a blessing. They are our hope for the future.
But what kind of future will we have if we keep misusing our children?
It seems everywhere I turn, there are stories of child abuse, neglect, and human trafficking. Prominent on my social media feed has been the story of South Korea’s Pastor Lee and his Drop Box for abandoned babies.
As a woman who has suffered through infertility, few things break my heart faster than the idea of baby abandonment.
If you haven’t seen the trailer for Focus on the Family’s film The Drop Box. I suggest you take a few moments to take a look.
The first question that runs through my mind is how. How can parents abandon their babies? How can they leave them on the streets to die or place them in a box and never see them again?
The next question hits me directly on the heals of the first. What circumstances would drive a parent to go to such an extreme? Though I can’t fathom it, would there ever be a reason I would or could abandon my son?
I realize hopelessness causes people to do desperate things.
An Example From Fiction
The little girl pulled her faded red dress down over her knees as though she wanted to hide as much of her small body as she could from Kate. Little bare feet crusted with dirt stuck out below her dress. The child pushed her dark curly hair back from her face and dropped her chin down on her knees to wait for whatever Kate was going to say next. Tear streaks ran down her cheeks, but she wasn’t crying now.
Kate had never seen the child before. “Are you lost, sweetie?”
“No.” The child mashed her mouth together, and tears filled her dark chocolate-brown eyes and overflowed to slide down her cheeks. She didn’t bother wiping them away as she stared up at Kate with a mixture of fear and hope. “You have to be an angel. Please.”
“Why do I have to be an angel?” Kate moved over to sit down beside the child. She started to put her arm around her, but then stopped. She didn’t want to frighten the little girl.
“Because my mommy said that if I sat here and didn’t cry, an angel would come take care of me and love me and bring me something to eat. I tried really hard. Just like I promised Mommy.” The little girl looked down at her feet. After a few seconds she went on in a tiny, sad voice. “But I couldn’t keep all the tears in. They just came out.”
“Where is your mommy?” Kate asked softly.
“She left. With Daddy. She had to.” The little girl pulled her dress down farther over her knees until the hem touched the top of her feet. She curled her toes under as if to hide them too.
Lorena’s parents were in a desperate situation. They did what they thought they had to do to survive. Perhaps that is exactly why people would abandon their new babies in a drop box.
Having a baby Drop Box itself is controversial. Some question whether Pastor Lee is enabling – perhaps encouraging – parents to abandon their children. Sometimes even our most well meaning ideas have unforeseen consequences.
How Should We Respond?
Watching a film like The Drop Box is challenging. Stories of tragedy pull on our emotions, especially when the tragedy could so easily be avoided. As Christians, how should we respond to the plight of those less fortunate?
Why should we worry about abandoned babies in South Korea? What does it matter? Outside of this film, we wouldn’t even be aware these children exist. The easiest response is to just ignore what we’ve seen and continue living life like before.
We can judge the people who abandon their children in this way. We can ask the whys and delve into speculation. We can attribute improper motives and assume evil intentions. This response allows us to feel superior – sure that we would never stoop so low – but does it really solve the problem?
It is easy to pity these children and the circumstances of their lives. Pastor Lee’s passion for his work is evident as well as the emotional toll it is taking on him. Stories like this cause the heart to ache. Yet, if compassion is all we have, that ache will dissipate as we busy ourselves with other things.
What more can we do? Financially, I can’t just drop everything and go to South Korea but I can be more sensitive to the needs of those around me. There are things that I can do in my church and community to help others in need. Adding action to our compassion can make a difference in other people’s lives, just as Pastor Lee is making a difference in South Korea.
At the end of the film, Pastor Lee was asked why he adopted so many special needs children. His powerful response will stay with me for a long time.
Question for You: Do you think having a baby DropBox is a good idea? Why or Why not?