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The incarnation of God into our world as human is a miracle difficult to fathom. A love so deeply held, it sacrifices all so that we, humanity, may be whole.

And it meets Leakana. “I just want you to pay for the delivery of this baby”.

Leakana when she came to Mother’s Heart was almost at full term. She was an amiable, fun loving, simple woman with a big personality. She was also a sex worker, addicted to drugs, HIV positive, and clearly stating that she did not want to change her life. Her abusive boyfriend was the father of the baby. She loved him and said she could not live without him no matter now abusive he was. She wanted Mother’s Heart to pay for her delivery and that was all. Her baby needed Antiretroviral Treatment (ART) and to be on formula instead of breast milk to prevent HIV transmission.

Leakana went into labour the day before Christmas. Mother’s Heart staff rushed to the hospital to see her. “You’ve got a choice Leakana”, they told her. “If you agree to stay in a shelter for six weeks while your baby receives consistent ART, then Mother’s Heart will pay for your delivery and provide you with formula”. Leakana cried, then reluctantly agreed. Samnang was born on Christmas day.

Leakana’s family wanted nothing to do with her. Her mum was especially angry with Leakana, because she had sold her first baby. Yet staff persevered. Trust was slow to come. After time passed, Leakana was invited to move into her mother’s home.

However, Leakana struggled to remain out of the sex industry. She ran away with her pimp partner, taking Samnang with her. Fearing for the baby’s safety Mother’s Heart tracked her down and found her high on drugs. Her partner had left her. Again staff worked to repair the relationship with her family and again Leakana ran away. This time she left her baby.

Leakana’s sister was not sure she could raise a baby who was HIV positive. An blood test at one and a half years old would confirm if he had HIV or not. The sister asked for time to make the decision.

She soon fell in love with him as if he was her own and decided she would raise him whether he was HIV positive or not. Mother’s Heart provided her with formula, clothes, and free medical care for Samnang because Mother’s Heart believes in the benefits of kinship care.

The results of Samnang’s final, conclusive test just came back. He is HIV negative! His family is so happy and rejoice that he can live a long, healthy life.

And Leakana? She has called to say that she knows her sister will be a good mum to Samnang. And we hope one day, Leakana will decide to leave what binds her and return home to a love that has sacrificed all.

Rocking the baby, his breaths slow, irregular, a terrified grandmother held him tightly in her arms as his mom explained how he fell two meters down the stairs after an electrical fire erupted in their neighborhood. As I walked into this crisis with the Mother’s Heart staff, I saw their unconditional care and support open up in front of me. Using their professional experience and training, they assessed the situation and suggested that the mother and grandmother immediately take the baby to the children’s hospital. Accompanied by members of the Mother's Heart team, the family was quickly taken for emergency help.

After learning about the services that Mother's Heart provides (counseling and pregnancy support) and hearing the terrifying truth that one-in-five women have unwanted or unplanned pregnancies in Cambodia, the need for support for these women was heartbreakingly clear for me. Mother's Heart’s system for offering an awareness of options during pregnancy and for providing support was organized and effective. It is evident that they have developed programming that works, which was highlighted further by the number of stories they shared of women who were empowered through securing jobs, reconnecting with families, choosing to leave abusive relationships, and being positive parents to their children.

I saw this for myself as I visited a few of the mothers with newborns and one soon-to-be mother. I cannot explain how amazed I was with how much positive help Mother’s Heart offers. From counseling to medical support to living and baby supplies, to housing, transport, and after birth care, they do not ignore any potential needs. Gosh, I want to have my future babies under Mother’s Heart support! Each woman was overwhelmingly grateful to have Mother’s Heart by their side throughout it all, helping them stand on their own two feet.

And the baby who fell? He sustained no serious injuries and soon recovered from his fall! If I was looking for confirmation of the organization's impact on the women and families that it supports, I absolutely gained that today.

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