At Mother’s Heart we support women and girls facing crisis pregnancies and help them understand their choices. Many women and girls choose to keep their babies, but for some parenting their babies is not always the best choice. Some women and girls face incredible challenges. While they love their babies, they also recognize that their baby may have a better future with different parents. Mother’s Heart always counsels these girls and women to ensure that they have made an informed choice and that their baby will be safe and well-cared for in a loving family.
Recently, a teenage girl gave birth to her baby, and with the support of her family chose to relinquish her parental rights to the child. She loved her baby, but she knew that neither she nor her family would be in a position to parent this child. She made an incredibly difficult, selfless decision, and she was confident in that decision. Mother’s Heart staff encouraged her to write a letter to her baby for the future, and she hoped that she may be able to receive photos or updates about how her baby is growing and thriving in a new family. Her child will be placed in a permanent foster family, as domestic adoption is not yet a workable process for Cambodian families.
However, this will hopefully be changing in the near future. Mother’s Heart has the opportunity to participate in a newly developed Alternative Care Panel in Cambodia, where representatives from key stakeholders in alternative care of children in Cambodia will collaborate to ensure that the best interests of children are maintained. Further, this panel hopes to operationalize the domestic adoption policy to ensure that children can receive the full rights and benefits that a legal adoption brings. Mother’s Heart believes this is an important part of our work, as we want to offer the women and girls who enter our program with the best choices available, which includes choices regarding open/closed adoptions, choosing potential adoptive parents, and ensuring that their child’s rights are protected. Relinquishing a child is not an easy choice to make, but we hope that with expanded options and information, women and girls who choose this path will feel empowered through the process.
We are Proud of our Staff!
Somaly - Temporary Foster
Somaly is a temporary foster mom for MH. Relinquished babies remain in her care for three months before they go to their forever families. She lives on the outskirts of Phnom Penh with her husband and three kids aged 18, 12, and 8. She started working for MH in 2015 and currently has her 3rd foster child in her care. "I heard about Mother's Heart and the temporary foster family opening through a friend who works at Mother's Heart. I was interested in the job because my family and I wanted help our society. Even my children understand this. My auntie came one day to visit and scolded me asking why I had taken on this responsibility. My daughter immediately answered that we were doing our part to help the community."
Somally's whole family help with each foster baby. "My husband takes his turn caring for the babies in the morning so I can get a bit more sleep. At first my kids didn't know what to do with a newborn, but now even they help with the babies in our care."
Somaly loves the job she does and we are happy to have her at MH!