John and Bethany Arndt

Header image
 

Category Archives: Baby Safe

Couple visits the safe their adopted baby was left in.

April 22nd, 2012 by | Leave a comment

A German couple visited our original baby safe recently. They were not there to see how to volunteer, or to learn how to install and manage their own baby safe like most others. They came because their newly adopted daughter was left in it last August.

Emotional? Yes. But joy and gratitude were the strongest feelings they expressed. She wasn’t dumped in the ditch, bushes, or rubbish heap. Her mother made a well thought out plan in not being able to care for her child. Sure it was a last resort, but it in fact was a bold choice and we rejoiced with this family as they learned about where there baby came from.

20120422-213004.jpg

Oops, She almost did it again.

April 22nd, 2012 by | Leave a comment

Penniless, jobless, and hopeless she abandoned her three month old baby in the middle of the day. She just left and didn’t return. The baby was taken to the police. The police called Baby Safe. This healthy infant girl was placed at a baby home.

One week later the mother retraces her steps and contacts us. Full of shame, fear of punishment, and a sense of loss she explained why she left, but that she has changed her mind and misses her baby. This mom was in her early twenties had never held a formal job in her life, had no support from the baby’s father, but returned with humility and a desire to start over.

After a thorough investigation and matching her with a Baby Safe ‘mummy mentor’ who lives in this women’s community, the baby was returned and she was given intensive relational support, and job coaching. She landing a job with in just 3 weeks. Many people look for work for months on end. She was empowered and coping well.

But recently she lost this job, and things started to feel like they were caving in on her again, no diapers, no formula, no rent money….she actually was thinking of where and how to leave the baby again. But then…Then she recalled the words of her mentor, saying that God is her provider, He is the one who she must turn to for help, and He is faithful to those who call to Him. She said a simple prayer and waited. And then…

Then the next day a neighbor arrived with a fresh pack of nappies, and a tin of formula. This mom was amazed that He heard her prayer.

She has begun the job pursuit again and we know that this time she has first hand experience with the One who sticks closer than a brother. This is a snapshot of what we are laboring for, its our joy and aim to build a bridge from creation to Creator, eliminating the temptation for those we serve to become dependent on us. He is in it with her for the long hall, far longer than us. She is discovering His commitment to her and He is delighting in a daughter learning to trust.

” Blessed be God— he heard me praying. He proved he’s on my side; I’ve thrown my lot in with him.
Now I’m jumping for joy, and shouting and singing my thanks to him.
God is all strength for his people, ample refuge for his chosen leader; Save your people and bless your heritage. Care for them; carry them like a good shepherd.” (Psalm 28:1, 2, 6, 8 MSG)

20120422-200419.jpg

try try again.

March 27th, 2012 by | Leave a comment

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try, again. I always add, and again and again. We have pursued office space & a team base for Baby Safe probably a dozen different places over the last two years. Every time we are ready to move forward the door closes for a variety of reasons. Oral Roberts University even raised $7000 for us to build a wendy house (small cottage) but after pursuing a few different locations in which we wanted to put it, our team had already out grown such a small space (2010). So we started to pursue using the money to rent a space, while we take time to fund raising to purchase a property that will serve as a base and a safe house.

The most recent pursuit is that we have been focused on a prime location in Masi, a well known property in the center of the township. We have been patiently waiting since October to move into a space there. We long for a place to have our clients meet us in Masi, a place where new women can access our services, a place where we can install a baby safe, and gather as a team. Every month we have been told by the landlord that we can, but just not yet. Finally last month we were given a green light and we arranged a YWAM team to renovate the container, paint, etc and we asked for the keys and were told wait, once again.

Celebrate the delays, someone said, because with God there is always a reason why.

This past Friday the light turned totally red, and after 6 months of waiting, praying and planning the landlord without explanation has said the container is no longer available to us. Instead of bummerville, we actually felt relief and peace, especially since this scenario had been so drawn out and the relationship felt strained.

Today I made contact with a women who owns a concrete house in Masi. She had expressed openness to renting it to Baby Safe because she moved out to leave the community, as her marriage has fallen apart. As I went to discuss details with her today, she was actually moving back in the house. She has decided to move back in and the house is not available.

I am left scratching my head a bit, especially because every step has been bathed in prayer, and we have not moved ahead on any of these places without His guidance.  However, I do trust that God has something perfect and amazing for Baby Safe  – and that it has to be soon!

On a celebratory note – Baby Safe has moved into ” the yellow house” in Ocean View, our own admin assitant & family advocate Anita Tercero, from Washington state is actually living there. This house will be run collectively by Baby Safe, the Ocean View Trauma center (volunteer counselors with the police), and All Nations. So we now have a counseling room and reception area at our disposal. This is an answered prayer for our Ocean View team!

We wait, we trust, and we reposition ourselves to listen for His plans, not our own.

For the revelation awaits an appointed time;
   it speaks of the end
   and will not prove false.
Though it linger, wait for it;
   itwill certainly come and will not delay. Habakkuk 2:20

The baby without a name.

February 27th, 2012 by | Leave a comment

Psalm 8:2-4 – “Give Justice to the poor and the orphan, uphold the rights of the oppressed and the destitute. Rescue the poor and the helpless; deliver them from the grasp of the evil people.”

When we first heard of her a YWAM volunteer had met her (Rachel), she lay alone in a small shack on a bed, with no nappy on, lying in her own feces, unable to lift her head she was so weak. This volunteer immediately phoned Baby Safe. She had also met the mother moments after, drunk and completely disinterested in her baby.

Her first thoughts were to get her to the local clinic and the mother agreed to go with her. They sat in the Masi clinic for hours in the waiting room before they were seen. Rachel felt frustrated that the process was so slow but also had the sense that she was involved in helping direct the course of this baby’s life. When they were finally seen, the doctor took one look at the mother and rolled her eyes.

Apparently unknown to us, this woman had quite a reputation in the community, and it was not a good one. Rachel asked to see the baby’s records and began to read a horrific account of child abuse starting at 3 months old when she was admitted to hospital for a fracture in her neck, after been hit over the head with a pan. There was also a note that the mother had already had 4 of her other children removed from her care.
Sadly, there were many similar stories, and to our shock everyone of them had been over looked by doctors and social workers. Our hearts were compelled to see an end to this baby girl’s nightmare. We knew that God had a plan to rescue her.

The next weeks in Masi,  I instructed Rachel on how to advocate for this child, knowing that it would be a long and arduous process. The local social services have very little protocol for removing a abused child. I was in the middle of several other complex cases so I asked Rachel to begin what would become a 7 month fight for this babies freedom. She spent many hours a day in the social workers office. At the time there was only one social worker there and she was in charge of over 500 cases. She was overworked and overwhelmed by her work load, to the point where there was little progress in any of the cases. Rachel thought a case as severe as this would be urgently attended to, she thought the removal would be instant, but she was in for a shock.

To follow were many meetings with the mother and child, many 2nd chances and excuses, and several violent outbreaks by the mother. At one point the mother disappeared with the baby and we couldn’t find her for days. This baby’s life was in serious danger, she was only getting thinner and being fed breastmilk from her alcoholic mother.

Weeks past and Rachel had to leave. We prayed for her a lot.  Baby Safe took on her case and for a while there was no progress, but we continued to pray. In fact, we could never even got this baby’s name accurate, so in team prayer we petitioned for the release of  “the Masi Baby.” On 2 occasions I finally got the social worker and police go to remove her, but each time the mother ran away. The frustration grew… I went to the  social service supervisors and even the Children’s Magistrate demanding intervention.

After four different planned removals, she was finally rescued and placed in our care ( a Baby Safe safety family). As a team we rejoiced in a long fight resulting in victory, all on behalf of a delicate little girl who had no name. One of the big concerns was the she would suffer withdrawls from the alcohol.  After being prayed over and placed in a safety family she was completely fine, and we had finally learned her name (not to be mentioned here). She was 1/3 the weight she should have been and she displayed intense fear at times, but she was now safe.

Her removal was not the end of the fight, to our shock her mother and father were contesting the removal in court and demanding to have the child back. The warfare surrounding her life was great. Things even got so twisted that the Masi social worker was considering returning the child! With the efforts of our foster family and our refusal to back down, we convinced the magistrate of the necessity for her to be placed in long term foster care. Mom and Dad have even been giving the opportunity to visit her, but the few times the mom has even shown up, she has been drunk.

A 2nd year birthday party was thrown by some of the Baby Safe team, along with her foster parents.  She burst through the door with fairy wings on, running, giggling full of Joy! The whole party she was stuffing cake into her mouth, playing with her new toys and making everyone smile. We couldn’t believe how different she looked and acted.

To be honest most of the child welfare cases that we are involved in here don’t come without a similar battle. These lives are of immense value to the Father and Africa’s future will be in their hands. Rachel who originally found this baby and advocated for her was here on a short term mission’s trip, she has since returned to South Africa with her husband to work full time with Baby Safe.