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Everyone’s Daughter

The Peoples' Tree (Surkhet, Nepal)Just when I think I have everything under control. I've answered every last e-mail, sent the kids off to school clean with their uniforms pressed and their lunches packed, even manage to take a shower and comb every last lice out of my hair. I tell myself about how, "on top of everything I am," and get ready to clean up my room and start packing for my trip back to the states, and SUDDENLY a baby shows up on my front porch.

A 1-2 month old (???) baby girl was dropped off at our neighbor’s house today at 4 in the morning. There was a knock at the door and a man’s voice that said he had this baby whose mother had died. Before our neighbor, (a widow and mother of four, whose children are all grown up now) could get fully dressed, open the door, and catch a good glimpse at his face, he was gone. The man disappeared without a trace. We don’t have any name and our only clue is that the baby could be from Mugu, a remote mountain district very far from here (only because the woman whose house the baby was dropped off at is originally from there.) We also don’t know if the person intended for the baby to come to us. Did they drop it at the neighbors’ because they couldn’t get through the gate and they knew she would come to us or are they somehow connected to her?

So today I spent my day at the police station making a police report and searching through records at all the nearest hospitals and clinics. I’ve been on the phone with contacts in Mugu, and I walked around town asking everyone if they knew anything. We still have absolutely no leads.

The baby is healthy and so beautiful… too beautiful. She didn’t cry today. She just drank her buffalo milk from a spoon and stared up at all of us with her big brown eyes. She had a bath and we dressed her in new warm clothes.

It’s taken everything in me not to just forget searching for the parents who abandoned her and take her in my arms and keep her forever and ever. I read an article a while back about how you can actually make yourself lactate without ever having been pregnant. (It was some article for mothers who are adopting and YES this actually crossed my mind today in the midst of all the madness.) Then, reality kicked in. I realized that this wasn’t a chia pet, or a Tamagotchi, or the little baby doll that I had when I was seven that peed water when you squeezed its belly. “This is like a real life baby…”

This morning, as one of our male neighbors walked through the front gate to see what all the fuss was about, I stood up and plopped the baby girl into his arms.

“Here you go, this is for you, a brand new daughter,” I joked with him.

Everyone laughed and as it became quiet again one of the older village women spoke.

“This can be everyone’s daughter,” she said.

I watched and listened as members from our village came to look at the new baby. They marveled at her beautiful eyes, the softness of her cheeks, and her peaceful disposition. Everyone wanted to hold her, to touch her, to put one of their fingers inside the grasp of her tiny little hand. In that moment I realized that all of this didn’t have to lie on just my shoulders. This was our problem and my little village community was right there with me to solve it. I knew everything would be okay.

As our village neighbors came to discuss the situation, we arrived at the decision that the baby would stay with the woman whose house she was dropped off at this month while we wait for the police investigation. We’ve given the woman a small stipend to cover her expenses and alerted all of the local government authorities. For now, everyone will do their part to look after the baby.

Today I was reminded that I’m not alone. We all need that reminder every now and again don’t we? We are not alone. We are never alone and neither is this little baby girl that was just brought into the world.

Comments are open below and I'd love to know...When was the last time you let someone help you? How does it feel for you to let people in?

Reader Comments (3)

That is unbelievable! Wasn't Kath telling us how much of a no-no it was for people to leave babies in Nepal? I'm glad you are living in such a supportive community. I loved the the story you told before as well, when the village thought a bag of cement was missing or something and everyone was really upset by it because the community is so closely knit. How is Juntara??? I'm in suspense!

November 24, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterHannah

um...two days ago in a korean restaurant????? :)

i love this story, maggie. to be "everyone's baby" is a gift indeed.


December 13, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterjen lemen

I wonder how the little baby is doing now, after almost a year and half. I wonder what her name drop in a comment or a post about her sometime when u get some time...Would feel good to know..

March 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterR

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