A week ago, someone in my community did something so horrendous, so beyond comprehension, that I struggle to catch my breath.
A newborn baby was carried along the banks of the river. By a man? A woman? Someone with a vested interest in the chestnut-haired newborn child now known as Baby Hope. She weighed 7 pounds, even, and she still had her umbilical cord and placenta attached when they placed her in the river and let her go.
They just let her go.
She stayed in the river for a week, the coroner said. A week in the icy water, being tossed to and fro by the current. The water levels fell, and someone walking along the river bank near Sac.ramento discovered her poor little body.
That little baby girl, who never had a chance at life. Never had a chance to smile. Never had a chance to grow.
I think of how tenderly I held my baby girls when they were born. And my heart aches for little Baby Hope, for never having known that kind of love.
For how could they have loved her, if they put her in the river?
Tonight, my community will hold a candlelight vigil in Baby Hope’s honor. It’s being hosted by a group comprised of parents who have lost their children. Their hearts are already heavily burdened with the loss of their own babies, and now they carry the loss of Baby Hope, as well. They mourn for what could have been.
I think about that, and my sadness turns to anger. In this country, we have fought tooth and nail to make sure people have choices. Birth control, the morning after pill, abor.tion, adoption, places to surrender babies with no questions asked.
And yet, Baby Hope was found on the river bank. Alone. Abandoned.
I wonder if the person who placed here there watched her float away. Did they turn their back on her, without a second thought? Or did they do it out of desperation, thinking there was no other way out of a terrible situation?
I hope someday we’ll know. Because Baby Hope deserves an answer.
*Anyone interested in contributing to Baby Hope’s burial fund can email me at Jerdre53 (at) aol (dot) com. *