Sunday, March 30, 2008

Lawrence’s Four Mothers


For those who have not been regularly reading this blog, a summary of baby Lawrence is due. Lawrence is a 15-month-old child of the oldest daughter of our host family. For his first year his grandmother at our family compound raised him. The mother lived in Apia with the unmarried father. Last November our host father’s sister and her 50+ American husband visited Samoa from their home in Hawaii. Since the sister did not have any children of her own and since she tried every known medical technique but failed to get pregnant, it was decided that she could adopt Lawrence. Lawrence’s mother and father then returned to live with our host family around Christmas. Lawrence’s mother is pregnant with her second child, due in April or May. The Hawaiian sister talked about returning that time to get Lawrence.

Overlying this Samoan saga is the fact that Lawrence has been plagued with severe skin infections since we arrived over seven months ago. Here enters the fourth woman-mother force, Mary, with an interest in Lawrence. Each force has Lawrence’s well being at heart, albeit they differ from one another.

Birth Mother: has bonded to Lawrence along with the father. Neither wants to give up Lawrence or the new baby. It appears that they may permanently live in Iva.
Grandmother: has raised ten children of her own besides Lawrence and feels she can give him a stable home.

Hawaiian mother: has been promised Lawrence, if not Lawrence, then maybe the unborn child. She has started adoption proceedings.

Peace Corps Mother: can’t stand to see the baby continue to suffer from skin infections, has lost faith in Samoan hospitals, can’t seem to make any progress in getting the skin infections cured, nor can she understand how the other women can tolerate Lawrence’s affliction.
As far as Lawrence is concerned, he is a happy child with a severe, but seemingly normal itch.

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