In our city, we drive a lot of homeless people. Most of the homeless passengers we have are going to or from some of the shelters in the area. Most are going to or from work (yes, many homeless people have jobs), visiting friends and relatives or medical centers and hospitals. They are normal people just like you and I and they have a story as to how they ended up homeless.
One night I received a page from dispatch to pick up a woman from a hospital and take her to a homeless shelter. I went to the main entrance and waited for her.
A nurse escorted the woman out, handed me the voucher, hugged the woman and promised to pray for her. The woman had obviously been crying. I asked her if everything was all right. She said in a monotone that she just had a baby. Not knowing what else to say at this moment I asked if everything went well. "Yeah, he was healthy and beautiful and is going to a good family. It's for the best. He's better off. It's for the best. He's better off. It's for the best." I asked her if she really believed that.
"If I say it enough, maybe I will."
There was silence for a minute or two and then she exploded.
"He's my baby! Of course I don't believe it. She'll pray for me. Everyone says they'll pray for me. Prayers mean nothing. What good is a prayer and calling me brave when I had no choice?" She was sobbing.
"Why didn't you have a choice?"
"They wouldn't let me stay if I kept him. They got crosses everywhere and tell us about God. The mother of their precious lord got to keep her son! Born in a barn and no one made her put him up for adoption. Tell Mary it's for the best. What kind of preacher says it's right to take a baby from his mom? How is that okay? Pray for me? Give me my son!"
"They forced you?"
"It was STRONGLY encouraged. I didn't have a choice. When I started looking into my rights, the encouragement got intimidating. Threatening to call family services and have me declared unfit if I didn't do the right thing."
"Im sorry. I'm so sorry."
"He's never going to know me. He's never going to know that I didn't throw him away. That I wanted him. He's never going to know I love him. Never been homeless before. I'm going to get out and this is never going to happen again. Someday I'm going to drive by that hellhole with their crosses and know I don't live there."
"How long have you been homeless?"
"Three months. I left him. I was scared of what would happen to the baby if I stayed. I went home to my parents and they told me God would want me to go back. I wasn't going back so they kicked me out."
We got to the shelter. As she was getting set to leave I told her what I could.
"I won't tell you I'll pray for you. But I want you to get out of this dump. Okay?"