Seldom have I received the type of response I got about the story on the Marina family we featured on Sunday's paper. The story about Carolina and her children. If you missed it, you can find it here.
The overwhelming response was filled with desire to help: people want to send money, help run errands, buy clothes for the children, you name it. We have a generous community, and we're blessed by it.
I also received two emails that were more questioning, if you will. Where's the father of these children? Is he paying child support? Yes, Carolina is in a terrible situation, but that's because she made bad choices. Maybe Sabrina won't make the same choices. Maybe the cycle will be broken.
Because I have first hand experience in dealing with families in abusive situations, I can tell you it won't be easy. Sabrina will need a lot -- A LOT -- of help. Not just Sabrina, all of her siblings. They will need guidance, support, constant caring adults. Most importantly, tons of love. And their unstable situation does not seem to have an end in sight. Who knows how long it will take for her mother to regain her health.
This is what experience has taught me: the only "choices" we have are the ones presented to us. If a woman's practically locked up by her husband, with no access to friends and family, does she really have "choices"? If a young girl has to forgo an after-school science program because she has to help with chores and take care of her little siblings, is that really a choice? Could she be blamed later on for not becoming a scientist? (For the record, I'm not writing about Carolina and her family here. These are just scenarios I've run into often in my years of reporting)
I hope, for Sabrina's sake, that she indeed makes wise choices as she grows up. But what I hope for most is that she's surrounded by caring adults who show her what those choices are.