MANILA, Philippines—Over a pound heavier and still healthy despite a bout of sore eyes, baby George Francis will soon be in the arms of his mother, who left him in an airplane’s trash bin a month ago.
The mother, who has suffered through much anguish and sleepless nights since returning to the country, is now determined to raise the child she initially rejected, Social Welfare Secretary Corazon Soliman said Tuesday.
Baby George’s mother, Soliman said, had been raped and it was the DSWD’s position that no charges should be pressed against her because she was a victim herself.
According to Soliman, the woman’s employer in Qatar sexually abused her, causing her pregnancy. The pregnancy prompted her employer’s wife to send her home. She had not even been given her proper wages as a house helper in the Middle Eastern country.
“She believes the child survived because God wants him to live so that she could take care of him. She strongly believes this,” Soliman said. “The recommendation is that she is ready to take care of the child. We just need to look at the conditions and to process her family.”
Officials have chosen not to publicly divulge the name of the mother for reasons of privacy.
The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) is setting up a reunion between mother and child in the coming days, and is inclined to support the mother’s decision to raise the baby.
Cordillera Community Support
The woman will continue to receive counseling because of her ordeal. It would be up to her if she wants to pursue charges against her former boss.
The woman’s husband and other members of the family have opened up their arms to Baby George and want to adopt him, according to Soliman.
Even the local community in the Cordillera, where the woman’s family lives, has rallied around them, supporting their decision to bring Baby George home and understanding the circumstances that led to the woman’s situation, Soliman said.
The community has decided to take care of the family and to keep quiet about the incident, which has been kept secret from the woman’s two other young children.
‘She wanted him to live’
DNA tests done by the National Bureau of Investigation and the National Sciences Research Institute of the University of the Philippines have confirmed that the woman—who gave birth to Baby George on a Manila-bound Gulf Air flight—is the boy’s mother, Soliman said in a press briefing.
Social workers and psychologists of the DSWD have said it will be good for the woman’s health and peace of mind to see her baby, she said. The woman has so much regret and shame over what had happened, she added.
Soliman also said the woman never had the intention of abandoning the baby and was planning to give him to another couple but she was unexpectedly ordered to go home and this led to her giving birth on the plane.
“We understand that there are moments in a person’s mind when you are desperate, that in your confusion you do not do the right thing. We think that is what happened. She really wanted the child to live. She did not plan to abandon him,” Soliman said.
Because of this, the DSWD has decided it is time for mother and child to meet. DSWD-National Capital Region director Thelsa Biolena said department officials may schedule the reunion after Baby George recovers from his sore eyes, which he got on Monday.
Soliman said she was inclined to support the mother’s decision to take care of the child. But another option—letting the mother’s sister adopt Baby George—still remains, she said, adding the decision will depend on talks between the family and the DSWD.
“You all know that many want to give him a good future, aside from his mother. But our view is the mother has a greater right to care for her child, especially if her situation is okay. It’s also the child’s right to be with his own mother,” Soliman said.
She said the DSWD would continue to monitor the boy’s condition if it was decided that he should live with his real family.
Baby George’s mother is doing well, Soliman said. Initially, after being placed under DSWD custody, she could not eat. She also had been afraid to sleep alone in the beginning.
But as the days went by, her condition improved. Now, she relates well with other people and follows the rules of the center where she is staying, the DSWD said.
The woman’s husband and her father, who have come to visit her, understand her situation. They made up in a tearful reunion at the DSWD, Biolena said.
DSWD officials said the bond between Baby George’s mother and her husband was strong and that he understood that his wife herself was a victim.
The mother has also been giving her breast milk to her child, even if they have not met. Soliman said the mother had pumped out her breast milk, and this was delivered to Baby George.
Baby George is also doing well. He is active, has a good sucking reflex and has no abnormal signs or symptoms
, the DSWD said. His weight has gone up to 3.6 kilograms.
The DSWD has given financial assistance to the family and will continue to provide them with counseling.
The discovery of the new-born baby in the Gulf Air plane’s trash bin last month shocked many and triggered an outpouring of sympathy for the infant, as well as offers to adopt him. He was named George Francis, after Gulf Air’s code name.