Pagan Babies

I have been following the story about a group of Idaho Baptists who were arrested in Haiti for trying to take a bunch of kids across the border to the Dominican Republic, where they apparently established an orphanage. I am not sure what is really going on, except that these 10 people may be charged with child trafficking. And that made me think that my entire second grade class at Immaculate Heart of Mary Grade School could have been brought up on charges for the same thing.

Because we purchased Pagan Babies for five dollars a head, on a regular basis. The nuns encouraged us to bring in our pennies and when we saved up five bucks, bingo!, we bought a baby. I don’t know how this actually worked, and where the money really went, and if actual infants were handed over at some mission across the globe. That is how my second grade mind pictured it, though. Someone hands a squalling baby to a nun in some tropical country, walks off counting their pennies, and the nuns rush that child to the baptismal font to save it’s soul.

Hitting that five dollar mark was a red letter day for us, because we always got to interrupt our regularly scheduled program to Name That Baby. We voted on it. You’d think that a Catholic school that celebrated Saint’s Days (with a different saint named in our missals for every day of the year), would come up with some great names. I mean, Philomena, Sebastian, Feredarius, Notburga and Spisinna were viable options. But, noooooo, every time we got to name a baby it was either Joseph or Mary. Every fricking time. I remember being disappointed because none of the names I proposed were even in the running. Even when I toned it down and suggested Paul and Barbara and Frances.

Now that I’m thinking of it, I wonder if there were orphanages in third world countries full of little Joseph’s and Mary’s learning their catechism. Wouldn’t that get confusing? After we fronted the original five bucks, who paid to house and feed these kids? Maybe we were really only leasing kids – borrowing them long enough to save their souls, and then handing them back to the parents. I wonder if those parents did a version of welfare fraud and brought the same kid back, over and over. You know, going to different missions, handing over the baby and ambling off, clinking every step of the way, with a bag full of pennies tied to their belt. Retrieve the offspring, hit up another mission, and score another bag of pennies.

Of course I don’t know what really took place. Just saying – it could of worked out that way. But if anyone knows of some foreign country with an inordinate amount of people named Joseph and Mary, then just maybe I know how that happened.


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