On this particular trip to Haiti I have seen a number of biological families of children who have been adopted and are now in the comfort and protection of loving families in the US. It has encouraged me to see what the lives of many of these children would have been had they not been adopted and saddened me to know that UNICEF has successfully decreased adoptions worldwide by 60% since 2007. This only increases the number of children institutionalized and increases the suffering for those who cannot now get into an orphanage.
The degree of poverty isn’t as severe in Port au Prince but a short trip into the mountains reveals a far greater degree of poverty and starvation.
Just before I left on this trip I was talking to an adoptive dad who told me that his adopted child saw a recent picture. It was of his sister, in rags, lacking the basic needs of food, housing, school and healthcare and he was saddened to see her unfortunate condition while all of his needs were met, including a loving home. Without adoption, he knew this is where he would be.
On this trip I talked to a young lady who aged out and is now back living with her family of seven. They live in a small tent (see the attached picture) and she told me that none of her family had eaten that day. She said that there were times at the orphanage when she didn’t get enough food but she would go back there immediately, if she could. She had a bed and a roof over her head there, she said!
Yesterday, I ran into the sister of a young lady who was adopted into a loving family in the US and is now in college with a bright future. The sister is surviving in Haiti, I am told, as a prostitute. As there are few jobs here, especially for women, this is a far too common way for young ladies to try to survive. Often the result is AIDS and an early grave.
A couple days ago, I blogged about a very malnourished little boy who had no parents (Mom had died of AIDS) and the aunt was asking that he be taken to an orphanage where he would receive care. (See the story on MercyIntl.org). Normally I would do that in a heartbeat but now, with the new laws, the process is much more difficult. What UNICEF (and their allies, World Vision and Save the Children) would do is provide the aunt with perhaps $100.00 US, tell her to start a business with it and that will solve this little boys problems for the next sixty or seventy years. How absurd. It is common now, even in the missionary community, to give a family a “micro-loan to start a business” of perhaps $100.00 or $200.00 US and tell them to “go, be warm and well fed”, as if that will solve their poverty and that of the million families in desperate conditions in this country. This, we are told, will keep moms from having to give their child up for adoption. I would say that it only appeases the conscience of the giver and does nothing long term for the well being of the child.
I have seen many ways the UN and mission organizations have attempted to help the suffering child. In my experience, only adoption plucks the child from their poverty permanently. Please pray for the orphans of this world as the world turns a blind eye to their plight.
John H Leininger