I can’t even begin to explain the pain that has happened here in Haiti over the last few weeks…I have cried…wept…more in the last few weeks then I feel like in my entire life.
It started with a 10 year old in my school sponsorship program…when she went home one day from school, she told her caretaker (grandmothers sisters friend) about me…the next thing that happened is frustrating and I don’t and just won’t understand. The caretaker then told the child to pack her stuff and come live with me. I arrived at my school the next morning and the little girl came up to me and kept speaking quickly in Creole, smiling and saying, “She told me to come live with you.” I didn’t understand what she was saying, so I asked her to talk about it after class.
After class she explained how she was told to come and live with me. I was in shock and broken that she was just “sent” to me as if it was nothing. She had a small bag packed with all of her belongings. As we walked to her house so I could talk with her caregiver, she was beaming with excitement even though I was trying to let her down slowly saying that she couldn’t stay with me. The next few moments were do difficult…I had to explain that I was not able to care for this little girl now…for so many reasons…first, because God did not give me a peace about it…second, I don’t know the language well enough to take a child who has been through so much (she’s been abandoned by her mother, neglected by her father etc)…and I don’t have running water or electricity, so it’s just not conducive to a child living with me.
As I watched this 10 year olds hope and joy dissipate, I felt sick to my stomach, mad and hurt all at the same time. How could someone just tell this child to go away…how did her parents abandon her in the beginning…I was Broken, again.
A few days ago, I sat with a beautiful 12 year old girl in the “hospital” for two straight days…and took care of her for more than a week…why? Because she is an orphan. She has no one here on earth to be her voice. To be her help. She was in her room in an orphanage for three days before anyone even realized she was sick. Can you just start there with me…thinking about a little girl who is in her room in pain. Scared and hurting…not eating, not drinking..,for three days. Alone. Then she moved to a “hospital”…let me try to describe her room…it’s a tiny room with four beds (four children total) and a small aisle down the middle for passing…across the room from her is (or really 2 feet away) we have a father with his little 2 year old child, the mother died in the earthquake and the love this father has for this child is beautiful…and we have another mother with her one year old who had down syndrome…and then we have a 7 year old who’s parents are with her every moment…and then there was Rosemine…no mother with her, no father with her.
I stayed with her as long as I could (she was in a different city then I live, and I don’t have a car here…)…I don’t think I can describe the pain of leaving her in the hospital knowing that she had no one to take care of her…leaving a 12 year old to fend for herself. Even though I was able to continue checking in on her ever day…I just couldn’t help but think, if I was in the hospital it would be hard to MAKE my mother leave my side.
Then there was Gabriel. Two year old Gabriel. A team came from Colorado to work in an orphanage in Carrefour (that in my opinion is the worst orphanage I’ve ever seen anywhere in the world) and they brought the kids to Gressier for one day…as they loaded the bus, I decided to take one more look through the place to see if we were missing anyone…and then I saw Gabriel. Sitting without a diaper and without pants completely by himself, obviously not feeling good…I will never forget that moment in my mind…I picked him up, put a diaper on him and brought him with us. Who knew that that 3 second decision would end up wrecking me so much…by the end of the day he was worse, not better. I couldn’t imagine sending him back to the orphanage like that, so I asked if I could take care of him for a few days and the orphanage said yes. When we got back to the guesthouse we were staying at in Port au Prince, as God would have it, there happened to be an American doctor who had just arrived at the guesthouse so she came and looked at Gabriel. Bronchitis, scabies, fungal infections…this two year old was fighting hard. She gave him some medication to take for 7 days, I decided since I knew the orphanage probably wouldn’t be able to or remember to give him medication on time, that I’d call and ask if I could watch him for 7 days to make sure he would be better…the orphanage said no problem.
That was three days ago…and yesterday I had to make the hardest decision in my life. I realized after spending a few days with him, that if I kept him for all 7 days, it would do more harm to him than good…with his attachment issues and with having to return to this scum of an orphanage at the end of the week, it would be too hard for him. I knew he didnt have any paperwork, so it would be super difficult to try and figure out something else for him (bringing him to another place, or where his parents were/are etc). As I headed back to Gressier, I had two choices…one- return him to the orphanage, or two- keep him. For good.
I had NO idea which to choose…I couldn’t fathom bringing him back to a place filled with scabies, no food, no care, no love. But the more rational I became, the more I realized that without paperwork and without a feasible way to take him legally…I had no choice.
Returning him to the orphanage BROKE my heart. Literally shattered it it to Pieces I couldn’t breathe…in fact, I feel like I still can’t. Feeling the pain of an orphan is SO horrible…returning an orphan to a horrible orphanage crushed me. Knowing I couldn’t keep him was even worse…
Broken. Everytime I think I have been broken as much as possible, God breaks me more. I can easily say, yesterday was the hardest day of my life…returning a child to a place where I knew he would not have his needs met is the WORST feeling ever…Ive had to remind myself every second over the last day that He is a child of God…that God knows every hair on his head…he is NOT forgotten…he is LOVED…
Jesus, I don’t understand. I don’t understand the suffering of helpless children. I don’t understand how or why there are so many children who will go to bed tonight without someone telling them goodnight. I am so broken when I look into the eyes of a child I’m holding, knowing that they might not have been held in days…
This struggle is too big. This fight is too difficult. These situations are too painful. But GOD, you are bigger. Please continue to give me strength to be YOUR HANDS AND FEET. Even when I don’t understand, even when I’m angry, with a righteous anger, please help me love. Love better, love more, LOVE deeper.
***Prayer is powerful. Please join me in prayer for this orphanage in Carrefour, there are over 75 orphans and only 3 workers. The conditions are terrible. They are all sick, hungry and lonely and they are in DESPERATE need for something to change. Please pray, pray, pray for something BIG to happen soon on these childrens behalf.**