In Septemeber 2008, I traveled 6000 miles to Haiti's Kenscoff mountains. My mission: to care for some of the orphaned and abandoned, the sick, malnourished and premature infants of this beautiful but beleagured Caribbean nation.

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Let The Little Children Come

At God's Littlest Angel's, we have been wondering whether we will actually be able to serve vulnerable children; orphaned, displaced or made homeless by the earthquake.

UNICEF's current policy of hearding all displaced children into tent cities in Port-au-Prince, prevents us from reaching children from the capital city, who have presented at hospitals and clinics after they have been separated from their parents. With just 16 children under our roof yesterday, the possibility of having to lay off some of our orphanage staff was a very real threat, that filled us with dread.

However, with the arrival of 5 children this week, it has become apparent that children in need will continue to reach our gate, just as they always have.

Our first arrival on Monday was a beautiful baby boy. His Mother reported that her house had fallen 'when the earth shook', and that the father of her new son - the baby is just a month old -had died. She does not have the means to raise him and cannot bear to see him suffer. We will try to find a permanent family for this baby boy.

Then today, all at once, the main house was blessed with 4 little ones.

Baby N is a dainty 5lb 7oz oz girl; a little doll, who has been relinquished for adoption. She will be matched with a family as soon as the Haitian government begins processing adoptions again.
We also received a set of brothers into our baby house. Their mother is alive, but the family are now homeless and the boys' father is not involved in their lives. They are both in need of medical treatment and they are here for temporary care, while their mother tries her utmost to re-build some semblance of a decent life for them.

JJ is three months old. The first thing we noticed about him was his gorgeous smile. The second thing - he arches his back, extends his neck, and he cannot hold his head up. He likes to keep his arms tightly flexed, with his hands fisted. These can be signs of neurological problems. Neglected and traumatized infants, though, sometimes develop abnormal muscle posture in response to the stress in their lives. JJ is a bright baby and his world has certainly been chaotic lately. We hope that in a secure environment, where all his needs will be met, he will relax and develop normally.

JJ's brother is 15 months old and weighs just over 15lb. The loose skin hanging like an oversized suit from his tiny frame, tells an all too common tale of weight loss. His hands and feet are beginning to swell; a sign that he hasn't been getting enough protein. He has a cough and a swollen gland. He is not feverish but we started him on an antibiotic anyway; malnourished children are very susceptible to infection and often, their bodies are too weak to mount a response to illness. We will watch this toddler very closely. The early signs are promising; he is hungry and eating well.
His brittle, thinning hair, that should be thick, black and shiny reveals that this baby, like many others in Haiti, was suffering from malnutrition before the earthquake; his family, all ready struggling to survive, cannot even scrape by now.

Last, there is 9 month old boy, S. His mother brought him here because he is sick and she is living on the streets and cannot access medical care for him. Unfortunately she is not able to stay here with her baby. He is very upset and anxious to be separated from her. He is used to being breast-fed and he is refusing all food and liquids that we offer him. This poor little man was absolutely inconsolable tonight; we did our best to comfort him anyway.

He has a bad cough, diarrhoea and vomiting. We are rehydrating him with a feeding tube and we will start him on an antibiotic.

Three weeks living in a tent city has taken it's toll on these little ones. Food and safe drinking water is scarce. Overcrowding is a problem and people do not have adequate shelter. It is the children who are affected the most. Starvation is a very real threat and diarrhoeal illnesses and respiratory conditions are spreading rapidly.


Cathy said...

God is so good! I am glad that you have children to care for . I will pray that they continue to make their way to your place. Continue to pray for strength for you and your workers to continue doing God"s work.

Twinsplusthree said...

I have been reading your blog since the earthquake. I just wanted to thank you for what you are doing. God has given you a special gift and you are definitely using it. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

denie heppner said...

praying for you all. amidst the chaos and heartbreak, you are fulfilling the mandate of the Good Shepherd- "let the little ones come to me..." blessings!