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.

Saturday, 4 June 2011

A Safety Net for Some of God's Littlest 'Angels'

A sibling set was admitted to GLA's main house this week. 22 month old Kimberlie was brought to the orphanage along with her two month old brother. Their Mother told the administrator's assistant that she had 4 children at home and she couldn't provide for them all.

Did the mother understand that this was an adoption orphanage, Patrick asked her? Yes, the mother replied. The children's mother was tall and pretty, but Patrick noticed that she was quite thin. She seemed timid for a lady in her late 20's. Patrick had to keep asking her to speak a little louder, so he could hear the answers she gave to his questions.

The children were well dressed he thought. The little girl was chubby, but awfully short for her age. Her hair was beginning to turn orange. She was getting enough food to maintain her weight, but not enough to grow. The orange hair, and the dry, dull, flaking skin are signs of mineral deficiencies.

Her mother told Patrick that Kimberlie was not thriving any more. She had stopped growing over the past few months. As for the baby boy in her arms, she couldn't afford formula for him. Jamesson was losing weight. He had an eye infection, but was otherwise healthy, his mother said.

Patrick asked whether she had any relatives, who might agree to care for her children while she worked to support the family? The children's mother shook her head. Her parents were elderly, the children's fathers were not involved in their lives, and her extended family were not supportive. She has been a market trader before the earthquake, she said, but on the 12th of January, 2010, she lost everything she had.

Wasn't it possible that she might be able to get back on her feet, in time? Would she consider placing these children in a Haitian orphanage for a few years? Kimberlie
and Jamesson's Mother, though, had given this a great deal of thought over the past few months. Her older children were in school. She could provide a decent standard of living for these two children, but never for four.

The current debate about the ethics of international adoption, versus investment in long term development is academic to Jamesson, Kimberlie and their Mother. It will be years, decades even, before Haiti is re-built, and single Mothers like her can make a decent wage.

Upstairs in the nursery, it quickly became apparent to us that these children were sickly and malnourished. Clearly, Kimberlie had spent a lot of time in Doctor's offices. She screamed and put her hands over her chest when she saw my stethoscope! When she saw the light we use to see inside the children's ears, she screamed louder, and covered her ears with her hands, shaking her head, 'no'!

Kimberlie has an ear infection that we are treating and she seems to be feeling better all ready. Her brother's eye infection is also improving. Jamesson shows some developmental delays, probably from malnutrition.He is weak and unable to even hold up his head. He is gaining weight by the day though. Soon, God willing, he and Kimberlie will be stronger and healthier. None of the nursery staff question their Mother's decision to give them up for adoption. Haiti's children need safety nets. Too many children fall through the gaping holes in this country's infrastructure, and are lost.


Rori said...

what a blessing you and all of GLA are to kids and momma's like this adorable set of children. Blessings to you Susan !

Marie said...

I agree with Rori...all of you at GLA are an inspiration. If Jesus was walking on earth today, I think he may just be in Haiti...