Monday, August 8, 2011

When All Else Fails

Today was another one of those really mixed days.  Intake day. 

We met with two families who BRESMA has been financially supporting for over a year.  One includes a grandma and her two adult children and her daughter-in-law.  The daughter's husband was killed in the earthquake when she had one toddler and was just pregnant with their second child.  The son's eighteen year old girlfriend has a baby boy.  The second family is a single mother with a baby boy and a five year old girl.  All of these adults are absolutely resolute.  They believe that they cannot raise their children in Haiti.  They are adamant that they want to place them for adoption.  We must respect their judgement as adults and parents who know what is best for their children.  I went through the speech with them - that the children will never return to Haiti, that adoption is forever, that I will beg for photos and updates but I can't force adoptive parents to consider the feelings of the birth parents - but they've heard it all before several times and will not change their minds.

We don't know where the biological father of the five year old girl is, and we can't place her without his consent.  Her mother begged me to find a family for her anyway, but I had to tell her that Margarette was right.  We must find him first.  I told her to try everything so that I can place her delightful little girl.

Four of the children will come into BRESMA when Margarette returns from vacation in a few weeks.  I spent some time with each child and parent, getting to know what I can about them.  Times like this I really feel the weight of my responsibility to these families.  They are trusting me to find parents who will cherish and raise their own children.  I pray that I have the wisdom to serve them well and earn the trust they are giving me with no recommendation other than blind hope.

Margarette handed out packages of beans and rice to everyone - lots of bags, this time, as she'll be on vacation for about two weeks.  We packed everyone in the bus and drove to BRESMA to load everyone up with baby formula, powdered milk, and ibuprofen.  Margarette handed out some emergency cash too, just in case.

When it was time to go, the five year old girl said quietly, "M'ap rete avo."  ("I'm staying with you.")  I told her mother to look hard for that birth father.  Some of our older kids seem to be so aware of how precarious their family's situation is that they actively want to be adopted, even though they love their parents.  Perhaps she'll find the missing biological father.  Perhaps something will change.  I sure hope so.  Such a bright and personable little girl deserves a solid future.

I spent the afternoon with my friend Michelle Meece from Hands and Feet.  I love this group.  They really understand the purpose of an orphanage, which Michelle demonstrated beautifully. 

"This is what Hands and Feet does," she explained as we lounged on the upstairs patio at the guest house.  "When a kid is walking right off a cliff, this is us."

She pantomimed grabbing the back of a child's shirt.  It's the perfect image.  There sure do seem to be a lot of cliffs in Haiti.  But at least in Jacmel, and soon in Gran Goave, there will be vigilant guardians on a few of them.

Time to rest
I'm leaving tomorrow.  I have distributed all the little gifts that filled my duffel bag, and packed it away in my carry on suitcase.  I have about 300 emails to answer, paperwork to distribute, case updates to share and referrals to make to waiting families.

I don't believe I'll be checking any bags on the way home this time.

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