The following post is a gift from an adoptive mother who has served as a full-time NGO staff member in Haiti:
Lost in the meandering roads of Pacot, one would have never thought to find an orphanage hidden behind high brick walls. Behind the white gate you could hear the voices of crying children anxiously waiting for their needs to be met. With grave anticipation, I knocked on the door afraid of what awaited me.
One year before, I encountered several orphanages that should have been condemned even before the earthquake for their festering smell and worn out shelters that needed one more minor earthquake to finally collapse. Its children were such mournful creatures that stared at you in bewilderment wondering your purpose for visiting. My boss was crazy to even think that we could improve the sanitation of these orphanages. Now looking back, I had no eyes for compassion, but only disgust for the conditions before me.
I looked at the silent child who had been handed to my care and thought, “Lord, when this door opens, I am going to change the life of this child for better or for worse.” No sooner had my heart plunged into dismay, a friendly hand and a kind voice opened the white painted metal door and ushered us in. I looked around me flabbergasted at how clean and orderly the place was. The white building stood firm and welcoming and it matched the demeanor of its mistress. She kindly showed me around and I was greeted by curious children and kind caregivers. God truly answered my prayers the night before when I asked him for surety that my child would be left in safe hands. The ambience of this orphanage had assured me and I left Ayiti with a calm heart.
When I returned again seven months later in Ayiti, a country of love and turmoil, I was amazed by the devotion that Madame Sonia put into the direction and running of her orphanage. Her assistant, Madame Michelle’s kindness especially warms the heart and sways you that God's little ones are in good hands. Although she chatters away quickly in Creole leaving you lost in translation of what she said on her previous sentence, the kindness of her eyes and the touch of her gentle hands reassures you that she has your child's best interest at heart. The caregivers are no less important as they take every moment to make each child feel a sense of importance and security. The whitewashed building of Au Bonheur des Enfants and its sanitized smell comforts you that infectious diseases are not welcomed there. Melissa's ability to now read and the quick smile that one can sometimes steal on her face, show that she is loved and cared for. Though her quiet behavior and sadness at times makes you wonder, "Lord, what has happened to this child that has taken her speech away," God in turns reminds you; "My child, I have brought you here for this very purpose to see my love, for my love covers all." I left Ayiti in peace knowing that my Adonai has everything in the palm of his hands and Melissa will soon join me and together, we shall celebrate her homecoming in joy and laughter.