A Voice from Haiti

21 01 2010

Dear Tom and Rebecca,

The only way to describe Haiti right now is a living nightmare.  The lack of coordination and the practicalities of traveling from the Embassy to the airport and back to the orphanage makes it impossible to work with any efficiency and we can accomplish very little.  Today we spent over 3 hours trying to get to the Embassy with 15 children – 14 under the age of two – and then spent 9 hours at the Embassy.  We walked out with few parole visas and were advised that DOS had left for the evening so we would get our adoption visas the next day.  After risking my life to enter an extremely damaged building to recover files and lugging them to the Embassy it was frustrating to say the least to have accomplished so little.  In addition, I know I will need to stay up all night tonight to go over 40+ cases to assess the documents and to organize them, all while under a tent and using a flashlight.  We are too scared to try to sleep inside and who can sleep anyway when every little noise or jar wakes you up in fear?  The conditions are unfathomable and I cannot understand why we do not have a centralized location to serve these orphans – those already established as being in need of a family before the earthquake.  I am so thirsty, but cannot drink as often as I would like because we are running out of water and I cannot take what the kids may need, although we came into Haiti with more than enough for us, we have to share what we have.

I have to stay strong here and not fall to pieces but the situation is truly impossible and is leading to unnecessary delays and continued and increased risk to children already established before the earthquake as orphans (as well as MANY others).  I have so many fears – another aftershock that woke us so roughly on Wednesday morning and a wall tumbling down on our heads, children starving, the orphanage being looted as the frustration continues to grow regarding the delay in distributing supplies, children dying from sickness (almost all the children here have a deep cough and we have few meds. to offer), and ultimately, what other diseases will result from the conditions here.

The children are sleeping outside on soiled mattresses and in wet sheets – there are not enough diapers for them to be used as needed.  They are scared to death and will cling to anyone who reaches out a hand.  All of the people who experienced this horrific catastrophe seem to be suffering from post traumatic stress – quite understandably – and yes, I am qualified to diagnose.

I am having such a hard time seeing that orphans are once again being used as political pawns in spite of this monumental tragedy.  I am standing in the midst of a nightmare where I am thirsty and hungry and scared – but I have a US passport and eventually I have the chance to go home to a warm bed, plenty of food and people who love me.  When did common sense exit the entire equation regarding children’s welfare and establishing what is in the best interests of a child?  How many children must die unnecessarily in the midst of this crisis because of bureaucratic red tape when simple and temporary solutions are not that difficult?  But, I guess I should expect this – because we are dealing with very poor orphans and how high on the priority scale do they fall?  When I initially heard about the US response to the orphan crisis in Haiti I was SO PROUD.  I was so grateful that Obama was our President, Hilary Clinton was our Secretary of State and that for once we were going to get this right.  Unfortunately, it seems that the US has again bowed to outside pressure to be politically correct and back down from what we know to be morally right.  I do not think there is any person with an ounce of compassion who could view this situation and not believe that immediate and decisive action is necessary to save the children of Haiti.  Enough will die without us contributing through inaction and inefficiency.

Please pray for all of us here.  We need it desperately.


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11 responses

21 01 2010
Susan Killeen

I do not know who you are, but you are not forgotten. We are lifting you and the childen up in prayer to our God who sees and who will not forsake you.

21 01 2010
Mary Ebert

All of the caregivers, rescuers, first responders, soldiers, and government officials trying to make a difference are in my prayers along with my prayers for the children-the children who were orphans before the earthquake, as well as the newly orphaned children. It is all I seem to be able to do from so far away in Wisconsin. I have poured over websites of organizations I am only now learning about. I am ashamed to say that I never understood the plight of the people of Haiti until the tragedy of the earthquake. So, right now, I offer my prayers.

I don’t understand why there isn’t a few centralized facilities being considered for the safe-haven of all the orphaned children. It would seem to be the quickest way to finalize the adoption processes for the already matched orphans, and it would allow for the skilled caregivers to offer their skills to the next influx of orphans resulting from the earthquake. A tented facility in a park somewhere that includes the office equipment necessary for completing paperwork should be there along with various tents for taking care of the children.

Not being on the ground in Haiti limits my understanding, but when you refer to common-sense approaches I can’t help but feel not enough is being done and children are dying while paperwork is being completed. How senseless.

May God bless you in your efforts.

21 01 2010
Dana

Please contact me via prvt email. I am trying to get some things organized (if possible) I need information concerning entering the country from Dominican Republic.
I am appalled by not only the plight of the orphans but the people in general. I am so worried that the children that survive will be put in a “foster” system here….
email me @ deedeedana@yahoo.com

21 01 2010
Jeannette Cohen

There are not enough words to describe the pain I feel for you and all that you are enduring for the plight of those so less fortunate. I sit as a social worker in south florida, having done work in Haiti assisting families in adopting from there, and other than write a check, and organize my community to give, I am lost. I shed tears at the images, but continue to believe that g-d is good, dont give up hope, but what to do????? Ports seem to be just opening up in order to receive supplies. I am here in ANY and EVERY way that I can help. Please know that you are not forgotten, I pray for the lives of those caught in this plague. Please use my contact information, jcohenafc@gmail.com to communicate with me for any requests or just to know you are being heard. My god bless and keep you.

Jeannette Cohen

21 01 2010
Kami Meade

I know that you don’t know me, but know that we are praying for you every single day. There’s barely a second that goes by that my mind does not go to the orphans of Haiti. My heart just aches every single time I think of what is going on, and unfortunately, not going in the right direction. It truly just sickens me. We are praying, and praying is all we can do right now. My husband and I are both ER nurses and have volunteered to come to Haiti, but we haven’t been contacted by anyone saying we are needed. It’s just truly unbelievable. Stay well, and know that there are many who are thinking and praying for all the people in Haiti, including the volunteers.

8 02 2010
Reed Maggy

Greetings Kami! I want you to know that your help is needed, there is a lot waiting for you to do, I have a long story as far as my involvement in the Haiti disaster, please visit my site and try to reach me a plan is waiting for people like yourself at http://www.karibamerica.org. you don’t have to wait anymore you can actually act on what your hearts desire wich is to help.

21 01 2010
Laura Smith

Please know that there are people in the States working to be sure that the orphans’ voices are heard!! We continue to pray that God will change men’s hearts and evacuate all the pre-quake orphans.

22 01 2010
Tanya Wadden

I am speechless, and feel beyond helpless….
2 weeks ago I watched my beloved Grandfather die from lung cancer… and I felt helpless then… but he died with no pain (since he had pain killers), surrounded by loving family members, in a warm bed, in his warm home… The stories, pictures, and videos that have been flowing out of Haiti makes me feel beyond helpless… I give money wherever I go that has a jar for Haiti, as well as online.. but then I hear news like ‘The US donates 1 MILLION dollars to emergency relief for Haiti’, I cannot help but think my $5 here and $5 there does squat…
I would LOVE to DO something… I have been looking into volunteering and many sites say to leave it to experts.. doctors.. police..etc, and I understand that… A bunch of civilians running around means more injuries and more mouths to feed etc. But I can’t help but think that you could have used an extra hand when you were trying to get to the embassy with 14 babies… or an extra pair of arms for those scared kids to cling to…

I have known I want to work with kids since I was still a kid…
I graduated Early Childhood Education (ECE) with honours…
Did thousands of hours of field placement..
Worked at two daycares as Infant Room Head ECE..
Worked as a Nanny for two separate families (3 yrs and current family for a year)..
But i think the best experience to prepare me for something like this was my work in a Women’s/Children’s shelter, as well as working on a cruise ship as a youth counselor, where I got trained in Crowd Management and Emergency Procedures…
I have taken First Aid and CPR C (Adult & Children) multiple times..
And have a criminal reference check..
And a current passport..

So my question is, am I qualified enough to hold a scared crying orphan??

I have a week off work Feb. 12-21 and another March 12-21…
Enough money to pay for my flights..
And I live off cereal at home, don’t see why I can’t bring a box and live off it there, so as not to burden you with another mouth to feed..

Please… if anyone knows of ANY organization that would let me help I would love to go for a week if not both weeks!!!

ALL MY THOUGHTS AND PRAYERS ARE WITH EVERY SINGLE PERSON CURRENTLY IN HAITI… WHETHER VICTIM OR VOLOUNTEER!!!!!!

My sympathies to you all!!!
Tanya Wadden

22 01 2010
Thoughts on Haiti « Adoption

[…] should airlift some of these children to the United States? Possibly… especially when I read heart-breaking letters such as this… but definitely NOT with the intent to place these children for adoption. At […]

24 01 2010
Erika Philip

We are bringing supplies in via DR and would really like to help you. You all are obviously in desperate need. email us asap @ urez.haiti@gmail.com. You can check out our web at http://www.urbanresurrection.org or our on ground people in DR at http://www.highwaytohaiti.com. We want to help you as you care for yourselves and the fatherless of Haiti. Be strong.

24 01 2010
Erika Philip

I think we can help you. We are supplying things for missionaries via the DR. email us asap your needs. We want to help.

urez.haiti@gmail.com

http://www.urbranresurrection.org
http://www.highwaytohaiti.com

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