We often talk about being the voice for children – but isn’t it great when we hear them speak for themselves? The following post is from Darlene Williams, a 15-year-old Haitian who was in the process of being adopted when the earthquake hit Haiti. Here guest blog is below, but first some background on her journey.
Six days following the earthquake in Haiti, the United States government granted humanitarian parole to Haitian children who were in the process of being adopted by American citizens prior to the earthquake. The heroic efforts of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and the NGO community resulted in over 1,100 children being removed from harm’s way. Darline is one of the 1,100 who were fortunate enough to gain a family (parents Rebecca and Jerry), rather than loose one.
On that infamous day, Darline did not attend school as usual; rather, she went to a cousin’s funeral in another city. The earthquake occurred shortly after the funeral. Still in the cemetery, Darline screamed in horror as “the earth buckled up” and moved like waves in the ocean, knocking her down. As the ground around her cracked open, Darline fell down and just began to pray. Via cell phone with Rebecca and Jerry in the United States, Darline and her godfather Roody, were directed to the U.S. Embassy where officials had offered to help. As they made the grueling journey to Darline’s freedom, they held orange peels to their noses to cover the smell of decaying bodies. Through all of this, Darline trusted that she would be able to get home to her adoptive parents. She and Roody persevered on the horrifying trek through her destroyed homeland.
On January 18, 2010, Darline arrived in the United States. Fatigued and overwhelmed, she melted into her mother’s arms and told of her journey.
Darline Williams: My Guest Blog
First I want to thank Joint Council for helping my mom and dad get me home to the
U.S. after the earthquake. My life is very much better now.
My life changed since the earthquake, because I have a new life now. My school has changed, I don’t have to wash my clothes with my hands anymore because I have a washing machine. My cooking is different, because I used to cook outside over hot charcoal kitchen, now I cook on stove. Where I live is different, because I’m safe. My foods are different. Some of the new foods I have tried, I like and some I don’t like. I am learning to make new friends. My activities are different. I go to a good summer camp, I go to soccer, I go to cheerleading and I want to learn to play piano. I don’t have to walk to go any place, because my family has cars in my driveway.
My goals have changed, because when I was in Haiti I thought when I finish school I’ll go to university to learn to be a banker or nurse. Now I have so many opportunities to choose different things. I can learn anything I want.
My opinion about people helping Haiti is that I would like the international aid people to teach Haitians how to do new things. Haitians need to know how to do things by themselves not just always have people give them things. They need show Haitians how to building good houses, because houses in Haiti are poorly constructed. Haitians need help learning how to run better businesses. International workers could help show Haitians how to get along better with each other, instead of fighting and always killing each other. We also need them to show us how to became a good government, because the Haitian government helping is selfish.
Another thing about my different life now is I have a mom and dad who love me and protect me, and teach me many thing I have to know to have a good life. Before I am adopted, sometime I do not have food to eat, I get beat when I do something and I do not learn to think about my future. Also now I have a church family who love me. They help me to buy a motorcycle for my sister in Haiti who is dying from no food to eat. Now they can drive the motorcycle and get money to buy food. Family and love is the best thing any children can have and I thank Jesus I have a very good one now.
To hear Darline’s heartwarming interview about the earthquake and her homecoming, please go here; once on the webpage, click on the play button below “Listen Now!” at the bottom.