Friday, January 29, 2010

C4C Earthquake Relief...

Wow! We were so blessed this week to be part of the Chances for Children family. Jim and I were able to see, firsthand, the awesome outpouring of generosity from C4C donors as we joined the team that helped to gather and pack food and supplies for the creche. Monday was spent shopping and hauling large quantities of supplies to the staging area at the Miami airport. On Tuesday, we organized and boxed everything (with the help of a sweet group of jr. highers from Orlando) so it would be ready to fly into the Dominican Republic. The plane left on Wednesday and we've been told that the trucks arrived at the creche in Haiti on Thursday where the supplies are already being put to use! Praise the LORD for its safe arrival!

This is just a portion of the items purchased from Costco.

Most of our group (Jim was taking the picture).

Jim at WalMart; we left with six very full carts and lots of strange looks from passers by.

Some of the supplies being delivered to the loading dock at the airport. The crew at International Bonded Couriers were a delight; so helpful and considerate!

Me with a portion of the 200+ HANDMADE cloth diapers that were lovingly sewn by my super-sweet friends from our Bible Fellowship class at church.

April with loads of medicine from another C4C adoptive family!

Jim, taking inventory for the plane's manifest.

This was only part of the load - there were also a bunch of pallets that contained rice, charcoal, food, bleach, etc....
7,300 pounds in all made it to the creche!

Mesi Anpil (thank you so much) to everyone who donated!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Sometimes I Wonder...

Why one million orphans wasn't a big enough number for people to notice before the earthquake. Even before this horrifying catastrophe, it was estimated that around one million children in Haiti were either orphaned or abandoned. It's encouraging to see the support and generosity pouring into Haiti but it breaks my heart that it took the tragic deaths of hundreds of thousands to bring attention to a country that was already poverty-stricken and desperate.

The adoption process in Haiti was averaging around two years, with some people waiting over three years to bring their children home. Many of the orphanages were always short on food. There was no rhyme or reason to the arbitrary laws that would come and go throughout the process. Adoptive families were waiting for the children (with whom they had visited and bonded) for an unnecessary amount of time and there were instances when children, who were legally adopted by Americans, were denied visas by the US to come home to their families. People in the Haitian adoption community have been signing petitions and calling their representatives for years about these issues. Fortunately, it sounds like the children in process have been granted emergency visas so they can come home to their already waiting families and, finally, there is an awareness about Haiti's orphan problem. How I wish this could have happened apart from tragedy.

I've gotten a lot of e-mails asking how to start the process of adopting from Haiti (and I've heard that many other adoptive families have, as well). I'm so happy people are considering adoption but, again, heartbroken that it took a tragedy to open people's eyes to the need. I really don't know what will become of Haitian adoptions and when/how they will resume. The newly orphaned children certainly won't be adoptable for a very long time without documentation of abandonment, relinquishment or parent's death certificates, which is as it should be; placement with their own family members is always preferred to adoption. It seems like many of the government buildings were destroyed, so that definitely complicates things, even for waiting children. When some sort of stability returns, I would hope that the ridiculous laws would be amended, allowing a broader scope of people to adopt. Right now (because of UNICEF) the parameters are narrow and restrictive. We'll just continue to pray and advocate for orphans.

Please continue to give and pray!! Chances for Children still needs supplies. World Vision and Compassion are also some wonderful organizations that were already working diligently in Haiti - you can give a one time gift or a long term sponsorship of a child. Heartline is another wonderful ministry and you can read first-hand accounts of the reality in Haiti right now by clicking the Livesay Web Log link in the adoptive families column. And even when this tragedy is no longer receiving 24 hour coverage, please remember that Haiti is still the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere and that there are 143 million orphans worldwide.

Friday, January 15, 2010

In the Midst of Such Sorrow...

We experienced a bit of joy yesterday as we officially domesticated Asa's adoption. This basically means that, even though he was already legally our son, we now have US records of his adoption and he'll receive (what amounts to) a Florida birth certificate. He was such a good boy and loves the big bear given to him by the judge.

I know lots of my blog friends have adopted (or are in the process of adopting) from other orphanages. I pray that your organizations receive the help they need and that, somehow, adoptions are expedited to get the children out of such a dangerous situation. Word from Asa's creche is not good. The children are uninjured (praise the LORD) but the building did sustain some damage and they are running critically low on supplies and food. A large container with six months worth of food was stuck in customs before the earthquake and has now, most likely, been looted. For anyone who happens to read this and is not affiliated with another organization, Chances for Children is definitely in need of funds and any donation you can make is greatly appreciated. There is a button to donate right on their website and you can even decide how your contribution will be utilized. Thank you so much! Please continue to pray without ceasing!