I haven't posted anything on this blog yet regarding the earthquake in Haiti, because honestly the tragedy has almost felt too overwhelming for me to put into words. Where do you even start? Well, definitely with PRAYER. Continued prayer for Haiti will be especially important as the media coverage begins to dwindle and we are no longer confronted with horrifying images on our televisions every day. My heart is burdened in particular for children who were orphaned prior to the earthquake, and children now who have not yet been able to find their family members. Will you join me in continuing to lift up these children, and all of the Haitian people, in prayer throughout the coming days, weeks, months, and year?
Our adoption agency, Holt International, has received an enormous amount of phone calls since the earthquake, from people who are interested in adopting orphans from Haiti. I think it's often a misunderstanding how complex international adoption truly is. I think sometime people believe that you can just go over to a developing country, survey the children, and say "I'll take that one." No joke, during our adoption process, someone actually asked me if we would travel over to Ethiopia and just pick out a child to bring home. Um.... no.
On one hand, it is WONDERFUL that people are opening their hearts to the idea of adoption. On another hand, I think that tragedy sometimes spurs very emotional responses in people... and that is definitely a reason to not rush into anything. After all, international adoption is not an act of charity... it's an act of LIFElong parenting. Quite a difference!
There are many children, as you know, who were already in the process of being adopted prior to the earthquake, and it's wonderful that many of those have been granted expedited entry into the U.S. to unite with their adoptive families. I know of some families who are still waiting or trying to find their adoptive children in Haiti, and we continue to pray for those families.
For the children who "appear" to be orphaned since the earthquake, it is of utmost importance that due diligence is done to ensure that every effort is made first and foremost to unite those children with living family members. This crisis has the potential to create a highway for child trafficking... and agencies must be vigilant in the actions they take to work on behalf of orphans during this unstable time. Holt International is one of many agencies who work on behalf of children and families in Haiti, and they issued the following statement on their website after the large influx of calls they have received about adopting from Haiti:
"Because of the uncertainty of the Haitian government’s ability to function at this time, which includes processing adoptions, Holt’s Haiti program is currently closed to new adoption applications. We will continue to assess the situation, but we anticipate that it will take months to determine whether children orphaned by the earthquake have surviving family members who may be able to care for them."
I would encourage anyone who is able, to donate money or time on behalf of the children of Haiti. If adoption is truly on the forefront of your heart, and you are ready to pursue it, I would urge you to contact an adoption agency and being the process of your home study. That process is designed to allow you a chance to reflect on yourself as an adoptive parent, while at the same time educating you to understand the world (risks) of international adoption, and the realities of what to expect once your child is home. There are so many children all around the world RIGHT NOW in need of loving, forever families. Maybe the crisis in Haiti IS part of your adoption story... maybe it provided confirmation in your heart that this is the direction you need to head... but maybe your son or daughter resides elsewhere in the world? Although Haiti is on the forefront of our minds, there are children in dire situations across the world whose stories are equally as tragic, yet not being broadcast on the evening news. I encourage you to take the first steps on this journey, trust God, and see where He may lead you...
And no matter what, let us continue to pray fervently, and give generously, to those in Haiti whose suffering many of us can't come close to even fathoming.
"The LORD is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. " Psalm 9:9