I sit here tonight and listen to the sounds of a quiet Haiti night. For once all is quite, no roosters or dogs barking but as I sit here I hear the sound of a child crying and I think to myself "I wonder what this country holds for it's children?"
I have seen many children since coming to Haiti..they seem to make up the whole population of my surroundings at times. And I have come to love some in a way never felt before.
But what does this country hold for its young? On a trip out of the city, in the back of a pick-up truck (not facing forward so as to not be aware of our possible impending demise) my new found friend Brian and I discussed the topic of adoptions and how the removal of the children of Haiti will never see this country advance and move out of its current state. But my question to him at the time and the one that lingers as my time here shows me more of the despair and poverty of this island was/is "if you had a chance to escape this, wouldn't you?" My answer was/is a resounding yes...but then does that leave as one man put it "a nation of idiots?" unable to figure out a way out of the mess that was present long before the ground shook on Jan 12 2010?
The question of whether or not to remove a child from its place of birth to provide for it a so called better life is one that I seriously pondered after meeting Rose.
Rose is the sweet little 3 month old in the above picture. She was brought into our clinic by her grandmother because she had been accidentally stepped on my one of the 8 other people sharing her tent. Roses mother died the day the "earth shook" leaving her and a sibling to be cared for by her grandmother Rosemarie. This little girl bore her way into my heart in that way that I never knew I could experience and I found myself wanting to do the exact thing Brian and I had discussed could possibly be the reason for this countries downfall..I wanted to take her and run. Run back to Canada where she would never have to be worried about people stepping on her in the overcrowded tent,, where she would not get pneumonia because grandma didn't have the money to buy formula so fed her porridge instead, where she could grow up with an education, where she could feel safe to experience falling in love (somewhere around 80% of all first sexual encounters in Haiti for women are not consentual) where she could be assured at least a life with more security and opportunities then the one offered her here.
Rose's grandma loves her, of that I am sure. She has continued to come to the parenting classes each week even tho she barely has the money to take the tap tap from her house. She holds her with love and cares for her tenderly. Yet grandma looks tired and burdened and it makes my heart ache. For those of you who don't know me very well I lost my mother at 7 weeks of age and I was raised by my grandparents for a few years.. I know what it feels to have the love of a grandparent as if you were their own and for that lifetime of unconditional love I will be eternally grateful! And although the paralleling of our lives was not my motivating factor, its interesting to me the way life presents itself to us (but that's the topic of a whole other blog entry!). I am just grateful that I was able to share with Grandma my story in hopes that she will see although this may be proving to be difficult now it has only the potential to benefit Rose in the end.
And I know that that depth of love will only benefit Rose but what about life in Haiti what benefits will it provide Rose? Will she have a chance at an education? Will she be safe from harm? Will she grow up strong, healthy and independent? Or will Haiti get the best of her before she even gets out of the gates?
A conversation with Beth lead me to understand the adoption system in Haiti (if you can call it that) and that was broken before the earthquake and has been nonexistent since..so I have decided to help Rose and grandma in the only way I can currently and that is thru an informal sponsorship. For the small cost of 10 lattes I will be able to provide Rose and her grandma with a "very good" income. One that I hope will see Rose reap the benefits for the rest of her life..10 lattes..
I am not sure what Haiti has in store for its children but I can speak from experience that for Rose, a grandmothers love coupled with the love of a stranger she might have a fighting chance..at least one can hope. My answer to the question I think will always be yes after meeting Rose but who knows maybe with my support Rose will become the next president of Haiti and save this country from being a "nation of idiots" ..only time will tell...