I am so saddened by the pictures and stories coming from Haiti.
So close to us, our neighbors really.
The poorest country in the Western hemisphere.
Why? Seriously, WHY has this happened to them?
It brings me flashes of Thailand and the tsunami. When I worked there, almost two years after the fact, still people were scared. Still there were homes covered in vines, rotting homes and boats, traumatized children and elderly people who would never look at the water in the same way again.
For all of these years studying and working in development I've been able to distance myself. My mind goes immediately to emergency shelter configurations, sanitation issues, how to track separated children and begin reunification. Practical. Because the world needs practical and emergencies require cool thinking and planning ahead.
But there is nothing I can do in development terms in Haiti right now.
So I watch CNN and read blogs and begin to realize that I KNOW a lot of the people on the ground responding. I also KNOW adoptive families here waiting and watching and praying.
Ugh. Haiti hits too close to home for too many reasons.
First of course it makes me panic with a mother's heart that something could happen in Ethiopia. Anytime. You never have a child until she/he is in your arms on the way home. So I feel for the families who want their children brought to the U.S. NOW. I so feel for them. In a way that I never would have imagined had I not been adopting too. I think that if a disaster came between me and my child in Ethiopia I would walk across glass, climb mountains, and illegally cross borders to get to her. I'm scared by the depth of anxiety and protectiveness this has brought out in me. For a child I don't know with my eyes but know already with my heart.
Second I worry about the proliferation of the use of the word orphan to describe children who have been separated (not always orphaned) from their biological family and what that tends to mean. Orphanages. The never ending push and pull between orphanages and disaster. Unfortunately in crisis and natural disaster families get separated. Kids end up in institutions. Resources and interest dwindles as the disaster gets less attention. Permanency plans are never made. Families don't always get reunited. We've seen it happen time and time again in Africa and I'm sure we'll see it happen in Haiti too. Because the call to care for the orphan is strong. And Biblical. And completely understandable. But our ability to see it through back to permanency and family for every child is feable, under resourced, not talked about enough.
So Haiti is ripping me apart personally and professionally. I just can't stop watching.
- Me. Us. She.
- J and I have been married for almost 15 years. We have shared many adventures and a lot of watershed moments. In 2009 I began blogging and in 2010 we adopted our daughter from Ethiopia. In March of 2012 we began the process to adopt a little boy from Haiti. This blog follows the many twists and turns on the road to our two children and beyond.
- ▼ 2010 (106)