Monday, April 8, 2013

Sixth Month Itch

So.  We're inching up to our half a year in Haiti mark.  We were told by many who came before us, that the sixth month mark tends to be hard.  The honeymoon is over, reality of a new life begins.

So here I sit at my computer, gazing out the window, through the bars and over the razor-wire topped wall, at the beautiful blue sky.  The way in which I'm struggling right now is with a heaviness.  The weight of hurt and loss are too much sometimes.  All that I thought I knew before moving here has been tossed aside.  Here's the fact:  I am in need equally to those whom I have come to love.  I am in need of more God, less Michaela.  I am selfish and broken in lots of ugly ways.  

I am learning a lot.  A lot.  I can't even find the words to process all that runs through my head on a daily basis.  I have tried typing out something for this blog about ten times in the last week, but just can't articulate all that swirls within.

I'll try to filter through the mess of my brain and just share one area.  Orphans in Haiti.  Wow, that's a huge topic, and even typing in out makes me all squirmy and uncomfortable.  The fact is, I once thought this topic was fairly cut and dry, and that could not be further from the truth.  I cannot speak about orphans in other cultures, only what I am learning here in Haiti.  I will probably revise what I write below about seventeen times, and agonize over it's content for a good while before finally hitting "publish".  

First, the children at Good Neighbor are loved.  They are clothed and fed.  They are taught that Jesus loves them.  They are taught the Bible.  They go to school.  They play and laugh.  But.  BUT.  God did not design the world for there to be orphans.  Orphans are the result of sin in the world.  Loss, death, and abandonment.  When parents die, oftentimes family members who are already struggling to care for their own children cannot take on the added responsibility.  Other times, a parent chooses to give their child to an institution knowing they will be fed and schooled, something they feel that they cannot provide them.  No two children have exactly the same story.  All parents who have given a child up have different reasons, and different circumstances.  Most want the very best for their child, even if that means being separated from them.  It is a culturally accepted practice in Haiti.  I don't have exact numbers, but I would venture to guess that most "orphans" in Haiti have at least one living parent.  This is what makes me uncomfortable... orphans who are not true orphans.  This is what I struggle with.  Is it better to give your child up to have opportunities, maybe even be adopted into an American family, than to keep your child and fight each day to feed them, and maybe maybe maybe, send them to school?  Some people would adamantly say yes, it is better.  Some people would strongly disagree and believe a child should not lose their birth family.  I don't know what is best.  I struggle to understand this every single day here.  I feel it deeply.  It hurts me to think of this decision.  I get angry that poverty is the reason for so many broken families.

A child is not necessarily better off with material wealth over the loss or rejection from a birth family.  But, a family to love and be loved by, to receive personalized attention, opportunities for education and choices for a future is better than institutionalized living.  It's so hard to wrap my brain around how I fit into this equation.  As a mom, what would I do if faced with no resources, little hope for opportunity to better my situation, and children who did not have enough to eat?

I hesitate sharing my struggle with this because I am not an expert.  I do not have solutions.  I know God can redeem loss and abandonment with adoption.  I know there is a place for adoption.  How does God want to use us in this situation, here in Haiti, today?

The "Orphan Crisis" in Haiti is real to me.  There are 30 Haitian children who I love, who live in an orphanage.  They are not just pictures to stir someone's emotions.  These are real children, real souls, real hopes and dreams.  They cry real tears, they feel real pain, they have real stories.  They are not nameless.  They are loved by God.  They have a purpose designed by God.  They were not born by accident.

So this is what I struggle to understand every day.  This is one huge area that I hope God will shape a better understanding for me.  I pray for wisdom in this struggle.

It is my desire to be used by God


Tifanni said...

Love this!!!

Rachel said...

I don't get it either. I struggle with that. and then wondering where exactly God wants us and how to reach those needs. And gosh how unfair it all seems. Thank you for being open about it. And thank you for physically loving on those kids who need that belonging especially.

So thankful that Heaven will not be broken like this.

Anonymous said...

I think the line that strikes me most is that these children were not born by accident. SO TRUE! I cannot fathom the choices that their parents and extended family have faced that brought these children to GNO. Praying for all involved - the world over - in the orphan crisis.

Covington said...

I love your openness. I think those following you need to know that you're being honest about what life and service are really life. It also makes us more sensitive to the plight of so many people we can touch only through you, God, and your willingness to be so involved.

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