First let me tell you about adoptions. The meeting on Tuesday was cancelled because of lack of participation of orphanage directors. We cannot get people to come to these meetings. I just pray that everyone doesn’t regret not stepping forward and doing something a year ago to lobby for adoptions to continue in Haiti. Everyone has allowed UNICEF and other international groups to present adoptions in such a negative way without stepping out and presenting the positive side to adoptions. I have said for several years and pleaded this last year, for the Association to talk to Senators and Deputies about adoption and what adoption means in the lives of these children. A year ago, I felt this desperation that the Association needed to be more aggressive in teaching the public in Haiti about what adoption really means to a child who cannot be cared for by their family.
We have child slavery in Haiti. It is called “restavek” and means that a child, sometimes as young as 3 and 4 years old, is sent to a family who is financially better off than the biological parents. This family raises that child for the parents, but the child is not usually part of the family. they are expected to wait on the family and maybe, if it’s a nice family, they are sent to school to learn to read and write. Many times, these children are not taken care of well. They are mistreated, sometimes raped by family members, not sent to school or given medical attention when needed. It is not a good life.
We have thousands of these children. Haiti only sent around 2000 children in 2009 for international adoptions. Why are UNICEF focusing on adoptions and not restevak children?
I received an email on Wednesday saying that there was a meeting planned for Thursday at the Ministry of Social Services. This meeting was for the “launching of the new adoption law.” It is the “proposed law” and that the Hague Convention will signed before the new law is voted on. I have not heard confirmation that this meeting took place. I am waiting for that confirmation. If Haiti does ratify the Hague Convention, then we will have problems because IBESR is not ready.
But, we have heard so much about the law and so much of it has not come true, so I am telling you what we are hearing. But don’t panic until we have more information! Just keep praying that whatever is done it will BENEFIT children and not end up hurting them.
After a 10 hour bus ride, I am back at GLA. My son, Patrick, got a nice bus when he returned a couple of weeks ago, Had lots of leg room and they even had TV’s and showed movies on the bus! Not me! I got a bus that was older, had no room for my knees, no TV, and it broke down on the road 6 times between Santo Domingo and Port-au-Prince! Needless to say, I am exhausted today!
Katie MacGregor arrived on Wednesday to take my place in Santo Domingo. I was able to show her around to Frantina’s hospital and some of the stores where we buy food. I felt as good as I could leaving one of my babies in a foreign country! I don’t think families realize how difficult it is sending one of our children to a family for medical care. In their eyes, they are a good family and will take care of the children better than we could in Haiti. In my eyes, I am sending them to complete strangers who I know very little about. I am the legal guardian of the children at GLA and legally responsible for them with IBESR even after they are in the States or wherever we send them for medical care.
Katie arrived on Wednesday afternoon but her luggage didn’t make it until Thursday afternoon! Thankfully, it finally came and I got to see the new neck brace that the neurosurgeon wanted her to have right away. He was rather fearful that something would happen to her spine without some support where the vertebrae are missing. So, Katie was able to find the brace in Australia, buy it, and have it shipped to her before she flew to the Dominican Republic. This brace comes down over her chest and also down her back. It comes up on both sides of her head and supports her neck and back really well. She must wear this 24/7 even when she baths and swims! It can only be removed to change her clothing.
We thought that Frantina would throw a fit when she had to wear the brace, but she really did not cry very much at all! It had to feel secure and I think she had pain trying to hold her head up when her neck is missing 2 bones! She seemed in less pain and really did not mind it too much at all!
next week is Mardi Gras/Carnival here in Haiti. There will be lots of partying going on and offices will be closed 1/2 day Monday and all day Tuesday. Magaly is going to Santo Domingo for a few days to spend some time with Vivianne. It will be nice for Vivianne to see someone from home. Ernst will also be going to do the driving and Dave Williams will come back to GLA. I have to do a schedule just to keep it all straight and organized!
Have a good weekend! (I was too tired to reread this…so any bad grammar or mistakes…sorry!)
Posted on Sat, February 18, 2012