January 16, 2010

Heartbreak

I have waited so long to write about Haiti because I simply can not wrap my mind around the devastation. We have been supporting Heartline Ministries in Haiti for a little while now because I think the work that they have been doing is amazing. I have even tossed around the idea in my head that if we ever adopted again, it might be from Haiti. We've become blog friends with tons of adoptive families from Haiti. So when I heard about the magnitude of the earthquake in Haiti, my heart just broke.

I have sheltered myself from the news for the last week. I have been keeping up with what is going on purely by the internet, because I knew that I couldn't handle seeing the images of the devastation. I know what deep, dark destitute, poverty looks like. I know what hurting people look like. I know what sick and starving babies look like. I know the statistics about orphans. So I thought that if I could just read about it, I could shield myself. Yesterday, however, I thought that I was prepared to finally turn the TV back on. I turned on Good Morning America. I thought that the kids were occupied and that I might just have a minute alone to see the coverage and grieve. About that time Sadie walked in and saw the TV. The images were of rows and rows of little brown babies, lying on the ground, covered in cuts. They were all crying. Sadie came in and sat beside me and snuggled her head into me. She said, "Mom, is that where our baby Miles is? Is he hurt?" I think the images reminded her of pictures she has seen of the orphanages in Kinshasa. I told her that our baby Miles was safe, but there were lots of babies who were hurt and sick in Haiti who were not safe.

Every one of those little babies is somebody's baby. All of the suffering people in Haiti are someone's mother, brother, father, sister. And they were suffering long before the earthquake changed the face of Haiti forever. If anything positive can come of this state of chaos, it is that now the world knows. The world knows that the people of Haiti need help.

Hearing the derogatory comments of some people in the media about Haiti, reminds me of just how ignorant and biggoted people can be. We have heard the same things in regard to Africa. We have heard the comments that if we just left "Africans to themselves" they would eventually just "go away." The same has been said of Haitians. But I think that as Americans, we just don't understand. When I say that we have nothing to eat in our house, I really mean that there is nothing that I want to eat, yet my cupboards are still full. When I get mad about a costly car repair, I forget that just having a car makes me in the elite 5% of people in the world. When I get inconvenienced during a storm because the electricity is knocked out for a couple of hours, I forget that there are millions and millions who have no power on a daily basis. We look on the news and see looting and crime in impoverished nations and we think about how uncivilized their societies are. But I can guarantee that if my children were hungry, I would resort to anything I could to make sure they had food. We don't stop to put ourselves in their shoes, because their world is one that we can't even fathom. When all we've ever understood is privilege, we can't picture anything different. We live such blessed lives that we take for granted every single day.

Having a child that lives in the second poorest country in the world (only behind Zimbabwe) has opened my eyes to so much. Once your eyes have been opened, you can't pretend that you don't know. You can't pretend that there aren't desperate people everywhere. You can't hide from the overwhelming need.

By now, most of you have probably already donated to aid in the earthquake relief. But there are still things that you can do. So many families are in the middle of processing adoptions in Haiti. You can write your senators and ask that these adoptions be expedited and that these precious children be granted emergency entrance into the US. Every baby that can make it to their forever home, will free up resources for the babies in Haiti who have to stay. Here is the link to find and email your senator.
http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm

Tons of blogs are donating money for every comment that gets left on their blogs. My friend Corey, who has adopted 5 children from Haiti, has compiled a list of these on her blog. http://watchingthewaters.wordpress.com/ Take a minute to click around and comment on these blogs so that more money can pour into Haiti.

And lastly, and most importantly, pray. Pray for the hurting people. Pray for the Haitian Americans who can not find their friends and families in their home country. Pray for the families who are digging their loved ones out of the rubble. Pray that our eyes would be opened to suffering in the world. Pray that Haiti will be resilient to such tragedy. Pray that in the coming weeks, as Haiti fades out of the news media, that WE will still remember to pray for and support the nation of Haiti.

So many times we focus of how different things are in places like Haiti and the Congo. But deep down, though our lives are very different- we are all just people.

Their lives may be different from yours,
And their words may be very different from yours.
But inside their hearts are just like yours.
Whoever they are,
Wherever they are,
All over the world.

Their smile is like yours,
And they laugh just like you.
Their hurts are like yours,
And they cry like you, too.
Whoever they are,
Wherever they are,
All over the world.

Joys are the same,
And love is the same.
Pain is the same,
And blood is the same.
Smiles are the same,
And hearts are the same-
Whoever they are,
Wherever you are,
Wherever we are,
All over the world.

-From Whoever You Are, by Mem Fox


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