Recent developments in an orphanage outside of Port-au-Prince have gotten very personal. In 2010, shortly after the devastating earthquake which killed hundreds of thousands of Haitians, Marko and I lead teams of youth workers and pastors to Port-au-Prince to help activate the Christian community to respond.
One of the early connections was the Son of God orphanage in Carrefour. (A sister city to Port-au-Prince, the actual epicenter to the quake) The man who ran the orphanage had a compelling story. He was a physician who left his practice to take in street kids. But money had run out and the earthquake left many additional children orphaned. With no income from his practice left, the children were in dire need.
Many groups went to this orphanage. Followed by tons of money given to help care for and repair earthquake damage. When I was at the orphanage in July 2010, leading a team of youth workers from around the country, red lights were going off all over. I knew of two major efforts to improve conditions at the orphanage, I knew deliveries had been made, I’d seen the pictures/video and talked to people who had made them. And yet the food, clothing, and goods weren’t there. It’s one thing for the story to have changed so significantly… I blamed that on a fluid situation and different translators… but things weren’t adding up. Where was the stuff that had been delivered? Why weren’t things better for the children?
That said, and an important note, all of the 75 or so children we encountered were healthy and well fed when I was with them in July 2010.
More friends visited the orphanage again in December 2010 (including two who had been there in July with me) and came back with a much different report. There were a lot fewer kids there and many of them were sick. We all scratched our heads about that. I remember having conversations with friends, “Maybe relatives pick the kids up for the holidays?” Their adoption customs are different than ours. An orphan doesn’t always have no parents or family, there are times when you leave your child at an orphanage for a time because you can’t afford to care for them.
I don’t know the details of what happened from December 2010 until now. But I do know that a consortium of non-profits and churches did an investigation which documented neglect, starvation, disease, physical & sexual abuse, and illegal trafficking of children. In July 2011 the man who ran the orphanage was arrested and is currently in prison for selling a child as part of a sting operation. (But, even after that, the kids weren’t removed from the orphanage. His wife continues to run it to this day!)
But I know I can use my voice to take action today.
Please read this update from Adventures in Mission head Seth Barnes. And take action. Whatever you can do. Help us act now to shut down the Sons of God orphanage and get these kids to safety.