Despite significant changes in our adoption and sponsorship programs over the past year, we look forward to a year full of possibility for continuing our mission of ensuring stable, loving homes for children in Haiti.
At a small orphanage in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, tree limbs spread across one wall, branching in every direction. Falling from each limb like leaves are exactly 53 hearts. All but one of these hearts represents a child who died when the orphanage nursery collapsed in Haiti’s devastating 2010 earthquake. One heart is dedicated to a nurse who died while caring for these children.
At the time of the earthquake, 156 children lived in this orphanage. Today, about 60 children remain in care. Some of them are in temporary care and will later rejoin their families. Others are eligible to be adopted internationally.
Last month, Holt enrolled every one of these children in our sponsorship program. When the earthquake hit, it severely damaged the infrastructure of the orphanage, which has struggled to rebuild over the past five years. With few resources, the orphanage staff has also struggled to provide adequate care for the children. Through their monthly donation, Holt sponsors will help meet the nutritional and medical needs of the children. They will ease the financial burden on the orphanage so the staff can focus on rebuilding the structure and making it safe for the children. And ultimately, with support from Holt, the orphanage hopes to resume an education program for children in the community that abruptly stopped on January 12, 2010.
For Holt, this new partnership highlights a new direction and new momentum for our work in Haiti.
A little over a year ago, Holt was forced to suspend our sponsorship program for most of the children we serve in Haiti. Although we continued to meet the needs of children in care at Holt Fontana Village, rising costs in Haiti hampered our ability to serve children living with their families in the community. At the same time, the Haitian government ratified the Hague Convention — changing the process for international adoption from Haiti, and creating new guidelines for partnerships between agencies and orphanages. Whereas before, agencies worked directly with orphanage partners to find families for children, Haiti’s central adoption authority has now taken on the role of matching children referred for adoption to pre-approved adoptive families on their waiting list. Although agencies can still provide non-adoption related support for orphanages, they no longer work together to find adoptive families for children. Continue reading “An Update on Our Work in Haiti”