Normally, I just add articles by a link, but this is so good that I'm hoping everyone will take a few minutes to read it. I feel so helpless to help the people of Haiti. I've given some money; I'll take clothes and food to the local place that is trucking them to Haiti, but it just seems so small in the face of such a huge crises.
Here's an article that is written by Randy Bohlender. I don't know anything about him other than the little clip that accompanied this article. He raises some huge concerns that I didn't think of before reading it. Let me know what you think.
January 20,2010 by Randy Bohlender
I got a call from Senator Claire McCaskill’s office today. Allow me to say that while I probably don’t agree on a lot of issues with the Senator, her staff has been incredibly helpful and responsive. Double thumbs up to the Senator and her team on this.
They were getting ready to get on a conference call with the Department of Homeland Security to discuss a recent memo from Secretary Janet Napolitano and wanted some clarification of what I was hoping to do in bringing in orphans, along with any questions I might have should they get a chance to ask them.
Uh, yes. Thank you. “Ask them what the plan is for orphans who were clearly orphaned before the earthquake but who were not yet assigned to US families…”.
Those are my mission right now. The kids who have US moms and dads batting for them will find their way out over the next few days….but many kids whose orphanages have been decimated will not get humanitarian parole.
Believe it or not, after the conference call, Senator McCaskill’s office called me back to let me know how it went. I told you they were helpful.
As it turns out, according to strict interpretation of the memo, there is the chance of humanitarian parole for those already in process with a family, but not for those who were not in process (which is to say ‘most of them’).
Early on, the government suggested this applied to 250 orphans with assigned parents, although they’ve already identified 600 sets of parents so estimates are being revised to reflect reality. No estimates so far on how many were without assigned parents and therefore not eligible for parole, but you can multiply the other number by….a lot.
“So what’s the plan for the children left behind?” I asked. I’m particularly concerned about these kids because the conditions they’re living in are atrocious.
One orphanage worker, Troy Livesay with Heartline Ministries, twittered today: “Our clinic turned into a hospital, and our sewing room into a surgical ward,and an arm was amputated with a reciprocating saw.”
What about those orphans left behind in that atmosphere? It turns out the US is a little skittish about just coming in and taking charge (not sure when we developed this neurosis) and so we are hoping that Unicef or some other international organization will come in and set up a ‘Safe Haven’ for those children.
At this point, I’m sitting in my office balancing Piper in my lap, trying to keep her from mashing down on my keyboard. ”A safe haven? What’s that?”
“It’s a camp.” The senate staffer tells me.
I grow a little sick. I went to camp as a little kid and didn’t really like it. I wondered what this camp was going to be like. “A big camp for all the orphans? Where will that be?”
That’s it. At this point, that’s our federal response to the Haitian orphan crisis. A big camp in a country that was poor and chaotic before the living snot got shaken out of it a week ago, after which it really went to pot. Enjoy camp, kids.
But wait! Aren’t children getting out? I see it on CNN!
Yes, I know you’re reading about groups getting out, but those are groups who already have parents waiting for them. We are getting our own out and putting the rest in camps. That’s not humanitarian. That’s taking care of ourselves. And for those left behind, can we just go ahead and paint a big target on Haiti and declare “Sex Traffickers Apply Here”?
Nicollette Grams had a horrifying piece in today’s The Atlantic, where she wrote:
“In Haiti’s unstable post-quake atmosphere, at least one industry is poised to flourish. For those who buy and sell children for sex and cheap labor, Haiti is ripe with opportunity.” THE ATLANTIC :: 1.19.09
Here’s the scoop.
I am not proposing we fly in with a C130 and scoop up every child in Haiti. I am saying that in cases like one specific orphanage that I’m in discussion with – where the fifty children escaped with their lives when their orphanage ‘fell down’ (their words), and only fourteen of those kids are eligible for humanitarian parole under current regulations, that I want those other thirty six children here in Kansas City where we will care for them in a safe, secure location until such time as the US Government figures out what the heck to do with them or the Haitian people rebuild their world.
I’m not asking for wholesale adoption. I’m not asking to place them in an over burdened state foster care system. I’m asking for the church to step up and make a way for these kids that satisfies state requirements, honors Haitian sovereignty and keeps a door open for their return to Haiti in due time.
I know, I know, it’s never been done before. Probably not true, but it’s never been done by us before – so that’s suddenly the measuring stick of what we do or do not do?
The secular media is ringing the warning bell. If we don’t take them in, the traffickers will. Are you okay with that?