two hours from miami . . .

The island of Haiti is such a devastating place. We feel connected to it, especially since we are trying to bring a child home. It is always on our hearts and minds, and there are some days where I am just overwhelmed by the difficulty these people face on a daily basis. Truly, I don't think any of us can fathom what hardships are faced by those living in Haiti.

This was one of those weeks where several stories broke my heart. Licia, a nurse who lives in a rural village in Haiti, tells the story of a little boy brought to her gate. They run a mission that takes in children close to starvation, nurses them back to health, and then returns them to their family. This little boy had been saved from malnourishment and returned to his mom in February, but the mom brought him back this week:

Here is a child that was abandoned in front of the gate. But….. This child was [previously] returned to his mother. The day that I gave him back to her she told the staff that she did not want to take him home. She said that her new guy said he would not take care of another person’s kid. He said if you die I will bury him with you in the casket. Lovely boyfriend huh? There was also a neighbor of hers that happened to be at the clinic that day. She said she would show us the mothers house. We sent someone from RHFH to go to the mothers house to see what she had to say. She was hiding and would not come out. The judge requested that she come to Cazal on Wednesday to see him. She said she would come if I would give her taxi money. She did not come but she sent word that if she comes and we make her take her child she will leave him along the road on the way back home. This child is abandoned, but has a mother that I know, so it cannot be considered and abandoned child [or adoptive into a family]. Interesting. What to do now? He is here and alive and that is enough right now.

We ran out of IV fluids today. I had two bags left this AM. I had to pick whichkid needed it the most out of three that were severely dehydrated. Dad is in town trying to find some for us as I write this. We have a least 5 kids on IV’s right now. The last few days there has been a bad case of diar vomiting traveling through the RC. It is bad for any child, but when that child is already weak, sick and malnourished it becomes a life and death situation really quick. The kids could use your prayers today. We at RHFH could use your prayers. It is not always easy.

And then I also read this story from another missionary:

It's hard to live here sometimes because the depth of need is SO great. Our family has already been "offered" 11 children. Eleven. ELEVEN CHILDREN.Today probably AT LEAST a dozen people begged me for food or money. At least. It's hard to know what to do. You feel like a jerk if you ignore them, but it takes so much time to engage each one. And the longer you engage them the more you give them hope that you're actually going to give them something. When you cannot give to everyone. You just CANNOT.

Starvation is a reality for people in Haiti. It breaks my heart, as a mom, to think about not being able to even feed my children, or to be so desperate that I would want to leave my child at a gate because I know they could be fed.

I know it is sometimes hard to read stories like this. It's much more fun to check out the buzz on facebook or visit some funny blogs and not think about the awful aspects of this broken world. But truly, I hope you will take a minute to be reminded of the great blessing we live with, and the great need that remains for some people in our world.

There are some amazing people in Haiti doing life-saving work, and I am honored to have gotten to know them through our adoption process. If you are interested in ways to make a difference in Haiti, please check out Tara's blog. She is training for a marathon (in the Haitian heat, I might add), to raise money for the Medika Mamba program. The video below explains more, but Medika Mamba is basically fortified peanut-butter that is helping to save the lives of children in Haiti. It also benefits the Haitian economy because the peanuts are all grown locally. Here are some before-and-after photos of children being treated:

The boy above is named Renald, and Tara tells his story:

He came to the Rescue Center on June 3rd. Renald was unable to gain weight up until June 18 because he had so many worms to get rid of and was quite ill. Most of the food he ate the first two weeks came right back out.Once he improved enough to keep the Mamba down, Renald has been receiving Medika Mamba multiple times a day. June 26 (about 20 days ago) was the offical date that he really started to get a few tablespoons each day. On July 14 he weighed 18 pounds even. (He started at 13 and a half pounds.) He has not yet reached goal weight for his age but his progress is astounding. We think by the end of August he will be to his goal weight and then some.

If this moves you into action, please think about sponsoring Tara as she runs in October.

*By the way, buying a purse is still a GREAT way to support local enterprise in Haiti, and to give some women in Haiti a chance to support themselves and their families. The women now have their own website! Check it out at


  1. Hi Kristen,

    I've been reading for a while, and over at Mama Manifesto. LOVE your sarcasm and coping skills :)

    We're also adopting through John and Beth, but we live in Haiti. It's a long hard road and I love your honesty through it.

    Thanks for highlighting some really great programs/ministries here. I haven't been to the rescue center yet, but have heard wonderful things about the work they're doing. I've visited the women's program at Heartline several times and would love to see more people doing exactly the same thing - it's such a great program. And MM! There's a mission just down the road from us in Montrouis that is running a program and it's been so exciting to see the life change for so many families.

    Thanks for sharing this stuff with others so people can have a wider world view.

  2. Tara Livesay5:20 AM

    Thanks for attempting to point folks to giving to the worthy kids of Haiti ... and specifically to the Mamba (Peanut Butter) project .. one tiny correction - the marathon that I am raising money for is October 4.

    In January I am hoping to run for Heartline Women's Program.

  3. Kristen,
    I loved that post! Very well put together w/ lots of info for people to get involved! Adopting from Haiti is so much more than just the adoption process isnt' it? We have been to Haiti four times now and each time we leave, we find a bigger piece of ourselves was left behind. I am so amazed at the upbeat spirit that most Haitians are able to carry with them, they are truly amazing, resilient people! We will never find it difficult to help our son honor his Haitian roots, and hope when he is ready he will want to spend some time in Haiti and find a way to make a small difference himself. You are so correct when you say that the level of poverty there is too deep for most people to wrap their brains around. It is truly something that has to be witnessed first hand to really grasp a hold of. It is life altering, there is NO WAY our lives will ever be the same after experiencing Haiti, it's impossible for one human being to witness the injustice dealt to our fellow human beings on the Island of Haiti and not be moved to make some kind of contribution, regardless of how small that may be! Our "problems" here are so trivial in comparison that it has become embarrassing for me to really complain anymore! With that said of course we have to continue with our lives, and nobody wants to be a total and complete downer all the time, but Haiti has filled our hearts! There is not a day that goes by that I don't picture the suffering, and that I don't think of ways to make a difference for the land that will give us the most precious gift available!

  4. wow.

    thank you.

    i posted a link to it on my blog.

    the more that know ... the more impact we can have.



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