*Photo credit- Hawa Images
This kid is pretty special, I think you readers will agree. He is full of life and mischief...cute as can be in every way possible. I feel so blessed that he calls me mom. I cannot imagine my life without him. Please know I feel profoundly privileged to raise him...profoundly privileged. But it is not lost on me, that he was not meant to be mine. In an ideal world, this little boy would be calling a woman in Haiti "mama." He would never have left her arms, never have been abandoned. His heart would never have been wounded, he would never have to grow up wondering who else would abandon him. I love this kid in the very depth of my being...and because I love him, I would give anything to have been able to intervene when he was a newborn and support his birth mom so he would never have experienced the hurt and trauma of abandonment. I would give anything.
I feel privileged to have adopted. It is a journey that has changed me in ways I could never have imagined. I am so grateful. I feel passionate about orphan care and adoption. I am even more passionate about doing all we can to make them unnecessary. Marc and I knew we wanted to forever be involved in Haiti and we knew we wanted to be involved in keeping Haitian children with their birth families, so their are fewer children with wounds and stories like Christians'. During our adoption, we became acquainted with Heartline ministries and we knew it was were we wanted our support to go.
Heartline Ministries does lots of really cool things to keep families together. They originally were an orphanage and as they took in children they realized their focus needed to changed from taking care of kids to taking care of families and keeping kiddos and parents together. Today, their ministries are multifaceted and focus on keeping Haitian families IN TACT through education,job training, and maternal care.
"In Haiti, a woman's lifetime risk of maternal death is 1 in 83. In developed countries the rate is 1 in 3,800."
Did you read that....1in 83 women die while pregnant or giving birth. 65% of Haitian women have ZERO access to prenatal care. Haiti's infant mortality rate (deaths under age 1) is 50/1000 babies. The USA's is 6/100 babies who die in the first year.
Did you know that there are over 400 orphanages in Port Au Prince alone. In many of those orphanages the children don't even get a meal a day...but they get more than their parents are able to supply. Parents are relinquishing children simply because they cannot feed them. What was shocking for me to learn is breast feeding is extremely uncommon in Haiti. There is great lack of knowledge about the benefits of breastfeeding and it's benefits...there are many reasons for this, but the one that makes me more furious is formula companies that came in decades ago under the guise of providing aide. Formula was positioned as better for infants and a sign of status. It is expensive and ended up not only providing false information but crippling a culture that simply cannot afford it.
Heartline not only does prenatal care and delivery at their maternity center, they provide breastfeeding education and support and women are keeping their babies! My precious little boy was abandoned at about a month old, I don't know anything about his mother, I don't know if she passed away or was simply unable to care for him, but I can't help but pray that if she has any further pregnancies she finds heartline and the support it offers. I can't help but wonder...if she was taught and able to breastfeed, would she have been able to keep her son?
These are a whole bunch of heartline babies back for a maternal class (all less than 6 months) ALL still with their birth mama. (Photo taken from Tara Livesay's facebook page;)
I am so passionate about what Heartline does...it almost seems to simple, doesn't it? Certainly it is much simpler than adoption!
Earlier this year, we learned about a new midwife at Heartline. Beth Johnson went to Heartline last fall for a short two month stint to cover for a full time midwife who needed to take some time off and be back in the states. While there, God worked in her heart and called her to stay...she obeyed and stayed. She has been just trusting God to provide for her support while in Haiti. We were so blessed to join her support time in the small way we can. I have been so blessed to follow her blog and hear her heart and her stories. I have been blessed to correspond a bit with her virtually.
This week she flew home for a couple days to attend her little brothers wedding, she had enough air miles to tack a short jaunt up to Chicago onto her trip. She flew in Sunday morning, was with us for a day and over night and flew back this morning. We have grown to love her over the web and were so privileged to get to see her in person! She exudes Jesus love and her passion for Haiti is palpable. She LOVES what she is doing and she is doing it literally with all her heart.
My kids loved Miss Beth and asked this morning if she can come again next Sunday;)
Here is my plea:
I've never done something like this, but I am asking my readers to pray about and consider supporting Beth and Heartline ministries. I know many people have been touched by our precious little boy. We aren't all called to adopt, but we are all called to care. I pray that we are all supporting orphans in someway, but won't you join me in supporting a woman and program that is all about PREVENTING babies from becoming orphans in the first place?! Yes, I am asking you to pray about giving money; I cannot tell you how much you receive in return, but I know it will be more than you can possibly imagine. The updates of this ministry, the stories of ladies of their babies- these things are worth more than gold.
Beth's Blog has her story and many stories of the work she is involved in. There is a tab right smack dab at the top of her blog that says SUPPORT...and you can easily get involved. CLICK HERE:)
Heartline Ministries has a website with opportunities to support children's education or women as they go through the job training program as well...complete with pictures of each woman who needs a sponsor. click here
There is so much brokeness in our world...and we can use all our energy try to make sense or it all or just roll up our sleeves and DO something about it. PLEASE consider joining us in changing the potential stories of kiddos about to be born in Haiti.