Saturday, May 21, 2011

Mothers on Mother's Day

     I have just spent the last 48 hours straight with my 11 year old son, a perfect Mother's Day weekend of road trips, soccer, old friends, new friends, and sun.  It's true that I am not really in my element as the soccer mom, but it's not about me and I love the kid so much how could I refuse?
I did find some time to daydream and I kept returning to the same theme-- one thing that ties us together on this big planet is that most of us love our children. Truly. Many parents don't know how to express this love, many parents are very focused on their own lives and put their own needs first, some parents struggle with addiction or mental illness, some parents feel like their children would be better off without them and some of them are right. 
     In Haiti there are many orphanages that have children in them that are not actual orphans, they are just kids whose parents are not able to care for them anymore.  Birth control is not an easy thing to aquire when you don't even have money for bread or water. Many of the women that come to see us as patients are suffering from the heartbreak of having to give up 4, 5, even 6 of their children then not knowing if they are ok. These women LOVE their kids- they really do. It tears them up, it ruins them, their hearts are broken.  They are victims of their situation. We are not here to judge them, just to try to help them if we can.
     Another fact in Haiti is that some parents give up- SELL- their children into slavery as restaveks. This is perfectly legal.  The thought of selling your child into slavery makes me sick! Essentially that makes the parent a slaveholder.  I have been trying to grasp this since I first found out that is happens all the time and is completely legal and accepted. Again, there is not any way that we can grasp the desperation and hopelessness that is the reality for so many Haitian families.
     Many times we have had restaveks as patients because we are running "free" clinics and no one would ever pay for these kids to have any medical care. They are expected to work, they may or may not have food (usually only if there is something left after everyone else eats so they never get meat or eggs), they may be as young as 7 or 8, they are mostly female, and the going price for a child is around US $20.  People sell their kids for the same reason they bring them to orphanages- because they are desperate and hope against all odds that their kids will have a better life this way. They can use the money to buy food for their remaining kids. It is horrible, and my heart goes out to these mothers that are forced through poverty and circumstance to sell their wonderful kids.


  1. Great blog post! Love to read about what is going on in Haiti! Thanks for sharing! Great pictures!