Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Home Visits

Since I've been at COTP, and I'm sure much longer, we have always talked about needing a social worker to work with our families.  I've felt the weight of this on my shoulders lately, and although I wasn't sure my Creole was good enough, I finally decided I needed to slowly start taking on this responsibility.  We have had 3 of our children who have been reunited pass away recently.  We HATE getting this news.  We also have had many children reunited and then returned here and their families decide that they do in fact want adoption.  In my oppinion, we have WAY to many kids up for adoption.

This is a touchy subject for some.  I believe families are best and every child should be in a biological family if possible.  I feel that I should de everything possible to ensure this to happen.  But when we can't, then yes, adoption is the SECOND best option.  Nick and I are not what's best for Eventz, we are the second best option.  I believe that completely.

Recently I have had the burden of questioning whether or not we are actually placing our kids for adoption as a last result.  I have started to feel that we don't do nearly enough for our children to ensure that they are succesfully reunited with their bio families.  I finally knew it was time for me to step outside of my comfort zone.  I decided I needed to start doing home visits.

I questioned this for a long time.  Did I want to do home visits for my own selfish reasons?  I love getting out, I love seeing new parts of Haiti, I love entering Haitian homes, and I always want to see where our kids live.  I couldn't give you a reason why I felt that I needed to start doing this that wasn't selfish.  I didn't know why it woould be beneficial for our kids or how it would successfully help them stay in their homes.  I thought I would do these visits and leaved depressed, seeing all of the things they don't have and the way our babies, who I love, live.  But I do know I felt I was supposed to start doing this.

My first home visit was to Asmessi's home.  He came to COTP as a new born weighing 3# 3 oz.  His Mom was sick at the time and couldn't care for him.  He stayed here for a few months and gained weight, his father visited often.  He went home and was admitted to the formula program to ensure he had a smooth transition.  He was doing amazing and graduated the prg.  Then this summer he came back a few times and kept looking worse.  His Mom asked if we could take him again.  I really didn't want this because I knew he had an amazing Dad.  I asked if I could go to their home and talk to them more about it there.

I was shocked at what I saw.  They had a play pen for him to sleep in, no other Haitian baby I know has a bed, most sleep on the floor.  They had a whole shelf full of baby products, from lotion, to formula, to vitamin drops.  I saw their whole family and saw that they were all healthy and well taken care of.  From my visit I confirmed that he was getting amazing care and helped me realize that the reason for him loosing weight must be more than lack of food or or anything the family was doing wrong.  He must have something else going on. Because of this knowledge, we were able to help our little Asmessi with out having to separate him from his family yet again.  We were able to provide him with the nutrients he needs, talk to his parents about his health, and empower them to take care of their precious son that they love dearly!

I also did a home visit for our sweet little twins Edly and Ederly.  From this I learned that their Mother has an amazing support system.  She may not have any of her own family to help her with her boys, but she has a whole neighborhood of friends who loves the Ed's dearly and will do all they can to ensure they not only survive but flourish in her care.

I accompanied Fritzlin and his Aunt home which is over an hour away by Moto.  I saw that they live in one of the prettiest areas of Haiti.  I saw that he lives in an amazing home, and learned that his Aunt is an Amazing, strong women.  She not only is the leader in her house but her community.  She is very aware of the needs of infants and is doing an amazing job providing for her nephew.  I have great respect for this women and her willingness to take on the task of raising a child that's not hers.

Of course with all of these positives, there are some hard times as well.  I visited Love Mica's home and left with mixed feelings.  Love Mica came to us after her Mom died of Cholera.  She has since returned to live with her Grandma.  She came back to COTP at one point 4 lbs lighter than she was when she left.  We admitted her to the Formula Prg. to help her gain this weight back.

While at her home, I learned that her extended family is facing many hard circumstances, from other children who have special needs, to a family member having his leg amputated, and more.  Regardless though, her Grandma stands as a strong pillar, fighting to do all she can to take care of her family even though she has no job or source of income.  Times may be tough, but I am confident that Love Mica is right where God wants her to be.  That they will overcome these difficult times and Love Mica will grow up and be as strong as her Grandma and will make a significant change in her community!

I have left all of these homes not feeling depressed and overburdened by the "needs" I have seen.  Instead, I have left feeling encouraged, satisfied, and grateful for the time I have been blessed to spend with these kids.  It's often easy to assume that adoption is the best answer, but it's often not the case.  While on these visits I have seen hope, love, family, and community.  There is so much potential for each of these kids.

You still may be wondering, what have I accomplished by going on these visits.  It sounds like I had a fun time and got a lot out of it, but what have I left behind, or accomplished from this?  This great unknown when I started is quite clear to me now.

Yes when I go on these visits I'm not going to be able to fix or change "problems" that I see.  But what I can offer is a simple reminder that we love their child and will do anything for them.  A reminder to come back and see us or call us if the child is sick.  I may be able to offer little bits of advice; remember if they have diarrhea don't give them formula, just serum.  I'm able to show a little bit of Gods love to them, simply by being there.

Over the course of the next year I plan on taking on more and more of this social worker role.  My goal is to hire a Haitian to do it with me so that she can help me understand the culture and the language.  If/when I eventually leave, she'll be able to fully take over this job on her own.  Together we will work to ensure we are doing all we can to reunite kids with their families and using adoption as a true last result rather than an easy solution.  I plan on changing a few of COTP's small policies which I believe will increase the number of our kids being reunited.  I hope to build strong relationships with all of our bio families and helping to empower them to be able to provide for their kids.  I can see in their eyes how difficult the choice of adoption is for them.  It pains me, I couldn't imagine having to make that choice.  They are strong people, and I want to ensure that I am doing every thing I personally can to keep our babies in their families!  Please pray that this new role of mine will be clear and that I will always be doing God's desire, and not mine!

I'm excited and looking forward to my new role!  I am so blessed to be here and be able to work with these amazing people and children!  I couldn't ask for more!


  1. I am impressed at your willingness to ask tough questions and follow through by finding out the answers!

  2. Agreed! You are so open about your own feelings and about questioning your actions, and who they benefit. That shows how much you have the children's best interest at heart!