Why Children Don’t “Get Over It”

A TED talk about the long term effects of trauma on children.    They don’t just “get over it.”    In many cases, they bear the scars of it for the rest of their lives.

This is why we do this – to help children avoid trauma and avoid the life long consequences of these horrible things happening to them or to those they love.


January 12, 2010

It was a day.

A day that started like any other day for so many people.

For millions in Haiti.

For hundreds of thousands around the world.

For my kids.

For my family.

For me.

And at 4:53 pm all of that changed.    Many people saw and felt and smelled the changes instantly.   For those who lost loved ones, for those who lost limbs, the moment was immediate, painful and permanent.

For those who survived, the damage was indescribable.   The toll that it took on the lives of so many in Haiti is hard to imagine let alone relate to others.    The survivors were also victims of the earthquake.

The children – so many children were impacted by the shaking of January 12, 2010.   The children who lived through it and remained in Haiti.    The children who lived through it and ended up being evacuated from Haiti.    My wife and I were privileged to play a small role in the evacuation of over 80 children from God’s Littlest Angels to the United States and elsewhere.   These children went through the shock and trauma of suddenly being uprooted but at the same time were able to experience in many cases a lot more quality time with their adoptive families that they weren’t expecting to have.

The adoptive parents – friends of ours went from expecting that it would be 2 years until their kids came home to getting them home in 2 months.    Talk about a shock.

But they aren’t the only ones effected by this quake.

The world changed for millions of adults in Haiti almost instantly on January 12, 2010.    Most of them didn’t have the luxury of evacuating the disaster.   This was who they were, this was where they were and this was where God had planted them.   So, they struggled, they wept, they mourned and they kept going.

They had no other choice.

But there were many others in Haiti who had a choice.   They were there because they wanted to help.   They could have evacuated, they could have gone to whatever “home” was for them.

But they stayed.   They might have left for a short period of time – for their own healing, for the sake of their families, but they came back.   They carried the torch.    They helped the helpless.    They gave faith and hope to the hopeless.    They endured countless aftershocks and countless wonderings, “will this be worse?”

They stayed at great risk and great personal cost.   They stayed because there was a need and they could meet that need.

Speaking of personal friends of mine, many of them are still paying the price for staying.    In many ways – some seen, some unseen.   

The cost of this earthquake goes well beyond the dollars in damage and the lives lost.    It shook people to their core.

Both inside and outside Haiti.

It shifted what’s important for many people.

It shifted what people think of natural disasters.

It shifted the belief of many that one person can’t make a difference.

It reinforced in the lives of many adopted children “the importance of being Haitian.”

It adjusted career trajectories and paths for many.    I don’t know whether I would be where I am if it weren’t for January 12, 2010.

I know of at least three children who are alive and thriving with their adoptive families who wouldn’t be alive today if it weren’t for the evacuation after the quake.

I don’t know why the earthquake happened.   

Questioning why God allowed such a painful and difficult thing to happen is a topic for a much bigger and different discussion.

But I do know this……

The aftershocks of this natural disaster are still moving through the “earth” of life and God is moving in those vibrations.

God is making good things out of very difficult trials.

God  is providing solace where there was suffering.

God is providing healing – not always on this earth but He is the ultimate healer.

God is moving through the difficulties that are life in Haiti.

He’s moving in the hearts of many and many lives have been changed.

Many people have seen and learned of God since then.

Many people have been the hands and feet of God since then to a troubled people in a troubled nation.

January 12, 2010 – a turning point for many.    A disaster for even more.

May God bless and keep those impacted by January 12, 2010.

May we all see God’s hand and feel God’s grace.

And may we never forget to remember Haiti,


What’s really going on?

What’s this all about?

This caring for the poor “thing?”

Helping the homeless


Orphan Prevention


Social Justice

What’s it really all about?

What’s really going on?



It’s rather simple but very painful.

We’re at war.

The devil is doing everything he can to harm, hurt, kill and destroy God’s people.

And how does he do that? 

  • Corruption
  • Disease
  • Malnutrition
  • Abuse
  • Sex trafficking
  • Comfort and complacency
  • and every other way that he can attempt to damage, hurt or destroy God’s people.

And as usual, he starts with the weakest link.   So he’s first going to go after the children, the weak, the ill, the defenseless.

Precisely because they are defenseless.

Everything we talk about here at The Vulnerable Project will be focused through that framework.  

The devil wants the darkness to win.

We need to push back the dark.

We’re back!

Bill Cosby QuoteSince about a month ago, The Vulnerable Project site has been very quiet.   It’s been quiet because I’ve been working on other things.   Things not totally related to The Vulnerable Project, but things related to the church.   You can read them at http://tomvanderwell.net/.

But we’re back and I’ll be writing more and doing more soon.   So stay tuned!



The Vulnerable Project website is going to be rather quiet for the remainder of the month of October.   Why?   2 Reasons:

  • I’m taking part in a 31 day blog challenge.   For the 31 days of October, I’m going to be writing something every day on my personal blog about “church.”    I’d love it if you’d come over to http://tomvanderwell.net and check it out.
  • The Book Project – I’m about half way through writing “10 Things Every Adoptive Parent Should Know Before They Adopt Internationally.”    My plan/goal is to have it ready to move to the publishing phase by the first of November in time to hopefully roll it out in time for Orphan Sunday events the following week.   Aggressive schedule but we’ll see what happens.

Thanks for caring about the kids who need someone to care for them.

Stay tuned,



Because He Says So

“Father of orphans, champion of widows, is God in his holy house. God makes homes for the homeless, leads prisoners to freedom, but leaves rebels to rot in hell.”  Psalm 68:5-6 The Message

Does he do all of this by himself?

No.   He wants his people to do it.

I’ve heard it said, “Doing God’s Will is easy – just figure out what He’s up to and do the same thing.”   (My apologies to whoever I just misquoted).

God’s up to being the Father of the orphans – so do that.  

God is up to being the champion of widows – so do that.

God makes homes for the homeless – so do that.

God leads the prisoner to freedom – so go do that.

How?  Find an organization that is already doing that, ask questions, be informed and then, once you are comfortable that they are doing that, help  them.

Because He says so.

That’s why.