Jun 172015
 

Here’s some of what I’ve seen and read about the issue since I wrote about it yesterday:

There is a petition on MoveOn.org to ask the United States government to intervene and stop the deportation of the Haitians from the DR.   You can sign the petition at Moveon.org.

I did.

The deadline was supposed to be today to begin the deportations.   This article in the Guardian explains quite well the logistics and the fact that of a potential 200,000 to 250,000 people of Haitian descent, only 10,000 have been able to file the newly required paperwork and only 300 have actually gotten the permits.    So, even if the process and the requirements weren’t racist and discriminatory, there is no way that the bureacracy of the DR could issue the paperwork in time.

This article is actually in Creole – and so I can’t say I understand it all.   But from what a friend of mine (30 year resident of Haiti) told me, it basically says:

  • President Martelly is saying that Haiti will welcome the deported Haitian immigrants with dignity.
  • We are working on a way to welcome them into Haiti.

I was also told that the government of the DR has put a 45 day moratorium on deportations in order to attempt to accomplish two things:

  • Give the government of the DR time to process a few more of the files that were completed.   Anyone want to venture a guess as to how many of the 10,000 will be processed and, in a world where documentation is in many cases non existent, meet the requirements?
  • Give the Haitian government time to prepare a “welcome plan” at the UN Military base near the northern border.    I dare venture that a government with the resources like the US has would be hard pressed to implement a plan and have resources in place in 45 days, let alone a government with limited resources.

There are a lot of moving parts to this, but it truly has the makings of a humanitarian disaster of epic proportions.   Please keep spreading the word, asking for help and praying for those involved.

Thanks,

TJV

Feb 072015
 

And this, my friends, is how it should be, if it can be…….

She said, “YES.”

We took in a new little love at HOPE House yesterday.  Her name is Nayika.  You can tell by the look in her eyes that she doesn’t feel good.  And likely never has.  Since she was two months old her mother has called us needing money to take her to the hospital, money for food, and for a place to live.  She is now seventeen months old and her situation wasn’t getting any better. Earlier this week her mother called to say she couldn’t keep caring Nayika any longer, and she was going to place her in an orphanage.

We asked her to come to Port-au-Prince so we could help her find a better solution.  Yesterday evening she arrived at HOPE House and we asked her, “If you had a job and a place to live, do you want to raise this baby?  Do you WANT to keep her?”  With tears swelling in her eyes and a smile across her face, she held Nayika, a bit tighter and said, “YES.”

Read the rest here……..

Jan 122015
 

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,

Tom

Dec 092014
 

Obviously, the name of this site is, “The Vulnerable Project.”    But who are the vulnerable?    I think it helps to have some criteria in terms of what you mean when you talk about the vulnerable.    So, with that being said, here are 5 things (in random order) that define who could be considered vulnerable:

  • Where – where you live has a big impact on whether you could fall into the category of vulnerable.    Someone who lives in Middle Class suburbia in the United States isn’t necessarily going to be vulnerable.
  • Health care – do you have access to adequate health care?   Is there a significant risk that you  could fall ill with a disease that is potentially curable given adequate health care but is fatal in areas that don’t have it?   An example?   Malaria.   For someone with adequate healthcare, malaria is (so I’m told) a really bad time but is rarely fatal.    For people who don’t have access to medical care, malaria is highly fatal.
  • Family – is the family unit together?    Is there sufficient income in the family unit to keep the family alive?
  • Dysfunction – is there dysfunction in the family unit?   Is there abuse?   Is there a fear for the physical safety of one or more family members due to abuse?
  • Social Justice – are there systems in place to protect the innocent and deter or punish those who do wrong?

 

So, using those as guidelines, who potentially qualifies as “Vulnerable?”

  • Obviously orphaned children all over the world do.
  • Children in foster care do.
  • Parents of children in foster care – those who are really trying – do.
  • People like Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Eric Garner and others do.   People who might or might not have been violating the laws of society but who, from many viewpoints, were treated differently and treated less well because of their skin color – they do.
  • Women and their children suffering from abuse and domestic violence do.
  • Christians in Syria who are being persecuted and killed by ISIS do.

 

So, given those thoughts and those “guidelines,”  what is The Vulnerable Project going to do?   I’m in the process of reworking some of my thoughts on that, in light of Ferguson, in light of New York and in light of conversations I’ve been having with many people who I respect very highly.

The need to protect and assist the vulnerable has never, in my eyes, been greater.

God’s call to care for the orphan and the widow and to do justice and love mercy are or should be front and center.  (James 1:27 and Micah 6Alien

The Vulnerable Project is working on ways to do that.

I hope you’ll stay tuned and join us as we venture down this path and see what God wants us to do.

Thanks,

Tom

Sep 182014
 

A friend of mine told me about this organization.   It’s exactly the type of thing that The Vulnerable Project wants to support.    Each of their employees has a chance to raise their family because of this.   Less orphans because of organizations like this…..

Watch and listen – and share……

 

Jun 072014
 

This morning I read something on Facebook that a friend of mine in Haiti wrote:

“Sometimes I think I’d rather be blind than see the poor around me. And then I wonder how can I stay alert and emotionally handle what I see when I can do so very little about it”

That got me thinking.   We in the first world don’t see the poor nearly as easily as those in places like Haiti do.

We in the first world, in many ways, are blind to the poor that are around us.   It’s easier to be blind to the poor when they aren’t living right next to you or begging you for food or……..  But being blind to the poor is not a good thing.   God has told us in many ways and at many times that he expects us to care about and care for the poor.

“Do so very little about it……”

First off, I want to say that this friend, of everyone I know in Haiti, is not someone who does very little about it.    Daily I see the impact her life has on the people of Haiti, the children of Haiti and the families who get to stay together and stay alive because of her and her organization.

Secondly, I’ve written it before, but in The Cat in the Hat, Dr. Seuss talks about “this mess is so big and so tall.”    And then the Cat proceeds to solve the problem.   I’m not saying that my friend is the Cat in the Hat, but that story resonates with me because even though the mess is big, it’s not too big for God.

I had the opportunity to have coffee this morning (well, actually, I had ice tea) and one of the things we touched on briefly was the question, “Why?”   And we all had the opportunity to talk briefly about why we are doing what we’re doing……

  • One was doing “it” to encourage others to live a more meaningful life.
  • Another was doing “it” to live more healthy (healthier?)
  • Another was doing “it” to be around more for his children compared to his former traveling corporate world job.
  • And me – Why am I working on the Vulnerable Project?
    • Because I’ve seen first (and second hand) the difficulties that children face when they are separated from their birth families.   It isn’t always avoidable but it is more avoidable than what is currently happening.
    • Because God said the poor matter.    Period.
    • Because poverty is a many faceted disease.
    • Because people like my friend (read her comment above again) are making a huge difference but don’t always feel that way.

How?   How is the Vulnerable Project working on making a difference?

We can make a difference.   Little by little, we can make a big difference.

Will you help?

Tom
The Vulnerable Project
tom@thevulnerableproject.org