Haiti is the birthplace of my son. It is where his bio family resides. It is also where Halis and I left pieces of our heart just a few years ago. Perhaps it was a trade off, as we brought some of Haiti home with us as well (both plainly and metaphorically speaking) … and Haiti is always in our thoughts and prayers.

Last night, unimaginable horrors took place in Haiti … and our hearts are so heavy for all involved. By now – most of you know of the devastating earthquake that took place there. Perhaps you have seen footage that has brought you to tears, or seen pictures that you wish you had never seen. Or maybe you read about it and did not quite relate to it. In any case, surviving in Haiti is near impossible for some even on the best of days. Some of the things I had witnessed there will forever push me toward doing all I can to help the Haitian people to help themselves (i.e. HaitianRoots.org, HeartsWithHaiti.org, Yele.org, etc). Haitians are amazing, resilient people with a fascinating culture worthy of much respect. I have always maintained a high level of hope for Haiti — but now — now I am so scared.

I worry most for my son’s birth family. I know nothing of their fate at this point. They are our family. And my heart bleeds for them as I beg God to keep them safe … wondering if prayers are really worth anything. I mean, does “God” only spare those who have people praying for them? Does “God” pick and choose which babies will live through this devastation, which will suffer for a while, and which have already died. I don’t write this here to have a religious debate with anyone (in fact – please don’t go there). I write this because I am tired of hearing, “Oh, thank God my ________ was spared. Praise be to Him who has spared my _________.” That kind of talk confuses me … as what is the parent who lost a child supposed to think? That her baby wasn’t worthy of God’s special grace? That her prayers weren’t enough? It does not make sense to me to praise God for saving a life … and not to curse him for taking one. There are hundreds and hundreds of children under rubble tonight. Some crying out still … while others are silenced. What of these children?

Wow – I had no idea that when I began this post, I was going to veer off in that sort of “Where-is-God-in-this” type of talk. I have faith. I do. And I have seen amazing miracles in my life. But I get so frustrated with those who talk as though their ‘righteous’ God has spared their loved ones of some horrific fate … and praise be to Him … while others are seemingly forsaken. If my child were lost in an orphanage crash in Haiti right now — I would want to smack the people who are “praising God for sparing their children” — and would be shouting out — “What about MY child?!”.

I am very thankful to hear that all of the children in Isaac’s former orphanage are alive and well. This brings great comfort … as I know several people who are waiting for these children to come home to them. And I am so happy that their worries have been replaced by joy. At the same time though, I am reading (on various Haitian adoption forums I belong to) about orphanages that crashed to the ground — leaving little, if any, survivors. And then my relief turns to utter dismay. I cannot imagine the heartbreak of these parents … not to mention the Haitian Mamas & Papas who will soon bury their children … or the countless children who are now orphaned, etc, etc. It is all too much to bear.

Some have mentioned to me that they are thankful my little man is here – safe with me – during this awful time. And I understand that thought, I do. I have held him and cried. Yes, I am thankful he is here, safe, warm, fed, loved, etc. But I cannot begin to tell you the immense pain I feel that his three biological sisters are out there somewhere in this chaos … that his bio-Parents, Aunties, Uncles, and Grandparents are unaccounted for. Isaac is clueless to this. But Halis and I are not. We want so desperately to keep this family safe. First, because we love them. They have created the most amazing human being I will ever know … and they handed him over to us to love and care for. But almost equally, I want to keep them safe because I love my son enough to want him to know them. I do not want him to miss out on an opportunity to hug Marjorie and to thank her for his life. I do not want Isaac to miss out on having some laughs with two older sisters who look exactly like him. But I have little control over any of this. Every hurricane and flood has shown me that I have no control over their fate … and limited ways in which to learn of their safety. But this — oh this — is so much bigger. This earthquake is going to devastate for a long time. Medical care, food, water, shelter, communication … all these things have been horribly compromised. We thought Hurricane Katrina was bad … well, I must tell you that on a good day in Haiti … it looks like Hurricane Katrina has paid a visit.

Ugh … I am so far off track now. I began writing this message to tell you all where I believe are the best places for folks to donate to. Prayers are great — but money is necessary too. And here is my list of reputable organizations that I hope you all can give at least $5 to.

* http://www.yele.org/ – they are already on the ground and getting things done to rescue people. Your money will go directly to earthquake rescue &response.; No “middle man”.

* http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org/ – I have a friend who was involved in these missions — and wow, let me tell you – these people get stuff done!

* http://www.heartswithhaiti.org/ – operated by my good friend Father Michael — the St Josephs Home for Boys is a refuge for street children and ex-slaves — the work done here is amazing. We have seen it first hand. Sadly, their building has collapsed and they will need to rebuild from the bottom up (it was a 4 or 5 floor building).

* http://www.haitianroots.com/ – this organization is very dear to me — please check it out. I am not sure how they are going to assist with any earthquake relief efforts, but I assume they will need some funding to fly out to Haiti to check on all the children in their programs.

Thank you for anything you can do for the people of Haiti. I promise you – that whatever you can do might literally SAVE LIVES.

And although I spoke cynically about the benefits of prayer … I will continue to pray earnestly. I will send heaps of positive thoughts … and hopes for more miracles. I beg you to do the same.

With Love,

Jodi Renshaw

About Jodi Renshaw

Jodi is a homeschooling Mom, a photographer, a wife, and a proud resident of the city of Bangor. She spends part of her time working at a locally-owned shop in the downtown area, part of her time homeschooling her favorite young man, and most of her time behind a camera lens. She often writes about adoption, family life, homeschooling, and community.