Friday, July 10, 2015

By His Wounds, Not Hers

(this post was written over a week ago but never got a chance to be published. stay tuned to the end ot see an update)
         Ever since I started realizing that Haiti wasn’t all about the cute little kids in the orphanages, I started to see that behind every cute little kid lies a whole world I know nothing about. I began to actually see these kids and their families and realize that there has got to be another way outside of institutions. Working with Children’s Health Ministries, I have seen the love and care that these parents have for their children. The drive to fight for them, and fight to keep them alive even when all they have to give them is the love in their hearts and a holey tin roof over their heads.

         Unfortunately, at the same time while being surrounded by so many caring and concerned parents who want nothing but health and life for their children, you see that one lonely disheveled girl sitting in the corner singing softly to herself. The little girl in the corner with the nappy unkempt hair, sweaty face peppered with a skin infection is not a product of a loving and caring parent. This is not her first rodeo with CHM. She was malnourished once before and even had to get inpatient treatment. Now her mom has had another baby, another cuter, not sick little baby boy. This only adds to the misery of her life. Each week, she is brought by a neighbor to clinic where she sits there all day blending in with the background of the hustle and bustle of clinic. Eventually, her mother shows up with the baby because her son is being tracked through the baby program. Usually about halfway through the clinic day, she can be found in the front sleeping while standing up with her little body bent in half resting her head on the seat of a wooden bench.


          The mom is there all day but has zero interaction with her daughter. No love, no hugs, no water, no food. It is a known fact among the other parents that the mom beats her. And often for no reason at all. When the mom is asked why she beats her 3 year old, she tells us that it is because she goes to the bathroom in her bed. We try to tell her that beating her child is not the correct response to that incident. The mom refuses to take responsibility for her actions. She does not listen to us when we tell her that her daughter goes to the bathroom in her bed because she has diarrhea due to a lack of treated drinking water; although free Clorox is provided to her for doing so.  We wrack our brains with how to help her. This mom has already told us that she doesn’t want her anymore and wants to put her in an orphanage. Then she tried to offer her to one of us. We know the best place for a child with living parents is at home with them, but how do you hold fast to that when every day of this child’s life is miserable? How do you address the rampant skin infections on her face and body when you know after you treat them they will come right back over and over again because nothing in her life will have changed?

          So each day, the rest of the moms and their children sit at clinic waiting to be seen, overlooking the little dirty girl that sits in the outskirts of the crowd. Each week she comes back, looking a little bit worse, but it’s not like they notice her. One time when her mom came to clinic, she left with her baby and her little girl, but her daughter was barefoot. She never came with shoes, but the sad thing is, her 7 month old brother that doesn’t walk had nice shoes on.

         There was this one time when I actually saw misery step aside and let joy shine through. When she looks at her little brother she tries to contain it but she can’t help but let a smile slip into the corners of her lips. She sometimes holds onto one of his feet from a distance as if to say, “I’m here. You have nothing to worry about.”

          Maydelie’s situation challenges everything I think about the way the family unit should stay together here. At what point of realizing that the child will only know the feeling of misery most of her life do you begin to think of an alternative? What alternatives are even out there? She is not a poor little Haitian girl in need of saving. She {and her mother} are in need of being seen and shown the love of the Savior. She is in need of people to notice her and what she is going through. She is in need of someone to let her know that this is not the way that life should be. Sometimes her eyes lock on mine and I try to think about what is going through her head, but those beautiful brown beauties look so dead and lifeless. This is not the way life should be people. I don’t know what the solution is yet, but I do know that I can share a little glimpse into Maydelie’s life so that you all can see her too. And maybe one day the right person will see her and offer a solution for her and her family to strengthen and heal them as a unit.


UPDATE:
Yesterday, the neighbor brought Maydelie to clinic. Her feet have become swollen with edema because she is again malnourished. The neighbor also showed us that the mom had beaten her with a stick on Monday (mind you it is now Thursday) and the welts were still raised and swollen. Maydelie walked with a limp because she was in pain. It has begun to be very clear that we can talk to this mom until we are blue in the face but it will not change how she treats her daughter. We have realized that if she stays in her current home situation, the mom may actually kill her daughter. Something had to change. We discussed options of what we could do. In the I agreed to take her to live with me temporarily while we seek help from a social worker and figure out next steps. It was evident that Satan was alive and well in our clinic yesterday. Maydelie's mom ended up showing up to clinic with a bunch of relatives and friends. The mom showed up toting a machete claiming she was going to chop her childs head off. This confirmed for us that we needed to move swiftly and get her in a safer situation. Talks were had, zone officials were called, loud discussions commenced, and then at the end I was left with this sleeping lump in my arms. Off we went to spend our first night together and the beginning of our journey to what I hope will be healing and safety for Maydelie. So friends, please pray for us. Pray for Maydelie. Pray that I can do my best at all times to show her the love of Christ. Pray that even though she does not speak to me yet, or show any emotion other than pain, that I will be able to meet her needs. I do not know what the future holds for Maydelie. I do not know what the future holds for her life and the life of her family, but I know who holds all the futures. My biggest hope and prayer is that I can show her that by His wounds we are healed, not hers. 

For as long as she is in my care, 
I will sing over her:
You have a Father, 
He calls you His own,
He'll never leave you,
And hears you when you call.
He knows your name,
He knows your every thought,
He sees each tear that falls,
      and hears you when you call.