AHOY THERE! I have some very exciting news to share with you all!!!
As of Friday February 28th, I finished my yearlong commitment with CHM. It was a year that I gained many insights and new experiences which grew me in many ways that I did not know were possible. One of the best things that came out of my year with CHM is that I grew ever closer to the Lord and allowed him to speak into me and through me. It was during this last year that He revealed to me His plan for my next step in Haiti. During my year with CHM, I came across many special needs children. As you can imagine with a malnutrition center, we see many special needs children as they are some of the most medical and nutritionally fragile little beings. In a country where even a healthy child sometimes has a hard time maintaining a healthy weight, you can imagine the struggle for a child who is medically fragile to maintain a healthy size for survival, much less gain weight. It often becomes an uphill losing battle. We saw the same story over and over again. Children with neurological issues that came to us long, lanky, and skinny. Their parents were puzzled why they were 4 years old and could not hold their heads up or sit by themselves much less crawl and walk. These children were not welcomed into the program because of their disability. Although they were in great need of nutritional support, they were barred from entering the program due to our program protocols. A child in the malnutrition program is supposed to be up to their goal weight by a maximum time of 8 weeks. After a few trial and errors, it was evident that most special needs children were incapable of being successful in the program. They would be what we called “lifers.” They would require a lifetime of nutritional support if put into the program. The battles a special needs child faces in Haiti does not stop after nutritional support. One of the major struggles for the parent of a special needs child in Haiti is finding help or resources for their child. Largely due to superstition and general condemning of those outside the norm, the parent is required to stay home with the child day in and day out unable to work to provide for the rest of the family because there is no one to watch their totally dependent child during the day. This becomes a seemingly impossible obstacle which often ends in the parent seeking to find an orphanage to leave their child in but not for lack of love; rather a lack of options.
My innate love and passion for the special needs children of Haiti has led me up to this point. To realizing that I have a unique opportunity to provide a resource for parents of special needs children and their parents. So it is with great excitement and bated breath that I would like to share with you that my husband, Cold, and I will be embarking on a journey to open Promise Harbor Family Center. It is a daytime care facility for special needs children who are too low functioning and/or too young for school. We hope it will become a place where parents of special needs children can entrust their precious cargo to us during the day while they work to provide for the rest of their family all the while feeling at peace that their children are receiving the best care possible. The most important part is that their children are waiting for them to come and pick them up again at the end of the day to return home as a family. Promise Harbor Family Center will also become a safe haven for these parents to receive love and support in this great journey they have been chosen to travel. For their children, this could mean the difference between death and life, failing and thriving.
Parents will have the opportunity to use our daytime services 6 days a week (normal working days in Haiti, tweaked to include our towns biggest open market days). Their children will receive daily therapy exercises and stimulation, as well as, nutritious meals each day. We chose the name Promise Harbor because we want to recognize the potential that each child has, as well as, the potential to raise up a stronger family unit, and we want the family center to be an oasis, a water source in the middle of a desert, of safety and support for all who come through our doors. We cant wait!
STAY TUNED to hear how you can be a part of Promise Harbor and begin making an impact in the lives of these children and their families TODAY!