Monday, January 25, 2010

The Real Destruction in Haiti

This is the most realistic perspective that I have found out of the thousands of stories from Haiti. For some reason, these stills along with the narration made the whole tragedy more real than the 24/7 video coverage. The photojournalist gives a clear picture of this tragedy, especially for the orphans who are desperately wanting to be adopted. We CANNOT forget once the cameras leave!!!

WARNING- These pictures are extremely graphic. I only show this because it allows us to see and feel the real emotion of those who are actually living this horror. It is easy for us to simply turn the channel or click to another website talking about the Superbowl or Brad and Angelina. But the suffering is not going away just because we turn our cheeks.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Truth About Adopting From Haiti

Many have expressed a desire to either adopt or provide foster care for the Haitian orphans should some sort of airlift etc. happen. I have truly been amazed by the compassion that I have witnessed from this group. I heard a story today of a Haitian man who said "we have seen people with their hearts in their hands willing to help." So true.

I want to provide you with truth and not unrealistic expectations. You deserve a true, realistic picture and this is it to the best of my ability.

Before I dive into this though, let's begin with the end in mind. The endgame for these orphans, like the other 140 million orphans around the world, is to get them out of harms way and into loving, caring homes. And the IMMEDIATE need for Haitian orphans is the first part- get them out of harms way!

In the immediate, even if you wanted to adopt a child from Haiti, it would not be possible at this time for a number of reasons.

1. Haiti is in full chaos mode right now. Children have been separated from their parents, making it difficult to know who is an orphan. There is a process that is used to determine if the child has no parents and that must be followed. It is good for the sake of the child and of course a distraught parent who desires to be reunited with their child. Granting them humanitarian parole (our immediate, short-term goal) gets them out of the country and into safety but still provides an opportunity for familial reunification if a parent is still alive.

2. Ultimately, the Haitian government will have to "sign off" on these adoptions and it will be a while before this can happen as their government is in complete shambles. Records, personnel etc. were not great before the earthquake and their priority is not going to be on adoption right now. Their focus in the short term is to meet immediate needs of the people and establish some semblance of a government. Yes, humanitarian parole is an immediate need that would give these children safety. Adoption however is a longer term goal.

3. Adoptions take time. If you are not already approved to adopt internationally, there is a process to go through to be "adoption ready." My wife and I have adopted twice internationally and we respect the process because it safeguards both the child and the biological (if applicable) and adoptive parent. Adoption is a huge decision and one that must be carefully considered. The steps towards being approved by the U.S. government to adopt a child internationally are in place for the protection of the child and for your own education and preparation.

If you want to adopt or possibly provide foster care for one of these little ones, you will have to begin the approval process.

Think link gives you a pretty good idea of the process to adopt internationally-

If you have already been through this process and have been approved to adopt internationally, there will most likely still be a waiting process. However, check with your agency or lawyer. You can find your best information through them. If you were approved to adopt in another country, you can switch, but the wait might be longer. We are just not sure right now.

If you are approved to provide foster care, it might be possible for you to care for one of these little ones in the immediate. We have been in contact with some people who are preparing for an airlift coming out of Miami, Florida but this is in a holding pattern right now. I know someone who has been called to see if she would take in a child, so preparatory groundwork is underway. They will need licensed foster care workers to take them in. We are also working on a temporary house to provide for these little ones as well.

If you would like to be foster care certified, here is a link to your state where you can find out information on what that process would look like.

I hope this email has not discouraged any of you who have a heart for these little ones to not follow through with your desire to provide care for them. But just know that it is a process and we must follow proper steps.

Step 1- Get them out of harms way.

Step 2- Provide temporary safe housing for them.

Step 3- Determine their status.

Step 4- Reunite those separated from living parents.

Step 5- Provide longterm homes for the orphans of Haiti.

Right now we are working on steps 1 and 2 but if you decide you are in for the long haul, you can begin the adoption or foster care process now. There are 140 million great reasons to do so.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Haiti Orphans- Let's Get Them Out

The images over the past week have left me numb. Orphans + Haiti = PASSION for the Miller family. For those of you who do not know, my wife and I adopted 2 children from Vietnam. And this past summer, my wife and oldest daughter took a trip to Port Au Prince, Haiti to work at several orphanages. They came back with a desire to help these children and specifically work with the host organization, the ApParent Project.

When we heard about the estimates of 50,000-250,000 orphans in Haiti BEFORE the earthquake coupled with the tiny office who were handling the cases had been destroyed, we knew something had to be done. Orphans are the "least of these", the children without a family looking out for them, the most vulnerable. And unfortunately, in catastrophes like these, they are the prey for those looking to exploit the crisis. The human traffickers move in and the orphans, especially in chaotic crisis, just disappear.

We cannot let this happen. So we have started a facebook group that will hopefully grow to an influential size where we can share resources and ACT when the time comes.

Right now the key is to get humanitarian parole for these children. It does not mean that they can instantly be adopted, it just means we need to get them out of harms way. We must take care of the number of orphans who were in the process of being adopted. Then we need to look at the huge numbers of children who are now orphans because of this tragedy.

My heart has been touched by people who want to open their homes all over the world to these children. They need a loving home. It is times like these when we truly see the best side of humanity.

If you would like to join the group, please visit- Haiti Orphans- Let's Get Them Out!

Thursday, January 07, 2010

January- time to look forward

Happy new year readers of my blog. I have been on hiatus for a few weeks with the holidays. But here I go...

Living in the north I do not enjoy the weather in January. However, I do love the optimism that can come with the month.

I just ran into a friend of mine who had a horrible year in 2009 and he couldn't be happier that January is here. I asked him why he was doing so well and he told me that it was because he spent time writing his objectives for the new year and he feels that there are things that are within his control to work on and that gives him hope. The things he can't control, he is turning over to God and that too has given him hope.

So that is what I am working on, writing down my objectives for the year, the month and yes, even the week. Pray, read, write, reflect, try, reflect and rewrite those objectives this year. You will be glad that you did.

If there is ONE objective to start with this year... WRITE OUT THOSE OBJECTIVES!