Thursday, September 3, 2009

Thank you so much for your continued prayer support for my family, my self, and Gods ministry though us to the people in Haiti. This last trip was very different for me. We went as a pastors delegation to the pastors in Haiti. We taught regularly to the pastors in different areas of the country. They were so appreciative and gracious to us for encouraging them, and building them up in the word of God. We also visited several other orphanages and ministries along the way. It was a very full trip with a very full schedule, and many stops. But we were always well received. I made a lot of new contacts and gained much helpful info for our ministry.
Our construction is moving forward at a good pace. As the funds come in we are employing several local Haitian workers and helpers. And we are training one of our older boys to be a construction worker himself. One other young man is the first of our kids to go to high school this year. A very special opportunity, that we have been working on for a while now. School starts on the 7th of Sept. for us, as it does for most of our local kids. We will be launching a new "School Sponsor" program, for our neighborhood kids to come to free Christian school this year. They will need books and uniforms and will receive a good hot meal each day. A sponsor would pay $10 U.S. per child to cover the above expenses. We have 225 children enrolled this year. We are going ahead in faith that God will provide the sponsors, because this is what He has directed us to do.
Our October team will put a roof on the first new orphanage building. and a November team will drill a new well and work on the water system that so many of you contributed towards. Thank you for your generosity and your listening to the Lords call. I am glad to be home with my family, but miss Haiti already..............Thanks for your time and your heart..............Mike

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Country Update - Haiti
UNICEF estimates that 490,000 children are orphans in Haiti. This translates to just about 6% of Haiti's population. In 2004, at the height of intercountry adoptions into the U.S., over 350 children were served through intercountry adoption into the U.S. Thousands more were served by the orphanages in Haiti, which often provided support to the community. However, over the past three years the processing of adoptions in Haiti has slowed to a crawl. Abandoned children endure adoption processes lasting two or three years before being united with adoptive families.

Not only is such lasting institutional care damaging to the children who wait and wait, but the slowed process has had a negative effect on the many desperately needy children of Haiti who are not waiting in orphanages. Many orphanages support free medical clinics, schools, nutrition programs and family preservation programs. Orphanages have been a resource for temporary care for children following a family crisis, such as a fire or illness. But now that children languish in orphanage care for years, orphanage directors report that the beds are full, the food and medicine supplies are insufficient, and the children needing temporary care are left on the streets with little prospect for life.

In an attempt to move towards transparent and democratic government, Haitian officials now adhere to the Haitian Constitutional law regarding adoption, written in 1974 by Jean Claude Duvalier. While the law of 1974 places severe limitations on the size of family and age of those who may adopt, it also allows Presidential Dispensation for those not meeting the family size or age limitations. Unfortunately, Haiti lacks an organized and transparent system for obtaining Dispensations. This confusion over Dispensations, along with the absence of a sense of urgency regarding institutionalized children has caused extensive delays in the adoption process and further victimizes children who have already lost much.

Haiti has a pending solution to this legal logjam. A newly proposed adoption law will clarify who may adopt; increase protections for Haitian children, their birth parents, and adoptive families and streamline the adoption process. This legislation is supported by the United States and French governments along with the NGO community, including Joint Council.

Joint Council's work in Haiti has been extensive, from working with the Haitian government, adoption service providers, orphanages and other NGO's on developing and implementing Standards of Practice for Intercountry Adoption, which were signed at the U.S. Embassy in Port-A-Prince in January 2009 (see Joint Council's page on Facebook for the pictures) to advocating for a change in the current law. In August Joint Council launched the first of many advocacy efforts to support the change in law. Joint Council's efforts, entitled the Haitian Children and Families Initiative, strives to ensure the new law is implemented. A second effort will occur this month. This effort will include a petition to U.S. Congress requesting support of the law. You can sign the petition by clicking here.
More details on this month's initiative will be available on Joint Council's Haiti country information page in the coming week.

Here are a few photos from the Walk for Water that I previously posted about! What a Blessing it was! Thank you again to Aumony and Naomi!