This is my fourth trip to HATS in 2 years. All 15 of the kids that are here now, Joan and I met on our first trip in January 2012. It’s difficult and sad to listen to the circumstances of how the children arrived here, but in driving around the country and seeing the conditions it is a relief to know they are better off here than some of the alternatives.

Karena’s family; brothers, sisters and parents were all killed by the earthquake in 2010 in Port au Prince.
Moise was abandoned at approximately 16 months at the edge of the canal under a bush.  He could not crawl so he did not drown.  (Even though he was
not in a basket on the water Karen decided to give him the name Moses.)

When Karen took Ti-Luc, as an abandoned baby, to the doctor she was told “Jette-li!” Throw him away! Today he is a smart, loving and exceptional 8-year old. Karen has officially adopted him and wants to bring him to Canada to get some proper medical attention.

Karena – Moise – Ti-Luc

Those and all the other children’s stories are difficult to fathom but I have never witnessed the process first hand. Yesterday that all changed.

I was killing time by chatting with Karen in the morning about the orphanage and she old me she had 5 requests to take babies in December. I talked to her about not taking on more kids and more responsibility….. And then boom; 3 more requests!
One was a 4 month old whom she turned down because even though the mother had died the 17-year-old father was still alive and had family support. There can be problems later if the kids are not orphans. ( Ex. wanting to take them and make them work as soon as they are old enough to do so.)
That afternoon as we were leaving the compound a mother stopped the truck and asked Karen to take her baby. She knew her child would have a better life at HATS than she could give her. Wow. What desperation!
Then, when we returned from a trip to the bank there was another lady whom Karen had chatted to before Christmas. She had a 17 month old little girl with her. The father is dead and the mother is mentally ill and has other children that she cannot care for. This lady is a friend of the family and is trying to help by placing the child.
Karen asked me to come with her to help with the assessment of whether or not to accept the child.
Well, what was she thinking?  I was useless.  I turned to Jell-O at the sight of the little sweetheart. I have 3 daughters How am I supposed to be objective? So much for my encouragement to not take on any more kids!!!
But here are many things that Karen and HATS have to consider. The child’s health is one. With 2 special needs children already in the group of 15 it would be a strain to add another. So the next step is a doctor’s medical to check for physical and mental  development, AIDS etc. Then she and Luckner (the assistant HATS director and school principal) will have to verify the story that is being told to make sure it is factual. Legally they need to find out if the child is available to come live at HATS. Then… well stay tuned.
You would need the Wisdom of Solomon to make those kinds of decisions. Although every child already at HATS has a unique story this is their home and their brothers and sisters and Karen is their Mom and there is a need for balance.  Karen decided long ago the orphanage would never have more than 20 kids (she prefers 15-18) and it wouldn’t be fair to anyone to take all requests. These are huge life altering decisions for Karen, for the little girl, for her family and for the 15 kids already at HATS.
We can only pray that Karen and Luckner will be guided by God to make the right decisions.
WOW.

That’s all I got. Good night.

~Keith