Oh where to start??
Children of the Promise exists in order to provide a loving and caring temporary home for orphaned children. Some of the children have been brought to COTP by a parent or a relative who cannot currently provide for the child but hopes to return for the child as soon as possible. In many of these cases a parent has tried desperately to keep the child fed and taken care of but the baby needs more nutrition than that parent can afford. Some children return to those family members after they become fat and healthy here at COTP and the family is in a better position. Other children leave COTP to be united with their adoptive parents. People in the US, Canada, and Great Britian have all adopted children from COTP. Still other children arrive at COTP because they have serious health concerns. Some of these babies are able to leave Haiti with medical visas to be treated in the States. When these cases arise, we look for doctors and facilities that are willing to make consultations, provide care, and perform surgeries pro bono. It sounds like a lot to ask, but quite a few kids have been helped in this way.
Before the earthquake in Port au Prince, there were about 60 -70 kids all living within these gates. Then, because of the earthquake the US offered to allow all children with pending adoptions into the states with humanitarian visas. This was HUGE!! Most adoptions from Haiti to the US take at least 2 – 3 years to finalize. For this reason, COTP primarily admits children under the age of two. A child might remain at COTP until they are 5, so doing this helps keep the age range at any giving time to about 0 – 5 years. In the weeks following the earthquake about 30 and 40 kids from COTP were able to fly to enter the States on humanitarian and medical visas.
Currently there are just 18 kids at COTP. They all get lots of love and attention! I adore them all. I can’t post pictures of the kids or discuss them by name but I’m sure I’ll have a few stories to share. I will try to describe their amazing little personalities, even without photos.
If a baby is a newborn, new to COTP, or very ill that baby will stay in volunteer house until they are healthy enough to return to the baby house. My third day in Haiti a little 4 week old baby came through the gates. She became my little girl. I made sure that she was full and happy. She slept in a crib by my bed. She’s since grown up enough to live in the baby house. That's her little head in the crib below. She's beautiful. I hope it's okay for me to post the picture below. She's conveniently covering her face to protect her identity.
While living in the volunteer house I stayed in this bunk room with various short term volunteers. In these past few short weeks I have lived with some incredible people. First it was a church group from Phoenix (we miss you!), than it was another group of 8 from Emmanuel, a church in Southern California. They painted murals in each of the baby rooms! After that, 3 "Grandmas" from Minnesota came to love on the babies for a week. Now we have an electrician and his wife and two other nurses! I've since moved out of the volunteer house into a more permanent room.
Living in the volunteer house was really fun. Those of you that I know through Friendship Ventures will understand me when I say that living in the volunteer house is a lot like living in the health center at Camp Friendship. When something needs to be done, you do it.. and everyone works together to keep things running smoothly. Life in the volunteer house never slows. During the night you might be awake feeding and changing babies. In the morning there might be dishes to wash or dirty clothes to take to the laundry pavilion.
There are teeth to brush, bottles to make, laundry to put away, kids to play with, things that need cleaning or organizing. I did a lot of this as I was transitioning into my nursing role. Now my time is often occupied with nursing related activities.
I'll tell you about that in my NEXT post! Thank you for your prayers! I feel God's presence in a HUGE way everyday in Haiti.