Chris found this online feature about restaveks.
Slavery is not dead. It has not been eradicated. It is acceptable. At least here it is.
We get mixed responses when we tell people that we’re adopting. Most are excited for us and are very encouraging. Some want to be but there, in their eyes, I see the question that often doesn’t get uttered, “Why would you adopt when you could just have your own?”
Because we believe we are being called to start our family this way. Because we want to. Because we have had our hearts broken over the fact that people here fought for their freedom from slavery, but still practice it every day and that no one thinks there’s anything wrong with it.
Children are so innocent. That’s something that’s been in my heart lately. No child ever asks to be brought into the world. They are at the mercy of their parents. We are so blessed in North America to have the choice about that. Some don’t plan well, granted, but they do have options and education about birth control etc. Here, and in many under-developed countries, those options aren’t there. There isn’t enough education about family planning. Birth control isn’t readily available. Death is a reality for families so they have many children anticipating that at least one will die. In places where people have nothing children are seen as a sign of wealth, even if parents don’t have the means to take care of them.
There have been studies done in developing countries and there is a very noticeable connection between development in infrastructure and the birth rate. As a country develops the birth rate drops. Why is that? Well, in Haiti, having a good road system means that parts of the country that have been cut off from commerce will have access to goods being brought in from the capitol etc. Good roads means it’s easier to travel and in turn safer to travel. The bad roads here have provided ample opportunities for kidnappers to target vehicles. More safety means more outside investment. More outside investment means more jobs and more goods manufactured here in the country. More goods manufactured here means the economy improves. An improved economy means opportunity to improve social services. Things like running water systems and full time power. Better health care. Development in the area of water and health care, including education about preventative measures, means fewer sick people and in turn the death rate drops. When the risk of death decreases the birth rate goes down because there is less fear of losing a child.
Development takes time. Children that are here in Haiti today may not be the ones to see major improvement. Maybe they will. I don’t know. I like knowing that we’re working with a project that gets to be part of that, though I know that the advancements we are making are small. They are advancements none the less and we know that in the last 6 years Clean Water for Haiti has helped over 100,000 people get clean water by either providing filters directly or by training people to start other projects that have gotten filters to people that we can’t. I got excited just thinking about that.
By adopting we know that we’re going to change the life of one child. One child doesn’t seem like a big difference in a country of about 8.5 million, but it’s one less child that runs the risk of becoming a restavek. Instead they’ll know what it is to be loved.
I hope that the online feature strikes a chord with you and that you’ll talk to other about it, even pass it on. People need to know what’s happening in the world – things that we have an opportunity to help change over time.