About three years ago, my husband and I went down to Haiti to visit a young teenaged boy that our friend met on a missions trip; we thought we might want to adopt him.
The adoption fell through, but my friend and I still send him some financial support. Basically, we pay for his schooling and for his school clothes. More on that, below.
We just got a letter from the missionary who visited him most recently. Here's that letter.
I was so blessed to spend time with [X-son] . . .
Here is a photo of him and his mom. I saw him several times and tried to explain things to him. He would love to see you both. If it is all possible I would encourage you to go to Haiti and visit him. We had him to dinner at Club Indigo as well as saw him at My friend E's home.
He is doing well. He goes to Mario's school. It is a Haitian school. A poor school. I cannot promise the quality of education but he is happy. He lives with his mom. Life is hard. There is no running water or electric in their area. All water must be carried a long distance. There supposedly is a truck that brings water but if you do not have money to pay, you do not get water.
He wrote you a letter and gave you a photo which I will mail to you. They are such a fine family. Just know he is disappointed but is happy.
Thanks for all you do.Here are some other random details. Several people have asked us about adopting a kid who already has a mom -- what did she think about this idea? Well, like many in Haiti, she has very little money and at many times didn't have enough to feed herself, much less her son. When my friend first met X-son, in fact, he was living in an orphanage because she couldn't support him. She would have been very happy for him to come with us, apparently. (Actually, come to think of it, the majority of my children have moms elsewhere).
Figuring out how to get money to X-son in a way that it would do good and no harm was tough. (You might just imagine that giving a big pile o' cash to a teenage boy could have one or two negative consequences, right?) So we give money to a group that does missions work in Haiti--the same group that visited him and sent this note and picture. They pay the school directly and they help him buy clothes. I'm going to ask them about ways to get X-son and his mom money for water (sheesh).
My friend and I, together with people on the ground in Haiti, had a long back-and-forth discussion about which school to send X-son to. While he was living at Annie's orphanage and preparing for the adoption, he'd gone to an American school that was (apparently) quite nice. But the director of the school told us that, once the adoption fell through, she thought the Haitian school was better for him -- for one thing, his English skills were weak enough still that the American school would require many more years to graduate; for another, because of the different curricula the Haitian school prepared him for life in Haiti better.
How do I think about this situation above? Obviously, it makes me feel like a total ingrate for complaining about anything at all in my own life, and simultaneously it reminds me to be glad for little things like (say) light switches that work and toilets and tap water. Oh, and paved roads where I can ride a bike. And paper.
I also get a guilty stab-in-the-heart for that last line: "thanks for all you do". Because I sent less money down to Haiti this year than I sent to, say, our cell phone company this month. Because the chasm between what I could do and what I do do stretches so wide before me.
But also, I am gladdened. Because X-son does get to live with his mom again. And even if life is hard, he does seem happy. And the story isn't over yet; I get to remain a part of his life, which is possibly a little bit better than it would have been if my friend K hadn't introduced us.