In this culture, it seems too easy to forget what should not be forgotten. My thoughts coming into Thursday go back to what I cannot forget and what I do not want you to forget. Stare at her for a while...take the image in and let it make home in your mind's eye.
This little girl represents MILLIONS of orphans all around the world. They have no voice in our politics, no room in our comfort, no hope in their despair without our voices on their behalf in politics, without our death to comfort for their sake and without our awareness of their despair.
Today, I received good news. The Hope Act (H.R. 4603) now has 13 co-sponsors in the house judiciary committee. The more co-sponsors the better. But mostly what we need now is for a Senator to rise up and sponsor/introduce a mirror bill on the Senate floor. What is the Hope Act, you may ask? Right now, the only Haitian orphans allowed to receive humanitarian parole (and therefore come to the U.S. to have a family) are those who were in the adoption process and matched to families BEFORE the earthquake. But Haiti had 380,000 orphans BEFORE the earthquake and now there are estimated to be 200,000 more. Many of the pre-quake orphans have documents proving their orphan status - meaning signed papers from parents/guardians/or extended family relinquishing their rights to that child. Those orphans have no laws set in place for them to receive humanitarian parole at this time. And because Haiti is unable to process paperwork for adoptions right now, that means these pre-quake orphans with such documents have no chance (outside of the Hope Act) at having a family to call their own for possibly years to come. If you have a child, can you imagine your child in that situation....not only orphaned by whatever tragedy brought that to be, but also without hope of being adopted? Destined to be alone, to live in an orphanage with different staff coming in and out... And add to that... can you imagine your child being that orphan, with that kind of loneliness and also having no roof over his/her head out of fear of after-shocks or another earthquake? The orphans of Haiti Children's Rescue Mission (HCRM) have been living outside under ragged tents, sleeping on rocks and broken tables for over 2 months. No family, no hope, no security.
The Hope Act is just that: HOPE for Haiti's pre-quake orphans. It allows and makes way for Homeland Security to give such orphans humanitarian parole - and therefore - HOPE. Families all over San Antonio and a few in Ohio and Iowa have been matched to many of these orphans at HCRM. Approved families who have proven themselves over and over through every adoption-related required paperwork, FBI fingerprints, USCIS fingerprints... etc. etc. Families who have been proven to have the finances, the emotional stamina, the knowledge of caring for a traumatized child, the support needed, - you name it... QUALIFIED families who long to love and nurture these precious ones.
We are one of those families. I don't enjoy politics and I should make my voice known among my representatives even when I am not personally impacted. But in this piece of legislation, I am impacted and so is the girl in the picture above. I have to speak up. And I have to ask you to do the same - for her, for us, for every orphan in Haiti destined to lonliness and hopelessness without the passing of this legistlation.
Let your thoughts lead you to action. Please contact your Senators and Congressmen by PHONE (or by email) (their contact info is easy to find on-line wherever you live) and express your support of this bill. And then, pray with us that God will direct the hearts of our leadership to pass this precious bill!
I'll end with these thoughts for "K" today:
How do you sleep tonight? I hear you lay your head on rocks to sleep, so tonight I pray that the Rock your head rests on is Jesus. For "God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold."
I wonder how dark it is where you sleep. Are their any lights other than the moon and stars to light your way, any campfire burning to keep you warm? So I pray that Jesus will be your light, because "You, oh Lord, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darness into light."
I wonder what you are feeling. Are you scared? Do you feel lost among the many orphans there who also need attention? Do you ache for hugs, belonging, a long glance from eyes that really see you? And so I pray for you to know that God sees you. He hears you. I pray this because, "In my distress I called to the Lord; I cried to my God for help....[and he] reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters. He rescued me from my powerful enemy...He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me." And He delights in you too.
And I wonder if you know that the laws of nations must come together in order for you to be home with us. I wonder, if you could understand that, if you would have "child-like faith" and just believe that God would do this for you... because I do. I don't always have that kind of faith, but He has given it to me for this moment. For "The Lord lives! Praise be to my Rock! Exalted be God my Savior! He is the God who avenges [you], who subdues nations under [you]...Therefore [you, K] will praise [Him] among the nations....[you] will sing praises to [His] name."
I love you. May God make a way for me to be with you, for a lifetime.
(all verses from Psalm 18)