“I feel that there is nothing truly more artistic than to love people” -Van gogH
Remember this picture? A year ago yesterday we announced to social media land that we were getting ready to move to Haiti and love on some amazing kids! Each pair of shoes represents a child in our care- pictured here are 12. Shortly after arriving we had learned there were only going to be eleven kiddos for us because one little boy was placed back with his mom. This might be confusing to some of you thinking, “wait a minute 🤔 how does an orphan boy get placed back with his mom?”
Thus leading us to examine what Alex and I have been learning about here in Haiti for the past eight months. Looking back on my Facebook post I felt a little sad yesterday. I felt sad that in the posts Alex and I shared we were moved by this great notion that we would come here to be a mom and a dad to “kids who had none.” That after four years of infertility struggles we would finally feel the joys of parenting and having kids of our own. We would get to fill the emptiness that infertility had left and in turn be a mom and a dad to these kids who “have none”. We had hoped and expected to be broken pieces of the same whole- completing each other.
We moved here thinking the kids did not have suitable families to care for them or to love them enough. Within the first couple months I realized I am no one to question how much love people can have for their families or their children. We learned a lot about our kids in a matter of a few months and realized that we cannot possibly be parents to kids who HAVE parents and miss them. We had already been interacting with one mom in particular and realizing the struggles she faced with her child. Soon I will share her story ♥️
The truth about the majority of our kids is that they are POVERTY ORPHANS. It is a sad truth. Poverty should not create orphans. These are parents that felt at the time they gave up their child that they had no fighting chance for them. These are loving people who wanted to give the best opportunity they possibly could to their little loves. They put aside their own emotions to try to give their child the best they could think of- not realizing that family is the best environment for a child to grow up into. We do have a few true orphans (mom and dad are both deceased) but the majority are orphaned by a simple lack of resources.
With this knowledge in our hearts we cannot continue to seek to take the place of a mom or a dad knowing God created these families- He did not create orphans. The incredible part of this particular segment of our journey is that God continues to bless us with resources and with new connections so we can continue to be for these ELEVEN wonderful children God has put in our path. Our heart is to support families as a whole and to keep them from being broken up.
We will continue to seek bringing JOY to these lives. With fun experiences, play, and laughter. We continue to bring the Word of God to them and to teach them they are LOVED. We continue to push them to do their very best in school and to have helpful hearts. And I still feel that God has blessed us for “Such a time as this” to be a spiritual mom and dad to these guys while we pray that every kid has a forever family. We are going to be looking forward at family exposure and opportunities to train the families to prepare for possible reunification’s.
Knowing the struggles and effects of poverty on families we are searching out family preservation through job creation. We are praying into different skills the families have or could potentially have and working to expound on options like this.
Be in prayer with us as we have not necessarily shifted our vision but have very much “refined” it. We moved here with the best interests of the kids in our hearts and God quickly revealed to us that it is family 🙌
This is my new friend Marietta- or Monise as we call her. She is a mom to SEVEN children!! Yep- you heard right, SEVEN! Her oldest three are not pictured here. Two of them are into their twenty’s and the other boy is eighteen years old and in ninth grade. Marietta lost her husband while he was working last August. She is now a widowed mother of seven kids. The youngest, Sarahstecie, pictured here (her first birthday was yesterday!) We met with Marietta about a month ago because she would like to give her two boys (six and seven years old) to the orphanage we are working with. She would like to give them a chance to eat three meals a day and continue their education. Situations like these are tough but we would like to support families like this one to stay together! These boys ADORE their mother and their sisters. And clearly this mom adores her children but is weighed down by the overwhelming sense that she can’t do enough for them. We have been reaching out to different missionaries here who have job creation opportunities available so she can get a job but have not found anyone hiring just yet. Another option we are exploring is giving her a micro loan while we continue to help her meet all the needs of her family through job creation. If you would like to partner with us and specifically with Marietta please email us or send us a Facebook message. There are so many ways YOU can make a difference in the lives of people here and we would love to hear from you!
Thanks for taking the time to be educated on our journey here and for your continued prayers. We are thankful to be here and honored to be living in the culture of Haiti. There are so many beautiful things happening and we invite you to be a part of them.
As always- Abide in Love,
Kristen Bradshaw (and Alex too 😉)
Kristen & Alex Bradshaw