In Haiti, poverty and the legacy of slavery have caused a staggering culture of child abandonment and male neglect of family commitments. 70% of labor aged Haitians are unemployed, while those who are employed earn an average annual wage of $400. Mothers give up their children, and men leave their wives and lovers because of the stress of trying to provide from within a devastated economy. There is a strong cycle of fatherlessness and neglect that probably stems from the severance of slaves from their African families and from the commodification of children by slave traders. Whatever the forces are that have made fracture and dislocation the norm for Haitian families, it is poverty that maintains this status quo.
Unfortunately, orphanages have often only enabled this dissolution of Haitian families. Haiti was said to have as many as 500,000 orphans before the devastating earthquake of January 12, 2010. The vast majority of these “orphans” were actually not true orphans. They were children given up by living parents because of extreme poverty. A history of corruption and inefficiency in the Haitian governments adoption processes has caused orphanages to be overcrowded and short on funding, also creating emotional, physical, and developmental problems for institutionalized children. The instances of Reactive Attachment Disorder within Haitian orphans is astounding. Yet, while a single adoption costs $15,000-20,000, these funds could sustain up to 40 families by providing seed money for ongoing small businesses! Something needs to change.
Most orphanages are focused primarily on childcare, without addressing the roots of child abandonment. Unfortunately, many, many orphanages also take in way too many kids way too easily. While the Apparent Project advocates passionately for the adoption of true orphans we also believe that preventing child abanonment by economically empowering Haitian families is the best way to rescue children. This is why we have created opportunities for impoverished parents to earn an income through our artisan program. We train each parent in a specialized skill, such as jewelry making, bookbinding, sewing, or another craft, building relationships along the way. Through addressing educational needs, homelessness, joblessness, nutritional problems, medical needs, and building emotionally and spiritually enriching relationships, we are trying to bring dignity and wholeness to the whole person, strengthening each to be a support and encouragement to others.
“This is why we are called the “Apparent Project”. We are trying to help mothers and fathers in poverty be A PARENT to their children. We are educating and taking care of street kids who don’t have A PARENT. We are using media and the arts to make the needs of Haiti APPARENT to those who can help, and we are doing this all with the hope that the love of God will be made more APPARENT to those we humbly serve and that He will be known as A PARENT to the parentless.”
For more info: www.apparentproject.com
Jodi Stanford is selling Apparent Project bracelets to raise money for Haitian families and for the adoption expenses of the Fuge family in Tennessee. I have the original bracelets made from cereal box beads and will sell them for $10 each, 2 for $18, or 3 for $25. https://www.facebook.com/jodi.stanford