Desperate target Haiti’s orphanages

From CNN

To survive after quake, the desperate target Haiti’s orphanages

Haiti’s orphanages have become targets for people desperate for food, water and medical supplies in the aftermath of the devastating magnitude 7.0 earthquake.

On Wednesday night, Maison de Lumiere, an orphanage caring for 50 orphans, came under attack from a group of 20 armed men, aid workers told the Joint Council on International Children’s Services.

A neighboring orphanage sheltering about 135 children has been robbed several times over the past few days, they said.

Meanwhile, aid workers said a third orphanage caring for 17 orphans reported that townspeople are trespassing and tapping into the water supply that is reserved for the children.

Click on the link to read the rest at CNN’s site.

And from CCAI’s report of taking supplies to Haiti:

We unloaded the supplies as quick as we could and covered the truck with tarps. We offered them an advise we received prior to our departure from another pilot who has been transporting aid to Haiti the day before: Cover the supplies with tarps and let a couple of guys lie on top of it pretending dead so supplies will not be high-jacked on the way back to the orphanage.

Below is a video of what happened at a food distribution center when supplies arrived:

Also from CCAI’s site, a report of them trying to get orphans already in process out of the country. Please see this post for information on how we may be able to help that process.

I would like to somehow get involved in the discussions about bringing more orphans out of Haiti. I’m not advocating allowing children without paperwork to be adopted, but I am advocating getting children in orphanages out of Haiti so they can be kept alive long enough to figure out if they have family looking for them or if they are open for adoption. In a country where it is survival of the fittest, what chance do babies and children in an orphanage have?

If anyone has contact information for the Catholic Charities organization in Florida trying to make another Peter Pan type airlift happen, please get that information to me privately. Or, if you’d rather, you can give someone there my email address. If there is anything we as a community can do in the line of letter writing or emailing or faxing or whatever – I would like to do what we can.

I will not be around for a good part of the day, but hopefully I’ll have some time online mid-day before I leave work to volunteer a few hours at GG’s school.


Note from RQ: The section below is for comments from's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that I agree with any particular comment just because I let it stand. Posts are generally only removed if they don't follow the rules of the site. Anyone who fails to comply with the rules of the site may lose his or her posting privilege.

37 Responses to “Desperate target Haiti’s orphanages”

  1. willowflower Says:


  2. kms Says:

    Terribly sad.

    In addition to relocation can the world send in more security?

  3. sarah123 Says:

    How horrible! I will try not to judge them since I’m sure they were desperate (hopefully that is why). I pray they are evacuated. I know myself and others would at the least foster until family or paperwork for them is located.

  4. Miss Miaow Says:

    Just no words…

  5. pkchina2005 Says:

    All paperwork is done for the children in the House of God orphanage. Staff going to the embassy today. Hope that that is processed quickly. Plans are being made to get them out on a plane tonight if the paperwork is cleared.

    I hope that Catholic Charities will be able to do something to help those who were not in process survive. It is clear from stories like this that providing aid in country is tenous at best and will likely get worse before it gets better.

  6. RumorQueen Says:

    Someone left a comment that was very (very) not nice, and I’m just not going to let it through. However, amongst the venom, they did manage to educate me that SOS Children’s village is apparently doing pretty good in Haiti. I found this online: and

    It sounds like the SOS people are used to doing this, and that they have the security to make sure their people (and supplies) stay safe.

    I wonder if they have enough space to bring thousands of orphans into their armed area? I get no idea of how large the “village” is from these stories, but they mention a soccer field that could be used as a hospital area – perhaps they’ve got the room and the resources to travel around Haiti and round up all of the orphans in orphanages and get them to the safety of their little armed “village”?

    If they do, then that might be a better temporary measure than an airlift. Does anyone know someone specific we can contact there? Or maybe someone can investigate that for us and let us know? If they’ve got the means to do it but need funds raised then that’s a fundraising effort I could get behind. Assuming they’ve got room to safely house the thousands of orphans in Haiti located at the orphanages around the country. Or, perhaps we need a combination of the two, both an airlift (for those who were already identified as orphans) and the SOS village for those who do not have paperwork showing they were already an orphan? With reports of a half a million orphans, both is probably a better option.

    I’m just kind of brainstorming as I’m typing, anyone else with ideas, please share. Nicely. Please.

    And, again, anyone with someone we can contact for more information about what capabilities the SOS Village in Haiti has, how many children they can house (and feed and keep safe) please help us get in contact with them.

  7. RumorQueen Says:

    Well, that answered that. Someone let me know that the SOS village is taking supplies to the community, they are not offering to take any more children in. Once they give the supplies out and they leave, the fight for the supplies is on and, once again, the strongest and best armed get the supplies.

    So it doesn’t look like that’s much of an option, either.

    Like Sarah, I’m also not going to say a whole lot bad about the people who are trying to feed their family in whatever way they can. But the point is, orphans have no one to look out for them. No one who loves them enough to grab a stick and fight for food for them.

    Obviously, enough supplies need to be distributed for everyone – not just the orphans. If that could happen, then the supplies delivered to orphans could stay put. But I don’t think that’s happening any time soon. Sadly.

    I don’t think there are any easy answers, here. And I think we’re back to hoping for an airlift for as many children as possible. Like the starfish, no one is going to be able to save them all, but if we could save some of them…


    PKChina – please keep us updated, it would be great if they can get them out of there by tonight.

  8. JJoeJeans Says:

    Catholic Charities only works domestically. Catholic Relief Service works overseas. I think that as much as the impulse to help these children is completely understandable, airlifting babies en masse out of Haiti at the moment with the intention of pushing them through the adoption pipeline just isn’t sitting well with many of us. I’m not saying we shouldn’t help these children but there is so much chaos at the moment there is simply no way to know whether many of these children actually have surviving family who would be able to take care of them.

  9. RumorQueen Says:

    Someone else who gets it:

  10. 2qts4me Says:

    I don’t think you quite understand. The orphans are not leaving with the intention of being adopted, but fostered. Have you been to Haiti?
    Long before the earthquake supplies were being stolen by what they call bandits. Taking supplies to an orphanage was a risk. Many people we know took the supplies in their suitcases and paid for extra baggage. They did not have any clothing for themselves in these suitcases. They booked into hotels and from there a driver would take them to the orphanage with the suitcases. Where my dd was residing babies were dying. They did not have proper medical care because there wasn’t any. The supplies they had were brought into the orphanage by missionaires, volunteers and parents. These supplies were often stolen on route. My dd was 2 years 3 months and weighed the same as a 8 month old baby. She was riddled with parasites.

    I think it is a good idea to air lift the babies and children, until you can find their parents and family. There are many people involved with their children’s orphanages and the Directors and trying to work out a way to have children fostered. Emails are being sent back and forth some information with regards to the government is not correct.
    I believe one lady Barbara Walker and advocate for Haitian children and she runs a rescue center is taking a whole bunch of children to the embassy. There is a lot of misinformation out there as to what might be happening to the children.

    Nearly all the children that have been airlifted to Europe and the USA
    have been referred to families who , like me, went through the adoption process. The process is very undpredicatable and can be a rollercoaster ride. There are families in Florida who are approved for fostercare who have already adopted who are happy to take care of a child until their families can be found, if not then they will be placed for adoption. Of course in 5 months this could all change, especially where government is concerned.

  11. 2qts4me Says:

    I just want to add, there are slave children in Haiti, and have always been. The are called restaveks. These are children working for more affluent Haitians as young as 5. They are deemed lower class. Unfortunately, Haiti right now is ripe for traffickers to steal children for the sex market and child labor. This has been going on for years.
    Haiti was one of those places that nobody really paid much attention to and especially when people were talking about child slaves. The Dominican Replublic has many Haitian child slaves. This is the reason why many people who live and work in Haiti are wanting the children out of there. My friend’s ds has a brand mark on him. We are not talking about a few hundred children. Haiti is a vibrant culture full of many talented people. They are very artistic and their art is world reknowned. I am just as passionate about this as I am about my other childrens’ country China. Where my ds lived in China compared to my dd in Haiti was night and day.

  12. 2qts4me Says:

    The talk now is that UNICEF is on the ground and accusing a Director of child trafficking when these children have been approved for adoption in Haiti and are awaiting their approved families. Seems that they are jumping the gun again.

  13. JJoeJeans Says:

    I don’t deny for one minute that the situation in Haiti is dire, and was dire prior to the earthquake. However, at this time, while some may see the climate as ripe for sex trafficking, others see the climate as ripe for affluent Westerners to take advantage of a chaotic situation. Haiti is still a sovereign nation and I’m not convinced that the United States has the right to determine the future of these children, no matter how dire the current situation may be.

  14. JJoeJeans Says:

    I will add that I write as an adoptive parent and as the relative of someone who has done extensive relief work in Haiti prior to the earthquake.

  15. RumorQueen Says:

    The Haitian government is asking for help!!! They are begging for help!!!!! We aren’t stepping in and bullying them into making them accept our help!!!!

    Sheesh, we’re the bad guys because we’re trying to save lives? Sometimes the US bashing is a bit much.

    Not to mention the AP bashing.

    My family is complete. I’m not doing this because I see a chance to add to my family. I’m blogging about this to bring attention to a terrible situation, where no one is sticking up for the orphan’s LIVES, just their RIGHTS. Where people want to protect rights more than they want to protect lives. I just don’t understand those who want to leave them in place where they can either die or be grabbed by the human traffickers who will turn these children into slaves.


    Like I said in the forum – some people are so married to their idealism that they really don’t get reality.

    I’ve got to be at GG’s school in 20 minutes, so I’m going to be gone until later tonight. I’ll have to pick back up with things then.

  16. kms Says:

    The US government isn’t going to relocate kids to be used in the sex trade. Others will. Doesn’t that suggest that these kids need to be in hands of proper authorities. Haiti did ask for help. The kids gone missing from the hospital woud fall into bad hands and are not traceable and will probably never be recovered or found. Kids brought into the country by proper authorities won’t be lost forever in the system. They will be traceable. They won’t be traceable in a mass grace.

    There isn’t enough space for Haiti for everyone to be relocated within it’s border given the widespread devastation of the quake. Still need way more police there. Still need to relocate homeless to other parts, but still there will not be enough other parts for everyone to get to that has access to water, food, transportation and medical care.

    I’ve gone over the other side on this obviously. It sounded too adoption centered in the media, they tend to mess up details… But I don’t see this as a step toward adoption.

    I also think that the children relocated not already in process should probably be cared for by current foster parents and not people responding to the tragedy. I just see hearts broken and flashing warning signs. Maybe an orphanage model? Are there towns will empty schools, closed medical clinics and nursing facilities, old church convent and rectories? Would these buildings be able to be used for this? Group home model perhaps? I am sure the communities will volunteer in droves to help, including the people.

  17. JJoeJeans Says:

    lmao. forget it.

  18. mom2girls Says:

    People are trying to survive over there. Our government are not doing enough. If they would bring more supplies this would not happen. Now after reading this children are in danger and so are nurses and care workers for these children. Now I agree they must be moved to a temporary location, either somehere else in country or outside of country for temporary bases ofcourse to figure out what their status is. They can taka a picture of everychild and post them on a orphanage wall so if anyone looking for them can inquire about them. What a tragic situation.

  19. 2qts4me Says:

    I agree with RQ on this. The # 1 priority is the health and care of ALL people in Haiti. The children are innocent and cannot protect themselves. There were many orphans before this, and there will be many more after. Ideologies just don’t come into play here. Haiti has it’s own communication system, the grapevine and you will be surprised how they can track and find families. The government of Haiti has done nothing for it’s people before and especially now. They have homes in other countries. The government is unable to provide the basics for their people during a disaster or any other situation.
    The US and other countries are the only ones helping the people in Haiti. They had no emergency services before or now. If it was not for many Americans living and providing shelter, food and care for the abandoned children and orphans they would just die. These people were there long before the quake. Most of the orphanages are Church funded by Americans, Canadians and Europeans.

    Although any earthquake is tragic, many other countries have a government, rescue services and a military that can help with search and rescue. They usually have funding for their people and aid assistance from other countries.

  20. Jess Says:

    I’ve heard that over a billion dollars has been given or pledged to Haiti. I truly think the problem isn’t so much money (which is definitely needed), but logistics. There’s a problem of getting what’s needed to the right people in a timely and orderly manner. It’s hard to sit on the sidelines, wanting to help, but knowing that getting involved might be getting in the way. I hope some order can be established (won’t say “restored” since I think the people have been living under corruption and chaos for years) so people can get what they need and rebuild their lives. And, yes, orphans are especially vulnerable right now. I understand there is an airlift to Indianapolis underway (or being planned) right now so those known to be orphans can get out of harm’s way and those whose status is unknown can fill up the orphanages, or those orphanages still standing and operating. Very, very sad situation.

  21. ladeeesquire Says:

    “JJoeJeans Says:

    January 22nd, 2010 at 2:43 pm
    lmao. forget it.”

    I don’t understand this post. I’m not quite sure why you think you’re the only one who’s trying to help here or has all the right answers.

    very strange imo.

  22. KarenInCa Says:

    JJoeJeans, wow….really?

  23. portlandval Says:

    I don’t know what “Imao” means either but it is possible that we all really believe the same things…that these kids with no parents need more help than they are getting and we are just in disagreement about how that happens….whether or not they have surviving relatives is kind of irrelevant right now because it is chaos over there and it will take time to find them.

    Also, perhaps we should think of the kids more as refugees than orphans because no one knows their status yet. Kids could be fostered in other countries, not necessarily adopted. This would be for SURVIVAL until conditions improve or until parents are found. I feel scared for the caregivers of these children. This situation is dire. An airlift should not be out of the question. Neither should armed guards or other security on site.

  24. kms Says:

    Wasn’t Haiti primarily populated by runaway slaves from the US. To think of slavery occurring in a place like that or peole being stolen from there and enslaved elsewhere is hard to hear.

  25. SoccerMom Says:

    JJoeJeans, with all due respect, you are so far off base regarding the “affluent Westerners” of which you speak and the motives on which we act. I will be very honest in that I am one of those “affluent Westerners” who will most likely be standing in line should there be a call for foster families in my State. And your lack of respect for people who are trying to help is a little sad.

    In a time of crisis, each of us contributes what we have to contribute, what we’re best at, what we have to offer. Some people can go to Haiti, work directly with the people. Some can donate money. Some can raise money. Some start prayer lines. And some can open their homes and their hearts, welcome a child into their family, even if only temporarily. We’re all doing the best we can, contributing what we can; and it is completely non-productive to knock others for their contribution because it doesn’t agree with yours.

    At least people are trying to find a solution.

  26. semperflexius Says:

    Well said, SoccerMom. Thank you.

  27. SEAMOM Says:


    Haiti is the oldest Black Republic in the world. Haitian slaves staged the only successful slave rebellion in world history. They overthrew their French Plantation masters in the 1790′s.

    Liberia in West Africa was founded by former American slaves in the 1820′s.

  28. Liz Says:

    I asked myself what if, God forbid, a catastrophe like this hit here in U.S. and I was separated from my daughter? I imagine myself laying somewhere hurt and unable to look for her. I would hope she was somewhere safe. I would pray she was in a warm loving home, safe until I was healthy enough to find her. Even if it were across the ocean, I would just want her SAFE!

  29. tisramay Says:

    I’m unable to spend the time reading ALL the comments on this post (so forgive me if this has been said), but I think there is a BIG difference between 1. removing children (orphans or stranded/ separated non-orphans) from a land that cannot currently support them, and 2. adopting out children while a mass tragedy is still occurring. Rumor Queen, or anyone else I’ve heard of, is not suggesting immediate ADOPTION for these kids. That would be hasty, and unethical.

    The facts are, however, that this huge crisis hit a country that already had trouble taking care of its own. Land-wise, there aren’t too many options for people to get out of the wreckage and survive well for long (we’re talking about a tiny island country). Certainly not for the number of people involved. When Katrina hit, there was still land all around within our own country- cities for the people to settle in until the waters dried up and a plan was made for the future, other cities with resources. We all know that restoration took (is taking?) a LONG time. It will probably take even longer for a place like Haiti because there were already so many issues before the earthquake.

    It only seems reasonable to me that if the orphanages can not provide for the huge number of stranded/ separated/ orphan children that are trying to enter them for shelter that the children are taken temporarily to a place where they can be helped.

    Some organizations are preparing for the possibility of providing a foster-care solution if large numbers of children (that aren’t already in the process of adoption) are able to enter on a humanitarian parole visa. Where I am in Nashville, the Middle Tennessee Orphan Alliance is compiling a database of potential families to do this.

    I’ve listed the original e-mail below for anyone else interested in the surrounding Nashville area:


    Hi everyone, undoubtedly you have wondered how you might get involved more in the tragedy of Haiti, particularly as it relates to orphans. The situation is very fluid at the moment and there is a chance that a number of these orphans will need to come to the United States for temporary or permanent care. Organizations such as Lydia Home in Chicago area (Where Safe Families has originated) and 4Kids in South Florida are two of the organizations who have been asked to help. But the numbers would be overwhelming for either of these organizations and they will need massive help.

    To be proactive, the Middle Tennessee Orphan Alliance (MTOA) is building a database of willing families who also have been through some of the process in either the area of foster care, adoption home studies, or safe families.

    This is only a first step and is only meant to be building an information database of willing families to work through in the Body of Christ. IF CALLED UPON in MiddleTN, the appropriate agencies will be in touch with more information and to get more information from you. Please feel free to forward this to contacts you have at other churches in the area.

    IF YOU ARE INTERESTED in being on this list, please complete the following brief survey.

    Thanks so much.

    Greg Buzek
    President – IHL Group
    Donor Trustee – Retail Orphan Initiative

  30. winniegirl Says:

    International Justice Mission published this today:

    (If any NGO has the clout to step in and make a difference, IJM is is!)

  31. earthmama Says:

    Having listened to much on this on POTUS (XM) and NPR, I would say that according to the folks on the ground that too much security has been on the ground and not enough aid.

    As one person said on a news show I was listening to….if any of us were in this situation and we saw armed folks coming for security and no food, water or medical care, we may do anything to get those things to our family members.

    We are all seeing and listening to different things but we really have no idea what is going on. My gut tells me that there is more support and goodness on the ground than we see and we are seeing and looking for the horror.

    Much like during other crises, such as Katrina, if adequate REAL aid (food, water and medical care) comes in, then “security” is not needed.

    We should all pray that the aid actually comes to the people in need in a timely manner before more die.

  32. kms Says:

    Security is always needed. There is a mental health side to such situations and it doesn’t really matter what is available. People have been without and in survival mode. Some won’t be able to get out of that mindset.

    Security on the ground means workers can clear roads and debris safely and construction can begin. As those things are going to be done the first places where wells are restored and functional there will be temptation to fight and reserve for self or control the area by gangs within the village. This is a tiny country.

  33. sophie3 Says:

    Well Said Soccermom,

    Us ”affluent westerners” have the power to make things change..a little bit. Just by the pressure we here in Quebec placed on our Goverment (with the help of journalists), they are bringing children already with paper worked processed plus trying to bring also the 50 or so babies who’s paper work was not all finished. Since the families are giving the pictures of their babies at the begining of the adoption process, it is unbearable to imagine you child in a dangerous situation in an orphanage where food and water is rare.

    I am all in favor of bringing babies to meet their parents, even the babies that were already in orphanages but that paper work was not process. These babies were already abandonned, they need to be in a safe environnement and it would permit children roaming in streets to be placed in safer place. We are here putting pressure on our Canadian goverment to make sure our troops their to what they did in Kosovo, making sure orphans are safe and have the food and water they need. I am an adoptive parent, our family is complete, I am not in this to make things easy for me to adopt another baby. I am calling people, making things move just for the sake of those babies who need the help they deserve. If we do not speak for them, who will.

  34. SoccerMom Says:

    This update just came in from my friend whose son came home from Haiti the day before the quake. He is currently planning his trip to go back, but while here, is devoting his efforts to fundraising:

    “Everyone seems surprised that Haitian kids, can survive 6 days without food and water. The average Haitian kid DOES NOT EAT EVERY DAY and drinking water is very limited on a daily basis without a quake. We need to wake up to the realities of Haiti before the quake to understand what is happening today”.

    Thanks to your generosity, ****** has raised over $20,000 so far. Kevin is so excited about being able to help from here-please don’t let Haiti fade with time!”

    So, like I said, we’re all contributing what we contribute best. I’m very proud of my friend’s son.

  35. ljsatx Says:

    If my daughter was sleeping on a pile of rubble without food and water and was ripe prey for sex traffickers or on the verge of death, I’d pray that some “affluent Westerners took advantage of this ripe situation” to SAVE MY CHILD’S LIFE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    It boggles my mind that children are in a life-and-death situation and people are actually saying out loud that saving their lives is not worth whatever consequences may ensue? Really?

    RQ, keep screaming it from the rooftops. If this was the only good that ever came from your megaphone (as if), wouldn’t you consider this all worthwhile??

  36. jemchina Says:

    RQ just sent you an email of an organization linked to the county, that will be trying to place these children as they arrive here in S. Florida. From what I’ve heard the Catholic Charities has still not received approval for a peter pan, but are working on a facility they already have to try to acommadate the children if this happens.

  37. RumorQueen Says:

    jemchina – please feel free to post that information to the thread where I’ve lifted the prohibition on naming agencies. I’d like to keep all such contact information in that thread.