A mom with a heart for Haiti reacts to the horrific tragedy in her children's birth country.
Corey Waters, Mom of 6: Five of my kids are adopted from Haiti. Over the weekend, I ran a marathon in Orlando, raising $64,000 for the country. We were in the land of Disney when we heard that the earthquake had struck, and our world changed forever.
It's definitely a very tragic situation. In addition to having our kids' birth moms unaccounted for, we also have a lot of Haitian friends we are not able to get news about, as well as our missionary friends. And we're not sure what to tell our kids.
Being at Disney during all this has been a surreal experience. Fifteen of us ran the Disney marathon to buy an ambulance for Heartline Ministries' prenatal and birth program, and we raised $64,000 dollars. It was a major accomplishment -- but right now, it feels very small.
To come off of that high to this feeling is just ... devastating.
This is really our first vacation since our children have come home -- we have 5 Haitian children and one biological child, and we wanted to do it up big. We are trying to let the kids enjoy it as much as possible. They don't really have a sense of what's going on in Haiti. They know there was an earthquake, but I have been sheltering them from the coverage. I try to keep my own emotions down.
We have heard some rumors about people we are close to that were not good. It's very hard when you hear things. For example, the Hotel Montana was the place we stayed the first time we went to Haiti. It collapsed during the earthquake. They had 300 guests there, and only 100 are accounted for. The Hotel Montana is the premier hotel in Port-au-Prince.
For example, when we went to the hotel in Haiti to meet our daughter, Wyclef Jean was sitting at the next table from us in the lobby. This is where everybody who's anybody stays. To think of the Montana being gone, and to see the Presidential Palace the way it is, it's just so shocking.
It really is unreal for so many of us.
For those of us who have missionary friends in Haiti ... to hear them tell their stories and to read their e-mails, I just cannot fathom what they are going through right now. I can't imagine the sights they are seeing, the smells they are smelling, all the dead bodies in the streets.
A friend went out yesterday to check on the father of another friend. He went to his house and found it crumbled. They managed to pull the friend's father out. But on their drive back, they were held up and robbed. People are desperate for money, and supplies are already in short supply.
The situation will get worse. There will be looting, there will be violence, and people will get increasingly desperate.
In Haiti, even on a good day, people live behind security walls -- those walls keep you safe. Now those walls have crumbled.
There are dead bodies in the street everywhere. A friend talked about her husband who had gone into Port-au-Prince and saw 10 dump trucks full of bodies.
The sickness that is going to come up is so frightening. I want to be there so badly helping, but we know it's not the right thing. We've been told, "If you don't speak Creole, and if you don't have medical expertise, don't come."
My missionary friends need fuel -- so they can keep going, keep helping. All we can do is send money. Prices over there for basic necessities have already doubled. My heart breaks for Haiti.
It's a country that holds such a special place in my heart. Obviously, I adopted five children from there. But that wasn't something I'd ever planned.
When I met my husband in college, we always said we wanted to have three children -- some biological, some adopted. When my daughter was born, I was like: "Well, I'm good!" I felt totally fulfilled, and she was an only child for 8 years. When she was about 8 or so, a good friend had a baby who I started babysitting. I said to my husband: "Maybe I'm not done." He said, "Why don't we go back to adoption?"
We looked at every country that had a program, and we liked Haiti because it was close, so we could afford to take them back to their country to visit. It also sounded like Haiti was a short process. (This turned out not to be true. The government was overthrown twice during our first two adoptions!)
The first time we went there, we couldn't believe how poverty-stricken it was. It was only an hour-and-a-half flight from Miami. How could this be? The poverty was astounding. We thought: "How do people not know about this?"
But the people of Haiti are so resilient. Americans are so angry about the small things. If they have to wait five minutes in Walmart, they're mad. But in Haiti, they go into a government office and might have to wait there all day, and they'll have a smile on their face.
I can't believe the tragedy they go through on a daily basis, yet they get up and they face the next day. They are an amazingly strong and resilient people. We were so drawn to the country.
After we adopted the first time, we wanted to adopt again -- right away. We wanted to adopt a child with special medical needs, because there are no medical facilities in Haiti to speak of. Then we adopted an older sibling set. I felt like God was calling us to do that.
This earthquake is such a tragic thing to happen in a country that already faced so many challenges. But it's the first time in our lifetime that the world's spotlight is on Haiti. That's the only good thing to come out of this. Now the world knows. It's not much, but it is something.
To follow Corey's blog, go to Watching the Waters.