Trying hard to write about Haiti, but my feelings about the babies in one orphanage in the mountains of Ayiti have haunted me for over a week. I honestly can't sleep and rest without her in my vision.
This one of many is irritable and distraught. She has one hand in her mouth and she is drooling. I examined her so that I could let her adoptive parents know how she is growing. She is teething and the pain is a challenge...no frozen blueberries like I gave to my now 14 year old when he was a year old...no frozen teething ring to quell the sting and stab of pointy milk teeth erupting through swollen and puffy gums...she is fretting in her little seat and not taking any comfort from her baby colleagues nearby.
She is not able to soothe herself, nor are my hugs sufficient to bring her down from the vigilance and fear she experiences. She is on guard like a fencer...threatened and lonely. Trapped and without protection, she is panicking and bereft of love and safety.
No staff can help her...they are forever changing diapers and blind with work effort and short on kindness. She is alone and without comfort and there are no assurances of her pain ending.
There is an epidemic of anxiety which channels into hopelessness and defeat. Then there is no expression whatsoever. Vanquished, she is silent and empty. She is gone...the very essence of her is lost. No one knows her. I don't know her. I can't know her. She has the courage to survive, though I wonder how. And she is buried alive, but not under dirt, though she might as well be 6 feet under.
When you read this, don't despair...this is the life of a typical orphan in any country. The loss of attachment is fast and what is uncanny is that those who work in the orphanage don't even see what has happened to the child. When attention is brought to the child's lack of vitality and connection, the discussions are contentious. After 25 years of orphan work, I don't lose my perspective. I recognize attachment issues immediately and I feel it in my heart deeply. Please take note that this is what Worldwide Orphans fiercely opposes with rich programming that is deep and committed. That said, we are also eager to not allow this to happen to children at all, ever!
President and CEO, Worldwide Orphans