What a day of mixed feelings for all of us here. In Haiti, a mother is not a guarantee, neither is a child for that matter. There are far to many motherless children and far to many mothers with empty arms.
Today I came into the kitchen of our home and greeted Maudeline, one of our cooks. "Ki jan ou ye?" I asked her, "how are you?" I was not prepared for her answer. Her eyes filled with despair, pain and tears. She looked at the floor and mumbled, "not well" She cried and I stood there helpless. There are no words to say to a woman who's firstborn son was killed, at 18 years old, when the building he was in was reduced to rubble. There are no words in any language. I'm sorry is not enough, I will pray for you is an empty promise. Her child is dead and yet, she wiped away her tears and went back to work. There is no luxury of a day off to mourn her first Mother's Day without him. There are little mouths to feed and a bit of money at the end of the week to bring home to her family that remains. Today Maudeline is a mother, without her child.
Wilmo is 16 years old. He was abandoned as a small child by his birth parents. For most of his life he lived with the family who took him in. After the earthquake the family that Wilmo was living with did not have the means to keep him any longer. He was sent to a home to work as a restavek where he was neglected and beat. He came to GLA in April with no other place to go. Wilmo now lives here, he receives food, clothing and a place to sleep. In exchange he helps around the house and yard. Wilmo is a 16 year old boy, who does not have a mother.
Last week Kervens spent several hours visiting with me. His heart is broken and he wants to talk about it. I want to listen. On January 12th Kervens' mother lie sick in a hospital bed. When the earthquake struck the hospital she was in collapsed and she was killed. Kervens said to me over and over again, "without a mother I have nothing. I have no mother to cook for me or take care of me. I am alone." Kervens takes care of Jerry, his 12 year old brother, the only family he has left. They are little boys, just children, without a mama.
There are 52 children here at GLA who were brought to us because their families had no way to care for them. There are mothers of these babies in Haiti today who are remembering them. Perhaps they are wondering what their babies are doing, if they are sleeping, if they are warm, if they are happy. They will never forget. There are mothers without babies.
There are 27 little ones here who are still waiting to go to their forever families in France, today is also Mother's Day there. 27 mothers who are still waiting to hold their babies and to bring them home for good.
No, this is not a "happy" Mother's Day.
But there is a girl named Judith upstairs with her baby, who is celebrating her first Mother's Day today. A woman who, when questioned by our social workers, told them that she would die without her son. Because he is here, Peterson is alive. Today she is a mother, with her baby in her arms.
There is a nanny in our nurseries named Jocelyne. On January 12th her 2 children were in their house in Carrefour, one of the hardest hit areas. Her baby lie sleeping in his bed while his world rocked and his home collapsed around him. A neighbor was able to get to him and Dawnski was rescued. 4 days later Jocelyne finally reached Carrefour and was given the news that her children were alive. Jocelyne, Endy and Dawinski now live here at GLA, waiting for their new house to be built. This afternoon Jocelyne sat with her baby on her lap and told me that this was the best Mother's Day she had ever had. Today Jocelyne is a mother with 2 little boys who are alive and taken care of.
For Jocelyne and Judith today represents hope, life and joy. For Maudeline, Wilmo, Kervens, Jerry and countless others it reminds them of death, pain and loneliness. Today my tears are falling for them, my heart is broken, like the families of this country.
I have nothing to offer but the promise that seems far to small... I will pray for you, I will carry you to Jesus and trust him to be the comfort and hope that you need.