Monday, March 11, 2013

Baby Levi - Son of a Voodoo Priest

My last post wasn't received altogether very well, as I assumed would be the case.  So I take a break from highlighting the harm of some foreign-run orphanages to highlighting the safe haven some can be.  Baby Levi's story shows the need for such a safe haven.

Baby Levi was first introduced to the foreign community at a health care clinic.  He was a few months old and very malnourished.  Baby Levi's mother had passed away and his father brought him to the American run clinic occasionally for formula.  However, baby Levi didn't gain sufficient weight, grew very weak, and was near death at his 8-month appointment.  He only weighed 8 pounds and was suffering from pneumonia.  The clinic staff suggested that baby Levi stay in the care of a small, American-run orphan care home for a few months, to gain strength.  The staff suggested that baby Levi stay just long enough to thrive and then be returned to his family.

Baby Levi's father showed up at the orphan care home with not only Levi but also his 6 year old sister Beth and 11 year old brother Philip.  Edith, the home director, spoke with the father, explaining that she was only to care for Levi for a short time.  The father insisted on her taking all 3 children.  Edith simply didn't have room for Philip, realized Beth looked quite malnourished herself, and so made the decision to take Levi and Beth into the home.  However she stressed she wanted the father to visit weekly and that the intent was still to reunite the family after a few months.

The Haitian staff were quite leery of the father visiting.  They were actually quite leery of Edith keeping Levi and Beth in her care.  After much conversation the horrific story was revealed.  Apparently, Levi's father was suspected of murdering his wife shortly after Levi's birth and then subsequently murdering his oldest daughter after discovering she was pregnant.  The community is terrified of this man as he is regarded as a very powerful Voodoo witch doctor in the area.  The community, crippled by fear, chose not to turn the man over to the police. 

Edith and the other foreigners in her circle of friends grieved, and still do grieve for poor Philip.  We all pray that he is safe.  That God is protecting him from physical harm as well as spiritual harm.  We pray that he is protected from becoming the next witch doctor in the community as will probably be expected of him.  I still cry interceding tears on his behalf, though I've never met him. 

There is good news in all this.  Baby Levi and his sister Beth have found a safe haven.  Baby Levi, after months of one-on-one care with a Haitian nanny and plenty of medical exams is doing well.  I'm not certain how much he weighs now.  But I held him last week and he is a strong guy.  He's about 13 months now and cruising around.  He's so strong, and he's safe, and he's loved.  Levi and Beth aren't safe in their biological home and culturally their father is so feared that the community won't care for them.  They need a forever family.  Now's not the time for Haitian adoptions.  But one day, it is my prayer that they will be adopted into a forever family.  And I'm so thankful for Edith, her commitment to promoting attachment between nannies and children, and her commitment to Levi and Beth and the other 20 children in her care.

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