Friday, March 8, 2013

Ezra's Story - Twice Abandoned

Names are changed in this story of baby Ezra.  And to be quite fair to those reading, I don't know all the details of this story.  I'm quite certain I do not have them all correct.  Furthermore, I am quite certain the intentions of all involved were good or at least not malicious.  

Baby Ezra is the third child born to his mother, Sophie.  I'm not sure of the details of Sophie's life, where she lives, if she's married, etc.  But at the time of Ezra's birth Sophie was taking care of her older two children in her home. Sophie had heard of an orphanage in her area run by foreigners.  After meeting with the orphanage director Sophie chose to give birth to her third child at the orphanage.  Sophie didn't receive any crisis pregnancy counseling, parenting classes, or official intake procedure.  Sophie gave birth to her third child at the orphanage without trained medical professionals or midwifes present.  Baby Ezra entered into the world, healthy and strong.  After spending a couple days at the orphanage Sophie chose to head home to care for her older two girls, leaving baby Ezra in the care of the orphanage.

The orphanage owner, short on staff and potentially short on funding chose not to hire a Haitian nanny for baby Ezra but instead put him in the care of an American volunteer in her 20's, Leila.  Leila quickly bonded with sweet baby Ezra and after a few months decided she wanted to adopt him.  However, according to the current Haitian adoption laws she wouldn't be eligible to adopt Ezra for another decade, until turning 35.  However, she kept him in her care.

After some time went by Sophie came to check on baby Ezra.  He had bonded with Leila and was doing well.  As Leila chatted with Sophie she was annoyed by Sophie's immaturity, indecisive nature, and seemingly careless parenting of Ezra's sister, Sara.  Leila chatted with Sophie and they decided to have Leila take legal guardianship of both Ezra and Sara.  Ezra was no longer in the guardianship of the orphanage and Sara was no longer with her mother.  Leila took both in her care and planned and hoped to adopt both.

Several months later, 10 months after Ezra's birth, Leila was worn down.  She had very little funding from donors stateside, was single parenting two young children, and was living in a foreign country filled with daily frustrations.  She got very ill with a tropical infection and decided to fly to the states to recover at home, leaving Sara and Ezra in the care of her friends. While stateside she decided that though she felt God had called her to care for those children that God was calling her now to return to the states without them.  Once she felt a bit better Leila returned to Haiti for a brief few day visit to find homes for Ezra and Sara.  Sara went home with Sophie and Ezra returned to the orphanage.  Leila returned to the States.  Ezra and Sara were twice abandoned.

Months later Sophie stopped by the orphanage to check on baby Ezra.  After discussions with the orphanage director Sophie took Ezra home.  Ezra currently is living with his mother and two sisters.  For now.  In times of trouble, that are certain to come, Sophie knows the ease of abandoning her children for a time, just to fetch them later.  Without counseling and parenting skills she may choose that option later.  Without orphanage directors with clear intake procedures, policies, and discernment that may continue to be an option for Sophie.

Unfortunately this situation is not unique.  Orphanages all over the world operate separate from the social services departments in their country.  Here is an interesting article that pulls together a lot of information in one place on different countries and is worth the read.

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