Embracing Haiti's orphans

A Christian Science perspective.

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My heart took a leap when I saw my local paper’s photo of a man proudly holding his two newly adopted Haitian toddlers. These children were among the “Haiti 80” arriving at Miami Airport to be eagerly embraced by their new parents, who had flown in from all over the country.

But my joy was soon tempered at reading that the orphanage those children had left would soon be filled by countless others left parentless by the recent earthquake. I wondered, Will they also find their way into welcoming arms?

A reassuring answer came in the form of a favorite Bible story. The book of Genesis tells of Hagar, a mother, and her son Ishmael, who were cast into the wilderness with only bread and a bottle of water. When the water was gone, the desperate mother wept over the imminent death of her child. But the story continues, “God heard the voice of the lad,” opened his mother’s eyes to available water, and “was with the lad” (see 21:9–20).

This touching illustration of divine parenting is reinforced by this statement from “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” written by Mary Baker Eddy: “Father-Mother is the name for Deity, which indicates His tender relationship to His spiritual creation” (p. 332). That truth can reinforce our prayers for divine parenting to take form in tangible ways. It’s also strengthening to recognize God’s protective care in present cases, such as the treatment of Haitian children in homegrown clinics and the rescue of a girl from the rubble 15 days after the quake.

As the Bible story of Hagar indicates, God hears and responds to the voice of a child in need. He also responds to the child wanting to meet a need. Take, for instance, the kindhearted American schoolchildren who were inspired to help their Haitian counterparts through creative fundraising.

Speaking for myself, I’m striving to cultivate a childlike trust in God, the source of all wisdom, regarding the recent halt of the Haitian adoption process. The government has voiced legitimate concerns over the possible trafficking of children into prostitution or slavery. From a spiritual standpoint, each of these children has a place in God’s kingdom, where they can be safe, loved, and nurtured. If the means for that progress is a resumption of the adoption process, God can inspire officials with effective procedures to safeguard these young people. If there’s a better solution, I’m trusting that the one Mind will reveal what it is and how best to implement it.

At Haitian sites where security concerns are slowing down the distribution of food both to children and adults, divine Love is present to provide calm and order. I’ve read that workers delivering food are wearing shirts with the words, “Your government is with you.” Thinking of the hungry hearts, I’ve been praying, “God’s government is with you,” as a way of lifting the level of government to a higher and more spiritual basis. I believe this will help subdue corruption and open the way to practical solutions that may not have been thought of before.

Each individual affected by the earthquake in Haiti is, in reality, spiritual, the child of God. In our prayers, we can adopt these dear ones into our hearts, cherishing their unbroken bond with their all-loving Parent. He is indeed with them, and they are able to hear His voice just as Hagar, the mother of the boy in the wilderness, was able to perceive God’s guidance. Whatever this divine guidance may inspire in Haiti – a hug in an orphanage, an extended hand by the roadside, or a new family fold – it signals God’s never-ending devotion to His precious sons and daughters.

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