Updated: Aug 18
At myLIFEspeaks, we believe children belong in families, not institutions or orphanages. This is why we approach “orphan care” differently.
In Haiti, the majority of orphanages are run by business people who often profit from families relinquishing their children. According to a 2018 Reuters report, 80% of children living in Haitian orphanages have at least one living parent. (See more here about how Haiti has an “orphanage crisis”, not an orphan crisis.)
We believe every child belongs in a loving, forever family. One with brothers and sisters, loving parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, neighbors, and so on. This is why at myLIFEspeaks we are all about keeping families together and empowering parents to care for their children.
For the 22 children who have been truly orphaned or abandoned, many with special needs, and entrusted into our care by Haitian Child Services, we place them in one of our loving, forever Family Homes.
Our Family Homes consist of Haitian Christian parents and children both typically developing and special needs. Unlike foster care, our House Families are forever. In Haiti, it is illegal and/or extremely difficult and expensive for Haitians to legally adopt unrelated Haitian children. So technically these 22 children are under the care of myLIFEspeaks, but they each have their own adopted families in which they are lovingly cared for.
myLIFEspeaks empowers and equips our house parents to care for all their children as if they were their own. We provide employment for the parents and economic support with diapers, clothing, housing, formula, doctors visits/physical therapy, social workers, etc. But, the parents do everything else.
Through our Family Homes, every child grows up with the love, care, and development only found in a family.
In these families every child - regardless of ability, disability, biological, or adopted, is welcomed as if they were their own blood. And the best part, they are welcomed into the family for LIFE.
One of the main reasons the Wilsons felt called to move permanently to Haiti, selling their home and leaving their friends in Nashville, was to lead our Haitian commUNITY by example through their own family. Through their son Lane, who has special needs, the Wilson's exemplify how family looks different for everyone and that is also what makes them beautiful.
In a country where children with special needs are outcasted, abandoned, neglected, and sometimes even offered as sacrifice in voodoo ceremonies, the Wilson's show through their love for Lane, that every child is a blessing and part of the family.
Family is one of the most beautiful gifts from God. Today on #InternationalDayofFamilies, and everyday we are blessed to celebrate this gift.