Children of the Promise, HAITI

Monday, February 22, 2010


On Saturday, 6 of our children along with the parent/escort of one of the children, another a couple other escorts and Maria all flew to Port au Prince after being notified by U.S. Embassy staff that their paperwork to leave Haiti was complete including the signature of the Haitian Prime Minister.
They arrived at the airport and were sitting in the waiting room waiting for the Embassy staff to come so they could board their charter plane. Before the Embassy staff arrived, they were verbally attacked by a large group of Haitians who were at the airpot accusing them of trafficking children and kidnapping. These Haitians knew nothing about our group or the children, they simply attacked. The children were terrified as well as the adults. These Haitians called the police and our children and staff were taken, illegally, to a police station where they were held for hours. The U.S. Embassy staff were immediately on this situation, but as in all things in Haiti, it took time. By the end of the day, our children were brought to a Haitian approved creche, which turned out to be a refuge tent city with no bottles or supplies for our babies. Our staff was forced to leave them there while they went to the apartment of a friend of COTP, a pediatrician. Maria offered to give up her passport to prove that she would not try to leave with the children, just so she could sleep near them so they wouldn't be afraid. The Haitians refused to let her.
Maria and escort returned the following morning to find that our 6 children were ok, but not getting the care that they need. Embassy staff worked all day at trying to get our children released back to our staff, but to no avail. Late in the afternoon word must have gotten to CNN and they contacted us, then talked with Maria and the mom/escort of one of the children.
Our children have all the legal papers approved by the U.S. government and that Haitian Prime Minister's signature that allows them to join their parents who are waiting in Florida. Our Senator Klobuchar from MN is actively working on this in addition to the U.S. government staff in Haiti.
The adults might not have been kept in custody, but our children are being held in a place with standards far beneath COTP's, without enough supplies. They are traumatized. And they are, by law, still legally under the guardianship of COTP until we hand them over to their parents. This is wrong in more ways than can be imagined.
CNN will air this story sometime today. They are going to get footage of the kids.
Please pray that our children will be with their parents as soon as possible!
by: Jan Bonnema
ps. There are hardly any adults anywhere. It is the older kids that are caring for our children. Maria and escort were only able to visit a few hours yesterday.

Where our kids are sleeping

Where are kids play

Two of our kids napping in their "beds".
 No bottles for our baby.
Maria with the kids in the "play tent"

Again, no bottles. Its almost mostly kids caring for our children.

Where our kids sleep.


ManyBlessings said...


Cherie said...

I'm spreading the word. Putting some of your photos and a link to your blog on my blog. Praying for Haiti.

geralyn said...

I am so sad for the children and their families that must go through this UNNECESSARY and CRUEL 'imprisonment' by UNICEF. I will pray that these kids are released into their families arms any moment now. Another big thumbs down to UNICEF and their so called charitable work.

Mamita J said...

This makes me sick. Shame on UNICEF!

Praying for these kids.denur

Megan said...

I am so, so, sorry you and these children are being put through this. Prayers being sent half a world away for you all.

JacciM said...

Praying, and tweeting, and facebooking, and calling senators. Who knew I'd talk to Al Franken's office today? Or EVER? Praying, praying, praying.

Just to clarify - UNICEF did not cause this detainment - it was a random group of Haitian nationals at the airport. Unicef's tent conditions are deplorable, though!!!

Momto15 said...

Just sick about this and praying for the children and we LOVE YOU MARIA!!!
Will UNICEF take supplies from the COTP people when they go and visit? Why wouldn't they let Maria stay there seeing the bond the children have with Maria?

DonnaG said...

This is just wrong. Sickeningly wrong.

vlbcma said...

my cousin's are still waiting for their little Malachi - one of the 6 children taken -- where are their bottles, their wipes, their plane trips home -- where is the home when needed and the US just to step in and bring them home

Confessions of a Social Justice Addict said...

I heard about this on CNN and did not realize that this is the orphanage that my friend Emily is working at. I will definitely keep these beautiful children and the staff in my prayers because they need it and I know God will move in a miraculous way. In addition, I would be also caution us to not rush to judge "these Hatians" and how they reacted because the reality of the situation is - they have just been through a life changing, traumatic disaster that none of us can ever ever ever understand or fathom, since we were not there, there is an ever present, real threat of human trafficking, it existed before the earthquake and it ramped up after the earthquake, the recent situation with the group of Americans that tried to take 33 kids out of the country "illegally" has not helped the situation and has made them more cautious (and rightly so) and although things are not perfect there and maybe never have been, it is still their country and their government and they make the rules. I must confess that the reference to them as "these Hatians" sounded kind of inappropriate to me and although I completely understand your frustration, arising due to the lack of proper protocol and the fact that you know you have the proper documents yet the children are still being delayed... "these Hatians" are still people and people that have gone through so much pain and suffering that maybe has resulted in the reaction that has occurred.

I do not mean to diminish the magnitude of what has happened here and I believe your kids do need to be allowed to come to the U.S to reunite with the families that have legally adopted them. Thank God they for now have tents to sleep in... its way better than the street where thousands of other Hatian kids are sleeping right now. We shall keep all of them in prayer. Blessings to you and the orphanage and may God continue to give you the energy, compassion and love to do all the work that you do over there. :-)