Updated: Nov 7
I never saw myself moving to a place like Haiti. I started my career working at a hospital, doing public relations and marketing and in 2010, right after the earthquake, they needed somebody to make a site visit on behalf of the hospital. Being the youngest person in the office, I was "volun-told" that I would be the person to go.
I've never seen so much devastation. On that trip, God opened my eyes to needs I felt I could help meet, so in 2011, I moved to Haiti thinking I would only be there a few months, but ended up staying 11 years.
During the first few months of living in Haiti, I visited several orphanages and it wasn't long before I began to realize that something was not right. I was exposed to the dark side of the system - the constant coming and going of volunteers, the influx of donations that would be brought but never dispersed to the children, and even parents regularly visiting their kids in the orphanages.
This awoken something in me and I quickly felt a need to sound the alarm and call the Church to change their methods of support. But being a 24 year-old woman and calling out megachurches on their unintended harm was no easy task. At times, I felt blacklisted and it took years for these churches to begin to come around to what I had been saying.
There's $70 million per year that go to orphanages in Haiti alone. That's an outrageous number and majority is from the American church. And this amount of funding does not match the reality of needs in Haiti. I have told many American churches, "If you build it, they will come." By creating orphanages with free schooling, electricity, water, and opportunities to be put in front of Westerners with significant financial capital, many loving parents are put in situations where they are forced to choose between raising their child in poverty or giving them up for the possibility of a better life outside of their care.
Until we do the research and recognize that the American church is not going to be the Savior in this story, this will continue to be the vicious cycle. It's time we start searching for the fuller picture. It's time we stop trying to "fix" the orphan care crisis without an awareness of the culture or needs of a community. It's time we start seeing family preservation as the ultimate goal.
Host: Dr. Lauren Pinkston
Guest: Megan Boudreaux, Respire Haiti
Produced by the Kindred Exchange Podcast Network
Subscribe to the Podcast: