Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Why so many babies & children?

Unfortunately, because of the poverty that exists in Haiti, many parents do not have enough resources to educate, clothe, let alone feed their child.

Especially for single mothers, it is almost impossible to raise a child. Many women have to attach themselves to a man in order to survive. Sometimes that man will not accept the woman's children from previous relationships. Many times, the new relationship won't last beyond six months (that is the usual lease time for living quarters in Haiti).

Often times, the woman becomes pregnant because of cultural barriers to using birth control. Once the lease is up, the man usually moves on to the next woman. After all, men are in control in Haiti...

I know of pregnant girls or women where the man who got her pregnant threatens to kill the baby if she comes near him with his child.

It is culturally acceptable to have many children by different parties, especially in the poor segment of the population.

I have heard from some people the comment that if a woman has had to give up one child for adoption, how can she go and get pregnant again, just to repeat the cycle? But it happens in Haiti.

If a woman gives up multiple children for adoption, it raises a red flag with UNICEF, especially because they suspect that the woman is selling her babies. But that is not the case because of the vicious cycle that many women find themselves in. Giving the children to an orphanage is almost like a form of "birth control". It is better than abandoning the child in a garbage pile or drowning the baby in a river, but it is an aweful reality.

A friend paid for some women to receive birth control shots (Deprovera -spelling?). The women complained that for several months, they did not feel like "real women" anymore. Once the time period of protection was over, these women refused to get another birth control shot. Many of them became pregnant within a few months.

It is acceptable in Haiti for a man to have several "wives". Often, he has one legal wife and sets up household with some other women as well. Unfortunately, in Haiti, men are in control of what happens in such relationships. I have not heard of any women who have multiple husbands.

What bothers me the most is that even pastors have this kind of life style. They go to church on Sunday to preach and during the week, they commit adultery. I know of one woman who is currently pregnant by a deacon of her church who is married with children. This guy won't accept the pregnant woman's child. Yet, he is able to continue to serve a deacon and he won't claim the child, leaving her alone to fend for herself and for her child.

Currently, a woman is living in the small house on the property of my house in Haiti. She is pregnant and already has one son. The father of the baby told her that if he comes near him, he will kill her and the baby. What choices are left for her? I have allowed this lady and son to live on our property for free. She and her son help with some of the chores, but she has no prospect of employment and is dependent on kindness of strangers (us - in this case) for their survival. What will happen once the baby is born? I hope that she can find a job and keep the baby.

Even though many babies are relinuquished for adoption, most children who are adopted in Haiti are not babies. Most children who are adopted are toddlers and older children.


Karen said...

I love reading your blog and learning about Haiti, and adoption. I am currently in IBESR waiting impatiently for my son! I would love to hear about you, and how you became involved with Haiti, and do you have a position of some sort that makes you so knowlegdable. Thank you for all blogs,

Anonymous said...

I was reading the news that came across bloglines today and this story made me think of your post.