The first thing to know about our newest little girl is that her name is actually Samara. She lived with us when we first started the orphanage and we asked the adults her name and they told us Somala and then spelled it that way as well. So for the first 2 years we knew her, she went by “Somala.” Well, it turns out, according to her Aunt (and every other adult that we talk to now) her name is actually Samara. This will take some getting used to, but at least we know her real name now. Anyway, I am going to tell the story of how Samara came back to us (as of this past Saturday) and the emotions and logistics involved. I will start by describing the situation surrounding Samara’s return and then talk about some of the things we thought and felt as we started the process of bringing her back into ATN.
A couple of days after I arrived back in Haiti, a couple of people mentioned that Samara’s mom had moved back to Port Au Prince and that she was now living with an Aunt. There was not discussion of anything at that time, just a factual statement that she was no longer with her parents. I didn’t think too much about it and I assumed that her Aunt was just taking care of her. Fast-forward to Saturday right after our team from Clearview Chapel arrived in Haiti. I ran into Samara’s father (yes both of her parents are still alive) and he immediately asked if I would take her back. I told him that we would still help her (we have paid for her school and anything else she needed since we moved out) but that she should continue to live with him and her mom. He told me that her mom had moved into Port and that she could not live with him any longer. I later found out that he had found a new woman to live with and Samara was not welcomed there. I told him to bring Samara and her aunt (the woman who she was now living with) to my house so we could have a meeting to discuss what should happen next. It was one of the saddest meetings I have ever been a part of. It was clear immediately that neither of them wanted her. It was not a matter of poverty, hardship, or inability to care for her…They simply did not want her. Luckily Samara is too young (she is 5) to understand this, but it was extremely clear that this was the case. The story was that her mom had moved to Port because her dad began to beat her mom, so her mom left her with an abusive father (not abusive to Samara but to her) and just fled the situation. The dad then moved in with another woman who would not take Samara so he gave her to an aunt. The aunt, immediately started trying to find another place for her, and that is when they found out I was in town.
After hearing this story there was no other answer or solution, Samara would definitely be welcomed and loved at All Things New and that is exactly what she needs right now. It is very important that we understand the loss and confusion that Samara is facing now. It is easy for us to think about the advantages that she will have at the orphanage including love, food, education, wonderful caregivers, electricity, running water, etc. These things will be good for her, but there was a reason that she stayed with her mom when we moved the rest of the kids…Her mom wanted her. She didn’t have many of the material advantages that I listed above, but the love that her mom had for her, or at least we thought she had for her, made it more advantageous for her to stay with her family. She would get the care and attention only a mother can give and her dad lived close by as well. Right now the best thing for Samara is to live with us in our orphanage, but think about how sad that statement is. She has a mom and dad who are alive and have taken care of her for 5 years, but the best thing for her now is to live with us. There have been a lot of hard things here that we have had to do, but taking Samara back may have been the hardest.
Let me explain to you the emotions that went into this decision. For those of you who know me, you know I am not a crier. I know of many men who are and it has nothing to do with how tough or manly someone is, it is simply my personality…I am not a crier. However, there are things that really get me. On my wedding day, I cried. When we started the adoption process and I had to preach about adoption as we were waiting for our children, I cried. When Sophie was born, I cried. As I drove back to my house with Gina and Samara after she had put all of her belongings under her bed and told her aunt and father bye…I came really close to crying. I knew that I couldn’t for Samara’s sake, but one of the times I tried to say something to Gina I felt my voice break a little. I started thinking of Sophie and how much I love her, Elijah and how I would do anything for him, I even thought about how much different my life would have been had my parents done that to me. She was so excited and so happy to be with us and that was fun, but at the same time, she is losing something that I could never imagine having to lose…Her parents. So in a couple of weeks, let’s rejoice at the idea that Samara is in a place where she is loved and cared for. Immediately let’s pray for her and help her to know that she is absolutely loved by everyone at All Things New. But at the same time, let’s mourn her loss. She is in the best place for her right now, but if I had my way, an orphanage would never be the best place for any child!
If you are interested in sponsoring Samara and joining us in taking care of her, just click here or wait for the upcoming Facebook post. In the meantime, please pray with us for Samara and the loss she has experienced. Pray that GOD redeems it and allows All Things New to be the thing that Samara needs and uses us to help her grow into a woman of GOD.