Before I start the blog, please click here if you have not read part 1 so that you can catch up.
So our girl’s cousin and her husband came to the meeting along with a local pastor named Pastor Lamentation that we had only met once. A side story is that this is the pastor of the church located right next to Audancin’s place, and we asked Audancin long ago if our kids could go to church there. His answer was that he did not trust the pastor there because the pastor had stolen money from him. At this meeting (after 3 years of helping the orphanage) we found out that this pastor was instrumental in helping to start the orphanage and had only stopped helping after he knew the kids were taken care of. It was really strange for him to be a part of this meeting as Audancin’s ally, but he was there.
So, to set the stage, it was me (Matt), Rosie, Audancin, Pastor Lamentation, our girl’s cousin and her husband, and Pastor Herold (he was there to help and to translate). Jessica stayed inside Christianville to be with our girl and to protect her. When the meeting started, it seemed like it was me against everyone else. There was an edginess to everyone and especially our girl’s family. In fact, the first thing I said to the pastor was, “I have been helping the orphanage for 3 years and this is the first time we have ever talked. Why should I listen to anything that you say about the kids now?” So at the beginning of the meeting everyone was against me. And it continued like this for a while as Audancin and I did the majority of speaking about the events that unfolded. I cannot go into detail about exactly what was said, but about 10 minutes after the meeting started, everything began to change dramatically. Our girl’s family along with the pastor who was there (and who I had slightly insulted at the beginning of the meeting) began to hear the details of what we did for our girl and they immediately switched to my side.
It was at this point, I told them how I felt about each of the kids. I explained to them that Audancin had threatened to call the police on me for kidnapping on numerous occasions, and had said many other things to try and scare me. I shared this at the meeting and I looked at everyone in the eyes and told them, “If it meant that I could protect any one of our children at the orphanage, I would go to jail. I would risk getting hurt, and I would do anything to make sure our children were safe because I love them.” After this, there was nothing else Audancin or Rosie could say. The family and the pastor could see that we were there solely for the kids, and after hearing the events that led up to us removing our girl from the orphanage and protecting her they were completely on our side. In fact, at this point, our girl’s family told us that she would either stay with us and we could protect her or they were going to take her home with them (even though they had not seen her in 8 years and they neither wanted to nor could take care of her). The pastor, who Audancin and Rosie had counted on helping them, immediately said he would do anything to help us, and he would prove extremely helpful in the days to come. It was settled that we would continue to help our girl and to find her a place to stay close to us so that we could keep an eye on her and continue to provide for her. It was truly the best decision that could have been made for her.
I left that meeting, and for the first time, everything seemed clear. Even with Audancin being a Haitian and me being an American, when a person sits down and listens to our hearts, the other things do not matter. Logic, caring, and most importantly our love for the children was more important than anything else, and it seemed like we had a chance to come back into our children’s life and take care of them. Things were beginning to look better, but we still had a long way to go and we were still not allowed to go up to the orphanage to see our kids.
Look for a new blog post tomorrow to see Jessica’s perspective of the same day, and then onto part 3 of the series.