Amazing Grace in Haiti

I am not even sure where to begin. How do you sum up what you have seen in a way that will truly convey what it was like to be in Haiti? I guess I can begin with how I felt about going to Haiti; I was afraid to go to such a hard place and to see such devastation. I knew it wouldn’t be easy or comfortable. I think the thing that shocked me most was how anesthetized I was what I saw. I expected it to be harder than it was and that I would be more emotional. I think in today’s society we have seen so many images on television that we really don’t feel the impact of the harsh reality. It became more personal when I heard the stories from some of the people we met and how the earthquake changed their lives.

Leaving the airport, I saw rubble everywhere, buildings that were pancaked, buildings leaning over the street ready to collapse, and tents everywhere – even on street medians. I saw people that had to shower and bathe out in public places because that is where they found water. It is almost hard to describe the conditions. Where I saw the ruins, it was also contrasted with such breath-taking beauty – the mountains, the valleys, the coast… were all so amazing.

I also saw in this country that faced this nightmare such hope. I saw a beautiful people, who despite what they were going through and the circumstances they were living in taking pride in their appearance; looking fresh and clean in spite of how they were forced to live.

Instead of people angry at God or questioning what was happening in their lives, I met people that had such tremendous faith. One woman I met, Marie had such a glow on her face when she talked about what happened during the earthquake, how God had held her in His hands, and how she could trust Him to care for her no matter what. Pastor Jean Claude shared how they had cleared the rubbage from his church, were now holding church on the remaining floor, and fed over 500 children there each week. We met girls at the orphanage who greeted us with kisses, sang beautiful songs, played games with us, and had the most beautiful smiles. There were so many people, who had been through the worst, making the best of it with such amazing grace!

It is easy to have faith when things are going your way, when you are comfortable; but how easy is it to maintain that faith when everything around you falls away? I hope that in the face of such pain and tragedy, I could maintain my faith and trust the way they have. Tanya from House of Blessings orphanage thanked us for showing them our love by coming – if only for a few days. It was humbling for someone to reference us as God’s hands and feet.

I hope in the dark times I may face, that I will react with as much grace. I bought a small bracelet that one of the ladies at the orphanage was selling and put it on as a daily reminder to pray for the people and orphans of Haiti. I pray that God will continue to give them strength to face each day, the comfort that only His arms can give as they continue to rebuild their lives. I pray that God will use me to help the orphans of Haiti to find loving families who will show them what it is like to be loved.

*pictures from this trip to Haiti will be available soon on the MLJ Adoptions facebook page

Lydia Tarr works as the International Program Director for MLJ Adoptions’ programs in Bulgaria and Ukraine. She is the adoptive mother of four children from Ukraine and was recognized as a 2013 Angel in Adoption by the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute’s (CCAI) Angels in Adoption Program.