Helping Haitian Kids – Liz’s Story

February 4, 2010 at 4:37 pm Leave a comment

As previously mentioned, following the devastating earthquake, Southwest Key Programs (SWK) was asked by the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) to help in a special project involving Haitian children already in the process of being adopted by American families.

SWK staff (see picture below) will be working from sites in Florida interviewing prospective adoptive families and expediting paperwork so these Haitian children can be united with their new families.

I just received this firsthand account from one of the SWK volunteers who just returned from Florida.  Here is her story. Her name is Liz.

Front Row: Mario; Silvia; Victoria; Daniella; Karina  Back Row: Liz; Esther; Adriana; Victor; Laura; Connie; Silvio

Front Row: Mario; Silvia; Victoria; Daniella; Karina      Back Row: Liz; Esther; Adriana; Victor; Laura; Connie; Silvio

Liz wrote;

“I was honored to be among the first 12 Southwest Key Programs staff to go to Florida to help process Haitian orphans as they arrive in the U.S. While there, I not only helped some young orphans, but I was given the opportunity to meet many members of the Southwest Key familia.

During my 9 days in Florida, we only saw 18 orphans.  But these children will remain in my heart forever.  They arrived in the U.S. with nothing but their adoption papers and the clothes they were wearing.  As soon as they walked off the plane, we began the process that will hopefully end in reunification with their adoptive parents, many of whom have been waiting for years for their child to arrive in the U.S.  Many of the children appeared malnourished.  They were small for their ages and ate eagerly.  Some were shy and quiet, never opening up to our smiles and assurances.  But many latched on to us, playing and laughing, clearly excited for the unknown journey ahead.

Seeing these children emphasized the importance of the work Southwest Key does to help children.  Seeing Southwest Key staff work with the children emphasized the skill and dedication of our workforce.  We came together as a team, each member knowing exactly what to do even in the absence of direction.  I was honored to be part of such a strong team and I enjoyed getting to know some of the people that make Southwest Key successful.   I truly value the commitment of Southwest Key to such an important cause and I wish the best to the new team of Southwest Key staff currently awaiting orphans in Florida.”

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