Monday, January 12, 2009

Patient #136

One of the things that I'm most proud about John and Haitian Hearts for is the commitment made to patients. So despite my numbering Ronald patient #136, the fact is that he has a previous patient number also.
In 2004, Ronald and his father traveled from their home in Les Cayes to Port-au-Prince to see John because of Ronald's poor health. Ronald indeed had a heart problem, and in 2005, we brought him to the United States for heart surgery. He stayed with a wonderful family in upstate New York.

When Ronald was staying with his host family, and after consulting with Ronald's parents, this family decided they wanted to adopt Ronald. As is the case with many Haitian families, Ronald's parents were delighted that someone in the States wanted to adopt him. Life is very difficult for poor Haitian families, and the parents would love to give their children a better chance, even when it means giving them up. This is particularly true when the child has had serious health problems.
The idea of giving a child up for adoption like this is often very difficult for Americans and others from developed countries to understand. As heartbreaking and as un-ideal of a solution as it is, we would probably understand better if we spent even a day enduring what these families endure. They are doing it out of love. We need to work hard and urgently for a more just world where these kinds of Sophie's choice dilemmas don't exist.

So Ronald returned to Haiti to await the completion of the adoption paperwork. Haitian Hearts continued to keep track of Ronald so that we could monitor his heart. This ongoing contact allowed us to diagnose that his heart needed more surgery.

Thankfully, the same hospital and surgeon that first operated on Ronald are going to do the second surgery. He will once again stay with his host, soon to be adoptive, family.

Ronald's heart is very sick, so the news of his acceptance came in the nick of time. Now, we pray that the passport and visa paperwork will go quickly.

Ronald is pictured above.

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