Tuesday, September 11, 2012

These times, they be crazy!

I haven't made an update in about a week, simply because things are pretty crazy around here! At our peak, we might have as many as 18-22 adults and kids here around the house and clinic, not including any clients and their family members. Today, we're near capacity! In addition to those of us who live here (Melinda, me, Patrick, Danaelle, Ismanie, Ziggy, Dada), the employees come and sometimes bring their kids. Today, Ninotte, Sabin, and Gislain are here in the clinic, plus Gislain's one-year-old son Cahle (sp?). It's a Tuesday, which means Dada's mom Mona is here to do the clinic laundry, and she brings Dada's little brother Franky and baby sister, too. Paulo and Agenie (sp??), the two teen guys who help out around the houses and grounds, are always in and out. There's also a client staying at the clinic with her newborn baby, and she has a visitor today, which bumps up our number even more! Sarah, Patrick, and Nahima are all away, but things are still quite energetic around here!

Ever since Ziggy joined us and Sarah went away to visit good ol' Canada, things have been a little more stressful than usual. Sometimes a lot more stressful. It's a big, complicated combination of Ziggy being here and being difficult/challenging, Danaelle occasionally (oooor often) having some attitude problems, Dada taking cue from Danaelle, Ismanie somehow managing to be even more strong-headed than the rest of them, Sarah being gone (which turns us temporary people into the authorities... and the kids know how to manipulate that fact!)... Don't get me wrong, we have plenty of good times, too, and things are going well enough in the big picture, but we've had some day-to-day struggles.

It's especially troubling because it's becoming clear to some of us that this probably isn't the best place for Ziggy, at least long-term. He's definitely showing some good signs that he's starting to understand better what we expect from him, and he's also becoming quite affectionate, so we are thrilled about those improvements. He hasn't done anything so awful that we feel like he must go, now, but it's just complicated with the other kids. They try to put up with him, but it seems like they mostly can't stand him and will sometimes take turns trying to find excuses to lash out at him.

It looks like an orphanage might be a better place for him. I'd hate to send him home to his dad, because he was getting worse and worse beatings.... and that's why he started living here in the first place. At the same time, staying here doesn't look like a sustainable solution, unless he and the other kids can find a way to get along, and unless he can shape up his behavior a little better. Sometimes he's fine, but sometimes he just makes me CRAZY and we all go to bed in a foul mood. It can be tough. We're set up to help and take care of a few youngsters, but we don't have the energy or manpower to give Ziggy all the structure and one-on-one time that I think he needs to really change and learn. There's still a lot of fear and rage in him, and although it doesn't come out often, he doesn't know how to deal with it when he goes to that place.

We're all wishing we could do more for him, but at the same time, I don't think it's quite our place, our responsibility, or within our abilities. It's sad that this boy is caught between things, and needing SO much from the world... *fingers crossed*


  1. Kels-
    I don't envy you this chaos.
    Read about time-ins when you have a sec. I have heard that they are very effective for kids who have been abused.

    It's tough. Ziggy sounds like he needs a ton of love and attention. He might settle down a bit once things calm down. Unfortunately, times like this are when they act up more because they feel more threatened. Kids who are consistently loved handle it better when their caregivers have to deal with other crises.
    That was scattered, but I hope it helps.
    love to you, my family misses you!

  2. Ziggy shows classic signs of Early Childhood Trauma. The truth is, an orphanage is not the answer, although (if he's lucky) that is what will happen to him. I do not know of any orphanage in Haiti that is equipped to effectively deal with the kind of trauma he's experienced. The truth is, even in an ideal family situation with lots of love and attention, many kids don't ever overcome this kind of trauma. I am not trying to be all doomsday about it, but I know enough about childhood trauma to realize that Ziggy has an uphill climb no matter where he ends up.