I’ve just got back from my trip to El Salvador and Honduras a few days ago.
I was in El Salvador first, traveling with my colleague from Visiting Orphans, David Rathbone. Dave was attending because he’s interested in working to help partner U.S. churches with orphanages in need. My first meeting in El Salvador was with the Procurador. I’ve met with this officer previously, but wanted to continue to follow-up with him. He assured me of his efforts to place children with our families and he is working on many fronts to move things along. I was also able to meet with the OPA director on my trip; I’m encouraged to see that OPA is working with some really good NGOs, including the NGO run by Carmen (who some El Salvador families met in D.C.). Overall, I’m continuing to see how the lack of registered orphans in El Salvador’s child welfare system is causing the delay for inter-country adoption. I'm encouraged that efforts are being made by the government to register orphans for adoption. It is my hope that we will see some movement in the coming months.
Dave and I visited an orphanage of 50 boys ages 2-12, run by Catholic nuns and learned about their work and their orphanage’s needs. Over 30 of these boys are available for adoption and we are working with them to open a door for these little gentlemen in their dress shirts and khaki pants.
We also visited an orphanage run by a Evangelical Christian ministry called Remar. They operate over 20 homes in El Salvador alone, and the one we visited contained almost 100 girls and boys ages 0-14. The director told us 40 of these children are available for adoption; so we are also working with them. This is an amazing ministry that is providing a great environment until the children can be placed in a permanent home.
While in Honduras, I continued to follow-up on the projects initiated through Orphan’s Ticket Home for program development and registering children to become eligible for placement into a family. Our ministry partner is beginning a large-scale program in November that could have a significant impact for hundreds of orphans. Their budget is between six and seven thousand dollars a month - although our allotted OTH funds have only paid a small portion of what is needed, I’m glad we’re able to partner with them. Dave and I visited another orphanage in Honduras and we’re encouraged to see that the orphanage is seeking to find homes domestically for children. Overall, like El Salvador, much prayer is needed for an efficient and effective child welfare system.
Yesterday, I attended a conference held by the U.S. Department of State’s Population, Refugees and Migration Department. It’s amazing how much money and effort our government gives towards refugees around the world and provides very little support to the placement of an orphan into a family. As our country nears a new election, my prayer is that God will use those who are elected to steer our nation’s aid and diplomacy to meet the needs of the millions of orphans waiting for families. Would you please pray with me.
Brian Luwis - AWAA CEO