BRESMA Update

Who’s that?  That’s my nephew on the evening he handed Jamie and Ali a check for $1,200.

He gets a HELL of an allowance.

Except not.  He is a second-grader and he’s been very aware of BRESMA since day one.  One day shortly after the orphans arrived in Pittsburgh, he asked his principal if he could collect loose change and give it to BRESMA, and the principal said yes and my nephew wrote a letter to the kids in the school to take home to their parents. That Friday morning he stood by a big blue box in the school hallway and collected $1,200 worth of coins and bills from his classmates.

I know. You don’t have to tell me.

So, I’ve been promising a BRESMA update for a day or so now, but as always, like Haiti, the situation is fluid and at times chaotic.

Here’s what’s happening now:

  • The children are now moved to a different orphanage and that means that they are no longer living in tents in the driveway.  They continue to be cared for and their health is improving, as it had already improved dramatically once Jamie and Ali showed up to care for them.
  • In the meantime, Jamie and Ali are continuing to fight the United States Department of State to get them to make an exception that would allow these children to be joined with the families they are matched with in Colorado, families that are waiting for them.  The children have permission from the Haitian government to leave the country and go to the United States.  It is the State Department that is saying “No.”
  • There have been 4 aftershocks in the last 48 hours so you can understand why Jamie and Ali want to get those kids to America where they can be sure they’re safe from crumbling buildings.
  • Gary Tuchman from CNN was at the orphanage and met with Jamie and Ali for over an hour the other day to get their story.
  • Currently Jamie and Ali are still in Haiti and are in a holding pattern waiting for updates. They will base their next move depending on what they hear.
  • If you’d like to do something now, you can continue to email and call the elected officials and let them know that you haven’t forgotten about these children and that neither should they.

So that’s where it’s at.  We’ll keep you posted and let you know as soon as we have a way for you to help, but for now, the children are better off than they were a week ago, thanks to Jamie and Ali, and that is a small victory itself.  However, it is their long-term prospects that Jamie and Ali continue to fight for.

So many of you took the time to call and write the politicians, and we can’t thank you enough for that.  You’re the best. All of you.

More soon!





11 Comments

  1. aDerek
    February 24, 2010 8:40 am

    Your nephew sure is a generous and thoughtful child!



  2. BIGGEORGE
    February 24, 2010 10:53 am

    Does anybody know the email address for the Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel?

    He helped last time, lets see if we can get him to help this time.



  3. beaner
    February 24, 2010 11:47 am

    Your nephew:
    As my grandma used to say: “God love ’em.”



  4. Confused
    February 24, 2010 12:15 pm

    The article posted by Cindy T makes it sound as if some of the children rescued by Jamie and Ali may still have family in Haiti. Is this why the State Department is roadblocking the Colorado adoptions? If the kids have permission from the Haitian government to leave the country then What’s the hold up?



  5. Virginia
    February 24, 2010 12:24 pm

    Confused,

    Of course some of them have families, much the same way my sister’s adopted son has a mother that gave him up for adoption. These children were given up for adoption and their parents relinquished their rights to the children and the BRESMA orphanage and Jamie and Ali have the paperwork proving that. The issue is that the State Department does not want to open up a floodgate of orphans who do not fit into certain specific categories as defined by a law that was passed the day the first set of orphans arrived in Pittsburgh.

    Rest assured that the children Jamie and Ali fight for were given up for adoption by families that wanted them to have better lives here in the US.



  6. MrsGJG
    February 24, 2010 10:31 pm

    Ginny I think it is just so awesome what your nephew did to help! Very touching.



  7. lavieja
    February 25, 2010 11:56 am

    I just called Casey’s local office and spoke with a young man named Chris, who refuted my assertion that the Haitian government had given permission for the orphans to come to the U.S. He said the Haitian government is still looking for their parents. I asked him where he got this information and he said it came from the State Department. I’m sure this is being told to everyone who calls there.



  8. Chastity West
    February 25, 2010 10:34 pm

    I don’t know whether anyone else has received a reply or posted a reply from Senator Casey. I got an email response tonight and I thought I’d copy in here the relevant bits in case others are interested. It’s mostly a form, I think, but it was fairly detailed, and I’m just not entirely sure what are all the implications of the message.

    But here are the most germane paragraphs:

    “In any population, orphans represent the most vulnerable members of society. However, in the face of a natural catastrophe like Haiti’s earthquake, their situation becomes increasingly difficult. I identified early on that orphans, without the natural protection that parents provide, would be severely affected by this disaster. For this reason, I worked with my Senate colleagues to ensure that the U.S. Agency for International Development, the Department of State and the Department of Defense were focused on the plight of Haitian orphans. I directly discussed this issue with Secretary of State Clinton and urged her and the State Department to ensure that, while legal processes were being established to continue international adoptions, humanitarian aid workers supplied orphanages with basic needs and safe locations. I appreciate that the Department of State and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) offered humanitarian parole to children who had been legally confirmed as orphans and were already in the process of being adopted by American families. This announcement affected approximately 900 children who will now be united with their new adoptive families in the coming weeks.

    While I applaud the DHS’s announcement, we still must be concerned for the safety of those Haitian orphans not in the process of being adopted by American families. Before the earthquake, we knew of 20,000 registered orphans. That number has surely climbed after this disaster. Please be assured that I will work with the relevant authorities to make sure that these children find loving homes. I would caution those Americans who are already adopting Haitian children and those who wish to adopt or help, not to relocate Haitian orphans unless they have express approval from the Haitian government and the U.S. Embassy. Unfortunately, while many people have only the best of intentions, there are those who would use this natural disaster to exploit children.

    As the international community helps Haiti to rebuild, we must ensure that Haiti does not create the same child welfare system that has institutionalized children. It must be improved. As a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, please be assured that I will continue to monitor the international community’s resolve to ensure that Haiti builds a better and more transparent government that looks out for the interest of all its citizens.”



  9. plexxer
    February 26, 2010 3:18 pm

    My wife told me to come to your blog and check out the picture of the esteemed Mayor of Pittsburgh with 2 hot chicks on either side during his 30th birthday bash at Seven Springs. I looked at this picture and said to myself, ‘That’s not the Foggy Goggle…’



  10. WichitaCindy
    March 2, 2010 5:51 pm

    @plexxer Funny!

    Here’s a short update & fab photo of former BRESMA orphan, Alex…

    Haiti earthquake hastens WSU prof’s adoption plans
    http://www.wichita.edu/thisis/wsunews/print/?nid=987

    Thought y’all might like it.