Restavek is the common practice of child slavery in Haiti. It means "to stay with". It should mean "to trap" because the children who are restaveks are not encouraged to "stay with". They are not priveledged to "stay with". They are forced to "stay with". They are forced to work and labor under the harshest of conditions. They are, simply stated, exploited.
Child exploitation is what human trafficking is all about. It is what gives trafficking life and breath because innocence is the easiest thing to exploit.
I wanted DFC to support organizations that would fight child exploitation - who would rescue, heal, prevent harm to and restore children. In the brief moments of searching that day, I found the Restavek Freedom Foundation and something happened inside me.
When I was growing up, and into my early adulthood, I vowed I would never go to a third world country. I would never do a mission trip. I would never voluntarily go some place unsafe. I simply was too afraid.
The Restavek Freedom Foundation changed all of that for me. My heart, after learning about this organization, about child slavery in Haiti, yearned to go. Through DFC, you have helped us sponsor Benitha, a child who is advocated for and receives schooling because of the Restavek Freedom Foundation. I longed to meet her. But no doors opened in the "Haiti direction". Every time I pursued the option to go, the doors shut for me. It was incredibly frustrating, but there wasn't anything I could do but trust that there was a reason.
Three years later, I have still not been to Haiti, but that is soon to change.
The love I began to develop for Haiti three years ago has turned into something I never anticipated. I continue to love and strongly believe in what the Restavek Freedom Foundation is all about, but now, NOW I get to go to Haiti for a completely different reason. I get to go meet my son. Exactly a year ago today, my husband and I decided to adopt from Haiti. And in just a few short weeks, we get to meet him. WE GET TO GO TO HAITI!!
One of my most favorite things about DFC is what it changes. A simple product, a burlap tote, taught me about human trafficking, led me to learning about restavek and Haiti and has now changed our family forever as we work to bring our son home. I've heard of so many of you who have changed in ways you didn't expect from one of our products. You shop different, think different, pursue different journeys than you otherwise would have because of something as simple as a bag or a bracelet.
So, in honor of this journey, your journey and advocating for those who need us the most - children - we are honored to work with The Restavek Freedom Foundation as our Change It Today program for the month of March. 10% of our profits for the month of March (excluding fundraiser orders) will benefit the Restavek Freedom Foundation. Please follow along on the side bar to see our progress as the month goes on.
As we anticipate meeting our son and finally getting to go to Haiti, our family would so appreciate your prayers. I have no idea what this trip will do in my heart or head, but I bet it will be something.