(The following post is part 2 of 2 and was contributed by Eveline Joachim. Eveline is a former foster youth, and a Haitian-American. She is currently in her Senior year at Southeastern University majoring in Social Work. Ms. Joachim shares her very personal recount of her reunion with her biological parents in Haiti after being in foster care for most of her life.)
At eighteen according the foster care system, I was an adult but I didn’t feel ready. But ready or not, I had to cross that bridge of independence. Life was trial and error, I had to learn from my mistakes and keep it moving. However, I would often reflect and regret not having parents or a sense of belonging to my own family but thank God for saving me at 18, I found hope and purpose in Christ. God also directed other people in my life such as my mentor and her husband who took me under their wings, other foster family members and church family until this day I can count on.
However, even though I had all that and more, sadly something inside still felt empty. This little girl imprisoned inside was still looking for answers, I was so ungrateful. No matter what God did, I felt like the void inside was eternal. I remember once being in prayer, the Lord spoke to me and told me to bring that little girl to the altar so he can properly nourish her in order for her to reach her fullest potential in what he called her to be. That was hard for me to do because a relationship with God is action based upon faith. I was saved but my faith and dependence on God was not there yet, I had issues with trust and accepting love because of the hardness of my heart.
However, God knowing the desires of my heart made it possible for me to get closure and answers. He opened a door for me to go on a mission’s trip which was also my door to complete freedom from my past. I remember in conversation with my father I felt the physical weight and burden I carried for years lift off of me. My father explained the relationship he had with my mother was nothing long term, he had me and my brother from her. He stated that he never regretted his kids because he loved us and his wife accepted his mistake. However, due to some personal issues between my mother, my father and his wife; my mother kept us separate because things didn’t work out how she wanted it to be between her and my father.
So much was said from my dad after 18 years of being apart, what I respect was the fact that he did not put all the blame on my mom, he did explain the effort he made to find me and my brother but complication occurred. It wasn’t hard to believe him because his story matched up to what my oldest sister shared with me long ago. I felt so much love and warmth when I was with my father, it made it even better that he also believed in God. From the time we connected in 2010 through Facebook and till the time we met face to face just this summer in 2012, he is the same man I’ve known. The distance and separation we experienced did not take the love I had for him away from my heart. Till this day, he’s still loving, protective and a provider. He wants me to talk with the head administration of my school to see if they can write a letter to the embassy in order for him to get a temporary green card to come to my graduation in May.
When I was in Haiti he made EVERY effort to make sure I got to see my mother before I left. Now that was the person I longed to see, she raised me the longest and the bond we shared I felt was inseparable because this was the women who carried me 9 months in her womb, this was the woman I remember praying with me at night both in English and Creole. Even though she wasn’t known for being stable in my life, I still loved her. Though I was mad she never returned, I still loved her; I was bitter and hurt BUT still had a hidden excitement to see her again.
I was up the night before when I knew the following day will be the day I’ll be face to face with my mother after 15 years. My dad took me to the village I was going to be staying at for the mission’s trip and that’s where my mother met me. I remember getting out of the car to embrace my mother and words cannot express what I was feeling and thinking, all I can say is that it felt unreal. However, my dad stayed until I was settled and comfortable, he gave my mother some money that way she can get back home because he had to leave. He told her she needed to talk with me and it was important that I saw her before I left Haiti. I appreciated my dad’s effort; it meant a lot. It was lunch hour when we got there so me and my mother sat and talked for hours, I remember thinking to myself what should I say… because we were just staring at each other for a while. I remember smiling because I thought to myself how I’m just like my mother; she’s a tough cookie to get anything out off. She doesn’t like talking about anything that she feels is personal or anything that’s going to expose truth. Truth is, I am the same way, I’ve learned to mask my problems because it hurt too much talking about them but I knew I had to take the first step.
So few words were exchanged starting off and then I proceeded to ask the one and only question I thought that mattered…. Mom what happened? Why didn’t you come back? Then anger, a sense of rejection and frustration came after she answered and said “I don’t like talking about my business” I tried to fight tears but I couldn’t. I talked to my mother about everything, from the time she stepped out up until now, I didn’t blame her nor did I try to make her a victim; I said it in love and meekness because for the first time in life… I FINALLY FELT FREE! I was able to share the love of Christ with my mother and not think about myself. What helped was in conversation, the Lord gave me a vision… I was behind bars as if I was in prison, he revealed to me the victory/ freedom I already had in him but never knew how to walk in.
I never knew that the bars weren’t locked but that day what made me walk out as a victim to victorious was my faith, believing in the price that was paid on the cross for my sins. That’s the beauty and the mystery of the gospel; I would have never come to that truth if it wasn’t from this experience. Life may have not seemed fair, but God is a God of justice; what the enemy meant for my destruction, God turned it around for His glory. I’m no longer a victim, I am VICTORIOUS because it was those life circumstances that directed me in finding hope and freedom in Christ, it was those circumstances that molded who I am today. God knew best where he wanted me. I had to learn to accept that in order to move on. It’s all for his glory and that’s all that matters. After this experience, my heart has been overflowing with joy and gratefulness. I learn to accept that everything happens for a reason, my past is a reason not an excuse. Some may not understand but I know I had to go through some things in order to be prepared in where God is taking me in the future. Adversity will make you stronger!
Fast-forward to today… here I am a senior in college anticipating my graduation on May 6, 2013. According to statistics, life circumstances, mistakes and attempted plans of the enemy; I shouldn’t be here but God had a different plan in mind. I’m pursuing a major in social work with a minor in psychology, currently doing my internship at the Florida Baptist Children’s Home in community ministries, speaking in foster parents training classes, working with families that want to adopt and counseling and assisting victims from crises centers that planned to abort their baby. Never knew this is where God would have me… Proverbs 19:21 “Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.”