Introducing a New Family Member
Devoted to Children is lovingly announcing a new member of our family – James Lee. James Lee is a bright ten-year old young man with amazing manners. We welcome him into our family that is full of love, compassion and patience and we are trying to teach him what it means to be a child.
James Lee ‘s story is unfortunately not an entirely uncommon story in Haiti where parents who are unable to care for a child are often forced to send them to live with a wealthier (or less improvished) family – often leaving rural areas for more urban areas. James Lee was sent by his mother who lived outside of Jacmel, to live with his aunt in Port au Prince. As is the case with an estimated 300,000 Haitian children, James Lee became a restavek. The term restavek, means child slave/domestic servant, and comes from the French language rester avec, “to stay with”. The child is required to do housework in exchange for food and housing, but most of these children live in poverty, are not allowed to go to school and are subject to physical, emotional and sexual abuse. Under international law, the restavek system is considered modern day slavery and child trafficking.
James Lee ran away from his aunt’s house and was placed in an orphanage in Port au Prince. He soon left that orphanage in search for his mother. He made his way to Jacmel where social services found him; after searching for his mother and being unable to find her, James Lee was brought to Devoted to Children. While he has quickly formed sibling-bonds with all of our children, he has a lot in common with Fransisco and Rebecca who were also brought to us as retavek children.
James Lee has been with us for about three weeks and has to be reminded not to work around the house so much but to instead enjoy time playing with his new brothers and sisters. He has never been to school so he does not know how to read or write, but is motivated to learn. He has already become a part of our family and has a huge place in our hearts. He is playing this summer and preparing to go to school for the first time this fall – we are all looking forward to giving this wonderful young man the childhood he so rightfully deserves!
James Lee came to us with only his clothes on his back. You can help bring safety, security and consistency to James Lee’s life for $40/month to be a shared sponsor or $240/month to be his sole sponsor .