|"Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast"
|"The liberal soul shall be made fat, and he that watereth, shall be watered also himself."
-- Proverbs 11:25
There is not one orphan among the 33 children that a U.S. Baptist group tried to take from Haiti in a do-it-yourself rescue mission following a devastating earthquake, The Associated Press has determined.
In the rubble-riddled Citron slum where 13 of the children lived, parents who gave their children away confirmed Saturday that each one of the youngsters had living parents.
Their testimony echoed that of parents in the mountain town of Callabas, outside of Port-au-Prince, who told the AP on Feb. 3 that desperation and blind faith led them to hand over 20 children to the religious Americans who promised them a better life.
Now the Citron parents worry they may never see their children again.
One Citron mother who gave up all four of her children, including a 3-month-old, is locked in a trance-like state but sometimes erupts into fits of hysteria.
Her husband and other parents said they relinquished their children to the U.S. missionaries because they were promised safekeeping across the border in a newly established orphanage in the Dominican Republic.
Their stories contradict the missionaries' still-jailed leader, Laura Silsby, who told the AP the day after her arrest that the children were either orphans or came from distant relatives.
The pastor said his deeds are often misunderstood by people in the developed worked who don't realize that more than half of the 380,000 children in Haiti's orphanages are not orphans. Many have parents who -- even before the quake -- were simply unable to care for them.
The problem is that some of the ''orphans'' end up as sex slaves or become domestics who work for food and shelter -- and sometimes school. Fearing more such abuse of children after the quake, Haiti's government banned all adoptions except those approved before the disaster.
Sainvil said he went to Citron for children because he knew people there were desperate: He had been sleeping under tarps with them. Food was barely trickling in, medical care was just becoming available and hundreds of decomposing bodies were buried beneath the neighborhood's collapsed homes.
Under one of the blue tarps sheltering the Chesnels' homeless neighbors, 27-year-old Maletid Desilien lay Saturday on a bed of two soiled rugs. Only her eyes peered out from under a bedsheet.
''She has been like that ever since someone told her she will never get the kids back,'' said her husband, Dieulifanne Desilien, who works in a T-shirt factory.