The writing is on the wall

What's next for Have Faith Haiti? Hope. Faith. Love. Family. Culture. Health. Sharing.
Mitch Albom

Mitch Albom

March 22, 2024

It’s time to answer some questions. 

We are blessed to be home after a harrowing last trip to our beloved orphanage. There has been a great deal of media attention to the evacuation of 10 of our staff and visitors, including my wife and myself. Understandably so. The situation in Haiti is beyond dire, people are trapped in the violence there, the airports, ports, road and borders are shut, and the world is becoming acutely aware of the constant inhumanity inflicted by the gangs.

So when a small group manages to exit in the dead of night in a helicopter rescue, it’s going to make some noise. It’s likely you’ve read or watched the story by now. If not, I’ve detailed it here.  

But I can tell you, even as we huddled on the floor of that helicopter, when Janine and I heard the words, “We’re out of Haitian airspace,” our hearts were heavy, because our thoughts were with the children and staff still at our facility. And I know, from your correspondence, that many of you feel the same.

So let me address the questions that may be running through your head; they are likely the ones we grapple with every day.

What happens to the children?

This is all we focus on. Their safety. Their health. Their mental well-being. Right now they are safe, healthy, watched over and loved. 

Understand that there is no legal way to evacuate them from Haiti. Even if we could have created a helicopter big enough for 60 kids, the sad truth is, had they landed in the Dominican Republic, they would have been immediately sent back. They would not be permitted into the U.S. Other nearby island nations would not accept them. 

All doors are closed.

The world does not welcome Haitians. It’s a terrible injustice to our kids, our staff, their loved ones, and all the innocent citizens of this current situation. Until that changes, we have to deal with the situation within the nation’s borders.  

Is Have Faith Haiti closing?

Absolutely not. We are needed more than ever now. We are not going anywhere.

How are supplies getting in? Do you have food?

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Yes. For better or worse, we are used to situations like this. My wife and I were at the orphanage when former President Jovenel Moïse was assassinated in 2021. The country shut down then as well, and we quickly learned how to adjust under such circumstances.

As soon as the gang violence surged during our last trip, we began stocking up on food, water and fuel. This remains our focus. The costs shoot up quickly, as demand soars and vendors gouge buyers. Your donations continue to allow us to feed and comfort our children.

Fuel, in particular, is a dire necessity. Over the last 10 days, we have had virtually no electricity from the city. We usually only get 4-5 hours a day, but we are not even getting that. This means the only way to light the dark or power the refrigerators is to run a generator, requiring constant gas to do so. Again, your donations in this area are precious.

What is happening with the kids?

We do everything possible to permit the children to live normal, daily lives — even in such an abnormal environment. Meals continue as usual. Nightly prayers. Church. Play time. Music. Art. Soccer. 

When we had to close our school for two weeks, our oldest kids got together and asked if they could serve as teachers. I cannot describe the feeling in my heart watching our 17 and 18-year-olds step up and become instructors to their younger brothers and sisters, standing by the whiteboards and reviewing lessons in English and math. It was a symbol of resilience that gives me goose bumps even as I write it.

All during our 10-day visit, we worked on a huge mural project. A third of a football field long, the two blank walls provided a canvas for shared activity and a respite from worry. Every day our volunteers joined alongside the kids in painting the colorful symbols of our values: family, faith, love, sharing, culture, education. The finished result is a testament to beauty in the face of grim reality. It is inspiring, and our kids love it. 

This past week, we have actually been able to re-open our school, something very few schools in Port-au-Prince have done. This is a credit to our amazing dedicated teachers, who brave the journey each day. We are immensely proud of them, and again, your donations allow us to pay them, which provides their families with food and shelter. 

Remember that in addition to our children, we have around 80 full and part-time employees, from teachers to nannies to maintenance to security workers, all of whom rely on their paychecks to feed and shelter their loved ones. Thus, the ripple effect of our orphanage extends far beyond the precious children inside it.

Can we adopt a child from Have Faith Haiti in order to provide them a safe life in America?

While this is such a kind sentiment, it simply isn’t feasible. Our orphanage is not licensed to make adoptions, and even if it were, the process is extremely lengthy — usually four or more years — and families wishing to adopt in Haiti cannot identify a particular child. 

My family member is stuck in Haiti. Can Mitch get them out? 

We did not initiate or organize our recent evacuation. It was done by others, in particular Rep. Cory Mills from Florida. It may be possible to contact his office, as well as a group called Project Dynamo, which has also conducted some extractions. In addition, as of this writing, there seems to be a little movement by the U.S. State department to possibly organize some charter flights out of Haiti (they already did one from Cap Haitien.) Those inside Haiti should be in constant contact with the embassy websites.

What happens next?

We wish we knew what the future holds for the country. For now, for us, we must shelter in place, and try to keep daily life for our children as worry free as possible. We do have armed security forces, which cost a great deal, but are, in our opinion, an absolute necessity. Again, your donations in this area make a huge difference.

Because faith is an underpinning of all we do at Have Faith Haiti, prayer — constant prayer — is encouraged. We believe in tomorrow, and in hope. We search constantly for the crack of light under the door. We are confident in God’s love and encourage our children to embrace that feeling every day. 

Despite the horror you see on television, there are smiles and laughter and hand-holding and comfort at our home and school. As for Janine and me, our bodies may currently be in the U.S., but our hearts remain there in Haiti, and we look forward to our soonest return. Thank you for all you do to support our kids, and to provide the healing patina of hope for them every day. 

Mission to

With your help, we can move mountains

Support the continued building of a new home for Have Faith Haiti through the Mission to Move Fund this Giving Tuesday.


  1. Ann Sullivan

    Heartbreak and Hope.
    I made a donation and will continue to contribute.
    Any hands on work needed?

    • Phyllis

      can someone send me a link to make a donation. The website is not showing it.

  2. Theresa Ramus

    Thanks for the update. I still wish for hope that sometime you can get those kids out of Haiti. If Cory Mills did indeed or is getting some 52 disabled children out of Haiti to Jamaica like he mentioned on your show then why can’t you get those kids for a time somewhere else? Not by way of the Dominican Republic. Yes I agree that so many do not like Haitians. I just do not get that at all. I do not understand why. It doesn’t make sense to me. Good luck with the work you do and for everyone involved.

    • Deborah Lorenz

      I was reading the comments and just wanted to respond to those of you hoping to take the children out of Haiti, they’re not necessarily orphans up for adoption. A friend from Haiti asked me a few years back to help her locate distant relatives of the children in her orphanage in Haiti, as well as to ask a non-profit there to help supply food for the students in her day school. There were 150 kids in her school and orphanage and at least half were living there full time. So I offered to go for three months and to search the country for as many relatives of her ‘orphans’ that I could find. This was in 2018, and the children had been there since the earthquake in 2010. But before I left for Haiti, another friend from Haiti, living here with her husband in the USA, offered to adopt one of the older children from Haiti. She asked for a girl between eight and twelve or so. I asked the school director for a volunteer, and by the time I left for Haiti at the end of the week, ALL of the children (60-80 kids?) had gone home. Many children in orphanages in Haiti are not orphans. They have a mom or dad or close relative who is too poor to feed them and to educate them, so a family member brings them to the orphanage, but they often come back to visit and to check on their kids. So when my friend offered to adopt a child, word spread quickly and all of the kids who had been there, went home.

      Haitians need a stable government, security and safety and infrastructure. They need tourists to fuel their economy and products to sell and distribute abroad. They don’t need in the long term, more people providing free medical care and education (who then replace the Haitian doctors and teachers, yet who flee in hard and uncertain times), and they don’t need people taking their children away from them. While I think many now want an international presence to help secure the nation, they very much resented the UN police force there before and could have done without the exploitation of their women and children, the sexual abuse by such police officers and international aid workers, the influx of American guns and all the rest of the illnesses brought in, such as cholera and the general havoc we wreaked—including aid workers keeping most of the aid given to help the Haitians…before we all step in and try to ‘save’ Haiti from itself, we might try studying Haitian history and listening to what the people there want. I have friends, who are Haitians, still there in Haiti. Many smart, well-educated people are still living in Haiti. They’d like help, but I can assure you their long term solution is not to leave their country or to give away their children.

  3. lina bannister


  4. Nancy

    I will begin praying daily for the country of Haiti and the children, staff and everyone at Have Faith Haiti.

  5. Beth Keasling

    Praying for the light that is Have Faith Haiti to continue shining brightly! God is still on his throne – the Haitian gangs have no power over that fact. May He grant security and peace and abundant love to surround the children and staff. And may He make “next steps” very clear. God bless you all!

  6. Debbie Bucher

    Praying for the safety, health and wellbeing of all involved. Thank you all for the wonderful work that you do.

  7. Theresa Ramus

    I forgot to mention that the mural is so lovely. A lot of work went into it for sure. i hope that everyone gets peace in this fairly new year of 2024. You do a good job there as do all the volunteers and caregivers. I donate periodically. i can imagine the price gouging . I wish I could do more but I cannot.

  8. Barbara Herald

    I guess what bothers me the most is that the US has allowed people to flood our borders. We don’t even know where they come from. When children in need come forward they are denied entry. To me, these are the ones we should be allowing into this country. I will continue to pray.

  9. Jody Friedman

    Hi Mitch, it’s Jody your miracle maker. I really wish there was something I could do to help on this one anyhow miss seeing you. I keep up on the orphanage. I hope all is well. Please tell Janine hello I miss you guys.

  10. Caryl Blevins

    Thank you so much for the update! I’ve been praying so much for your kids and volunteers and employees and all of the people affected by the brutality taking place as Haiti descends into madness. I’m grateful you and your wife and the others made it out alive, but I know it broke your hearts to have to leave them. You had to go. You would have been a target at some point, a well-known author from America who could bring a large ransom. There was no other choice. I will continue to pray and donate when I can. Your kids are the future of Haiti when things can be brought under control. God bless you and all of them.

  11. Alice


    Thank you for the update. I have been thinking of all of you but especially the kids. Was hoping you could fill a plane with all the kids, teachers and volunteers and get them to the U.S. but read how that is not possible. Breaks my heart. Pray all the time that somehow Haiti will become a safe place. The mural is beautiful. God Bless all of you.

  12. Marjorie Jaszcz

    Thank you for the update, Mitch! I’ve been praying for the kids and workers. I didn’t know Haitians were so unwelcome by other countries. I know my churches first missionary trip over 30 years ago was to Haiti and the country holds a special place in my heart. May God continue to bless the workers down there and supply all the kids’ needs.

  13. Dr. Richard & Kathy Goich

    We continue our prayers for the safety & well being of the children at your orphanage. You & all of your staff & volunteers deserve much credit for what you have done & continue to do.
    God bless.

  14. David. Clifton

    Scott. Clifton. CBS ABC NBC star is your fan

  15. Cindy

    God bless the people of Haiti and protect them. So thankful for you, your staff and volunteers who work so hard to provide a safe place for these vulnerable children to live and thrive.

  16. Joyce Ray

    Thank you Mitch for answering the many questions we have. We all will continue praying for Peace in Haiti and are happy to hear the children are well cared for and protected. So glad you are home safe! We love your beautiful heart!

  17. Chit

    No words for you Mitch and your wife except I probably can imagine God saying “well done my good and faithful servant”! Immeasurable hearts for these children…many of your followers have faith believing there is hope and future for these children. May God’s angels surrounded these little ones always. May God continue to give you and your wife the grace and wisdom on how you can continue to care and provide for the orphanage. God bless you always.

  18. Maureen Campbell

    God bless you and your wife for all you do for the children and their caregivers in the orphage. You indeed have found a place in the hearts of so many beyond the publication your tremendous books. Thank you for your geneosity and showing us a true example of helping even a small portion of humanity in need.

    • Jim Kubiak

      I am in awe. At times when I think I’m doing SO MUCH for challenged peoples, I am humbled by actions of others and realize that I can be doing SO MUCH MORE. I echo Chit’s comments and thank God for His past, present and future love and grace.

  19. S. Allison

    Thank you for this thorough and easy to understand update. You have answered questions I would not have thought to ask and have given a truthful, non-hysterical explanation of what is happening. I will continue to pray, and to contribute.

  20. Patricia P Miller

    Thanks for the update. Haiti has been on my mind. Your daring escape was welcome news ,but how hazardous. I have followed your work in Haiti from the beginning. God bless you and all your workers. How wonderful a thing it is in the midst of such violent actions. .Praying for a good outcome.


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