The following are excerpts from an interview with Founder and CEO of O.U.R. Tim Ballard on his recent visit to Haiti to check up on the 28 children he and the “Jump Team” rescued in February.
Q: You just went to Haiti right and checked up on those children you rescued in February. Can you give us an update?
A: Yes. To see these kids, they’re totally happy now. They were just shattered before, and now they’re not. After just two months there, we can see physically they’re getting fed. They’re being taken care of. They’re licensed, and it’s a pretty nice facility where they’re at.
Q: Are there any of them that will be returned to their parents?
A: No. None of the parents have been found. In most cases, they probably wouldn’t be. But, we don’t know about all of them. They’re still looking into some of them. Half the kids went to one orphanage and half went to the other one. They’re (the orphanage) still looking into the whereabouts of the kids and a lot of it is still tied to the investigation which is still pending. The women are in jail still. That’s just part of the process. So, we’ve had a lot of people interested in adopting these kids, so we’re working with adoption agencies, and there’re several families who really want to get these kids.
Q: I heard you were interested in adopting two of these children. Can you tell me about that?
A: Yes. We’re one of those families. The hold-up right now is that they’re tied up with the investigation so once there’s a sentencing of the women and the cases are over, the kids become adoptable. When I was down there, I met with the head officer who runs all adoptions in Haiti, a very high level person, and she was so gracious, and she knew exactly who we were and about the operation. She’s going to help us. We consider adoption part of the rehab process, too, if we can get these kids into homes.
Q: So the child you’re holding in the picture, is he the one you want to adopt?
A. Yes, him and his sister.
Q: And how old are they?
A: Three and four.
Q: And what is their story? I mean, where are their parents?
A: The story the traffickers gave us is that they are both dead. They were killed in a murder/suicide, but that’s something they would say anyway. That’s what they (law enforcement) are investigating right now. But unless they can find the parents, or find that there are no parents, or find the parents and they say that they can’t take care of them, then they are not adoptable. So right now they are working on tracking this. And we’re still heavily involved with the operation in Haiti. We’re closing in on some of the traffic organizations. That’s one of our next sting operations that we plan.
Q: If someone wanted to adopt one of these children, what would they do?
A: I would send them to our web site at OURrescue.org and we can connect them with the adoption agencies.
Q: A lot of people ask what they can do to help. Is this something you would like to see them do?
A: This is something we want to start a chain reaction with. Do you want to help? Do you have space and means to take one of these kids in?
Q: Do they speak English or French?
A. They speak Creole and a little French, maybe. They learn English real fast. Actually, in the place we have them, they teach them English.
Q: So the three women are in jail?
A: Actually, there are two. The other woman is an undercover cop.
Q: What is the latest on that?
A: It’s in the judicial process. They do hearings, and they’re investigating.
Q: Do you have to go back for any of that?
A: I might have to go back and testify.
Q: Do you have any upcoming rescues planned?
A: We have several, but we can’t really give any details. We have one in Guatemala…We have two in Colombia we’re working on. Another Haiti one. And then we have several in Mexico that we’re working on.
For more information or to help with the cause, please visit ourrescue.org
Interview by Cheryl L. Karr