Once Upon a Time...
We met our youngest son at age 6 in the fly-buzzing heat of a stuffy orphanage, nestled in the hills bordering Port-au-Prince, Haiti. At that moment of first contact, our lives were forever grafted together into an amazingly different kind of family tree. After a long 4-year journey, Wesley Wadnelson will join his 3 older siblings, his Mommy and his Daddy in the first half of 2017!
When we fell in love with this boy, we inadvertently fell in love with the country that birthed him, raised him, and shaped his little self for his first 7 years. We fell in love with the people we met, the nannies and staff who protected him, the incredible lives and stories that each of these Haitian men and women have shared with us. Everyone from the translators to the hotel staff, to children at the créche - the amount of life they have lived is overwhelming!
Very quickly, we found ourselves magnetically drawn to organizations with local presence whose sole purpose was to provide outlets for Haitian men and women to earn fair wages. To be able to feed, care for, and protect their families, to keep their children without having to give them up, and more than anything to spark a revived sense of hope for their futures. Over our frequent trips to visit our son, we began collecting product from these organizations, and the idea for Bél Lavi was born.
Bél Lavi acts as a retail hub - a place where anyone stateside can shop from carefully selected pieces that are all made by hand in Haiti by these local Haitian artisans. We work with several different vendors whose hearts are aligned with ours - to provide opportunity, teaching, assistance and guidance, and unconditional love in ways that are practical and allow the economy in Haiti to continue to build upon itself and grow exponentially. The items sold on these pages are all Haiti-sourced products, made from recycled materials, and harvested locally. On our artisan link you can see some of these faces and read pieces of their stories - just a tiny slice of the hope and joy that this work can bring to their lives!
In Haitian Creole, Bél Lavi is literally translated "beautiful life". Our goal is to continue to help these organizations grow their footprint, their impact on the ground, to bring awareness to the need and to bring the absolute JOY from these artisans' beautiful lives into the hearts of others. We are honored to be a part of their life journey by bringing more work to support these artisans and their families - and we welcome you to this journey as well!
In addition to partnering with our vendors' organizations, Bél Lavi also gives a portion of our proceeds each quarter to a variety of non-profits that assist in Haiti in some way. If you are aware of an organization that you feel would fit well with our company's story, please send us an email and let us know - we would love to hear about them, and add them to our list!
If you are interested in getting involved deeper into working in the lives of Haitian families, please continue to check our site for links. Throughout the year we will post upcoming opportunities to serve Haiti.
Thank you for joining us and listening to our story!
Adoptive Mama, Wife, Otherwise Normal Person, Owner, Bél Lavi