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Indianapolis attorney creates rescue mission for displaced children

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Tim Rowe is a man of many interests. He’s been a radio show host, television show host, and nationally touring lecturer. Rowe has served in several community leadership roles during his 25 years as a partner at Indianapolis law firm Rowe & Hamilton. But from an early age, the deeply religious attorney has been driven by a desire to help others.

haiti-1-15col Indianapolis attorney Tim Rowe, with a resident of Giving Hope Rescue Mission, during his May 2011 trip to Haiti. (Photo courtesy Tim Rowe)

“I enjoy practicing law, but I really wanted to try to do something on a bigger scale that would enable me to help the world,” he said.

Rowe seems to have found his calling in creating a charity – Voice of the Orphan – for the purpose of finding new homes in the United States for Haitian children.

Children in need

Last fall, Rowe and two friends – teacher Michelle See and youth minister Heather Elyse – decided that they wanted to do something to help children in Haiti. Following an earthquake in 2010 that killed about 220,000 people, the already-impoverished country struggled to meet the needs of its population. The quake left behind many orphans. And some children in Haiti, Rowe said, are surrendered for adoption because their families cannot afford to care for them.

After months of planning, Rowe and his friends traveled to Haiti early this year to establish the Giving Hope Rescue Mission in Montrouis, Haiti, about a 45-mile drive north of capitol Port-au-Prince.

“We literally have – every day – parents coming by, wanting to drop off their kids,” Rowe said. “We try to take all babies if we can, and our goal is to get them adopted.”

Rowe does not think the term “orphanage” is an appropriate label for the home, because in Haiti, orphanages are not permitted to arrange adoptions, he said. The home is considered a crèche, which allows Rowe to seek permanent homes in the United States for the children.

Around 30 children, the oldest of whom is 12, live in Giving Hope’s two 2,000-square-foot buildings which separate the children by gender, in accordance with Haitian law.

Rowe said adoptions are pending for six of the children, and two of them will be coming to Indiana to live with See and her family. See and her husband already have a 2-year-old son, and they are licensed foster parents.

“A year and a half ago, we decided that we wanted to adopt through the foster care system here in Indiana,” she said. “So we took all the classes, did the paperwork, and became licensed foster parents, and we hadn’t received a referral yet. And then Tim and Heather and I started our mission in Haiti.”

After going to Haiti, See decided that she would adopt two children – a brother and sister. Giving Hope does not separate siblings for adoption.

Her training as a foster parent will be helpful when integrating the children into the family, See said. But she knows the transition may be challenging for her current family and the new children.

“Some people adopt and they bring the kids home and they expect everything to be perfect, and I don’t have that expectation,” she said.

Life in Haiti

The United Nations World Food Program estimates that one in five Haitians dies before the age of 40. Rowe said many people may be surprised to learn that in a country where malnutrition is rampant, food costs are exorbitant. A jar of peanut butter, he said, costs $11. He crams suitcases full of food and other supplies each time he travels to Haiti.

Voice of the Orphan’s application for non-profit status is pending, and Rowe and his partners cover most of the operation costs – about $10,000 per month. Providing diapers for the home’s six infants along with balanced meals and drinking water adds up quickly. The home also employs 15 staff members, including a nurse.

Rowe has been able to buy furniture and other household items in Haiti, where people often sell their possessions on the side of the road. On a recent trip, he bought a TV and VCR, which allowed the children to enjoy the animated film, “Happy Feet,” about a tap-dancing penguin.

Rowe, who has no children of his own, feels a strong bond with the residents of Giving Hope, and seeing them smile is one of the most rewarding outcomes of his work, he said. Many of the children were once abused – or left for dead.

“It’s an interesting culture; there’s not much value placed on children,” he said. “We kind of almost have a dumpster ministry where we’ve let the word out – some people just put their kids in the dumpster, throw them away – so we’ve at least let the word out that if anybody’s going to do that to at least come to us first.”

And their recovery has been remarkable, he said.

“We’ve really seen a transformation in the kids,” Rowe said. “We think these kids are gonna do some great things – not only in the U.S., but back in Haiti. I think in any culture you can stereotype, and a lot of times, Haiti gets stereotyped – as lawyers get stereotyped – but there are some really good people there.”

Logistics

International adoptions can be expensive and may take years to arrange.

“One of the unique things about Voice of the Orphan is if you go to a lot of the places around (Indiana), a lot of them will charge forty-grand for international adoptions – which is the going rate, but I don’t charge anything,” Rowe said. “We are literally the cheapest and the fastest. We have an attorney that has some connections in the Haitian government and so … we’re hoping we can get our adoptions through the Haitian side in six to nine months and the U.S. side in two to three months. We’re hopeful we can get these kids adopted in less than a year.” But, he said, “Nothing is guaranteed in Haiti.”

Rowe said the cost to parents in the United States will be about $7,500 per adoption, with most of that going toward fees in Haiti.

“We hope to really establish this and then maybe move into Africa. My dad was a missionary in Liberia … we’re a Christian group, too.”

See has been brushing up on Haitian recipes and learning more about the Haitian population in Fort Wayne, about an hour from her home north of Peru. She said that as a Christian, she feels it is her duty to care about the fate of orphans, and she hopes others will do the same.

“There’s lots of ways you can be involved in caring for orphans without taking the plunge and having to adopt,” she added.•

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  • an inspiration
    tim is truly an inspiration and does help people in need. i know, tim has helped me on several occassions when i needed him.

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  1. Am I the only one who sees that the City is essentially giving away the MSA site AND giving millions to build new buildings on the site when this site would be the perfect place for the Justice Complex? Across from City-County, check; keeping it centrally located, check, etc. It's my understanding that the GM site must be purchased by the City from Motors Liquidation Company. STOP WASTING WHAT WE ALREADY HAVE AND OUR TAX DOLLARS! The Ballard Administration has not been known for it's common sense...never voted for him and never will!

  2. This guy sounds like the classic molester/manipulator.

  3. Louis D. Brandeis was born in 1856. At 9 years of age it would have been 1865. The Brandeis family did not own slaves. My source Louis D. Brandeis: A Life, by Melvin L. Urofsky.

  4. My name is Matthew Lucas Major, I recently went through a jury trial in Bloomington , In. It was the week of Feb 19-21. Although I have been incarcerated since August 5, 2014. The reason I 'am writing to you sir is on the 21 of February the jury came in with a very excessive and wrongful verdict of guilty on 6 child molesting charges against my daughter who was 9 at the time I was accused. I also had 2 other Felonies one of Intimidation and 1 of Sexual Vicarious Gratification. Judge Marc Kellam on the second day of trial gave me a not guilty on those 2 felonies. The jury was sent out during that time and when brought back Judge Kellam told them to not concern themselves with the 2 Felonies that he ruled on them. They were told to not let evidence they had already heard influence there verdicts. I never in my life touched any child sexually and definitely not with my own daughter. When I was arrested Detective Shawn Karr told me I would be convicted guilty just on my daughters word even without evidence. That's just what happened. my public defender did me so wrong he never once proved to the court and jury all the lies the child told, and Jeremy Noel my public defender could of proven the lies easily. The stories in Serenity's depositions and Forensic interview changed and were not consistent as Prosecutor Darcie Fawcett claimed they were. Yet my attorney never mentioned that. The facts that the child accused me of full penetration in her vagina and rectum was proven lies. Doctor Roberta Hibbard of Riley hospital in Indianapolis confirmed Serenity's hymen intact, no scars, no tearing, no signs of rape to her. Yet my attorney didn't use that knowledge . the DNA was all in my favor. I tell you I will spend my entire life in prison going through rape and beatings etc. even Judge Kellam abused his authority by telling the jurors to listen and believe what the prosecutors side in evidence like my daughters testimony. In one interview with the detectives my daughter got flustered with her mom and said on camera " I'm saying what you told me to mom"!! Yet Mr. Noel said nor did anything to even resemble a defense attorney. Judge Kellam allowed edited version of a taped conversation between the child and her mother. Also Judge Kellam allowed the Prosecutor too bring in to my case a knife found under my seat, the knife wasn't part of my case. She was allowed by my attorney and the judge to put a huge picture of it on the screen and huge picture of my naked privates in a full courtroom and open court. Ms. Fawcett says to jury see how easy Mr. Major could reach the knife and cut his Childs throat. Even though I had no weapons charge against these cases. This gave the jurors prejudice thought against me thinking I threatened her with that knife and how scared she would of been knowing i could get it and kill her. On my sentencing court March 19, 2014 my public defender told Judge Kellam he wish to resign from being my attorney and wished for the court to give me outside council to file a error to trial or appeal. We were denied. Now after openly knowing my public defender don't want to represent me he has to. Well when as parents we make our kids clean a room when they really don't wish to, well the child will but don't mean she will do a good job, that's where I'm at with Mr. Noel. please dont ignore mine and my families pleas for your help . we have all the legal proof you could need to prove Im innocent. Please dont make my spend years in prison innocent when you can fix this wrong. Im not saying Im a perfect man or that I was a perfect dad to my 2 children none of us are. Ive made some bad choices in life and I paid for them. But I didnt ever touch or rape my daughter . I love my children with all my heart. And now through needing attention and a ex-wife who told my granny several times she wish she could put me in prison to get me out of their lives. Well my ex finally accomplished her goal. Sad part is she is destroying our daughter with all this horrific lies and things she taught my daughter to say. My daughter will need therapist to ever hope for a chance of a normal life after what she had done to her by her mom and their side of the family. My daughter told everyone even on stand she had a dream months before i supposedly molested her in this dream I was molesting her and when I finally did it matched her dream perfectly. She admitted to watching movies about little girls being molested and watching U-Tube videos about child molesting all before it happened supposedly to her. Doesn't that sound very unusual that a non molested 9 yr old would need to know so much about being molested? The only reason I could think a 9 year old would need so much information is to be prepared to know what to say and be able to say how it felt what took place etc.. So when questioned by authorities she would be prepared. And there again sir if a parent is pre grooming a 9 year old child she would need intimate details . Like telling her daughter about a couple moles on my private area. The child admitted to sneaking my cell and looking many many times at nudes of me and my girlfriend even one where my penis was entering my girlfriends vagina. In that picture my moles are obvious. Yet when prosecutor showed everyone in court my privates and pictures of the moles she said the only way the child would know about them is if she saw them for herself. My attorney once again said nothing about the pictures my child saw. Or could a ex-wife be able to describe my moles to help her case against getting rid of me? I beg you help me. This is my very existence. Ive lost everything , a good job, a wonderful girlfriend, my freedom, but worse thing Ive lost is my children. They were my reason to get up every morning and strive to be better. The wonderful bond I had with my Serenity is gone. After this I would be afraid to even hug her for fear of what next can they do to me. I'm not afraid to tell you I sit here in this cell and try to hold back my tears. Everyone knows you cant show weakness in prison. My life has already been threatened here at Wabash Valley Prison. After only 3 days of arrival. I was tricked into signing a waiver now Im in G Block General Population with 6 child molesting felony charges. Mrs. Hart as a 18 year old I almost died hooked to machines in hospital almost 1 month and now I know that fear was childish compared to this . I cant help but put emotions in this, after all Mrs. Hart Im human and God help Me I never been more afraid in my life. I didnt hurt my little girl I didnt touch her sexually. As much as it shreds me and fills my mind what Im facing I worry more about my mom and granny because of their great love for me mam they are suffering so deeply. I aint done this things but my loved ones suffering right along beside me and If you take my case you will be in essence freeing them also. I sent momma this letter and asked her to email it to you. I'm scared I have been done so unjustly by our legal system and I need you to fix this and give me freedom. I ask you please don't just ignore my pleas. Here in America its nice to be able to trust our legal justice system, well they destroyed my and my loved ones trust in our justice system . And I'm trusting in You !!! My entire family is suffering this nightmare with me. My 77 year old granny had a stroke and isn't doing so well. My single mother that raised 3 kids alone is dying from Lupus and since my arrest has stayed so sick and weary. Our lives torn to peices by a government I was taught I could trust in. my momma has tried so many innocent project and wrongfully accused and cant get anywhere. please please help me. A quote from the late Nelson Mandela: To be free is not merely to cast off ones chains, But to live in a way that respects and enhances The Freedom Of Others. I have Faith in you and your clinic to cast my chains off and give me freedom I do deserve as a wrongfully accused Man, son, brother, father, friend. Matthew Major DOC# 246179 Cause # : 53c02-1308-FA-000779 God Bless you. Please contact me with your decision so I know you made a life changing decision for me , just please at least write me so I know you care enough about your citizens to respond to cries for your help. You can speak openly with my mother Charlotte Spain (828) 476-0406: 71 Lakeview Dr. Canton, NC 28716 Thank You Matthew Major I know yall get thousands of request and inmates claiming innocence, and each person who are innocent deserve to have organizations like yours willing to fight for them and I give yall so much Thanks and I thank God everyday yall are out there caring enough to help free the innocents. Since discovering firsthand how easily lives and families can be destroyed by Poor Defense attorneys not doing their job . And Prosecutors allowed to do as they please in court

  5. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

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