“We love because He first loved us.” – 1 John 4:19
The Agape House was started at the end of 2013 when Stephen and Autumn Byxbe of Together We Can–Haiti were asked to prayerfully consider assuming responsibility of 14 children in a local children’s home. The Byxbes had known the children for years having served as house parents for them in 2011 and part of 2012. It was also the home where they had found their son, Josiah, in 2011. When approached with this need and the opportunity to continue to invest in the lives of these children, the decision was very clear. The Byxbes have always considered the Agape House children as an extension of their family.
The prayer and heart of The Agape House is to provide a home for these incredible children in which they all grow up experiencing the love of Christ. While some of them may be adopted into loving families, TWC-Haiti recognizes that (due to the difficulty of international adoption out of Haiti) many of them may not, so our goal is to offer these children unconditional love and security through a family unit approach to their care.
In a country where there is no functioning foster system, the goal of the Agape House has always been first and foremost to fight to keep families together whenever possible. The Agape House has successfully fostered, rehabilitated, and reunified multiple children with their birth families when their health had deteriorated due to serious malnutrition or health issues and they needed temporary foster care. The Agape House also fights to help families stay together when severe poverty compels desperate parents to bring children our way by providing micro loans to help them get back on their feet and provide for their children. Unfortunately there are cases in Haiti – just as in any other country – where no matter of intervention can ensure that a child could safely stay with their birth families in circumstances of abuse at the hands of their parents. Sadly, that’s why safe places like the Agape House are needed when vulnerable children are left with no other options. At the Agape House, we make every effort to provide homes that are small enough to function as family units where the children’s care can be very focused. In an effort to help foster healthy attachment and bonding for children who have virtually all endured terrible trauma, we have intentionally structured these homes so that the Haitian mamas serving as the primary caregivers can be constants in the children’s lives rather than employing a continually rotating staff.
Education is a very important aspect of The Agape House’s efforts to nurture these children as well. The Agape House children have classes in Haitian Creole, French, and English on a daily basis. Discipleship and biblical training are also central pillars of their education. For the children in our care who struggle with learning disabilities or special needs, the Agape House is also striving to provide life skills and career training in an effort to afford each child with every opportunity to reach his or her fullest potential both now, and in their futures.
The Agape House’s main objective is to provide Christ-centered homes in which these children come to find their greatest purpose, identity, and eternal worth in belonging to a Heavenly Father who has promised to never leave them and whose love will never fail.