Caught between the 1980s HIV/AIDS global pandemic and the devastating January 2010 earthquake in Haiti, three women strive to realize their dreams. Pregnant and uneducated, sixteen-year-old Adelaide trades her dream of escaping the grinding poverty of her rural village for hopes of a better life for her unborn child. Kate, a young American physician, often finds her roles as mother and wife to be in conflict with her childhood dream to practice medicine in a third-world country. Giselle, a university-educated artist, lives in Port au Prince. While she sympathizes with the plight of her fellow Haitians, she envisions her and her family's future as a comfortable life in the United States. When the violent 1991 coup d'etat erupts in Haiti, these three women's lives intersect and are forever changed. Despite different cultures and life circumstances, the women share in the vision of a better future for their children and the troubled country of Haiti. Their personal stories of adversity, tragedy, and triumph are embedded in the complex social, political and cultural climate that evolves when international assistance programs influence individuals and communities in the developing world. Often in startling contrast, the women portrayed in When Dreams Touch are united through mutual understanding and respect. With courage and perseverance, they confront the broader injustices of the world they live in and create a legacy of enduring hope.