Okay....I guess it's time for an update. What a trip, I don't really know where to begin. There were so many emotions crammed into one week it makes my mind spin just thinking about it.
Just the walk from the airport terminal to the car (we had a private driver and two translators) was a journey. There were so many people just looking to make a buck by carrying our bags for us, I would have been penny-less before we even got in to the car, in fact I probably wouldn't have made it to the car because I kept stopping to talk to people! Really, Carleigh?!?!?.......I can't even speak Creole!!! That's why Joe is such a perfect match for me. And I had a translator gently pushing me along and telling me to stay in front of him. It was also a good thing Michelle had prepped us before hand but I still probably wouldn't make it on my own!
You may remember a post a while back about us missing the December 11 embassy appointment and me being really disappointed about it. Well Michelle didn't go on that trip and the two families that went were essentially on their own. They still had a private driver and translators but Michelle wasn't there with them. Michelle has been traveling to Haiti for two years now and if we didn't have her with us I think I would have been a basket case (yes I could have been worse!) and I'm pretty sure Joe appreciated her being there too.
We checked in at the Jumecourt Inn in Croix du Bouqeut where we were staying, got changed and then headed to the orphanage. Side note: the Inn is under 24 hour security which means; barbed wire on top of the walls and security guards with shotguns in two watch towers and others with shotguns constantly patrolling the property! Nice.....
So...on the way to the orphanage Michelle told us that our boy was really big, not fat but big, and he doesn't seem to like white people! Perfect. I don't think a person could get any whiter than me! We got out of the car and were immediately greeted by friendly little smiles, hands, and hugs. What a delight. We made it to our sons room and I was greeted with a beautiful wee man who wanted nothing at all to do with this white woman who was claiming to be his Mama. He screamed, cried, and threw his head back, the whole bit, what a great start...I handed him to Joe (yes with tears in my eyes) and he seemed to calm down a bit. Next thing you know he's smiling! Okay so it's not that bad after all, he likes Joe!!! I can't wait to share the photos with you all. He warmed up to me too as the day went on so that was a blessing! And no I'm not just making that up he really did. Our little girl is adorable. They had brought her down to the same room and she was a little overwhelmed, the dear wee soul. She wasn't too sure what to think but as the day wore on she too had warmed up to us both and was pushing other children away from us. She had become quite possessive. She had seen other families come in and love on their children and now her people were here and she wasn't about to share! She also cried when we left for the evening. This was going to be a hard week.
Michelle had told us that this would be an emotional day and that it was. She said if you find yourself crying uncontrollably go sit in the truck or somewhere quite and pull yourself together and then come back and join us. Well you can be darn skippy I wasn't going to go to no truck to pull myself together. I wasn't about to miss a minute of time with those babies. So as soon as I felt that uncontrollable sense of sobbing rising up in my soul I prayed and prayed hard. Thanks be to God I didn't find myself hiding away as I pulled myself together. Thanks for the heads up Michelle, a little preparation goes a long way!
Day one was almost over. We went back to the Inn, had dinner and then talked into the night with Michelle, Rich, and Christina. Rich and Christina are also adopting through American World. Rich and his wife already had their embassy appointment and this was Rich's second trip to visit his precious ones. Christina and her husband have also had their embassy appointment and Christina was on her sixth trip to be with her babies. We were with seasoned pros and it was wonderful to pick their brains.
We only had two meals a day. The children only have two meals a day and we spent the lunch hour at the orphanage so we didn't eat lunch either but it really wasn't that difficult. With that said, while we were there we all chipped in and provided lunch for all the kids in the orphanage while we were there. What a blessing that was. A little American money goes a long way down there.
We spent all day, everyday at the orphanage with the kids except for Tuesday morning which was our embassy appointment day. We had to wear "church clothes" to the appointment including closed toe shoes. Oh what fun that was wearing heals (because of course that's the only closed toe church shoes I own!) in a third world country on dirt roads. If we didn't already look out of place (which I'm sure you already know, we did!) we sure did dressed like that. The US Embassy in Haiti is much like a US building in the US. It was in stark constant to what was just outside the doors. I would have felt like we were in the US apart from the fact that we were the minority. Our appointment went just as planned and without a hitch. The kids behaved beautifully. Maybe because they were scared out of their wits! We made it back to the Inn, got changed and headed back to the orphanage. Again our beautiful little girl cried and screamed upon our departure. It's a hard thing to do when you can't communicate, I'm so thankful for the translators.
We had a wonderful week full of emotions and experiences that I've never had before. There are so many children that need a loving home I wish I could bring them all home. If you have ever thought about adopting and feel that perhaps this is something God is calling you to, start praying and don't squelch the Spirit. It's a hard but amazing journey and you won't regret being in the middle of God's will for your life.
We got to the orphanage really early today which made for a really long day. It can be exhausting. We loved on our kids some more and all the other kids that we had constantly at our sides. Joe played soccer with the older boys, rough housed on the patio a little, (which always brings smiles to little boys faces which is completely foreign to me and beyond my comprehension. Being socked in the ribs isn't something that brings a smile to my face but little boys seem to just soak it all up. Strange little creatures.....), we took lots more pictures and talked a lot about another little girl that we had both fallen in love with.
Yes you will fall in love with kids other than your own and want to bring them home too. You will try your best to find out how you can add them to your current dossier and then start planning your new family with three more kids instead of two and then you may be disappointed to find out that that's not what God has planned for that child and then wonder why in the heck you both felt such a strong connection to another child and be willing to give up everything you have and fight to the death to get them all home! Emotional...yes...confusing...just a little...heartbreaking...absolutely...glad be in God's will anyway...wouldn't want it any other way! So we will pray for that child and please would you add her to your prayer lists too, God knows who she is.
We left the orphanage with the same farewell as the other days only with a little more intensity today. We had screaming, crying, kicking, pulling away and an all out tantrum from our daughter...the nanny practically had to rip her from my arms, talk about hitting a nerve, it took everything within me not to have a right royal melt down myself! And I could still hear her when we were outside!
So about safety, were we safe? Well we made it back but like I said we were in God's will, taking precautions and following instructions, so were we actually safe? That's a loaded question and I'll do my best to answer it. There is no doubt in my mind that we had the hand of God on us the entire trip. All your prayers were needed and coveted. I was never afraid for my safety, if that makes any sense, but I never felt safe when we were going from one place to another. I felt out of place, looked down upon, judged, despised...you get the picture. I like to be friendly, I like to smile and say Hi to people but in Haiti that wasn't received well by strangers. They just stared at me, some people would give me a half smile a very small handful would say Hi but for the most part I just got cold, hard stares. Ouch....I don't know what the people think, I don't know why we didn't feel welcome or safe, what our translators told us is contrary to what we felt but maybe we were just in a particularly bad part of town. There was a time when we were waiting for Michelle to do some photocopying and our driver ended up going in, checking it out and saying we're going. Michelle didn't miss a beat, she just turned around and followed him out the door do find another copy shop. We have no idea what was being said (because we are ignorant and only know one language, kudos to all you who know more than English!) or why he felt the need to leave the area immediately all we know is that it wasn't safe and we had to go. There was another time we were in the market buying lunch for the kids and I really had to go. Just so you know I have a REALLY strong bladder and I can usually wait but I'd already been waiting hours and Joe had insisted that I drink an entire energy drink before starting the day (yeah thanks for that Joe!). So I asked our translator to ask if there was a bathroom I could use. As a side note there was an armed gunman just inside the door of the market! Sure enough there was, phew great news for me. So off we went and off we went, and went and went until finally we arrived at the bathroom. (through a door, up some stairs, around a corner, through a storage room, down a hallway, yikes, and then finally to the padlocked bathroom door.) You know it's a good thing Joe had just decided to come along with me, it was quite out of the way! THEN there was the time we were coming home from the orphanage on our last day there and up ahead on the road was a dead man just lying there. So did we feel safe? absolutely not. Were we safe, YES we were because as our drivers truck window proclaims "God is my protection." We truly have no idea what God is protecting us from in both the physical and the spiritual realms. Praise the LORD may He receive all the glory!
I have so much more to share but this is a really long post and I need a breather. I'll post more in the days ahead and try to make them shorter.
Please pray for the people of Haiti, they need God more than anything. Pray for our children and for all the other children in the orphanages, those who have families coming for them and those that don't. Pray that somehow God would show YOU what you can do to be a part of bringing these children home.
Thanks for being a part of this journey with us. We truly couldn't do it without all your support.
"Trust in the LORD with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight." Proverbs 3:5-6
We are no longer orphans because of what God did for us. With one simple act of obedience our sins were forgiven at the cross. So what are we doing with the gift of salvation through Jesus Christ? Our family has decided to take a step of faith and do what He's called us to do, to take care of widows and orphans. Our journey starts with adoption.