Ron and I have been processing our trip a lot lately. We continue to ask for your prayers for the boys to come home quickly. We hope they can be home by next summer. Our biggest issue will most likely be the Haitian election in the fall. The US side of things at this point takes 6 months alone. I am not sure why.
Once you have seen what we saw, you could never live the same. Honestly, as Americans, many of us really probably have no clue how hard others work for what they have in third world countries. Some farmers in Haiti will plant and cultivate their crop with their own two hands and then after harvesting walk 10 miles with a huge basket on their head to get it to market for a small profit, then return the 10 miles home.
We have seen the work that our orphanage directors do, and they now have our daily prayers. They not only work to place these children in loving homes, and care for them until they are home, they also have initiatives to try to help families keep their children, to teach nutrition, to teach life skills and trades. They are amazing and we were blessed to witness the daily struggle it is to push files through and to try organize the feeding and caring of 76 orphans.
I realize how I have taken for granted how I have been able to care for my children as babies. I have taken for granted nursing them, rocking them, holding them, hugging them, and reading to them, just being with them. While we were there two nannies were walking down two new bundles. The pain seared my heart as I missed my children at home. What brought them to this place? Why did they have to give up their babies? A good friend said, It was love. Perhaps they could not feed themselves and therefore could not feed their baby? Also the day we left two babies had to ride with us to the airport and be dropped off at the hospital. I don’t know why…but, no mom to hold them while there…and the orphanage has to pay for their stay, for their medicine, for the nanny to stay there, for the nannies food while there, and we are critical on why adoption costs so much? Doctors, social workers, nutrionists, engineers, counselors, psychologists, a security guard, a driver, countless nannies, groundskeepers, cooks, and maintenance men all work for the orphanage. I can assure you none of them are living the high life. It costs to care for these children. But love is worth it.
Our kids at home were amazing. Abi and Kaiti held down the fort and all the meals people brought were such a blessing. Thank you mom Redman, mom Paula, Aunt Jenny Stump, and Aunt Julie Waidelich, and Erica Kranz for all the things you did in helping and watching the kids overnight. Thank you to each of you who brought a meal or cookies and for Jeff Mercy for mowing. Josh and Anna were very helpful, and I guess Anna, Ally and Ella did very well, considering. This for me, Michelle, was the hardest part of the trip to be away. We did feel great peace about not taking Ella once there though. We both got sick and the driving and hiking would have been really hard on her. She took right back to nursing and the pumping kept my milk supply up pretty well.
Our sons in Haiti: What can I say? We were blown away. The first meeting was like a storybook, no joke. I wish I could show you video. We arrived early evening and peaked down the mountainside to the bottom and I saw several faces peering up at us with big smiles. Two of them were our sons. We descended the steps and Ron shot video of our first embrace with the oldest and then followed by embraces from the younger three. My sobbing began the minute I saw their faces, and the love was undoubtedly reciprocal. They are hungry for the love of a family. They have asked tons of questions about Michigan and their new siblings. We hung pictures of us and the kids by their bed, and had pictures of us holding pictures of them we also put by their beds. We recently were able to send tons of photos from our trip with them through another family traveling to visit their daughter. We miss them so much and pray the Lord will help them until they can come home. We know we have lots of work ahead, but it will be so worth it. We are trying to get as educated as we can as a couple and a family on the needs they will have since they come from hard places. We are going to work on our Creole.
The oldest does an amazing job of caring for his brothers and provides them with a lot of stability. He is very smart and loved doing word searches. Ron left our English/creole dictionary with him as he wanted it to practice English. We also bought them a Creole Bible at the Haiti Baptist Mission and left it with our oldest son to read to his brothers. The oldest is a great helper to the nannies and Ron calls him the “enforcer”, making sure kids do what they are told. His smile covers some of the pain that is surely deep in his heart from the hard things that come when orphaned. He loves to play soccer and is a typical boy and would play the tablet games all day if Ron let him! Pray for him.
The next oldest is the most accepting, easily offering hugs and affection. He definitely finds security in his older brother’s presence with him. He is very smart and was picking up English quickly. He loves chocolate and caramels and liked taking photos with the small digital camera that was donated. He would read almost anything he could get his hands on and even try to say the English words as well. He has a big heart for sure. He too is very smart and likes playing with the other children and his brothers. I am realizing they will be giving our family more than we can ever give them. He was very sensitive when we felt “malad”, sick. Pray for him.
The next one is our creative guy. He can play for hours with the legos we brought, matchbox cars, or coloring. He loved to line up the cars and have a a soccer game with them and some rocks. He really enjoyed any snack we could share and loved GUM! He and his younger brother share a bed and are pretty good buddies. He also was reading in both English and Creole. And the older three all have amazing cursive penmanship. He was a little quiet, but warmed up in time. He ripped pictures out of a magazine we brought that had donuts on it and asked me “in Meechigan?” I said yep, we have those in Michigan! He did the same about lego people! And what a smile on this little guy! Pray for him.
The youngest looks to his big brother as a father figure and has received a lot of stability from this. He probably doesn’t remember anything except life in an orphanage. He has lot of energy and at age 5, did not complain one time about a 6 and ½ mile hike in the mountains. He loves kickingaround the soccer ball with us, wrestling with Ron, playing games on Ron’s tablet, and many, many times a day asked his mom for “gum”. He resonates with Joy and I can’t wait for our kids to love on him too! He also has a wonderful smile! Pray for him.
It is hard to try to put down everything that happened. There are so many emotions involved in such a short time of two weeks. In certain ways the trip was very hard. But, it was a good hard. The kind of hard that forces you complete dependence on the Lord. The kind of hard that causes you at each moment to pray with that deep, deep prayer of trusting the floor to come under your feet, when you aren’t sure if you can feel the floor. Jesus has shown us this. We in ourselves would have missed it. We would have missed them. But, to follow Him and to trust Him when things seem impossibly hard or just not possible, He makes a way. He has made this way. He has provided the finances, the emotional strength, the spiritual vision, the hope in hopelessness, the way. He has made the way. And our joy in expectation is full. Our joy in Him is being made complete. I don’t always understand how He does it, but He does. It is He who work is us His good, pleasing,, perfect will. We are full of sin, full of badness. He takes the badness level and eradicates it with His blood and then He chooses to use us. What a savior. What a savior! He is working to redeem the world with His love. It is His kindness that leads us to repentance. So, it leaves me again asking today, how can I be kind? How can I love? I want to love people right where they are. That is where Jesus loved me.