Sunday, October 28, 2007

The Ultimate Gift

I watched the movie The Ultimate Gift this morning. It is a very good movie about a young spoiled rich man who, in order to get his inheritance, must perform some requirements left by his dead grandfather. He learns the value of friends and family and what it is like to give to others. It is a good family movie.

This year for Christmas, our family decided to exchange one gift to each other with a small dollar amount and with the remainder of the Christmas budget we are going to buy a gift for a family not so fortunate from World Vision's gift catalog. We are probably going to buy a goat for a family to have milk and some extra money from offspring. The kids are actually excited about this idea with makes me so proud of them. I think last year they would have been very upset, but the experience of taking care of Bug and me going to Haiti has helped them see how blessed we are.

Friday, October 26, 2007

The Golden Compass Movie

My sis in law works as a promoter for Fox Family Films. She sent me an email about how we should not see this movie and warn our friends and family about it's "evil". So I checked out Snopes and here is the link:

I will not be taking my kids to see this movie. Look into it!

Elijah is IN IBESR!

I found out today that Elijah is in IBESR! He supposedly went in on Sept. 27th. I hope his stay in this step will be short! Keep praying please!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Washington Post
This is the link to the Washington Post's photo journal of a visit to Children of the Promise. There are seven great photos of the kids and nannies there. Be sure to click on the captions on the bottom right of the photo to read about the pictures.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Helande update

Lori's blog has an update on Helande and a picture. She is drinking more milk that any baby in their village! Yea, I did a good job fattening her up! I am glad to hear that her and her family faired well in the rainy flooding weather.

Upcoming Holiday Plans

We have been discussing Thanksgiving already. I have had questions from parents about what our plans are, like every year. Some years Jeremiah has to work on Thanksgivng and therefore we stay at home, but this year he took his vacation during the holiday. So we are pulled in several directions as to who we will be celebrating with. I heard from my parents yesterday and it looks like they have alternative plans if we won't be around. So the pressure is off there. My in laws would love us to come to their house, the only problem is the mountain pass conditions at the time and traffic. I also dislike leaving the house empty in cold weather, and we have to leave the dog. But it looks like if all works out we will be driving over the river and thru the wood to grandmother's house! Hopefully we can get a good idea of pass conditions and avoid traffic by leaving on Tuesday and coming home on Friday.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Prayer Request

I have been patiently awaiting an email from COTP about Elijah's file. It should be entering IBESR soon, and I have been praying for about 3 months each day will be the day. It has not happened yet, and I am getting very impatient. The longer it takes for this step it seems like we will have have to wait even longer for every other step. I am praying that Elijah's file will move quickly and that he will be home in less that a year from now. There are people that have been waiting a long time for their haiti baby to come home and I pray that those children will have their homecoming very soon. Please join me in praying for Haitian adoptions and specifically for Elijah's!!!

We have had a busy week, soccer practice, swimming lessons, homeschooling, etc. I went to Sarah's house and we made applesauce and canned it. Thanks Sarah for giving me a lesson on canning! We also made some pies that are in the freezer waiting for a special occasion (or for when I get too stressed out and need something sweet!). I am going to be cleaning the house this weekend, Jeremiah is working, and Loren has a soccer tournament Saturday.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Flooding in Haiti

This was a news story I saw online today after reading Lori's blog and her sister Licia's too. Haiti Nurse 4 Life, link on the left of the page. They posted some very sad photographs and stories about the village that was affected. So very sad, please pray for Haiti and it's people.

Flooding triggered by torrential rains killed at least 23 people in a village in central Haiti a government official said on Friday.

The loss of life in Cabaret, nestled in mountains about 30 km north of the capital Port-au-Prince, brought the toll from floods and mudslides across much of Haiti over the last two weeks to at least 31, civil protection officials said.

Forecasters said on Friday there was no end in sight to the downpours lashing the Caribbean country and some of its neighbors.

"In the Cabaret area alone, 23 people are confirmed dead but there could be more and we are still in the process of assessing the situation," interior Minister Paul Antoine Bien-Aime told local radio.

He said efforts were under way to distribute food, water and other supplies to the village, where at least 1,000 people have been made homeless.

Heavy rains have also caused havoc in Cuba and Jamaica.

But Haiti, the poorest country in the Americas, is far more vulnerable to deadly floods because about 90 per cent of its forests have been cleared, mostly to make charcoal for cooking.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

The life of an average Haitian

This is from a missionary doctor's blog:

The cumulative effects of years and years of instability, coups, corruption and chaos means that for the average Haitian:

--If your child is sick or has a medical emergency, there is no 911 to call. No ambulance service. Let's hope it's daytime, because at night there's NO options. During the day, unless you are one of the lucky few who owns a vehicle, you will either have to take your sick child to the hospital on a very cramped, dirty tap-tap (the main form of public transportation here), or if you can't afford it, you'll have to walk. Once you arrive at the hospital or clinic, you might be turned away for any number of reasons (again, even if your child is severely ill)--the facility is full, you arrived after the normal "triage" time, they don't take care of children, you can't pay the doctor's fees, you can't afford to buy the medical supplies your child will need, or for no reason at all. At that point, if your child is still alive, you might try bringing him to another medical facility, which means either more walking, or more time back on a dirty tap-tap (or possibly several tap-taps). You may never find a place to take your sick child, and end up back where you started--with few to no options.

--Your kids can go to school, but only if you can afford to buy the uniforms, books, and supplies they need. And even if you can afford this, there's no guarantee that they'll receive a good education.

--If you can't afford to feed your children, there's no such thing as government assistance to help you feed them, and there's a very real possibility that your children will suffer from malnutrition, and a fair chance that you will lose a child to severe malnutrition.

--If someone breaks into your house or if there's a fire at your house, again don't bother calling 911. Hopefully your neighbors will help you out.

--You are probably not formally employed. And there sure aren't any unemployment benefits coming your way.

--If you are the victim of a crime, everything from robbery to harassment to rape to even kidnapping & murder, it's very possible the crime will never be prosecuted. You may not even be able to report the crime--because you might be able to trust the local police, but you might not. By reporting a crime, you might even face further difficulty and harassment.

--The garbageman doesn't come every Tuesday at 8 AM.

--If you have consistent access to clean water, you can count yourself as "lucky." And even if you have access to clean water, chances are you will have to go outside your home to find it, then carry it back to your home in big buckets every day.

--If you live in a substandard housing in a low-lying area, your home (which may be more like a shack) will flood whenever it rains heavily, like it just did tonight, because of the lack of basic water & sewer infrastructure. As I write this now, there are families wading through sewage and garbage-infested streams of water inside their homes. When there's major storms and hurricanes, you're lucky if your shack doesn't get swept away into the sea.

--as a Haitian you could face the very real chance that you will have to take your child to an orphanage and leave them there. Not because you don't love the child but because you DO love the child enough to give them up in hopes of a chance at a better life for them.

For the average Haitian, life can be (and often is) very, very hard.

And a comment left on that post:

For the folks who think Haitian poverty is "the same as most of the rest of the world", you are wrong. Haitian poverty is the worst in the Western Hemisphere by 50% worse thyan Nicaragua the next most poor country in the West. In the rest of the world Haiti ranks with the bottom 5 in poverty. Chad is comparable, we don't hear much about Chad these days because like Haiti, there is nothing there that anyone wants.

I have met person after person who have worked with the Peace Corps who thought they knew poverty until they came to Haiti. In Haiti always remember the people who live furthest from the road are the poorest. The government has been speaking of their stability of late, the level of corruption makes those claims laughable. Haiti is in a failed state. It will take a full generation of oversight and training to rehabilitate the populace. The culturally ingrained practices cause the corruption to continue to rot away the hopes of the people.

Haiti needs to be fully exposed to the light of the world. She is seen through the filter of insurection and rebellion. When those media fodder events pass so does the interest of the world. Ninety minutes from Miami lays the shame of the western world.

Video of Ella and Helande

This is a sweet video of the girls that Lori put together, enjoy!

Details of my trip

The babies were wonderful travelers, not a peep on the plane at all. We stayed the night at a motel near FLL airport. We got on an early flight to Haiti, an AA plane so it wasn't too bad because it was larger. We flew into Haiti's capital, Port au Prince. It was so different, lots of hustle and bustle. We were warned about locals trying to "handle" our bags for $$, so I was prepared for that, but as soon as we were outside the airport doors I was bombarded with Haitian men trying to grab the cart from me and eventually realized that Lori, the nurse, had hired them to help us to the truck. It was confusing and I think they probably thought I was an idiot but oh well.

We met the parents of the girls in the parking lot. They came up to us and hugged and kissed us both. Helande's dad was there and was crying. They got a chance to hold and love their girls before we had to get in the truck to go to lunch. We rode in the cab of the truck with the babies while the parents and some extra guys rode in the truck bed. There were no road rules at all, people driving like crazy however they want, honking and passing every which way. I was terrified. We were holding the babies on our lap and I could here thud, thud in the back of the truck, hoped we didn't lose anyone along the way! We got lost trying to find the Visa Lodge, a restaurant and hotel. The driver pulled about 3 u turns in front of traffic to turn around. We finally found it and piled out of the truck. We were seating outdoors at the restaurant. It was pretty nice with a beautiful pool. The buffet wasn't ready yet so we sat and had water and talked to the mom's about the babies, their health, eating, medication etc. They looked at scrapbooks we had made of the girls. Lori translated everything for us to Creole. The moms and dad didn't want to eat and cost us money, so we got up and fixed them a plate at the buffet. There was some interesting food, beans and rice, goat meat, salads, pasta and seafood. I stuck with a roll, beans and rice, pasta and a bit of seafood. I wasn't really hungry and I was so nervous about the whole trip and flying on a little airplane. After a while, we got outside and made some video of the mom's saying thanks to all who helped their daughters. It was very emotional. Helande was pretty comfortable with her mom, but Ella was crying the whole time. She is 1 now and was just wanting Sarah to hold her.

We were driven to another airport where we met D., the director of the orphanage outside. He helped us get inside after we said goodbye to everyone (so sad). We met a volunteer M. who was holding Sarah's little boy, I. He had gone to an INS appointment for the adoption. D. was talking to the ticket counter trying to get us on the plane to Cap Haitian. I guess there was a problem but they finally agreed to let us on, but not our luggage. So we hoped to get them the next day. We boarded the HOT little prop plane (12 passenger or so). We took off and had a beautiful view of Haiti. It was only a 1/2 hour flight and we landed and got into the truck that the orphanage owns. We had to take I's aunt home (she had to go to the appt. too) and she invited us to her home. It was so sad to see how little she had, but she was so proud of her home. She had two daughters there who were so excited to see their cousin. We got back in the truck and were on our way to the orphanage. The roads were horrible! It was like a bad logging road with big mud puddles. What a trip.

We made it to the orphanage and were greeted by a bunch of babies at the gate of the children's house. I didn't see Elijah so M. went to find him. She brought him to me and he came right to me, smiling and happy. He was about just how I imagined him. I was so happy to be there and to meet Elijah. Sarah and I got settled in and played with the babies for a while. We were served supper and relaxed a bit with a Coke.

The time we were there was busy, but also had time to relax. We did get our bags the next day and had fun passing out treats to the kids and giving our boys some new toys. We sorted through baby clothes, helped feed the kids, put new labels on the cribs, held babies, brush teeth, played with the older kids, gave the older girls manicures, then the boys when they were feeling left out, and helped bath and change babies diapers a bit. The nannies there were great, very happy to have us there and encouraged Elijah and I. to go to us. Elijah really didn't need encouragement, he loved to be held and played with, but the first few days I. didn't want to go to Sarah. He wasn't too sure about it all, and finally he grew to love her. They are all so darling, and it was so good to be there. I really want Jeremiah to come visit so we are planning on going at the end of March. We need to work out the details and all but I think the Lord will work it out.

It was so hard to leave Elijah but I was so ready to go home. I had also learned about what the kids and Jeremiah were going through in Cheney. The kids were watching through the window as the paramedics were trying to revive Grandma. How horrible. They are doing ok but Kylie keeps talking about dying. We are so sad about Grandma Moncrief, but glad she is with the Lord in heaven.

We said goodbye the night before we left, and we left at 5:30 am on Monday morn. We had to be dropped off at the airport 4 hours early because of the volunteers scheduled flight with more INS appointments. So we went through security (very minimal) and sat and sat and sat. We also went to a little gift shop and I bought a painting. We finally boarded our little plane after many passport checks. The plane was old and scary and was ok for the first 2 hours but the last part was the worst!!! We could see air vapor come into the top of the cabin and the floor. We could see the cockpit, the pilots, there was no bathroom and Florida was very stormy. The plane was rocking back and forth, even minutes before landing. We made it and then had to go through customs and immigration.

Sarah's aunt picked us up and we spent 2 nights with her. She was great, used to work for a record company doing record promoting in LA. She treated us to dinner and lunch the next day. We went to see Across the Universe (a great movie) and got take out after. It was a great end to the trip, a chance to decompress a bit before coming home.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Home Sweet Home

I made it back home last Wednesday night. What a trip it was. I have way to much to say and haven't been able to process it all into a managable post. I had so much fun meeting Elijah. He is so loving, happy and cuddly. I think he will fit in so well with our family. I am praying so hard now that he will come home soon. We haven't been waiting as long as some families have, but now that I have meet him the wait is going to seem like forever! I will try to post some pictures soon, our internet is too slow and won't allow me to at home. I took lots of photos and wrote in a journal. It all seemed surreal now that I am home. I am so grateful for what I have here and am so glad to be back, if only I could have my baby here too! Jeremiah and I both are planning on maybe going this spring for another visit.