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.