Monday, June 30, 2008

Only in Haiti...

From Vera's blog:

There was an issue with the passport printing machine in Port au Prince, but is has been resolved.

There were "rumors" that the machine was out of ink, but that was not the case. The electricity cable to the passport machine had gone missing. Without electricity, you cannot print passports. Thus, there were a few days when no passports could be printed.

However, there is a cable now and last week, passports were being printed.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Elijah candids

Lemonade Stand

Funds raised: $50. I think we could have done much better if it was a bit warmer and we went to a different location. People were very generous, it was just slow. I am very proud of my kids, they spent some time thinking of others and did not earn a dime to keep. All of the money went to Real Hope for Haiti, helping the children waiting for medical visas.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Where has all the hair gone?

Alex's hair has been slowly falling out. I can't remember, is this something that normally happens around five months of age? He had some nice thick soft curls, and now it is a lot thinner and scarce. He is still as cute as ever!

Oh, ok, the professionals have spoken!

Newborn hair loss is perfectly normal and nothing to worry about. Babies often lose their hair during the first six months. This kind of hair loss is called telogen effluvium. Most babies will have two crops of hair in the first year. In some, that first growth falls out before the second appears and it looks like they are going bald (sometimes this even happens before birth, and the babies are born bald). In others, the second growth comes in while the first is leaving and it is hardly noticed.

Friday, June 20, 2008


Last night we were outside together as a family, and Alex had just woken from a nap. I went in, grabbed him and brought him outside to see our neighbor, who was over visiting. He was alert and happy, and she asked if she could hold him. I handed him over to her, a likable baby lover, and he looked into her eyes and BAWLED! He had the square mouth and everything. He was not happy at all, and she promptly handed him over to me, where he was quiet and content. What does this mean? I think it means he is forming attachments to us, our family. This is good, but it makes me sad. One day he will be leaving us, go back to Haiti to his parents, and will not know them. He was separated from them at one month old. How that breaks my heart!

When Sarah and I went to Haiti last September we brought home two sweet girls to their families. "Ella" had a strong bong with Sarah and cried the whole time her mother held her. I was sad for Ella, Sarah and Ella's mother. Can you imagine? This is what I am picturing will happen when Alex returns and I don't even want to think about it. Helande, however, was happy as a clam, and was lovingly admiring her mom and dad. I felt so much peace placing her in their arms, and knew it was where she belonged. Now she is growing to be such a beautiful girl and I hardly recognized her picture!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Beautiful big girl

Here is a recent photo of Helande from Lori's blog

Helande in September 2007

My kids

We have had a few nice weather days, and some rain mixed in. Yesterday we went to the doctor's clinic (my son and I get allergy shots every other week) and then went to Walmart. We found a fun outdoor set for sale, with badminton, croquet, and volleyball. The kids had a blast playing last evening and this morning. Dad took them for a bike ride right now, so I am home with Alex (napping). We should be getting our pool set up this weekend, but who knows if we will be able to swim in it anytime soon!

I just saw a photo of Helande on Lori's blog. Wow she looks so big and grown up! I get so sad when I see pictures, because I miss her. But I am happy she is doing well and with her family.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Monday, June 16, 2008

Local News

Veronica Solovey, a nurse at the Sumas Medical clinic, left, measures the height of Alex , 5 months, as J helps hold him steady at the Sumas Medical Clinic in Sumas on Tuesday, June 10, 2008. J has been caring for Alex for several months during neurosurgery conducted in Sacramento, Calif. Once has fully recovered from the treatment, he will be returned to his family in Haiti.

J, right, holds onto Alex, 5 months, as Veronica Solovey, a nurse at the Sumas Medical clinic, left, prepares to give him several shots at the Sumas Medical Clinic in Sumas on Tuesday, June 10, 2008. J. has been caring for Demosthene for several months during neurosurgery conducted in Sacramento, Calif. Once has fully recovered from the treatment, he will be returned to his family in Haiti.

J, center, holds Alex , 5 months, as Dr. Rod Thompson performs a routine medical check up at the Sumas Medical Clinic in Sumas on Tuesday, June 10, 2008. Smith has been caring for Demosthene for several months during neurosurgery conducted in Sacramento, Calif. Once has fully recovered from the treatment, he will be returned to his family in Haiti. Dr. Thompson donates medical care to children involved in international foster care to receive medical treatment.



In early May, K. stood vigil, physically and emotionally exhausted, in a Sacramento, Calif., hospital room.

Alex, the 5-month old Haitian boy in her care, had just been through his second neurosurgery in two weeks, to repair a hole in his skull that had allowed part of his brain to push out and form a bubble over his nose. The deformity, which untreated can cause severe medical complications and even death, is called an encephalocele.

"I didn't really realize how emotionally it would affect me," said K, who has three young children of her own. "Even though he's not my child I was very nervous. I felt like I was going insane sometimes just from the travel and everything."

K, a stay-at-home mom, and her husband J, had long talked about adopting. After meeting the another family through a home school program, it was settled — the couple started the process of adopting a 2-year-old Haitian boy nearly a year ago.

While visiting the infant in March, Alex's medical visa coincidentally came through, and the Smiths eagerly agreed to be his host family as they waited for their adopted son.

"Having a baby in the house isn't weird or unusual," said J, "but it is humbling to know that somebody in another country who had no hope whatsoever is willing to give you their child. Everything is resting on us to care for this child and bring him back safely."

A month after Alex's last surgery, the swelling in the bump on his nose has gone down slightly, and the Smiths hope he'll need no more neurosurgery. The family monitors Alex for signs of vomiting, headaches and seizure activity, potential side effects of his condition.

"He's very happy and smiley all the time," K said. "He loves the kids and loves J especially. He's fit in really well."


In about six months, the Smiths will say goodbye to Alex, returning him to his family in Haiti. And though it's a sign of success, it won't be easy.

"It makes me sad because I know that the medical situation is so limited that if anything would come up it would be hard for him to have care," K said. "It scares me, but I feel like it would be very positive for his village to see that they don't need to treat kids born with these defects differently."

The Smiths said host-parenting Alex has changed their lives and their children's lives dramatically.

"(Alex) was a complete stranger, and to decide we're going to give everything we can to him really changed everybody in our family," K said. "I used to be a lot more superficial. I cared about the kind of clothes I wore and that kind of thing.

"Before I learned what conditions were like in Haiti, I hadn't really wanted to think about it. Now, knowing that my son is in those conditions right now really made me want to make a small change, and I feel like I'm doing something while I'm waiting."

J said he and K are taking what God has given them and trying to bless others with it.

"The biggest thing is just prioritizing. Are we going to use our money to help somebody or are we going to go out and buy a four-wheeler?"

Saturday, June 14, 2008

What's new?

We are busy this weekend! Yesterday Jeremiah's work had a family dinner. It was a good time to get to know spouses and kids and fellowship with each other.

Today Sarah's boys are graduating high school so we are going to their house for a celebration. From there, we are on to another graduation party. Jeremiah's aunt and cousin are both graduating from college. They are having a big party at their house this evening. Jeremiah's mom and dad are driving over to this side of the state to join the celebration and will be staying overnight at our place. Tomorrow is Father's Day, but Jeremiah has to work. After church, we will be meeting my parents at a local park for a picnic. I hope the weather cooperates.

Speaking of the has been very rainy, cold and yucky this month. I hope that we get a nice summer, but it is possible it to be this way all season. My mom told me that the year I was born, it didn't get above 75 degrees all summer long. I will think positively though. A friend donated their above ground pool to our family and we hope that we will be able to set it up soon. We want it to be warm enough to use it!

Coming up at the end of the month is the church campout in the mountains. This is an annual event that we would go and camp for 3 nights. This year Jeremiah is working and we are only going for the day on Saturday. I didn't feel comfortable camping with Alex in the cold, damp weather. Jeremiah's family is coming though, and camping for one night. The following Sunday, if weather is cooperating, we WILL go camping, but at a lower elevation with more sun (hopefully). My good friends' employees (oil refinery) offer a recreation area for families to use for camping/picnics/parties. It is a very nice area that is completely gated and secure. You actually have to pass through a check point to get in, and be on the "guest list". They make you open your trunk, hood, and look under car with a mirror. It's more intense than going across the border! So we are praying for good weather that week so we can stay and camp there through the 4th of July.

We are not planning any big road trips this summer, with gas prices currently at $4.17 a gallon. We are thinking of driving to Spokane in July to visit family and friends. This is still in the plannig stage.

Having Alex here has been great. He is a happy baby and is doing really well. Check out the link to my public blog if you want to read more about him. We are going to be in tomorrow's local paper, along with Sarah's family. The reporter and photographer spent a lot of time with us last month and I hope that it is a good, informative story about the Medical Advocacy Team and Real Hope for Haiti.

So, we are busy, but good. Blessed.

So sweet

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Dr. checkup

Jeremiah took Alex to the Dr. Thompson's office for a well child checkup yesterday. I have been a little under the weather, so I stayed at home. Alex is a little over 16 lbs, average height and a little below average weight. He is doing well, but has a small hernia. This is something that should correct itself the dr. said. Alex got four shots and did great, barely cried.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Too Nice?

Dear Pastor,
I am writing because of a phone call Jeremiah received today from Pastor X regarding JA. After several questions about his medical condition, he asked Jeremiah if he was ever tested for HIV. I know that Jeremiah answered accordingly, but was very upset, as am I, that this would even be asked such questions about the children we care for. After I spoke to Jeremiah about this, I did some research about what legal rights the church or the community may have regarding JA’s test results. Although he is indeed HIV negative, I thought I might pass this on to you so that you can be informed on what the law says about disclosing HIV status to others. I know that X stated that he needed to know in case other people asked and I believe that he, or anyone else with this knowledge, needs to tell them that they have no legal right to disclose that information. Here are some legal rights that children have regarding this issue:

If my child is HIV positive, does the school or day care center have the right to know?
No. A school or day care center does not have the right to know the HIV status of its enrolled children and cannot ask whether your child is HIV-positive. Parents may choose to inform school staff, like a school nurse or a teacher, of their child's HIV status. If you decide to disclose your child's HIV status to certain school staff, you should make it clear to those staff that they may not legally disclose your child's HIV status to other school staff, students, or parents without your consent. If any child is injured, the day care center or teacher is required to follow universal precautions when treating the child to protect against disease or infection, regardless of whether it is known that the child is HIV-positive. If a school or day care center is aware of a child's HIV status, law from treating that child differently is discriminating against the child.

Your rights may be violated if another person discloses your HIV/AIDS status to other people without your consent.

I am not aware of any other parents who use the nursery who were asked if their children have HIV or any other diseases. I am not sure if we were asked because of JA’s medical condition, or because of his special needs, his nationality or his race. HIV is not spread through cuts, sores or dirty diapers so no child would be at risk IF he were HIV positive.

We bring you this information so that if this situation arises again at church, you would have an awareness of the laws, in order to protect the church and staff from possible discrimination/litigation issues. We must remember to first treat EACH child as a child of God. I saw this video on YouTube about a pastor in Africa dealing with HIV. It is very moving.

We are out of IBESR

Just got the news! He actually got out last week, but just heard!!! Yay! Please pray for the rest of the process to go smoothly and quickly.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

What I love about this boy...

1. His dimples
2. The way he smiles at ANYONE!
3. How he crosses his legs at his ankles
4. He would rather fall asleep jumping in his jumper than in bed
5. He loves my kids
6. His laugh
7. His courage
8. His beautiful lips
9. How he tries to kiss me
10. How he grabs anything
11. That he LOVES books
12. He is such a good baby
13. He has everyone wrapped around his little finger
14. His "cinnamon roll" belly button
15. He is so smart
16. His cute little toes
17. He sleeps all night (most of the time)
18. How he coos, grunts and talks.... I heard him say "momma" once
There are more, but I am running out of time. Gotta go...