I have about five thousand things that I feel like I should be doing tonight, but I would be using my time poorly if I didn't start my night of many things to accomplish without blogging about the last few weeks first. Unfortunately this is not going to allow for a very thorough account of the trip that we just took to Haiti, but it will provide a quick once over and a much needed update.
Craig and I were blessed to be able to travel back to Haiti from February 27th to March 8th. We traveled with six people from our church and met up with several others on our way. Mike Plasier traveled with us to Haiti through Omaha. It was an amazing time of fellowship and bonding. We were so excited about how the Lord was going to move in our congregation through this mission trip. We were excited to see His leading in what this would mean for our home church.
We arrived in Haiti on February 28th and were able to stop by the orphanage prior to leaving for Petite Rivier. It brought tears to our eyes because that meant that we would be able to see our boys! We couldn't have been more excited. We weaved through the neighborhoods trying to find the orphanage and eventually happened upon it. We were only able to stay for about 15 minutes to drop off the supplies and introduce our team to the twin boys that the Lord is blessing us with. There was something very moving about sharing that moment with the team. The snuggles were certainly not enough for either of us...but we knew that we were going to be coming back later that week.
We headed to Petite Rivier and spent four days there enjoying fellowship with the youth, the team and the children at the orphanage. We helped throw a wedding reception for twelve Haitian couples, did home visits to many families in the region, provided therapy to a young man involved in a four-wheeler accident, spent time playing basketball with and reading to the orphanage children, and got to hike up the mountain to spend time with our sponsored family. It was a fantastic experience and it was so special watching Haiti become nestled in the hearts of those that had traveled with us.
On the way back to Port-au-Prince, I was having some anxiety about having the others head home. I have always been more anxious than Craig. He was very comfortable about having our plans loosely put together. I guess I like to have all of the questions to have answers before venturing out on our own in a fourth world country. I was nervous. As the bus pulled out of the orphanage gate, I found myself in tears. My emotions were all over the place. My heart was so ready to spend time with the boys, but for some reason my heart was struggling with fear at the same time.
That fear was relieved when Craig and I walked into Maison and headed to the Baby 2 room. The boys were there and seemed to remember us. The nannies were very sweet. Told me I was beautiful and introduced us to the boys again. We spent the rest of the day with the boys at the orphanage. We held them much of the time and played with them on the grounds of the orphanage. It was much the same the next two days. We were able to spend the entire day at the orphanage loving on our boys and soaking up the environment. We also were able to love on many of the other kids as well.
We brought many fun things from home to share with the kids. We brought bubbles that were left over from Ryan and Lindsey's wedding and were blessed by being able to blow bubbles with kids of all ages at the orphanage. They were all so cute and had such fun. We brought Match Box Cars for the older kids to play with and they had so much fun racing them and playing with them. We also had Salvation bracelets for the two oldest classes and gave the girls hair ties with colorful ribbons tied onto them. It was fun doing their hair and loving on these little dolls! We then broke out the jump ropes and soccer ball. Fun was had by everyone. I also got to read a book to one of the school classes. One of the most tender times was bringing stuffed animals to the kids in Baby Room 1 and 2. These are the little pals of our boys and they snuggled the stuffed animals and shared some of the best smiles.
We learned a lot about how the nannies operated. They do a very efficient work at Maison...and every moment is done in love. They spend time in prayer and Bible reading every day and they were patient with all portions of the care that they provided. The boys' schedule for the day consists of getting dressed, breakfast, bath, getting dressed into a new outfit, play time, nap, lunch, bath, getting dressed into the third outfit, play time, second nap, dinner, bath, pjs and bed. This then repeats the next day. Not only do the nannies do this for our boys...but they do it for the other 12 kids in that room as well. Unbelievable. It was amazing to watch them at work. I will never be able to feed my boys as efficiently and speedy as those amazing nannies!
It was difficult to leave the boys, but we were blessed to be able to say goodbye with the boys the morning we left for the airport. This was much better than having to say goodbye the night before. I really feel like we had wonderful bonding times with both of them. By the last day, Elie (Elijah) would not let either of us set him down. He was soaking up every chance for snuggles he could get! Elysee (Judah) was a bit more laid back and didn't mind much whether he was held or not, but when he was, he enjoyed the snuggles. I think we have one easy going little man and one that is a bit more particular about things. It will be interesting to see if these mannerisms are the same when they come home with us. Should be an interesting adventure any way we look at it! Lots of fun in store for us, I am sure!
It was a very LONG trip home. That trip is always so draining. Physically our bodies were hurting in so many ways by the time we arrived home. My right leg was cramping and my tummy was not too happy with me. Needless to say, it was nice when we finally touched down in Sioux Falls and reunited with our other three little ones! What a blessing to be greeted by such a wonderful family. It made the hurt of leaving the boys a bit more bearable.
So the adjustment back to life in the states is always a bit difficult. We had a few bumps in the road and discovered that getting back to doing our devotional was very helpful in processing the many emotions that were coursing through our bodies and souls. More than anything, we were impatient to see some movement in our paperwork.
We had been waiting to get into MOI for a month when we returned and it was beginning to get more difficult to wait. In the meantime, we received a notice that there had been a TB exposure at the orphanage. A baby girl had been admitted to the hospital with an active case of TB. There were questions as to whether the kids at the orphanage could possibly have contracted it and there was a lot of testing that had to take place. Our boys had been in the same room as this little girl when the TB was discovered. UGH. Not fun. We fretted in our subconscious but remained mostly calm. We really thought that the boys seemed healthy, and we were pretty confident that it would be negative. However, because an active case of TB is something than can stand in the way of being allowed to come to the States, we needed to know if they had been exposed.
I am happy to tell everyone that today I received an update on this and they are negative. None of the remaining kids at the orphanage have an active form of the disease. Praise God. The boys did not test positive for the skin test or the chest x-ray. First sigh of relief.
As the days flew by...the tension over waiting with entering MOI was becoming a bit more difficult. It didn't help that we knew that several of the other families waiting at the stage we were waiting at had just been able to enter. We heard nothing. The lack of information at this point was difficult for me to take. I decided that I just needed to touch base with my international agency. I guess I needed some moral support. I placed a call to them on 3.25.13 and didn't hear back for two days. That was torture. I kept telling myself that a busy international counselor is a good thing and that I want her to be working on cases...not just calling me...but it was getting harder.
Today at 3:30 pm I finally got the call I had been waiting for...AND I GOT THE NEWS THAT WE HAD BEEN WAITING FOR!!! Kristy couldn't remember if she had called us yet or not, but she was able to inform us that she had received information that our dossier had moved to the Ministry of the Interior (MOI) on 3.19.13. YES!!! That was fantastic news. We also were able to talk about a few more logistical things. There is not much that we can do at this point but wait for the paperwork to continue its journey and try our best to be patient. So prayers to accomplish both of these things would be fantastic!
I think that as the date the boys will come home draws closer, the harder it is to not become discouraged about the wait. I think that we need prayers more now than ever before. My heart is quite tender these days and it is hard to see the date the boys will come home constantly move further into the future. It is looking like they could possibly still come home sometime this summer...but the longer the paperwork takes to move...the further out it will be.
I will do my best to keep all of you informed about the updates I receive. I treasure your thoughts and prayers more than you know, as does Craig. We love you all so much!
Blessings from a heart filled with relief,