Thursday, January 31, 2008

Resting in Peace… and Comfort

Allow me to sing praises to the glorious invention that is the Boeing 777 business class seat. It's a recliner that adjusts 10 different ways or lays flat for sleeping. It comes with a real live pillow – not one of those used cotton balls in a woven cover that you usually get on a plane. It also has a duvet for each person. The leg space would make an NBA player happy, so my 36" inseam was in a bliss never before known while hurdling through space in a pressure controlled metal tube.

The lavatory is such that I was not forced to inhale sharply in order to have enough room to change my mind.

I was able to adjust my seat with such a finely tuned, 10-directional precision that my scoliosis heaved a sob of relief. The flight to DFW was like sitting on a metal plate. The flight from DFW to Miami – in the fabulous 777 – was like a dream (a dream within a dream?)

Bless you, Boeing designers. Oh, that I'd had this type of accommodations during my 14-hour flight to Singapore.

The best part? We didn't pay for an upgrade. It just let us change our seats when we checked in.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Haitian Information

It's hard to get hard facts about Haiti because the country is in such chaos and so many people cannot read. These are some estimates from those who study the country.
  • 80% of people in Haiti live in extreme poverty.

  • Life expectancy in Haiti is less than 50 years old.
  • 10% of the child population in Haiti will die before the age of 4.

  • The average Haitian family lives off of $1 US dollar a day.

  • Haiti is ruled by the wealthy. 1% of the population controls 40% of the wealth, where as 80% of Haitian families in the countryside live on less than $150 US dollars per year.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Happy Birthday, Brent

Happy birthday, honey!

I'm so excited that you're finally a dad! (and a wonderful one at that)

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Ties That Bind

I took all sorts of toys to Haiti, hoping to be able to play with Lexi. I had no idea she was sick until we got there. She didn't want to LOOK at the toys, let alone play with them. I can't blame her. With everything her little body was going through (parasites, worms, ringworm, scabies....) she was exhausted and just wanted to rest.

I had purchased a little necklace and bracelet made out of brightly colored wooden beads. I had envisioned that she'd like to wear them and "dress up". She cried the day I tried to put them on her. And the next day when I tried again. It broke my heart that we couldn't play at all. I wanted her to have some pleasant memory of Mommy and Daddy.

The next to last day, I was holding her and rocking her when an idea struck me. I reached over and picked up the necklace and looped it twice around my own wrist. Then I set my wrist back down where she could see it and waited for a minute or two. Then I reached over for the bracelet and held it out to her. She lifted up her little arm and held it out for me to put the bracelet on. It was OK to wear it if Mommy was doing it as well. At least, that's how I chose to view it.

So, I still wear this bracelet. It reminds me of my daughter and I hope she's still wearing hers, 2800 miles away in Haiti.

I love you, Lexi. I hope we'll soon have happy memories together.

Friday, January 25, 2008

New Pictures!

Our friend Nichole (from Wasatch) sent us a CD with pictures from the trip! Here's some new pics of my kids.

This is a pretty good representation of Lexi's stink eye look. It's kind of a cross between "You are dead to me", "Talk to the hand" and "If I don't look at them, maybe they'll go away." We saw this a lot, unfortunately, because she just plain didn't feel well.

Mr. Nathan, just hanging out.

The Rosenlofs! This was taken our next-to-last morning at breakfast in the hotel.

Love Letters

My 10 year-old niece made me a card to tell me she's excited about her new cousins, Lexi and Nathan.

The text says, "Cousins are totally exciting even though we already have them they are way fun. :)".

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Two Points for the Lord!!

We received a call from Wasatch International tonight. They'd heard from our agency and reported that Lexi has made a "sudden and remarkable recovery". Harry (our liasion in Haiti) was amazed at the turnaround she made today. They'll release her from the hospital tonight or tomorrow.

We know this is directly related to the many prayers our friends and family have offered up on her behalf. We are so grateful for the love and support received by our family, and particularly our daughter.

I've been so worried about her. This is my journal entry from last night:

"We're having a family fast for Lexi today. I'm pretty worried and
really wish I had the details on what is wrong with her and that I could be
there to hold her and rock her.

I wonder all the time what she thinks of the week we were there. Does
it seem like a strange dream? Does she think about it? Does she have
any idea who we were or that we are coming back for her?

I know she doesn't have anyone to hold her at the hospital. I hope she'll somehow know how many people are praying for her right now and have combined their faith to plead with the Lord to help her heal. "

Thank you for loving us and for your continued prayers and support. We're so grateful for what we've experienced and for Lexi's improvement.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Why Mommy and Daddy Must Return to Haiti... SOON!!

I don't know that I need to say more....

My kids are my happy thought!

Hang in there, Lexi.

Items for Families to Remember for Their Trips to Haiti

Not every parent will have the opportunity to visit their children before they bring them home. Many times, your experience will not be like ours was where your children will stay with you "24/7" at a hotel away from the orphanage during the time you're in Haiti.

These are the items I was glad I brought or wish I'd brought:
  • baby medicine droppers
  • Big ziploc bags (for dirty clothes)
  • Tide laundry detergent (we washed things in the sink multiple times per day because Lexi was so sick)
  • spare flat sheets (there were a few nights where we had to change the sheets because Lexi had been sick during the night)
  • Febreeze and Ozium (again, there were a lot of not so pleasant smells)
  • LOTS of small bills ($1 and $5 USD) for tipping at the restaurant, room service, etc
  • Children's TYLENOL (not Motric - apparently many Haitians are allergic to Motrin as we found out the hard way)
  • Antifungal cream (like for athelete's foot) to treat ringworm. The OTC stuff isn't as strong as prescription, but it still helped.
  • Olive oil (Walgreen's sells a cream that works into hair rather nicely).
  • Spray bottle (for water to wet their hair when fixing it in the AM)
  • Dishsoap (we had to wash out bottles throughout the week)
  • washcloths and towels (we never could get the hotel to give us enough for a family of 4 with sick kids)
  • lots of baby blankets (we put Lexi on one every time she slept which made "blowouts" easier to deal with)
  • Pedialite and Pediasure
  • Sunglasses and hats for everyone
  • bug spray
  • multiple sizes of diapers (Lexi had lost so much weight that she ended up needing the size we brought for our 5 month old!! If one of the other moms hadn't had extra of that size we would have been in serious trouble)
  • Orajel (if the child might be teething)
  • flat rubber drain stop (neither our tub nor our sink's drains worked properly so it made it hard to wash things - children included)

Hope this helps someone somewhere!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Here We Go Again...

We received a call this evening and were notified that our sweet Alexis is in the hospital again. We don't know details, but can only assume it's more complications/dehydration/etc from the parasites that have been ravaging her body.

During our time in Haiti, there were points where she was so sick and weak that Brent and I looked at each other and wondered if she was going to make it. It was that bad after they'd RELEASED her from the hospital.

Now we hear that she's back in the hospital - no more information than that. This time she doesn't have Mommy to hold her and help her feel better. And Mommy needs that as much as Lexi does. I don't want to rely on 4th-hand information from a medical center in Haiti that, while they're trying to do their best.... it just isn't aways enough.

PLEASE PRAY for Alexis Sophia, her health, comfort, her body's ability to get stronger, and for the doctors and nurses caring for her - that they will be led to the best solutions get her home and healthy as soon as possible.

Come Home Soon! Mommy and Daddy Need You!

Monday, January 21, 2008

Welcome to the Family, part II

...and then on Saturday, my middle brother was married! Ironically, she's also named Paige.

This is 4 of the 5 girls (sisters-in-law, my sister and me) being goofy at the reception...

Welcome to the family to you as well, Paige. I'm thrilled to have you as my sister!

Welcome to the Family, part I

My poor mother had one big week full of Kleenex!

On the 14th, my youngest brother and his wife welcomed their new baby girl, Abigail Paige.

This picture shows Abbie with her "opposible monkey toes". She actually holds one foot between the 1st and 2nd toes of the other foot because her big toes are so... flexible.

Welcome to the family, and to the world, little Abbie!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Mommy's Favorite Girl

Lexi has been very sick. She weighed 34 lbs a month ago and now she's down to 22 lbs. She has had a pretty serious parasite. They had her in the hospital for 5 days on IV antibiotics and fluids before we got there. They actually brought her home from the hospital just when we arrived at the orphanage to pick up our kids. They told us that she passed a rather large roundworm in the hospital (about 7-10 inches). A worm that size takes a lot of food from a child. We had her on an additional dewormer and antibiotic while she was with us.

The poor kid was just miserably sick. She just wanted to be held those first few days. She didn't even respond to her birth name (Kimberly), although I'm not sure if it's because it doesn't get used much in the orphanage or that she was just so sick that she didn't care whether we were speaking to her or not.
We brought all sorts of toys and she wasn't interested in anything. Momma and Lexi just hung out and held each other. I rubbed her back a lot and just tried to help her to be as comfortable as possible.
She was so ill that those first 2 days she didn't even want you to LOOK at her, let alone touch her (like to attempt a tickle or kiss her cheek). She just laid listless in my arms and I rubbed her back.
By the 3rd day, she would actually nod when we'd ask her with Creole words if she was going to be sick or if she was hungry, so she was starting to come around.

She had several nights with diarrhea all night long. Neither mommy nor Lexi slept very well that week.

At about 5 AM on the fourth morning, I realized that I would only get one more "sleep" with them before I had to give them back to the orphanage. I wanted so much for Lexi to have some memory with us that didn't involve her being so ill. Some happy thought. As all of these thoughts started to rush through my head I pulled my sleeping Lexi over onto my chest. I just wanted to hug and touch her.

For the next 2 hours I rubbed her back and touched her hair (which has kind of a spicy scent when she's sick) and smoothed over her face, trying to take it all in. I found myself singing a song to her, a little lullaby that just came to me. It goes to the tune of the Primary song, "Reverently, Quietly". I wouldn't say the lyrics are great, but they seemed to fit, particularly as we'd spent the better part of 4 days with Lexi laying on Mommy's stomach.

Renmen ou (pronounced Rayn-mayn oo) means "Love you" in Creole.

Renmen ou, Renmen ou,
Lexi is my sweetest girl.
Renmen ou, Renmen ou,
Lexi is my favorite girl.
Renmen ou, Renmen ou,
This is how we lay.
Help my Lexi feel well
In my arms today.

I sang that softly over and over and over while stroking her back and hair. I rocked her and sang for about an hour. I felt it was a pretty good Mommy soothing moment. Lexi seemed to be in and out of awareness, but she was very relaxed and seemed to be soothed by the gentle touches.

Later that day, I had her in my arms, in our now standard position. And I was talking to her while rubbing her back as had become my custom. This time, however, when I said, "Lexi, Mommy loves you." she looked up at me and met my eyes. I was intrigued, but wasn't sure that she'd actually understood what I said. I tested it a few more times over the next few minutes, and sure enough, when I would say, "Lexi", she would look me in the eye. I was so excited! I swooped her up in my arms and said, "Lexi, does Mommy love you?" and she looked at me and nodded her head. I gave her a big squeeze and then I kissed her cheek and she surprised me by actually leaning into my kiss instead of pulling away and screaming. She knew what we were talking about and it was OK for Mommy to kiss her now because she understood that Mommy loved her.

This may not make sense if you haven't been through something like this, but I started to sob when I realized that my little girl knew that I loved her and that the silly little lullaby had helped her to recognize her name. You've got to realize that I'd asked her all sorts of questions in English and it was always obvious that she had no idea what I was talking about. She'd only answer 2 questions in Creole (Sick and Hungry) and then only with a nod.

For the rest of that day, we built on that.

Lexi now knows that Papa loves her, too. And he's also allowed to kiss her now. and she'd even let him hold and snuggle her. Once that was understood, she started to smile and actually let us tickle her a bit (she was still pretty weak).

Renmen ou, Alexis Sophia.

Come Home Soon!

Friday, January 18, 2008

My Little Man

My little boy babbles, coos, dimples, sings, yodels, drools, grins, giggles and is generally just plain happy.

Given how sick Lexi has been it was a total blessing to have such a happy, cheerful, content little man. He and Daddy are deeply tied to each other now. He likes to touch Daddy's goatee when Daddy gives him a bottle. He loves Daddy to tickle him, play with him, or just plain hold him.

I hope I can hold onto how his soft, baby-fine ringlets feel when you stroke his head.

I want to remember the depths of the softness of his cheeks,

the squishy little rolls of nourished babyhood on his little thighs,

the crooked, blinking, lazy little smile he gives when he first wakes up or is almost asleep,

the way he starts to panic when Best Friend Thumb gets stuck in his blanket,

the strength he already has in his back and legs,

the perfectly stacked little corkscrews of his beautiful, black hair,

his dimples that he flashes most often for his Daddy,

his sparkling, bright, black almond eyes.

The first two nights we were home, Mommy would hear a noise and find herself jumping awake and feeling around on the bed for the child that needed comforting. I was actually disoriented when neither of you were there.

Our last night in Haiti, as he was putting Nathan to bed, Daddy broke down and said, "Daddy's going to miss you something terrible, Little Man. You are definitely someone special."

Mommy loves you, too, Little Man.

Come home soon.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

All Because of You...

We're the first group of American families to adopt from this orphanage. Nadia (the woman that runs the orphanage) has had a lot of children adopted to French families, but she was just recently approved to do American adoptions.

Apparently, the French families don't bring donations to the orphanage when they come. They just come get their children.

She was completely floored with all the donations we sent. There was over 650 lbs total in clothes, diapers, formula, books, crayons, etc. She could not believe that we would do that for her.

The women from our agency (Wasatch International Adoptions) had taken their teenage daughters down to help with some of the things that needed to be done. The first thing the girls did was dress all the little boys in boy clothes. You can't be picky about the 'sex of clothing' when you don't have much to choose from. They also pinned outfits together so they'd know which items were a set. :)

We also had a good amount of cash to give her - donated by you all. Wasatch's coordinators gave it to her on our last day and just told her it was from people and companies that wanted to show their support for what she was doing. When she opened the envelope and saw how much was there, she started to scream, "Thank you, Jesus! Thank you, Jesus!"

You all are the reason that we were able to do anything. All your support and contributions have made a permanent impact on those children. All those items make one less thing that Nadia has to worry about and one more opportunity for her to spend resources on other needed items.

There's still so much they need. We need to try to figure out a way to get a generator for her. The orphanage doesn't have power all the time and they're in a blackout every other night (literally). Can you imagine 45 kids and no power?? We also need a laptop to assist with getting pictures and paperwork on their end for adoptions.

The agency is going back down in April (they try to go down about every 3 months) so we'll continue gathering items to send down with them at that time.

Thank you again for loving our kids!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Consider This Our Christmas Card...

I've never been a mom before. 10 years of marriage and I don't think I've ever sent out Christmas cards. It's been too depressing. It seems like getting a repeat update of "Lori's still working. Brent's still working" would get a little (or a lot) old after a decade. So I spared us all and avoided the cards. Thank you to my dear friends who still sent me cards anyway. I keep them all. You know who you are.

Today, I'm a mom. So here is the update that I've always wanted to be able to send.
I have two beautiful children. Lexi is 2 1/2 (her birthday is July 15th and not in August like we were told).

She's about 3 ft tall and right now she only weighs 22 lbs. She used to weigh 34 lbs. She got very, very sick this last month. She ended up in the hospital with a parasite in her intestines. She's passed that now and is keeping down food and getting stronger every day. Right now, she's a very beautiful, recovering, skinnyskinnyskinny little girl. She does still have some trouble in her bowels that will require surgery when we can get her home and unfortunately that means she'll have pain until then.

This is a picture of Lexi when Mommy is putting lotion on her. You can see all her bones. There are scabs from bedsores on her spine. She really doesn't feel very well in this picture. However, if you watch through the coming posts you can see her improving even though we were only there a few days.

She likes animal crackers. She hates cheese goldfish.

When she's sick, don't mess with her and definitely don't try to get her to play. She mostly rested in Mommy's arms for a week.

She will only laugh for Daddy and only when she's feeling much better (like on the last day we were there). She sleeps really well and has a healthy appetite when she's well.

She has the most brilliant smile and we were privileged to see it about 4 times while there. This picture was taken the day before we left. I'd dressed her and took her over to the mirror to see how cute she looked. I said, 'So pretty!!" and touched her face and she smiled for the first time.

Nathan is 4.5 months old. He's about 24 inches long and weighs about 16 lbs. He's amazingly happy, cheerful, talkative, giggly, snuggly and beautiful. He's also Daddy's best bud.

He has a head full of babysoft, perfectly stacked, little ringlets and if you pick them out he has a beautiful 'fro.

Some of his other skill sets include cooing, grinning, cackling, yodeling and sucking his right thumb.
He sleeps a LONG TIME at night (sometimes 12 hours with only a 4 oz bottle in the middle somewhere) and is generally just happy.

To the Unknown Man in 27G

It's not you; it's me. Really. Don't blame yourself.

The reason I treated you like you had the plague was because, well, I do. Or did. I've treated it now.

Having a very sick Haitian daughter who was just released from the hospital and holding her for a week while she tried to recover means that you can pick up what she has. Including scabies. A gift that keeps on giving.

I've traveled a fair amount. Never before today has it ever occurred to me to worry about whether the person next to me - a complete stranger - was transporting little bugs on their skin. Believe me, I was much more anxious to get home than you were and I think I did a good job of avoiding all contact with you.

So, maybe I made you feel like a freak when I pulled very far away every time you shifted. It's OK. Really. You're not a freak. And now, hopefully, you're also scabies-free.

Next time you're on a plane, sleep well... And may dreams of what microscopic visitors your fellow passengers are carrying not dance in your head.

We Are a Happy Family!

I love Mommy; she loves me.

We love Daddy - yes-sir-ee!

He loves us and so you see,
We are a happy family!

I love brother; he loves me.

I love sister, she loves me.

They love us and so you see
We are a happy family!
We're back! We're safe. It was really tough leaving our children. I have much to update you on in the coming days. This will have to hold you over for now!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Would You Like Cheese With Your Whine?

I'm quite delighted with myself right now. The bags are packed. The dog is having a week long sleepover with the people that own his parents. Brent's taking a long soak in the tub with a book and some pain pills (I'm really quite worried about how he's going to get through this next week). And me? Why, thank you for asking! I'm in front of the computer, nibbling on cheese and wine. OK... so it's really Martinelli's - straight from the bottle, but it's a finally chilled bottle. A bottle hand-carried from all the way in the dark recesses of the local Costco, no less! And the cheese is pre-packaged deli sliced Muenster. And instead of classical music, I'm streaming alternative music from But AT SOME LEVEL, this seems like a sad little version of a very lonely, non-alcoholic, bulk prepared wine-tasting club and I'm (at least) amused.

In a way, this moment is everything Haiti is NOT. I have power - my kids don't have power every night. They only get it every other evening. I have prepackaged unessentials at my fingertips (and chilled at that). I'm in my own space, in a safe place, on a quiet street. No one's ever been kidnapped in my neighborhood. You don't need government approval to come visit me (or to leave comments - come on, people!) We can get in our air conditioned car and drive anywhere or nowhere at a whim.

My friend, Alisha adopted a little boy from Haiti. She said the driver they had in Haiti told them that his family was fortunate enough to have a car at home, but they hadn't driven it in about 6 months because it needed a new battery. If you have to choose between a battery and food, you pick food. If you have to choose between gasoline at $6 a gallon and most anything else....

We won't have internet access in Haiti, and we'll only have emergency cell phone access. We are taking our camera and I'm taking a book to jot thoughts. We return late at night on the 15th and we have the 16th off of work to recover. The plan, at this point, is that I'll start posting about the trip with pictures of the kids, and us and the kids, and Haiti and the kids, and the kids with the other kids, and the pool and the kids... on the 16th.

We know we're going with the prayers and thoughts of many people. For that, we thank you.

Thank you for loving us and for loving Lexi and Nathan. We'll do our best to convey that to them.

T-12 hours and counting.....

The Path Will Be Made Clear

We've had a great day at the Rosenlof's. We've had more wonderful things dropped off from good friends and neighbors. Cris and Bri, you spoil us. Miss Brinn, Lexi will LOVE the bunny you picked out for her. Thank you so much, sweetheart!

I spent the bulk of the evening repacking and prioritizing what we have been given. I smell a Gospel principle coming...There's something to be said for taking stock of what you have and recognizing in the process what you've been given. And then being grateful for it.

With some rearranging and not too much repriorizing, we were able to get more items in fewer suitcases. It was literally a blessing (thanks Nate and Rob). The peace you brought to our home and the promise of my stress being lifted was immediately manifest. It's amazing how much space you can save by rearranging how you squish the kid's diapers into the suitcases. I fit all 50 teddy bears that Mom R's ward made for the kids in a smaller suitcase WITH a bunch of other toys. It's like an entire suitcase of joy! (and a couple of sheets, thanks Teri.) :) Things just really came together.

We got our last minute papers notarized. While in Haiti we hope to be able meet with the US Immigration (called USCIS now - they're under the Department of Homeland Security these days). If our paper work is right and if that meeting goes well then we can be granted permission for USCIS to do the search for Lexi and Nathan's birthparents simultaneously to the Haitian ISBER process. (the normal process is that the US Government waits until Haiti has spent their year going through things and THEN they go out and attempt to locate the birth parents in a country where people don't have phones, emails or homes in many cases. They'll spend a lot of time trying to track them down and then bring them into PAP for an interview with USCIS. Our government wants to know that the parents know their children are gone forever when they're adopted. The birth parents can change their mind at that point and we really don't want that to happen.) Anyway, if this is approved for us then we don't have to have an additional US wait at the end of this already long process - we can do "concurrent enrollment", as it were, and have both governments working simultaneously. Novel idea, eh?

My whole world is going to change in 36 hours. Leavin'.... on a jet plane.... Brent admitted that he's nervous that Lexi won't like him. I can't imagine how any child couldn't love having Daddy Brent. I think one snuggle and they'll be stuck on each other. I've seen many a baby snuggle into him and just be content in his arms.

I was reminded tonight that there's a purpose to everything that happens. There are reasons that we've been married for 10 years and haven't been able to have children. There are reasons that we've been working on adoption in one form or another for 6-8 years and nothing's happened yet. I was reminded that God is aware of us and that we're doing the right thing. The big reason nothing's happened yet is that my little Nathan is only 4 months old. We wouldn't have him if anything had worked previously. I can only begin to catch a glimpse of how much our lives are going to change; begin to fathom how much our lives, as a family, are about to start.
Melissa tells me that her Haitian children just kept patting her hair and her face - so many different textures that are unfamiliar. Just a few more hours until I can officially feel like a mom, and a "Mama Blanc" at that.

We're coming, Lexi and Nathan. We're coming.

Funny Thought From the Fast Lane...

As I was coming home tonight I drove behind a car with the license plate "STCROIX". It made me think of my good friend and former missionary companion, Char. My curly-fries-shining-star-m'na.

Char's sister and her husband moved to St. Croix (pronounced "kroy") after Hurricane Andrew. The husband is a general contractor and they moved their whole family down there to work rebuilding homes and such. Char went down to help her sister nanny (nice gig, eh??)

Anyway, Sister of Char was pregnant at the time. The locals (those from St. Croix are called "Crucians") decided that since this baby would always be part Crucian because he was born in St. Croix. They determined, then, that as a "part Utahn and part Crucian" that he would actually be a "Crutahn". For some reason that always makes me giggle. I'm sure they were very proud of themselves for coming up with that one. I'm proud of them too. Go, Crucians!

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Where We Are

So my sister's friend named his poor, innocent, defenseless daughter "Delila Rasputina". Unfortunately I have no response to that. Moving on....

We leave in less than 3 days. 2 days and some change, really. I've packed and repacked and then weighed the suitcases and repacked some more. I've washed and folded pounds of clothing and blankets and cloth diapers. I'm wondered what else I can fit in and what else I need. About the time I start wondering how much Brent can fit in the pocket of his cargo shorts, then I know that I've possibly overpacked.

Two days of work. 1 day of travel. 4 more "sleeps". (We have to spend Wednesday night in Miami - so we don't get to Haiti until Thursday.)

Brent's had a bad kidney day. Not "time in the hospital" bad, but pretty unpleasant none the less. I hope he's OK in Haiti. A lot fewer options there. He has a hard time if he lifts or moves too much. Brent apparently gives off a vibe that can only be picked up by small children and animals that says "I'm a human jungle gym." It will be hard for him to be around all the little kids at the orphanage and not play and rough and tumble with them.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

And the Beat Goes On...

Thanks to my friend who pointed out that you couldn't leave comments with the previous settings. That's now been fixed. Feel free to comment away!!

I started my new job today. It's a very calm environment and I'm really looking forward to it. So far I'm just going to be learning how they do things, but I think it's a really good fit.

There's a woman that I work with now who is also a "dog person". I was talking to her about her dogs and she showed me a picture. One of her pooches is named "Lexi" and I was able to say, "Oh, that's my daughter's name." Unless you've been trying for 10 years to have children, you may not ever know exactly how awesomely cool it was to say that.

The Brown cousins brought down a bunch of cloth diapers today. These girls have saved the money as a family and decided to give it to our orphanage. We're so grateful and we know it will be put to good use.

My aunt, who is on a retirement income, sent us a nice check today for our orphanage. Grandma R's ward has made dozens of little fleece teddy bears. We picked up a bunch of those today and she also gave us money for the kids. We're overwhelmed by the outpouring of love for our kids. Can't wait to post pictures when we get back. We hope you'll be as in love with all their beautiful faces as we are.

We found out today we have one more available suitcase to fill from one of our group members. Our luggage runneth over! We were starting to think we'd have to put some of this aside until the next trip in April. Yeah for empty suitcases!

I recently had one of those "you never know who is watching you" experiences. My friend told me that she overheard her 7 yr old daughter playing with her little friend. They were making decorations out of beads. The other girl said, "What do you do with these when you're done?" And Sara said, "Give them to someone special." and the friend said, 'Like who?" and Sara said, 'Like Lori".

I share that because it reminds me that you never know who you're impacting. Even all our friends and family that are donating to our kids. It's not just the kids that are impacted by their love and generosity - they don't know these children and their future parents and siblings, etc, etc. But they're reaching out to Make these children's lives more comfortable, safe, secure and healthy. That isn't something you can put a price on and, unfortunately, it's not an opportunity that comes along every day. It's been a beautiful opportunity to see the genuine goodness of our neighbors, friends and family. We are so privileged to be able to participate in this.

Thank you, Lexi and Nathan, for needing us as much as we need you.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Happy New Year!

What a lot of change for our family! I start my new job tomorrow. We leave to visit our kids in 8 days. Hopefully some day soon Brent will be done with his parasitic-kidney-energy-sucking-nauseating-pain-inducing stone.

Brent's going to be able to go back into the office tomorrow. He's been working from home the last few days, but he's been feeling much better now that the infection is cleared up.

Some of my Young Women came over today and we hung out and "scrapbooked" calendars for them for the next year. We had a lot of fun chatting and snacking and messing around with paper and ribbon. :)

I've got the rest of the evening booked with washing all the clothes and blankets that have been donated for Haiti so we'll know they're good to go when we get there. We've really had so much help from so many people. Our agency will be sending a group down again in April so any "overflow" will go down with them in a few more weeks.

A childhood friend of mine is also adopting a girl and boy from Haiti right now. She's much farther along in the process than we are and she should be just weeks away from bringing her kids home. She gave me 12 new pairs of children's sandals to take to our kids. She's helping the foundation that supports her children's orphanage to build a school in their village, so they've been busy gathering desks and chairs and chalkboards, etc for that major endeavor. She said they already have 500 village children that want to attend the school when it's completed!

She also said the Haitian government has been contacting her orphanage lately, hoping they can take abandoned infants. So she's trying to gather up infant formula to take with her when she goes again to bring home her children. We just don't realize how lucky and "geographically blessed" we are.

I'm very intrigued to see what awaits us in Haiti. We're staying at the Haitian equivalent of a 5 star hotel, but our coordinator just let me know that we'll probably want to bring our own sheets! I know the hotel is gated and guarded. It's just a completely different world.

I've also been thinking about the logistics of bottled water. We not only need to use it for brushing teeth, etc, but for mixing Nathan's bottles and then washing them afterwards. Fortunately we can buy bottled water at the hotel, so we don't have to bring that down as well. 200 lbs of luggage doesn't go very far when you're trying to haul so many necessities for these children. (And I thought it was hard packing my bags for my 18-months as an LDS missionary!!) Every bit of space needs to be prioritized.