Thursday, February 28, 2008
As I told a friend this week: It’s been rough. It’s like the one side of your head knows that the Lord never cheats anyone and that this will work out and we have to keep moving forward. And the other side of your head (and a bigger part of your heart) just wants to pull the covers over your head and stay there wondering WHYWHYWHY and it remembers all the other times that you’ve been hurt and wants to quit trying so there will be no more hurting.
Those children changed our lives. They changed us as people. They changed our marriage. And quite frankly, a lot of it had to do with Nathan’s joyfulness and Lexi’s illness. Two other children couldn’t have done this for us. But the WAYS we were changed hinged on them coming with us at some point. And now we’re feeling lost. Like a screen door banging in the wind, we’re moving, but there’s no real point to the movement. Yet, you keep getting up - One day at a time - and try to remember the small thoughts from the faithful side. "TheLordNeverCheatsAnyone. TheLordNeverCheatsAnyone.”
Thank you for sharing your strength with us at this time when we need it. We are grateful for to be blessed with such caring friends, neighbors, and family.
We got our other dog, Divot, after our last adoption fell through at LITERALLY "the last minute" (30 minutes before we were supposed to pick up the little girl, the mom changed her mind). Apparently buying a dog is how we deal with losing our adoptive children. They definitely don't make Hallmark cards for this situation. And after this last week, we needed something good to happen.
We've been talking about getting another dog for awhile. It's not like this was a knee-jerk decision. Divot needs a friend and we are "dog people". So this week, on our anniversary, we got a puppy. He's a whippet (we love the breed - we had a whippet for years!) This little guy is 7 1/2 weeks old. His legs are gangly and all over the place. And he's very snuggly and cuddly.
He doesn't have a name yet. Please submit your suggestions in the comments.
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
Someone told me the other day that there was a point in the life of her family where they wondered what else they could possibly lose. They ended up moving across several states and things worked out in the end.
In the last few weeks we've found out that we're losing a job, I lost an ovary, and now we've lost our children.
It looks like Brent will be going back to school. It turns out that was a blessing and good timing for us after all.
When I finish healing, I'll feel a lot better with all these cysts removed - ovary or not. That is also a blessing.
I don't know how to reconcile Lexi and Nathan. It still feels like SOMEHOW this will work out and we'll end up with them.
We wrote a letter to their birth mom (Bernadette) and our agency is having it translated into French and Creole and they'll get it to the orphanage who will get it to Bernadette. We also sent a few of our favorite family photos. I don't know if it will make a difference. One of our case workers felt strongly prompted to have us write the letter and we certainly were willing to do so. I think that's all we can do.
And so... we wait. We distract ourselves. We keep getting up every day. And we keep thinking about them. Praying for them. Hoping. I don't think you can fill a hole the size of Lexi and Nathan without Lexi and Nathan.
A friend reminded me that when you can no longer see, faith is continuing to move forward and trusting that the light will move with you.
In the words of my one of my favorite hymns:
Fear not, I am with thee, oh be not dismayed
For I am thy God and will still give thee aid
I'll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand
Upheld by my righteous, omnipotent hand.
When through the deep waters I call thee to go
The rivers of sorrow shall not thee ov'rflow
For I will be with thee, thy troubles to bless
And sanctify to thee thy deepest distress.
Renmen ou, Lexi and Nathan. Come Home Soon.
Monday, February 25, 2008
We just can't imagine these two not being our children. I can't say that I blame their mother - I wanted to take them home as well! They're beautiful children and I don't know how you can be with them and not be in love with them.
We're hoping for a miracle. Maybe she'll realize it was a mistake, and that she can't care for them and she'll give them up again. Lexi and Nathan have a half-sibling in France that was adopted previously, so she's been through this before. I don't know if that makes it better or worse for our case right now. We're also hoping that, if she does change her mind again, we'll find out about it so we can resume our adoption efforts. There are so many orphanages in Haiti...
I've been looking at pictures and videos all afternoon. It seems like this has to be a nightmare and that I'll be able to wake up sometime soon.
It finally seemed like everything was coming together for our little family. (well, besides, the kidney stones, cysts and layoff, that is).
About a year ago we decided we wanted to take a trip for our 10th anniversary. We started looking at different exotic locations. Then Lexi and Nathan happened and Haiti in January was our anniversary present. It was the best thing to ever happen to us. And I still hope we'll be able to somehow have Lexi and Nathan with us. Someway... Somehow...
Looks like we need another miracle.
She had gone into interview with USCIS and had signed their paperwork. They apparently asked for a DNA sample as they had some reason to question whether she was actually their mother. We've been told before that USCIS really grills the birth parents - "You know you'll NEVER see these children again" kinda thing. I don't know if that's what changed her mind.
That night, after the orphanage director had gone home, she came back with a car and demanded the children back. The police got involved. Apparently it was quite a scene. At any rate, the orphanage was forced to give them back to her. She also asked the orphanage for money, which they refused. It doesn't bode well for the situation they're now in.
I can't feel like this is over. It seems like it was a rash decision on her part and that she's not any more able to care for them now than she was initially.
Prayers. Please. I don't know what else to do.
Sunday, February 24, 2008
I told Brent I was stressed and he said, 'Then you need to go out to the blog and watch the videos of Nathan. That will brighten any day!"
He's right. It does.
I have one last video of Nathan and thought I'd post it today - for mostly selfish reasons. I kinda overdid it yesterday and I'm suffering for it today.
This video was taken within 30 minutes of meeting Nathan. We're still at the orphanage, and we stepped outside to where it was more quiet so we could get some time with him.
I LOVE HIS EYEBROWS at the beginning of this. It's a sliver of insight into the personality in this little man. He's such a happy, content, dynamic little spirit.
In the Haitian culture, they don't cut a child's hair until they're a year old. Nathan has some random braids that the Aunties at the O have put in to try to control his mane. That's what you can see sticking out in places.
Enjoy! And I recommend a big dose of "Nathan" if you're ever having a bad day.
Friday, February 22, 2008
Brent's taking good care of me. Thank you for all the good wishes and kind thoughts.
We've also been notified that we won't be going to Haiti in April. They're trying to reschedule a trip before September. It's hard to miss this time with them, particularly while Nathan is at such a fun stage, but laws are what they are and we have to comply. As Brent said, "A Haitian hotel was bad enough... I don't need to see a Haitian Jail!"
Thursday, February 21, 2008
They deported the Beatles and sent one ovary with it. On one side, the cysts were removable without issue. On the other side they had adhered themselves to the ovary like a bad wig on Britney Spears, so that one had to be removed.
Overnight in the hospital - I think I get to go home tomorrow.
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
The human body is fascinating. It can also be disgusting. They're not sure what type of cysts I have - although they do know they're different types of cysts on each side, based on the ultrasound. The one side may be what they call a dermoid cyst.
I also highly recommend that you never, never, never, never look up pictures of dermoid cysts on the internet. See, these are cysts that are made from the cells on the ovary that contribute hair, teeth and skin in an embryo. So that's what the cysts are filled with: hair or teeth or skin. Nasty to the infinite power.
Dr. Lind said he once removed two cysts from a woman that each had part of a mandible (jawbone) growing in them! Just these little cells in there, doing what they do best, which is dividing and creating whatever structure they were designed to create. ("Look, Ma! I'm a jawbone!!")
So, here's to hoping that they're all "scope-able" and that the "cysts of nastiness" are soon no longer invading my abdomen. It's time to deport the ovaric Beatles!
I had some MD appointments today, so I ran to the Target between appointments. I picked up 2 bottles of 3 different types of infant and children's medicine to take to the orphanage the next time we go. I admit, six bottles is unusual.
The guy checking out my items sees the number of bottles and says, "Someone must be pretty sick, huh?"
I said, 'Actually, we're going to an orphanage in Haiti to visit the children we're adopting and we're taking some medicine to them."
He says (wait for it):
"RRIIIIGGGGHHHTT!" (picture the rolling eyes)
"An 'orphanage' in 'Haiti'...." (picture the finger air quotes)
That's right, folks. He's onto me. This whole "adopting kids" thing is really a front for the meth lab we're running in our basement. We've gone to great lengths to hide our activities from the authorities - even going so far as to have a homestudy, so that this all APPEARS normal. All that hard work down the drain.
("... and we would have got away with it too, if it hadn't have been for those pesky teenagers....")
Monday, February 18, 2008
Don't get me wrong. As a mother-country, Haiti's doing her best. And they're in a good home now with Nadia. I know she takes care of them and does her best. I would just like to think that we will be better.
And so, in a way, we're suing Haiti for full-custody of these children. And because the legal system is involved, we're in for a long, drawn out fight.
A friend of mine posted something on her blog that I'm going to paraphrase - as long as we've been in this adoption process, we've thought of them as OUR kids. The reality is, they aren't. Not yet.
"We can't MAKE them our kids...they just aren't. We can't wish them into being our kids, we can't love them into being our kids, we can't hope them into being our kids...we just have to wait to see if some random man in some random office DECIDES that they are our kids..."
Until then, I'll keep waking up with them on my mind and savor a few moments while I picture what it will be like to have them with me - here... in this house. I picture their rooms. Soccer games. Dance classes. Spelling bees. Fights. Temper Tantrums. Playing with the dog.
They ride along to work with me, filling my thoughts as I navigate the rush hour. And there's nothing I'd rather ponder on than them.
Come home soon, Alexis and Nathan. We love you. We miss you. Sleep well.
Sunday, February 17, 2008
We're looking at it as a blessing. He's looking into going back to school to get a degree in Landscape Architecture. USU has a sattelite program down here and it appears he can get it done that way. Brent's very talented and creative when it comes to designing things in his head. He's redone our yard more times than I can count. I think it would be a great fit for him. He also has had an interview for a job that may work out, even with this crazy extension they've asked from him.
And on my end, my appointment for the laparascopy so the MD can go in to observe my "ovaric Beatles" was moved up to next week. I have a pre-op visit with him on Tuesday so I'll get more information on what we're going to be doing about getting those Beatles deported. Should be a fun week!
Saturday, February 16, 2008
Isn't she lovely?
Isn't she wonderful?
My dad told me that Stevie Wonder wrote that song about me. And of course, I totally believed him.
I distinctly remember being in the family Pinto on many occassions and that song would come on the radio. Dad would say, "There's Lori's song!" and turn up the radio and we'd all sing along.
Isn't she lovely?
Isn't she wonderful?
I can still remember the woodpaneling on that vehicle. The way the plastic seats would stick to your legs in the summer. The two bucket seats in the back and the way the three of us (at the time) would argue over who had to sit on "the hump." (No seatbelt laws back then).
Sometime down the road I realized that I'd never and would never meet Stevie Wonder. Dad had lied, but convincingly. Or maybe it was just more important that his lie had told me that he loved me.
Years later, as a missionary away from home, I'd hear that song playing on the Musak over a store soundsystem and I'd miss my dad.
When my brother and his wife were married a few weeks ago, they had that song played at their wedding reception as the 2nd dance. It was a surprise for me. They'd done it so that I could dance with my dad to my song.
Isn't she lovely?
Isn't she wonderful?
Thursday, February 14, 2008
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
It was like discovering oxygen. Breathing for the first time. Realizing you're finally home after a very long trip.
There were tears. Nathan cried because he was tired. And probably because he was surrounded by strange white people.
Brent and I cried to have a long dream finally realized. There's something about meeting the other half of your heart that causes words to fail.
They didn't bring Lexi back to the orphanage from the hospital until RIGHT when we were getting ready to leave to head back to the hotel. We didn't get any "moment we met each other" pictures with her. This is our first shot as a family, taken from the terribly cramped back of the modified VW van we used for transportation that week.
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
I thought I'd share a picture given to me by my little neighbor boy, Jeff (who happens to have been adopted from Haiti). Jeff is 8. He drew this during sacrament meeting at church on Sunday and then gave it to me, since I was sitting closest.
As Jeff explained this, it's a picture of a chicken who was kicked out of an airplane by his fellow passengers. At first, Jeff drew the chicken being eaten by a shark, who was in turn eaten by a whale.
I've colorcoded these three below. Chicken = Red, Shark = Blue, Whale = Green
The kid's really got the whole "food-chain-circle-of-life" thing down!
Then he decided he didn't like that so he added a parachute to the chicken, and added some action lines to show him falling into a boat. Then he turned the paper over to show that, conveniently, ON the boat was a "FedAxeUPS" truck. He said the truck would take the chicken back to the farm. In this last picture you can just see the final falling motions from the parchuting daredevil, sky-diving, passenger-annoying, shark-avoiding chicken!
Whew! That's one lucky bird! Like 007 with feathers!
Monday, February 11, 2008
Dispatch is a rock group (and one of my favorites at that) from the 90's. The lead singer, Chad Urmston (the guy with the crazy red hair), spent some time in Zimbabwe in 1994. He was so struck by the poverty and the lack of education that he decided to do something about it.
He wrote a song, called "Elias", about a gardener he met while he was there. He was very impressed by this man, and his family. (The man has two sons, Honest and Manuel.) He wrote a song about Elias when he returned. One of my favorite lines reflects how wise he felt this man was: "Could you answer all the questions in the world in just one word? I think you could." It's a song about friendship, love and respect.
Dispatch started a charity called the Elias Fund. It sends children in Zimbabwe to college. The first recipient? Elias's son, Honest.
In 2007 (3 years after the band dissolved so they could pursue other things), Dispatch announced they would be doing a concert at Madison Square Garden in NYC with all the proceeds going directly to charities in the USA and Africa. They opened up ticket sales to only the members of their "MySpace" account. They sold out Madison Square Garden within 30 minutes of the tickets becoming available. They added two more concert dates, both of which also sold out.
This video shows them singing the song "Elias" at one of the Madison Square Garden concert nights. They are joined by the African Children's Choir, all of whom are children from extreme poverty and many of whom have lost at least one parent to AIDS.
I love to watch this video, not only to see the beautiful children, but also to watch the band's faces and see how much they're thoroughly enjoying singing with these kids. The children's faces and their beautiful voices bring tears to my eyes every time. You can also see their passion reflected in the crowd. The pictures that flash in the background are of people from Zimbabwe.
I'll include the lyrics below the video. The first few lines are in Shona, the native tongue in Zimbabwe. Those lines essentially say:
If I could meet my Jesus, I would be very happy with Him.
We would be happy with Him
Are you strong?
I'm strong if you're strong.
Dai Jesu achoinekwa, ndaizofara naye.
Ndakasimba kana makasimbawo.
You raise your head, you beat the sun
But your boys they lie so close to you
Do you dare get up and wake the two?
Oh Elias, I see you there, at work in the daytime.
Do you think you could answer
All the questions in the world in just one word?
I think you could.
'Cause If you die will I get word that you're gone?
Or will I hear it in passing conversation?
Or will I stop short and fall to the ground?
Distance is short when your hand carries what your eye found.
Hold my hand just one more time,
to see if you're really gonna meet me.
Hold my hand just one more time,
to see if you're really gonna meet me.
Honest and Manuel, well you know,
they're at school now.
Given the chance that their father's never seen
To see whats beyond Section 17.
And in ten years, when you look back at your boys,
well you know they've grown way taller
than the tallest sugar cane in the field.
I see your wife.
She stands stooped over by the fire outside.
And I see your boys.
And when they look up,
you know i think they got their mother's eyes.
'Cause she looks so proud.
She looks so happy.
She looks so proud.
She looks so happy.
Sunday, February 10, 2008
Saturday, February 9, 2008
Friday, February 8, 2008
From just before we got the referral for Lexi and Nathan:
"Children's laughter, so beautiful to hear, soon will be a chance to have themFrom just days after we found out we were accepted to get Lexi and Nathan:
"A new chapter in your life is being written."
and then from Tuesday of this week....
"Your ability to love will help a child in need."
Thursday, February 7, 2008
This is Nathan sitting on Daddy's lap while we're in the hotel room (you can see the American TV show in the background! We enjoy "Dirty Jobs" with Mike Rowe and the Discovery Channel in general.)
He has a little crooked smile toward the end (after Brent blows on him) that just turns me to a pile of goo every time I see it!
I'm also in love with his lips. :)
That's our boy!!
Wednesday, February 6, 2008
Yesterday Jill was coloring in a coloring book. When she was done with her page she brought it in to show Jamie and me. The picture was of a bear sitting at a table with a bowl sitting in front of him on the table. She colored the shirt on the bear green. The bowl was yellow and green and she also had accented several other parts of the picture with green.
So anyway she shows us the picture and says, "Can you guys guess what the bear's favorite color is?"
Jamie and I both look at the picture and say, "Ummm, green?"
She says, "Nope! Blue! This is the younger brother. His older brother likes green and he just has to wear his hand me downs!"
Monday, February 4, 2008
I'd ordered some spaghetti noodles for dinner. Since there wasn't a lot of sauce, I figured it would be a safe bet for her to eat. I fed her some and sure enough, she chowed them down! Since she's 2 1/2, I assumed (never assume) that she'd want to feed herself. I proceeded to shovel some of the spaghetti onto a smaller plate for her.
And she started to scream.
I had no idea what was wrong and she was VERY upset. Our friend Chareyl (with Wasatch International http://wiaa.org/ ) said, "Feed her from the big plate again." I looked at her funny and she said, "just trust me." So I gave her another forkful from my plate. She immediately was at peace again. Like a switch had been flipped.
I looked at Chareyl, baffled as I couldn't explain what had just happened. She said, 'We see this all the time with kids that have been put in orphanages. She knows what it's like to be hungry and she wants to be sure she can have ALL the spaghetti if she needs it."
This mommy's heart broke.
I've heard parents who have adopted internationally say that their children will go to the pantry multiple times per day and just LOOK at the food - to make sure it's still there.
I pray and pray that we can get these children home soon, that their bellies may be full, their health may improve, their minds may be comforted as they learn what "home" means.
It's been 20 days since we've been able to hold and hug and kiss you.
Mommy and Daddy love you, Lexi and Nathan. Come home soon.
Saturday, February 2, 2008
I wonder, though, what she would have said if she'd learned her people WERE eating cake - MUDCAKES, that it.
What will you say when you learn what Haiti's poor does to try to survive?
People haven't believed me when I told them that the poor literally eat dirt. Thank you, MSN for publishing this article this week:
Friday, February 1, 2008
The weather in Utah has been filled with snow, snow and more snow. That's fabulous for the Utah skiing industry – not so great for commuters like me.
However, my thoughts lately have not been on the slush and ice. They've been on my kids (shocker!)
What will Lexi think the first time she sees snow?
How will she feel about her first coat? She's never had to wear anything like that before.
What about boots?
How do you explain "cold" to a child from the Caribbean? Or air conditioning? (they don't have that at the orphanage!)
I'm also excited to give you popsicles… and yogurt… and so many other things.
And, as always, I wonder which winter we'll finally have you home. Will it be next winter? Will it be the one after that?
I can scarcely wait to get them home. I keep hearing that things in the Haitian government are going "faster", but I've also seen my friends wait 20 months and still not have their kids.
Will they remember who we are the next time we see them? (hopefully in April/May)
I hope that you're having a good day, Lexi. That you're feeling better. That you're happy. That you know you're loved. That someone gives you a hug or two today.
Nathan, will you be crawling the next time we see you? I'd somehow be happy to see your little knees all roughed up by the tile floors at the O (orphanage). There's really not a lot of soft space there for you to figure out how to be mobile.
I hope you're well, Nathan. That you're being loved on by the "aunties" at the O. That you're sleeping well. That you're still singing to yourself and being as happy as you were when we saw you.
Mommy and Daddy love you both very much. Come home soon.