Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Thank you...

My dear friend Susan saw children's flip flops on a great sale and promptly bought up all she could so she could send them down to "Brent and Lori's kids" in Haiti.

A longtime friend and close neighbor for Brent's family read through the blog and knew she could do something. She bought up all the shorts and tank top sets she could find so we'd have new clothes for the kids.

Some kind person at Brent's work left an envelope addressed as "For the Little Angels" and in it was $50 for us to take to our kids.

Another Haitian mom brought me a case of baby food to take.

Our friend, Heather, is collecting donations from our coworkers so they can help support our babies in Haiti and I am moved to tears.

We are humbled and so very grateful for the support. It is so very difficult to get food in Haiti. It costs Nadia $3500/month just for FOOD alone. And because the governments keep slowing down the adoption process, she cant help get children out to their forever families as quickly as she could before. EVERY LITTLE BIT HELPS. I don't know how to tell you how grateful we are.

But thank you for helping us to make her smile, get her well, bring her home. (This is our friends' beautiful daughter. Michelle, hope it's OK that I stole this from your blog!)

Monday, September 29, 2008

What's In a Name?

I've been called a lot of things in my day... not all of them repeatable in polite company. (Fortunately, I haven't had obscenities yelled at me since my days as a proselyting missionary. Tracting door-to-door in Florida's bone-melting humidity and obscenities! Who could ask for anything more?)

My family is big into nicknames. You know you're loved when they call you something besides your given name. My Poppa still calls me "Lori Ann Sister". My best friends in high school called me "LoriAnntumr"... and if that isn't funny to you, then I can't explain it. If it is funny to you, then you'll recognize why I loved it. And, of course, my sweet KohlBabySweetStars calls me "Lolo".

My younger brother has a ton of nicknames. He was the baby of the family, and was well loved, so he had all the rest of us to christen him with terms of endearment. Cabaz-eo, Cabey-Baby, and who can forget the famous "Sugwy-Bubwy". While he WISHES we would all forget that one, he was just too darn cute. I may have that one put on his tombstone some day (or write it on the side of his refrigerator box...)

When my older brother was in high school, he was 6'6" and weighed maybe 180 lbs when dripping wet. Everyone called him "Stick", including the teachers. (When he was a senior, and moved to that school as a sophomore, his friends christened me "Sticklet" and it was a name I was proud to be called. I have a pretty cool brother.)

My husband's nickname in high school was "Rosie" (which is a shortened form of our last name). I've always said it takes a big man to be called "Rosie".

So, why all this talk of nicknames?

Our beautiful, gorgeous daughter has a nickname. It actually might be more of a "title". In the orphanage, they call Jessica "The Screamer." She's earned that title and she wears it proudly!

Brent and I were standing there as Nichole was trying to explain to Harry which little girl we thought was supposed to be part of our family. (See story here.) Because Jessica didn't live at the orphanage it was hard for Harry to understand which child we meant. He finally said, "Oh... The Screamer." and Nichole said, "Yes, The Screamer." (we could HEAR the capitalization when they say it. It's a title to be revered and it may have struck a bit of fear into our hearts.)

But that's not the nickname that's bugging Daddy right now. See, Bebe, your Momma's started calling you "Jess". Daddy is not one to say much if something bothers him so if he does bring something up, you'd best listen. Daddy has, therefore, informed Momma that your name is not "Jess". Your name is "dje-zee-ka" (which is the beautiful Creole pronunciation we picked up from Malot.)

I think people grow in to names. And while I truly hope we can keep the "djezeeka" in "Jessica" alive for years to come, I think we'll end up with something that fits us.

Honestly, I think Daddy will call her his princess, his sweetheart, his little girl. And with those terms of endearment, she'll realize she's loved. And he'll realize this is exactly what we've been working toward for so very, very long.

We love you, TheScreamerPrincessSweetheart. We love our Jessica and our Malot.

13 days til we can tell you that again and kiss your cheeks.

Renemen ou, bebes.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

It's a Small World After All

I received a kind letter from an old friend in Holland today. He wanted me to know he was keeping track of our progress via the blog and that the recent hurricanes had brought our situation to mind often.

He said:
"Very strange to care for others because you know that other people have loved ones in that area, while that always will be the case. There always are others that are loved by others although you don't know them. I'm saying we should care for all people equally and no matter if you feel somehow related to them and in any circumstance not only when they're hit terribly by a disaster."

It's always interesting to me to see how small the world has become. For a long time at a previous job I spoke with my coworkers in Singapore, Holland and Ireland on a daily basis and it didn't seem strange at all that we weren't in the same time zone or continent.

Media and the Internet have made us more aware of the happenings around our globe and often we are more aware of what's happening in another country than in the home next to ours. But I wouldn't trade it. Some of my favorite people live in far-flung places. The little girl I was, growing up in a tiny farming community less than 8-blocks square could never have envisioned that I'd have close friends that were physically so far away.

She also had no idea her children were in Haiti.

Silly girl... shows what she knew!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Quirk Confessional

A couple of months ago my dear Perla tagged me with this from her blog. It's been hovering there at the back of my mind on occasion, so I finally decided to put these thoughts down.

I'm supposed to list six unspectacular quirks that I possess. This is a hard thing to do - probably because what I do seems normal to me and partially because I'm not terribly attentive in the first place.

1. I like patterns in things. For example, floor tiles. It's not that I have to have them in order, but in the back of my mind, I'll look at the floor tiles and figure out how they'd have to be rearranged to make a pattern. The pattern I most like to create out of floor tiles is the "9 block square" with alternating colors like this:I'm always rearranging things in my mind to make patterns. But I don't have to have them in patterns... I just like to think about what it would take to make it into a pattern. I like to figure out where the repeat in the pattern is and how many variations there are. Could be anything - print on a fabric, cars parked, pens on a desk, etc. That probably doesn't make sense, but there it is.

2. Strings of numbers have a near-musical quality to me. Before I started losing my mind it was very easy for me to remember strings of numbers because I could remember the sound/song they made in my head. Then I started getting old. What was I saying again?

3. I experience physical pain when watching someone embarrass themselves. I know it sounds weird, but it's honestly painful for me. For this reason, I often have to hide my face when watching TV if the comedy gets "slap-sticky". I can't even watch a full episode of a show like Frasier because it's often so obvious that the embarrassment is coming. I had to get up and leave during "Meet the Parents" - it hurt my chest to try to watch it. I just avoid those kinds of shows.

4. I sit on my hands. If my legs are crossed, I'll tuck my fingers between my crossed knees. When I sleep, I lay on my side with my legs bent at 90 degrees and tuck my fingers between my crossed knees or I thread my arms between my legs and grasp the fronts of my calves with the hand from the opposite side. If my arms aren't "tucked in" it feels like my long arms are in the way of my sleeping and it bugs me. I was looking through some old pictures and found a picture of me at age 3 sitting like that, will my hands all tucked in. Guess I've always done it.

5. I can't sleep if my feet are dirty.

6. I can't stand noises that don't serve a purpose (like children's toys that just make noise for the sake of noise). I'm actually more OK with a machine that's making noise because it serves a purpose. Can't handle the sound of nervous feet tapping or chairs squeaking because someone is bouncing their legs, etc. It will also drive me nuts if the sound repeats in an irregular fashion. At least have the decency to have a pattern!! Come on, people!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Flooding update

Here are some pictures I took from CNN.com

Refugees line up to try to get to food and aide
Yes, this man is pulling a corpse behind him. It's probably the easiest way to move the body away from where you're trying to rebuild.

This woman and boy are cleaning bottles to fill with water and resell. And yes, that nasty brown water is what they're "cleaning" them in.

I thought this image was interesting. It shows where the river meets the ocean's water.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Logo Survey

My friend Pete put together a logo for the Orphanage. The name of our orphanage is Hope for Little Angels of Haiti.

The banners on the top and the bottom of the logo represent that the country of Haiti was the first post-colonial black nation to gain its independence. They stand for the pride and the spirit of Haiti.

The letters are stylized to represent the children.

The logo in a couple of color options is below. We have a red/yellow/blue option (which is representative of the Haitian flag and basic children's colors) and a tropical mango smoothie option. :) If you click on each image individually, you can see it outside the context of the brown background on my site. That makes it a bit easier to view it as it was intended.

Please add a comment and let me know what your thoughts are on the logo itself and the color scheme. We're really looking for some feedback here. So far we have mixed reviews (but I've only asked Brent and me).


We met Nichole a couple hours down the highway tonight to load up the "northern Utah" portion of the food donated by Feed My Starving Children. This is the main thing we're trying to get to Haiti with us this time. When something like 3 hurricanes in a row can hit your country and devastate everything and shut off roads, it's very important to have backup food. In addition, these packets contain 1 full day's nutrition for one person. So even if she uses this as their main food source for a while, it will ease some of the financial burden on the orphanage.

Side of the boxes

Truck full of boxes

Shots of the actual pouches. They are filled with a rice/soy protein mixture and have some dehydrated vegetables and added vitamins and minerals.

Having governments add steps to the adoption process and have months of delays doesn't just affect the families waiting back in the States. It makes it hard for Nadia to keep things together. If you figure that the adoption fees she charges are based on what it costs her "on average" to feed and care for a child during the time it takes their adoption paperwork to process, then it gives you an idea of the financial crisis she's in when the average time for adoptions goes from 12 months to 14 months to 18 months to....

As with most things, it is the little ones that suffer the most. Those least able to do anything about the situation.

Now we need to start praying that we can get all this food through customs at the Haiti Airport without any issue. Our kids and our orphanage really need this food.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

What Are the Odds?

Last week I had a doctor's appointment. In the waiting room, I saw the wife of a friend that I worked with at my last job. She was there with their new baby boy.

As I visited with her, she said that they'd named him "Easton". I commented that I'd heard that name as a last name, but not heard it used as a first name before.

SERIOUSLY, as soon as I said that the lights in the waiting room flicked off. I hear a mom from across the room yell, "Easton! Turn those lights back on right now! Easton!! I'm not kidding! Easton! Turn them back on!"

The lights came on and my friend and I looked at each other.... maybe it wasn't as unusual as we both thought. :)

Friday, September 19, 2008

Why My Creole Stinks

Seems like any effort I take to learn Creole ends up with phrases like this.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Good News

We received word this week that the Presidential Approval we needed on our file is done!! This is fabulous news. There are some people we've heard of who have waited 16 long months to get that signature. This means that our files are now where they should have been in June. :)

Nadia tried to take them to IBESR (the Haitian equivalent of Child and Family Services). They have a lot of things they review with our dossier and the process in their office takes months.

So now what?

We wait.

Good thing we know how to do that.

Two points for the Lord on getting the signature and getting back on track.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

More Jessi

We didn't plan on Jessica, so we didn't have clothing for her. She's wearing an extra boy's T-shirt as pajamas. The little blue thing on her head is a little bug toy that Malot put on her head while they were playing. She was fascinated by the remote control. Both she and Malot thought it was a cell phone and kept pretending to talk into it.

26 days....

Monday, September 15, 2008


We don't have many pictures of Jessi. We didn't have her with us for very long. We're very much looking forward to getting to know her on this trip.

We've been told that she's now living in the orphanage where Malot is. I wonder if he pays attention to her or if he even cares. One never knows about these things. The older kids and the younger kids really don't "hang" much at the O. It's kinda like when you finally graduate to the "big people table" at Thanksgiving Dinner. You don't look back.

So, I thought this week I'd share a few of the pictures we do have. This picture shows you how beautiful her eyes are. She has the most amazing hair. I have no idea how long it would be unbraided. And if you notice, there aren't elastics or anything on the bottom of her braids. She has enough natural curl that they just curl over on themselves and stay tight. It's a beautiful color as well.
She has this amazing skin and looks fabulous in every color out there.

We haven't seen much in the "Jessica Smile Department", but we're hoping to rectify that this trip. She was really pretty sad that first day. I've also never heard her laugh, so hopefully we'll get some footage of that this next trip.

We love you, Jessi. We hope Malot's keeping an eye out for you.

27 days...

Sunday, September 14, 2008


We seem to be addicted to going to Haiti. It's an expensive habit.

We got a lot of shopping done this weekend. Finally have all the clothes we need for both kids for the week. It's always a challenge to try to find toys that are small enough to fit in a suitcase but still might interest them for a few days.

This trip we're trying to fit everything into as little space as possible so that we'll have as much room as we can get for the food we're taking down to the orphanage. I've heard that they've shipped the pallet to UT so now we wait for it to arrive and get it distributed to the families to pack in their luggage.

28 days...

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Let's Go Swimming...

Malot was so excited to go swimming....

Here he is trying to pull my suit on over the top of his suit. Apparently I wasn't getting ready fast enough.

It was like, "Well, if we just need this suit on, let me help with that!"

Here are a couple Brent took of Malot and Momma playing in the pool. We used that little sippy cup as a rocket because he could pull it under the water and let it go and it would rush back to the top. He would cackle gleefully and do it again.

29 days....

Friday, September 12, 2008

Hurricanes and Haiti: A Tragic History

Hurricane Jeanne of 2004 passed just north of the country as a tropical storm, dumping 13 inches of rains on the nation's northern mountains. The resulting floods killed over 3000 people, mostly in the town of Gonaives. Jeanne ranks as the 12th deadliest hurricane of all time on the list of the 30 most deadly Atlantic hurricanes . Unfortunately for Haiti, its name appears several times on this list. Hurricane Flora killed over 8000 people in 1963, making it the 6th most deadly hurricane ever. An unnamed 1935 storm killed over 2000, and Hurricane Hazel killed over 1000 in 1954. More recently, Hurricane Gordon killed over 1000 Haitians in 1994, and in 1998, Hurricane Georges killed over 400 while destroying 80% of all the crops in the country.
Hurricane Georges
Hurricane Georges Approaching Haiti: September 22, 1998

Why does Haiti suffer a seemingly disproportionate number of natural disasters? The answer in that in large part, these are not natural disasters--they are human-caused disasters. Haiti is the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere. With oil too expensive for the impoverished nation, charcoal from burnt trees has provided 85% or more of the energy in Haiti for decades. As a result, Haiti's 8 million poor have relentlessly hunted and chopped down huge amounts of forest, leaving denuded mountain slopes that rainwater washes down unimpeded. Back in 1980, Haiti still had 25% of its forests, allowing the nation to withstand heavy rain events like 1987's Category 3 Hurricane Emily, without loss of life. But as of 2004, only 1.4% of Haiti's forests remained. Jeanne and Gordon were not even hurricanes--merely strong tropical storms--when they stuck Haiti, but the almost total lack of tree cover contributed to the devastating floods that killed thousands. And it doesn't even take a tropical storm to devastate Haiti--in May of 2004, three days of heavy rains from a tropical disturbance dumped more than 18 inches of rain in the mountains, triggering floods that killed over 2600 people.

What can be done to reduce these human-worsened natural disasters? Education and poverty eradication are critical to improving things. In addition, reforestation efforts and promotion of alternative fuels are needed.

In the past two decades, the U.S. Agency for International Development has planted some 60 million trees, while an estimated 10 to 20 million of these are cut down each year, according to the USAID director in Haiti, David Adams. If you're looking for a promising way to make a charitable donation to help Haitian flood victims, considering sending a check to the Lambi Fund of Haiti, which is very active in promoting reforestation efforts, use of alternative fuels, and infrastructure improvements at a grass-roots level to help avert future flood disasters.

taken from http://www.wunderground.com/education/haiti.asp

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Making Faces with Momma

Malot and Momma making silly faces in the mirror in the bathroom at the hotel.

My hands were shaking, so the pictures are fuzzy, but I love the way his arms wrap all the way around my neck.

30 days...

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Update on Papers

People have asked us if we have an update on the kids' paperwork.

We were notified that this new step they've added (where now our papers have to go to the presidential palace for the President's review and signature) can take up to.... months.

Yes, Months....

It depresses me because if the judge had been faster signing the paper for Malot, we could have had our papers submitted to IBESR before they made this new ruling to say that now we have this additional step.

It frustrates me because it used to be that only those couples who hadn't been married at least 10 years, were under 35 or had biological children had to have this additional step. We meet all of those criteria. But rules change.

It seems we're destined to get the long road in everything.

If you look on the right side of our blog, there's a section called "Why Does This Take So Long?" You can see where we are in the process and the approximate length of all the steps we have left.

Why does this take so long?
Because it does.

We'll see our children again in 31 days. And we'll have a lovely week parenting them and loving them and bonding with them. And then we'll come home with empty arms and full hearts and continue to wait for the next approved visit.

Given the hurricanes and devastation in Haiti right now, I don't think that the president is going to be getting to our paperwork any time soon. We need prayers that the individual people who need to work on our specific childrens' files will be motivated to help move these papers forward.

And we need hope.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Welcoming My Sister

I've mentioned that Malot was so pleased to bring Jessica with us.

He pretty much ignored her when we went back to the orphanage to pick her up. He was tired, hot and cranky and very concerned that he get out of there with his mommy. He clung to me the entire time and he was not too happy that Momma was playing with the other kids that Nichole was trying to get to smile on video.

As soon as we arrived back in the hotel room, he was all over her. Loving her, kissing her, talking to her in a baby talk voice.

Brent was trying to give her a bottle and calm her down. This picture is of Malot trying to help Brent hold Jessi's bottle.
And in this pic, he's kissing on her fingers trying to calm her down while she's screaming.

Malot, you're already a good big brother and we can't wait to get you both home!

32 days...

Monday, September 8, 2008

Cute Picture of Malot

This was the day we met him. We'd just returned to the hotel and bathed him and put him in clean clothes. He was so excited about his sandals. He told me they were beautiful.

He has his machins and a snack - what more could a boy want?

33 days...

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Are the Kids OK?

No news is good news for parents adopting from Haiti. We know from experience that if the kids were in the hospital, they would call us.

A few data points that may help ease your minds a teensy bit. It's all I've got at this point.

The area where all the flooding is (Gonaives) is 65 miles north of where our kids are. The orphanage is in Carrefour.

Gonaives is also at an elevation of about 22 feet above sea level. Yes, 22 feet. Carrefour is a whopping 300 feet above sea level by comparison. We're up in the foothills a bit.

I made you a lousy map with two red circles to show the two areas. The kids are in the lower circle. The flooding is in the upper circle.

Thank you for your continued prayers and support. Our thoughts and prayers go out to all those struggling in Haiti right now and we pray they can get help soon.

Monday, September 1, 2008

And So It Goes...

I'd like to request a moment of silence in memory of my work laptop's hard drive. It died in its infancy - barely 4 months old, yet still with enough data to make losing it painful for me. Dell's sending me a new one, as well they should. NOw I just need to figure out how to work until THursday when that arrives....

I lost my wallet sometime in the last few days. No idea where on the planet it is. Tried to call and cancel my card today but it's a holiday so that was a less-effective option.

I also think I broke my toe. At least I have a completely awesome bruise on it if I didn't. Dang pipe that dropped on it!

In good news, our fund raiser was successful. We were able to raise enough money to get the food donation from Feed My Starving Children shipped to Utah so that we can distribute it among the people going on this October trip. This organization manufactures a food product that contains all the nutritional requirements the human body needs, including vitamins and minerals which the children in poor areas frequently lack. They ship this product in packets, with each packet containing enough product for 6 meals. They've agreed to GIVE us enough food for 8 months worth for our orphanage. We just have to get it shipped here and then carry it to Haiti.

It costs $3500/month to feed our orphanag and that's jsut rice and beans and a bit of chicken. Everything is so expensive for them. If we can get this food to them and ease some of that burden while also improving their nutrition, it will make it easier for Nadia to take care of their other needs.

Thanks to Nichole and her family for all their hard work on this fundraiser. We are really grateful we were able to spend time with them.