Thursday, October 30, 2008

Getting Things to Haiti

Haiti appears on many interesting lists. For example, did you know there is a "Corruption Perceptions Index" that ranks the countries of the world according to the amount of corruption that is perceived to exist among public officials and politicians in that country. The study defines corruption as "the abuse of entrusted power for private gain"

Haiti comes in 4th. from the bottom, that is. The 4th worst place on the planet for corrupt government.

Many complain about corruption within our own government. To give you a comparison, of the 179 countries on the index, the USA ranks 20th of 179. We're in the least corrupt parts of the globe comparatively. Haiti is number 177 of 179.

For this reason, we don't send things to Haiti. We hand carry them. My handsome 6'4" Brent makes a clever safe for packing large stacks of bills into the country. We've taken thousands in cash with us each time and never had a problem because, seriously... who would mess with Brent??

We're in the process of getting a not-for-profit organization started for the orphanage. We're still working through the tax paperwork there. My friend, Melissa just had an awesome idea for some fundraisers. We'll keep you posted on that as it comes to pass. Once we get the proper tax status, then I can go hit up bigger companies for donations because then it's a tax write off for them.

And we hope...

we hope for a trip soon....

We hope the children will be healthier and happier the next time we see them...

We hope we'll be led to find ways to raise money for what they so desperately need...

We hope they know how much they're love and by how many already...

We hope.

Monday, October 27, 2008


Nathan is a sweet, gentle soul. He's just a tender-hearted pork-n-bean, just like his mother was at that age. He's a very loving little man. He's sensitive and snuggly and he's very attached to his daddy.

Jessica is 100% fiesty Haitian. Not from Concentrate. She's also very sweet, but she knows what she wants and she knows what she doesn't want. She's got a goofy little personality and she's starting to make games up. She didn't have a lot to work with but one of her favorites was called, "Whack Daddy on the leg and run away so he has to chase me". That one was delightful.

Nathan has these beautiful eyelashes that reach to his brows. And these large, deep eyes that are so expressive. And the most perfect little lips. I love his lips. I wish you could all have the opportunity to cover his lips and cheeks in kisses!

Nathan is also part chipmunk. You may not have known that.

We fed him dinner and then returned to our room and washed their hands and faces. He was running around the room playing with his sister. About 15 minutes later, I notice he's chewing something. So I go fish it out of his mouth. Oh! It's a piece of chicken that he'd been holding in some of the storage space inside his ample kissable cheeks. I see he's learning about keeping a food supply early. One never knows when one might get a mite peckish and need a bit of chicken to fill the gap.

Other things he can do with his lips:
I will be posting answers to some of the questions in the next blog, I hope.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

And So My Needs Are Great...

This was a harder trip than the others, and not just because of the emptiness caused by Malot's absence.

When we arrived, we found the orphanage was struggling. They'd recently been hit with Giardia and many of the children had been very ill. A couple had been hospitalized again. The hurricanes changed circumstances in Haiti. Food became more difficult to get and costs rose once again. The orphanage had only been able to feed the children once per day for some time and the children were dealing with the effects of that. Some of these little ones are struggling so much. There are children between 18 months and 2 years who weigh around 10 lbs. It's so heartbreaking to see them so weak and so ill and know that you can only hold them for such a short time at present. We brought food down, donated by Feed My Starving Children. Unfortunately, with the weight limits imposed by the airlines and with the items we needed to bring down to care for our children during our week at the hotel, we weren't able to bring as much food as we would have liked. Brent estimated that it would get them through a month, if they ate only that.

We won't be able to return with more funds and supplies until after the first of the year. We're so worried about how to help them get over these current struggles. People think that because Haiti is impoverished the cost of things there must be very cheap. While labor may be cheap, food and shelter are NOT. The costs to run an orphange, even one as small as ours, are nearly overwhelming.

What we really need is for some of these adoptions to be finalized so some of these children can come home. Unfortunately, that's out of their hands just as it's out of ours. We're all at the mercy of government officials in both Haiti and America. We're waiting for PROCESS to happen and for PAPERWORK to be completed. And every day is another day of struggle, both in the hearts of the waiting families and in the physical trials of the little ones.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Why We Make Trips to Haiti

I'm stealing this entry from my friend, Melissa's blog. It made me cry.

I know what these trips to Haiti do for Brent and I. I know why we go. It was great to hear Melissa's son, Luc explain what the trips had done for him. Melissa's kids have been home since the end of July. They're about 5 and 6, I believe.

14 months ago, Seth and I visited the kids at the orphanage and took them a Mickey and Minnie Mouse stuffed animal. They STILL talk about it all of the time and tell me how much they loved those. Today, we went to the Disney Store and they were ecstatic to see the very same Mickey and Minnie that they had left behind in Haiti. I let them buy a new one today and they have not left either of their sides since. Tonight when Seth came home, I realized why these were so significant to them. Luc attacked Seth as soon as he walked in the door and showed him his Mickey and said, "Look dad, Mickey Mouse like you brought Luc at the orphanage and then Luc had a mom and a dad and Lyvi and Coltyn." That was the first time that Seth had met them and they associate the Mickey and Minnie with becoming a family.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Jess and Her Crazy Tongue

Jess is always doing something with her tongue. It's probably a sign of how high our phone bills will be when she hits junior high.

She kept licking things as well. The wall. The mirror. The bedspread. The BOTTOM of her SANDALS. (Nasty in the US... Completely revolting and a serious health risk in Haiti)

This clip was taken right after the clip of Nathan and Jessica playing with the blocks. She's playing with a little photo album we brought for her. It's filled with pictures of her, Malot and Mommy and Daddy. We left it with her so she can look at it until we come back. She was quite delighted with it and loved the pictures of herself. She could correctly point to "Poppa" in a picture by the end of the week.

I like the funny little smile she gives after she pokes at Nathan in this clip. I like to think she knows that he's important in her little future (even though we have no plans for them to marry! :) )

Thursday, October 23, 2008


Jessica playing Peek-A-Boo....It's kind of nice that her birth name is the one we're keeping. "Jessica" and "No" are the only two words we said that she understood and she wasn't too fond of the "NO" so at least she responded favorably to "Jessica".

There's something about that tone of voice that you use when you are playing Peek-A-Boo, though... it's the same tone of voice everywhere, I think. You know the one.... where she puts her hands over her eyes and you say,


and then when she uncovers her eyes you say,

"THERE she is!!!!"

and everyone claps and you all agree it's the best game ever and you play it again.

Yeah, that's the voice. She totally gets that. That game rocks (apparently).

Nathan, on the other hand, doesn't know his name is "Nathan". His birth name is "John Peter", and we're not keeping it. He'll catch on, but for now, we just keep saying his name and trying to get his attention at the same time.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Turning Darkness Into Light

And The Winner Is...

Or "The Today Show Logo", as we're calling it. Nadia, Harry, Abel and crew were so excited to see all the logos that had been put together for them. I think it was yet another reminder that there really are people elsewhere that care about what they're doing.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Stop Me If You Think You've Heard This One Before....

Sorry for the delays and lack of posting. We didn't have internet access the rest of the week in Haiti and were even unable to get connected in Miami Saturday night.

I'm not even sure how to describe this last week.... Still no word on Malot. It may be some time before we hear anything. Unfortunately, the uncle is what Harry calls "a bad man" and he says it's literally not safe for them to send someone to try to reason with the uncle just yet. Please don't ponder too long on what that means for Malot... It's not a good train of thought.

We did have the most unbelievable week. I can't adequately tell the story of what happened and how things came to be so I guess I'll just be direct and tell you our most recent change:

We were reunited with Nathan this week.

I know, we were stunned as well. His birth mother and father decided that they do need to give him up. Apparently, she's been contacting Nadia (the orphanage director) every day for the last 3 weeks, asking her to take him and place him again. Nadia basically told her to make up her mind and then get back to her.

Nothing is ever "set" in Haiti, but his birth parents did go before a judge on Thursday and sign relinquishment papers. That is a very good step in the direction we want - it makes it far less likely that she'll waffle again. Nadia told us on Tuesday that there was a possibility that we'd get Nathan back that week, but we were very guarded and hesitant to get our hopes up.

Our friends were at the orphanage when Nathan's parents brought him in on Thursday. A driver took the parents to the court, and Nathan got to "hang out" with our friends at the O for the next 4 hours. I use the term "hang out" loosely. Apparently he screamed and cried and cried and screamed until he puked. He was NOT happy. And it didn't seem to matter who was holding him.

When Nathan's parent's papers were taken care of with the judge, our friends at the O loaded up and came back to the hotel where we were. We saw the group walking into the hotel plaza with a child in their arms and were stunned - disbelieving that it really may have happened.

Sure enough, he was there and he's ours again.

Here's Nathan in January of this year when we met him:And here he is now:

We missed you so much, Nathan! And you are grounded for the rest of your life for leaving for 9 months without telling Mommy where you're going!

More stories to come...

And yes, this means that we're going to request approval for THREE kids, in case Malot comes back. After all, stranger things have happened.

People are going to think I make this stuff up!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

This picture was taken when we went to pick her up at the orphanage. We gave her crackers, so you can see the yummy remnants of those on her sweet cheeks.

She's been under the weather, but we finally got an antibiotic. She's doing better and has actually been playing and smiling today. She's still kind of unsure of what to do with all this attention from two adults.

She thinks the pool is of the devil. She nearly comes out of her skin when you get her wet. Not fun for this little lady! That's been a change since Malot had such a great time at the pool last trip. It's been good overall though as it's left Uncle Brent free to play with other kids in the pool.

We were able to file our papers with USCIS for Jessica, but that was an adventure that will have to be explained in detail in another post.

Last night we used Skype to call both of our mothers. If you're unfamiliar with that application, it allows you to use your computer to place phone calls. If both users have web cameras you can see each other over the computer. Sweet little Jessica played Peek-a-Boo with both of her grandmas last night over the computer. She kept trying to feed them some of her food and she touched their faces on the computer screen over and over again. She was chewing on a bracelet when we called Brent's mom and she made up this little game where she would take a bite and then hold it up to Grandma for her to "take a bite". She likes to share (mostly). It was very sweet! Thank heavens for modern technology!

Still no word on Malot.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Variations on a Theme


We've decided she's at least two. She can climb stairs all by herself. She has the most amazing hair on the planet. She's pretty laid back, but if she doesn't want something she will DEFINITELY tell you. She sleeps really well and we're finally getting her to the point where she'll giggle with us. She's a beautiful little girl and we're very much in love.

Update from Haiti

We haven't had internet access since we arrived, but the hotel has it fixed now.

We made it just fine. We picked up Jessica and she's doing wonderfully. She's got a silly, sassy personality and she's a bit of a diva. :D

Still no news at all about Malot. At least, no good news. The uncle apparently lives in a village some distance from PAP and our folks at the O are trying to see if they can make arrangements to bring him to PAP to meet with us. Everything in Haiti is slow, manual, and delayed, so we'll see if things work out that way. We haven't heard how Malot is doing physically, but our contacts do feel that the uncle intended to get medical assistance for him. We're hopeful that has taken place.

I wasn't prepared for how difficult it was for me to unpack Malot's things and just put them all in a bag and set them aside for the week.

I'll post some pictures tonight. Looks like Blogger has a scheduled outtage at some point tonight, so we'll try to work around that and our own internet access.

Thank you so much for all the prayers. We feel like this will eventually work out for the best even though things don't make sense to us right now. Hope springs eternal...

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Lightening Does Strike Twice on the Same Heart

We received from terrible, devastating news on Friday afternoon. Apparently, Malot is much sicker than how it was presented to us the day before when we found out he was in the hospital. The details are very sketchy, but here's what we know, as quoted from the email we received:

"Abel, the orphanage manager, was taking Malot from one hospital to another facility where there is a specialist that could look at Malot. Apparently, Malot has had diarrhea for days and has lost so much weight that they are so worried about how extremely sick he has been. As they were leaving the first hospital Malot’s uncle (the one who brought him to the orphanage initially) showed up and was very upset at Malot’s condition. He said that he wanted to take Malot home. Abel called the police because he was afraid if the uncle took Malot, Malot may not make it. But the police really do not care about the orphanage and adoptive families or anything like that so they gave Malot to the uncle.
We really do not have much other information. We don’t know if he just wanted to take him to nurse him back to health or if he thought Malot was not going to make it and he should be with family."
Yes, you read that last part right - the uncle apparently feels he's so deathly ill that he's taking him home to die.

We've been reeling since this information was received on Friday afternoon. I can't fathom not having Malot with us. I'm furious that he's apparently THAT sick and it seems that they only tried to get him to the hospital the day before. I'm terrified that the uncle won't trust the orphanage to give him back. I'm scared that we won't be able to find the uncle to try to meet with him and explain that as much as this little boy is his nephew, he is also our son. I'm horrified that perhaps the uncle is right and Malot "isn't going to make it". I'm terrified of meeting Harry at the airport and having him tell me those words that would indicate that Malot's illness beat him and he's no longer our beautiful boy.

What is wrong with these processes and governments and people and all of this huge mess? Why do so many children die before they can get to a place with food, clean water, medicine and a momma and poppa that they don't have to share.

Some one said, 'If this doesn't work out with Malot, you can just pick another kid!" For starters, this isn't a shoe store. We're talking about families. Eternal impacting things. And for secondars, this is like having a miscarriage, but after you've loved, fed, hugged, cared for, snuggled, played and talked to them. How many miscarriages do you try before you just have to take the hint and quit doing what you're doing?

We need hope, we need peace, we need prayers.

We need Malot to survive until we get there. We need Harry to be able to find Malot's uncle and take us there. We need the gift of tongues to help us communicate with this man. We need angels to attend us. We need angels by Malot's beside to comfort him and help him heal. We need it to not be too late. We need to hang on to the way Malot led us to Jessica and the rightness the situation with the two have them as always felt.

We need our son. please, let us find him and get him to the right doctor and help him to get well.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Do You Think I'd Get Any Takers if I Posted on Craigslist Looking for "Wealthy Person Wanting to Adopt an Orphanage"?

I'm just asking... trying to get creative here.

We've been very blessed by great friends and family. More people from my old company (Brent's current company) have contributed money for the orphanage and we received a very sweet note on our door from our best friends with some O money in it.

One never knows how these things will turn out... in Haiti, you can get admitted to a hospital without paying, but they won't discharge you until you've paid your bill. Harry has to be concerned every time someone gets sick - wondering if they'll be able to pull together the funds to pay for the doctor or the hospital or the medicine. There's no insurance in Haiti which means there's not a "co-pay"... it's more like "all pay". You have to pay the full bill yourself.

I gather that there is another little child in addition to Malot that's in the hospital right now, so it's very fortunate that we're going down so quickly and can bring funds to pay for these children's medical care.

Everything is so expensive there. People think because it's a third world country that things are cheap. Not so. It's harder to get things there so things are very expensive. It costs Nadia $3500/month to feed the children, and that doesn't include the rent, the wages for the aunties, the utilities, medical care, clothing for the children, the teacher we're trying to get, etc, etc, etc.

You don't realize how lucky you are. So many things we take for granted. I need to update my "Good Stuff" post to include:

Medication. Checking Accounts. Salary pay. Insurance. Instacare. Co-pays. Stability. Health. Clean water.

If No News is Good News, Then...

... we should learn to be happy with no updates.

We received word today that Malot has been sick and is ill enough that they put him in the hospital. He's pretty dehydrated from his illness.

Fortunately, we'll be there with him in a couple of days. We dealt with a very ill child on our January trip, so we're preparing ourselves for more of the same.

Please keep us in your prayers.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

I Am Lethal Nervous

This post is brought to you by Tums, Advil PM and the number 2.

Christmas Eve is National Insomnia Day for me. If I have selected gifts that I know people are going to love, I can't sleep in anticipation of their reaction. I love to watch people's faces when they see what's in the box. I start thinking about it a couple of days before hand and by the time Christmas Eve arrives I can hardly wait.

These last couple of weeks have been like one really long Christmas Eve for me. I can't sleep. The anticipation is killing me. I can scarcely wait to walk into the O and see Malot. I don't know if they tell them that we're coming (can you imagine what THAT anticipation is like for them??).

Last time we walked into the O and all the kids were sitting around in the converted carport. They were singing and just hanging out. Momma spotted Malot right away. I picked out those eyes and knew that was my little boy.

This time, he'll recognize us. Will he be happy? Will he be mad that we left him? Will he be worried next week, wondering when we'll leave him again? Will he be shy? Will he come right to us? What about Jessica? She's so little and it's been 4 months. Since we saw her last, she's moved into the orphanage with all those kids. She's got a much bigger social circle this time than she had last time. Will she remember us? Will she be sad to come with us again? Will she remember her Daddy? (they were best buds last time)

A kind woman from Brent's work brought over a few bags of new summer children's clothes. Thank you, Tricia! So many beautiful things!

Someone very near and dear to us gave us money for our orphanage. We're so grateful for the support for our kids.

3 days, 10 hours and some change....

Bring on the Advil PM.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Logos (cont.)

So I have a great friend who has been gracious enough to lend a helping hand to the logo aspect. As you can she is very creative and has a vast amount of talent! Thank you Colleen!
We would love to start collecting feedback as to which of the 3 you prefer. (Power to the People!)


Sunday, October 5, 2008

I'm All for Keeping Things All in the Family, but That's Just Creepy

I've had the same doctor for over half my life. His nurses all know me and they've been aware of all the things we've gone through on our road to adoption.

When I went to see him this last week, I took pictures of Malot and Jessica to show to the kind women who work there.

So there I am, at the nurse's station in the back of his office showing pictures to his two nurses. Of course, other nurses gather as well. I explain to the new arrivals that we're adopting from Haiti.

One of the women I've never seen before asks me if they were brother and sister. I say, "They will be..." and leave it for her to think about. That's one of those weird questions people often ask about adoptive children. I was prepared for it.

I wasn't prepared for what happened next.

The same woman asked something along the lines of, "Well, if they're not brother and sister, why are you getting both of them?" I explained that Malot kept talking about his friend Jessica, so we went back to the orphanage and found Jessica.

She looked at me, with this accusing eye and said rather condescendingly, "Well you KNOW they can't get married when they grow up, right??"

I pause for one heartbeat.... and I think to myself:

"Did she just say what I think she said? She must have, because that other nurse did a double-take and is now staring at her like she has weeds growing out of her nose. I'm guessing she heard the same thing I did. Who SAYS something like that? How am I supposed to respond to that? Think, Lori, think....I could say, "Well, that does it! If we can't sell their wedding presents to recover the costs of this adoption then I'm gonna call the whole thing off!" Is that too rude? Do I care? Seriously, he's FOUR and she's 18 months. Why, why, why would a person's mind even run in a direction where they would think we were expecting them to marry? What kind of idiot does she think I am? Actually, based on her question, I'm starting to believe there are a great many more types of idiots that I previously believed...."

...two heartbeats...

She was still staring at me, expecting a response to her bizarre question. I just looked at her steadily and said, "Yes, we're well aware of that."

Friday, October 3, 2008

I Hear Helena Is Lovely This Time of Year...

So American Airlines cancelled our flight from PAP to Miami this week. I had to call them to reschedule.

That meant I had the privilege of "speaking" with one of those "automated" systems that "understands" the words you say. That's always fun - you get to speak slowly and clearly and concisely. Things were going pretty well until we got the point that it was asking for my destination.

The phone system said, "What city?"

So I said, "Salt Lake."

It said, "I heard 'Helena, Montana'. Is that correct?"

And I started to laugh out loud.

Then it said, "I'm sorry. I didn't understand your response."

The irony...

But it made me think. As annoying as those systems are, it might actually be a good example for the rest of us. I'm sure there are MANY times when I'm involved in some sort of conflict or disagreement where the person is saying one thing and all I'm hearing is "Helena". What if the next time you were in a disagreement with someone you restated for clarity like that?

I'm not saying my coworkers and spouse would appreciate it if I started repeating things back to them slowly... But I will be on a "Helena" Watch for my next business meeting.

Yes, we did get our tickets rebooked. We have an extra night traveling home now. The flights out of PAP arrive in Miami too late to make a connection to anywhere and still make it there same day. So we'll find a place to bed down for the night.

As I write this, I'm still waiting for the confirmation of the itinerary change to come through from American Airlines. Hopefully that's all clear. If not, I hear Helena is lovely this time of year.

9 days...

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Why Camera Phones Where Invented...

Remember when I thought I broke my toe? My doc ripped off what was left of the toenail this week. That big white blob at the bottom is my new toenail coming in.
So I had to snap a picture before the nurse bandaged it up. Be grateful that the resolution on my phone isn't that great and that I chose "small" as the image size on this puppy!

So, here's the rub...

Doc says it make take a year for the new nail to grow all the way back in.

So I tell this to someone and that person says, "Hmm... I wonder if your kids will get home before your toenail grows back..."

Well, StinkyCheeseMan!! You didn't have to put it THAT way!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Checking In

Dear Zambrie, Abbie, Joey and Jordan,
I talked to your respective parents this last week. We're trying to get everything packed for our trip and Uncle Brent and I made a few trips to pick up the boxes of food we're taking down to you this time and then to drop it off to your parents so they can pack it.

I talked to Zambrie's Daddy. Oh, Z... he's so anxious to sweep you up in his arms and give you such a fabulous hug. I hope you know how much your mom and dad have done to help motivate others to give to support you and Nadia's orphanage. Your mom and dad are good people, Z. I see them in you. Somehow, you are all of the same spirit and what a beautiful one it is!

I talked to Abbie, Joey and Jordan's Daddy and Mommy. Oh, I hope some day that you'll be able to read in journals and letters about all the work that have gone into the process of loving you home. You have fine parents and they are GOOD. I've talked to you three in June. I told your Mommy that there's an extra something about those three siblings. They are meant for great things. And I've seen Abbie's face light up when they tell her that her America Momma is coming "next time".

We all need each other in this mess that is international adoption. We need the kids. The kids need us. The families need the families.

Oh, little ones! I hope you know that "next time" is here. Just a few more days and we're leaving on a jet plane. Sleep tight, little ones. Your mommas and daddies are coming.

11 days...