Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Late Present

Woohooo!!! We received a great belated Christmas present. Our file has cleared Parquet and is now with the Ministry of the Interior! There is a pinprick of light at the end of this tunnel.

We also received a new picture of Nathan. Starting to wonder if he is part chipmunk.....

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Happy Christmas

We had a great Christmas at our house.

Brent's family came over for Christmas lunch. I don't know if you know this, but amongst Brent's list of vast talents is "goodness - this man knows how to prepare meat!" He makes up these fabulous recipes and they're always awesome.

He was so excited about the holiday that he went a bit overboard on the turkey. He bought 3 of those turkey breasts from Costco and marinated them over night. It was a flavor extravaganza! He made raspberry chipotle turkey. He made citrus pepper turkey. He made Tuscan herb and pinenuts turkey.

Did I mention that he only has 2 siblings and that there are only 6 grandkids on that side of the family. There was a lot of food but I think everyone had a good time.

We ordered a new couch about 6 weeks ago. They told us it would be here by mid-December, which should have made it in plenty of time for both of our family parties. Yeah... still not here, but everyone made due on both sides. Maybe by next year we'll have adequate room and adequate seating.

As we were cleaning up last night after everyone had left Brent said, "THIS is why I wanted this house." It has room for everyone to be happy and together and play and not be right on top of everyone.

And, I'm so happy to say that my niece got out the sleeping bags and tested out the staircase. I was pretty sure they'd be awesome for sliding down and it turns out I was right.

I love the staircase in this house. I have dreams regularly of Jessica and Nathan playing on these stairs. Please, Heavenly Father.... please let us get Jessica back and get them both home soon.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Welcome to the Family!

In all our craziness last week, I neglected to announce my beautiful niece is here. She looks a lot like her lovely mother and a bit like my awesome brother.

I got the news that Lilly Elizabeth was born about 36 hours after we got the news about Miss Jess leaving us. I turned my car right around and went right to the hospital. Who needs to be to work on time when you can have reminders like this sweet angel that life is good and God is great and families are forever??

Welcome to the family, Miss Lilly Elizabeth. We're so excited to have you with us!

Can you imagine the jet lag these brand new little ones have?? What is the deal with all this cold and light? THIS was not in the brochure...

Lilly Elizabeth and her mommy and daddy - Paige and Brian
Is it just me or does that look like curly red hair???
Congratulations to Brian and Paige. We're so thrilled for you. (You did good yet again, B! You seem to have very good taste in women! ;) )

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

I Think of You Whenever Life Gets Me Down...

These have been on the site before, but I thought I'd share them again in the interest of keeping thoughts and prayers in her direction. These are from our trip in Feb of 2009.

Playing Bongos on Papa's Bald Head:

Mama Turns to Goo:

I love the way she starts singing and clapping when she sees her Papa at the end of this one...

THIS is who Jess thinks of when she wonders where her Papa is.

Please keep praying that she'll be ours again soon

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Hopalong Jess...

Here's another video to keep Jess on everyone's mind...

Thank you for your prayers. We still haven't had any further word but hope springs eternal.

Suzanne's girls loved this video. I posted it last Feb after our trip. Suzanne had just brought her girls HOME.... FINALLY

She said they loved watching it

I still get a kick out of watching her discover how this cool tube works. She's never had something like this. She's just experimenting with putting things in it and making her voice echo and shaking it all up...

And her sweet little "Didida" as she tries to say her name.

The "Ma-MM" at the end with that little face just cracks me up.

Oh, how we love this little girl!

Monday, December 21, 2009

My Daughter Has a Drinking Problem...

Still no more news on Jess. I assure you I'll update as soon as we hear anything.

I thought I'd give you some pictures to keep happy thoughts of our sweet Miss on your mind.

First off, Jess may possibly have a drinking problem:

Then, we took down these collapsible bins to keep all the toys in while we were there. It took Jess about 5 seconds to figure out that they also doubled as "gunny sacks" and that you could stand in them and hop and it would move with you.

Please keep Miss Jess in your prayers.

We hope your families have a good holiday season.

Friday, December 18, 2009

If We Invested in Funeral Homes, They'd Find a Cure for Death...

If I didn't know me, I'd think I was making up my own life. Seriously... how do these things keep happening to us?

On Tuesday we got word that Jessica's birth father had come to the orphanage and taken her back.

Anyone besides me having horrible, terrible flashbacks to the other times this has happened to us. We lost Lexi and Nathan in February of 2008. We lost Malot in October of 2008. Not to mention Asnica before we started Haiti.

We've had a horrible, terrible, no good, very bad few days.

As far as we know, Jessica's birth father hasn't had contact with her for at least a year and a half. She's not even 3 yet, so that's a very large portion of her life.

HE isn't the one that Jessica thinks of when she wants to know where her Papa is. He's not her Papa.

Today we got word that our contacts in Haiti have found someone from the area where Jessica's father lives and that they are working to get her back. The information we do have is positive as it appears that he does want to bring her back but has some issues he is working through. I don't have much more detail beyond that, but we're trying to have hope.

After all, we got Nathan back in October of 2008. Stranger things have definitely happened.

Please keep our Jessica and our little family in your prayers.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Thoughts and Prayers Needed

Please keep our Jessica and our little family in your thoughts and prayers. We need some miracles.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Christmas Giving

People have asked me what they can do to help things in Haiti or with our orphanage or make a difference in general.

I'll throw out two options from our experience with two non-profits that work in Haiti. Contributions to either are tax deductible as well.

First, there is a non-profit organization that supports the orphanage where our children live. Both the orphanage and the non-profit are called "Hope for Little Angels of Haiti". There are no administrative expenses with this non-profit so 100% of the donation goes directly to supporting the orphanage by paying for the facility, the workers, food for the children, etc.

The website is being redone with the help of some nice designers and developers who are donating their expertise.

You can find that on Facebook here:

and become a Facebook Fan here:

Another organization that we believe in is The only way to break the cycle in Haiti is with education. You need to teach people that there are options... that there is another way to live and interact with the world.

HaitianRoots helps the children of Haiti get an education by matching individual children to sponsors. It costs $250 a year to send a child in Haiti to school. That is an astronomical figure for most families in Haiti. Here in America... come on... who hasn't something like that during a trip to Costco!

We know the people who run this non-profit and know that they also use their funds for the children and we know they work very hard at what they do. They are making a difference, one child at a time.

Brent and I have personal experience with HaitianRoots. We support a little boy named Mackenson through them. This is him
Our measly $250 sends him to school for a year. He's learning English and math and he's getting information to help him see how to make his world better.

This last trip, we brought a few little things down for Makenson, hoping he and his family would be able to come to the hotel to meet us while we were there.

It turned out Makenson was sick, but his father made the trip alone. He wanted to thank us for helping his little boy get an education. This is Brent and me with Makenson's dad.
There are so many wonderful people in Haiti. Good people who want the best for their children. They just don't have the means to help them even get an education.

You can choose to make a difference - even if it's a dollar at a time.

Happy Holidays!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Who Knew It Worked With Orphans as Well

I've seen people get their dogs or cats to chase a laser light, but we really had no idea that the kids would be so fascinated by it. Jess and Collin where very serious about trying to squash that thing....

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Love How She Sings This

Guess even the 2 1/2 year olds pick up a few things from the teacher at the orphanage....

Etsy Store on Hiatus

Hi, All, if you have a link to the Etsy store, we've put it in Vacation Mode.

We haven't had a lot of traffic for a bit and so we'll try it again in the spring.

We were able to raise over $2000 through that store for the orphanage. We need to send our special thanks to Darlene Hexum, who created countless cards and crafts for the store, and to Grandma Rosenlof, who made so the many beautiful baby blankets. You both inspire me. Thank you for your time to create such goodies for our babies.

Everything on that store was donated by someone somewhere who cares about our babies. We thank you for your love for them even before they're home with us.

If you have a link to the Etsy store on your blog, you'll want to take it down. Thank you for your help to make people aware of Haiti.

If you'd like to add the PayPal button (see right) to your blog, you can leave me a comment with your email address and I'll send you the info.

Donations to that go directly to the orphanage - 100% of it. Plus, Hope for Little Angels of Haiti is a non-profit organization so you'll get a receipt for tax purposes for any donation over $50.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Idea for a Family Discussion About Gratitude During this Christmas Season

I had a random thought this morning (I know... shocker coming from me).

You're probably all familiar with the rubber wristbands that Lance Armstrong made popular a few years ago. The non-profit organization that supports our children's orphanage recently ordered a bunch of these. They say "Hope4LittleAngelsofHaiti" which is the name of our orphanage.

At this Christmas season, the list of what we think we need just grows and grows, right? I was thinking that it might make an interesting family discussion to tell your kids/family about Haiti and the kids there. You all have a connection to Haiti (like it or not) though me and my kids, so you can honestly tell them about your friends who live in a 3 room house with 68 other children and sleep on a tile floor because they don't have a bed. You can tell them that they only get to eat twice a day and that every meal is rice and beans.

You're welcome to use any pictures or stories on my blog for this discussion.

Another family who is adopting from our orphanage took their teenaged old son down with them on this trip and he made this video for a school project. It explains the problems in Haiti and I think he did a good job. You might find that your families would be interested in it. I don't think K will mind that I'm sharing it with you all. (Great job, again, K. You astound me with your talents at your age.)

ANYWAY, if you think your children would listen to this type of discussion, you could order those rubber wristbands for them to use to remember what they have. They come in lime green and light blue and you can order them for $1 by emailing your address and how many you want to They'll get them shipped to you.

If what our kids are going through can help your kids see how awesome their families are then maybe we all win, right?

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Is That a Judge in Your Pocket or.....

One of the frustrations with Haitian Adoption is the chaos. There’s no order, no rhyme, no reason…. It’s the embodiment of insanity.

Every time a new official gets elected, the first thing they do is change policy – to prove they have power, of course. There’s no “grandfathering” generally… every pending file gets to go back and pick up whatever random step they’ve just added.

Since we’ve been in this Land of Eternal Wait, we’ve seen families start after us and come home before us. Just today, I found out about a family (different agency and different orphanage) that came out of IBESR in August (that’s the office we were finally done with in May of this year) and they now have passports and they’re coming home. HOME! They flew out of Parquet (which is where we’ve been since May, essentially) in 20 days. TWENTY!

So a few months back we started to hear rumblings that there was a new process for Haitian Adoption. I first read about this during the summer. It sounded like they were going to start to require adoptive parents to attend a court date in Port-au-Prince. Supposedly, this new process would allow the judge to assure himself that the parents really want the child they’re trying to adopt (cause nothing else we do apparently gives that impression).

This caused some concern, as Haitians aren’t exactly known for keeping appointments. Everything kinda of runs on “Haitian Standard Time” which means “they get to it when they get to it”. It’s kind of hard to book flights with that sort of organization.

So during this last trip, they made arrangements for our group to meet with a judge and take care of this new step. We were excited that they were able to work this out while we were already in Haiti so that we didn’t have to make a special visit just for this. We were all very excited and our coordinator told us that she hoped this would speed up our files since we would have this new step completed.

So the day of our appointment comes. We load into the back of a tap-tap and off we go. I kind of had an idea of what I was expecting. I mean, when we went to the Embassy in Haiti; you go to a clearly marked building; you’re met at the door by a guard and they check you in and check your bags and you leave your cell phone at the desk. Of course, that’s a US office in Haiti, so of course it’s closer to US standards but I thought I could imagine how this might go.

You’ve never really seen garbage until you’ve been to Port-au-Prince. We passed piles of garbage in the middle of streets the size of Volkswagens. Wherever the rain carries the trash it where it goes and it piles and builds and rots.

Every low point gathers trash….

This picture is a CANAL. It’s completely filled with garbage. Somewhere below it is water and I don’t really want to know how they’re using that water….

We end up on this strange little side street with so much gunk on the road that it just smelled like an open sewer. The road was wet and rutted and I remember thinking that I really wished I was wearing something besides sandals because I didn’t want whatever THAT was on my feet.

I also remember saying outloud, “THIS is where we’re going?” There wasn’t really anything about the building or the area or the street that let you feel like you were in an “official” location for anything. It seemed like we were in a back alley somewhere.

We wove our way through a makeshift market that had apparently sprung up as people realized that the Americans were going to have to come to this place for the new process. People were thronging around us and begging for money or pleading that we would buy whatever it was they had. Our agency representative had told us to focus straight ahead and just head for the door, so that’s what we did.

We entered the building. It was tiny – a large room and 4 offices off the side of it. The entire room was under some sort of renovation. There were paint cans and glass and wood and various tools everywhere. There weren’t light bulbs in the sockets in the ceilings. There were also stacks of obviously used filing cabinets, piled at odd angles on top of each other on one side of the big room. One of the other moms leaned over to me and said, “You think our files are in one of those cabinets and that’s why we aren’t moving anywhere in this process?” We both laughed nervously while secretly hoping it wasn’t true.

What the building did NOT have was workers. There were no government employees. There was no judge. The only people there were the men painting the walls a vivid shade of fluorescent peach. (I don’t think Home Depot carries that color and I think I know why.)

We had been told to bring two copies of our passport pictures and two copies of the stamps from our passports showing that we had entered Haiti. Our agency rep handed our papers to the lawyer that works with our orphanage and our orphanage director. They shuffled through them and arranged them and animatedly discussed things in Kreyol. We just waited… standing around this room while trying to not step on any of the materials on the floor and stay out of the painters’ way.

I remember thinking it was a bit like a “People Zoo”. There were people milling about outside the small building and it seemed everyone was watching the group of Americans standing inside looking lost. We tried harder to look like we knew what we were doing and what was going on.

About 20 minutes later a man walked into the building. He and our lawyer discussed something in Kreyol and then the man headed down the hall to one of the offices. We were told this was the judge we’d been waiting to see and that we were to follow him.

He led us to the 4th office. It was a small room with just a small metal desk and one chair. He sat in the chair and the group filed into the room. He started gesturing rapidly with his hands and saying something very sternly in Kreyol. Our translator said, ‘He doesn’t want you to stand in front of his desk” so we all squished closer together on the sides and waited.

The judge set down the books he was carrying. I looked at the top one and noticed it was a notebook. Someone had made the cover out of an American bra ad. You read that right- an advertisement for brassieres. It had a busty, white woman on it and in big text across the top it said, “Maidenform - $3.99 - Limited Time Only”.

That has all sorts of class and all of it “low”.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the orphanage director placed the photocopied passport pages of the first couple in front of “Judge Maidenform”. The judge pulled out another notebook. It was your basic Mead spiral bound notebook like you’d use in Jr. High for taking notes. You know… like this: He turned to a blank page and about ¾ of the way down the page he wrote something carefully in Kreyol. It had the date in it, so I’m guessing it said something like “appeared before me this day”. Then he turned the notebook around to the first couple and started jabbing with his finger at the blank space below his line of text. We all looked at each other with a “what the…?” look and our translator said, “He wants you to sign your names”. So they took the pen and signed their names in the space he wanted in this spiral notebook. He then turned to the next blank page and rewrote the same line in Kreyol and repeated the process with the next couple. He also signed his name on the photocopies of our passports. One woman’s husband wasn’t able to travel but she was able to get him to send a scanned copy of his passport. The judge told her to just sign his name as well.

When we all finished signing, our orphanage director carefully counted out 4 $100 dollar US bills and handed them to the judge. He folded them up and put them in his pocket. I heard later that he said he’d get them a receipt when they brought the rest of our group (the next 4 couples) the next day. I didn’t bother to find out if that actually happened.

This, ladies and gentlemen, is the new official record for this new process they’ve instituted. This new signature that supposedly has been “holding up” our paperwork. I can see how that’s possible. I’m sure the first thing Judge Maidenform is going to do with his little spiral notebook is go to the various offices where our papers are stuck and carefully explain to them that we’ve completed their requirement and our papers can proceed.

Yeah… I’m sure that’s what will happen…..

Friday, November 13, 2009

"...Now I Know What Every Step Is For - It Leads Me To Your Door..."

A few thoughts about this little man....

I found myself calling him "Sweetness". That's his new nickname from Momma. He's just a tender, snuggly, gentle little boy and he needs lots of love.

Nathan just turned two in August. The only time we've been to Haiti and he's felt well was the very first trip when he was 5 months old.

He's been sick every other time. That means he looks like this most of the time:

He did a lot of screaming this trip. He really just wanted Momma to hold him. And if you could please stand up and rock me while you do that. If I was sitting, he wasn't happy. I can't really blame him. He apparently hasn't felt well for most of his young life.

We did get him on an antibiotic again while we were there and by the end of the week he was playing around a bit
He really liked his Grandma
Once he realized that we'd brought more than one pair of shoes for HIM, he liked to carry a different pair to Grandma so she'd pick him up and change his shoes for him.
And then 10 minutes later, he'd take the other pair to her and want her to change them again. He was so excited to a) have multiple pairs of shoes, and b) to have adults that would do whatever he wanted or needed. I can't even imagine.

He does have a beautiful smile when he's feeling well. Unfortunately we don't see it much because it takes a few days for the antibiotics to kick in and get him feeling better and by then it's usually time for us to go.

Momma and Nathan slept in one bed and Papa and Jessica slept in the other bed. The first few nights, I'd lay down with him on my chest and rock him until he fell asleep. By the end of the week he could fall asleep without me holding him, but he still wanted - no NEEDED to be held. I think we all need that, right?

The last couple of nights he'd push me back so he could crawl onto my chest and he'd snuggle there and then he'd climb on and off and flip and turn and toss while he tried to get all the wiggles out and fall asleep.

I noticed no matter what position he ended up in, he'd have at least one foot or a hand still touching me.

There we'd be, lying in the dark with Papa and Jess already fast asleep on the other bed and Mr. Nathan trying to get comfy enough to sleep and wiggling and crawling around while he tried to unwind.

That's when the game would start.

In the darkness, I'd hear Sweetness say, "Mama?"

And I'd reply, "Yes, Baby?"

And he'd sigh, "Mmmmm...."

And then 10 seconds later, I'd hear, 'Mama?"

"Yes, Baby?"


We must have played that game 80 gajillion times those last two days.

I think it's part of Sweetness working out that Mama is really THERE and she's there for HIM.

One morning, I woke up as the morning light was coming through our window and I looked over at Sweetness, expecting to see him soundly sleeping.

Instead I found myself gazing into his beautiful chocolate eyes.

He'd been watching me sleep.

Another time, when I laid down with him to get him to take a nap, I closed my eyes (attempting to show him that we were going to sleep now") and a few moments later I felt Sweetness's tiny little boy fingers lightly skimming my eyelashes and then down my cheek, stroking my face.

I think it's as amazing for him to have a Momma as it is for me to have a son.

And then we had to leave him. And next time we'll have to start over again, helping him feel better and rebuilding trust.

Someday, you'll know Momma and Papa aren't going to leave you, Sweetness.

Someday, you'll realize that we've finally figured out that everything thus far in our lives has been leading up to finding you and your sister.

Someday, I'll be able to rock you to sleep in your very own room in your very own bed and you'll have your very own closet with all your very own shoes in it.

And someday, when you wake up scared in the night and call, "Mama??" I'll come running down the hall to sweep you up and hug you and say, "Yes, Baby, Mama's here."

We love you, Little Man... Mama's Sweetness. Come home soon.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Singing Space

Miss Jess figured out that if she pulled all the toys out of the shelf between the beds and climbed in there and then proceeded to sing it would echo nicely.

I know, she's just cute!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Does This Outfit Make Me Look Cute??

This post is especially for my friend, Princess Heather, who appreciates a good garden gnome.

This is my little 4.5 month old nephew, Rocco, in his Halloween costume.

Monday, October 26, 2009


The kids are beautiful, as always. Jess is just a dynamic, happy little girl.

She's definitely not a baby any more. We have some fun video that I'll have to post in the coming days. She definitely latched onto her Papa and was always looking for "Papa mwen" ("my Papa") by the end of the trip.

Nathan was sick. We were able to get him on an antibiotic, and he felt better toward the end of the visit, but he spent most of the trip crying or sleeping. He's a very sweet little man, and very cuddly. He's Mama's boy and just wanted to be held and for the most part we were happy to oblige him.

We have a crazy week in front of us. We found out while we were in Haiti that our current home has definitely sold and it's closing on the 3rd. The bank still hasn't made a decision on the short-sale home we're trying to buy but we've made arrangements to move into it and rent it while the bank decides what they're going to do with the property. We basically have a week to pack everything up while still dealing with catching up at our respective jobs and church callings.

Brent's sick. Not sure what he's got. It started towards the end of our trip and he felt like it was just his seasonal allergies reacting to something in the tropics. Today, however, he can't even speak because his throat is so sore and he's coughing. Should make for a crazy week all the way around.

Friday, October 9, 2009


I can't sleep... We've entered the stage of my pre-trip jitters where it's like Christmas Eve and the anticipation is gonna kill me. (Yeah, all that mumbo jumbo about "not a creature was stirring"? Absolute lies, I tell you!!) Although at this point, I'm can see how if one gets enough sleep deprivation, you actually could see a large elf in a sleigh pulled by 8 tiny reindeer and pull of a plausible rhyme about it.

B was sick. He's better now. So much for his "Diddle tids don't get tick" concept.

We may have some "final countdown" action going on with our house. The one in which we currently live, that is. The one that we made an offer on over 90 days ago? Yeah, Bank of America is still being rude to our realtor and saying that they "have the right" to review the offer. Oh, wait... I thought that was the intention with the last 90 days.... That's OK. I'm going to see my babies in Haiti in another 7 days and everything else can just wait.

I need to remember to pick up more "mamba" (Kreyol for "peanut butter"). I don't think our kids can ever get enough peanut butter. They can use more meat on their bones.

This is what happens when you crack open one of those "easy to pack but Lori thinks it's kind of a ridiculous price for the amount of peanut butter you get unless you're taking it to your babies in Haiti" sized packages in front of our kids:

You open the package and they can smell it, I swear. They drop what they're doing and come running.

I wish you could hear them. It's like a nest of hungry baby birds clamoring for the worm.

Here's my nephew, Collin, thinking that mamba is "lip-licking good".

More, please!

To our dear friend, N, who is having surgery today: our thoughts and prayers are with you and we hope the doctors can find the trouble and get you better!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

"...You're the Only Thing In Every Room You're Ever In..."

I've decided that the Pinewood Derby is a force of nature. I don't know what else could have put a smile THAT BIG on B's face, plus allowed Brent to use his propane torch AND his belt sander while helping B make his car. Good times, good times....

I haven't seen B for a couple of days. I'm starting to get worried about him. I'm sure it's just because it's colder outside so he's not out as much. How creepy is it if the 36 yr old goes over to see if the 8 yr old can play?

To be honest, B's basically a latchkey kid so no one would know if I went by to check on him anyway. I know - insane to leave an 8 year old home alone. Don't get me started. But it's unfortunately not illegal in this state. I've checked. Turns out most states don't have a minimum legal age kids must reach before they can be left home alone. In case you were wondering (which I'm sure you weren't) I also learned that in New Zealand a child must be FOURTEEN before they can be legally left home alone. Doesn't that seem a bit much?? I'm guessing that's exactly the reason most of our United States haven't "laid down the law" on that one. There's no way to make people happy, with or without a law like that. People can be so difficult.

We're down to single digits until our trip to see our kids again. 9 more days... This trip will make one year since we were reunited with our Nathan last October. Remember this:
Another year gone and no end in sight.

I hope my babies know that, for their momma and their poppa, they are the only thing. They're it. Our hearts, our lives, our souls... they're in an orphanage in Haiti with them. I feel like we'll get the "rest of us" back next weekend, when we see these little people again.

We're coming....

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Here's Looking At You, Kids...

We received update pictures today. They always seem too come right before our trip. I think they're trying to make sure we're calm and happy when we get there. Then we get another one right after our trip that tells us everything we found out while we were there. No new information comes through between the trips. The dates, weights, updates, all have the date of the last trip as when the data was collected or it says "will be updated on the next trip."

Such is Haiti. Chaos and not a lot of order.

But, without further ado:

Saturday, September 26, 2009

"...Cramming Commitments, Like Cats, In A Sack...."

It's been a week for the last month or so, if you know what I mean.

This last week, in particular, I have been ill, which is never much fun. The last time I mentioned something to my little friend, B, about being sick he said:
"Jews dus be a diddle tid. Diddle tids don't get tick." (translation: "You should just be a little kid. Little kids don't get sick.")

I love that in B's world, I can just make myself be a "diddle tid" and it would solve everything. I'm also very glad that "diddle tids" are all healthy in B's world. Not sure where he lives, exactly, but... I also love saying, "Diddle Tid". It makes me giggle every time.
A few months ago, I was asked to serve as the Stake Relief Society President for one of the single student stakes at the university in Orem (a "stake" is an administrative grouping of several congregations or "wards") It's been an adventure already and I really love the opportunity to be with the young people (the people in these wards are all single college students between the ages of 18 and 30). We get to do a lot of training and instruction and we spend a lot of time visiting the wards and fellowshipping. I think Heavenly Father knew that I needed something to keep me busy while we go through the rest of this waiting to get these babies home.

Tonight we had a dinner for the single sisters before the broadcast. Fortunately, we were able to have a local grocery store deli do the food for us, so that made it immensely easier on my part. It's still always stressful to plan something for that many people and try to figure out how many are going to make it out of those who said they were coming, etc, etc. I'm very glad it's over and everything turned out well.

The broadcast was fabulous. It's always such a blessing to be able to be reminded of how blessed we are and how lucky we are to have the Gospel and Jesus Christ in our lives. We truly live in a remarkable time.

It's less than three weeks until we get to see our babies again. This time on Oct 17th, we'll be kissing cheeks and giving loves. It's kind of strange, but you do go through a little check list and re-count all their fingers and toes and have a moment of awe at the beauty of these children and wonder how you were ever blessed enough to have found each other. In those moments, the wait disappears and all that you can see is THEM and FAMILY and how someday this will all come together.

We're coming, Jess and Nate. We can't wait to see you.

You fill my dreams and my heart.

Monday, September 21, 2009

"...A Pocketful of Mumbles, Such Are Promises..."

I know... You thought I'd gone the way of all things.

You aren't that lucky.

We're still here - still kicking - we've just been sort of quiet about it which is unusual for us.

I've been afraid I'd exceed my lifetime quota of how many times I can blog about how much I miss my kids or how stinkin' sick I am of them still being stuck in an orphanage in Haiti. You have to pace yourself on these things, don't you know...Given that there isn't really an end in sight, I had to back off for a few weeks so that I could still blog between now and when they come home.

Or something like that.

We are going down to see them again on Oct 16th. This trip will be the longest we've had in duration - I think we have nearly 6 days there with them. It will also be our 6th trip in two very long years. Brent's mom is also going to go on this trip with us. We're very grateful she's willing to pay to see her grandkids and we're excited to have her with us.

So let's talk about something else, shall we?

We've recently been adopted by a little neighbor boy. Ironic, I know, but it's about time an adoption happened around here, I guess. B (as I'll call him) has decided we're his best friends - at least that's what he told me the other day. Sometime in August we were outside and B came by on his bike and said, "Will you be my friends?" The rest, as they say, is history. He comes over pretty much every day as soon as I come home from work and stays until we kick him out...I mean... walk him home. :)

B's a special little guy. He's 8, but he's got some learning disabilities and some severe speech issues. I'm learning how to speak his language pretty well and we usually understand each other. B's also very lonely. He doesn't really have friends his age and the school district has moved him to a different elementary school each of his 4 years thus far to shift the number of students in the special needs programs.

Because of B's speech issues he can't say a lot of letters so my name's pretty much shot. We were trying to practice saying it one night and B decided it was just too tough. With a big sigh he told me "I think I'll call you 'Mike.'"

So that's what he does. He calls me "Mike" or "Michael". Even my nickname has a nickname. He calls Brent "Bubba". So I'm sure his parents must be curious about who "Mike and Bubba" are, but what are you going to do.

I tell him he's an "old soul" because sometimes he just floors me with what he says. A few weeks ago he told me that he'd made a new friend that day so I asked him what his friend's name was. He said, "Hmm...Me can't memember. When me was six me could memember everything but now that me older...." (picture him shaking his head with that resigned expression you'd expect)

I asked him if that's what my problem was as well and he nodded and told me sincerely, "me thinks so".

Good to finally have that diagnosed.

The sad thing is that I think I needed something to mother as much as B needed a friend. We just kinda fit each other that way. I never guessed I'd have a little happy place where my name is "Mike" but that's how things have turned out for my little buddy, B and me.

So that's what's up at our house. We're busy with work, busy playing "put-pall" (football) catch with B, busy with church stuff, did I mention busy with work, and waiting.

Always waiting....

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Nathan Needs Hugs

We did get actual update pictures of the kids this weekend. It's good to see that they look pretty healthy.

Jess is growing up!

Mr. Nathan always looks stressed and worried in these pictures.

Nathan is a sweet little soul. He'll be two on Thursday of this week (August 20th). I literally can't bear to think of everything we've lost and missed in his young life. We got his referral when he was a 6 week old baby and now he's a 2 year old boy and there's still no end to the timeline for when we'll get him home.

I've mentioned before that Nathan has to come get a hug every minute or so when we're there. I wanted to share this little clip with you so you can see that he's just THAT SWEET.

Yes, he knows how to hit. He's two years old and he lives in a 3-bedroom house with 68 other kids. (and no, that's not a typo. 3-bedroom house. 68 children.) You'd know how to hit as well. But watch the little snatches of his face you can glimpse as he runs back to play for another 40 seconds. He just needs to be loved and reassured and comforted. He's a happy, sweet, tender little guy.

This is just a little clip of the kids playing. It lasts about 2 minutes. You'll note that Nate comes in for a hug 3 times in that 2 minutes.

In the video, Jessica keeps repeating something over and over again. If anyone knows Kreyol and can tell me what on earth she's saying I'd love that! Nathan picks up on it and repeats it with her.

Brent took this video while I was in the shower, so you can see the kids banging on the bathroom door. Jess says something quite often that sounds like "Dada", but they don't use that word in Kreyol (they say "Papa"), so I'm not sure what it is she's saying.

My mom would say Nathan's a "tender-hearted pork-n-bean". Long story, but he is. He's just SWEET and gentle and needs to be loved.

I hope you're joining us in praying these government agencies in Haiti will stop creating roadblocks for these sweet babies and will process paperwork so my kids, and so many others, can finally come home to their forever families. There's really not much else we can do be pray and wait.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Clean the Corners

Haven't been posting much... it's been a busy couple of months. I haven't even really had to time to check in on my friends and family's blogs.

On some levels, this last trip was a tough one. It was hard to go and come back alone AGAIN. It was hard to see how sick our friends' little girl is. It was hard to see how crazy things are. It was hard to still have no end in sight.

I've heard that there's a saying in Haiti for when something completely bizarre or backwards happens. The locals just shrug their shoulders and say, basically, "That's just Haiti". They just accept whatever it is that happens.

That doesn't sit well with me. In my world, when something's wrong you fix it.

I posted earlier this week about the opportunity to make your voice heard with your elected officials regarding the unacceptable process for international adoptions in Haiti. I hope you'll take a few minutes and do that - even if you don't do it on the 3 days they've listed. It's still not too late to say something about it.

We can all imagine the emotional toll that an orphanage takes on a child. Let me share with you one tiny little infuriating, saddening, maddening thing about living in an orphanage.

To picture our orphanage, imagine a rambler style house.... maybe 1200 sq ft. 3 bedrooms, but only two are used as that. The 3rd one is storage. Now put 68 children in that house. Add aunties to watch the children. You get the idea.

When we got there this last trip, Nathan was filthy dirty. And he didn't feel well. This picture was taken in the first minutes that we got him. Our luggage wasn't at the hotel yet, but I had some treats in our hotel room. I didn't have anything to clean him up with or to put a clean diaper on him, etc, but I could feed him. You can see in his eyes how awesome he feels right about now. The fact that a strange white woman has just taken him only adds to that feeling, I'm sure.

My dear friend Pam should stop reading now. :-)

If you look at his nails in that last picture, you can see the dirt that's crammed under them. One of the other moms joked that it looked like he had a French manicure, but with black tips. They were long, they were filthy. It honestly looked like no one had cut his nails or helped him wash his hands since we were there in January.

When our luggage arrived, our first job was to get them cleaned up and in fresh clothes. I started cleaning Nathan's nails and the stench of the filth under his nails honestly made me gag. It was completely disgusting.

He was so patient while I dug the dirt out and trimmed his nails. Brent took a picture because the whole thing was so gross. Poor little Nate - he'd flinch if I got too deep while digging out dirt, but he didn't make a peep to complain about it.
This is his face, looking at Papa taking pictures of him while Momma digs the crud out from under his nails. My sweet little boy...
I remember someone saying that their mom taught them that when you clean the floor, you make sure you get the corners more than anything else. The theory is if you take care of the part that people probably won't notice, then the rest of it will definitely be clean.

I can't begin to list all the little things that are broken with being raised in an orphanage. And right now, it seems like no one is noticing. The corners are filthy and no one cares, so to speak.

You can say something. Help us let them know that things need to change.

These kids deserve better.