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.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

My Husband May Be Addicted...

.... to spackle.

I can't make him stop. He's re-texturizing the entire basement. He says that he wants the seams in the drywall to be perfect, but I think it must have some secret ingredient and he's getting some sort of contact high. He's already redone the hallways upstairs. And repainted the entire upstairs.

The terribly ironic part is that we're moving. Trying to move anyway. We've made an offer on another house. That house is a "short-sale" which means the bank has a 3 MONTHS to tell us whether or not they'll accept our offer. The good side of that is it means we have time to try to sell our house. The bad side of that is it means Brent can keep redoing all the things that have apparently been secretly driving him crazy.

Apparently he could live with them but he can't bear the thought of someone ELSE living with them.

It's completely awesome to be married to someone who can fix and build and do things. Except for the part with the drywall dust.

Please excuse our mess... Brent's renovating.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

36 Is the Loneliest Number....

It's my birthday today. I'm 36.

So far, 36 seems so much ruder than 35. 35 left me alone, quietly hovering at the top of the downhill slope to 40. It was subtle.

36 has grabbed me by the nose hairs and shaken me the way I was always afraid that very large lunch lady at my elementary school would do. 36 is gritty. It's raw. It's old.

I wonder what my current self would say if it could go back in time and have a reality check with the little girl I used to be - the one that always thought she'd finish college and have kids and be a homemaker, particularly by NOW. Bless that little girl's heart. I really was clueless. Hopefully I'm a bit wiser now.

I wonder how many people's lives have turned out the way they thought they would. I'd guess it's fewer than I'd expect.

I've been thinking as well about how my spirit is 36 but my body still feels at least 60. Funny how often Heavenly Father has used my body and the associated trials to teach me things. I remember when I was 14 and the doctors had decided they needed to fuse my wrists together to stop the pain in them (fortunately, my parents decided that it would be better for me to deal with the pain than cripple me like that - I still thank them for that.) I remember telling my mom that I'd finally realized that my body was an inside joke between me and the Lord. I think she was appalled. But I meant it then and I mean it now. The defective wrists, the ovaries that are more decorative than functional, the muscle problems, the tendons that don't hold things where they should.... they remind me that I'm not in charge and my ways aren't His ways and at the end of the day the Lord Never Cheats Anyone.

I had to do a little shower singing today. It usually puts me in a better mood. I've been talking to myself a lot today as well. Is that a sign of early senility? I find myself repeating the words to a couple of hymns. I find myself remembering a quote that one of my favorite missionary companions had me memorize:

I have an absolute belief that there is nothing unfair about life. There is only learning and sharing. A thousand times to fall is a thousand times to rise up again. If I can get up in the morning and rejoice for the light that shines into my eyes, then nothing is too difficult or impossible.
So bring it on, 36. Let's see what you've got.

And, while you're at it, if you could bring my kids home this year as well... that would be just awesome.