Monday, September 1, 2014

discussing all the things you must do or should never do

There is no shortage of  instructions on the interweb.
In any given month it is quite likely you will be instructed on multiple topics.  The list could include:
Those never ending lists just serve to overwhelm me.  Say this. Don’t say this. Do that. NEVER do this.
I can barely follow directions. Kraft Mac and Cheese has one step too many for me.
There are SO many instructions and they all run together and before I know it I have applied one of the items to the wrong problem.  After reading all those articles I learned that my teen was rebelling because I was too controlling. Somehow I got mixed up and became certain one of the keys to a happier marriage was to be more controlling.
As you can see, there is a HUGE margin for error here.

*                *                * 
At the post above, we discuss some ways to deal with trauma. While we were looking back for an old post from the year of the earthquake we came across this fellow sharing his earthquake account ... He is an entirely different big-guy now, we almost did not recognize this little boy...

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Kiosks and Kids

Paige recently spotted an in-the-box, never been used curling iron in my closet. Why don't you use this, Mom? she wondered aloud.

Buyer's remorse.

That curling iron represents weakness and I cannot bring myself to use it.

*         *           *

We were in the USA. Days before Christmas I ran to the mall to buy the last pair of Christmas pajamas before we headed south to my parents' house for the holidays.

I brought Isaac, Hope, and Noah along with me.  'How often do these kids get to shop, or wander around a decorated mall?', I reasoned. 'They should come with me!'

New jammies are the only gift the kids have come to expect every Christmas, but I had not found any for Isaac yet. (Reason being, he has the up-highest butt on the face of this earth and they don't make many clothes for that butt placement.)

I told the kids our mission was to find the P.J's quickly and head to our next errand on the other side of town.

The kiosks in the middle of malls intimidate me.  Those people that sit on the stools at the kiosk know how to sell. They could sell ice to Eskimos, sand to the desert, trees to the forest. They are the super ninjas of sales and I know better than to make eye contact or interact. Head down, eyes cast to the ground, speed walk past all kiosks. That is the modus operendi.  Correction, that is MY modus operendi.

Isaac was doing his Isaac thing, being all friendly and curious and kind.  His face says, "Talk to me, you won't regret it."  When people test his face, they always find it true.  He's the black Buddy the Elf and he slept a full forty minutes last night and had time to build you a rocking horse, too. He loves smiling, it's his favorite.



I was speed walking when a man stepped toward me and said, "Ma'am can I please curl your hair, just have a seat and in three minutes your hair will be transformed by my amazing iron."  I replied with zero warmth in my voice, "Nope, don't have time, I am in a hurry - plus - natural curls, thankyouverymuch."

Isaac and Noah piped in: "We are not in a hurry, Mom. Go for it."  I quickly killed them in my mind a thousand times.  "No, no, we really should keep moving guys", I said.  Isaac said, "Mom, you should get your hair curled. We can wait."  The kiosk ninja sales man grabbed my wrist and accurately read my tattoo. "You're Jewish?" he asked.  No, no I am not Jewish, but yes - you just read the Hebrew on my wrist correctly and yes, you know what it means. Yes, we now have more reasons why I have to have my damn hair curled at a mall kiosk in Waco, Texas.

I sat down, defeated.

For the next fifteen minutes (note: not three minutes, as advertised) my children oohhed and aaahed over my new best friend from Israel's curling expertise.  As it turns out he loves my children and finds them fascinating and says, "Is your husband very VERY dark?"  I don't know what my face does in response to this cockamamie question. Because, Noah and also because, come on, man.  "No, our Dad is white. We are Haitian and we were adopted", Isaac offers.  I catch Hope's eye in time to let her know I think that was a moronic question.  She smiles, entertained by it all.  My new friend says, "Ohhhhhh, I wish you would adopt me!"  I send Hope another unimpressed look. Isaac, ever the gullible go-along-to-get-along kinda guy says, "Could you actually do that, Mom?" No, son.  No. I cannot adopt a 24 year old mall kiosk curling iron salesman from Israel.  Super fun to dream though, isn't it?!?!?

Next thing you know my hair has 148 perfectly defined silky curls, something right out of Hollywood, and that curling iron has been cut in price from $250 to $125 and a bottle of shampoo and conditioner has been added to sweeten the deal and I am saying, "No, no, no, no. I don't want a curling iron!!!"

That is, right up until I somehow got so sick of the entire scene and the way nobody was listening to my "no" and somehow I bought the flipping expensive curling iron that I did not need or want. At all at all.  

My oldest daughter, Britt, has witnessed an occasion where I made a purchase I did not want to make because of a crafty salesperson. She also witnessed me going back into the store fourteen minutes after the purchase to return the item.  Sadly, my shame got the best of me on that particular December day and that curling iron was never returned.

My tattoo is the Hebrew word amets  - essentially it means "to be stout, strong, bold, and alert" - it is most similar to the Middle English word courage ... of which I had none on this particular day.

What I do have, 9 months later, is a very expensive unused curling iron.








Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Isn't she Lovelie?



All the Stevie Wonder fans are swaying in their seats.  

Such a great song.




Lovelie's younger sister, Ketia, gave birth and went through our programs earlier this year.  Ketia was a joy to work with and get to know.   Everything in Haiti is about relationship.  There is an unwritten code that requires that each person look out for their family and close friends.  In this case it meant Ketia telling her big sister Lovelie about the Prenatal Program.   

When Lovelie first came on a Friday to ask to be accepted or put on the wait list, we said, "Sorry, we don't have space."  About six weeks later she came back and asked again.  

The second time around she got a little bit bolder.  Bold is a relative term, the bold I am describing for her is not very bold because she speaks quite softly and is shy by nature. On her second Friday visit Lovelie shared with us that Ketia was her sister and that she had been in a very bad accident in 2013. She lifted her skirt to reveal a significantly damaged right leg.  On that day we took another look at how many women were due in the month of September and decided to make space for one more.

As the story goes, Lovelie was hit by a truck while walking on the side of a street.  She ended up at an MSF (Doctors without Borders) hospital. Initially they sent her away and said she was okay and should go home - but within a day or two it was a major infection and she was admitted to the hospital for months of recovery and skin grafting. Currently her upper right leg is sort of half missing, a giant portion of it - gone.  The bottom of that leg and her foot is quite swollen, possibly being made worse by the weight of her growing baby. Her left leg is not quite as swollen and has scars from the skin grafts. 

The folks that hit her promised to help her, but that never came to be and they stopped returning her calls.

Lovelie is having some trouble with her leg right now. The skin had been completely closed and healed over and it has recently reopened in one place. Her first baby is due in late September.  Dr. Jen consults on all cases that are out of the ordinary and she has a plan to help get that leg healed up quickly, we are grateful for that but also would so appreciate it if those of you that pray  -would please add lovely Lovelie to your prayers.  


waiting


In so many places throughout the world today there are 
hurting and frightened people - waiting on justice. 

Pray for them.

If it is all too overwhelming, 
pick one group/situation ...

and pray.

(Haiti photo quoting MLK Jr.)

Thursday, August 21, 2014

look up


On a recent Sunday morning we were riding to church with a car full of kids.


I had not been particularly upbeat for a few days and that morning was no different.

We were on the main road near our house, we drive on it almost every day of the year.

It was flooded after hard rain and more disgusting than usual.

I was thinking negative thoughts about how gross it looked and how depressing the color of the mud was and how much disease must be in the stagnant water and certainly the least that could be done was for someone to do something about the mounds and mounds of trash spilling into the nasty, smelly, water-filled road. I was feeling sorry for every animal that we passed, every person I could see, myself included.  

The ugliness of poverty was eating me. I was grouchy and angry and down.

From the back seat came the high pitched voice of Lydia saying, "Beautiful BEAUTIFUL ... LOOOOOOK at how beautiful!!!" I turned to look at her because in no way, shape, or form could I find anything in my line of vision that would be labeled 'beautiful'.

Lydie was looking up, pointing above us at a tree in full bloom of red flowers.  She wasn't seeing everything I was seeing.  The only thing that stood out to her in that spot on our familiar road was that the tree had given birth to brand new flowers and she wasn't going to let the rest of us miss it.

I so want Lydia's eyes for beauty.

Look up.



**originally posted summer 2011

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

#Adoption Ethics - Philomena, a film to see

As an adoptive parent that has made advocating for birth-family rights a regular part of my battle cry, I have learned over time that some adoptive parents don't want to be asked to think about the birth parents of their adopted children.

I am not sure why that is, my guess is that it is painful and difficult -- and avoidance of pain and difficulty is a thing people do.  (No, not a detective, just keen deductive powers.) 

Last year we bore witness to a corrupt (American) woman processing adoptions in Haiti and asked for accountability for dishonest practices and fraudulent acquisition of children for international adoption. Following speaking up about it, false stories circulated and six or seven adoptive mothers wrote angry emails informing us we were being used by the devil to destroy international adoption. (Gah!) 

That was a difficult time, because, who wants to be falsely accused or loathed? As it turned out, multiple children had been wrongfully removed from birth-families.

In the end we looked at the lives of the Haitian families all around us and recognized that someone needed to stand up for their rights. They don't have the money or the passports or the social media or the voice or the state senators. 

Recognizing that not everyone automatically thinks it is important to empathize and understand the feelings and experiences of first-families, I am still pushing for all adoptive parents to do just that. Our desire is to continue to encourage adoptive parents to bring the Kingdom of Heaven to earth by listening to the stories of grown adoptees and first families, by learning about unjust practices and by being very concerned with adoption ethics. Additionally, we must all investigate the agencies we partner with and be vigilant as we gather information.  

What has been done in the adoption business in the past, and what continues to be done in some instances and countries, is unjust. It is challenging to take on the burden of this injustice without trivializing anyone's suffering. We need to try. I think we often don't give credence to the fact that there is a burden to bear here.  There is not a single narrative; someone gains, someone loses, someone has litte to say about how it plays out. 

* * * *

This movie (and the true story it is based on) is a must see for adoptive parents.  It exposes systems that have taken children from mothers and the multi-faceted fallout of this injustice. In the movie it is the Catholic church in Ireland taking babies from teen mothers. This still happens, in a different context, but under the same umbrella of coercion and shame and exploitation of a mother in crisis.  It has long finished its run in the theaters and is available for purchase. You won't regret taking the time to view it. 

This movie is beautiful and redemptive while being truthful, and immensely sad.



Quoting two articles on the movie...
"You can't go through life being so unyielding ...so you've got to forgive," (Philomena) Lee said of how she was able to keep her faith. "You've got to. You just have to forgive." On stage at the Golden Globe Awards last month, Lee said the film with her name wasn't just about her."It's the shared story of the women who have yet to receive the justice they deserve," she said, referring to many unwed Irish mothers who also had their children taken from them and who want to find out what happened to them.   (Source)
The book also helps dismantle the stubborn myth that silence is the best policy: that children should be sheltered from the facts of adoption, and that love and material comfort will conquer all. Adoption mores have certainly evolved over time; today, adoptive parents often keep in touch with their children’s birth families.  (Source)

Monday, August 18, 2014

Isaac Livesay, Guest Blogger

This can be found in it's original handwritten form at ASK ISAAC too. 

For ease in reading, I have typed it up for him and added a couple more little facts and a video and photo he requested that I add.
~tara

~          ~            ~

An OVERDUE Update, By Isaac Livesay
HI ALL Hi Guys, it's Isaac with a new 2014 ground breaking column.

Sorry I've neglected my column this summer and since I have only a few weeks before school starts, I want to share these two topics: What I have done this summer and some exhilarating things that will be happening in the next six months. 

This summer has been very fun. We got to help out at a VBS (Vacation Bible School) and meet our new (future) brother-in-law, Michael.  It was really fun having Michael visit us. We went to the beach twice while he was here and played video games with him and swam a lot. We watched movies and had a few dance parties and played lots of Phase 10. It was loads of fun. 

Besides Michael visiting, the other main thing we did this summer was camps. The camps were something we did to learn about stuff and have fun. Each camp was four days long except for one which was only two days long. During camp we weren't the only kids there, others joined us. 

We had four convivial camps. They were, Art, Energy, How Stuff Works, and Agriculture Camp. During Art camp we got to try various things like carving soap bars into whatever we wanted and building stuff from twig leaves, trash, pop bottles, and Popsicle sticks and straws. Of course there was lots of drawing and sketching, which I love.  (I will post a photo of my most recent dragon drawing.) 





Energy camp was awesome - we studied kinetic, potential, heat, electrical and some other types of energy. We got to build catapults, water rockets that blasted off of pressure, and make a solar powered car. We made obstacles that could start a chain reaction and we even got to do this awesome competition in which we used corrugated metal or cardboard box and a bottle. (There will be a video in which I will tell you even more about the camps.) 


video

Time to get to the truly stimulating stuff. I am so excited for numerous things within the next six months. I will name those things.  

First, my awesome friends Jeff and Dave come back to Port au Prince on 8/19/14 - in other words, tomorrow! 

My birthday is coming up on September 7th and this will be the very first time we get to celebrate on the actual date of my birth. (I did not know my right birthday because my adoption paperwork listed the wrong date but my birth family told me about the real date this year.) Also, I am becoming an uncle in October, I will be called "Uncle Ike" to my nephew. Then, also pretty exciting, Lydia, Phoebe, Paige, and Hope all have birthdays late in the year as well. 

In January my family and I are going to fly to Florida for my sister's grand wedding. Paige's wedding will take place at a gorgeous ranch in south Florida. I saw photos and it is pulchritudinous. At the wedding me and Noah will be groomsmen. A groomsmen stands by the groom in an act of solidarity he supports the marriage and the groom, Michael. 

My Grandma Porter told me this just yesterday. I cannot even believe it yet. My Grandma and Papa are taking me and me and my family on an opulent cruise after Paige's wedding. We will be on it for one week and we will visit Jamaica, Cozumel in Mexico, and the magnificent Caymen Islands. I am psyched! I am a Caribbean boy and can not wait to explore more of the greater Antilles.

Thoughtful comments and questions are allowed.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

why i care

The following was written many many months ago (a year?) and has been sitting in the draft folder. There was so much discussion that it seemed like nobody was really listening or pausing or considering anything that anyone else said. When nobody pauses, it seems silly to add a voice to the cacophony. I have no idea if anyone is openly listening right now or not, but hitting publish with a prayer.




***********


"Why do you even care?" was the question posed.

Well. Let's see. Truth is, I care for a lot of reasons. I want to be a good neighbor and I want to understand things outside of my reality. Love compels me to care. We are striving and seeking to bring His Kingdom here on earth as it is in Heaven. I think that's a perfect reason to care. I have a black son. I have a white son. They would both benefit from a less racially-jacked-up world. 

That is the short list. 


I wasn't there and I am not charged with upholding Florida law, so my thoughts are not actually about the verdict itself. I don't know how it went down, I only know that the feelings it stirred in the mothers of black sons are real. Are difficult. Are raw. 


The case points to the bigger issues.  Racism is a festering problem that hasn't improved as much as most would like to pretend. I notice that most people that tell me racism is not an issue are not the people that would necessarily be discriminated against. I notice that those that say "work hard and everybody has the same benefits", are the people that didn't start with societal and cultural and historical prejudice stacked up against them. I notice that most white people that get angry when black people say there is a problem, are people that don't have a diverse friend group or neighborhood. 


I don't find it implausible that most of us walk around with a certain amount of prejudice in our hearts toward people of differing cultures, languages, and skin colors. It seems much more implausible that everyone is as fair as they say they are. I know this: I grew up mainly fearing black men. I did not interact with black children or adults and I did not sit down to a meal with a black family until I was 29 years old. I don't know if that made me racist but it did make me fearful. We all fear what we don't understand and our enemy comes to destroy and he does it by planting fear and distrust - he did that in my life - and he seems to be succeeding elsewhere frequently.  


Black men (and women) say they experience profiling, overt discrimination, fear, and worse. I don't doubt that for a second. I don't really understand those that want to say that cannot be true in this day and age. Even as my black son leaves "cute little kid" stage and enters into the "threatening pre-teen" stage, I have seen people that don't know him respond to him differently. 

We are generally not a very empathetic people, and that is unfortunate at best and horribly harmful at worst. The suffering of others, no matter how little I can identify with their struggle, should matter to me. The unfair treatment of another one of God's children shouldn't be ignored by me - Because, seeking His Kingdom here on earth as it is in Heaven. I think in Heaven we care about injustice, my keen logic skills lead me to believe bringing Heaven to earth means I care here as well. 

Can I fight every battle and every injustice in this world?  No. Of course not. Should I care about racism that doesn't usually directly affect me personally? Yes, and I think we all should.



Living in Haiti has taught me a lot. I am, in fact, a person of privilege. My skin color, place of birth, and passport all make it so. In most situations in life I have an assumed presumption of good-character and I can go about my business unnoticed and unharassed. That said, living here in Haiti as a minority has given me a little tiny glimpse into the world of someone whom is not given carte blanche benefit of the doubt. 

Haiti has had its fair share of abusive, rude, superior acting, white people come through as "helpers" over the years. Technically, the slave owners of more than 200 years ago were all those things.  For that reason and because of many more horrific abuses spanning history, there is a portion of the Haitian population that very much dislikes, distrusts, and even despises white people. On occasion, I have been running and had someone call me horrible names. I have been driving and been told to get the $*&@ out. I have been glared at, mocked, snubbed, and felt unfairly judged. 


Based on things I've witnessed here, I understand that response. I don't begrudge those folks that find my presence here troublesome, some of the things I've heard fellow expats saying about Haitians make me dislike and distrust them (us) as well. Upon glancing at me, how is my Haitian neighbor to know which type of expat I am? I have been given an opportunity to experience prejudice. 

This experience has at times made me mad. "How unfair", I've lamented. However, I long ago decided to see it as a chance to identify more with my Haitian children. Experiencing a tiny bit of ill-will and unfair judgement has taught me how to better identify prejudice and empathize. I feel like it is my chance to walk (ever so briefly and with so much less intensity) in the shoes of my black children and friends. That's incredibly important to me as I raise my Haitian-American children. Prior to living here I had never experienced anything that would have allowed me this unique insight into what they may face. Don't hear me saying I totally understand it, hear me saying, I've begun to understand it and my minuscule experience leaves me wanting better for my children.

I don't want to hear my black friends (or children) saying "This is an ongoing problem for us" and ignore, deny, downplay, or turn away. Would we do that if they came and said they were being abused in other ways? I want to listen and learn. I want to offer genuine concern, care, and empathy. I want to do my part to bring His Kingdom to earth.


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

Christena Cleveland wrote:
"Privileged people of the cross seek out, stand with, and stick their necks out for people who have problems that are nothing like their own. Privileged people of the cross resist the magnetic draw of our culturally-polarized society. Privileged people of the cross jump every societal hurdle in order to understand the perspective of, stand with and advocate for the other. Just like Jesus did for us."
Greg Cary wrote:
"The unity of the church requires that white Christians truly honor the reality our neighbors experience. We cannot isolate our spiritual lives from the rest of our experience. We cannot say, "We love you, but we don't believe your stories." Shallow reconciliation will not do. We cannot expect to pray with black, Latino/a, or Asian American neighbors while we tolerate the absolute negation of their humanity."


Ephrem Smith
 wrote:

"Even with all this, I am hopeful because I know that the Kingdom of God is near. I realize that race is a man-made social construct influenced by Satan to keep the children of God from understanding their true identity and purpose. I will continue to fight with spiritual weapons to bring the reconciling message of Jesus Christ to the lost and the broken. I will not give up."

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

I will also continue to fight with spiritual weapons to bring the reconciling message of Jesus to the lost and broken. I will seek out, stand with, advocate for, and jump societal hurdles (allow myself to be utterly uncomfortable) in order to better understand the experience of my neighbors and my children. 


I care. Now you know why.


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

(Not in original year old post, added tonight - emphasis is mine.)
Osheta Moore
 wrote:

Today, I raise my hands, because perfect love casts out all fear and because Abba Father sees the suffering of his children.  I raise my hands to bear witness to my  brothers and sisters who were tear gassed and shot with rubber bullets. I raise my hands because my love for them is restless. I can’t do anything tangible with these hands, but raise them high.  Lord, we are restless for change and anxious for hope.  We are witnesses of injustice. We are the women at the foot of the cross, empower us to stay through the torment so that we can be present to bind up wounds and then—see resurrection.

Greg Boyd wrote:
If the church is ever going to significantly manifest the beauty of God’s diverse humanity, it’s going to take place one life at a time. Reach out. Cross ethnic and culture lines. Watch how it challenges your paradigms, enriches your life and expands your worldview. 

Thursday, August 7, 2014

From the Rearview Mirror






The seemingly (yet not so) random events of the last nine years ...


  • 2005 - Met Beth McHoul, a missionary to Haiti, in an on-line Marathon/distance running training group - thought she was bad-ass and insanely kind all at once - hoped to meet her someday 
  • 2005 - Met Beth in Haiti on a trip to visit with the mission we were invited to work with - found her wonderful in person too - also met her peculiar husband
  • 2006 - Moved to rural Haiti for 12-18 month commitment and started seeing the McHouls on occasion in Port au Prince, Beth starts talking about the need for change in Haiti and tells me that kids in her orphanage sometimes come because their (poor) moms didn't have any support or encouragement to choose to parent 
  • Met Jen Halverson, a young smart doctor person 
  • 2006 - Held a little girls torn open head together one day while looking for someone to sew her up - realized that I was not freaked out by blood or gore as previously assumed my entire life - a revelation of sorts
  • 2007 - added two little girls to our family while Beth McHoul started her midwifery training
  • 2008 - Stuff fell apart with the place we worked - moved to Port au Prince to work part-time with Heartline Ministries - Beth started a weekly Prenatal Care Program - for sure thought she was weird always talking about birth-stuff but was happy to be her administrative person and helper two days a week while I still had a lot of little ones at home
  • late 2009 - The Prenatal program becomes a labor and delivery program too - Jonna Howard and other midwife people come along side Beth as she trains and learns and I think they are all very odd and I agree to become their charting person during births - all births end with Beth admiring the placentas and I think, "never will I get these people"
  • 2010 - Massive earthquake - did crazy blood and gore things without electricity or sleep along side capable and trained doctors like Jen Halverson and Chris Sizemore and Joe Boyle - everything was weird for a year - in that year I moved into a place of considering becoming a weirdwife and started thinking "how can I become a person that talks about placentas" and other odd behaviors - said very little about it to anyone but Beth McHoul
  • 2011 - Returned to Haiti after time in USA due to earthquake and met Sarah Obermeyer, a crazy smart and encouraging midwife - worked with Cookie Ireland, a sassy and smart-ass midwife that made work fun
  • 2012 - Started doing academic stuff (slooowly and sometimes poorly) learned to say vagina out loud - worked with Melissa Curtice an experienced Haiti nurse midwife and many others that passed though the Maternity Center
  • 2013 - Beth McHoul finishes her training, becomes a CPM in February - she is in her 50s doing scary stuff and learning big medical words - many, including myself, are impressed
  • 2013 - Kept learning, kept studying, kept thinking "I don't know if I can do this studying stuff because, hate studying and hate big medical words and also, not that disciplined"  - love chatting with friends on facebook - rowdy house wrestling with the kids and watching Call the Midwife more than studying and way more than big words 
  • 2013 - Went to USA to finish some requirements for the North American Registry of Midwives and move Paige, attended hospital and home births, messed up my paperwork that proved my clinical experience - messed up bad enough to need more experience - didn't have a preceptor in Haiti anymore - had an epic meltdown
  • 2013 - Beth Johnson, wicked smart midwife, agrees to stay in Haiti beyond her original 3 month commitment and help me finish and sign off on my work for 2014
  • 2014 - Studied even more - Taught by a very great teacher (17 years my junior), encouraged by a dear friend (17 years my senior that proved it can be done), helped by two Haitian RNs that allowed me all sorts of experience by stepping aside at times, instructed to keep going by Dr. Jen, prayed for by lots of kind friends, got wonderful experience at our first twin birth and our first long shoulder dystocia and was moved to keep going by beautiful Haitian mamas
  • This Tuesday - Sat for and passed that flipping test that was the single greatest fear of the last 3.5 years - Certified Professional Midwife  (have learned that many think babies have to be born only to doctors and only in hospitals, would like to say more about what midwives do and don't do but not today) The testing center had strobe lights flashing from fire alarms on the walls. There was another meltdown, a demand to be moved to a new testing center, and some drama, but  that is also a story for another day
  • Today - don't totally believe it but it seems like it is done and real ???? 



In 2005, had anyone told me that one day there would be a cool little maternity clinic in Port au Prince and at that clinic I would work with some of the coolest people in the world and that eventually I would even be trained and qualified to deliver babies and walk along side the coolest Haitian ladies during their pregnancies and the first months of their baby's life, I would have told them to sit the heck down and quiet their crazy mouth.

I never knew what was happening, I doubted God's care for me, I felt like I'd fail, I was almost constantly fighting fear of said failure, and considered quitting at least once weekly. I'm dumb and shallow.

I don't share any of that to tell you how pathetic I can be. 

I share that to tell you that God is working in your fear, your uncertainty, your bewilderment, and doubt.  The 2014 you cannot know what or where the 2018 you will be, and it is better that way because it is better that way.

We always want a light, of course we want to see where we are headed, but it is kind of a wonderful mystery unraveling in the middle of lots of joy and sorrow and celebration and suffering. Who doesn't love a good mystery?  (Rhetorical) 

As the quote goes, 'Go out in to the darkness and put your hand into the hand of God, and that shall be to you better than a light and safer than a known way.'

Thank-you to every CPM, CNM, PA, RN, and MD (Obermeyer, I cannot even begin to know all your letters) that invested time and attention when visiting Haiti or when I came to the USA last year. Your passion and knowledge and willingness to teach were and are a gift to me.

The four eleven most pressing people to thank: Troy Livesay, and all your flippin flexible and awesome kids, Beth McHoul, Beth Johnson, Jen Halverson.  I bawl just thinking of the love shown and sacrifices made in order for this to happen.

Thank-you to each and every one of you that said, "do it, you can do it" when I first started sharing (nervously) about the idea. Thank you for praying, helping us be in Haiti in the first place, and for being generally awesome and kind.


(Words/Photo -Bob Goff, Love Does)


(Forgot to link to August post at A Life Overseas, find it here if interested.)

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

this happened today







Michael gave us our assignments. The boys delivered a letter to Paige. They told her to head down to the beach where Michael was waiting. We knew where to be to watch from afar.  Troy had his super powered lens on the camera.  Paige was surprised but stopped crying to say "yes". They are planning a small wedding early next year.  We are so grateful for the work God is doing and insanely happy about what this news means to a very loved unborn baby boy - this is big and wonderful for him (and them).

Lots of preparing, praying, counseling, baby-birthing, and hard work ahead. These two love each other and we are all excited to encourage them on the journey.

Thanks to our little community that rallied tonight and came over to celebrate this engagement with us.