Thursday, September 18, 2014

Capitalism redefined




You know how people say, "This is worth your time" ?   Then you give your time and afterward you get all hot and bothered that it wasn't worth your time. Those people waste a lot of our time.

We are not those people. (We are not impartial in any way, shape, or form), but THIS IS WORTH YOUR TIME.  

This is our friend Matt, the man that taught our kids what a hickey is by mimicking in the air what it might look like to give a hickey. (fine-full disclosure, we were playing charades) We owe him a debt of gratitude for that, so please hear his thoughts on poverty and work and capitalism redefined.  

We are for you, Little Haitian Factory! 

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Date Night


I have been with Troy for 18 years, almost 16 of those years we have been married. This means date night is kind of a been-there done-that regular event. Many years of trying to squeeze in a date means many years of quick meals, often close to home. Date night can even be running an errand and trying to be back to tuck the kids in to bed. Sometimes it is romantic and sweet. Other times date night can be kind of hot and sizzly. Most often, it is just your average nice time to talk without any interruptions. Less phone/internet/four second conversations and more real/lengthy ones.

Well, tonight date night was not romantic or sizzly. It was however, insanely unusual.


~           ~           ~

Hospitals in this country are not good at communication.  That is me being my absolute very nicest.  I so wish I could expound without burning  the badly damaged bridges. We try hard to be patient and considerate while they don’t communicate with us.   We share records and information; they don’t.  We know our women by name; they don’t seem to. We desire to be excellent in our communication and co-care.  This seems to be an extremely one-sided desire. 

~           ~           ~

7 days ago …

Tuesday of last week (the 9th of September) we had one very sad day. One lady  (named Sandra) needed to go to a local hospital due to a failed induction and severe pre-eclampsia.  Another lady (named K) needed to go to a hospital outside the city due to preterm labor and a baby showing signs of stress. (K has a history of preterm labor and loss.) Two transports, one day.  None of us like this. 


3 days ago …
On this day we hear that our patient at the local hospital thinks she has Cholera and we hear that our patient at the distant hospital is hanging out being observed.  It seems that nobody has had a baby yet, or at least nobody says they have.

1 day ago …

Nirva, the nurse that brought Sandra to the hospital, stopped by the hospital to check on her.  The hospital told Nirva they have no record of her being there. We never know if this is a game, a power trip, or if we should maybe not assume conspiracy, when incompetence explains everything.  We feel frustrated that we don’t know where the woman is that we brought there for care.

8 hours ago …

As we all sat down to start our day at the Maternity Center today, word came from a friend of Sandra, the patient at the local hospital.  The friend said that the hospital we had dropped the woman off with had brought her to another hospital.  We were incredulous. Why would the specialty hospital do that?  The friend went on to say that there had been a  C-Section and a seizure (eclampsia) after the surgery and that for some reason she was at a different hospital than we dropped her off at one week earlier.


~           ~           ~
(Date Night!)

Tonight Troy and I set off on a pseudo date. Neither of us expected hot and sizzly or romantic, but we figured we could grab a quick visit with friends up the hill or maybe stop for a sandwich or something. 

Our date night plan was to bring Sherly, a mother who delivered at the Maternity Center last Friday, to her home about 10 miles away and on our way home we’d pass by some options for a speed date, plus we would get the drive time together without kids.

While Troy was picking up the Mom and new baby and KJ, who had agreed to come to our house to be with the kids, we learned that the patient (Sandra) at the local hospital (the second local one according to the intel we had been given by the friend) had been discharged and needed a ride.  We decided we could go get her after dropping Sherly.

Date night began at about 6:45 pm as we pulled out of our neighborhood with the new Mama. She explained where she lived to Troy.  We climbed up the hills toward her area of town and she asked to pull over to use the bathroom in God’s great big toilet (the city of Port au Prince has been called worse). 

I got to hold baby Zola while that was taken care of and we continued on our way.  As we discussed the hard day it had been and how frustrating all the crappy care of humans can be, I said to Troy, “I need to remember this baby has nothing to do with this, when I am frustrated and want to give up I need to remember that Zola deserves kindness and a chance.”  

Rain started to fall in the fashion in which it usually falls in Haiti.  That is to say, it began to intensely pour down rain.  We sat in traffic jam after traffic jam.  Just when we thought we were all clear to reach a record-setting speed of 35 MPH, boom, another log jam.  Troy continued on toward our destination.  At 8pm we arrived in Sherly’s neighborhood, approximately 8 miles from where we began. We parked the ambulance on a steep slope with rushing water all around us.  We sat for a moment wondering if we would all rather wait for the rain to pass.  Together we agreed that was not likely to happen anytime soon.  I wrapped Zola tight, cursed myself for wearing wobbly heels (HELLO?!?! – DATE NIGHT calls for heels) and we followed Sherly down a lightless tight corridor with uneven ground and ankle spraining opportunities at every step.


Troy decided it smelled like urine and wished he had closed toe shoes.  I thought, “at least your open toes shoes aren’t two inch high heels, Mister.”  We walked to the dark home of Sherly.  City power was out for that zone, therefore a quick prayer in the pitch dark was said and we went back out to the uneven, urine  scented, narrow passageway.

We knew by this time that stopping in to visit friends or sitting down for a meal would mean that the lady waiting on us would wait too long.  We ran into a grocery store and bought two sodas, cheese, chips, and hummus.  They charged us the wrong price for the cheese and my Dutch heritage grabbed hold of me tightly and I had a little fit.  The credit card had already been swiped with the cheese that was apparently worth its weight in gold.  Troy looked at me as if to say, “Do we need to do this?”  I declared defeat and walked outside to wait for him to sign the slip. While I was walking to the car complaining about the crappy customer service and my frustration at the cashier’s refusal to give a damn, Troy said he was thinking, “You need to remember when you are mad and frustrated that baby Zola has nothing to do with this and deserves kindness and a chance.”

Fine.  Expensive cheese is a small problem. I hear that...Probably not a reason to throw in the towel.  (If only we had a towel on this date.)

We ate Chips and Hummus and tried not to shiver in our wet clothes and shoes and headed toward the hospital to find Sandra. 

At the hospital we spoke to a receptionist, a doctor, a guy with a job that we couldn’t discern, and we were led room to room  (a few of which smelled like urine too, but that could have been Troy’s shoes) asking every nurse in every room full of  people for Sandra.  We most certainly walked in at least two complete circles and found little to no response or aid in our quest.

After twenty minutes of looking room to room we called the Maternity Center and asked the family member waiting there if they would tell Sandra by telephone that we could not locate her and to please come to the front of the hospital.  Fifteen minutes later I said to Troy, “You know we could be here another hour waiting for her to come out.”  He said “Yes, I know. Now we wait. The trick is to wait well.” Troy called the Maternity Center and asked for a phone number for Sandra.  Upon calling the number Troy learned from a relative that they were waiting outside but did not see us so they went back in. Troy explained that we had been waiting inside, but now were looking outside, and still did not see them. He eventually asked, “What hospital are you outside of?”  As it turns out they were back at the original hospital we had dropped her off at a week earlier.  We headed there. 

Upon arrival we learned that Sandra’s family member refers to  hospital #1 (and maybe all hospitals) by the same name and therefore when we were told she was at hospital #2, it was really just one family member not knowing the name of hospital #1. Our heads were spinning by this point (hours later) but we were very relieved to find the waiting new mother and baby.  

As we headed back to the Maternity Center, I looked at my phone and found a message that said, “K's husband says that the hospital wants them to leave tomorrow (tonight if possible).” The hospital she needs to be picked up from is at least ninety minutes outside of the city.

Sadly, or fortunately, date night was over. 10pm, we pulled into the Maternity Center with Sandra and decided K would need to wait until tomorrow. 

Looking forward to a new day - another opportunity for rain, urine, dinner in an ambulance, and time with Troy and Haiti’s new mothers, babies, and families.  I can’t wait!



Tuesday, September 9, 2014

the current blur

Since I last wrote here it became "fall" and the 2014-2015 school year started. We are zooming toward the end of a calendar year that has been filled with surprises. (A grandbaby, a terrible ongoing battle with a tropical virus we had previously never heard of, a finish line of midwifery school, a start line of midwifery, a wedding in the works, etc. etc. ad infinitum.) 

The days are flying by in a blur of action and activity and intense emotion.  Do you remember when Lydia used to communicate high HIGH emotional turmoil by taking her hands, making little claws, and shaking them up near her ears while gritting her teeth? Well, that's me right now. 

With so much happening I find that there are too many feelings left unprocessed (or possibly too big to process yet) and for me, that is the number one cause of writers block. 

The time to officially begin using our mixed-drink-sounding grandparent names is fast approaching. In a month we will split up our family in order for Mojo to meet grandbump and Tito to keep the other five in school and on task in Haiti.  I am looking forward to that. I am dreading that. I am looking forward to that. AAAARRRGGGHH. I'm conflicted, as per usual.

I have been asking God for an invention that allows me to be in two places at once. I wait impatiently for His reply.



Beth M, KJ, T, Dokte Jen

Last weekend the Heartline midwifery staff of three met up with the Heartline Physician advisory staff of one - and we all re-certified our NRP skillz.  A room full of crunchy midwife ladies with the good Doctor Jen as the only physician in the room made for some good clean fun. We stopped short of taking off our bras, joining arms, and singing to our uteri - thank -you Laawd.

Thankfully, Dokte Jen understands weirdwives after so many years with us. We have all been taught so much by Jen - things that we could not have done without her guidance. We make a rare team and a there is a bit of a mutual admiration society between Doc and Weirdwife.  At the end of the class a lady told us that she enjoyed watching us interact all day and that she could see we loved each other and had a lot of fun together. We felt that was the ultimate compliment.

morning beach walk/jog in FL


not part of NRP but part of being weirdwives - or just weird 


checking out the USA celebrity news in line at WalMart
Trips to the USA with Beth McHoul are never boring. A person that has resided in Haiti 25 years is good for many wonderful insights and laughs in 'merica.  KJ (Beth J's name to keep the Beths straight) and Jen tried to say that I am on my way to being just as entertaining but I categorically reject that lie. 


~            ~               ~


As anyone reading this for very long has figured out, Troy married me and got three of us in a package deal. Britt and Paige went through all their teen years with Troy as their (step) Dad (they don't so much like him to have that S word added in.) That to say, we have experienced raising a couple of teens together. We have learned the hard way in a few areas.  We know we've messed up more than once. (Love wash over a multitude of things.) 

We are now entering into teen phase with the next grouping of children. 

Isaac led the way Sunday when he turned thirteen. He learned earlier this year that he was born on the 7th of September, his adoption paperwork had listed his birthdate as the 18th of the month. This year we celebrated his birth on the actual date instead of eleven days late as in the previous 12 celebrations. Our Haiti family/friends came to make the day special. Skype failed us, so the family and loved ones that are far away got to talk to him on Voxer. 

Hope and Isaac are both seventh grade this year.  It seems impossible that it was 12 years ago next month that they joined our family.  It has been wonderful watching them embrace their new more difficult curriculum and see them working hard to get the work done.  Jimmy and Becky are both teaching this first semester. For second semester we are so excited that Caroline (she taught math in Waco last fall) will join us for four months. 


First Day of School at Heartline Academy
Teacher Jimmy in back row, Meadows kids, Livesay kids


~           ~             ~


Links worth your time:


1.) Alice Su, 1 JOHN, ISIS AND THE GOSPEL VERSUS TERROR 

I have been afraid lately. I think often about the deaths of James Foley, Steven Sotloff, many more journalists and millions of children, women, fathers, brothers, best friends, uncles and neighbors in Syria, Gaza, Iraq, Egypt, Sudan and more. I can’t shake the feeling that death is crouching around the corner, at the doorstep of all the journalists, of all the civilians, of too many people who have become dear to me and thousands more that I’ve yet to meet. Everyone I know is scarred. Some are still bleeding. Hate and fear are in the air, and things are getting worse.
Later in the article:


The Gospel offers a call to die, not to take anyone down but to lift them up. To give our lives up in peace and sacrifice and brotherly love. It is not sane. It is utterly unsafe, flying against all my self-righteous inclinations. But that is Christ, and we love Him so, for He first loved us.
When we see and know and taste this, we walk forward with joy. We are walking on a stream of living water that flows from Him in and through us. It grows trees with fruit in all seasons and leaves for the healing of the nations. We are so alive! Even if we may die today or tomorrow. We live in light.
We are not afraid.

2.)
The Work of the People  - Greg Boyd, Making God In Our Own Image
(TWOTP has tons of interviews/videos and is my favorite website ev-ah.) 
http://www.theworkofthepeople.com/


3.)

Donald Miller - I’m Glad I’m Not the Same Guy Who Wrote Blue Like Jazz

If I haven’t changed, something is drastically wrong.

People are designed to grow and if they don’t it’s because something’s wrong. 

There are forces in the world that do not want you to grow, change or get stronger. A variety of motives cause this resistance, but regardless, it must be fought.
God designed you to grow from a baby to a child to a teenager to an adult and even after you’re an adult you’re designed to continue learning about God, about love, about each other and about yourself. Not a day goes by when we aren’t given the opportunity to become a better person. Why in the world would anybody want to stay the same?
Read the rest here. 

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.