Thursday, August 30, 2007
Quick News - Cool Devotional
Britt and Paige have been busy with their swim team stuff. Both girls said tonight how different it is to be apart so many hours of the day ... we really did learn to work as a team in Haiti -- we all decided it is a really nice way to live. They are happy to be swimming, just wishing it demanded a little less of their time. The team has been very kind and has embraced them.
Tomorrow night is the first football game of the year. The boys are VERY excited to go. Britt and Paige both get to help Uncle Matt on the sidelines. Paige is the water runner and Britt is a note-taker. Matt is an intense coach, I keep warning them not to expect "Uncle" Matt out there --- it will very much be COACH Matt. The first game is against one of the best teams in the entire state, kind of a bummer ... but I am going to watch the coach, the water girl, and the notetaker ... the football game is the side-show.
Hope and Isaac went to meet their teacher. I need to tell her they are only staying until January 1st, just have not gotten to it yet. She seems very nice. On the way home they argued about how to pronounce her name. It is all very interesting to observe. Hope and Isaac are as different as two kids can be, I think it will be entertaining to hear their take on school and new kids and all of it. Isaac thinks the school looks like a Doctors office. I have no idea what that means, but that is what he said. They start Tuesday. They are all set to go. My friend Lisa did an amazing job of garage sale and Good Will shopping for them. We have not needed winter clothes for a long time. Both Hope and Ike have grown six inches or more, but Lisa found really nice stuff for them and spent almost nothing doing it. I am so over the whole shopping thing, it is a huge blessing to not have to go do that now too. THANK YOU SUPREME SHOPPER LISA!!!!
She also got the other kids things too. We need to come up with one or two winter coats but that is it! Paige took in a major haul from a friend of Britt's and now needs nothing else. We're feeling pretty blessed by all of it!
I had an OB appt today. The Doctor said, "You did amazing your weight is great, we should send all of our ladies to Haiti for seven or eight months of their pregnancy." Take that Dr. Guichard. So odd the totally opposite opinions these two guys have about what I weigh. My C-section got moved by a day, not that a day matters --- but my Dad is leaving for a long mission trip to the Ukraine the night before the baby comes now ... that makes me sad. Sigh.
Troy had an AMAZING day in Haiti today ... but neither he nor I have the energy to fully tell the story tonight. He is in bed already, and I need to head there too. I will share sometime this weekend. Troy sent this devotional to me yesterday, we both really liked it ... it is very fitting for us right now, we thought maybe you would enjoy it too.
Happy Labor Day Weekend,
SUBLIME INTIMACY - My Utmost for His Highest
Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe,
thou shouldest see the glory of God?"
Every time you venture out in the life of faith, you will find something in your common-sense circumstances that flatly contradicts your faith.
Common sense is not faith, and faith is not common sense; they stand in the relation of the natural and the spiritual. Can you trust Jesus Christ where your common sense cannot trust Him? Can you venture heroically on Jesus Christ's statements when the facts of your common-sense life shout - "It's a lie?" On the mount it is easy to say - 'Oh, yes, I believe God can do
it'; but you have to come down into the demon-possessed valley and meet with facts that laugh ironically at the whole of your mount-of-transfiguration belief. Every time my programme of belief is clear to my own mind, I come across something that contradicts it. Let me say I believe God will supply all my need, and then let me run dry, with no outlook, and see whether I will go through the trial of faith, or whether I will sink back to something lower.
Faith must be tested, because it can be turned into a personal possession only through conflict. What is your faith up against just now? The test will either prove that your faith is right, or it will kill it. "Blessed is he whosoever shall not be offended in Me." The final thing is confidence in Jesus. Believe steadfastly on Him and all you come up against will develop your faith.
There is continual testing in the life of faith, and the last great test is death. May God keep us in fighting trim! Faith is
unutterable trust in God, trust which never dreams that He will not stand by us.
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
Glory IN the Highest/Glory TO the Highest
Change the Order
weakness. ~2 Corinthians 12:9
"Rather than saying 'God, here is my problem,' we should put the
problem into perspective by saying 'Problem, here is my God!'" Whoever wrote
those words must have understood that there is no problem God cannot handle
in our lives.
When we make our problems the object of our lives, it is easy to become
discouraged and forget that we have a God who will sustain us during
our trials. However, when we change our perspective and the order of the
words, we see that God becomes the object and the focus of our lives. It seems
like such a small detail wouldn't matter much, but when you visualize
introducing your problems to Almighty God, suddenly they seem smaller, and you
realize just how triumphant you can be with His help.
Often, it is only a matter of changing our perspective in order to
overcome adversity. No matter what troubles you are facing, always remember our
God is big enough, strong enough, and powerful enough to take care of them.
He is the answer to all of life's problems, and He is enough.
He comes to us in the brokenness of our health, in the shipwreck of our
family lives, in the loss of all possible peace of mind, even in the
very thick of our sins. He saves us in our disasters, not from them.
-Robert Farrar Capon
for a recent story on child slavery in Haiti.
There is a video story as well as an article.
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
Rat Race Update
We have a nice set-up at my Sister's house. Eventually my parents will live in Texas most of the year and will have their summer home be the lower-level of Matt and Tina's house. So, it is set up as a two bedroom apartment. We have a small kitchen and plenty of room to have our own space. I did not want to mooch off of my sister, the kitchen is the best! So, today we went to get groceries and basics to set up our little house. Grocery shopping in Haiti is WAY easier. I think less is more. I think less is easier. I am sorry I ever griped about no choices. No choices is easy. I made more decisions today then I have made in the last 30 days.
Isaac now owns tennis shoes. He is pumped. SUPER pumped. Another decision. :-)
Hope and Isaac both had immunizations today. Hope sat quiet and calm and "took it like a man." Isaac screamed from the minute he was in the room until we were five miles away from the place. Either way, it is done -- they are all ready to go to Kindergarten next Tuesday. Isaac told the lady who did our intake that she "has a beautiful voice." The boy knows how to charm women.
I attended a swim meet. Yes, day two in USA ... a swim meet.
Tomorrow is Kindergarten Round-Up, we are meeting the teacher. It is all surreal and weird. These kids just joined our family via the Grace of the Lord --- about 12 days ago --- they were babies --- now this. Kindergarten. How does it happen so fast?
I cannot find my way from the place that I live to their school, so that might be something to learn before tomorrow. I had to use MapQuest to find the swim meet tonight.
I realized today as I drove to St.Paul that Troy and I have switched roles in many ways. When we first started dating I was used to doing everything on my own and figuring out problems as the leader. I had been a single mom long enough to be totally self-sufficient. I would even say that in our early marriage I took too much charge of everything and did not even allow him to lead. At times my behavior and strong personality would technically have been unhealthy and just plain uncool. Between getting more in line with what God had planned for our family and moving to Haiti where I know nothing about anything; I have been put in a position to allow my husband to be the leader he was made to be. (Troy, you are a hoss. King hoss actually.) It is odd to be back in a position of doing stuff on my own. I think I like it when Troy takes care of me. I like not needing to know how to get places. This is all making life in Haiti seem sort of simple in many ways.
Troy and Phoebe, I think of you at least once an hour. I love you and I am missing you. We all are. Hope you had a fun night together.
This One's For The Mommies
Monday, August 27, 2007
27 - Hours driving
47.5- Hours it took including sleep time and bathroom time to get from FLL airport to Tina & Matt's house
0- Number of times we were pulled over or arrested
32- Number of times Isaac said "It is BEAUTIFUL here."
78- Number of times someone said, "I cannot wait to get to MN."
Port St. Lucie, Florida - First fast food: Wendy's
Port St Lucie, Florida - First grocery store: Winn Dixie
Macon, Georgia - First WalMart
7 - The number of states traveled through (FL-GA-TN-KY-IL-WI-MN)
5- The number of states Tara cried in (Kentucky and Wisconsin were tear-free states)
3- The number of times Paige made us listen to Wyclef Jean's CD
1 - The number of times the Van pulled off the freeway for a spanking (incidently, this was in the last 90 minutes of the trip - so close yet so far)
1 - Criticism of the Dodge Caravan: NEEDS LUMBAR SUPPORT
4.5- Number of tanks of gas
7- Number of stops time did not allow for... Museum of Drag Racing, Florida Citrus Center, Rusty and Cheryl's house in FL, Road to Tara Gone with the Wind Museum, Amy's house in TN, National Quilt Museum, Kris's house in IL.
6- Number of times Troy called to check on us
0 - The likelihood that a roadtrip resembling this one will ever happen again
2- Number of strangers Isaac hugged or told they were beautiful (equaling one happy flight attendant and one surprised waitress)
0- Chances that AVIS will get business from the Livesay's ever again. They charge a full day at two hours. The van was returned at two days and 2 hours -- they charged three full days. The bawling pregnant customer made NO IMPACT on their decision to charge $140 for 2 hours. Down with Avis.
1- The number of times Noah got lost from us in Fort Lauderdale airport. He got on an escalator going down while we were still ten steps behind him with four 50 pound bags and no plan or need to go down the escalator ... it made for an interesting moment of decision ... Isaac and Hope were left with four bags and told to scream if anyone talked to them, while I got Noah and came back up another escalator to reunite the group - soaking in sweat at end of short panic attack.
4- Number of people who smiled pleasantly and said, "You sure have your hands full!"
10- The score Peanut gets out of 10 possible, she is THE ROAD TRIP DOG -- she earned her trip with perfect behavior
6- The number of hours Britt took over at the wheel.
18 - The hours I am now going to sleep.
ONE MILLION - Thanks to all of you who were praying for us. It went much better than expected!
A look at the future?
Indian farmer Nanu Ram Jogi, who is married to his fourth wife, boasts he does not want to stop, and plans to continue producing children until he is 100.
Mr Jogi admits he is not certain how many children his series of four wives have borne him - but counts at least 12 sons and nine daughters and 20 grandchildren.
Proud father: Nanu Ram Jogi with his youngest child, two-week-old Girija Rajkumari
Two-week-old daughter Girija Rajkumari is the latest addition to the proud father's family.
"Women love me," Mr Jogi said. "I want to have more children. I can survive another few decades and want to have children till I am 100 - then maybe I will stop."
Mr Jogi, who attributes his remarkable virility to daily walks and plenty of meat, said: "I eat all kinds of meat - rabbits, lamb, chicken and wild animals."
Mr Jogi fathered his eldest daughter, Sita Devi, in 1943. His latest wife, Saburi, who has given him seven children, was first married to his eldest son Shiv Lal, who died 10 years ago.
Speaking from the family home in a remote village in Rajasthan, she said:
"At first I didn't want to stay here after my husband died. But Nanu promised to look after me and now we have seven children."
Mr Jogi's children and grandchildren live in six houses attached to his two-storey family home.
He said: "I have a perfect life - with so many children and grandchildren all around me, it keeps me young."
They're hoping to make it back to MN in time for Britt's swim team practice by this afternoon...not wasting any time before jumping into the crazy fast-paced busy life in America.
Phoebe and I had a fun day going to church, taking a nap, and then trying spagetti for her first time. Yes, it was a mess. No, I didn't remember to take a picture.
Saturday, August 25, 2007
Phoebers and I are a bit disturbed by the silence so far and just kind of stare at each other and then look around for everyone else.
Friday, August 24, 2007
Circus Show Time
(Britter and Paiger - we'll see you at the meeting point - bring your patient attitudes and your adventurous spirits - love you ladies!)
The day will never come where i laugh about this...
12:00- Lay there thinking about everything, obsessing, being generally dysfunctional.
12:48- Look at clock for last time, apparently fall asleep.
1:07am- Phone in office rings. I wake up, Troy does not. Phone in office rings again. I say, "Troy, we told Peter if he needed help to call. I bet that is him."
1:09- Peter and Troy determine that it is possible that Mimose is in labor. Peter fears having to deliver the baby, he needs help. Peter does not have a car or truck. Troy gets ready to go get them and try to find someone to help.
1:25- 3:55am - Lay awake wondering if Peter and his wife will be okay, pray for them, worry about Troy driving in pitch darkness. Thank God that I am so blessed to give birth to my child without such unjust options. Obsess, worry, pray .... repeat, repeat.
4am -ish - Fall asleep.
5:30 am -
Troy calls to say he is okay, he has spent much of the night trying to help Peter find a hospital for his wife. They were sent from place to place but landed in Pierre Payan. Troy has gone to Chris and Leslie's house to try to sleep for a few hours. He'll call later.
5:35 - Noah peeks head out of room- Asks for breakfast, I say, "It is too early, go back to bed."
5:37 - Fall back asleep.
6:02- Hear both boys laughing hysterically, yucking it up, having a ball.
6:03- Hear Isaac say, "Oh nooooooo," but still laughing at the same time.
6:04- Enter bedroom to find toilet full of poop and urine overflowed and running across the bedroom floor. Isaac stands in the middle of it all, Noah has run to jump in his bed to escape my reach.
6:05 - Crying, wailing, ranting Mother begins to formulate a plan for cleaning up. Books, toys, clothing ... all lay in the rank-poop water.
7:15 - Finish cleaning up - throwing books away, scrubbing down toys with disinfectant. Start laundry load one of three of disgusting towels and rags.
7:16 - Isaac and Noah have been totally silent for one hour and ten minutes. This has never happened in their entire lives. Awake and quiet? It just does not happen. They sit, wide eyed ... Watching from their bunk bed as the crazed woman cried and cried and cleaned. I turn to walk out to go take a shower.... afraid to speak for fear that I will say something I will regret ... As I go...
7:17- Isaac says, "Do I still get to go to Minnesota?"
Peter's wife is okay, they have not really progressed in the labor but are staying at the hospital until the Doctor can see them at 8am. Troy and Tara will spend their last day together for 32 with two hours of sleep to work off of, trying hard not to crush their hyper children with the sheer weight of their fatigue.
Thursday, August 23, 2007
Dreams and Visions
So are B & P.
They called a bit ago and told us all about their big adventure. They were super-pumped about the whole experience. In the PAP airport they got some sort of VIP treatment and whipped through the process of exiting, then walked back over to their little plane to load the dog and take off. The two pilots were very nice, the dog did not even stay in the kennel, she roamed around the airplane. They got to see all the islands and have them pointed out as they were flying over. In Sarasota they cleared customs. A man came to the plane, looked at the dogs papers and their passports and then they went back in the air 12 minutes to Venice where "Baywatch" picked them all up. Britt said they flew right over the mission and could see the cross and the entire mission pretty easily. They will spend the next 40 hours being spoiled by the Bernard family until Hope, Ike, Noah and I can get to them on Saturday.
This afternoon I told Troy it was either- lay down and rest or melt down into a whaling pile of ugly faced-crying; his choice. He told me to go take a nap; melt-down diverted for another day. It is coming though. I can feel it.
Some people speak of God's direction being given to them in dreams. I know a few people who really do have neat stories of dreams and visions God has given them. While I have experienced clear direction, that I knew was from God ---- for me, it is never in the form of a dream.
While napping I dreamed that the kids and I were a few hours into our drive across the U.S. My bladder is being stomped on by a baby that seems to have grown in recent days. (Isaac walked in this morning and said, "You sure are getting pregnant-er Mom!")
I worry about bathroom availability quite a bit. Haiti is not a place for a person who needs frequent potty stops. Strategic planning must be employed. Anyway, we are in Florida, I need to go but there are no rest stops or gas stations anywhere. I decide to stop and go 'Haiti-style' on the side of the road.
A cop drives by, sees me, arrests me, throws me in jail. Troy cannot be reached, the kids sort of go on without me, and I give birth to our baby in jail. Thankfully, the Lord does not speak to me through dreams. Hopefully He is not starting with this one.
There are bathrooms along the interstate in Florida ... Aren't there?
Genesis 18:14 - Is anything too hard for the LORD? (NIV)
Zechariah 8:6 - Thus says the LORD of hosts, 'If it is too difficult in the sight of the remnant of this people in those days, will it also be too difficult in My sight?' declares the LORD of hosts. (NASB)
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
the dog goes to America
The girls are home with the other three kids. They voted Noah to leave for the day. The people at Boca Moca may take issue with that by the time we leave.
The girls had lists to finish and people to go say goodbye to; you MUST say a proper goodbye here. If you miss someone, you WILL hear about it. We'll drop them off at the Agape plane around 8:30 tomorrow morning. Their ride picks them up in Venice, FL in the afternoon.
We had called the vet twice to confirm that we could show up today to get our letter allowing Peanut to enter the USA. We also asked numerous times if we could come without the dog, since she had just been there recently. Each time we were told, yeah- sure- don't bring the dog.
We sat down at the Vet's desk and he said "where is the dog?"
"You SHOULD have brought the dog!"
We could see him digging in a bit. Troy said, "No, I called twice and both times was told I did not have to bring the dog." The Vet then just employed the Haitian way of arguing which is to repeat yourself ... over and over. So, he proceeded to tell us three more times that we SHOULD have the dog there.
The feisty Troy was all, "YEAH- WELL - WE DID NOT! AND WE DID NOT BECAUSE YOUR PEOPLE TOLD US IT WAS NOT NECESSARY. SO WHAT WE SHOULD HAVE DONE IS SORT OF IRRELEVANT - WE ARE TWO HOURS FROM THE DOG NOW!"
Then it was just a contest of who could sit and stare longer.
We got the letter. The dog can go. I admit to having mixed feelings, because for a brief moment I envisioned myself getting out of the drive and just flying the whole way home instead. I was booking tickets in my head and cancelling that mini-van. Sigh.
OH BRITT - YOU ARE SO LOVED!!!
Have you ever known or spent time with a very HIGH ENERGY and vivacious person? Someone who is exuberant and generally joyful? Those people are so fun to be with. They bring you up just by being in the same room.
Take that person, put him on large quantities of speed and give him unending energy. Imagine verbal dysentery of UNKNOWN and UNSEEN proportions. Spend days and days on end with that hyper-active person. See if you still find them so fun to be with at, OH, say ... day 5 or 6.
You've just spent some time with "count-down Isaac." Without ANY exaggeration he is now asking and confirming the departure date approximately 378 times each day. Three days? Three days right? I am leaving in three days? Oh my gosh it is three days till MN! I cannot believe it is three days. DO you know three days is less than four? On and on and on ad infinitum. I might glue his lips shut.
Tina knows what variety of baby she will be adopting now! The ultrasound looked great this morning. I will let HER tell you.
Time for a new blended coffee. Have a good night.
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
Everything in the world is about to be wrapped up, so take nothing for granted. Stay wide-awake in prayer. Most of all, love each other as if your life depended on it. Love makes up for practically anything. Be quick to give a meal to the hungry, a bed to the homeless—cheerfully. Be generous with the different things God gave you, passing them around so all get in on it: if words, let it be God's words; if help, let it be God's hearty help. That way, God's bright presence will be evident in everything through Jesus, and he'll get all the credit as the One mighty in everything—encores to the end of time.
(These photos are not new, we've used them before. We were going through old stuff looking for favorites last night, these are a few of them. )
Monday, August 20, 2007
Photos from the Weekend
Mixed - BY PAIGE
Not knowing if you are excited or sad, it is confusing.
That’s how I feel about going to Minnesota in less than a week. I feel excited about it, but at the same time would like to melt-down and start crying.
I am excited to be able to go back to see family and friends. I am also very excited for some other odd reasons; like to be able to keep my hair down and not have to put it up because I am sweating so badly.
I also know that it is going to be extremely hard to have to leave what has now become my home. I will miss so much here. It does help to know that I will be coming back in 4 months! But at the same time that can feel like an eternity.
I got to see Mr. Zachary about a week or so ago when the four of us (the original four) went on a date in PAP. He will be out of the country for a while too so we stopped to say good bye. We were talking about how hard it is going to leave Haiti, Mr. Zachary said,” Once you get Haiti in you just can’t get it out.” I completely agree that is why I feel so blessed to have spent the last 19 months here and to be able to come back again to have these awesome experiences. Honestly, I don’t think that Haiti will ever be out of my system.
As I said, I am mixed about having to go. This fall is going to be crazy busy. I will be able to help my Uncle Matt with his football games this fall; I am very excited to do that. I think I will take piano lessons again too. Also, just seeing my family and friends will be so much fun.
I am a little nervous what it will be like to come back to Haiti after those months, I think that we will be just be getting in the swings of crazy America and then we are coming back. But either way I will be counting down the days from the first day we get there for when I get to come back to Haiti!
~ Prayer Needs ~ Random Questions ~
A lot of you are struggling with adoption waiting and adoption woes that are deeply troubling to you.
I know more than a few people who need physical healing. The two I'll mention are, Tess Erickson, the adult daughter of Marcia and Greg who is planning to come serve in Haiti with us for part of next year. She is trying to get answers about Graves Disease and got bad news last week. She needs healing and peace while she waits. The other is my cousin Steve who has Cancer. He is in a long on-going battle and also needs a miracle. As people go through hard times, there is nothing more effective than drawing near to God.
We all need His nearness - His nearness is our good.
Our prayer for today...
be near - by shane barnard
You are all
big and small
beautiful and wonderful
to trust in grace through faith
but i'm asking to taste...
for dark is light to You
depths are height to You
far is near
but Lord, i need to hear from You
be near, oh God
be near, oh God of us
Your nearness is to us our good
be near, oh God
be near, oh God of us
Your nearness is to us our good, our good
Your fullness is mine
but, o, to taste
to know much more than a page
to feel Your embrace...
for dark is light to You
the depths are height to You
far is near, but Lord
i need to hear from You
be near, oh God
be near, oh God of us
Your nearness is to us our good
be near, oh God
be near, oh God of us
Your nearness is to us our good, our good
(psalms 73:28; 139)
We enjoyed church yesterday. It was Britt's last Sunday in Haiti for many, many months. We're all emotional and tense. We had family prayer time tonight and agreed it was better to just try to say what we're feeling (rational or not) rather than keep trying to stuff it and getting snappy with each other. I think we're all fighting different fears and trying to act tough -- but we're not feeling all that tough. We thank you for praying for us, it is such a weird time for everyone over five years old.
Onto the random -
- Car-seat laws changed. This is what I am told. Is it nation wide or state to state? I need to land in Florida on Saturday and go to buy the right thing. Can anyone tell me what the scoop is?
- For bloggers who get the whole blogging thing better ... why do so many of you use "labels" on your posts? What is the point? What don't I get about it?
Sunday, August 19, 2007
It's All Good
Saturday, August 18, 2007
Fun Letter & Update
We're back from the beach. It would have been very similar - and much less work- to just lay in a frying pan on the kitchen stove. The air is absolutely stagnant.
The rain has not started here yet. Looks like it will around 8pm. We got word that the PAP airport is closed until Monday. It is a little bit unnerving not knowing what to expect, but to ease the nerves of some anxious relatives ... Please know that our house is well constructed, sits up high enough to avoid flooding, and has good places to take cover.
Like John McHoul (and my marvelous Dad) like to remind us, THE SAFEST place to be is in God's Will. Wherever that is. Please don't lay awake worrying. I trust that God knows the number of hairs on our heads, just as the Bible says, so because that is truth; I am certain He also knows and has the rest of our lives in His grasp and control. Hurricanes or no hurricanes He has it mapped out and it all filters through Him.
We do appreciate prayers not only for us --- but for our neighbors and the entire country that mostly do not live in safe homes on high ground. They will have a much scarier night than we will.
Below is a funny letter Troy-boy got last week. It is from a guy who up until we got this letter, hated us and and pretty much everyone in the village... Sort of the village bad-boy. Now he is job-searching, so I guess we're not so awful anymore.
To take all of our minds off of serious things... Enjoy!
I'm in a pressing obligation to write you this letter just for getting a job at the hospital. I should want occupy of patient documents. You know I'm a young boy I won't become a street fighter It's wy so I Ask you this job to prepar my Futur. Help me and God Pay you bask. I Pray you accept my letter.
It sounds like the girls have convinced Troy we need one more beach excursion, so we're off for the day soon. I have found the beach is less enjoyable with 30 pounds hanging off you -- but there comes a time to give one up for the team. So into the itchy maternity suit and off I go. Woo-hoo. I sound so positive, don't I?
I guess the storming starts late tonight? It changes every time we look, we're guessing we won't have Internet tonight or tomorrow. Even light rains usually cause connection issues. We'll check in again as soon as we can. Please pray for safety for ALL the people in the storm's path. The reason these storms devastate so many in undeveloped countries is because, unlike Florida ... The population here cannot "board up" or evacuate. Zero infrastructure exists to even warn people it is coming. We've been asking around and the word-of-mouth method seems to be working, a lot of our neighbors had at least heard something might be coming. Thanks in advance for your prayers this evening and tomorrow.
Friday, August 17, 2007
I just think it must be VERY unique for one woman to experience both placing a child AND adopting a child. To add to the family adoption story; Matt is adopted! We tease them that they can be the panel for every adoption discussion ever, they know ALL the angles and can speak with authority as the birthmom, adoptive mom, or adopted child ... or at least when their Haitian baby comes they can. :-)
In some ways this adoption represents a full circle for this family.
In case you cannot tell ... we love these guys and are totally in awe of all God has done in their lives. It makes this new development that much more exciting.
Rain & Wind Coming
Troy came to bed at 11 last night. I said, 'What are you doing here?" He told me that since he only has 8 nights left with me here he ought to switch his schedule. He has been staying up until 1 or 2 am for many weeks --- it is his "alone" time. He'll have lots of that in September. I am glad God did not make me a military wife. I feel high anxiety about the 32 days without Troy, I could never deal with long deployments -- how terrible for those ladies.
Rusty and Cheryl from the Bercy Orphanage came over last night. They brought Britt a night-time stitches patient. She sewed up his lip, he never made a peep. It was the son of one of their employees. They are such nice people. I have no idea how they deal with traveling so often. They live in Northern Florida and come to Haiti at least 7-14 days almost every month. That would take it out of you. It is easier to just stay put.
Troy and Britt are headed to Port with Mme Pierre. Paige and I are going to plug away at the list, watch Noah closely, and hopefully watch one of the illegally re-copied movies that a former missionary kid sent us. ;)
A friend we ran into yesterday claims that I "dropped" since two weeks ago. I have just begun to feel different --- different big or different awkward - so maybe she is onto something. Peter ASKED, so I was telling him how sick of it I am --- he said some really sympathetic thing like "Yeah, that is just the way it is." His wife is due the same time as me. I guess he used up all his sympathy on her.
That's all I know. Have a great day!
Thursday, August 16, 2007
The Rest of the Story
You know, a safety net of like ... 3,000 miles.
Yeah. Not so much.
God had different ideas about what our adoptions would look like. So far God's plans have meant growth and blessings for us and growth and blessings for the birth families. We're down with God's plan. We're glad He took over and showed us who's boss.
We have spent the last year and then some getting to know both birth-mothers fairly well. No longer are we nervous to see them or worried it will confuse things with our kids. As you know, being here is the only reason we even found out that Phoebe was coming. It's the only reason she is with us today.
Our experience is unique, and we recognize not everyone would be comfortable with it -- and for some kids, it might not be the best thing to have such an early awareness of all these complicated relationships and events. Open adoption is not for everyone.
From what we've observed & gathered, our kids are comfortable with the situation and thriving in the knowledge of our love, God's love, their birthmothers' love and the beautiful way the Lord pulled it all together into a super-cool adoption story.
We care about each of these two ladies. They are very different. One being tough and savvy, the other being shy and timid. We appreciate their unique reasons for placing and know they have both lived lives that most 35 or 40 year old women can only imagine. Their strength and determination in the face of adversity and difficulty is amazing to us.
In mid-June Isaac's birthmother contacted us to let us know she is pregnant. She (Joceline) said at that time that she did not feel she could handle another child. She planned to place. We told her right away that we were not feeling that we could adopt again. We had no sense that we were to even consider it. (We really do feel "7" is the perfect and final number for our family - the baby IS the grand finale. Mark this down.)
We shared her story with Tina and Matt (Tara's little sister and hubby) - they had always talked about adopting but had never had the serious "now is the time" moment. If you follow Tina's comments on the blog, you know that Isaac happens to be her favorite person on the face of the planet. Who can blame her? They did not take long to decide that YES, they would have an interest in adopting Isaac's sibling.
We purposefully waited a few months to get back in contact with joceline - Ike's B-mom. As time is running out and I wanted to be there to meet with her, we asked her to talk to us today.
We basically asked if there was any way she could see keeping/parenting the baby. We talked about what sort of financial help it would take and if she had that help would she then want to parent her baby. After a lot of questions and clarifying over and over she made it clear that even with an option to have financial help - she feels she wants to place this baby. We just wanted to be sure that she was sure. Her reasons are hers, and we trust she knows what is best for her own baby. She is so pleased the baby will know Isaac and that we're open to the baby knowing her too.
As we dropped her off at her home, it hit me that Isaac could be living right there. Mr. Minnesota, Mr. entertainment, party and celebration --- he could be in a 10 X 10 cinder block hut in an area of Port au Prince that stinks to the high heavens of trash and sewer. It is such an odd thing to understand. It is so sad that anyone lives in such a depressing place. I cannot imagine Isaac there. How do you even BEGIN to sort out the "whys" of it all?
We were able to get her a Doctor's appointment for next week with our OB/GYN, we hope to get a better idea of a due date --- that is sort of unclear. We would guess late this year, around Christmas time. She is going to begin to attend Beth's Women's Program. She will go once a week for a class and to receive basic medical care and vitamins. She will learn about proper nutrition and options for future birth-control. (We also talked about having a tubal ligation after the baby. She said that she would really like to be able to have this be the last time she faces such a challenge.) This will be her 8th child. She has six she is raising, we have Isaac. Now it appears (God willing) Tina and Matt will be blessed to adopt and raise and love her last child.
It's too crazy to be anything but God.
I think we're all anxious and hopeful and cautious and sad --- all at once. What represents a new and exciting chapter for Matt and Tina and our entire family ---- represents a loss and the difficulty of carrying and placing a child for another family. We're praying for the health of the baby and the health of J. We're praying for Matt and Tina as they enter into the crazy-not so easy time of waiting ... and waiting.
Troy and I will have the privilege of being with our niece or nephew from early on. We know that is a distinct honor to be able to provide shelter and love for this baby while we wait for the day that he or she can go to MN to become a (Porter) Cleary.
Remember back when I told you we were wigging out a little about next year, well this extra information played into that --- but it looks like Tess (a college age daughter of Haiti friend, Marcia Erickson) will be coming to help us with kids from January until May of 2008. So God is answering these questions and concerns for us. His provision is perfect.
Bring on the babies. Congrats Tina and Matt! :-)
~Auntie Tara (Photo taken today of Brother of Ike who is 10 - Ike and J.)
The Less Serious
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
Acting Out All Around
Troy will look for and post some new photos later. Right now he is busy dealing with drama between cooks in the kitchen.
Yesterday I wrote my four serious and professional newsletter stories, I crossed like five more items off the big list. I feel like we're the four year old child, when sent into a disastrous room to clean it ... he just stands in one spot frozen and unable to act. All we can do is sit and stare, we don't know where or how to start. When I don't know where to start, I just go take a nap. And thus, the vicious cycle never ends.
Everyone acts out in their own way under stress. Troy and I tend to communicate poorly, conversations sort of go in circles because when we are both stressed we are not good at expressing ourselves clearly. I get snappy and intolerant of my children. I am trying hard to be calm, I recognize that I need to watch myself. The dog senses stress and gets gas. That is lovely. Noah has had an interesting 24 hours. He has dumped an entire bottle of bug spray (liquid) into a toy box, then added water to the bottle to rub around on more items. He put toys into the dogs big water bowl, he has turned the hose on and soaked himself and everyone around him (before 8am today), and he has emptied a bottle of sunscreen into Phoebe's crib and the area around the crib. WHY? Well, he does not want Phoebe getting sun-burned while she sleeps ... and, I guess he wants more attention.
He got it. Lots of it.
Troy suggested we need a shock collar for him. He was JOKING. Sort of.
Updating you quickly on things other than our multiple personal issues-
Madame Felius (We're now calling her Madame Pierre because she is not actually married to the guy named Felius and he is not nice enough to her for her to have to go by his name - that is strictly opinion, but trust us ... if you watched him for awhile you'd agree.)
Mme PIERRE is doing really well. You will be so pleased to hear that she uses her walker to walk and is improving daily. She is still sleeping here at the mission and taking a lot of meds for pain, infection, etc. Troy takes her back to her surgeon on Friday for a check up. At that point they'll decide the next step ... whether it be physical therapy or ??? something else. She is cute, sweet, and very grateful to be seeing a light at the end of the tunnel. We're so happy for her!
The latest with Jean - We are in the process of determining if he would be willing to go to Port for a battery of tests and asking both he and his mom if they will cooperate. It is weird to force a 17 year old kid (that is not your kid) to do something he does not want to do. AND, while we all know getting some tests would be helpful in figuring out what to do for him --- it is hard to know how far to interject ourselves if he is unwilling to cooperate. I am not too cool with physically restraining a child that is not my own. We had something close to that happen on bath day once and by the end of it I was bawling. Anyway, someone asked if getting HIV meds is difficult. Uh, we have no answer because we have not tried. As far as we know he was diagnosed HIV+ a few years ago (long before we got here) and has never taken any anti-viral meds at all for it. We have a connection to Lori who has a legit medical clinic with a great history --- so working UNDER her watchful eye we think we can get meds for Jean by using Lori's good name. We have run this past her and she would sort of baby-sit us and be our advisers. So -- I guess just pray that Jean WANTS to go get help and agrees to cooperate. He is not an easy patient. I thought it was just me -- but Lori has seen him and she said he is very difficult and has been from the start. The whole thing is terribly sad and discouraging.
Babies in the formula program- The twins were here yesterday. I will let Paige post her new photos and stats. All the babies are doing well, all are gaining weight at a satisfactory rate. :-) Yay for good news.
Baby Emmanuel- The cousin came back (finally) but Licia said we need the grandma to do death certificates. Then someone in Cazale told Licia they know Emmanuel's dad is NOT dead. SO, apparently the mom is dead and the dad is not. So now we wait for the dad to show up and say that Emmanuel can be placed for adoption. Emmanuel continues to live with L and L at the rescue center. Women here will say a guy is dead even if he is not LITERALLY dead. They basically mean, "he is dead to me." That is all fine and good, but it makes knowing the truth really, really difficult. Argh.
Tomorrow may turn into a big day for us. We need to do some things in Port ... too many things really. We also HOPE to have a meeting with Isaac's birthmother to go over some things with her. I would rather wait and see if it happens before I say more. But in the meantime prayers for clarity in communication and God's Will to be done -- would be greatly appreciated.
Nap time. ;-)
P.S. Having my first two babies at 17 and 22 might not have been the greatest thing ever - but I sure did not turn into a swollen old grandma during those pregnancies. We have coined a new word here. If calf-sized ankles are called "cankles," it can be assumed that THIGH sized ankles would then be called "thankles." We're seeing amazing amounts of skin stretching and fluid retention - surpassing cankles and moving into a whole new realm of granny-like-puffy-goodness.
Photo? Yeah. I have one. But I think I am too vain to post it. What happened to my youth?
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
Our God is a Handsome God
Yesterday was a near total loss. Not much accomplished, not much to show for the day.
My real To-Do list makes me weep when I look at it, so I try not to do that. Look at it, that is.
Thankfully things are slightly improved and the green apple nasties seem to be on their way to calling it enough already.
Zach left for six weeks this morning, he called us and we had a good time hearing his thoughts. He was emotional about leaving and we all just determined that no matter what God uses these weird confusing times to mold us and teach us. We also determined that once you love Haiti you just become a weirdo that people will generally not understand.
The interesting thing here, at our house ... We have kids dying to leave and kids crying about leaving. Paige is moody and down about it, Britt is all over the board, Isaac is like a walking count-down machine. I just told Troy that even if it is hard to leave, just seeing how totally thrilled & excited Isaac is makes it worth it. He wants to go on this break bad enough for the whole lot of us.
We just listened to Isaac pray about a current need we've been praying about. Then, towards the end of the prayer it morphed into giving thanks for Minnesota and "how great it will be" (along with examples of great things that might happen in MN) after going on and on and oooooonnnnn about how happy he is to go to the USA he said, "God we just love you so much and we know you love us and you're so loyal and you are strong and you are so handsome." At that point I could not stifle my laughter anymore. I have never thought of God as handsome per se --- but what do I know? God must be handsome.
Phoebe will stand without holding on to anything for up to 30 seconds now ... we're thinking she could walk before her first birthday. She has some solid stems to support her efforts. I am hoping I don't miss the first steps, but I might.
Well, I've irresponsibly squandered 13 minutes - so I best go do something on the list. We have both personal business and mission business that all needs doing this week. I don't know why -- maybe because I have to lose the sarcastic edge and get more professional -- but writing news-letter stories is a difficult task. I need to write three or four of them. Today... well-written, serious, smart, informative stories.
:( Troy says it is not the stories that are difficult for me to write, it is the fact that I have to do what I am told and that is difficult for people who struggle with authority.
Me? Struggle with authority figures? He must be thinking of someone else.
Monday, August 13, 2007
The bug hit around 10pm last night. It simply requires you stay near a bathroom. While I would enjoy writing a long deeply-thought-out blog post, my computer is not close enough to the facilities to pull it off.
Other than the minor inconvenience of needing to camp near a bathroom, things are okay. We're sort of planning and organizing and finishing up laundry from our fun group that just left.
We'll write with a better update when the ick passes.
Sunday, August 12, 2007
A New Niece
Saturday, August 11, 2007
Troy, Britt, Paige and I went on an all-day outing without the little people. We had a nice lunch at the Montana and got to meet up with Zach and Lori (Real Hope for Haiti) and then Beth and John (Heartline Ministries/Maranatha Children's Home.) We officially started our goodbye's because Zach and Beth are both leaving this week and won't return to Haiti until after we have already gone.
The team heads to the airport in the morning. They had a great week here and we ALL had the pleasure of seeing God at work in LaDigue.
Britt is sending most of her stuff back to America with the Michigan team, we'll retrieve it from them at some point. The next two weeks are packed with more to do than can be done ... so we feel we are officially entering our "departure stage" ... a 3+ month maternity break/furlough sounded really good back when we planned it in April. But now that it is almost here, we are all getting sad and feeling like our bright idea was not so bright. Troy already thinks he cannot deal with being gone that long ... we'll see, maybe the plan will evolve a bit yet. It is weird (good weird) how much Haiti has become home even after just a year and a half. We started having our impromptu cries today, if we space them out over the next two weeks it won't be such a scene on the day(s) we fly out.
Friday, August 10, 2007
We thought you might like to see the finished product, we have new x-rays too but cannot get them on here right now. Her leg is very swollen but she has been up and doing a circle walk around her room every two hours. She is of course VERY sore. Britt is delivering meds three times a day and her husband is doing the other duties. Thanks for continued prayers for healing!