Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Blog Aversion Relief #2

Q. I know the life expectancy for Haitians is extremely low.. in the 40s, I think. Yet some Haitians live incredibly long.. into their 80s. How on earth do you think they do it? Genetics? Luck? Or do you think that the infant mortality rate and the under 5 death rate is so high that it pulls the life expectancy rate way down?

My initial response was to say, yes, there are lots of older people in Haiti, so the life expectancy of 57 years MUST be pulled down by the deaths of so many babies. But then I saw this, breaking down the make-up of the population ...

0-14 years: 41.8% (male 1,881,509/female 1,851,591)
15-64 years: 54.7% (male 2,386,761/female 2,495,233)
65 years and over: 3.5% (male 135,695/female 173,764) (2008 est.)

We were amazed at the number of much older ladies and gentlemen out in the village, they must just be tough and have amazing genetics. How is that for a very scientific answer? Aren't you just so glad you asked? The CIA factbook makes it clear that people don't often live to be 90.

Fun Fact: Tipap's Granny is still alive and they say she is over 100.

Q. I was wondering if you really need my help finding someone to burn an old mattress for you?

No. Burning trash is not a problem for me. I can easily find someone to do it right outside my front door. Thanks though.

Q. Our two beauties in Haiti are orphans, we know basically nothing about their history... any ideas on how to best deal with this? 2)We are thinking of keeping their given first names, but changing the middle to be something we've chosen...advice? They are 6 and 3. 3) We plan to visit them in end of March or so, we've "known them in pictures and video" for nearly a year, they still do not know they are being adopted even... tell them when we visit, wait and act as "just visiting"? We are still at least a year out.

I am not a sociologist, psychologist, or adoption specialist ... and maybe they would all give you a lot better answers. I think if you truly cannot get any information about the death of the mother or any family info from a relative, then it will be important for you to be armed with as much information as you can have about where they were born and who they lived with prior to them coming to you. My kids have not really started asking any of this yet, but I assume they will have lots of questions some day. I think the only wrong answer is to say, "Oh why do you want to know that - you have us and we love you so none of that matters." They will have questions some day and allowing them to feel whatever they feel is so important. (Which you obviously know based on the question.)

Your idea about their names is great! Changing a first name of an older child can sometimes be a challenging thing. Some kids want a name change, others don't. (Please don't send hate mail if you disagree with me. Just disagree.)

Your last question shows tons of sensitivity. The 6 year old is old enough to get it. I can only tell you what I would do after seven years of watching the Haitian adoption process ebb and flow. And of course, it is totally your call and something to pray about and decide together. Knowing what I know now, I would choose not to tell a six year old that I was their Mom or that I would be taking them home to live with me until I was certain of the finalization of the adoption. ( And again, we can agree to disagree on this. Lots of people choose to tell their kids upon meeting them and I am sure they thought it through and came to their decision prayerfully.) I won't bore you with the reasons tonight, there are a few that play into my thoughts on this.


Had a great day today and got to see something further south than the National Palace, so that was really cool. I will incorporate the story of today's events into my answer to the last couple questions. (Heather P. and E-Mom, I left your questions for last.) Must snooze now though.