Monday, September 27, 2010

The total update: More than you want to know

Proud U.S. Citizen - Phoebe Joy

Sharing (most of) the letter sent to our partners a couple of weeks ago...

Sept. 2010 
Greetings to you from central Texas. We hope you're easing into the routines of fall and that you enjoyed a great summer.

We're writing to thank you for your love and support and to update you on our plans. We'd originally planned to send another snail-mail update but decided to get the information to you sooner by using e-mail this time around.  

We're grateful to you for the grace you have shown us in 2010. Thank you for helping us tread through the unknown and giving us the space and time we needed to rest and to heal.

 We arrived in Texas seven months ago thinking we'd be here just a month or two. We only wanted to be here for a short time. While our hearts are in Haiti and we truly desire to be there; we know God has been working in us and on us during this time in America. 

You did not sign up to support us in Waco, TX - yet you graciously did just that these last seven months. Thank you. You have offered us much love and grace. We are touched by it.

So much has happened since the Earthquake - 
  • Tara traveled to Haiti in March for two weeks
  • Troy traveled to Haiti in April, May and June - Paige joined him in June.
Paige's race-day
  • Our counseling sessions were a blessing, and have come to a close.
  • Paige ran a half-marathon and raised $52,000 for housing
  • We've done some traveling and speaking/fundraising/advocating for both ministries. We've seen God provide with new funding sources for our Haitian neighbors as a result.
  • We've had an opportunity to meet with a few families as they head to the field and to encourage and help them as they go. It has been exciting and humbling to see and learn that God is using our experiences to draw others to the mission-field.
  • Phoebe became a U.S. citizen on 8-9-10 :)
Paige's baptism
  • We spent time with family/friends in Iowa/MN
  • Paige, Isaac, Hope and Noah started school in mid-August at a charter school in Waco.
  • Phoebe had surgery to correct her eyes last week.
  • We've applied to re-adopt Phoebe in the state of TX

With all of that accomplished, and a time of rest, we feel more than ready to get back to the place we've come to think of as home. God has used each of Troy's trips to confirm in his heart a peace about returning with the entire family.  All of these things are good.

We had originally hoped to be back home in time for school to start in mid August. When that became impossible we prayed and hoped to be able to return in mid-October. We're learning a lot about waiting and patience. 

Our nephew Porter
The one thing holding us up from returning as a complete family is Phoebe's passport/adoption.  We need to finish her Texas re-adoption in order to have the documentation required and change her legal name. We're already well into that process and anticipate the court date will take place soon.

We want to try as often as possible to keep our family together in the same country. Because we still have paperwork to complete and because four of the kids have started school and need some stability and consistency, we will delay our return to Haiti until the very end of the year.

We are happy to share that we recently purchased eight airline tickets from DFW to PAP.

In the next three months we're hoping for more speaking invitations. Troy may be traveling to Haiti.  We'll continue assisting/supporting both ministries whenever and however possible. We'll be finishing Phoebe's TX adoption by jumping through all the hoops required to make that happen. 

In mid-December we will all get to celebrate the graduation of Brittany (our oldest daughter) and Chris (our son-in-law) from Baylor University, which is a huge added bonus. Our kids will be able to finish the entire semester here in TX and be back home in time to start second semester at Quisqueya Christian School in Port au Prince.

We are so anxious to get home and we ask that you'll pray with us for all of the pieces to come together. We are very blessed to be able to work in Haiti and count it an honor and gift. The last five years have stretched us more than we could have imagined. We're grateful.  As always, we're amazed by your generous hearts and the love you show. Thank you for helping us be love and mercy to our Haitian neighbors, we are privileged to have your trust and partnership.

With our love and respect,

T & T & Tribe


  • A major argument over whether or not ALL the kids would get an "America birthday" has been settled.  Every kid will have had their America birthday by the time we roll out of here.  Crisis averted. In this one instance - life is fair. 
  •  At the beginning of the school year we had asked the kids not to obsess about the return date.  We suggested that until we know something for certain that they not worry about telling their teachers. Noah was incredibly quiet -uncharacteristically quiet. I said, "Noah, you already talked to your teacher huh?"  He said, "Yes, on the first day I told her in ten days I am going back to Haiti."  :) 
  • Isaac is worried Peanut (our Mastiff) won't remember him. "What if she doesn't know me!?!?!" I don't really know how he will determine if she does or does not remember him. 
  • Paige has been working her buns off in school and to pull her out mid-semester would have been very hard on her and her academic situation. We are super proud of the work-ethic she is rocking right now.
  • Hope remains our always-dependable kid that rolls with everything and quietly does her thing. With so many dramatic personalities around here Hope makes it her business to make us all look like spazzy freaks. 
  • Paige will attempt to become a licensed driver in the State of TX in about 60 days - a fabulous benefit to the timing of her year in America. We shall see how she does in late Nov. when she officially hits Sweet 16.
  • Phoebe will go before a judge and after almost four years as a respected member of this family she will also be recognized as such by the United States government. 
  • We'll travel to MN for WWV Banquet (See their site for tickets - Nov 6Megan H. is coming to Waco fill in as Mom/Dad/Taxi - she'll need prayer. :)
  • Britt and I are training together and spending lots of quality time together while logging our miles. I feel incredibly blessed to have this time with my eldest child.
  • Our goal of returning to Haiti with zero children wearing diapers may be impossible ambitious but when one considers that the last time there were no diapers to change the date was Sept 20, 2002 - Eight years. It seems like a perfect time to be done with this season decade of spending hundreds of dollars on absorbent cotton. Six+ diapers per day; Hmmm let me do the math ... that times two times 365 @ 28cents a diaper  ... yep, that equals us being obnoxiously wealthy very soon.  
  • Since we wrote the update (above) we're starting to think Troy may not get to Haiti. Not sure. This America life is busy. How do you people do this!?!?!?  Every day another event/meeting/school obligation.
  • We happened to glance at our stack of passports the other day and realized that three kids' passports expire soon. How dumb would that have been?  Phew. Crisis number two averted.
  • Our sweet friend Joanna has offered to help us with the trip home. (cleaning up and moving out of our borrowed home - 16 - 50lb bags, 8 - 40 lb carry ons and many tired/emotional children adults - a skilled helper/friend will be huge help!) Jo left Haiti with us in February and will return with us after Christmas.  That is true friendship!
  • leaving Haiti with our 8th baby in tow
  • There are a 100 reasons to be excited to go home and two not to be.  1. No more Tex-mex   2.  John McHoul has been feeding our dog for months and we'll never ever ever repay him. Even when we do repay him  - he will say we haven't. 
  • I had always thought that when the last of our (American) Hermit Crabs died, it would be a sure sign that it was time to move this tribe back to Port au Prince. Once when I wondered aloud if we could smuggle them out of the USA, Troy said, "Nah. They will all be dead by then."  It seemed to me like what Troy said might be a tangible and possibly even prophetic sign. "Verily I say unto you, This (crab) generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled." 
    A few weeks back the last of the kids' crabs (aptly named "Lucky") died.
    We still live in TX. So much for prophetic signs. I guess we cannot judge our future upon the life-span of Hermit Crabs ever again.
  • We are thankful for the way God has given us things we didn't want or think we needed and that it has forced us to have this time of re-evaluating, counseling and refueling. We've never stopped missing Haiti but we have finally seen the value in many of the things that have happened as a result of us being here.   

We head back asking God for more ... More opportunities to grow, to change, to see, to learn, to serve, to hurt, to trust, to heal, to love.