Friday, September 30, 2011

so much grace

photos: Jonna Howard

seven seriously sedulous days

16 of us out celebrating
Happy Hendricks
Ryan & Melissa (Guesthouse Managers)
"The Aussies" Bec and Barry
The photos above were taken last Friday night - one week ago. We all went to a fancy place to celebrate Beth.  It was so much fun. That was the night Troy rear-ended the son of a prominent Haitian politician on our way to Beth's birthday celebration. Everyone watched him do it. John predictably made jokes about wanting to drive behind Troy. Good times I tell you, nothing like having everyone you work with see you rear-end someone. If you are going to plow into the back of someone, make it count.  We're still waiting to hear what that is gonna cost us. (And also what better brakes will cost too. Ahem.)

Saturday was a zero photo day. We (and by we I mean I) went for a long run with Beth and we cleaned out a few scary drawers and chillaxed at home most of the day.

Sunday - Troy led worship at church and Mirlene gave birth. We left church early to try to be at her delivery but missed it by a nano-second. The Harbor House moms are all invited to spend a night at our house after they give birth.  The greatest compliment of all time came from Mirlene.  She was at our house for about four hours when she shyly asked me if she could possibly go home to see her friends and housemates. She said "I miss them." So at 8:30 we loaded her and baby Bianca up and took them home to a happy house full of celebrating friends.

Mirlene & Bianca

Welcoming Mirlene home
Harbor House welcome for baby Bianca Sunday night

Latin competition

Hope giving her speech
dance show by three girls

Every Monday we compete with our kids at school.  They learn all week and we try to keep up with them. We usually fail. In a rare role reversal, we happened to win Monday.  But I don't wanna gloat. So I won't even mention that we won. Or that we beat them. Fairly significantly.

On Monday night Lydia, Phoebe, and Hope performed a dance for us.  Lydia became enraged when I told her that I loved her tutu.  What she is wearing in the photos is NOT a tutu.  She couldn't believe how dull I was to think that. She said she has to have pink shoes in order for it to be a tutu.  Her birthday is coming soon, we're going to get this tutu thing right if it is the last thing we do.

Once the kids were all down on Monday night the call about Widlene came ....  

Widlene labored all night and gave birth early Monday morning. After her baby arrived we dealt with the rat that had entered at 3:45. Marley the Mastiff chased the disgusting rat back out of the house.  I won't mention how brave we were being in that room with the rat for hours.(Pretty brave.)
Heather being a little less brave
Jen helping move furniture (brave!)
We showered and drank lots of caffeine and then it was off to a very busy Tuesday of Early Childhood Development Class and baby check-ups .... There were five new born exams to do and Esther came to be checked too.

Tuesday class

Mirlande and Eli

Esther on Tuesday
Wednesday was the day that went crazy-bananas ...  Lourdes Milla went to the hospital by ambulance and Alloune delivered far quicker than we imagined she would. It was insanity.  God showed up.
Alloune slept over night at our house that night. On our way from the Maternity Center to our house we stopped so her friends could peek and congratulate.

Noah holding Ashlyne
Harbor House girls doing a quick drive-by congratulations
On Thursday we had our very busy prenatal madness that we all love and enjoy ...

Alloune, Ashlyne, Mirlene, Bianca

Jen and Beth learning ultrasound

Mama Emmanuel

Thursday Class

Jen teaching ultrasound
Lourdes Milla was released from the hospital Friday, we don't have any photos yet. We'll get them. Her baby has a name that we must see written down before we attempt to share it.

We said goodbye to our bestie Dokte Jen (and cried doing it) this morning and sent her toward Mpls/StPaul. Jen is family and it feels weird when she goes. The dining room turned bedroom suite awaits her return. So do a bunch of Livesay lard-kids and their parents.

After we dropped Jennifer off we headed to the little airport to catch a MAF plane.  I want to share the photos from COTP and more about dropping off Moses and the sweet reception they all gave us. I will do that when I am less tired and less on the edge of wah waaaaaaah.

For now a few of the photos of us heading north to Cap Haitian ...

Paige, Moe, Geronne

Moses flies the friendly skies
Citadel from the sky
Pilot, M. Broyles
That.Was.A.Week!?! (howisthatpossible?)

(some photos provided by Jen, Jonna, Beth, Troy)

Counting down ...

With four births this week, we are down to three ladies left that are due soon.  We'll put together a new list of the next round of ladies soon.

Still left to deliver:  Esther, Olina, Mama Emmanuel

History on the ladies:
Post One
Post Two

Olina -  Yesterday her BP was very high.  She was switched to a new BP med and will come in again today to be rechecked.  Please be praying for this situation to be controlled and that Elizabeth can be delivered at Heartline.

Esther -  After her fear about dying was talked about, she had a good week.  She was in again yesterday and was happy.

Mama Emmanuel -  Jen and Beth went to Petit Goave and moved Mama E. to live in the postpartum wing at Heartline until she delivers.  She and little Emmanuel will hang out and help out until the baby comes.  Her husband will come to Port once she is in labor.

(Photo updates coming later.)

We are off to catch a little plane to Cap Haitian.
MOSES is on his way to his next adventure.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

timeline of insanity & grace

Alloune at 1:55pm

Alloune at 4:35pm

Before the timeline of insanity ... THE GOOD NEWS:  Both Lourdes Milla and Alloune have healthy baby girls and both Lourdes Milla and Alloune are okay tonight.

Short story -

The Harbor House gals gave us a run for our money today.

Long story -

We were all pretty wiped from Widlene's birth. We all slept hard Tuesday night into Wednesday morning.  Jen and Beth left to go to Petit Goave to get Mama Emmanuel.  Heather's oldest son was celebrating a birthday, she was busy with preparing for that. We were all thankful that we got that night of good sleep.

This morning I sent my kids off to school, posted the Moses needs a family blog, cleaned up the house and managed the two little girls.  At 10:00 I decided I needed to run in order to have a total mental reset.  I asked Geronne to watch girls.  I ran 5 miles.  I came home to see a text saying that Alloune was in labor.  I called Jonna.  We decided Alloune should come over and watch a movie at my house to get her mind off of her contractions that were still very far apart.

Troy arrived with Alloune around noon. She ate lunch and watched Yo Gabba Gabba with Lydia and Phoebe.  Her contractions started picking up.  I made a few calls and answered a few emails.  At two I suggested she shower.  At 2:11 Jen texted to say that Lourdes Milla was apparently saying her water had broken.  I was confused how Jen knew this from Petit Goave.  (Troy and Jen were talking - Troy knew.)  I told Jen to let me know what was needed from me.  I went back to Alloune to get her out of shower and got her settled lying down in our room. At 2:55 Jen called and said that Jonna wasn't able to get back to the Maternity Center and "Lourdes Milla is in trouble" and she asked if I would go.

I had a feeling that Alloune was making significant progress so I asked Geronne to stay by her side.  I got to the Maternity Center in less than five minutes to find Troy was getting the ambulance ready. (I had no idea Troy was in the loop till I got to Maternity Center.)  Lourdes Milla was unresponsive and lying in the back seat of our truck. (Which also confused me.)  I ran to get the blood pressure cuff and a doppler to check baby's heart. She was having a small and short seizure even though her vitals all looked pretty good (BP was high for her - but not crazy high) and I was easily able to get the baby's heart tones.

Troy loaded her into the ambulance while I gathered things Jen told me to gather by phone.  Jonna arrived and jumped in the ambulance to start putting the IV in Lourdes Milla.  They left to meet Jen en route to the hospital.  As it turned out they also met Heather, and she jumped into the ambulance to help. I left and headed back home.  I got home at 3:33.

I went straight to my room where I found Alloune clearly in transition and sweating profusely. I had been gone about 35 minutes total. I thanked Geronne for being awesome. She gave me the typical "it is nothing" you're welcome.  I told Alloune we needed to leave.  She was crying and not dealing with her pain well and said she couldn't leave. It took until 3:45 to convince her to leave. She did not want to walk down the steps.  I got stern, we finally got to the car.  We arrived at the Maternity Center at 3:50.  Beth was there waiting on us. Alloune was pushing.  Neither Beth nor I thought she could be complete or ready to push. Beth gave her a short lecture about not pushing too soon.  Two minutes later we realized that it wasn't too soon.  At 4:10 the water broke. At 4:13 the head was out. At 4:14 the baby was born. (I delivered her! So amazing!)

Jen and Jonna and Troy and Heather all left the hospital with Lourdes Milla stable and being prepped for surgery.  Jen was able to suture Alloune's tears from her crazy fast birth. At around 8:30pm Lourdes Milla went into her c-section.  At about 9:15 we got a call that a healthy baby girl had arrived. 

Tonight we're so grateful to God for His provision.  We're thankful people pray and battle with us in the spiritual realm. Lourdes Milla was in her English class and fine at 1:45pm and was starting to have eclamptic seizures by 2:30.  She had at least three or four seizures before they were able to get the meds into her to stop them. Jen and Beth were in crazy horrible traffic the entire time Troy was informing them of the situation. Jonna was gone shopping.

The fact that all the people ended up in places to take care of both girls in time was totally crazy and totally answered prayer.

Lourdes Milla rests at the hospital a few miles from us tonight - Wini (our amazing nurse) is with her.  Alloune is lying nearby with little seven pound baby Ashlyne and resting comfortably.  Twelve hours ago we didn't  know a thing about any of this.  If the adrenaline wears off we'll all sleep some more.

Happy ending.  Your prayers matter.

Please Pray

Alloune gave birth at 4:14pm to a healthy baby girl named Ashlyne.
LourdesMilla (pictured below) is having c-section - seizures due to eclampsia - got to hospital in time and during the ride meds for seizures brought her back around.
Please pray for Alloune (in heavy labor).
Pleae pray for Lourdes Milla. (Went into seizures and being transported to hospital now.)

He Sets the Orphan Free

Someone out there reading this will become Mommy and Daddy to a very special little boy.

Wherever you are, whoever you are, I want you to know that we've been praying for you.

We're praying for your clear discernment to move forward. We're praying for your courage.  We're praying for your strength and endurance. We are praying for financial provision. We're praying your son will be with you soon. We're praying God gives you everything you need to be parents to this wonderful and deserving little guy.

We won't stop praying.

Our goal with this blog entry is to have one post with all of the information that is currently available about sweet Moses.  We're asking you to share this on adoption groups, Facebook, blogs, Twitter and anywhere you think that potential adoptive parents might be reading.

Early in the morning on Tuesday the 9th of August a Haitian woman knocked on the gate of Heartline Ministries Maternity Center in Tabarre, Haiti. In her arms she carried a little boy. She asked one of the Heartline staff if there was an orphanage nearby.  The gate-man answered, telling her that the house was not an orphanage and she'd need to look elsewhere.

She voluntarily shared that the little boy she was carrying in her arms had not always "been like this" - that he had suffered a high fever and after that he was not the same anymore.  She said he was two years old.  That woman is assumed to have been his biological mother.

A few hours later another Heartline staff member came running to find Heartline Ministries director, Beth McHoul inside the Maternity Center because they saw a little boy lying in the dirt near the gate.  The employee and Beth picked the little guy up, brushed off the dirt and bugs, and carried him inside.

No other information about this little boy's history is available.  Heartline staff made multiple attempts to locate the woman, to no avail.  She has not been seen since the morning of August 9th. Because he was left on the ground without any papers or further identifying information, we don't know what his given name is. We don't know when or where he was born. We don't know how long ago he had the fever that most likely caused his brain damage.

On the 9th of August two different people in two different locations (one Haitian and one American) both thought that the little boy should be called 'Moses'.  In Kreyol it is spelled Moise and is pronounced Mo-EE-ze.  All of the Heartline community began calling him Moses/Moise the same day he was found.  He now responds to that name. 

The day he was found a plan to file legal paperwork was made. The filing took place over the next few days. On August 9th Moses was moved to live with a missionary family that works with Heartline. Moses has mainly been cared for by their 16 year old daughter, Paige.

It is believed that Moses probably had untreated Meningitis that caused his brain damage. There are other possibilities too, but this seems most likely.  In the seven weeks Moses has been cared for by a family he has made incredible tangible progress.  He holds his head up and steady for short periods of time, he can bear weight on his legs, he exercises his limbs and has greater range of motion, he responds to people. Moses clearly gives and receives love. He responds especially to people he knows well and recognizes. He responds to touch. He responds to music. He belly laughs. He expresses pain. Moses currently weighs 20 pounds. We would guess he is two and a half and probably closer to three years old. He eats soft foods that are spoon fed to him. He drinks with assistance from a cup.

When Moses went for a consultation at Handicap International they gave their professional opinions regarding his Cerebral Palsy and his future. They believe that he has the possibility to one day operate a wheelchair with his hands. They think it is possible for him to eventually walk a few steps to move himself from a chair to a bed. He responds well to stimulus and is alert so he will be able to learn certain things by being rewarded with results, such as pushing buttons to operate a chair or feed himself. It is not expected that he will say very many words. His range of motion and flexibility are good and will improve with physical therapy and exercise.

Most importantly - We believe with God all things are possible. Moses has captured many hearts and we don't underestimate the power of the prayers being lifted on his behalf.
Past posts with Moses:
The day after Moses was found.
More Photos
More Photos 
Prayer Request
Preparing Hearts and Home

Moses will be moving on September 30th. He will be traveling by plane to his new temporary home.

The Children of the Promise Children's Home and Adoption Program will be taking care of Moses and processing the adoption paperwork for his adoption.  Their program is located in northern Haiti.  Their adoption coordinator can be reached at this email address: They will ultimately be matching Moses to his adoptive parents.

For those new to Haiti's adoption laws and practices we'll simply say that the process is ambiguous and can be challenging.  There are hundreds of families that have successfully completed Haitian adoptions that can answer questions and be a prayer support.  One of the very first things to do if you are interested in adopting Moses or any child is to get started immediately with a licensed agency on your home-study.

The current legal requirements in Haiti are as such:
1. Parents must be 35
2. Must be married 10 years
3. No biological children

However, as long as you either come close or can meet two of those requirements, you can very likely still qualify to adopt Moses. The rules are more lenient for special needs kids.  The closer you are to meeting those qualifications, the quicker the adoption could potentially be processed.

If God is moving you to inquire about Moses please contact Robin at this address:

Costs to adopt: 
The rough estimate on his adoption is listed below. This list does not include any travel expenses. Adoptive parents will need to come to Haiti. Please add in the cost of travel. Children of the Promise requires families go through an agency, but the agency they are working with has agreed to lower their fees as well.

The estimated fees
·         Country Fee - $5,000
·         Agency Fee – $2,250
·         Translation - $250 - $500
·         I600a - $720 (plus $85 fee for biometrics for each person over 18)
·         Home study - $2000 average (varies state to state)
·         Haitian Consulate - $100
·         ESTIMATED TOTAL: $10,570  (Plus Travel)

Thank-you for praying. Thank-you for sharing this information.

He sets the orphan free.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Widlene Delivered

Widlene arrived at the Maternity Center around 11pm Monday.  She labored through the night. Heather and I handled labor watch for most of the night. Beth joined us around 4 because she couldn't sleep. Labor watch involved much puking last night. It was a little bit nutty.

The bravest moment of the entire night came around 3:45 am when a rat entered the house (and labor room) and we did not completely lose all our marbles.  Soldiers.  That's what we are.

Oh, and Widlene was pretty brave pushing out a baby too.  ;)

Widlene's daughter weighs six and a half pounds and was born at 6:45 am.

The sweet little baby girl with Widlene's eyes struggled a little bit to get breathing on her own, but is now doing well. Widlene hasn't yet chosen a name for her daughter.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Prayers for Preggos Update

Esther & Lourdes Milla
Esther's baby is now head-down!  Thanks to prayers and the brilliance of Dr. Jen and Jonna  - with some help, on Friday the baby turned.  Esther came in at midnight last night very upset and afraid. She has a sister that died after giving birth.  She was not in labor last night but was emotionally causing herself to feel pain. Please be praying for her to be at peace in the final days before she delivers.

Lourdes Milla, the clown of the Harbor House, says she is having a boy. We're not sure of that -  but she says we should be. She informed us last night that she plans to deliver last. Now that Mirlene has delivered she is waiting for Alloune to give birth.  LourdesMilla seems ready and confident but won't likely deliver until October.
Widlene seems a bit apprehensive. We keep reassuring her that she is doing well and that her baby can safely be delivered any time now. She lost her first pregnancy/baby to preeclampsia and that has caused her to seem detached at times.  She called this morning to say she was having some pain that she thinks are contractions. She may be in early labor right now, later today when we know more we'll post an update in the comments section of this post.

Marie Rose "Mama Emmanuel"
"Mama Emmanuel" (Marie Rose Lundi) did not make it on the original list we posted, but she is also inside of the 36 week mark.  I apologize for missing her on that original list. We've been doing "distance" prenatal care for her. She lives in Petit Goave but really hopes to come up to Port to deliver with us at Heartline.  We're praying the timing will work out for her to do just that.  We have a relationship with her because her son Emmanuel recovered at the Heartline hospital for many months after the earthquake. Dr. Jen built a close relationship with Marie Rose.  Once they transitioned out of the hospital, their new house was built with funds you helped us raise! You can look at an old post and read more about them here.
Olina & baby Elizabeth

Olina is so excited to be having her first child.  She is 38 years old and couldn't be more ready.  She prays every day that her daughter will be born safely and soon.  Olina is a huge encouragement to us. Each week after we finish her consultation and pray for her, she also prays for us.  She is a beautiful lady and we're blessed to be a part of her care and delivery.

Alloune is exactly the reason Harbor House exists.  Like a few of the other girls, no family will come to stand by her side (or wait in the waiting area) during the birth of her baby. When she was five her mom decided to have her leave the country-side to go live in Port au Prince. She was supposed to be sent to school in exchange for doing some household chores - but that didn't happen. She worked for the family, but was never enrolled in school. She does not have a family support system  - but she has found a new family at the Harbor House.  In the previous post Alloune is the smiling beauty in the gray and plum colored dress.  She believes she is having a girl.  She says she is not afraid.  Once Alloune delivers we'll all cheer her on while she attends literacy class and learns to read and write.  We're anxious to see her grow even more confident as she realizes how smart and capable she really is!

The most recent deliveries (Sheila, Ylna, Mirlande, Jocelyn, Mirlene) were bathed in much prayer.  That is beautiful and humbling to us and the ladies.

These are the six ladies we think will deliver next.  Thanks for all you do to support them and us with your prayers and kindness.  We truly appreciate each and every one of you.