Monday, December 24, 2012

sharing the day

Birthday date night
Hope happens to be our most mellow, most flexible child. She rolls with the punches and does not allow small things to ruffle her feathers. Perhaps being born in the back of a truck set her up to roll with the unplanned with an abundance of grace.

This character trait comes in handy when Christmas rolls around and everyone is (rightfully) focused on the birth of Jesus and she must share her birthday with the King. She is easy-going and thinks it is a wonderful date to be born.

Today our precious gift of smiles and serenity celebrates her 11th birthday. After we sing to her, she will sing for us tonight at the Christmas Eve service. We are blessed to parent this strong and gorgeous girl and we're certain she has only just begun to touch the world with her unique gifts.  

Happy Birthday Hope ... And Merry Christmas Eve to all.

~       ~       ~

An excerpt from the archives:

Hope's FIRST-mother shares with us that Hope was born on the way to a hospital in the back of a tap-tap (public transportation) in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, on Christmas Eve, 2001. 

How is that for a grand entrance?! 

April 2002
We first met Hope in April of 2002 when she was just about four months old.  She has always been a mellow, soft-spoken, patient little girl. She has also always been a tough-as-nails-girl.

A few months into her adoption she began to lose weight. Each time I would visit she would either be the same size or smaller. In mid-August of 2002 I was very concerned, she seemed to be losing ground consistently.

In late August we got an email that said "Hope is sick. We cannot touch her. She just screams. Send medicine." Well, we all know how I handled that. I was on an airplane in less than 24 hours.

When I arrived in Haiti it hit me that I had no one to talk to and was all alone with a very sick little girl and no great ideas about how to find her help. I was left to do my best and pray. I have never prayed harder then I did during those five days I was alone with her in a small hotel room. She had passed a kidney stone, that was why she screamed and would not let anyone touch her. A 12 pound baby passing a kidney stone is almost unheard of, but that is exactly what happened. The orphanage nannies saved the tiny little stone and we brought it back to MN to find out what was causing her trouble.

A urologist in MN tested it and determined that she was both severely malnourished and dehydrated. We began the process to apply for a medical visa to get her out of Haiti and to the USA for surgery. One kidney was very enlarged and there was no telling when the next stone would begin to cause problems.

Three weeks later, in mid September, my dad and Paige and I flew to Haiti, prepared to ask the U.S. Embassy to let her out prior to the end of her adoption, on a medical visa.

The orphanage director was very negative towards the idea and attempted to discourage us from applying for the medical visa. She was also the person ultimately in charge of the orphanage that was allowing Hope to be dehydrated and starved ... But I won't go there because I cannot say anything nice about that whole thing.

We went to the Embassy fully prepared and armed to the teeth with documentation. We had repeatedly been told that our request would likely be denied.

The lady from the Embassy looked for a few key documents, gave us ZERO grief and told us she would have a visa ready THAT AFTERNOON. 

Hope came home to MN in late September, not as our child in the legal sense, but on a 90 day visa. She had surgery a few days after arriving in the USA. She came through like a champ but required a second surgery 40 days later. In between the two surgeries her adoption was legally completed and we returned with her to Haiti to finalize the legal end of things and to pick up Isaac who was then also ready to come to Minnesota.

Hope has been with our family since she was nine months old. She fought through kidney stones and dehydration and malnutrition. She is an incredibly resilient little girl.

Happy Birthday to our tap-tap Christmas Eve baby girl.