Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Final Day

Day 7 Pictures Here
Family Portrait

We tried. We had the matching outfits, jeans with white shirts, the kids were clean(ish), the camera was ready...and we couldn't pull it off. 20-some pictures later, and we had nada. They were blurry, someone's eyes were closed, looking away, pulling hair, falling down, bonking heads, mid sentence mouths, droopy eyes, you name it...we had it in every picture. The funny thing is that Jen and I were the worst, constantly looking at a kid, making a face, or talking. Oh well...our perfect picture is imperfect (a metaphor for life?). I do have to say that we did capture 'us'. Maybe it isn't the one that you would find in a doctor's office, but it is the one you may find in our house some day. We are relieved to admit that we don't have it all together, and ready to accept life's curveballs. Like leaving your kids in Haiti.

I did it to you, brought you down with us. We're heading home tomorrow and it's tough. A bond is formed, then broken, all in one short week. It's been broken before, and repaired instantly when we returned, but we can't help but worry about what it does to a 2 year old psychy. We tell ourselves that their brains won't remember it when they are 20, but we still don't like it. We can go nuts lamenting the arduous, ambiguous, ridiculous process that is adoption, but it won't do us any good. We can move to Haiti, leave the secure for the unknown. Or we can go home, love them from afar, return as soon as we can afford it and get time off, and do it all over again. These seem to be our options. Is it better to stay away until paperwork is done and then meet them and take them home at the same time? I don't think so, but it would be less painful. Hurting for love feels good though, it's not heartbreak, just heartache. Time passes quickly in hindsight, but slow in uncertain foresight. We've heard stories of some adoptions taking 2 or 3 years, stories of old laws being enforced more strictly, and as of recently we have not heard much encouraging news that they are showing any interest in making it any faster...perhaps it is even becoming slower.

Regardless, tomorrow we return, already looking forward to our next visit. Thanks for journeying with us. We look forward to seeing you all soon.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Trip to Mirebelais...

This morning I was awoken by Junior, John McHoul's right hand man on the adoption process...he was 30 minutes early to pick me up so I could go with him on 'an adventure'. Our mission was to go to Mirebelais (sp?) in order to confirm that a death certificate would in fact be on it's way to the central record keeping in Port au Prince. From what I understand, each town has someone in charge of issuing death, marriage, and birth certificates, and when they are completed, they are supposed to make their way to PaP for storage. Part of Junior's job is to make sure that all documents that may be needed in the future are in fact there. I have learned from Junior that you cannot take anything for granted in this process. That every seemingly simple step can in fact be a major stumbling block for adoptions. Apparently, the powers that be are jaded towards adoption, all the way from the UN down. I'll have to look into this more when I get home. Anyway, we go to what would be our clerk of the court, a building next to a UN building, and arrived at 8:00...they don't open until 9:00 (thanks for getting me up early Junior ;), so we ran a different errand first, to find the birth mother of another kid to make sure she can still be located. Junior says, "all I know is that she said she lives near the soccer field". So off we go, asking where the soccer field is, then if anyone knows this lady. To Junior's credit, we found her house fairly quickly, and learned that her father died and she was at his funeral. No problem, we know she is here. In the meantime, Junior looks up and sees someone that he knows from a long time ago who lives nearby...I learned that Junior knows everyone from a long time ago, since he is constantly "planting seeds" and meeting anyone and everyone. He has a photographic memory and remembers faces and situations extremely well...or so it seemed to me.

Then we went back to the clerk, he wasn't there and there was a line of people waiting. Junior calls him, he shows up, we go straight into the office and caught some looks of disapproval from those who were waiting. We go back to this 'Official' office. it consists of a white, 6'x8' room, a wooden desk and two chairs. Nothing else. In the end the man says that he will need to make a book' to send down to PaP, with a fee involved. Junior doesn't need this to happen for a few more months and says he will go tell John. Mission accomplished, the document is on the radar of the clerk, he knows it's important, Junior continues to have a rapport with him, and the price of doing business will be agreed on later. We take so much for granted in the states. Just to get someone to do what they are supposed to be doing in the first place requires a personal visit, and hounding to make sure it gets done.

I gained a greater appreciation for what Junior does. He is good at it, and seems to enjoy it.

My bed and my wife are calling me...good night.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Family Day 5...



This afternoon we got out the biggest salad bowl you have ever seen, filled it with water and let the four kids play in it. Zoe and Addie weren't too impressed but participated nonetheless, Gino and Sammy had a blast. From cannonballs to cups of water over eachother's head, we fear that bath time at the 'boys house' will never be the same for these two. We are feeling the end of our stay coming nearer, and so each little stolen moment has a little more meaning. This bath was a special one for me.


We have been spending a lot of time in our apartment above the 'girls house', mainly because it gives us time alone with the boys. Unfortunately, I get stir crazy, and a bad case of cabin fever if I'm boxed in too long. I either mentioned it to Jen, or she sensed it, and so she suggested that I walk down to the bakery to get us some fresh breadsticks (that are addictive)...but first I needed to take something next door. Well, unfortunately, two bags full of breadsticks had just arrived next door, including 10 that were purchased for us. So that trip went out the window. However, tomorrow morning I will be going with Junior to Mirebelais, a village, to run an errand with him and get to see more of Haiti. I'm looking forward to it, and so should you.


Yup, we've thought about packing them up and bringing them home...but our better judgement tells us to wait in line like everyone else. We figured that if we got them to Miami and claimed that they were Cuban, then we could have them under the wet foot/dry foot rule. We'll keep thinking. Any other ideas? *We're kidding.

That's it for now, Jen had some excitement during one of her runs with a couple of the other ladies here, but since this is called His Blog Her Blog, she'll have to write about that one. Good night!

Sunday, January 25, 2009


It's 10:10, which means it feels like it's midnight since Haiti virtually shuts down and restarts with the setting and rising of the sun, so I'll make this one quick. Today we went to the Haitian/American church called Port au Prince Fellowship. It's an experience in itself, and if anyone were to tell me about a plan for this type of church I would have been a nay sayer, laughed and told them it would never work. I say this because the service is in english, and yet 95% of the attendees are Haitians. It is a beautiful mix of foreign and local, joyful worship, and servant hearts. It's organic and wonderful. The singing is not polished, but it's a rusty old pickup truck that has it's own intrigue, style, and character. You wouldn't take it to a car show, but you'd be proud to drive it. Afterwards we had a nice lunch and watched a gentleman crush a can of beans on his head (more on that another day...maybe, I'm still trying to process what happened). We overheard a conversation in which Carlos Whittaker was mentioned (my sister's husband's brother who is big in the blogosphere), which was funny to us...we'll have to let him know that he's being spoken of in the Haitian missionary circles. Zoe has made a new friend, Katie Grace, who is 9 years old and looks and acts eerily like Zoe. They had an amazing tea party, I was envious. I took the girls swimming for a little daddy/daughter time while Jen let the boys have a raucous time in the bath. We had leftovers for dinner, and had some amazing milkshake/coffee/choclate type dessert/drink that Byron our neighbor and host made for us. And now all the kids are sacked out on the futon, and Jen has abandoned me once again as I burn the Haitian midnight oil to keep you updated. Good night mom, my faithful commentor (and you too Lani)....and to all of you that do read, and leave no feedback, g'night.


Saturday, January 24, 2009

Funny Things


Since our joy in this visit is tempered by the reminders that the Haitian adoption process is slower than the clay turtles that Addie stuck to our window, we thought we'd share some funny things with you to keep things light (for our sake and yours!):

We put headphones on Sammy with Veggie Tales playing...he spent the next 30 seconds looking all around for where the sound was coming from (the cieling? no. the floor? no. Addie? no. Zoe, Gino? no.) Had it been Gino, we think he would have had the whole thing deconstructed to find the source (he is a thinker and tinkerer).

We're contemplating spelling Gino's name Dino when we return to the states (since that's closest to the phoenetics of it)...we'll wait until after we get back so we don't cause any more confusion on this end...they have enough excuses to hold on to our papers already.

Sammy has episodes that can be mistaken for seizures...he's perfected the art to the point where he scared some visitors that don't know him. He has a shut down act when he thinks someone is going to leave. He throws his head back, closes his eyes, and goes silent...until he cracks his eyelids open and stares out of the corner of his eye to see if you've fallen for it.

Gino/Dino is an excellent mimicker. Once he's on a roll, you can get him to imitate almost any action...we had him rubbing his tummy, patting his head, poking someone else, picking his nose, itching his ear, etc.

Gino/Dino is afraid of me with my shirt off...while this may not suprise many of you, it was funny to us. I suppose he can tolerate pale skin in small doses, but when I was changing my shirt, you would have thought he saw a ghost...hmmm....time for a tan?

We're having trouble taking pictures, either we're stark white, or they are too dark. Sometimes we get it right. Time to experiment with flashes.

Sammy still has his chipmunk tendencies. He'll hold his last bite of anything until he's presented with something better...resulting in the ejection of a soggy, chewed up ball of whateveritwas in order to make room for the new offering. Today it was trail mix, then a carrot.

We had another dance party today, Sammy has some suave moves, Gino has mastered the march, Zoe has a "special 6 year old dance", and Addie throws the hips (she gets it from her father), Jen got funky like I've never seen before.

Gino makes sure that everyone else eats his food that is too hot for him, repeatedly shoving forkful after forkful into my mouth whether I was ready or not.

Sammy will be our quarterback...he has good arm speed and accuracy with a Nerf football...catching?...not so much.

I'm stoked about the return of nap time...Sammy and Gino share my fondness for the afternoon siesta.

Gino is scared of statues (yes, and my white belly, but I already told you about that). There are two 3 foot tall Haitian carvings that he would run away from.

Gino has a sleepy routine of pulling his belly button and sucking in his bottom lip. Sammy just cries when you put him down.

Addie said tonight, "I'm going to sleep by myself tonight.". She went and tucked her brothers in, laid down next to them....and a minute later she was in our bed asking for someone to lay down with her.

Zoe got a bloody wasn't my was the trampoline...and maybe had something to do with a 210 pound man jumping with a 6 year old...but that's all I'm saying.

We're learning all about generators, inverters, stacks of car batteries for power....and sweating through the night.

Good night.


Tim asked me to write about yesterday. I will attempt to do this one handed since Dino insists on my holding him this morning. As some of you may know I'm training to run a marathon, while typically I love my training runs and the time alone...I didn't want to run yesterday at all!! I woke up and Gino (Pronounced Dino) and Sammy were smiling and giggling at me and i just didn't want to go. I wanted to enjoy the moment but the reality of 26.2 miles hit me up side the head and so I ran the streets of Haiti with Beth, Tara, and Shelly. While I was running Tim fed the kiddos and took them back to the boys house and hung out while they did their morning activites. I meet up with them, sweaty and covered in the mud of wet streets, to find Addie and Sammy making shapes with playdouhgh and Zoe "mothering" any child that showed a hint of "need." It's been fun to watch Addie take on the role of big sister with gusto, she is eager to throw away their diapers, get the toys they drop and help them learn new words. Zoe awaits any chance to help out and stays at the boys house, even staying behind without any of us, to "help a lil' longer".

(Ahhh, no little hands helping me type)

After that we returned to the apartment where we are staying and took a big family nap. Well rested, we returned to the boys house for some trampoline jumping, swinging and playing with friends. We returned to our place for a variation on bath time. Since we only have a shower and cold water we have been putting bathing suits on them, filling a large bucket with water and giving them cups to play with the water. THEY LOVE IT! It gives them a chance to experiment and play with water while they get cooled off. After about the bucket is emptied we soap them down and start over. In the end we have clean happy kids!!! Fun stuff.

We had a nice dinner with some other adoptive parents that arrived yesterday and all the people invovled in the minisitry here. Well past the boys bed time Dino was fast asleep in my arms and Sammy wasn't far behind. We called it a night and worked on processing the day with the girls before they drifted off.

So, that was yesterday and now I must get ready for the fun that awaits us today!!!

One more thing...I DON'T WANT TO GO HOME!!!!!!!


Friday, January 23, 2009

Day #2 pictures, blog to come tomorrow...

Pictures from Day #2 HERE

Sorry to make you wait, but it's 10:30 and we're pooped...I'll try to get to blogging in the morning. Great day.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

One Big Happy Family...

In hind sight, it would have been a really good idea to take a picture of all of us together for the first time, on the first day...but behold, the day is done, the girls and boys are asleep on a futon mattress laid on the floor, and Jen and I are pooped after getting up at 4am for our flight this morning.
Our first encounter with the boys as a family was a huge success. The boys reattached quickly, as soon as they had determined that we in fact were the same people that loved on them a few months prior. Zoe and Addie slid into their big sister roles with ease, and adjusted instantly to Haiti (I don't think that is normal).
Even thought it was freezing in Florida when we left, it is still 90 degrees + feels like Haiti, and we are readjusting to sweating fact, I am two feet from a cold shower since the bathroom is the only place we can pick up the WiFi signal from next door, and I can't wait to jump in it.
We don't have any official news on the progress of beaurocracy, but apparently they still haven't passed the updated guidlines that will permit couples who already have biological children to adopt. So currently we are in a pile of applications that are awaiting 'special' approval. We haven't heard from Junior, the point man on the paperwork, so this is only what we have heard through the vine.
The shower is calling me (and Jen has already directed me to where the toothbrush and toothpaste are...her subtle way of telling me that I have funky breath), so I'm going to take care of some personal hygeine and write again tomorrow.
Thanks for your love, prayers, and support. We appreciate you all.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Blog again, blog again, jiggety jig...

Sorry for our blogging absence, it's been a busy month or two, with little news on the adoption front, other than we are leaving today and arriving in Port au Prince tomorrow. We're excited as this is the first time our entire family will be together!! We intend to blog during our trip and keep you updated with stories and pictures. Thanks for being on this journey with us, your support, prayers and friendship are appreciated deeply. Let the adventure continue.