Our trip to Haiti to meet Berlino…
We left our house at 3:30 am on Sunday and returned to our house at 11:30 pm on Wednesday and we will never be the same. And I’m so glad.
When we got to the airport on Sunday morning I was feeling so good about having gotten everything together and organized. I had filled 2 large suitcases with supplies for the orphanage and toys & clothes for the kiddo’s. We packed our clothes in 2 carry on’s and we traveled light. We went through security and almost made it through, until the TSA official noticed I had shampoo and bug spray in too large of a container in my carry on. Ugggg! I know better and I’m so frustrated with myself for messing that up. So we decided to go back and check the carry on as well. So I go back to the check in lady, tell her what happened, pay the $40 bucks and off I go through security again. Then I find out that I must have put my passport in my bag that I just checked and can not go through security. Long story short, they had to get someone to get my bag off the plane, open it up to get the passport, then bring it to the check in lady so that I could go through security. EMBARRASSING! But we made it to the plane just in time to board and made it to Haiti at 4:00 p.m. Needless to say, Joey is in charge of inspecting our suitcases and handling the passports from now on!
We arrived in Haiti too late to go to the orphanage so we settled in at the guest house and looked forward to meeting Berlino early on Monday. Have you ever heard the term “Haiti Time”. Haiti time is nothing like American time. In Haiti everything just happens whenever in happens. Therefore, it was 11:00 before our driver got us to the orphanage. They opened the gate and we were immediately swarmed by little brown boys and girls with smiling faces, chattering and laughing. We looked through the children and saw our little guy shyly standing at the back of the crowd. Joey moved forward and gently picked him up. He didn’t seem scared, just shy. I had to talk to the nanny about the supplies I brought so Joey spent a few minutes with him alone. Then it was my turn. I picked him up and was flooded with such emotion. I was finally holding this little boy that I had dreamed about and longed for. I’m sure he was trying to figure out why this old white lady was crying and shaking but he tolerated me until I could pull myself together. He is such a great little boy. All I could think about the whole time we were there is “how did I get so lucky to be given this opportunity?” .
We spent the day at the orphanage until 5:00 and the driver picked us up to take us back to the guest house. Meals at the guest house were very good and we enjoyed trying new foods and having cold drinks. There was no tv or entertainment so when it got dark we went to bed (we were exhausted anyway). The next day we made it to the orphanage by 9:00 (yah!) and the nannies let us spend the whole morning with Berlino alone while they had school with the other children. We had brought him a Wee People airplane along with some other toys but he loves that airplane and we pushed it back and forth for the longest time. We also blew up balloons and blew bubbles. We loved having one on one time with him and I think he felt special being given our attention. After a few hours the other children filled the courtyard and we were back to blowing up balloons for 20 children and solving who took who’s toy and picking up little girls that had fallen and wiping runny noses. But we loved every minute of it. We were able to take Berlino with us back to the guesthouse to spend the night. We played with a blow up ball and bat and were so proud to see him catch and throw and kick…he’s got skills! I brought some markers and coloring book and he knew how to color, carefully positioning the marker in his hand correctly and coloring in a very age appropriate way. He’s so smart. Can you tell I’m a proud Momma?!
When it was time to go to sleep he layed with us for a while then I led him to the end of our bed where his crib was. He understood and lifted his leg over the rail and laid down on his belly. He only lifted his head twice to make sure we were still there, then fell asleep within 5 minutes. We all woke up at 5:30 and we were able to spend several more hours with him until it was time to go to the airport. I held Berlino in the car and he fell asleep with his head on my chest. The closer we got to the airport the more I was overcome with emotion. Somehow, in the 2 1/2 days we were there we totally bonded with Berlino and we were not prepared for the emotional messes we would be when we left him. We both cried off and on the whole way home to Nashville. And even today we are still dealing with the emotions of being so far away from a child that we love so deeply.
Berlino has changed our lives for ever. We will be visiting him again right after Christmas. Haitian adoptions take a very long time….remember “Haiti Time!” Of course, we want to visit him as many times as we can afford…we will just take one-day at-a-time, one-trip-at-a-time until we bring our little guy home. Please pray that Haitian officials would begin processing adoptions in record time.
I took over 600 pictures while I was in Haiti….you can never take too many pictures of your child. I will refrain from boring you by posting them all here but I managed to pick just a few of my favorites.