Forever Changed

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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.

2 1/2

We leave for Haiti in 2 1/2 days and I am filled with emotion. Our plane leaves Nashville at 6:00 am. on the 30th and we land in Port au Prince at 3:55 EST. I don’t know how long it will take us to go through customs then be taken to the orphanage, but I think by 6:30 pm we should be meeting our 2 1/2 year old little boy. Just typing that leaves a lump in my throat. I will be so thankful to give him a hug, look into his eyes, love on him. ❤
I’ve been packed for at least 2 weeks. I keep adding little things to the suitcases that I think the children will enjoy. I’ve checked the weather, tried to check the political climate there, double checked my tickets. There is nothing left to do but wait until Sunday.

I read a blog post a few days ago by someone describing their experiences on a mission trip to Haiti.  I can’t seem to get her final words out of my mind:

The vast disparity between where we lived in Haiti for a week and no matter where we live in the United States is difficult to comprehend. It wakes up a part of your being that rarely gets stirred and leaves you stuck between two worlds.

That’s really how I feel.  I can’t wait to get there and meet my little boy, of course.  But I also can’t wait to get back to that simple world and feel the Caribbean breezes, see the Haitian smiles and, believe it or not, even to feel the humidity that causes me to never stop sweating.  There is something in my heart that keeps pulling me to Haiti.

2 1/2 more days!

Empowered to Connect

Joey and I are lucky enough to be attending a conference called Empowered to Connect.  I say lucky because Dr. Karen Purvis, founder of said conference, has devoted her life to developing research-based interventions for at-risk children.  We sat and listened to her most of the day yesterday and learned so much, it went by too quickly.  I know Joey was thinking he would go the first day (to make me happy) and then maybe skip out on the 2nd day, but even he enjoyed it and is looking forward to going back again today :0

I think most of my family/friends believe that my expectations are that we will bring Bo home from the orphanage and he will fit in to our home and lives effortlessly and we will all live happily ever after.  That’s not really what I think.  I’ve read books, spent hours and hours researching the internet, met with social workers, read more books, followed multiple blogs by moms who have adopted children from hard places.  I know about the risks and challenges that face adoptive parents. God is blessing us with the opportunity to be parents to another precious child and I am humbled that He would choose us.  (It’s not because we were unbelievably wonderfully perfect parents the first time around and those of you that know us personally would, I’m sure, agree!)  So, I want to go into this thing well prepared, ready for the unique and sometimes uncomfortable situations I know we will face.  So, bring on the conferences, books, blogs…I can’t seem to get enough of them.

Laura

Only 15 days til we meet Bo! Whoop Whoop

the next 20 days

What a week it has been  🙂    Thank you so much to everyone who watched our video on Give1Save1caribbean this week.  I feel like our story is a bit different and I pray that it brought awareness to the  orphan crisis and maybe spoke to another couple who has been thinking about adopting but fears they are too old.  The donations received will help pay for one of our trips to Haiti to visit our son in the orphanage before we are able to bring him home.  If you donated, THANK YOU from the bottom of our hearts.

We will be leaving for Haiti in 20 days to meet our son, Bo (age 2 1/2), for the first time.  I get so many conflicting emotions going on inside when I think about what this experience will be like….excited, happy, joy…I can’t wait to hug him.  I can’t wait to look deep into his eyes and somehow convey to him that I am his mommy and I will fight to bring him home to us as fast as I can.  I want to sit with him, play with him, eat with him, nap with him.  BUT, I also have these fears constantly sneaking into my mind:  What if he doesn’t like us?  What if he is scared of us?  What if he looks at us and thinks “why are everyone else’s new parents young, but my new parents are old?”

Since March I have been living each day listening to and trusting God at every step of this very long adoption process.  God has taught me so much along the way (like, I found out how much God actually talks to you if you are listening 🙂  Over the next 20 days this is what I’m going to focus on:

*I will be listening to God each day…all the way to Haiti.

*I will try so hard not to listen to the “voices in my head” telling me I’m too old.

*I will look forward to the totally unique way that God will bring us together with one of His precious children.

*I will continue to be humbled by God choosing me to be this little boy’s mommy (I still can’t believe He would choose me )

*I will pray that, to my very special little boy, I look like the mommy he has longed for.

If you have already had this experience of meeting your adopted child for the first time, please share your experience..the good, the bad, and the ugly 🙂

Haiti’s Orphan Crisis

Facts on Haiti………. Haiti has the highest percentage of orphans of any country in the Western Hemisphere (430,000 before the 2010 earthquake). 1 in 7 children die before the age of 5. 1 in 5 are born with a disability. 25-40% of children under 5 suffer from malnutrition. …

Life expectancy is 50 for men and 53 for women. 80% live under the poverty line. Average annual income is $480. Only 53% can read and write.

The Facts on Today’s Orphan Crisis

Throughout the world tragedy separates parents from children leaving the broken lives of little ones who need caring people to intervene and change their paths. How bad is it? Here are some facts to keep you informed. Fact: Nearly 150 million children across the world are orphans. …

Fact: Every 2 seconds, another orphan dies from malnutrition.
Fact: 87.6 million orphans live in Asia. 43.4 million Orphans live in Sub-Saharan Africa. 12.4 million orphans live in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Fact: 6,000 children are orphaned by AIDS every day. That is a newly orphaned child every 14 seconds.
Fact: Around the globe, 15,200,000 children have been orphaned by the AIDS crisis. If all these children held hands, they would stretch across the United States. By 2011, this virtual chain will reach around the world. Fact: It is estimated that there will be 400 million orphans by 2015.

Family of the Week

Thankful!  God is faithful to His promises!

This week we are the Family of the Week at Give1Save1Caribbean.  I have been truly touched by the willingness of friends and total strangers to donate to our adoption.  It’s humbling.  I sat at work this morning and saw some more people given and I almost broke out in tears right in front of students.  They already think I’m crazy and that would have confirmed it for them.  But I am really, really grateful.

If you haven’t seen our video yet, head on over to the Give1Save1Caribbean site and check it out.  Thank you to everyone for your support.

Laura