Tuesday, October 28, 2008

A Little Clarfication

It has been asked and I feel I need to clarify for those that wonder....A lot of people have assumed that since we went to Haiti we were down there to "make" another baby so to speak! The answer to that inquiry is a big fat "no"! I went down for a few reasons.
#1 I love Haiti. I feel the same way when I am in Haiti as I do when I am at a place I would consider home.
#3 I am a friend and supporter of Haitian Roots and wanted to be there to help where I could.
#4 I wanted to be with my adoption buddies again in Haiti.
#5 I wanted my son and I to be reminded that we have EVERYTHING and to get a good dose of gratitude.
#6 I wanted to help my friend Nichole who works like crazy to make things well for Hope for Little Angels of Haiti
#7 I wanted to meet some new adoptive parents. I have found some of my favorite people willingly agree to go to hell and back for their kids and they make some really great friends!
#8 I wanted to meet Grayson's biological brother. I think it will be important for them to know each other. I feel like it is absolutely essential that we help Gray to stay connected with where he came from. Haiti is what it is, but it was his first home and I want him to be proud to be a Haitian American
So that is why I went to Haiti. While I won't ever say never, because the Lord often has "surprises" for me that he knows I am not strong enough to handle being told about until the time comes, we are not planning on adopting again.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Fall Fun

I am trying to get back from Haiti both in mind and body and it is finally occurring to me that fall is here! I love fall it is my favorite time of year. In the movie "You've Got Mail," he says that he would send her a bouquet of freshly sharpened pencils, that makes me swoon! I love the weather, colors, foods, smells and activities that go with fall. I will admit I hate Halloween and just do my best to get through it! But, besides that it's my favorite...Pumpkin chocolate chip cookies, new school supplies and trees all aglow with fall colors would be my gift to you all this time of year....

Thursday, October 23, 2008

A week in Haiti through the eyes of my 10 year old son

Like what Charles Dickens states in the beginning of his book; A tale of two cities "It was the best of times it was the worst of times," though many of us feel we are so blessed, this made me feel even more blessed in the experience which I have just came from. When we came back on the plane, going back home, I felt the feeling of how this experience had changed my life. And how would this experience change, not just me, but my character and gratitude to the home in which I live in. We arrived on Monday, the thirteenth of October. Later that day, we went to Hope For little Angels of Haiti. The parents got their kids and I couldn't help but let out tears of joy. We went outside and were able to go give the kids treat bags. The kids smiles were bigger than I can express. That happy moment I still treasure. The next day when we went was picture day for those that did not have families. That morning we played with the kids. I blew bubbles. Then a girl, around six years of age, painted my fingernails. Of course, shocked to see my dark pink fingers, I was still happy to have made her happy. That brings up Boomerang. You may ask, "Who, in the world is Boomerang?" Well during pictures, a little boy around four came out. He had a family, so we did not take his picture. Now you still may be puzzled, about the name, but the name will be pointed out clearly. My mom asked me to take him inside, I did. One minute later back he comes. I am told to take him in again, he comes out again. In the next five minutes we became best of friends. We go back to the hotel with all the pictures taken. That night at dinner the parents sing to me. The waiters hear and then out goes the lights! "Happy Birthday to you" they sing. He offers me Ice cream, they ask if I want a drink. They bow to me, (Sarcastically) Just the typical restaurant fashion! Then the (Supposed to be) $6.00 ice cream, is taken off the bill! The next day we go sight seeing. We are met by rain. There we are in the van, it is raining! We open the windows all the way up. We then are able to eat ice cream. Two days in a row! The next night we attend Foyer De Sion, an orphanage. Grayson's brother is there and is named Samuel. Can you guess who he is named after? Well, if you can't than I'll tell you it was a bishop's wife who named him. There also was a Moroni, Nephi and Ammon! Now you probably have the perfect idea. The next day we say good bye to my mom's friends Nicole, Teresa, and her mom, Jolene. That day we are able to see Shannon Cox, another one of my mom's friends, she run's Hatian roots, an organization that sponsors kids to go to school www.haitianroots.com We had a party for the kids there. I sponsor Angeline Jozile. I met her and her brother, who does not have a sponsor, but was helped by general donation, we now are going to sponsor him. We held a lunch for them. I poured fruit punch and got it spilled all over me, I didn't care. I was happy that they were happy. The next day we went to church there. True, I did not understand the language, but I felt the same spirit. That night we went to Foyer one last time on that trip. Saying bye to Samuel and the other kids was hard, but I was glad to have met all these kids. After this experience I have felt a deeper gratitude for everything! And am grateful for this experience and how it has changed me.

I asked Kyle to write whatever he wanted about the trip for me to post. I cannot tell you how wonderful it was to have him with me. In all of the time that we were there he did not complain one time! This wasn't exactly your ordinary "vacation". Most days he ate trail mix and granola bars for every meal, was covered in sweat, and had all forms of baby poop, pee and throw up on him. It was boiling hot no matter where we went and his legs are covered in bites from mosquitoes and bed bugs. His response was "farewell my friends the bed bugs" when we left them! He had his fingernails painted, and his glasses taken off his face by curious kids, he found out just how many toddlers he could hold at one time and referred to himself as the "center of a good looking flower." I cannot for the life of me figure out military time and without a clock the only way we knew what time it was was if I took a photo with my camera. Then I would wake him have him figure out the time and then calculate the time difference. Most mornings he would say," mom it's 4 in the morning do you want to sleep some more or should we get up?" I don't know why I was so blessed to have him given to me to raise, but I adore him and am honored to call him my son...

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Top Ten #2-Stories to Good Not to Be Told

Haiti is filled with stories that are worth writing down. It may appear that God has forgotten these beautiful people, but through miracle after miracle we see that just isn't the case. I hope some of my new friends and old won't mind me telling some of their stories. They have inspired me and remind me that God is in charge. They are in no particular order of importance. Just as I think of them...
10-While riding in the back of a toyota soaked with sweat and pee from the baby's (not to mention water being dumped on me by my friend Nicole) I leaned my head out to try and get a little more comfortable and nearly had my head taken off by a passing tap tap then watched a man get ran over and killed all within minutes.
9-This story is much better told by the parents. I wish you could sit down and hear it from them. They tell it with just the right amount of smiles and tears. Mostly they tell it with humor and cynicism (as anyone who has ever adopted knows cynicism and humor becomes the "way to deal", which keeps you from screaming, crying and losing your mind). This awesome couple has had several adoptions fall through or be altered in many ways. It's heartbreaking and sad. This great mom refers to it as a private joke between her and the adoption God's that she does not find at all funny. After finding out just days before the trip that one of their children was taken back by a deranged uncle they headed to Haiti to spend some time with their daughter (another miraculous story). Shortly into the trip they were told that their son whom they loved and hadn't seen for 9 months would be coming back to them. The mother had changed her mind and decided to allow him to be adopted. They accepted the news with the "yeah I will believe that when I see it" attitude necessary. I got to be one of the people who brought that son back to them, sort of as a "surprise". We had him for 4 hours and he cried the whole time, the minute he was set into his daddy's arms he ceased crying immediately. Mom proceeded to ground him for the rest of his life saying, "you never call you never write." Tears streamed down all of our faces as we watched this joyous reunion.
8-I have mentioned before that I get to be a part of a group called Haitian Roots. They find sponsors for kids to go to school. School costs $250 a year and most Haitian parents have no chance of coming up with that kind of money. Some awesome people I know came up with the plan of finding people to sponsor the kids to attend school. We have the great honor of sponsoring two little girls. We got to meet them this trip and it was so cool. Vanessa's mom followed us everywhere wanting to help Kyle and I. This tiny little woman blew up soccer balls and tried to help us. Angeline's dad tried to talk to us the whole time, you could tell he had much he wanted to say. I have never wished to speak Creole more than that moment. Finally at the end he came over kissing my checks and in broken English said over and over, "God Bless You." If I ever wondered if I could come up with the money I certainly won't be wondering about that ever again.
7-We found out my sweet Grayson had a biological brother in the orphanage a few months back. He is almost one and we got to meet him this trip. Holding him had me bawling my eyes out for more reasons than one. He looks like Gray and sucks on the same three fingers. He is so beautiful. I held him as much as I could and was so happy to find that he has a family waiting anxiously for him in America. He was pretty somber, or at least I thought. When Kyle got a hold of him you couldn't get him to stop laughing or smiling. I find that interesting since Grayson has always adored Kyle as well. It was so wonderful to hold him and take pictures to share with Grayson some day.
6-I met another awesome family on this trip who went into this knowing that the Lord wanted them to adopt three specific kids. They found a family of two and planned to adopt them. They knew they would be needing to find the third. Short time later they get a call, "the mother of your children just brought in their baby brother" and now they are all a family.
5-We met a waiter at hotel Kinam who was so cute. He just had such a great attitude. He started asking us if we were Mormons. After asking us and finding we were he was telling us his story. He told of man who was "not so good man". Then he was baptized and now he is "brand new". We forget about being "brand new" and how blessed we are that we are part of a faith that makes it so we can feel that way.
4-I took a photo in the church of a sheet of paper that had the costs of traveling to the Dominican Republic temple on it. It looked worn and like people had touched it and looked at it a lot. I imagine these amazing friends of mind trying to figure in their minds how to get there. My friend Chaeryl pointed out that the total was more than most people make in 2 years. Chew on that one for a minute if you are an endowed member. I know I made myself sick thinking about my attendance.
3-When I met Vanessa's mom on Saturday she just had this overwhelming glow about her. She looked incredibly happy. She also looked like she hadn't eaten in a really long time. When I attended church on Sunday there she was! She ran over to me kissing me and pointing to me saying, "mormon?" I said yes and then there was more hugging and kissing as she pointed to herself saying, "mormon!"
2-On our trip down we stayed in Las Vegas and shared a room with my friend Nichole. We had to be up by 2:45 a.m. to make our plane. I slept restlessly dreaming all night that I missed my plane (and that Nichole was dating a kid from some show called "I Carly"). Anway I was relieved to look at the clock and see 2:45 so we could get this show on the road. I got up and showered and was just getting ready to kick Nicole when I looked at the clock. It said 1:00! The clock was turned funny and I didn't see the one! Pour Nicole didn't go to sleep until 12 and then her whack job friend is up and at it 45 minutes later!
1-On Friday evening we went to a performance in a home that a man named Father Michael began. He started out by rescuing just a few boys, most of whom were slaves. As time has gone on they now have 20 boys and a performing group of boys so amazing it takes your breath away. They went on to take over a home for mentally and physically handicapped children. As I sat there that night I felt that the spirit couldn't be any stronger anywhere in the world. The rain poured down around us, a rat was seen scurrying along the floor and the poorest conditions in the world surrounded us. With that said you have never seen more beautiful smiles and happy people as these boys who have risen above such amazing circumstances. One of the stories told that night was of the drummer named Bill. He was amazing as he played that drum! Father Michael told of how he had been a slave and one of his jobs was to go to the well for water. He would turn his bucket over while he waited in line and play his bucket. Later he had a home and has now traveled all over the world learning and playing for people. It was amazing to even be there. At the end we got to stand up and dance with all of them and I have never laughed so hard or "let go" more in my life. It was a night never to be forgotten!
I miss Haiti already and wish it were time to go back...

Top Ten #1-Things I Just Have to Say

While I truly wanted to come up with some way to explain my trip that would rival the works of Walt Whitman all that I can seem to come up with is "top ten" lists. I have written about a thousand of them in my head this week and have decided this will be how I talk about my trip. This may take me about 100 posts, nobody feel obligated to read it this is more for me than anyone. I have to write things down to understand them and to keep them with me and so the next 100 or so posts will be mainly so I don't forget the last 12 days of my life....This first list is the things that I just want to say to the world that I should probably keep to myself. Haiti does that to me. Sitting next to my new friend Kelly I had to laugh at her donation plan. This beautiful woman says with severe sincerity, "oh my brother WILL be sponsoring a child even if I have to move his hand to write the check with my own fingers." Sometimes after you have spent a week literally watching children starving to death and watching people waiting in line for hours for the possibility that there kids might get to attend school all of the hand holding and petting you know you should do goes down the drain. So the top 10 things I have to say are as follows:
10-I have absolutely no call for whining about "too much" laundry to do. I am dang lucky I have clothes to wash
9-I spend a good portion of my life worrying that I am "too fat". Do you realize that my big gut means I have food to eat in abundance?
8-I get "overwhelmed" by how busy I am and how my kids have so many places to go and things to do. It should occur to me more often how blessed I am they have choices. Piano lessons cost money and they take time, while I was at church on Sunday in Haiti there was a piano but not in the whole packed congregation was there someone who had the blessing of learning how to play.
7-Sometimes I am aggravated by my kids bouncing off of the walls and making me crazy. Do you know that bouncing means they are well and healthy. I sat with children so starved that they didn't have the strength to move a muscle.
6-I live in a 3 bedroom rental that most people would think we are "crammed into". I myself have put on my martyr face about this place. I spent the week with a man who shares one small bedroom with his wife and two children in an orphanage packed with children. He says he would hope someday they would have a place for their family but he could never complain because "God is so good to us."
5-Sometimes church seems so difficult for me. Not the believing part, that part is as natural to me as breathing, but the taking 5 kids to church part. We have trouble sometimes filling our chappell's on Sunday. In Haiti the chappel was packed to capacity with people just thrilled to be there and honored to have the gospel in their lives. Half of them looked like they hadn't eaten in a year and not one face looked anything less than joyful.
4-Seriously when was the last time I thanked God for a garbage man and clean streets?
3-When my son broke his arm last week I drove him all of 10 miles to a state of the art hospital (yes my city friends it does count as state of the art) where he was taken care of quickly and efficiently. Because of insurance it also cost me very little. I then had the tenacity to complain that I had to watch him close for 10 days until it could be casted. I should have been grateful that the cast was coming and that he would be just fine.
2-I spent a week with a handful of adoptive families who had just a few days to try and put all the love they could into their kids in that time not having any idea when their children would be home. Some of them had already lost kids and knew to well that sometimes they don't ever come home. When I got a hold of my kids yesterday, especially my Grayson, I just held them and kissed them and thanked the Lord they are all here and they are all well. When was the last time I just let myself be grateful my children are alive and I get to be the one to take care of them?
1-I learend myself that if everyone made an effort to do just a little that we could make a difference. We have everything and I have seen first hand people that have nothing. Do you want to feed children that are literally starving to death? I can set that up. Do you want to help educate a child and make it less likely that child and her children and her children's children will starve to death, I can set that up too.
So this is the first of my thoughts on Haiti. I guess you can see why I am having a hard time explaining my week to people. I guess it needs to be prefaced when you ask with, "do you really want to know and do you want to see me cry....

Phase Two-Big Hole In Ground

Hello to you all. I am home from Haiti and have been writing what I want to say in my head. However, I just feel like mere words cannot tell about my trip. I am trying to channel Charles Dickens so that it can be said with the poetic beauty that explains my week...Anyway while, "it was the best of times it was the worst of times" certainly sums it up I have so much more I want to say. So while I keep writing in my head, trying to find my floor and rid my laundry room of the essence of Haiti smell I thought I would take a minute to post "house news". The picture is of the hole that appeared in my land while I was away. They tell me this is good news and that in the not to distant future the hole will fill in to be my home. I had a little "laugh"/sick feeling to myself when I realized that with a hole, dumpster and port a potty on my land that I already have it better than most of my dear friends in Haiti....

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Two Things That Hit Me Like A Ton Of Bricks

A few posts ago I wrote about losing myself and being completely content in that. I really felt that way too, I felt like giving myself completely to my family was the way to go. While I believe with all of my heart that most of my focus should be there something happened along the way. The well of reserves dried up and what I was giving started to be no good. You have to take a bit of time to fill the well. So my husband bought me a treadmill (thank you sweetie) and I started taking the time to use it each morning. I have put it on my to do list to spend some time with my scriptures and don't start the day off without a prayer even if I have to say it with a toddler on my head. I have forced myself to get out of my pj's each morning and have even put make up on three days in a row. I am amazed at how much better I feel and how much more I have to give to my kids even taking time for just these few things. I also took the afternoon off from schooling yesterday so I could really clean and organize my home. While I believe I was spending way to much time cleaning before I certainly let it go way to far the other direction there for awhile! Anyway, here's to filling the well so I have more to give to those that need it.
Also, on another topic. I have taught young women, primary kids, Sunday school kids and my own kids for years. We tell them to "choose the right". We tell them to walk away if they are in a situation they should not be in. Last night I was so excited to be invited to hang out with some girl friends. I thought this would be good for filling the well and let's face it I have been desperate for friendship lately (I even made up an imaginary friend that I took running with me the other night), anyway now that you know just how nuts I am I will get to the point. I loved visiting with these friends. I wasn't thrilled when I heard what they had rented to watch, but these are good women so I thought maybe it wouldn't be so bad. Three minutes in I knew I needed to leave. It took me another 30 minutes to get up the courage to actually do it. It is hard to make right choices. It's even hard for not cool, mother of five me to do it. Imagine how our kids feel trying to make the right choice when friends mean so much to them. Anyway, just one of those things that is easier said than done.
I won't be blogging for a couple of weeks. Kyle and I are off to Haiti on Saturday. I look forward to sharing the trip with all of you when I get back!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

A Big Shot Of Hope

Thanks all of you for joining me for my pity party recently. My phone friends have listened to me whine, my blog pals have read it in print and my dear family has suffered through a mother speaking the ancient language, "Whinese". How grateful I am for the shot of hope delivered to me this weekend by participating in general conference. I have been given a much needed attitude adjustment. I was especially grateful for President Monson's talk this morning. He reminds us that one day I will miss the piles of laundry and toys that I will trip over. Mother's who are out of this stage tell me this all of the time, but I mutter under my breath about these well meaning women, "if you miss it so much I would be happy to drop over a handful of screaming toddlers at any time!" Funny how when it is coming from the prophet of God I take it to heart much better! I quote president Monson, "Never let a problem to be solved take precedence over a person to be loved." This has been my attitude to much as of late, "go away little boy, can't you see I am trying to make your life run smoother." Here's to me keeping the adjustement given to me this weekend. I am also grateful for the follwing things from conference that I want to keep with me:
-Despair is something Satan uses, not God
-Part of our victory as disciples of Christ is how we handle times when we are overwhelmed or discouraged
-Take heart, have faith and the Lord will fight our battles, our children's battles and our children's childrens' battles.
Life will not be any less difficult after this weekend for you or for me. However, with the right attitidue and with the Lord on our side there is nothing we cannot do. We can also be blessed to have joy while living it.