24 December 2008
I have finally finished the video of our trip to Baie d'Orange! I have also uploaded the video of our trip to the Nutcracker Ballet on Saturday, December 20. Our week has been crazy. We received a 1 pound 14 ounce baby boy today from the local hospital. He was born last night. Pray for him.
Many of the babies in our intensive care unit have some sort of virus and one of the premies is having trouble breathing and is on IV and oxygen since last night. Please pray for her also.
I am totally exhausted and probably because of that, I am not feeling well today. Thankfully, Magalie is taking our gift chocolates downtown to the different government offices that we work with, and I did not have to go downtown today.
I have three proposals to do today for families. This will be nice Christmas gifts for them! I hope I can get them done this morning.
Tomorrow is Christmas Day! The Toddler House will have a pageant, gift giving, and lots of food! It should be a fun day for all of them.
John, the kids, and I will have a quiet Christmas this year. James is headed to the States today to spend the holidays with Dr. Claude Louis, who is in the STates studying for his medical boards. The volunteers and Molly will spend the day with the Toddlers and will not come to the Main house until later afternoon.
Our family will celebrate Christmas with a large breakfast brunch, gift giving, napping, and then a large Turkey dinner for the staff!
I might not even come into the office tomorrow! It is true! Well...maybe just to check emails!
We wish all of you a very Merry Christmas and Blessings in the New Year!
20 December 2008
This has been a very busy week. Most of the office staff left for Christmas vacation on Friday. The office will be pretty much shut down until January 5, 2009.
Wow! Can you believe that in just a few days it will be 2009? I will be here and probably working, but will also being doing a lot of Christmas stuff this week too. We always try to take little Christmas gifts around to the different offices that we work with throughout the year just to say "Thank You!" for all of the good work that they do. This year, we have chocolates to hand out. Chocolate is always a good and tasty gift this time of year for a whole office.
Melanie was working hard to get udpates out and school sponsorship material sent off before she left. Stephanie worked day and night getting new dossiers ready to go into IBESR along with ones to go into Immigration, and all of the other hundreds of things that she needed to do before she left!
Our teacher, Amanda, finished school for our son, Steeve, on Thursday. Lois and Brad Reimer left with their 2 children on Tuesday. Joyce Trainer finished her English classes and left for 2 weeks on Friday. Terriot, our adoption worker, applied for and received a visa to the USA and was supposed to leave today on American Airlines. But, when he arrived at the airport this morning, they refused to let him on the plane because he only had 6 months left on his passport and you must have MORE than 6 months on your passport to travel! Needless to say, on Monday he will be at Haitian Immigration getting a new passport so he can still enjoy some time in the USA before his vacation is finished!
Friday, two car loads of GLA staff went to Baie d'Orange with Gladys Thomas and her staff from Hospital Espoir to deliver medicine, food, tools, seeds, toys, and clothes to the people in the area. All of the donations were from orphanages that belong to the Association of orphanages here in Haiti. GLA donated all kinds of vegetable seeds, banana trees, tooth brushes, rice, IV's, and medical supplies. We worked with the local official in Baie d'Orange and he was in charge of the distribution of all of the donations. We had 5 vehicles full of stuff to give to the people!
Wow, what a trip to get the supplies to the area! We left GLA at 5 AM and arrived in Baie d'Orange at 12:30 PM. We turned around and left Baie d'orange at 2:30 PM and arrived back at the orphanage at 9 PM last night!!! It is a long and difficult drive. We went across a couple of small rivers and saw a lot of beautiful country. I will post a power point video on this site later tonight or tomorrow so that you can see the area too! It was a lot of fun even if we are all exhausted today! Now, I also have a "channel" on YOU TUBE named GLAHaiti. You can see any video I post there too.
On Wednesday, we received a call from the Institute of Danse in Petion-Ville giving us free tickets for the kids in the orphanage to see the Nutcracker (Casse Noirette). What a wonderful opportunity to take the children to something that is totally out of their experience!
Today, we took 23 children from the Toddler House, 4 staff members, and 5 volunteers, plus Molly and I to see the ballet. The kids had so much fun and the rest of us all thought it was great too! Again, I took lots of photos and will post some later. Most of the children were entranced by the dancing and told me in the car on the way back to the orphanage that they were going to practice dancing when they got home! We sang Christmas caroles in the car and Old McDonald had a Farm all of the way home. They loved my animals sounds and laughed and laughed as we sang.
Please remember the orphanage and children this Christmas season. Take a minute and say a prayer for all of us, and please give a small financial donation to help us this year. It has been a very difficult year for the orphanage financially because donations have been down. We need your help to keep things going and to give the children the level of care they have always received. Please take a minute and give to the childeren by going to the home page and click on the Donation button on the lower left hand side of the page. Only through your generosity are we able to do the work in Haiti.
Wow, just talking about this week has been exhausting! I wish you all of very Merry Christmas and will probably post again on Christmas. Blessings to all...
16 December 2008
Today, a film crew came to the orphanage to take some video of the kids and the orphanage. We are hoping to make a short promotional DVD for GLA. Luke Renner, founder of the Caribbean Institute of Media Technologies , is shooting the footage for us and putting the DVD together. He and his friend, Kyle, will be back tomorrow to finish up the filming. We need a great promotional DVD to post and send out to help raise funds for the orphanage.
I have sent out 7 proposals this past week. I will sending out more later this week after I receive some psychological reports back tomorrow. My waiting list is getting shorter and shorter. This feels so good after almost 2 years of having a long waiting list of over 70 dossiers in Haiti at one time. I am down to less than 25 waiting parents right now and some of those have a proposal but just have not accepted yet!
We have 2 families here picking up their children this week. One from France and one from the USA. This means three children will be able to spend Christmas with their families and that is a wonderful thing! We just wish and pray that more children would be finished in the next few weeks.
Friday, we are scheduled to travel to Baie d'Orange, in the southern part of Haiti, to take seeds, clothing, tools, and medicines, to the people in this area. They were hit very hard by the hurricanes in August and September. The people in that area lost all of their crops, animals, and many lost their homes. Children have been starving to death and these people really need help. The Association for the orphanages is taking a delegation to the area with supplies. GLA will be sending at least one truck and possibly two to carry supplies.
We are still having children breaking out with chickenpox! Yes, you read that right! Chickenpox!!!! Just when we think that it is over, a new child will get it! We have kept it out of the intensive care nursery and also away from the Toddler House. But three (3) months of chickenpox is ENOUGH! Please pray that the chickenpox will be finished by Christmas! We cannot take much more of this!
The GLA office will be closed over Christmas. I will take time to catch up on emails, add new photos to the web site, and just catch up on rest and paperwork! I may even take a nap everyday if I want to!
9 December 2008
Today was my birthday! Time just keeps marching on! I cannot believe that 2008 is almost over. Time just flies working at the orphanage. My day started at 5:30 AM and I was out of the door by 7:30 on the way to the US Consulate with 2 Dutch families for transit visas and a little girl for a US visa. My visit did not go well, the US Consulate officer refused the visa to the little girl because her adoptive mother was distantly related to the Haitian mother. It makes me so sad and mad that this family cannot be united because the baby's grandmother is distant cousins with the adoptive mother. Please pray with me that an immigration lawyer in the States will be able to help unite this adoptive mother and her daughter!
We then tried to find a coffee maker for the house. Coffee makers do not last long in Haiti. I think it is the water sediment that clogs it. Well, unfortunately, I could not find a coffee maker. My husband, John, was not very happy that I did not return home with one.
I have several proposals that I still need to send out. Hopefully, tomorrow and Thursday, I can get the last of those out. My days just race by and I never have enough hours in the days to get every thing done!
I said for my birthday that I was going to bed early and read a good book, but it is after 9 PM and I am still working even if it is fun stuff like updating this blog!
Pray for all of the visas that we are hoping will be issued before Christmas. We would like to see as many children go home as possible!
3 December 2008
I am working on several proposals today. I also need to take my son, Steeve, downtown to buy some Christmas lights and decorations. Steeve loves Christmas! He loves the music, the lights, and the presents! We put the decorations up this past weekend and we are ready to celebrate the holidays!
We have 6 volunteers coming today for a week. We will have 32 people around the dinner table tonight! It is stressful at times when we have so many visitors at the orphanage, but it is also fun to meet new people and get to visit at dinner time.
Finally, we are getting some response from the US Consulate for some visas that have been pending for quite some time. We will be having several American families here in the next week or two uniting with their children before Christmas. I so love seeing the children leave to spend Christmas with their "forever" families!
We also put 5 dossiers into the French Embassy today and I need your prayers that the visas will be issued before Christmas. We want these children to go home before Christmas Day!
Baby Youline, who weighed 1 pound 10 ounces on admission, was sent home at the beginning of November weighing over 7 pounds! Her very young mother had stayed here at the nursery with Youline and breast fed her and Youline did so well. She was never sick and was quite spoiled with love by the time she went home.
Well, Monday, Youline returned to us quite sick. For some reason, the mother decided to give her a bottle. She cut the end off the nipple to make a bigger hole, so that she could get more milk out of the bottle, and Youline aspirated milk into her lungs! She was not breathing well when she arrived with respirations of 90 per minute and a heart rate of 180 beats per minute! We started her on oxygen, IV fluids, antibiotics and nebulizer treatments. Her lungs are full of mucous.
We all are upset with the mother. The nurses have yelled at her for her negligence and I am sure they will not let her take Youline back home any time soon! Today, Youline seems to be doing a little better. She is still on oxygen and IV fluids and nebulizer treatments, but her respirations are better and her heart rate is down. Youline needs your prayers that she will get well and be the healthy little girl that she was before she went home.
Life is very fragile in Haiti...
Posted 30 November 2008
This week has been another whirlwind week of projects and appointments! The American holiday of Thanksgiving was Thursday and we celebrated with 5 big turkeys weighing over 20 pounds each and all of the extras that go with an American Thanksgiving. Our staff love turkey and so enjoy the day as much as we do!
Thursday was also the day that we learned that IBESR and Parquet have agreed upon a moratorium so that dossiers in process can be completed quickly. See the adoption news for more information on this moratorium.
This week we also received 11 dossiers out of courts! This was very exciting and we hope they will finish quickly!
We have had 4 families here this week picking up children. It is so good to finally meet the adoptive parents and see them bonding with their children, and then leaving to take the children to their forever homes. It makes us very happy.
We have had 2 new admissions this week. Both children were from the beach area around Cabaret. Both mothers have died and one of them was actually washed out to see crossing a river during the hurricane season! The fathers were not able to care for the children and both children have malnutrition. Please pray for them.
I have 7 dossiers on my desk of children to propose to adoptive families. I will start on those either Sunday afternoon or Monday morning. All but 2 of them are little boys. I am very sorry for all you waiting for a little girl!
We are working on a Christmas letter to send out to all of our donors. You will be getting it in a few days. A business here in Petion-ville called and want to help collect some Christmas gifts for the children. This is a wonderful thing because we have never had a Haitian business help in this way before!
Molly, Joyce, and the volunteers put up their new Christmas tree at the Toddler House today. We bought a new tree that is 8 feet tall. They put it outside on the balcony for all of the children to see. We will start decorating the main house this coming week. We will also be making Christmas cookies and decorating them for the children. The children love Christmas time! Even us BIG kids enjoy the baking and decorating and spirit leading up to Christmas.
It is Saturday night and tomorrow we will all go to Pastor Joel's for Sunday service. Then we will rest and prepare for a new week in the office.
Posted Saturday, 21 November
I hate it when you write a long report on the internet and then you lose it because it took so long to write it and the internet connection has gone down! So I will write again
This has been a very busy week. I am finally getting over a terrible throat and sinus infection that I brought home from Florida almost 3 weeks ago. I have craved a nap all week and have been unable to take one!
Life at the orphanage is like running a business that is open 24 hours per day and busy most of that time! It is constant stress and there is always someone wanting to talk to me, asking me a question, or wanting me to go look at a baby that needs attention. On top of all of that, I have my own children wanting attention and a husband that would like to talk to me for 5 minutes without interruption! It does not happen very often that we get a few minutes by ourselves.
Sunday is our day of rest. We go to a small home church on Sunday mornings when the missionary couple, who run it, are in Haiti. It is good to go and be ministered to by Pastor Joel and Yvonne Trimble. All of the volunteers and visitors go with us. Sunday afternoon is for resting and just visiting together. But last Sunday, another orphanage couple had a premature baby that needed help. They called in the afternoon and asked if they could bring us a baby that weighed 3 lbs 6 ounces. The baby was born to a mother who already had 6 children and for some reason was having a terrible time breast feeding and caring for this baby. The mother and baby girl came to stay at GLA that evening. The mother is not open to us teaching her about how to feed this premature baby. She feels like she has raised 6 children and knows everything there is to know about babies. We will just have to wait and see how she does.
Monday, two women from Holland came for a 5 day visit. They work with adoptive families through an agency in Holland that works with prospective families and offer classes that they need before they can get government approval to adopt. Rita and Marion wanted to visit Haiti and be able to talk with some knowledge of the country and the adoption system here. We always tell people that until you see Haiti, smell Haiti, and feel Haiti, you do not know Haiti! We have 7 short-term volunteers here right now. There is also an adoptive family here from Canada. Our dining room is very full. Sometimes, it is difficult to visit with visitors when there are 25 people at the dining room table every night.
Tuesday, Pam, who works at Bethany Christian Services, is visiting the orphanage. Pam runs the International Adoption Division of Bethany. She is visiting our orphanage to get a better idea of what the Haiti adoption program is all about. Today was very busy. The morning was spent talking to Rita and Marion and later Pam, when she arrived. Tamika leaves with her mother and aunt to go to her forever home in Canada. Her adoption only took 11 months! That is great for adoptions right now.
Afterwards, I took Pam, Rita, and Marion up to the Kenscoff Orphanage. The orphanage has just moved to a new building. They are still getting settled and do not have all of their beds put up in the rooms. At least this building has 2 working bathrooms!
In the evening, Pam and I had a meeting together with a group from the USA who is in Haiti about adoptions. It was after 9:30 PM by the time I got home. Thankfully, my daughter, Laurie, went with me so I did not have to drive home by myself. The meeting with at the Karibe Hotel in Petion-ville. Wow, this hotel is really nice! Marble floors and 2 elevators that actually work!
Wednesday, I have an appointment at 1 PM at IBESR with the US Adoption Group and so even though I have a headache and just want to stay home, I get ready and go downtown. After we arrive, Mrs. Pierres secretary tells us that Mrs. Pierre cannot see us today after all. It was a wasted trip! The traffic was horrible and it was 4 PM before I was able to return to the orphanage. We did get a couple of dossiers out of IBESR today. It is always good when we see adoptions moving through the system.
Thursday, a new baby that came in last week is not doing very well today. We have had a lot of trouble getting Junior to eat. He has some birth defects along with a skin disorder. Today, he is crying in pain. His stomach is distended. We started an IV to give him fluids. His condition worsens and finally at 8 PM he dies in the arms of Susan, a nurse from Scotland. It is always a difficult day when a baby dies.
We have 2 cars in the garage which makes it difficult to get to all of our appointments. Stephanie took children to psychological exams. Magalie needs to take parents to Parquet for parent interviews. Our Dutch visitors need to go to Petion-ville to visit 2 orphanages. Ernst needs to purchase food for the week. Yes, our lives and busy and crazy all week on!
Friday, I have proposals to send, emails to answer, a staff meeting with the nannies, 10 children to send to the Toddler House, and office work. Miranda and her parents leave today. Miranda has been at the orphanage for 5 years and is autistic. I worry about her traveling on an airplane, but it turns out that she did just fine. She traveled all of the way from Haiti to Maine!
We did not have any little coffins in the shop and so first thing this morning, James had to go to the Baptist Mission to buy one for Junior. We wrapped him in a pretty blanket, placed him in his little coffin, and sent him to the cemetary to be buried. We must bury children within 24 hours due to the heat. It is so sad to see the little coffin going out the gate on the shoulder of the cemetary worker! We want to save them all...
Saturday, it is a quiet day. I think I will finally take that nap that I wanted and read a good book. I hope that your week went well.
November 14, 2008
As some of you know, I try to send out email updates when something special goes on at the orphanage. I have more than 500 people who receive our updates. I have written updates through hurricanes, political unrest, coup d'etats, deaths of children at the orphanage, outbreaks of chickenpox, and of course, everyday life in Haiti!
Through it all, I have tried to keep families and supporters aware of events as they take place. Sometimes, I would even write 2 or 3 times per day during extreme political problems!
Starting today, I will try to write a weekly blog telling you about life at the orphanage. I am not sure that I can find the time to blog every week, but I will try very hard to do it! I will see what kind of response I get from you and then decide whether to keep up my weekly updates on this page.
I will continue to send out my occasional updates via email, but will pass on daily happenings at the orphanange on this page. Our life at the orphanage in Haiti is never dull! Something is always happening and many times, it is something that makes us shake our head and say "only in Haiti!". This is why the ending of all of my updates is "And Life In Haiti Goes On..." That is why I thought that would be an appropriate name for my new Blog.
Let me know what you think of the idea of my new blog page by sending me a short email. Email to Dixie
I will blog again later this week. Take care!