And Life In Haiti Goes On...
2010 BLOG ARCHIVES
12 February 2010 2 AM (yes that is right, 2 AM!)
BBC London called me at 8 AM their time which was 2 AM Haiti time and I updated them on how the orphanage was doing a month after the earthquake. They spoke with me 5 minutes but of course, now I cannot go back to sleep! So I decided to watch a little bit of Anderson Cooper on CNN, because I really like Anderson, but I am not very happy with Anderson tonight!
Anderson has decided that it is better for children to be raised in orphanages than it is for them to be adopted into loving families. Where did he come up with this wisdom? Has anyone read a book by a child raised in an orphanage that said that it was the BEST experience in their lives? That living in a group of children was so MUCH better than having a Mom and Dad to raise them? I have never read a book like that!
Ask our foster son, JAMES, about being raised in an orphanage. He says he would have loved to have been adopted instead of spending his whole life from 10 months of age to now living in an orphanage. He missed out on a lot of family life things a normal family do together. When he came to live with us, he did not know how to live in a family and what was expected from him!
I would bet if a poll was taken of Haitian children raised in orphanages, most would say they would rather have lived in a family setting. For every good orphanage in Haiti, there are probably 10 that are not so good. They try but without some sort of outside funding, most orphanages just scrape by every month and the children are not well taken care of. Anderson, report about these orphanages and talk to the children who are teenagers at these orphanages. Would they have liked to have been adopted and had a chance to better their lives rather than went to bed hungry every night and not got the education that they could have received if adopted?
Do NOT go to an American run and funded orphanage like Mercy and Sharing and show America and the world how well the children are doing in an orphanage. This is NOT a Haitian orphanage. Mercy and Sharing says they do not do adoptions, but there are children from Mercy and Sharing who are adopted by American Families. The orphanage just turns the childrens paperwork over to a lawyer and HE does the adoptions so they can say they do not do adoptions. It is not their main purpose in Haiti but children from their orphanage have been adopted into families! So Anderson, please do research before you report on an orphanage!
Haiti before the earthquake had over 50,000 children living in orphanages and IBESR has said that the number could be double that amount because many orphanages are not registered. UNICEF says there were 350,000 orphans in Haiti BEFORE the earthquake. Haiti authorizes about 2000 international adoptions per year. That is NOT a high percentage of children being adopted by foreign parents and many of those children are orphans with NO mother or father or just one parent who cannot care for the child.
Why does Angelina Jolie, who is in Haiti, not speak out for adoptions? There are times when adoption is best for the child! They never talk about that! My little Jerrensia, with bilateral leg deformities, will most likely be a beggar on the side of the road as an adult if she stays in Haiti! Tell me, Anderson, that this is better for her than going to the USA where she could be a doctor or lawyer or school teacher. Tell me that having her stay in Haiti and being a beggar is better!
But nobody wants to hear the facts. They want the sensationalism of kidnapping by American missionaries! Why are they called missionaries? They did not come to bring the gospel to Haitians. They did not come to live and work in Haiti. They had not even been in the Dominican long enough to be called missionaries! So why is the American journalists and Haitian authorities calling them missionaries? Did the group give themselves this title thinking it made them more legitimate?
Well, now that I got this off my chest and it is 3:30 AM, I will try to go back to sleep!
Oh one more thing, Anderson, you said that Haiti will have 3 days of mourning for those who died. The churches here are calling for 3 days of fasting for Haiti and those who LIVED! Get it straight Anderson, get it straight!
11 February 2010
Yesterday, I told you how much I was concerned about the rain coming in March, well last night in the middle of the night, it started to rain. I woke up to the sound of the rain just pouring down and my heart just fell! All I could think about is children and babies sleeping out on the ground in the rain! All I can say is PLEASE UNICEF and PLEASE Haitian Social Services, BRING THE BABIES TO GLA! They will eventually decide that they must do something with all of these orphans and place them in orphanages but how sick will the children be by that time???
Today has been a good day. We got a lot of work done in the office. Melissa, Melanie, and Laurie worked all day on difference projects PLUS cleaned up the office! Melissa has returned to GLA in a full time position of administrative assistant and publicist. She is helping me with some of the day to day work and she will be blogging about the children, volunteers, and happenings at GLA. She will be doing this under our web page Tattle Tales from GLA We changed it from Tattle Tales from the Balcony because we just did not have anyone to coordinate the volunteers to blog every week. Melissa will be spending time at both the Baby House and the Toddler House blogging on the children.
Stephanie went to the USA when our 81 children went out in January. She was in the early stages of adopting a little boy from GLA and took him to Northern Illinois to stay with her family. She will return to GLA in the next few days to help get all of the dossiers processed and the file cabinets cleaned out. Hopefully, she will only be here about 1 month and then can return to her new son, Adam Tonio Yoder!
The gang in Colorado Springs barely gets the donations inventoried and boxed up to come to Haiti when another shipment arrives! Today, they were numbering boxes to put in the container on Friday and then someone delivered three pallets of blankets, sheets, and towels from a resort hotel that had purchased new linen. They just got those brought into the warehouse when they received another shipment with eight pallets of all kinds of items from British Columbia! The outpouring of aid to help the Haitian people is just overwhelming. I am so thankful to everyone for giving so much since the earthquake devastated Haiti.
Tomorrow, we start our 3 day fast and prayer for Haiti. The kitchen staff made chicken pates which is like chicken meat pies for supper. We could not have had a better meal before a 3 day fast! When I told my kitchen staff that the foreign staff would fast and pray with them, Marie Josee got tears in her eyes and was so thankful that we would join them in praying for Haiti! Please join us in fasting and praying for Haiti on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. If you cannot fast, then just pray.
10 February 2010
Today has been one of those not so good days for me. I have been rather emotional today and I have very little tolerance with my staff and even people who have emailed today. I will not go in to detail about my staff but some things happened in this past week that make me wonder why I have some of the staff that I have! Knowing that people have gotten laid off and the ones here take things and do not respect the children or the other staff members!
But enough of that, let me tell you about the beautiful little boy, named Peter, that we received last night in our NICU. He weighs just over 2 pounds and mother says he is a 6 1/2 month gestation baby and that is what his development shows! Fortunately, his mother was at the Baptist Mission Hospital and the American doctors there gave the mother steroids before the his birth so his lung development is pretty good. He came to us breathing well but about 9 PM last night his oxygen saturation level started to decrease slightly and so the nurses started him on a small amount of oxygen and his oxygen levels have been up and stayed normal all day today. Peter's mother is here and she is expressing her breast milk for us to give him once he starts taking feedings. Right now, he's on IV fluids only. Please keep Peter in your prayers.
We were talking about all of the people we know who have left Haiti! Even our lawyer is sitting in Miami. One of my day nurses went to the USA with her whole family without telling any of us here! The number of people that left to take their kids out of Haiti due to the aftershocks is almost overwhelming. The US Embassy still has people standing outside everyday wanting to get visas to leave or renew their visas so they can travel to the States. The other Embassies also have lots of people that they evacuated out of Haiti to Canada, Europe, and other countries. People just wanted out of Haiti!
We have been donating supplies to the plastic surgeon who took care of our son, Steeve, and Vivianne, who has lived with us for many years, when Vivianne ran through the glass patio door. The doctor told Laurie that she never wanted to be in this position ever again. She said to be caught without the basic supplies to help in a disaster like this earthquake has been is the most horrible thing. Haiti does not even have ventilators to help patients stay alive if they need breathing assistance. The doctors in her clinic are bagging patients by hand 24/7! Last week, 4 patients died because they did not have ventilators. How sad is that? We need to get more supplies to Haiti. Supplies like ventilators, suction machines, irrigation machines, and other supplies need to come to Haiti. Surely there are medical supply businesses out there that can donate some of these things to our Haitian doctors?
Carnival should have started this coming weekend but there will be no carnival this year. In fact, all of my staff says that the government has called for a holiday on Friday and the people are saying that they are supposed to fast and pray for Haiti on Friday, Saturday and Sunday! They will fast from 6 AM to 6 PM with only fruit juice and water during that period. When President Preval's office was asked if he was calling for a fast and prayer for Haiti, they would not confirm this but said they did call for a holiday. We are going to participate in this fast and prayer time and I encourage all of my readers of this blog to fast and pray for Haiti on Friday, Saturday and Sunday! Please pray for UNICEF to place some of the children in their tent cities, for our children that have French families and need to join their families in France, for all of the families affected by this disaster, for the Haitian government that they will meet the needs of the victims of this disaster, that the rainy season will hold off until some more permanent housing will be found for the 400,000+ people sleeping outside in Port-au-Prince, Petionville, and surround areas, and pray for GLA that God will fill our beds with the children we are meant to have!
Our Bible Study tonight was John 9 and talking about how none of the scholars wanted to believe that Jesus had healed the blind man. We talked about how the the man found after 27 days under the rubble was kind of the same. The journalists are talking about it was not possible to survive that long without water and he must have had something to drink there somewhere! We have had no rain, so he did not drink rain water and there was no water around him when he was found. He says someone in a white coat brought him water from time to time. Everyone here that we have talked to says it was an Angel of God! They believe it was a miracle. I do too! It is unexplainable and why even try to take away from the wondrousness of this event in this man's life and in this nation? This has been a very uplifting thing for all of us right now and all of the journalist just need to except that there are some things that they cannot explain away and sometimes there ARE miracles! As for me?? I BELIEVE!
And life in Haiti goes on...9 February 2010
I was so sick on Sunday and Monday that I did not really get to blog anything! Here is a photo of little Jerrensia. The baby that came in to GLA on Saturday with malformation of her lower limbs. At first, I thought it was club feet but I think it is more than that now. She does not move her legs, but her upper body strength is pretty amazing! She can hold herself up with her hands and look around and is starting to smile at us now. She is very alert to everything going on around her! Jerrensia is eating well. We may try to get Jerrensia out to the USA on a medical visa when the US Embassy allows medical visas to be issued again. There may be a lower spine deformity and we will take her for Xrays soon to see if anything can be seen with a simple Xray.
I was blown away just now to find out that a young man was pulled alive from the rubble in Port-au-Prince yesterday! I was so sick from the flu that I completely missed it. I heard that he said someone in a white coat kept bringing him water. People here are saying it was God! What a miracle this is! I hope this young man does well and psychologically can heal. I cannot feature being buried under the debris for 4 weeks! I am afraid my mind might be gone after being buried that long
Laurie was down in the city again today. She was surprised that the smell of death is still very strong in certain areas. I wonder how long before we are able to move on in our minds? My staff will not send their children to school until someone can guarantee them that the schools are structurally sound. They say that too many schools fell and they will not take the chance of their childrens schools will fall from an aftershock! Many of our schools here are not built to be schools. They were built to be houses and then rented to schools. Some of them have 400 kids or more in them. I cannot fault the parents from not sending their children to school, but I hate to see the kids losing out on a whole semester of school too!
We have 2 cargo planes coming with supplies this weekend. Many of the supplies are going to area hospitals for their use. They are still in need of dressings, antibiotics, pain meds, casting supplies, etc. We are still bringing in tents, tarps, blankets, and lanterns to give out to people. The rainy season is coming at the end of March and people need to be in tents before then. Families cannot even rent another house. There are no houses to rent!
John and the gang in Colorado are loading 2 containers to send to Haiti. We have had an overwhelming outpouring of supplies for Haiti. I know that lots of agencies asked for money and money is good, but people want to give things to help. Children in school want to actually see what they are giving and so does the rest of us! So, we have received blankets, lanterns, tarps, tents, baby formula, baby food, diapers, and lots of other needed items. We will send these to Haiti on Friday. Hopefully, they will get to Haiti quickly and out of customs so we can get things distributed! The clinics now are saying that they have gloves and some have received medicines but they need things like gauze, wound staplers, instrument sterilization boxes, bone saws, suction machines, wound closure supplies,etc. If you have any of these things, please send them!
We continue to work to get the children being adopted by French families completed and out of Haiti. The French government does not want to allow them to leave without their adoption finalized! This is difficult to do but we are trying our best. Mickenlove is traveling to France today. I do not like sending my children on transport planes with strangers but I know that the French government will not allow any of us to travel with the children. These children have to be scared with strangers taking them and immediately getting on a plane to take them away! Please pray that all of these childrens mental well being and that they can go home soon.
Already the world is moving on from the earthquake in Haiti. We must work hard to keep this in peoples memory and to continue to get relief materials for the Haitian people. This is going to be a long term project and we need to start thinking of how we can help the people rebuild their homes!
8 February 2010 12 Noon
I finally made it from my bed to my chair. I have been so sick since Sunday morning! I think it is some sort of flu. I was up at 7 AM on Sunday morning. About 9 AM, I became dizzy and nauseated and thought maybe it was because I had not eaten since I got up. I am a breakfast person and I need to eat right after I wake up or I feel a little sick. So I ate a piece toast and I was a little better than. I did not go to church but I sat in my chair most of the day. Then last night I was sick all night! I am still really sick with flu like symptoms.
I very seldom get this sick but I think the stress has just caught up with me. We had another aftershock on Saturday night about 11 PM. I do not see it registered on different web sites but it shook my bed and the rest of our staff says it shook their beds too! I thought my stomach might be upset from worrying about the aftershocks! But I think it is more than that.
So I called Magalie up to my room this morning an gave her a list of things that need to be done today. She is making sure those things get done and also lots of biological parents are here today asking for information about their children who have left. They are also picking up packets of relief supplies.
Please pray for me today that this flu will end today! I do better when I can keep busy down in my office! I do not do well sitting or laying upstairs thinking about what I SHOULD be doing downstairs!!!!
6 February 2010 8 PM
We received a 3 month old baby girl today who has a malformation of her legs just like our baby, Daphnee, who went to the USA for treatment had. I wonder why this sort of birth defect is so common in Haiti? It is not just club feet. It is a congenital malformation of the legs from the knees to the feet! Now, from the knees up, she looks normal although there may be a problem with the thighs too. It is hard to know without Xrays! She is a beautiful baby girl who is big and strong. She raises her head up and looks around and is very bright and alert to what is going on around her.
The mom is young and says the father died in the earthquake. She says she is living outside and cannot care for the baby, Jerrensia. She brought her for adoption.
We also heard that IBESR is taking dossiers of children who were proposed before the earthquake. We have a couple of dossiers that fit this category and will be turning them in next week.
A new head judge of the Civil Court responsible for signing adoption decrees was supposedly named on Friday. I have not heard who will be assigned to this position but this does mean that we can get the adoption decrees signed for those families, especially my French families, who cannot take their children home until they receive this paper. This is very good news for them!
We are planning on bringing in lots of supplies to Haiti. We have two cargo planes coming next weekend from Miami and John is out in Colorado preparing 2 forty foot cargo containers of donated items! We have 200 tents, blankets, baby formula, diapers, food items, etc. We will hand out things as soon as they arrive because the rainy season is coming soon and we want people to be in tents.
Molly and Joyce made a run to the grocery store for me today. They went after our meat order for the kitchens. It seems that there is no fresh meat at the store! I do not know what we will do for hot dogs, chicken, beef, and pork next week. I will probably have to go buy it in the street market! This is the problem we will have in Haiti. Much of our chicken is imported and food items like that are not getting to our markets. I used to buy meat from street vendors and will do it again if I have to!
Will post photos of little Jerrinsia tomorrow. I forgot to bring them upstairs with me tonight.
6 February 2010
Yesterday, I had to make a difficult decision. We had 24 nannies for 18 children at the main house and 10 nannies for 3 children at the Toddler House. Having more nannies than children, you would think the children would be well looked after and every need they had more than met by the care givers but that is not the case. We have found that with all of these extra nannies, they sit and talk more or lay on their beds depressed. The children are crying and not being held as much as they need to be. So the decision was to lay off 20 staff members at the main house and 15 staff members from the Toddler House.
Not one person complained. They all knew it was probably coming and I truly think many are thankful to be going home to help their families to clean up and get settled. We have offered to pay them half salary for now and pray that this is a short term problem.
I continue to contact organizations that I know may need short term placement of children to see if they need somewhere for children to stay. Pray for our workers and pray that God will send children to GLA that need care.
We received 11 children along with their care givers from Children of the Promise in Cap Haitian. They are waiting on traveling papers for the children to travel to the USA. They had thought to come to PAP with the kids and fly out to the States with them immediately, but the US embassy said it could be a week before they get the traveling papers. Since we have so many empty beds, they are staying with us for a few days.
hopefully, we will find more ways to help children even if it is not exactly the way we are used to doing!
5 February 2010 8 AM
This morning a large cry of joy was heard throughout the orphanage and neighborhood! Charline is a little 7 year old girl who was separated from her parents after the earthquake when she was taken to the Navy Comfort Hospital ship in the Port-au-Prince harbor. Today, her father came to take her home!
Charline is a very smart little girl. She knew her whole name and the names of her mother and father. She also knew the name of her school and church. We went to the church and put posters of her photo and information all around the church. We also went to a couple of radio stations and asked her family to call us! Two days later, the papa called and was very happy to know that Charline was safe and well.
Charline has made so many friends while with us. Everyone loves her and a different language is no barrier where her personality is concerned! She laughs infectiously and makes us all giggle and laugh with her!
We gave papa a relief aid packet of a tarp, blankets, lamp, towels and rice and sent them on their way to reunite with Charlines mother and brothers. We were very happy to see the joy on her face when she saw her papa and was able to leave with him!
4 February 2010 11 PM
I cannot seem to get caught up! When one thing is done, another pops up for me to do. Today, we finally got a container out of customs that has been there since November. We are just so thankful that the container did not slip into the ocean when the port fell during the earthquake!
The container had lots of baby food and diapers in it. Pastor Joel Trimble has a church that supports his ministry in upstate NY and they donated all of the items in the container. It was very nice to get diapers and baby food which is something we can always use. The container also had paper supplies such as paper towels and toilet paper. These are all supplies that are a little difficult to find in Haiti right now.
Slowly but surely, our volunteers who came to Haiti right after the earthquake are going home. Cheryl Vanderwell goes home tomorrow morning and we will really miss her a lot! She has helped get supplies together to distribute to staff and family and worked with our staff nurse, Susan, caring for babies in the ICU.
GLA in the USA has decided to lease an office and warehouse space to move our offices out of a home office space. I will let everyone know the new address as soon as we have the space leased.
We gave out supplies to all of the staff today. They are so thankful to receive tents or tarps and blankets and other items to help them survive outside.
No new children came today. We will just keep praying that God sends the children that need help our way.
I need to go to bed since I must get up at 5:30 in the morning to let the night staff out the gate. Talk to you tomorrow.
3 February 2010 7 PM
We received 4 children at GLA today. Mothers living outside with no tents, canopies, or food and 3 of the children were babies -two born after the earthquake! One of the babies is for adoption and three are for help only. The mothers are afraid for their small babies living outside. I told them that we would take the babies for a month and then would decide after that what was needed. We have received 6 babies since 1st of February!
I have really been praying about the problem with UNICEF. When I was downtown today, I talked to other schools and orphanages and they are having problems with UNICEF representatives too. It is like they have taken over in Haiti and appointed themselves as controllers of all activities for children! But I have given this problem over to God. I still feel some anger with them because of the injustice of having small children sleeping outside in poor conditions when there are orphanages that have empty beds waiting to take some children in, but I have given this over to God. He does not need my help in getting these children out of the camps and into childcare facilities! I have made everyone aware of the problem including UNICEF and IBESR staff. Now, I will sit back and wait and see what they decide to do!
God never used UNICEF to fill the beds at GLA before and He does not need them now! He is sending people in need to our gate every morning! As the babies come in, we will do our best to care for them and keep them safe and healthy until their mothers can take them back with them again. I almost said...back home...but most do not have a home anymore!
As I was driving downtown Monday with my workers, we passed the palace of justice and it is flat! It was such a beautiful building and I said, "oh, how sad that such a beautiful building is gone in 40 seconds!" One of my staff members answered, "Haiti has no justice and now the world will see that we truly have no justice!"
The court clerk that works on our adoption documents was in Parquet doing work for GLA and was just returning to his office in the Palace of Justice when the earthquake hit! His life was spared because he was not in his office. My adoption worker told him that God was responsible for saving his life through the work he does for GLA! Maybe his heart will be softer for the orphanages in Haiti now!
I find myself driving by buildings and wanting to jump out of the car and go up to them and yell, "Is anyone in there!", to see if anyone is alive inside! I get something out of the refrigerator and think...oh, I bought that at Caribbean Market, which collapsed in the earthquake. In my mind, I can walk up and down the aisles and see the faces of people that worked there and are dead now. I cannot say that I am afraid. I do not fear dying. But now that I am have a chance to slow down just a little bit, I am able to process all that has happened in the last 3 weeks and I think of 200,000 people dead and it is overwhelming! Please pray for all of us who were here during the earthquake and who have worked so hard since then trying to help the wounded and the homeless. I truly think it is just now starting to hit us how much of Haiti was affected by this earthquake!
3 February 2010 9:30 AM
John and Steeve left on a plane last night at midnight! Flights are coming into Haiti 24/7 now. They should arrive in Colorado by 10 AM Colorado time and will begin working on getting two containers ready to come to Haiti.
As Laurie was driving home with a security guard, he was telling her that he had gone to Leogane, which is south of Port-au-Prince, yesterday during the day. He told her that few doctors or AID Relief agencies had gone to Leogane. He told her people are literally laying in the streets waiting to die! How can that be? Leogane is only an hour drive from Port-au-Prince. Agencies are concentrating on PAP when the epicenter of the quake was closer to Leogane. The people in Leogane are talking about how the earth just opened up and a deep crevice ran down the road and people fell in and then the earth closed back up! Now they say that if someone is missing that the Earth ate them! How sad is this?
Come on, UNICEF, SAVE the CHILDREN, US AID, and United Nations groups! Go help outside of Port-au-Prince! Set up clinics and deliver aid relief to those in need! The AID relief is not helping anyone sitting at the airport in Port-au-Prince.
2 February 2010
31 January 2010
Friday afternoon in Miami, we decided to do a final run to a Super Walmart and buy some more blankets and tents and then load everything into trunks to ship it in. I had to be back at the hotel by 7:30 PM because the limousine to take me to the Larry King taping was coming at 8 PM.
If you know anything about Miami, you know that most Ave run east and west and Streets run North and South .or is it the other way around??? Anyway, as we are heading back from Super WalMart, someone who will remain anonymous (but it was not Joyce) accidentally put 7th Street into the GPS instead of 7th Avenue for the hotel address. So we wandered all over Miami trying to find out way back to the hotel! Finally, we realized our error when we arrived in a really run down area of Miami and it said we had arrived at our destination and we KNEW we were not in the right location! So with about 10 minutes before 8 PM the anonymous person put the right address into the GPS and it said we were 18 minutes away from the hotel! I got so tickled that I could not stop laughing! Then I started coughing and everyone in the car was afraid I would have a choking episode while I was driving! What a trip! I arrived back at the hotel at 8:15 PM and I raced upstairs to my room, combed my hair, put blush on my cheeks, and raced to the CNN studio in Miami! Then I waited for 50 minutes until it was my turn to talk!!!! LOL
I wanted to debate with UNICEF! I was talking but nobody could hear me! UNICEF is putting all abandoned children in a tent city! When we have a beautiful facility with Haitian and foreign nurses, a pediatrician and a general doctor on call, teachers, school, and 70 trained child care staff that can provide for them so much better than UNICEF! I wrote one of the doctors that is responsible for the placement of the children and told him I was upset and he wrote me back that he would talk with his health team and get back to me tomorrow. Why is UNICEF taking over Haitis abandoned children? IBESR should be responsible for Haitis abandoned children.
We did receive Harry who is 10 years old and has a hurt left arm and left foot. His home fell on him and he is separated from his mother. He is laughing and funny already. At first, he was very homesick and crying for his mother but he likes us now. We are making inquiries about his mother and hope to find her soon.
Jude is less than a month old. He was abandoned by his mother on a dirt pile but she really did not abandon him because she stayed to watch if someone picked him up. He was just a tiny baby and premature. An American medical team that was in Haiti helping after the earthquake took him into their clinic and cared for him. They transferred him to GLA. But the mother came back to the clinic and said she MIGHT want him back after he is bigger and healthier. He had seizures when he first arrived at GLA, and we are sure he had an infection of some sort. He received treatment and is doing better now.
We arrived home at 8 PM Saturday night. We came with 28 trunks, 14 suitcases, and multiple boxes. Today, the volunteers have unpacked the items and started sorting them into piles. Tomorrow, we will start handing out the items to the staff who have lost their homes and also to the community around us that is still sleeping outside. Callebasse and Kenscoff were hard hit also and we will try to get a list of names in that area who need some tarps, tents, blankets, and lanterns and see if we can help them out.
Tomorrow, I will go to the French Embassy and IBESR trying to find out what can be done for the French adoptions and for the abandoned children. Pray for me as I run all over downtown tomorrow trying to get some answers.
29 January 12:10 PM
We went out and bought more blankets and supplies to take back to Haiti. It took 6 shopping carts and 2 taxis to get it back to the hotel. We bought every blanket that we could find because our staff has told us that everyone is freezing sleeping on the groud and they need blankets. Today, I rented a van to go to other Walmarts stores to buy more blankets. We will also go to Costco to get some food to take back with us. We will return to Haiti on Saturday afternoon and then start handing out supplies on Monday.
Everyone is so nice to us. We went to Dollar Rent-a-Car and the people at the counter did what they could to make our rental go smoothly. We will return to Haiti on Vision Airlines again. I do not know what we would have done without them during this crisis. If they had not brought charters into Haiti, we would not have been able to take the American adopted children to Miami or have returned to Haiti with supplies. Now, they are taking us back into Haiti after taking the adopted children into Canada I could not have left if I had not know we could get back in!
As we left Canada, we went through securtiy in Toronto. I had not been through security entering the USA since all of the trouble they had on the flight to Detroit. It is WILD! I feel sorry for anyone traveling to the USA. It took 2 hours to get through the whole security line!!! I was upset. How many times has US born citizens been part of terrorists attacks on airlines? So why do we have to be patted down, step on special mats that are checking for who knows what, and have our clothing and hands swabbed for explosives?? The lines were HUGE!! We had 3 hours between planes and we needed that much time to make it through security!
No Matter what the different countries do to make security better, the people who are crazy and try to get things on planes...will probably find a way. And the rest of us will just be extremely inconvenienced!
The different medical groups in Haiti are now calling for nurses instead of doctors. They need nurses to help care for the patient that have had surgery or just with wounds.
I am supposed to be making an appearanceon the Larry King Show on CNN tonight at 9 PM. We will be talking about the displaced children and how to find their parents.
28 January 2010 8:50 AM
There are some things I keep forgetting to mention. I am still trying to track down TETANUS vaccine! You can probably imagine the problems with people being cut by the metal rods sticking up out of buildings. These metal rusty bars are prime tetanus environment. I cannot find anyone to donate the vaccines for the Haitian hospitals and clinics! Please, help me find some vaccines. If bought, they cost $30 per dose! To me, that is ridiculous! The cost seems too high when you can get DPT (diptheria, pertussis and tetanus) combination for about $18 per dose. Does that make sense??
We are aso collecting items to ship to Haiti. See thes Haiti Relief page for new items needed.
We have received 2 children now from the Comfort Ship. The little girl who came yesterday, knows her name and the school and church where she attends. Ernst, our driver, went to the church today with her photo and the history that she knows about herself. The pastor will announce her information on Sunday and we hope that her family will come respond and come to take her home.
We still have not found Harry's mother and are waiting for his mother to go to General Hospital inquiring about him. We have given them a photo and his name and hope that we can find his mother soon.
Molly, Joyce, some of the other staff, and I traveled to Miami today. We went shopping for tents, tarps, blankets, and other relief items to take back with us on Saturday. It will be good to get back to Haiti and not have to leave again any time soon.
Laurie told me today that IBESR and UNICEF came to the orphanage yesterday asking about children that had been admitted since the earthquake. They took names an photos and asked what we were doing about finding the parents of the children. They then gave us a sticker to how that they had been there and we were cleared! Cleared for what? I do not know. I have more to tell you all about today, but will blog more in the morning. I need to get some sleep and rest.
27 January 2010
The Canadian Embassy in Haiti had told us that we could not fly on Tuesday or Wednesday. They told us it might be Thursday before we flew to Canada with our 20 children being adopted by Canadian Citizens. So, I went upstairs to take a nap and I think I may have slept 10 minutes when one of my workers came and told me the Canadian Embassy was on the phone. Yep, you guessed it! They wanted us to come right then with our 20 children to the Embassy and sleep there with the children and leave the next morning at 9 AM! Now, why sleep there if we are not leaving until 9 AM? Do any of us know why a government does the things they do???
They called at 2:45 PM and wanted us there by 5 PM. Well, we got there by 6 PM! It takes some time to get everything ready to travel with 20 children and enough things for 24 hours!
We slept at the Embassy. All in one room. I sat in a chair all night. Needless to say, I'm tired right now! We left the Embassy at 7:30 AM and went straight to the airport and boarded the plane. The drive to the airport was sad. down in that area there are lots of buildings down. It seemed that about every other building had damage or was flat. It made me sad especially when I know there are bodies in some of those buildings!
Nothing ever goes perfectly, but the trip to Canada went good. There were a lot of people on the plane to help us and they provided diapers and food. All of our warm clothing for the children went into the cargo hold instead of in the cabin with us! Our baby formula went in the hold as did all of our diapers! All of our clothing went into the hold! So, it didn't go smoothly but it all worked out ok.
It was COLD and SNOWING when we arrived in Ottawa at 1:40 PM today. The parents were all waiting in the lounge when we entered the building and we were able to speak with them and transfer the children to the parents. The parents were all ecstatic that their children were finally there! By 3:30 pm, we were in our rooms! Molly and Joyce then went back out to buy me a sweatshirt because I forgot mine in Haiti! The girls are so good to me! I appreciate both of them so much!
We leave Ottawa tomorrow morning at 7 AM and will arrive in Miami at 2 PM. We will the start collecting more supplies to take back into Haiti. We are anxious to get home so that we can continue to take in more displaced children.
We are headed to the restaurant here in the hotel. Will blog more later after a good nights sleep!
25 January 2010 11:55 AM
There was some problems with the Canadian transfer of the children. We did not hear from the Canadian government until Friday. I had just arrived in Miami with the American children. My days are running together and it is difficult to remember one day from another! The Canadian Embassy personel told my staff that there was a flight going out on Saturday night and they wanted GLA children on it. My staff told them that this was impossible until Joyce, Molly, and I could return to Haiti. We had told some of the older children that we would return and see them. We felt it important that GLA children all went together and that they traveled with familiar people and not strangers. We did not want any of the children traumatized. These children have no voice. I am their guardian and as such, I am their voice. I want what is best for them and being handed over to complete strangers at the Haitian airport is not what is best for them. By waiting 3 days, the children will be traveling with Molly, Joyce, Susan, and I and we will hand them over to their families. We are all just trying to do our best in the worst situation!
25 January 2010 945 AM
I knew that I might forget to thank someone very important and sure enough I forgot Vision Airlines who came to Haiti twice to bring volunteers and supplies and then again to take the children and staff to Miami. They have worked tirelessly to get us back into Haiti also. I did not want to forget to thank them!
25 January 2010 8:30 AM
Joyce picked up her phone yesterday and it was Ketlie (Gwo Manma) in Haiti! She told Joyce that Joyce and Molly had told her they would only be gone 1 day and she was worried that they were not coming back...ever! Joyce assured her that it was just because of the scheduling of the flight being delayed that we were late getting back! We are doing every thing to get on the next flight in. It shows you how scared and unnerved our staff is about everything right now!
We spent all day yesterday in communcation with Aaron and Tanya Ramsay who was trying to get us on a flight into Haiti. We even tried to get on a flight into the Dominican Republic and would have walked across the border. That did not work out because the border closes at 6:30 PM and it would have been too close trying to get there and then we would have had to spend the night at the border. Finally, the charter airline confirmed a Monday flight for us. Our group has grown to 12 people. We have 2 workers from other orphanages who have joined up with us and 2 doctors who would like to travel wih us.
I am really homesick for John, my kids, and everyone at the orphanage....and for Haiti. I will be very happy to step off that plane! The phone is already ringing with phone calls from Haiti! The staff is trying to get the dossiers ready to go to the French Embassy so a decision can be made if those children can join their families.
We also received word that the Navy Comfort ship wants to transfer premature babies to GLA!
and life in Haiti goes on...
24 January 2010 9:10 PM
We finally received confirmation that our flight back to Haiti will be on Monday. We are all very anxious to return home and get the rest of the children out of Haiti to join their families. We will be escorting children to Canada on Monday night or Tuesday. We are waiting for confirmation from the Canadian Embassy on the exact time.
I just want to be in Haiti. I want to see the kids and the staff and know that everyone is ok. The aftershocks continue and there was one today that registered 4.7. My staff is scared everytime the earth shakes. I think they are suffering from trauma. When I am there and remain calm, they are better able to handle the shaking. Molly's staff is better whe she is in the house too. Please pray that all will go well with our travel tomorrow and we will all arrive safely.
24 January 2010 11:10 AM
I forgot to tell you that one of the babies that was brought out was very sick before we came and we feared that we would have to leave he behind. On the way to the airport, she was taken to a hospital that had a team of American doctors, they looked at her and gave her fluids and thought she was stable enough to travel. it turns out that she had meningitis. She went directly into a hospital here in Miami and her adoptive mother came to the hospital to stay with her. The last report we received was that she was stable.
I want to personally thank everyone that was so kind to us throughout this process. Our sincere Thanks to:
First to Aaron and Tanya Ramsay for being there and making things happen!
To Tanya, Jill Wilkins, and their team in Miami who worked hard with little sleep to make our arrival and the meeting with between the adoptive parents and children go so well!
To our volunteers that arrived in Haiti to help during the evacuation of the children and the arrival of humanitarian aid.
Pastor Joel Trimble for video services and finding buses for all of the kids to get to the airport in Pap,
everyone at the PAP airport for allowing us to sit on the grass and be inside on the runway, to Vision Airlines that provided the charter jet and all of their employees that held babies on the flight!
To Miami International Airport staff and administration, who went beyond what was usual to make our arrival all of the way through the reunion with the parents and finding us a shuttle to our hotel. I take my hat off to them and I cannot express our gratitude with just these words!
To the Marriott Airport Hotel for their welcoming spirit and great hospitality. I will stay here again!
To limo service that CNN hired to come and take us to their office. The driver took us to Walmart to buy tarps and tents after the show and we appreciated it very much!
To everyone that had any thing to do with making this happen!
24 January 2010 6:30 AM
I tried all day yesterday to blog without any success! I thought my days might be quieter while I was in Miami, but they are just as busy as when I am in Haiti!
Our trip from GLA to Miami was pretty exciting! I slept 2 hours Thursday morning and then was up trying to get things ready for us all to leave. I was on the phone and coordinating cars, people, and children up to the moment we got in the cars to leave. Thankfully, all of the staff did their jobs perfectly and we had cars and vans for everyone, all paperwork was in order and packed into a suitcase, clothes and food was packed, and the kids were bathed and dressed on time! That in itself was a miracle!
About 11 AM that Thursday morning, we had another large aftershock that sent the women running out of the house! It took everyone to get them back in to finish getting the kids ready. Pastor Joel Trimble came with his video camera and took video of the whole process of loading the children and he went all of the way to the airport and into the plane with the children. Hopefully, he will post some of the video on You Tube.
We were late leaving for the airport and thankfully, the traffic was not bad. The drivers took a shortcut to get us there but it was through an area hit hard by the earthquake. Our older children had not seen any houses that had fallen during the quake. Seeing them personally, really affected some of the older children and they were very sad when we drove by.
This time, we did not have to spend hours in the heat of Port au Prince like we did when we went to take the Dutch children to meet their plane. We were there for 8 hours that day. FRiday, we were there about 4 hours. We were also allowed to get out of the vehicles and wait on a nice grassy area. We made it a great adventure for the children and it helped so much that I took 10 staff members with us. The older children kep asking me..."Are you going too Mme John?"..."Is Molly going too Mme John?" When I told them that yes, we are all going! They were happy and very few of the children cried when they joined their families. We were all there and it was just as if they were in Haiti.
The Miami Airport and several missions in Miami sent some volunteers on the plane to help us. We had been told that there would be extra passengers who would help us take the children out, but they did not show up. So each of the volunteers and staff had 3 to 4 children to take care of. Needless to say, it was an INTERESTING ride!
We arrived in Miami about 12:30 AM Friday morning, we spent 7 1/2 hours in Immigration. Yes, it took that long to process all of the children! The airport personel were so nice. They brought toys, baby formula, diapers, wet wipes, and food! They even came in and held babies! GLA kids are usually so well behaved when we go places and they did not disappoint us here either! They sat for that whole time or laid in the floor and took naps with very little whining and crying! I think we adults whined more than they did!!!
But it was all worth it when the children were united with their families! The airport had provided us with two conerence rooms where the parents could sit and wait and where we could bring the children to change them and get them ready to meat their parents. We had run out of clothing in the middle of the night and our spare clothing had been taken to another location, so we desperately needed to change some kids before they met their new families!
We had a well organized reunion, the children did well with it all. Nobody was afraid or crying. Parents were overjoyed. It was a miracle that these children got to come home without the process being finished. Some of these parents would have had to wait another year or more to take their children home under normal circumstances!
The GLA staff was so exhausted that in a way it helped us send the children home with their adoptive families. We were sort of numb and our emotions were numb too! Some of the children had been with us 6 years, others 4 years! That is a LONG time and those children...it was hard for them to leave! Most of the children did really well and others will be sad for a little while, but we are all so glad they are with their forever families and safe.
We all went to our hotels and collapsed. I slept 5 hours until Haiti called and woke me up! And then went back and slept 8 more hours! I will never get that sleep back that I lost...but this sure helped!
Saturday, I had to go to the CNN studio here in Miami and talk for 5 minutes about orphans and the ability to adopt the new ones. I explaind that all new orphans from the quake disaster must be placed in orphanages until it can be determined that they are truly orphans and family does not come forward asking for the children. Only if President Preval and the international community can come to an agreement to let the orphans be adopted. I do not foresee UNICEF especially letting this happen without a lot of noise from their side! I would love to see the orphans adopted, but we just need to pray that this is possible later after things have settled down in Haiti.
We also went shopping and bought tarps, tents, blankets, towels, and lanterns to hand out when we get home. We spent some of the donations that came in and bought enough to help our staff that lost their homes and the surrounding community. We are also going to help some of them rebuild their homes at least for the ones that owned their homes and for the others, we will try to relocate them to a different housel.
Our flight back to Haiti was changed to Sunday.
We are still waiting for confirmation that we can fly back to Haiti today. if not, we will fly into the DR and drive across the border. I will update this as I know what is happening.
22 January 2010 3:15 AM
Yes, that is right, it is 3:15 AM and I am blogging before I go to bed! It has been a long day. It started at 5:20 AM when I got up and continued until now! First the earthquake struck at 6:10 AM and then I have been running ever since! I went to the US Embassy this morning and started the paperwork for 83 visas. I left there and went to try and find the place I was supposed to meet the Canadian Broadcast Company by the airport and never did find it! The directions they gave me were totally incorrect. So I finally gave up!
Traffic was horrible! It too hours to get from one place to another.
Oh, my goodness! I just had fatigue wash over me... maybe I should go to bed and finish this tomorrow. My eyes are crossing and if I have errors in my typing please forguve me!
20 January 2010 6:25 AM
Another large earthquake struck here about 6:10 AM. It registered 6.1 on the scale!!! It shook the house but only for about 10 seconds. The children are again outside on the driveway. There is no way they will probably come back in today! It rained last night so it is cold and wet out there. This is NOT an aftershock...this was an earthquake to all of us!!
When will I be able to sleep with my bedroom door shut again? When will I be able to put my foot rest up on my recliner and not sit in fear that I cannot get out fast enough if there is another earthquake? How long before the earth stops moving and I stop being dizzy all of the time? How long before every little shake of the house does not make my heart beat faster?
We had 14 people come yesterday to help. All thought they had prepared themselves for the aftershocks...it did not work! They jumped out of bed and were just as scared as the rest of us who had lived through the 7.0!
I am headed to the US Embassy to get visas. Please pray that a visa is issued for each child and we can get the children out of Haiti to their families!
We are all so ready for this to be over! I am afraid to live in this big 3 story house! I am claustorphobic and the thought of being buried under concrete is almost too much. I am rethinking the design for the new orphanage! It may be only one story!!!
19 January 2010 11:45 PM
Today was a good day! We received 2 truckloads of water! We can bath and do laundry now. We also received supplies from the Dutch Marines and our Humanitarian Relief Plane arrived with part of the supplies. The rest will come in tomorrow..maybe!
People in the community lined up at the gate watching the food and supplies being brought in. I am glad we have security staying the night. Tomorrow, we will start making up food packets for houses around us. Rice is now $10 USD for a 5 pound bag. The prices are horrible and unaffordable for the average Haitian.
I seemed to do nothing but run around today. I do one thing and then another and then forgot what I was doing before I was interrupted! A British TV crew came to interview Susan. They told me that Susan is a national sensation in Great Britian! Susan HATES having her photo taken or any sort of attention. It took a disaster to make her allow her photo taken and for her to talk on television! LOL I spoke to them about how much I have appreciated Susan being here. I do not know what we would have done without her to run the nursery during this time!
Stephanie and Amanda have made so many photocopies that our copier shut down because it overheated! Thankfully, when it cooled down, it came back on. I do not know what we would have done with that photocopier!
Melanie has been getting photos and children ready to leave to join their forever families. Lois and Brad have been doing whatever is needed and keeping the kitchen running and people fed. Laurie has been going all over Port-au-Prince and to the airport ever since Wednesday. John has been helping everywhere. We are all ready for a break and a rest! But we cannot rest until the children go to their forever families!
I ask that you all pray for the children in the orphanage that are going to France and Canada. We need to pray that they will allow the children being adopted by French and Canadian families to go to their adoptive families now and finish the paperwork later! God can make this happen.
I continue to speak to CNN, Canadian Radio, British TV and Radio, Newspapers, and even a group of French reporters! Thankfully, God has given me the words to say. I hated talking in front of groups as a child. I am so thankful that God changed me as I matured.
The inside of the house looks like a tornado has hit it! Everything is covered in things! I hate clutter and especially when we have so many visitors here! We may have to take a few hours one day to help the housekeeper straighten up. Just for my sanity
We have not had any large aftershocks for 24 hours! The continuous aftershocks were really wearing on all of our nerves! We could not sleep. We also felt dizzy and sick from the constant movement of the earth under our feet. Today, has been better.
I absolutely could not sit at my desk one more minute abut 2 PM today! An extreme exhaustion came over me. My arms were heavy and my neck was too weak to hold my head up! I told the staff that I had to lay down for an hour. By the time I got upstairs to my bed, I was so dizzy that I could not walk a straight line! I laid down for an hour and did my Sudoku Puzzles, slept for about 15 minutes and then felt much better! I was scared to death that I was getting sick and there was no way that I could be sick right now! I also had not had any of the choking episodes that I had from October to December for quite some time until the last few days! I think they came back just because of the exhaustion! Pray that they will go away again and not get any worse!
In some papers, Haiti is now on the second page. I hope the world does not forget Haiti! People are still being saved from buildings. We need the world to remember Haiti. Do not forget us!
I am late blogging today. I am working 6 AM to Midnight every day. I am tired. Will hopefully blog again tomorrow.
And Life in Haiti goes on
18 January 2010 10:45 PM
Is it ever going to get better? The day starts at 6 AM and ends at Midnight every day! I do not mind the long days, but pile high stress on top of that and it is too much! Everybody forgets to eat because we are so busy! Every country where we do adoptins wants scanned documents before they will approve the children to enter their country and we need to email them ASAP! Scanning documents here is not easy. Making photocopies of 800 documents take a long time! Stephanie, Melanie, and Amanda have worked so hard on getting documents pulled and copied or scanned and have worked two solid days and need a third day before they will all be done!
I was interviewed by CNN news again this morning. I think it went fairly well and I was given enough time to tell about the need to get the children to their families. The US, as usual, issued a statement about allowing children to come to the US and it is long and detailed and confusing! We just want to know can all children in process go??? I think they can but will find out when we get to the US embassy with the documents!
Today has been hard. I am tired and "fussy". I have no patience with passive people today. I want people talking to me that are on fire to get these kids out like we do! If you cannot fight for the children, please do not call me right now! See, I AM REALLY "fussy" tonight!
The Dutch plane comes tomorrow to take 100 children to the Netherlands. We mst be down at the airport early. We then will wait for a flight bringing in some relief supplies. We are very thankful that supplies are coming. A couple of other orphanages are coming to share in the donated goods. They are almost out of food.
We also heard today about an orphange with 60 children in it south of Port-au-Prince that collapsed and the children were killed. So much suffering and misery! The devastation runs from Port-au-Prince clear to Jacmel! The media is not showing you that far south yet, but it is bad. I do not know if we will ever know how many people died from this. People are still dying from their injuries!
We also heard of another orphanage with 80 children where the orphanage was destroyed and the children are all living outside. they are running out of food and water. We will try to get some to them as soon as possible. People have been so good about donating. We are thankful to have some funds to help community that is suffering!
I must go to bed. I need to be up early again. We have all promised ourselves a couple of days of sleeping in when this has settled down! And we are going to do it, too!
And Life in Haiti goes on...
17 January 2010 10:45 PM
It has been another long day! We have been trying to make copies of all of the dossiers, scanning some to send to adoptive parents, and making lists for foreign governments! It has been rather overwhelming and Stephanie, our adoption coordinator, has been working continously trying to get it all done with other volunteers and staff helping her. It is difficult to prioritize what needs to be done because it is ALL urgent stuff!
This afternoon, we had the Dutch ambassador and consular general come to tell us that 100 children being adopted by Dutch families have been approved by the Dutch Ministry to enter The Netherlands. The Dutch Ambassador and Consular General have met with the Prime Minister of Haiti and were hopeful that the Prime Minister will sign for the children to leave Haiti tomorrow afteroon. A plane is coming to Haiti from The Netherlands to pick up the children from 3 different Haitian orphanges. PLEASE PRAY THAT THIS WILL WORK OUT AND THE CHILDREN CAN LEAVE TOMORROW! ALSO PRAY THAT THE PLANE WILL BE ABLE TO LAND AT THE AIRPORT AS SCHEDULED!
We also had a camera crew fromThe Netherlands come who wanted to film the children leaving on the Dutch flight. They will come up to the orphanage tomorrow and travel with us to the airport and follow the children onto the airplane.
At the same time, we had a mission who had heard about our need come with some diesel and water. It was not a huge amount but every gallon we are so thankful for! Since people have heard about our situation, we have heard from people who want to help. I feel like we will receive enough water to survive. God has always been very good to us!
Tonight, Jill and Joe Wilkins, their son Chancelet, and I appeared on Larry King Live on CNN. I wish I had had 2 more minutes to explain more about what was going on! The time goes so fast! CNN called again this afternoon and asked if I would consider being on another segment at 9:00 AM Monday. They were not certain if the segment would be approved, but if it is then I will try to tell more about the situation in Haiti with getting the adopted children out. Join me with praying that the people who need to hear about the situation were watching and God will touch their hearts to help the children and their adoptive parents!
It is late and I need to get to bed. Tomorrow will be a very long day! OH, I wanted to tell you that this morning I was in the bathroom when a large aftershock hit. NOW, I know how the water gets splashed out of the toilet bowl! Quite an experience!!!
17 January 2010 10:45 AM
Today, I am walking around in a fog. The exhaustion has finally caught up with me and everyone else! I went to bed thinking I would get a good night's sleep and at 2 AM the nurses woke me up to start an IV on a sick baby! Which just shows that these children are fragile! If I did not have nurses working here and have some medicines in our cabinets, what would we do? If I needed a hospital, it would be difficult to find one! We have 3 more children with vomiting and diarrhea today plus some of the staff. Is it just stress? Is it a virus? Is it something else?
Of course, after starting the IV, then I could not get back to sleep. I tried doing my Sudoku puzzles but I just could not think logically enough to solve them! Finally I went to sleep and then John's alarm went off at 5 AM and the dogs scratched on the door at 7:30. So another night of broken sleep. (PS. any families wanting to bring me a little gift? Bring a sudoku puzzle book. I find them a great stress reliever!)
I look in the mirror and my hair needs a good washing,there are dark circles under my eyes, and my eyes are bright red and blood shot! Yikes, who is that person staring back at me? LOL
Everyone but Laurie, Susan,and I have gone to church. We need church today. We need the comfort of routine and being with other people. Unfortunately, Susan is the only nurse for the babies, Laurie is trying to find water and fuel and answering the phones and I am trying to get some paperwork done that we will needed on Monday! The pastor and his wife will come to the orphanage later to share a little message with us which will be very nice.
I feel like I am walking through sand or knee-deep mud today! I know it is just from being tired, but I have so much to do that I cannot quit quite yet! Hopefully, I will be able to take a short nap this afternoon to help get refreshed a little.
If I repeat myself, forgive me. Days, Hours, Minutes are all starting to run together for me! Can it truly have been 4 1/2 days since the earthquake happened?
For those of you who are following our aftershocks, here is a great web site to watch: Earthquakes.
For all of you who are writing asking me about the welfare of biological parents, don't waste your time at the computer! There is no way of knowing anything unless they contact us. I have been having some parents call asking about the children and the orphanage! We are trying to keep a record of anyone who called but it will be weeks before we can communicate this with adoptive parents. I know for your peace of mind, you would like to know, but it just is not top priority for us right now. Sorry...
I am sitting her listening to my laundry ladies signing and clapping along to their radio which is broadcasting Christian music. It is very uplifting to hear them singing and rejoicing!
We are trying to keep the children's routines as normal as possible. They are all doing well. Probably better than all of us adults! God has given children such a powerful ability to adapt to certain situations and especially if their routines are kept as normal as possible!
And life in Haiti goes on...
16 January 2010 10:45 PM
I forgot to tell you about one of our nannies, Jocelyne, who has been with us since 1998. First she was a mother with her tiny baby who received services and since then has been an employee. She was at GLA when the earthquake happened. Her family lives down close to the sea in Carrefour, one of the hardest hit areas. She had no word for 2 days and finally received word that her niece, her niece's playmate, and a young girl that lives with her were in a two story house that collapsed. They were caught in a very small space. her niece has a leg that is very swollen and hurts and also her back is scraped up. the playmate was not hurt. The other little girl cannot walk and is critically injured.
Finally, Joycelyne was able to leave on Friday to go and try to find her family. Irlande, her sister, also works at GLA but at the Toddler House. She was in Carrefour when the earthquake happened. James, our foster son, drove her to Carrefour and left her where she could walk to her home. Her home is completely gone! She found her two sons, her niece, and Irlande and collected them up and walked back to Petionville! Now Petionville is probably 4 miles from Carrefour. Her niece, 5 years old, with her injured leg, walked that whole way. There were no taxis to take them. They carried Jocelyne's baby who is dehydrated and having diarrhea.
They arrived at the orphanage at 10 PM exhausted and in shock! When Irlande saw me, she just walked up and hugged me! She said she saw terrible things. She said that things are so devastating. It was so sad. It broke my heart! Joycelyne brought them here because she does not want the children to die! they have no water or food where they were. At least here, they can drink and eat....for now.
They are so thankful that they are alive!
16 January 2010 8:30 PM
Today has brought less phone calls which I have been very thankful for! Thankfully, all of the stress we are under makes me not hungry! A good side effect of stress, I guess! Of course, what do they say? A person under a lot of stress cuts 10 years off their life span! Well, with all of this stress, it will probably cut 20 off mine!!! LOL
I have very good news! We sent 5 children to their "forever" families tonight! The children are going to Brussels, Belgium and will meet their Dutch parents there. All but one of the children had their passports and visa approvals. The one that did not had the Dutch ministry approval to come. Her parents were here and had arrived on the day of the earthquake. They did not want to leave their daughter and the Dutch Government allowed them to leave with her with a judge's approval and all of her completed paperwork! Our other families that left on the same plane had to leave their children behind. They said that it was so difficult knowing what was going on and the shortages that we were having. They knew they would have to leave them and were okay with that under "normal" circumstances! But today...with the earth shaking every few minutes and the destructions just a few miles down the road...was almost impossible for them!
Our families in the USA, Canada, France, Luxembourg and The Netherlands have all worked hard to get their governments to allow all children reliniquished by their parents and proposed to adoptive families to be united with these families under humanitarian reasons. This MUST happen. I fear for the children if it does not!
New Life Link director, Dr. Bernard, showed up at our door during the CNN interview with Wolfe Blitzer which I think went pretty well. I might, if asked, have preferred Anderson Cooper, he is SO Cute! Everyone here in Haiti at GLA thinks he is cute and so does my staff in Colorado! But that is ok, I am just glad to get the message out about the children! But oh...I would have LOVED to talk to Anderson Cooper!!! Would have brought a bit of sunshine to my day!!!
Dr. Bernard's orphange is unsafe to enter. He has brought all of the children to his home in our area. He did not have enough drinking water and the children were thirsty. So we are sharing 55 gallons of drinking water with them. There is just so much misery in Haiti right now!
But GOOD NEWS! Some people who heard the CNN interview and have water in Haiti have called and want to share with us! Let us hope that we can get some water soon. We only have about 3 days worth of water at this point and we are really concerving all items. Many of the volunteers have not had a shower since Monday or Tuesday! We are in survival mode. Showers with a bucket and half food rations for now. We are almost out of sugar...so no cereal for the children! Rice, rice, and more rice. That will be our diet for now! For a girl from Illinois...potato country...this might be difficult!
After a large aftershock lasting about 5 seconds this morning, the nannies spent the rest of the day outside. We had a little talk because they were hysterical and we talked about havin faith that God will protect us. If we have another large tremor, even I might go outside for awhile! But I told them that over the years God has protected GLA and it's babies! In 2004, when President Aristide left Haiti, God protected us! In August and September of 2008 during the hurricanes, God protected us! Tuesday, 12 January at 4:53 PM, God protected us! I told them that lots of people were praying for us to be safe. They talked about all of the houses that have fallen down since the major shock on Tuesday. The aftershocks are earthquakes on their own and the already damaged buildings cannot standup to them! But we told them...our building is safe. Rely on God. But they all went outside anyway!
I told them not to run when the quake hits, but if they do take 2 children with them! We can at least save some of the children if this happens again! They tend to run and leave the children behind! Someone sent us an article that said to lay on the floor beside something and you migh survive. We will see if they will do this!
OH, I have the cutest story to tell you! It is a dog story for all of you dog lovers like me! Some friends who are Haitian American were evacuated out to the US by the US Embassy. They could not take their two little daschunds wtih them. These little dogs were Hurricane katrina survivors who they adopted. Now they have been left behind in Haiti! Our daughter, Laurie, is friends with them and they got word to her to please go get the dogs! They said that a plane would come later to take out all of the pets that had to be left behind! (I know some of you will frown at this story, but I would hate to leave my pets behind if I had to go, so I can sympathize with these friends!)
I am super tired! Tomorrow, some of the volunteers and staff will go to church and some will have to stay here and work. We have a lot of things that we must do before Tuesday. We have a humanitarian plane coming in that one of our board members and his company, Messengers International ( http://www.messengerinternational.org/ ) have arranged for a charter flight to come to Haiti loaded with baby supplies and emergency supplies. It will also include tents, blankets, etc. We will give these to another organization to distribute downtown or where ever they are needed most. We will distribute some in our community. We want to thank Aaron Ramsey and Messenger International who made this life saving flight possible!
I know I will forget some of the stuff that happened today. Every day is running together now. Tempers are short. We are all tired. My sister-in-law has a devotional group on Facebook called Morning Coffee Devotional. Her words are always encouraging and helpful. Today, she wrote: Forty seconds brought destruction. Seven words can bring LIFE. It takes seven seconds to say the seven words of the publican. "Lord, have mercy on me a sinner!"
How true those words are. I am thankful that I know Jesus Christ as my Savior. I have the peace of knowing that if something should happen to me, I will be with Jesus in the end. I know some people reading this blog might not believe that but I do and my faith is strong. It has kept me sane through all of this and able to fight to get these children to their adoptive families and to keep everyone safe. God gives me comfort. He gives me hope that tomorrow will be better. He wraps me in His arms and comforts me when I am scared. You do not believe God is real? I KNOW He is real and he has his arms wrapped around this orphange keeping us safe. Thank you Jesus for loving all of us and for protecting us during the earthquake.
15 January 2010 5:30 PM
Before I say anything about my day, there are some things I forgot to post that I want you to know!
1. Did you know that during an earthquake all of the water in the toilet bowls splash out on the floor? I do not think I ever thought about this! But I do think it is one of those interesting facts!
2. Those of you who might be wondering if I am still on that stupid diet the answer is NO! Tuesday, started out as a stressful day and at noon my whole office staff ate cheeseburgers and French fries! At 4:53 PM, we had the earthquake! I am glad that I had that cheeseburger, because if I had died and the last thing I had tasted was a fake chocolate soy based mix with water "milk" shake, it would have been awful! Needless to say, with all of the stress that we are under, I am NOT doing this diet again until things settle down!
I thought today would be quieter. Reporters are on the ground in Port-au-Prince. TV coverage of rescues and such are going on. I thought I could stay off the telephone and actually do some work! But it did not happen. We still have some reporters and lots of people wanting to send in humanitarian aid. One of our American board members has arranged for a 737 jet to carry in to Haiti for GLA 12,000 pounds worth of donations. Some of these will be for our orphanage and others will be given to agencies working down in Port-au-Prince to distribute. Some of the items arriving will be blankets, tents, hygiene packets, first aid items, food and water. They will also bring diapers and baby items. This will help for a while. We are very thankful for the help.
I am continuing to plan to petition the Haitian government to allow the children to leave Haiti. It is difficult to find anyone to talk to. Their minds are on rescue work and humanitarian efforts. But helping these children is a humanitarian effort too! We do not know that tomorrow is going to bring here. Where do we buy food, water, fuel, cooking fuel, and supplies? Will we see the children going without food before the end of the month? Will the relief effort be enough? I do not know. I guess the future holds all the answers.
Does it never end? We just received a call from the Fermathe Hospital asking us to take a premature baby from a mother who is having seizures and was a earthquake survivor. We also received word that one of my staff members is trying to reach the orphanage with her children, niece, and sister-in-law who were all hurt in the earthquake and they cannot find food, water, or medical assistance. And the aftershocks, rolling of the ground, and trembling, continues!
If fear it is just a small taste of what we can expect in the next few weeks.
I can hear my staff outside my office window singing and praising God. What a sweet sound to my ear and how comforting this is to me.
And life in Haiti goes on .
14 January 2010 11:55 PM
It's really 12:40 AM but I didn't want everyone to think I did not blog on the 14th! I know that I wrote something earlier but it is NOT here! The web site monsters must have eaten it, because it has disappeared!
Today, I just want to cry! I just want to crawl into a corner and curl up for awhile. I may just have a good cry later...I think I deserve it! My hands have shook all day from stress. All of my staff said the same thing today. I think the shock is wearing off and the stress of surviving and keeping the children safe is taking its toil on all of us. The stories and photos we are seeing is so sad. Our staff has lost lots of family members. Our cook said he had 11 families members who died! Some of staff has not come to work. We are fearful for them. They live on the side of a hill in Port au Prince. Another staff member said that most of the houses in this area are collapsed. Please pray for these people. Especially for Madeleine and her family.
I finally got sleep last night and even slept through a big aftershock at 7 AM this morning. I was tired! My day started early and I have not stopped all day long. Phone calls, skype conferences, and just running the orphanage has been more than enough work today.
I think the news people will now go on to stories of things down in the city. We were their only contact in Haiti for 48 hours almost. Now they have crews of journalist arrive and they are going down in the midst of things to get first hand reports. Maybe we can stop talking on the phone now and return to our work!
Members of our US and Canadian board are coordinating relief efforts and donations are being collected to bring supplies into Haiti for the orphanage and surround area. A chartered plane is coming in on Monday with some volunteers and some supplies. We are struggling to take care of all of the babies since many of the workers have not come to work.
The international efforts will of course be centered down in the worst areas but there are people who lost their homes and family members around us. We will focus our relief efforts up here in the mountains for now and bring food, water, and also help rebuild homes here. We will also be preparing to take in more orphans as needed.
Our families from Canada, Holland, and Luxembourg are all being airlifted out of Haiti. We took the Canadian family to the airport tonight to catch a French flight. They missed that flight but the airport personell said for them to stay and they would get them on a flight out of Haiti. The rest of the families will leave tomorrow.
We continue to have aftershocks. Will it never stop shaking??? When I told my staff that they might last up to a month, they all moaned and said "NO!". They do not like them either! As I am writing this , my desk is shaking! I HATE THESE AFTERSHOCKS! I said after the hurricane that I thought that was the WORST thing and I never wanted to live through that again, but I think an earthquake has now become my number 1 least liked thing!!!!
Well, it is 1:10 AM and I need to go to bed! If you want to see some earthquake photos that Laurie took downtown, keep checking www.godslittlestangelsinhaiti.org . I just do not have time to add them to our web site PLUS we have had so many visitors to the web site that it keeps going down! So Tom Vanderwell will put them on the blog for me. You can thank Tom for finally getting these to you. I have had good intentions since Wednesday to get them posted!
I want to thank everyone who has posted on my facebook and written me emails. Even if I do not answer, know that I am reading everyone and it means a lot to know that you want to help and are praying for us. It truly does mean a lot to me! I also am very thankful for all of the donations that have come through Paypal and through the Blog site for the Haiti Relief Fund. It is a little overwhelming to think of the outpouring of funds to help the children and those effected by this disaster! Thank you!
God is good. He has protected us and we all praise him. Our nannies sing about their love of Jesus. They sing of His goodness and faithfulness. I feel so blessed to be here at this time and having the nannies minister to me through song and their total reliance on God! Makes me feel humble. I do not know if I would do as well in their shoes...
13 January 2010 7:30 PM
I have been interviewed more since this earthquake than in my whole life! I cannot talk anymore! I did make the nannies bring the children back into the orphanage. It started to rain tonight. Laurie said that the flies in PAP are horrible! There was a woman who with a newborn baby that had died when their house collapsed. The mother was sitting outside an asked Laurie's group, "do you see my baby?" The baby was laid out on the collapsed roof of the home. People are in shock. They are walking around in a daze. The parks and open areas are full of people. They are sleeping there. They are afraid to return to their homes because they fear they are unsafe. The aftershocks do not help either!!
I am finally going to bed in my own bed even if there are still aftershocks! First time to sleep since Monday!
We are praying for Haiti, for safety, for rescue teams to come quickly, for humanitarian aid to enter easily and not be held up in Port like it usually is. Please join us in praying for these things
13 January 2010 5:00 PM
Well, it has been 24 hours now since the "earthquake" hit Haiti! At 11:30 AM this morning, it was reported the Haiti had already suffered over 40 aftershocks ranging from 4.5 to 5.9 in magnitude and 14 aftershocks that were over 5.0! I find that totally amazing! I believe it and this does not count all of the little tremors that just shake the windows, my computer monitor and chair! All of us are dizzy and have motion sickness from the constant shaking! It never stops! If it is constant is it truly an aftershock???
The nannies came in this morning and did well until we had a large aftershock. Then the nannies ran down the stairs with 2 and 3 children under their arms and outside! So all morning most of the children has spent outside.
Then at 5:15 PM, we had a LARGE aftershock! Scared everyone and they had just come in to feed the kids, so they went running out again! I think they will probably spend the night outside...again! My nerves are about shot with all of these tremors! They are way too many, and keep going way to long!
Laurie just returned to the orphanage after being downtown. Her photos which she will post on facebook are pretty awful. The dead are being pulled out of the rubble and laid out on the sidewalk! Some places had so many dead bodies in the that blood was running out of the houses and into the gutter. Laurie said it was like water running down the gutter!
The photos show houses just crushed. They are pulling survivors out of some of the stores and houses. This breaks my heart! We are needing donations to help. We think there will be many orphans after this is all over. We need to do our part and take them in when they are found.
We need bottled water, fruit bars, blankets, clothing, and shoes! We are looking into getting a container sent to Haiti. We also need diapers, formula, wet wipes, etc. Please join us in delivering aid to Haiti. To donate you can click on the DONATE button to the left or go to www.godslittlestangelsinhaiti.org and donate to the Haiti Relief Fund.
13 January 2010 1:20 AM
At a few minutes before 5 PM on 12 January 2010, a large earthquake hit Haiti. The center was a few miles south of Port-au-Prince. On the map, it looks like we were not far from the center here at the orphanage if you draw a straight line between the center of the earthquake and the orphanage. We have heard that the gravel pit across the valley from us partially collapsed which we have worried about for a long time!
As things started to shake, I knew it was an earthquake and I jumped up trying to get out of my office. Items were falling off my bookcases and even the monitor of my computer fell off my desk! Many of my good glassware fell out of the hutch in the dining room and food that was being cooked for the children flew off the stove and landed on the kitchen floor! Statues fell off the shelves, items in the pantry fell too! But not 1 egg was broken out of 6 dozen sitting on the pantry floor! Kids fell, staff fell to the floor because the house swayed so much!
Dr. Claude was out in the driveway playing basketball and he said that the orphanage swayed about 2 feet back and forth for 30 to 40 seconds! he was afraid that the building would fall! Thankfully, the building stayed standing and John cannot find any cracks in the walls which is pretty amazing!
All I could do was pray that the house would stay standing! John was yelling at us all to get in a doorway, but we could not walk! Finally we got into the doorway and stayed until the major shaking stopped. Everyone went outside after the earthquake. We had multiple tremors after the big one. They came about 10 minutes apart and last a long time! the staff refused to return to the house and eventually, we brought all of the children outside and put blankets on the ground.
The internet phone has not stopped ringing. BBC, NBC, the Today Show all have called multiple times! It is 1:45 AM now and they are still calling! I am so exhausted but we do not want to go to bed. The nannies came in at 10 PM but we had two strong after shocks about midnight and the nannies and babies are sleeping outside on the ground on blankets! It is cold tonight. The temperature is about 60 degrees if not colder! I pray that the cold is not too cold for them!
My son, Mark, was at school in Port-au-Prince when the quake happened. His school is on Delmas which is one of the worst hit areas. A missionary family finally was able to bring him home about 10 PM. They said that there were multiple houses down that you could see from the street. Caribbean Market was destroyed along with so many other buldings! Walls were collapsed and there are dead people lying under them! Please pray for Haiti and for all of who are here! We had 8 visitors come today. What a welcome, huh?
We continue to have aftershocks. We have had 3 in the last 5 minutes! I have never heard of aftershocks like we are having! They are almost continuous and lasting for a minute or more each time! I do not like this!
We will know more hopefully in the morning. I do not know if I will sleep tonight or not! I will post photos later on Wedneday. I am just too tired right now to post photos!
9 January 2010
Well, it is finally the end of the work week! Monday through Friday this past week seemed to never end! I can tell you that everyone in the office were ready for Friday evening this week!
Friday was Stephanie's birthday. Molly baked her a cake and they had pizza and cake for supper. It is always fun to have birthday celebrations for our volunteers and staff.
Today, we are taking down Christmas decorations! We like Christmas decorations and have always kept them up through New Years. Since school started right after New Years, this is the first weekend we have had to take tem all down. I wish it was acceptable to keep Christmas Decorations up all year long because we would probably do it! Nothing is prettier than tiny flashing colored lights!
Our son, Patrick and his wife, Holli, along with their children JJ and Lilly, are feeling God's call to come and work at the orphanage! They are trying to sell their home in Colorado and come and run our guesthouse. They have to raise money for their support while in Haiti which they are doing now. We will be happy to have Patrick and his family with us in Haiti. But as we have told them, we believe in God's will and if they are meant to come to Haiti, then God will allow it to happen.
Brad and Lois Reimer, who have been working at GLA since September 2008, are leaving in April to return to Canada. We have appreciated their hard work while here. They have been running the guesthouse. Brad has also been in charge of contruction in Fort Jacques and Lois has been in charge of the kitchen at the main house and is our volunteer liason.
Tonight, we are having turkey for supper! The local market gave us a turkey for Christmas and we are going to enjoy it tonight. Even I can eat turkey and I am going to enjoy it very much!
Have a good weekend!
5 January 2010
It has been a very hectic day here at the orphanage. I can tell that the holidays are over for sure! We had 6 visitors who arrived and 3 of our American staff returned from their vacations home.
A baby girl arrived today from another orphanage. She is 9 months old and HIV positive. She is malnourished and sick. With good nutrition and medication, we pray that she will turn HIV negative in the next few months. Please keep her in your prayers.
Everytime I started a project today, someone came to my office door and I had to stop and go do something that could not wait! It started early this morning when Madame Bernard, our head nurse, came to tell me that the lock on the medicine cabinet would not open! Sure enough, we had to get a hammer and give it a "love tap" before we could get into the antibiotic cabinet! Then we found head lice on a new baby! This is our worse nightmare! Thankfully, we had some lice shampoo and treated all of the babies in her room quickly! I think I would rather have chickenpox again than head lice in the nursery!!! Gives me goose bumps just thinking about head lice! YIKES!
I am on my second day of my diet and Laurie is sitting beside me eating potato chips! I am determined to last 30 days on my really strict diet and then I will start on a less restricted diet after that. I really wish our cooks were not so good! It is really difficult to not eat when we have such good food every night! So please pray for me to have will power to stick to this diet for the next 30 days!
1 January 2010
Happy New Year to everyone! May you all have good health, happiness and prosperity in 2010.
I truly believe that 2010 will be a better year than 2009 for our economic situation. I feel a real peace about it. Already, God has answered our prayer about our finances and in the month of December, we received some large donations that helped our budget a lot for the next couple of months. I want to thank everyone that sent a donation. You truly have made a difference in GLA's finances!
Back in October, I had a flu that involved a fever and lots of coughing. I think it was probably the Swine Flu and it left me with something called Vocal Cord Disfunction. From October until now, anytime I coughed, I would choke. I could not breath! My vocal cords would close and I could not breath in any air. It would last about 15 to 30 seconds. But they were a LONG 15 to 30 seconds! It was like my throat would go into spasm and I could not draw in a breath. It was frightening to me and everyone in the room with me when it happened! Our pediatrician at the orphanage also had the same thing! She was hospitalized on large doses of prednisone and antibiotics and after 2 weeks, she was well.
But not me! I was on Prednisone a total of 6 weeks and just weaned myself off of it. I went from 20 episodes of choking a day to now having 1 every 5 days or so. But now, I am having side effects from the prednisone! My blood sugar is high and I hve to take some medication to lower it. I also have excessive sweating even in the cool weather! Both of these symptons started just before Christmas and I stopped the prednisone about the same time. The literature says these side effects will go away when I stop the medication but it can take a month to get out of my system! If it's not one thing....then it seems to be another! So my New Year's resolution is to cut down on all sweet things and try to diet. Please pray for me about this because it so difficult for me to diet! Our cooks are just too good! But I need to do this!
We have a wonderful Dutch man here right now named Bas. He is married with children at home but a few years ago, he decided to sell his business in Holland and spend more time with his family and to also do humanitarian work around the world. We are very fortunate that he decided to spend 2 months here at GLA. He has painted our guesthouse, the Toddler House and the new house we are building in Ft. Jacques. I basically told him he could paint things any color he wanted. I have only raised my eyebrows a couple of times and he is very sensitive to my likes and changed the colors I did not especially like! He also has cleaned the kitchens, tiled some floors, and we love having him here! God truly sent him to us. He looked into going to a Dutch organization in Haiti but they did not answer his calls. So he searched on the internet and GLA came up first and we answered his email right away! I am so thankful that everything worked out for him to come and give of his time to help the children.
OH and of course, we had Soup Joumou (Pumpkin Soup) today! If you eat pumpkin soup on New Year's day, you are supposed to have good health, happiness, and wealth for the year! Our soup joumou is so good! It has beef, potatoes, carrots, spaghetti, radishes, spices, and of course, PUMPKIN! It is so yummy! Then we had Tacos for supper...those of you who know me know how much I love tacos! Tacos is one food that I craved when I was pregnant with my children! LOL So before I start my dieting...oops...they say you shouldn not call it dieting, but call it a life style change!
Well, it is 11:15 PM and I am headed for bed. I hope that all of your New Year's were nice and relaxing like mine was!
and life in haiti goes on...