2009 BLOG ARCHIVES
27 December 2009
Christmas Day was wonderful! We had so much food for the staff and they ate every bite! Our visitors could not believe how much food our ladies could eat in one setting! LOL
This was a good year and I was so thankful that we were able to give the staff gifts of food that will help feed their families. They received bags of food that probably weighed 50 pounds! They should be able to eat a week with the food that they received. I would much rather give them food for their Christmas gift than a personal item that only they can use.
Usually, we do not allow visitors during Christmas. We like to have a quiet, family Christmas. But this year, we allowed some special people to come and spend Christmas with us and it has been fun! They helped get the bags of food together for the staff and helped with food for all of us.
We invited people from church to come and share our lunch today. Pastor Joel started the crusade in Cite Soleil tonight and so we asked them to come share our fried chicken dinner with us. Joel invited Pastor Jeff Givens and his family to come to Haiti and participate in the opening of the crusade. Pastor Jeff is from Alabama and is a very spirit filled preacher! He lived in Haiti for 10 years as a young man over 20 years ago! We all enjoyed Jeff's stories about his life in Haiti all of those years ago. He sang some songs for us that he wrote when he was living as a single man in Haiti. They were so funny and we all laughed so hard! It felt good to sit around and sing and visit with new friends!
Molly and Joyce will return tomorrow. Laurie left today for Tampa to visit some friends over the holidays. The government offices will be working again after this next week. So hopefully, we will see some movement of dossiers next week. Our lawyer is out of Haiti until the beginning of the new year.
I just feel that 2010 is going to be a GREAT year! I am praying for the economy to improve and I believe deep in my soul that it will improve.
May God richly bless you all!
25 December 2009
I had hoped to sleep in today, but it is 6 AM and I am up and going already! Last night, everyone at GLA went to Pastor Joel and Yvonne Trimble's home for a Christmas Eve candle light service. First, we started off with dinner. We had turkey, lasagna, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, corn, dressing, and I cannot remember what all else we had! They had a fire going in their fireplace AND all of the doors open! LOL Only in Haiti!
The Candle Light service was very meaningful. Scriptures were read and songs sung. After the service, we sat around and listened to a visitor who had lived in Haiti 30 years ago sing songs about Haiti that he wrote while a young man. We all had a good laugh and visited for hours. We did not arrive back at the orphanage until 11 PM!
We will open presents with our family this morning and eat a late breakfast about 10 AM. All of the nannies and nurses will also share with us for a special breakfast. Then about 3:30 PM, we will have a Haitian meal. We are going to have a buffet for all of the staff and visitors of "Haitian" food. We will have goat, lambi (conch), fried pork, and BBQ chicken along with rice and vegetables! Our kitchen staff has been working hard all week preparing things. Everyone cannot wait to eat the good food! I can smell things cooking already!
Later today, I will do a little bit of work. I have 4 proposals to give today. I love giving proposals on Christmas Day! A couple of these families have been waiting for over a year for a baby girl! What better Christmas gift for these families?
Well,I better go. Everyone is up and anxious to open presents! Merry Christmas to everyone!
23 December 2009
9 PM Update: The storm passed this afternoon about 3 PM. We mopped floors and cleaned up leaves all day long. We have not seen this type of wind and rain since the Hurricanes of August 2008! The Toddler House lost their avocado tree and the blow up Santa someone donated for their roof! Their front gate was also blown off the hinges. We also lost a baby during the night. He was a baby born to a very young mother and was born with a bilateral cleft palate and lip with other birth defects. He was only here 2 days and was 15 days old on admission and had not been fed since birth. I am very happy that the storm has passed and things have quieted down tonight!
We woke up this morning to gale force winds and lots of rain! At 5 AM, my fan went flying out of the window by my bed and woke us all up when it crashed to the floor! The weather map shows a large tropical storm moving over Haiti from the south going toward the north east. It looks like it came from South America overnight.
The wind is so strong right now that it has blown all of the paintings in the stairwell off the wall! There were toys on the balcony where the children play that were blown off and we have no idea where they have blown to! Some children in the neighborhood will truly believe that Père Noël (Santa Claus) has come to visit when they find toys have fallen from the sky into their yard!!!
We had no warning from the TV nor radio that this storm was coming. The staff tells me that everything is closed and I am just praying that things settle down and the government opens today! We need some paperwork from different offices and if we do not get the papers today, we may not get them until after Christmas!
I know this is affecting the people in the mountains and the low areas probably much worse than us at GLA. Please say a little pray for Haiti and the Haitian people for safety today as this storm passes over us.
13 December 2009
Well, I'm finally home! John will come to Haiti next Sunday. He will be visiting his father in Florida for a few days. He has not been well lately and John really needs to pass by and see him. It was great visiting our families and seeing adoptive families and supporters, but it is wonderful to be back home in Haiti!
Christmas has come to the orphanage while we were gone! The staff and our son, Steeve who absolutely LOVES Christmas, decorated the houses and nursery. I do not know if we will be having gifts for the children this year due to finances, but we will be celebrating with special food for everyone. We will do our best to make Christmas special for the children, especially the older children who are able to understand about Christmas. They have the Holiday celebration after Christmas since Joyce and Molly will be out of Haiti over the Christmas holiday.
Many people should be receiving newsletters this month. I have faith that God will touch people's hearts and donations will start to pick up this month. We need funds to pay for food, baby supplies, and salaries for our Haitian staff. Please keep these needs in your prayers also.
The last 7 weeks has been seen lots of things happening at the orphanage! Our daughter, Laurie, is especially happy that I am back home!
While I was gone, we had a nanny die, the generator broke down, the electrical system in the main house had a problem while a baby was on oxygen, one of our foreign staff families resigned, there were car problems, Vivianne and Steeve went through the sliding glass door and had to have more than 100 stitches between them, one of the babies had a seizue and bit through his bottom lip, and it just seemed like one problem after another! They also had several children go home to adoptive families and many families came in to go the courts! But they did well without me here. This is the first time both John and I have been gone together for this long!
Tomorrow, I start reading emails and catching up on paperwork. I also have to meet the new babies that came in while I have been gone. Hopefully, by the end of the week, I can catch up on emails! But remember that my email rules apply! LOL (read my older postings for the email rules!)
I feel renewed and fresh from my time out. It was a busy time but also just helped being away. Let us pray that 2010 brings a new adoption law for Haiti and that adoptions will move forward quickly.
And life in Haiti goes on...
8 December 2009
Last night, as we were flying back to Colorado, we had a stop over in Dallas. As we were sitting eating dinner at a restaurant in the airport, we received a call from our daughter, Laurie, in Haiti. It was 9:15 PM in Haiti. Our son, Steeve, and Vivianne, who has live with us for at least 8 years, had an accident when Vivianne hit the sliding glass doors connecting the computer room to the outside. The glass turned out not to be safety glass and it shattered! Steeve went to help her and was cut on his head by the shards of glass hanging down.
Vivianne was cut on her face, arms, and legs. She has 3 very deep cuts on her face. It took the doctor two hours and she used over 100 stitches to close all of her wounds! Steeve thankfully was not hurt as much but it did take about 10 stitches in the top of his head. The doctor said it looked like he had been scalped!
Laurie said it sounded like someone in the kitchen had dropped all of the dinner plates when the window exploded! Vivianne collapsed from the shock after she ran through the glass. It was a very bad accident but I think angels were watching over her and Steeve. The glass could have fallen from the top part of the door and cut Vivianne in half or severely wounded her! Please pray for both them but especially for Vivianne. We are praying that her face does not scar.
I think everyone will be glad when I get home on Friday so I can be the one making decisions when things like this happen!
7 December 2009
We are done with our tour of churches in Illinois. We spoke at our last one last night. John and I are very tired and ready to travel back to Colorado today. And we are leaving just in time, it is snowing outside today! We will be in Colorado until Thursday when we leave for Haiti. We've really enjoyed seeing friends and family here in central Illinois. My mother, who is 89 years old, let us stay at her home for the first week and then we moved over to our daughter, Katie's home. It has been fun being here and cooking for her family. The kids tell me, "Grandmommy, it is nice coming home from school and smelling food cooking!" My daughter KNOWS how to cook, just doesn't like to cook food from scratch too often! She prefers the quick and easy cooking from a box! Plus she works all day and does not feel like cooking when she gets home! Such is life in modern day USA!
While here, we have also been working and put all new flooring down in their upstairs which is the children's bedrooms. We are not around to help our children very much and so it's nice that we are able to be here to help them do this. John fortunately knows how to do a lot of things that helps them not have to pay for someone else to do it for them!
Thursday, is my birthday. I will be 45...again! I have been 45 for several years now and might be 45 for several more! LOL I decided to celebrate it in the USA this year. John and I might actual go out for dinner together and without children! What a novel idea! We NEVER go anywhere alone. Even on this trip, we have had people with us at all locations.
I will be back in Haiti on 11 December. I will be so happy to be home, see my family, the kids, staff, volunteers, and everyone at the orphanage. I will also be glad to be in my own bed finally after being gone for 6 weeks! I need to go back to Haiti to recuperate from all of this traveling and work that we have done while back in the USA!
My email rules will apply when I get back to Haiti. So if you wrote to me while I was gone and want an answer, please write again! (Look at past postings for my email rules! )
I am assuming that....Life in Haiti is going on....without me!
26 November 2009
Well, it is Thanksgiving Day and I finally found a wireless network I could connect to! John and I are in Monticello, Illinois staying with my mother. I knew I would be able to sleep when I got home to my mom's house! I actually slept for 9 hours that first night! I have not slept for 9 hours in years! I just hope it continues after we leave here!
Thanksgiving is a huge thing for my family. Right now, the kids and some of the adults are playing basketball and they just finished playing bingo! Besides all of the turkey, ham, potatoes, corn, dressing, and desserts, I am very thankful for all of our friends and family this Thanksgiving Day. I am thankful for al of our staff in Haiti. I am thankful that all of the children are safe and healthy at this time. I am thankful for all of you who read this blog. And I am very thankful for just finally being able to sleep!
We do not have to visit churches until Sunday but then starting Sunday, we are pretty busy until we leave on December 7. Pray that people will be open to our message about the children and the needs of the orphanage.
22 November 2009
Well, it is 3 AM and I am wide awake...again! I have had the worst time sleeping on this trip! I was so tired when I went to bed and as soon as the lights went out, I was wide awake!
This weekend we have had a retreat for the board members of GLA USA. The retreat was at a wonderful hotel in Denver that was only $35 per night and each room is a mini suite. It is really nice for the money. The board has spent until 10 PM on Friday and 7:30 PM on Saturday, brainstorming ways to raise funds, make people more aware of GLA, and how to just better run the ministry. It has been a great learning experience and also has really helped me to better understand just how much our board members are there to help and guide us. They have had some wonderful suggestions for us in our present financial crisis and it is nice to have them working along with us in our ministry work.
We will finish up today at noon and then head back to Colorado Springs. I have 1 1/2 days to finish the December Newsletter before we leave for Illinois to visit more churches. Please keep me in your prayers as I try to stay healthy and get everything done that needs to be done during this busy time! I am still not completely over the virus I got in October and continue to have throat spasms any time I cough. I have learned to deal with my vocal cords closing off and shutting off my airway but it is never a comfortable feeling to not be able to breath for several seconds at a time!! It is getting better but please pray with me that it will go away completely!!
Many of you received my mini newlsetter telling you of our financial needs. Please consider how you might be able to help GLA with a small financial gift at this time. Keep the children and the orphanage in Haiti in your prayers and that God will bless us with the finances we need to feed and care for the children. God has been good to GLA throughout the year and I have faith that He will continue to provide for the children through friends, adoptive families, and donors.
My staff in Haiti are doing a great job keeping things running smoothly while we are gone. Molly is in charge and I hear that she is doing a great job. I remember when John and I could never both leave Haiti at the same time! It is very nice to have staff that can now step in and run things for the 7 weeks we will be gone! This is the longest time both of us have been gone together EVER!
And life in Haiti goes on....
15 November 2009
We are winding down our trip through Canada and Michigan. We only have two more speaking engagements today. Then we head back to Colorado for a week, before we start our next tour!
I can't seem to sleep tonight. We were in Sarnia last night and got to see many friends from the Canadian mission group, ACWAM. We finally got to bed about midnight and I was awake at 3:30 AM and cannot go back to sleep! My mind is just too busy tonight. We are speaking in a church at 10 AM this morning and then must leave by 1PM to arrive in Grand Rapids,Michigan for a 5:30 PM church service. They tell me it's about a 4 1/2 hour drive! The pace for this tour has been grueling but fun. I have so enjoyed seeing all of the children with their forever families.
The Selah/Avalon concert in Michigan on Friday night was a huge success. More than 700 people came to the concert and over $20,000 was raised through ticket sales and donations! This is pretty amazing and the concert was GREAT! I am not much into going to music concerts but I enjoyed myself tremendously and visited with so many people.
This whole visit has really lifted me up and reminded me exactly why we have gotten involved in building families through adoption. Seeing the children with their forever families, happy and so full of personality,has made this trip so meaningful to me.
The purpose of this trip is not just to raise funds but to also raise awareness of God's Littlest Angels and the needs of the children in the orphanage. We are struggling financially at the orphanage. Children are staying at the orphanage an average of 2 to 2 1/2 years. The cost of food, housing, water, fuel, schooling, and supplies just keep increasing. We are struggling to meet expenses each month.
Please pray daily for the children, staff, and that our financial needs will be met!
And Life in Haiti Goes On...
12 November 2009
John and I are back in the USA for 4 nights! We are in Grand Rapids, Michigan at Tom and Cheryl Vanderwell's home. They adopted Ti Kenny (Isaac) and Midjina (Abby) from GLA. John is feeling much better after I started him on an antibiotic and lots of cold medication! Today, nothing was planned, so it is a day of rest for us. So we folded programs and brochures getting them ready for the benefit concert Friday night featuring the contemporary Christian groups, Selah and Avalon. We are excited to see how successful this fundraiser will be! So far, more than 400 tickets have been sold and we are asking you to join us in prayer that God will double that number before tomorrow night! How exciting that would be!
This has been a wonderful journey for me. I have seen children that left GLA more than 7 years ago! To see how they have grown and to hear stories about how they have adjusted to life in North America has been enlightening and very funny at times. Some of the things the children say are just so cute!
It has been good for the kids to see me too. I am a person that their parents have told them about and many have seen my photo but do not remember me. When I come, it is like they can touch a little bit of their history and have a connection to Haiti!
Please keep the concert on Friday in your prayers. We have a mad dash back to Canada on Saturday for a gathering in Sarnia, Ontario and then Sunday morning, we will speak at Bethel-Maidstone Church. We then have to drive 4.5 hours back to Grand Rapids, Michigan to speak at a church on Sunday evening! We fly back to Colorado on Monday.
Be in prayer also for the family of one of our new nannies in Haiti. Rosena had only worked for us about 2 months and went home sick one day and died. She was young with a baby son at home. We think she might have been diabetic and just did not know it. By the time the family took her to the hospital, she was in a coma and could not be helped. It was very sad for all of us and the staff. This is the first time we have ever lost a nanny like this!
9 November 2009
John and I are in Ontario visiting families who have adopted from GLA and also speaking in churches, Christian schools, and at Bible Study groups. We arrived in Toronto on Thursday, 5 November and have been busy every night since arriving in Canada. Today, we are staying in a small town called Simcoe. We are visiting a family that adopted a baby from us back in 2004. His name is Logan and he was so excited to see us because we came from Haiti like he did!
It has been really exciting seeing the children in their "forever" families! Our oldest child here is 9 years old and was adopted a little over 7 years ago. Time passes so quickly and when I see the children growing up, I cannot believe how big they are! In my mind, they are still babies!
Tomorrow, we leave Canada to go to Grand Rapid, Michigan. We will be there 4 days. Two contemporary Christian musical groups will be putting on a benefit concert on Friday evening. Please be in prayer for the concert. We need more tickets sold and for the word to get out so people will come!
We then return to Canada for two more visits on Saturday night and Sunday morning. Then it is back to Michigan for a Sunday night service. We fly back to Colorado on Monday the 16th.
We are trying to raise support for the orphanage and make people aware of our needs. Keep us in your prayers as we continue to travel through Canada and Michigan. Pray that funds will come in to help cover expenses at the orphanage.
15 October 2009
Please say a prayer for our American and Canadian staff. We have had a lot of illnesses going around the house. I have had a terrible cold and cough for the last week and still wake up coughing at night. John and I have to leave in 2 weeks for a long fundraising trip through Canada and the States. I desperately need your prayers to get over this illness so that I'm at my best before going on this fundraising trip!
10 October 2009
This has been a very difficult week at the orphanage. Two of our generators are broken down and three of our cars are broken down! I had to go rent two 7 passenger vehicles just to keep things going at the orphanage. We need vehicles to transport children to appointments, do airport runs, buy food, and just do our daily work!
We desperately need funds to help replace the broken vehicles that cannot be fixed and the large generator at the main house. The main generator broke last Friday while we had a baby on oxygen. The baby turned blue without the oxygen and we had to run her up to the Toddler House for the night so she would have oxygen to live.
On Saturday, we were able to go to Fort Jacques and bring a generator from there to the main house to get us through until the broken generator can be fixed. Unfortunately, the part they need to fix it is not available in Haiti right now.
We are very grateful to the French Association and our French adoptive families who have given funds to replace the small generator at the guesthouse.
A generator is mandatory especially at the main house where we care for the really sick children. Without a generator to supply the medical equipment, over the years many of our children would have died!
Please, we need your help to fix the cars and generator. Would you consider making a donation through PAYPAL today to help?
We have always said that we would never be able to help as many children as we do if we did not have GLA supporters who loved the Haitian children as much as we do!
22 September 2009
I cannot believe that it has been 2 months since I wrote on my blog. I am not a very good blogger! I did not return to Haiti until the 1st of September. I spent an additional 2 weeks in Colorado at our home with only our son, Steeve, with me. It was very nice and relaxing. At the end of my stay, Laurie, my daughter, came out to Colorado because she was not getting over her Hepatitis A very quickly. She was continuing to work in the mornings even at her sickest and I felt she needed to come out and just lay on the couch for a couple of weeks. She is doing much better now. She will be coming back to Haiti very soon.
I had only been home a week and had not even caught up on my emails when I got a kidney stone and was flat on my back on pain meds for several days. I hope and pray that I NEVER get one of those again! It was horrible! I have just been down in the office for the whole day since Monday. I was unable to work full time for almost a week. Thankfully, I am doing well now!
We have had lots of families come to Haiti and go in front of the local judge to sign since Judge Rock Cadet decided he would not sign the finalization of the adoption decree without them coming. The month of October is full with parents coming. If you have not come yet, we are taking parents in courts and parquet first and then will work at having other parents in IBESR come to visit.
Last week, while I was sick, I spent a morning at the US Embassy at a meeting on adoptions. Judge Cadet was present at the meeting and I had an opportunity to talk with the Consulate General of the US Embassy about the problem in the courts. I was told that the US Embassy had sent a delegation to talk to Judge Cadet about the problem twice. They are wanting him to allow parents already in process to be allowed to finish the process normally. He has not agreed to this but he is listening to their concerns about how this is affecting the length of adoptions and the families.
I had asked the Association of Creches to meet with Judge Cadet back in June. I had heard that he was thinking of doing this and I felt like we needed to influence that decision. He needed to hear how some of us feel that families coming can affect the children's psychologically. I know not everyone agrees but I feel this way. Some orphanages allow parents to come and take their children out to luxury resorts for a week and then return them to the orphanage. That is hard on an adult to return to their "real" world. It has to be extremely difficult on a child. I am so fearful that they will feel like they are abandoned again when the adoptive family leaves.
When the adoptive families come to GLA to sign at the courts, they are only staying about 3 days. We do not allow the children's routine to be changed but the parents are more than welcome to be with the children in the orphanage all day long. Our children are so used to having volunteers that come and go that having the adoptive parents here is not unusual to them. The children sleep in their own beds and eat with their friends. So far, it is working out very well.
We had 3 passports come out of Immigration today. One had errors but we are just so glad to get 3 passports out of Immigration! We also received 3 dossiers out of MOI! It was a very good day. I also paid for a years' subscription to Le Moniteur and so now will get every newspaper they put out. We have just been going in and buying the ones that have our children's names in them, but I just feel more secure getting every one of them. They still are very slow to publish the approved dispensations. I wish they would go faster!
We received quite a few children into the orphanage while I was gone and several of them are very malnourished. They are doing better now that they have food, but still will need a lot of TLC to be ready for proposals.
26 July 2009
Well, I am packed and ready to go to the States this morning. I was up until 1 AM finishing the GLA Newsletter which was supposed to be done in June! I worked from 5 AM yesterday morning until 1 AM just to get everything organized.
As usually, here I am with 45 minutes until I need to be at the airport and I am in my office writing on my blog! James, who is driving me to the airport and who is notoriously late for EVERYTHING, is telling me we need to leave, so I MUST be late!
I will be back the last of August. If you need to get in contact with me, just send an email to my regular address and Stephanie or Laurie will send it on to me. Laurie has Hepatitis A, but is already starting to feel a little better although she is the color of a pumpkin!!
I better go and will post next from sunny Colorado where I will attending our annual fundraiser on August 1st! I cannot wait to see Steeve, Mark, John and Gus! Daphnee is going along with me for medical care in the States and Vivianne and Wadson are also traveling with me today! Talk to you soon!
20 July 2009
This past month has been a whirlwind of activity. Today, there are 32 staff and volunteers sitting down to eat at our table and tomorrow there will be 34! We've received several babies and children into the nursery this past month, and yesterday when we got home from church, there was a 29 week gestation 2 pound baby girl waiting on our front porch! Every day has been so busy and it seems as if each day is just one crisis after another!
It has been extemely stressful trying to take care of Sabrina and getting her paperwork ready to go to the USA for surgery. But thankfully, she left last Wednesday and had surgery on Friday! She is doing well at this time and we need everyone's prayers for her to start showing signs of improvement in her condition.
Daphnee who was born with club feet received her visa today and will traveling to the USA with me on Sunday, 26 July. She will be going to South Dakota and have casts put on her legs. These casts will slowly bend her feet until they are straight. Daphnee was so sick just a few weeks ago with septicemia that we almost lost her. It is truly a miracle that today she is well enough to travel for treatment for her club feet!
Jonathon is over 8 pounds now. He will be going home with his mother on 31 July. What a miracle it is that this baby boy who was technically dead soon after being admitted to the intensive care unit is alive and well today!
Life is never boring and many times overwhelming, but oh the reward of seeing these children survive, get healthy, and go to their forever homes is worth it all!
26 June 2009
Today is a very sad day for those of us at GLA. Those of you who have visited us in Haiti know our big Akita named Nikki. (he is the gold and white dog) Nikki came to us almost exactly 10 years ago as a little puppy. He was a very good and faithful companion and guard dog. Even at his age, when one of the family came home from a trip he would dance around like a puppy and be so happy to see us!
But the 1st of June, he slipped on the tile floor and fell and tore he meniscus muscle and tore his tendons in his back leg. He went through 3 different surgeries and was at the vetinary hospital for many days. Poor Nikki had never been away from home and he became so sad and sicker every day. He has alway been our daughter, Laurie's, best buddy. Unfortunately, John, Laurie, Steeve, and Mark are all in the States right now and so were not here to help me.
I brought Nikki home yesterday but he was not doing well. He suffered all day and finally died about supper time. When you live in an orphanage with this many children, it is difficult to find a good dog that you can trust completely around the children. Nikki was good with visitors and children. My heart is very sad and I will miss him very much.
18 June 2009
This week has been very hectic at the orphanage. We have lots of visitors here and several babies sick right now. Every day is an exhausting day. Last night, my daughter, Laurie, and son, Steeve, were packing to leave for the USA early this morning. They had to catch an 8:30 plane. But of course, they waited until 10 PM last night to pack. That meant that we did not get to bed until midnight!
At 3 AM, Steeve woke me up to tell me that there was a HUGE frog sitting in our bathroom in the apartment! And he was right, there was a brown frog that was at least 3 inches wide by 4 inches long blocking the way to the toilet! We have no idea how he got into the bathroom because the windows were all closed!
Our cat, Daisy, got out of Steeve's bed to come and see why were were all up at 3 AM and saw the frog. Her eyes got real big and she ran into the room and started playing with the frog which caused him to jump all over the room!
Of course, since Steeve woke me up, I need to use the facilities! I am telling the cat to leave the frog alone until I was done. But nooooo! She made him jump and touch me and made me scream! YIKES, I hate touching frogs!
We closed the door with the frog and the cat in the bathroom and tried to go back to bed. Ten minutes later, the night nurses are knocking on my door to tell me that one of the babies was sick and I needed to come down. It took me a while to get back up to bed and I opened the door to the bathroom to see what was going on with the cat and frog and the frog had turned GREEN! I thought maybe he was dead but NO, he jumped out into the hall and now was loose in the apartment!
By this time, I was so exhausted that I decided to just go to bed and let the frog stay in the hallway. Of course, I was so hyped over the sick baby and the frog that I could not go back to sleep and 30 minutes later, Steeve's alarm went off and we had to get up to get him ready to go to the airport.
Steeve went looking for the frog and found it back in the bathroom. After chasing it all over the apartment trying to catch it in a bowl (yes, I did this because Steeve refused to touch it!), I finally caught it and took it out and set it loose.
I started my day with 3 hours of sleep! The sick baby was better today. And I am now officially home alone without my family who is in the USA. Well, if you can call being alone when I have 75 staff members, 80 babies, multiple volunteers, 2 dogs and a cat being alone!!!
But I think chasing the frog around the apartment at 3 AM was a true "And Life in Haiti Goes On" moment!
7 May 2009
We have received a lot of children in the last 2 weeks, eight children altogether. One of the babies that came is a premature baby named Jonathon. He weighs 2 lbs 10 ounces (1.3 kg). He was born on the 17th of April and had a twin brother who died on Saturday.
Now, Jonathon is kind of a miracle baby. After his brother died, his mother wrapped this teeny tiny baby in a towel and started walking trying to find someone to help him. On the road, she found a woman who knew about us and that we helped babies.
When Jonathon arrived at the orphanage, he was ice cold. He was barely breathing and his temperature would not even register on any thermometer that we had and our thermometers went as low as 93 degrees F. Immediately, we started oxygen, IV, and put him in the incubator to warm him up. It took almost 18 hours to get his temperature stable.
Then on Tuesday afternoon, Jonathon decided not to breath and his heart rate became irregular. All night we stimulated to get him to breath and by Wednesday morning, he was exhausted and stopped breathing altogether! Then the staff started giving him CPR and continued for 2 hours. It looked like all hope for little Jonathon was gone. he was unresponsive. He was dark. He was gone....
But God had other plans for Jonathon! The staff decided to stop CPR but I had been praying for God to give us a miracle. We did not want Jonathon to die! God put a drug in my mind to try and after CPR was stopped, and all hope was gone, we refused to give up! So I had them start it again. His little heart was still beating, but he just was not breathing but a grasp here and there.
The medication was given and God heard all of our prayers and gave us a miracle! Jonathon started breathing and then started moving and a few minutes later opened his eyes and looked around! Then he started crying! Today, he is doing much better.
We started this ministry when a 1 lbs 15 oz baby was left to die because nobody thought she would live. We did not give up then and we did not give up on Jonathon now because God hears our cries for help and answers!
28 April 2009
Last Saturday, we went to our property in Ft. Jacques and had a weiner roast! John and Brad made a fire pit and laid out logs from some of our big pine trees killed when the hurricanes came through the area last Fall. We took all of our foreign staff and some of the neigborhood kids. I think there were 34 of us! We also had an adoptive family from Canada who came along too!
It was nice being up there with all of the trees and the fire. It was actually even pretty cold that night! We roasted hot dogs, sang, danced, and just had some nice clean fun!
A weiner roast brings a little bit of North America to Haiti and makes us feel like we could be back home!
25 April 2009
Working at the orphanage is something that I love. Watching poor, sick, abandoned children come into the orphanage and blossom under the care of our nurses, nannies, and volunteers is very rewarding. Literally, we save some of these children's very lives!!
Adoptive parents can be very emotional. Their emotions run very high and sometimes very low. It is difficult them to be patient and wait for an adoptive process that can run on for months. How can anyone understand a foreign government that does not have the same urgency to see these children in their forever homes as all of us do??? The families sometimes think the orphanage staff should be able to go to government offices and "force" them to sign dossiers! I wish it was that easy!
So when we receive a letter from a family who are very grateful for their proposal, it makes us feel very happy. The family that wrote the letter below only had 6 days before their adoption agreement expired and they could not renew it because The Netherlands has a law that you cannot receive a proposal after your 46th birthday!
But as I often say, God's Way is Perfect! We were able to propose a little girl to them six days from the mother's 46th birthday! This letter tells of the mother's joy! I wanted to share her joy with you today.
Dear Dixie, Stephanie, the staff at GLA and FLASH,
I am writing this letter to thank you all for Carmelina a wonderful perfect match for our family and just before our permit ran out.
I had personally given up hoping for a match. Miriam (at the agency Flash in The Netherlands) and I exchanged emails in January as I asked about a possible extension of our permit. Miriam responded that an extension was not possible without a match. I understood and left the matter there. Of course you cannot produce children out of thin air and we had kept up with the adoption process challenges in Haiti through the newsletters so knew the situation was getting more difficult.
So I was not looking forward to my 46th birthday - which was just 6 days away - when all doors for adoptions would be closed just because of my age. (The Netherlands has a rule that once you reach 46 years old, you can no longer adopt a child.) Then we received the life-changing phone call from Miriam. It was just after 6:00pm and I had come in from work and was peeling potatoes. My husband, Cees, was not in yet and our son Chistiaan was playing piano in the background, so it was hard to hear. When Miriam said who she was, I froze. Flash has never called us before.
Miriam very kindly did not keep me in suspense and told me right away that they had a match for us. I could not believe it. I dont know what I said I was speechless. I was so surprised, shocked in fact. I was totally not expecting it. The only thing I could think was that it was now too late to get our permit extended the Ministry of Justice would never do this in 6 days. But then Miriam said it was already extended. Until 2011!!! I could not believe my ears. It was already extended. Whoopeee .
She then said we could plan a meeting I thought wed have to do it right away as wed have to agree before my birthday, but that was not necessary either. You guys had this all figured out already including all our names on the permit!
Then she said she could tell me a little bit more about the child. Of course I wanted to know, but I did not think we were allowed to know over the phone, so I didnt like to ask. It is a little girl she said my heart jumped. Just what we wanted! And she is nearly 3. Nearly 3, I repeated, wow, nearly 3, how wonderful, nearly 3, how cute.
I got off the phone. I ran downstairs jumping and laughing. My son was watching TV (of course once I was on the phone he took the chance to stop playing piano!). I hugged and kissed him and laughed and jumped around. He laughed at me and kept asking me what was up. But he doesnt know about the adoption so I just said it was really good news and that Id tell him soon (and of course he soon forgot) .
So we scheduled the meeting as soon as we could Cees, my husband, was able to change his schedule on Thursday so we could go that week
Then we met Carmelina, what a lovely name. Well, actually I had seen her in the GLA newsletter from March 2009, since her picture was in there and she was the only nearly 3 year old who was a new arrival. I had thought, well it just might be her. And it was!!! What a beautiful little girl, what lovely big brown eyes. How healthy she looks! But how sad for her to be separated from her mother. It must have been very very hard for her mother to give her up. An act of love.
When Miriam asked us at the end of sharing with us all the information on Carmelina, can I tell Dixie its a yes, I looked at Cees, expecting hed want to discuss it, and he just said very simply yes. I was surprised and very pleased (of course it was yes for me J.).
We feel it is a blessing.
So thank you to all of you who made such an effort in such little time on our behalf. We feel like Carmelina is a very good match for our family and we hope we are worthy of her. We do not know what it is like in Haiti, but we can imagine that her arriving on your doorstep on January 9th and then all the tests and evaluations and paperwork that needs to be done, followed by the proposal on Feb 20th was a heroic efforts on GLAs part. That followed by Flash moving quickly to ensure the Dutch side was in order, also not a given by any means.
We recognize that the road ahead is still a long one and anything can happen in the meantime. But we have hope now. Thank you for giving us that and thank you for the care you are giving to Carmelina and the support you are giving to us.
Angela, Cees and Christiaan
23 April 2009
Today, I started my day with 1500 emails in my In-Box. 1500!!! I actually do work on emails every day. I probably answer at least 40 per day. And I still ended up with 1500 unanswered emails! How can that be?
So today, I decided that I was going to go through my emails and put them in folders and answer the ones that needed answering. Now, you have to understand that I have a few rules when it comes to cleaning out my IN-Box when there are so many emails. Rule # 1: If it has been there more than 3 months, it automatically goes into a folder. I figure that either the person that wrote me has given up by now or they wrote me again and I have already dealt with the email! Rule # 2: Sort all of the emails by name rather than date they came in and answer the latest email from that person! Heah, works for me! Rule #3: When you get overwhelmed with the huge number of emails just Highlight and Drag the emails into folders and Do NOT stop and read them all again! Rule #4: If you do not know the answers to the questions in the email...it is ok to ignore it!
Following my rules, I was down to 14 emails at the end of the day! Now, there will be some people that did not get their questions answered and some who wrote me the same email 6 times before they got their answer, but there was no way I was going to be able to answer 1500 emails when i get between 40 and 60 every day!
So if you wrote me an email and I did not answer, I am so sorry. Try sendng it again and -hopefully it will not end up lost in my endless IN-Box!!
13 April 2009
Melanie WRIGHT, our update coordinator, has been sick for a couple of weeks. She sent March's updates, but was very sick the last week of them. A few days ago, she turned very yellow and we think she has Hepatitis A. She will be unable to work through April and into May. Some of the staff will be covering for her while she is sick and we will send out photos and very VERY short update information. Please keep Melanie in your prayers for a quick recovery.
11 April 2009
This week I had to go to Port-au-Prince to the main Customs Office. We have a container waiting in the port and the customs duty that they asked was almost $4000! I dreaded having to go down to the office because it is clear down by the wharf area and back in a terribly dirty and run down area! Of course, before we could go to the office, we had to pick up the agent whose office was across town from the Customs Office!
It took 1 1/2 hours to drive from the orphanage to the Customs Office! The traffic was horrible! As we were winding through back roads to go to the Customs Office, I realized that Ernst was taking me by the area called "Belaire"! Belaire is where many kidnappings took place during Haiti's dark period following the 2004 coup d'etat. When I expressed concern, he said that it was a nice area now and the gang members were gone. I can tell you that I was glad when we passed through the area and were downtown!
We arrived at the office and then sat and waited for 2 hours! At least it was air conditioned in the office. In fact, the air conditioner was blowing so hard that my hair kept blowing all over the place and security in the room would not let me stand up and go to a different area in the office! A kind man sitting by me finally changed places with me and he blocked the air from blowing directly at me.
We finally got into the Director's office and he listened to our story about being a orphanage and not being able to pay $4000 for the container. We probably talked to him for 3 minutes and he told us to write him a letter asking for a discount on the custom duty fees. Then it took us another 1 1/2 hours to get back to the orphanage!
Nothing is ever easy in Haiti! I've said it many times. In December, we went down and he approved a discount without anything in writing! We'll know to have our letter with us next time. I came back home, the agent sent me a letter by email, I put it on our letterhead, sent it via the driver the next day, and the agent took it to the director! Of course, everyone closed their office on Thursday at Noon and will not open again until Monday or Tuesday of next week because of the Easter holidays! Pray for our container to come out next week so we can get our generator and new washing machines and dryers!
The volunteers spent most of Friday coloring eggs for the Toddler House. The kids will have a special Easter day celebration. We pray that all of you also have a special Easter Holiday. Remember the meaning of the holiday. Jesus gave his ALL for you and me!
April 1, 2009
Our trip to Baie d'Orange went very well. We went with 18 people which was great because the extra hands were needed when we started giving out the food packets to the people. We had enought food packets to give to 700 people. We also went with 80 packets especially for children which included oil, rice, sugar, corn meal, beans, milk, and cookies! We also gave 6 families goats! We had hoped to give 35 goats to families but not all of the goats showed up for the distribution! We have made arrangement to go back and meet the official in a local market town about 1 1/2 hours walk away from area. They will then herd the goats back to Baie d'Orange. I think that sounds like a LONG walk but the people assured me that this wasn't very far at all!
We went to Baie d'Orange on Saturday and then spent the night in Jacmel that night. We were to return to GLA on Sunday afternoon. But while in Baie d'Orange, we noticed that only a few children that came to the food distribution were really severely malnourished. When I said this, I was told that on Monday there was a clinic for the malnourished children in the area. So, on the spur of the moment, ten of us decided to stay and go back to Baie d'Orange on Monday!
There are two clinics in the area but neither are permanent clinics. The one we went to had 400 children that they see each week! This was only for one small section of Baie d'Orange! They divide the children up, so some come on Monday, some Wednesday and the rest come on Friday. They are checked for illnesses, weighed, and given PlumpyNut packets. These are peanut butter and powdered milk with lots of vitamins and the kids love them! I would love to get a source of PlumpyNut individual servings so that we can help the children more! I feel a great need to help this area build a permanet clinic building. These people must travel 2 1/2 hours or more to Jacmel to get medical care. We found out there are 9 health agents in the area, but their supplies are very limited. The area is very large and the communities of houses in the area are very spread out.
Many of the children at the clinic have red hair and some are swollen from lack of protein. We took 6 bags of rice and 250 cans of milk for the staff to give out to the children and their families. We know it is not much, but it was all we could do and every little bit does help.
On the way to Baie d'Orange, our truck lost a bolt out of the wheel and the tire wobbling all over the place! We did not know what to do! We asked the people, who ride horses or walk everywhere they go, if there was a mechanic in the area. Of course, they said "no", but there was a man who owned a pickup truck about 5 minutes away. Maybe he could help us!
When we arrived at his house, he laughed and said that all of his tools were 2 hours away and sorry, he could not help us! So we went very very slowly and headed down the mountain. Now, remember, the wheel was wobbling and the steering was loose. The mountain road has sheer cliffs off one side of the road! It just got worse and worse and my nerves were wearing very thin. Finally, I reached my husband, John, and he told us to stop, take the tire off and see where the bolt might have come from. At that moment, I stopped my car and told everyone in it that we needed to pray. I prayed for God to send some Angels to help us. We needed some Angels because we were out in the middle of nowhere without a way to fix the truck. Wadson, one of our drivers, was in the truck. I was in the Montero with 9 people. Everyone was afraid to ride in the truck! Five minutes after we prayed, God sent us two Angels in Mack dump trucks! It is TRUE! They stopped and told Wadson to get a stick of wood and stick in the hole where the bolt had come out! Wadson did it and it was a miracle! The tire stopped wobbling and we made it down the mountain after 4 1/2 hours. We were safe and the hotel had a mechanic who came and fixed the truck enough to get us back to GLA the next day. So if you pray for Angels, be prepared for the unusual! Of course, it makes us kind of worried to think that these big dump trucks that we meet every day on the road might be put together with sticks and wire!
7 March 2009
So much has happened in the last month that it is difficult for me to remember it all!
We rarely have children abandoned at our gate, but we have had 2 children abandoned at the orphanage in the last month! A mother brought a 1 year old malnourished little boy and our social worker told her that we could not take the baby because she had no identification with her. IBESR and the court system has told us that parents must have identification and a birth certificate for a child before we can take them into the orphanage. It is a good policy, but it is very difficult to implement when a child is dying from malnutrition! The mother did not want to leave but eventually walked out the gate and left the child on the path in front of the orphanage. Our neighbors made a big noise which alerted our gateman who then alerted our nurses who went out and brought the him back to the house. In Haiti when a child is abandoned like this, many times the mother will hide and watch to make sure someone takes the child to help it. We have named the baby Patrick and he is doing great now and gaining weight.
Samar is 5 1/2 years old and was abandoned last week by her father. Samar has been physically abused by her father and step-mother. The father said the mother was dead, but Samar says that her mother is living and the father came and took her out of school one day and she has not seen her mother since! We are searching for the mother and was going to return her to the father until we heard her tale of abuse.
We work in Haiti to take care of children like Patrick and Samar. Your donations to GLA goes to take care of children just like them!
Carnival/Mardi Gras was the end of February this year. It was a pretty peaceful celebration We have had some years when Carnival has had violence and deaths. We are still having "Rah Rah" Bands every weekend and will have them through Easter.
I visited with my mother, sister, brother, and all of their families while I was in Florida. I also spoke at a church twice, so it was not just a quiet family time like I had wanted! But that is ok, at least I was able to share what was going on at GLA with a Bible study group and a youth group while I was there!
We are planning on traveling to Baie d'Orange on the 21st of March. Remember this project in your prayers. God has laid this community on our hearts. The malnourished children in Baie d'Orange need all of our help.
I will do my best to write again in the next week and not let so much time pass by!
5 February 2009
On top of the virus and sickness we have going around the nursery and volunteers, we now have chickenpox at the Toddler House! We had a couple more outbreaks here at the main house this week too! It has now been almost 5 months since we had our first case. Molly says that she is not separating the sick children at the TH. She said she does not want to have chickenpox for 5 months like we have had it! She wants to get it over with and done!!! She would rather have a month of no sleep and misery than 5 months of constantly someone being sick and in bed!
It is cold and rainy in Haiti today. I overslept because I opened my eyes and it was dark outside and I went back to sleep! I did not get out of bed until almost 9 AM and nobody came to wake me up! They thought maybe I was sick since so many people are sick right now. It just shows that there is a bright side to every situation! I got to sleep an extra 1 1/2 hours because of the sickness going around!!! LOL
John, Brad, and three male volunteers are working hard at Ft. Jacques to get the garage and storage building wired, plumbing in, garage doors up, windows in, and ready for us to use them. Things are going quickly with so many hands to help. It is nice to have people here who can get these jobs done!
I went to a meeting at Parquet yesterday. It was the same old...same old stuff. Nothing was decided. No information available about the dispensations from the President's office yet. See the adoption news for a more detailed account.
I will be going to Florida to see my mother on February 19 and will return the 25th. My oldest sister and her husband live north of Tampa and my mother is visiting for a couple of months. It is much easier for me to travel to Florida for a few days than to Illinois. I have not seen my mother since her open heart surgery last January. She will be 89 years old in May and is still pretty active. I figured this would be a good time to visit since it is during Carnival and most government offices will be closed February 23 through the 25th.
Lots of birth families are coming next week to GLA to get funds for school. If you have adopted a child from GLA, please send us photos for the birth family so that they can get a photo when they come for school funds.
Well, I better go change my clothes. Shorts and a knit T-Shirt are not going to be warm enough today! I have to go to Mark's school for his science fair later this afternoon. Maybe I will warm up down there! LOL
2 February 2009
Lots of babies and volunteers have a virus that is going around Haiti. They have fever, vomiting, headach and diarrhea. A couple of the fragile children have had to be on IV's for a couple of days, but then when it is done they are absolutely fine! No lasting effects. For the volunteers, it seems to be a 48 hour flu and then it is over with. Pray for all of us that this will pass quickly!
We went to a little ceremony at the US Embassy on Friday for the signing of the Standards of Care for children in all orphanages in Haiti. The turn out of Haitian orphanage directors was not as high as we had hoped, but at least 5 or 6 of us were there to sign the document. Unless it can be enforced, I do not see where it will help Standards of Care in Haiti so that all children will receive appropriate care. I did hear at the meeting that the US government and the French government were meeting with the Haitian government, to let them know that they are in support of a new adoption law being passed quickly. Hopefully, this will be a motivating factor in getting the law passed.
We had a meeting scheduled for last Wednesday at the Parquet between Parquet, IBESR and Social Affairs. It was cancelled due to the death of a family member of one of the participants. It is rescheduled for the 4th of February. Pray that we will finally hear some news about what is going on with the dispensations and adoptions in general.
One of our parents brought a puppy to the orphanage for Magaly, but she could not take him. He is yellow with black markings and is just a Haitian dog. Most the of the dogs in Third World countries kind of look the same, and he looks just like them. But he has lots of personality and the volunteers have named him "Joey"! Joey is only about 10 inches long and 10 inches high! He goes to school and plays with the kids on the balcony. He is so tiny that the babies are not afraid of him. He has been labeled Kay C dog and sleeps with the volunteers. We pray that the other families do not hear about this and bring us more puppies because we cannot take any more!!
I better go. I promised John that I would take a trip up to Ft. Jacques today since it has been a month since I have seen the work going on. They are starting to put security wire around the top of the wall. I have been getting phone calls that say people are climbing over the fence to get inside! We also are in the process of hiring a guardian to sleep on the property and open and close the gate for the workers.
Blessings to all...
23 January 2009
I just wrote a long page of things that have happened this week and then "POW!" the computer gave me a error message and I lost the whole thing! I hate it when that happens because now you will all get the shortened version of what I wrote before!
I spoke to Gladys (Sylvestre) THOMAS, founder of Rainbow of Love Orphanage, about our next trip to Baie d'Orange to take humanitarian supplies, and we will be going sometime in March 2009. We will be taking seeds, tools, and food. We hope to take some funds so that the Official can buy some animals to distribute to the farmers in the area. He has a great plan to buy female animals and give them to the farmers. He will buy 1 male animal that the association of farmers will loan out to the farmers to use to breed the females. When they have little ones, those babies will be taken and given to other farmers that did not receive animals the first time. They will continue to do this until everyone has some animals! I think this is a wonderful idea and very advanced planning. We just need to find some funds to help buy the first batch of animals. He would like to start out with goats. One goat costs $55 USD. Anyone that would like to make a donation to buy a goat or some seeds to donate to the people of Baie d'Orange, please send your donation through our Paypal button on the home page. Check out the article in the Miami Herald about Baie d'Orange and be sure to watch the video on the same page! Click here for story>>>
We do not just run an orphanage, but most days it seems like we are running a transportaiton business too! Trying to schedule vehicles and, where they are going and who needs to go where, can be a nightmare some days! Today was a perfect example. Ernst needed a car to go buy food. James needed a vehicle to take a family to the airport. Magalie needed to go to IBESR to pick up 2 babies that had been abandoned at a local hospital in Carrefour. One of the babies is 1 month old and supposedly has club feet. So this means, she needs a vehicle. Laurie needs a car to take a group to Fermathe. John and Brad needed a vehicle to go work on the property at Fort Jacques! In the middle of all of this, John decided last Friday to send one of the trucks for service and it still is not back!!! I refuse to go anywhere today because I had to go somewhere yesterday and that was enough! Nothing is ever simple in Haiti!
A father came to our gate this morning with a 19 day old baby. He said the mother had left the baby outside his gate after he told her that he could not give her any money! He has been feeding the baby Gerber baby food...only! He is ready to give the baby up for adoption! He cannot take anymore misery he said! We all know that the mother left the baby because she was mad at the father. She will come back and want that baby back. Sometimes, in these situations, the father's story is unclear and we think he is not telling us the whole truth. The father is from Jacmel but lives in Kenscoff. The mother is from Carrefour Bet which is way back in the mountains. We counselled the father to go see the Mayor of Kenscoff who will probably call us and ask us to take the baby! When emotions are involved between the mother and father, they will say anything sometimes! We have had a father say that the mother was dead and when the mother returned a few weeks later and we confronted the father, he said..."well, she was dead in my eyes!" We told him...it was not the same! Pray for that baby. Pray that the mother will come and take the baby and care for him!
One of our adoptive parents has organized through a company the donation of two new generators for the Fort Jacques property! He has been working on this for months and they are finally being sent to Haiti on 26 January. Our refrigerators in the kitchen have given us problems ever since we received them. Water just pours out from underneath them. They are European refrigerators and they do not like our inverter battery system! So we asked if we could get a couple of refrigerators put on the container...if there was room. Our adoptive families took up the cause and not only donated two refrigerators but also a couple of stackable washer/dryer units, and a couple of larger dryers for our laundry area! We are so thankful and want to say "Mèsi Anpil!" (Thank you so much!) to everyone that contributed toward this GWO (Huge) gift! Words cannot express how much we appreciate these gifts!
Back in October while John and I were out in the States, we bought a trampoline off Craig's List for $50. We put it on the container and John and Brad assembled it when it arrived. It has been the most enertaining "toy" we have ever bought for down here! Our kitchen cooks, Laundry staff, nannies, volunteers, and the neighborhood kids have all had to try it out! You should see Marie Josée, one of our cooks, climb up on it and try to jump. Everyone, including herself, roll on the ground laughing! People can do forward flips, twists in the air, and somersaults on it! Every day I can hear people out jumping on it and others standing around laughing at their graceful (not!) movements! So if you come to visit us be sure and bring your jumping clothes and have a good time on our bargain of a trampoline!
Okay...so it wasn't shorter! But it is all different stories! LOL!
17 January 2009
Hi! Well we made it Jacmel with only a handful of us car sick from the twisty curvy mountain road! i was driving my Santa Fe and still got sick! Not totally sick but I definitely was glad to get back down to flat ground!
The hotel is very nice. It is quiet and no TV in our rooms! That to us is one of the best parts! Steeve and Mark were actually reading books in bed last night which is a miracle. They are complaining but it does them good to have to enertain themselves like they did when they were little and did not have all of the video games and such that they have now!
We slept with the sound of the waves in the background. I could not believe how loud the surf is at night! We can see the boats out on the water and the fishermen catching our supper!
They only serve seafood at supper. It is wonderful for us that love seafood but John is not too thrilled! the lobster is great!
Well, I'm going to stop working now and go to the beach!
The beach is so nice here. I spent about an hour in the water. That was probably the first time we've been to the beach in 14 years! I know I have not gone since Steev and Mark were born and they are 13 years old!
My granddaughter, Lilly June, loves the beach and with her red hair and fair skin we are trying to make sure she doesn't burn, but she cries if we take her away from the water!
We are having a really good time and it's a nice restful few days away.
15 January 2009
OK, pinch me and make sure I am not dreaming! I received 2 more American visas today. One was for a medical case. We also received a French visa. God has been so good to us this week! What a blessing!
We have lots of families coming in the next couple of weeks. Pray that everyone arrives safely.
A group of us are leaving for Jacmel tomorrow morning. Please pray for safety and a nice peaceful rest. I really need some rest. It is to the point that the stress in our lives here are giving me headaches and a knot in my stomach most of the time!
We have a great group of volunteers and staff here right now. I can hear them in the living room playing games and laughing and having great fun! It is so nice when everyone is getting along and having such a happy time!
For those of you that have seen my desk and the chaos of it most of the times: I told Stephanie that she better be praying for my safety while I am in Jacmel because if something happens to me, it will take her forever to make sense of the things on my desk!
12 January 2009
Well, did anyone hear the fireworks going off over the US Consulate in Port-au-Prince today? No? Well there must have been some because GLA got another 4 visas out today! HURRAY! We were screaming, dancing, and praising God! Jimmy, Fabio, Jiovany, and Lucksonder all got their visas! Some of these children had been waiting for their visas since last summer! We also got a French visa for Cherlanda. So Five...yes, FIVE visas in one day! Hip Hip Hurray! We are very very happy! We have several more French, Dutch, and American visas in the works. Hopefully, we will see lots of children going home in the month of January.
While we were at the US consulate, they had a fire alarm go off and we all had to evacuate the building! My biggest fear was that something would go wrong and we wouldn't get our visas. I was not as worried about a fire as I was that the computers would go down!
Friday and today, a child got sick in the car on the way to the Consualte! Which means that the hcild has to be cleaned up before we can go to our appointment. Thankfully, Molly had packed lots of extra clothing for the kids!
Jean Bell arrives tomorrow. Our daughter-in-law, Holli and our granddaughter, Lilly, is coming to visit us, too! Lilly just turned 1 year old. I cannot wait to see how big she is and how much she has changed since the last time we saw her!
We plan on going to Jacmel on Friday and spend the weekend at a hotel on the beach. We have lived in Haiti since 1991 and NEVER been to the south of Haiti! When I went to Baie d'Orange with the orphanage association, it was the very first time that I had been south. I want John and the boys to see it too! I have never felt like we could leave the orphanage, but with our wonderful staff here now, we are going to try going for 2 nights. It will be nice to take Jean, Holli, Lilly, and John's cousin, Joyce with us. Molly and Joyce will also come along and enjoy the time with us.
The staff and volunteers spent last Saturday at Club Indigo which is north of Port-au-Prince. Pastor Joel took them to the beach for the day. Those of us going to Jacmel, stayed home and took care of the orphanages so everyone else could go. They had a wonderful time and said it was beautiful out there!
Now, for the most astonishing thing that happened today! After being an orphanage for 13 years, a baby was actually left outside our gate! We could not believe it! It is the first time a child has been abandoned outside our gates! It caused a lot of excitement. The neighbors were all very upset and we had to go to the police station and file a report. The police told our social worker, "Congratulations! It's a boy!"
The little boy is about 1 year old and has malnutrition. The mother had come to the orphanage and my new social worker told her that the mother would have to go home and get identification before we could take the baby. So she left him on a blanket outside the gate! This probably would not have happened if Magalie or I had been home. We would have taken him in due to his malnutrition and so she wouldn't have had a reason to abandon him. I doubt that our social worker will let this happen again!
It has been a very exciting day and I am exhausted! But I wanted to share our good news with all of you before I go to bed.
9 January 2009
Today is a beautiful day at GLA! It's a day of Miracles! We received 4 visas from the US Consulate! Trying to get US Visas has been so difficult for the last year. Two of these visas were denied in May 2008 and we thought they would never be issued. But God is ever faithful and we received an email on Thursday saying come for a visa appointment and the visas were actually issued today! I cannot tell you how happy we are that Sonel and Sonia received their visas and can join their forever family very soon!
Jamesly also received his visa after many months of extra paperwork and lots of discussion. We are thankful that his is done and he can travel next week with his forever family.
Djemy is going to the STates for surgery on his nose. He has been approved to go to California and will be leaving next week also. His foster family while in the States is the same family that adopted Sonel and Sonia! We thought that Djemy would be at their house by himself and NOW they are taking 3 two and half years old toddlers home with them! Yikes. Rebekah and Ralph will need lots of prayers while they are adjusting to the kids and one of them needing surgery soon!
Our baby that we received on Christmas Eve died on Christmas Day. He was just too tiny and his lungs undeveloped for him to live. It was very sad and we resuscitated him for several hours before we finally stopped.
Tomorrow, the volunteers and some of the staff are going to the beach. John, Laurie, Molly, Joyce and I will stay here, but the rest are going. Pastors Joel and Yvonne Trimble have planned the outing as a special treat for everyone. Pray for safe travel for everyone and that the rest of us will have a nice quiet day at the orphanages.