Thursday, July 31, 2008

Humility


A dear friend of mine recently confessed a sin in her heart and recognized a need for change in her life.


I admire her for her bravery in admitting weakness.
I support her as she seeks accountability for change.
I stand in amazement and am inspired by her humility.

I did a quick search on what the Bible says about humility and here is what I found:


  • Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will lift you up.
    James 4:10

  • When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.
    Proverbs 11:2

  • The fear of the Lord teaches a man wisdom, and humility comes before honor.
    Proverbs 15:33

  • Humility and the fear of the Lord bring wealth and honor and life.
    Proverbs 22:4

  • Seek the Lord, all you humble of the land, you who do what he commands. Seek righteousness, seek humility; perhaps you will be sheltered on the day of the Lord's anger. Zephaniah 2:3
  • Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.
    Philippians 2:3

  • The Lord sends poverty and wealth; he humbles and he exalts.
    1 Samuel 2:7

  • You save the humble, but your eyes are on the haughty to bring them low.
    2 Samuel 22:28
Hold firm to God's Word, friend, that you will be saved, lifted up, blessed with wisdom and all sorts of other general goodness from God. He's always faithful to His people.


To be honest...I'm being humbled myself, these days. May I find the strength that my friend found to offer up my heart and ask God to help me.


Mothering 3 children is hard.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The Water Slide Adventure

Katie climbed up one of those big water slides looking oh so cute...



...then got to the top and her face made a look that said "No Way am I going down that slide."


But after seeing her sisters and friends go down...



...she made it with much glee and laughter.





I love being with my girls as they experience new adventures.


Towel Girls bathing in the sun.



Friday, July 25, 2008

Princess Warrior




This is my littlest girl, Katie, trying her darndest to wink back at me.

In this photo you can see a scar on her right cheek (reader's left, Katie's right).
This scar has not always been on her cute face. Well, of course it hasn't, I hear you saying...she wasn't BORN with it.

So, the first photo I got of the girls was August 2006.
This scar showed up for the first time in a photo sent to me in March of 2008.
When I went to Haiti to pick up the girls, I asked the American Girl staying there for a year or so if she knew what happened to warrant such a scar.

Unfortunately, this gal was there to help the teens pass their English classes and did not directly care for the toddlers and therefore didn't know. She suggested that she hurt her face in bed somehow as the cribs (cages) are made of old metal.
Here is a picture of Yolanta standing next to her bed. She slept on the top. Notice the WB in her hand.

Here is a picture of Katie's bed. She slept on top, too.


When a mother gives birth to a baby, she usually knows where each and every blemish or scar came from. I don't know how Katie got this scar and I likely never will. The best I could get out of Yolanta was "Katie tonbe." Katie fell.
Oh well. She's still gorgeous. And when she's a teenager and is totally self-conscious about it, I'll tell her she used to be a princess warrior who fought injustices all over the world.

Hm. I don't believe in reincarnation...but I bet she COULD be a princess warrior.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Photo Caption Request

I love this photo.

My daughter Amy has many thoughts running around her pretty little head and sometimes I'm privy to know them...other times I can only guess.


She had been up on top of the play structure for quite awhile when I snapped this shot and I can only make grand assumptions as to what she was thinking at the time.


Is she thinking about her new sisters?
Is she thinking about what she wants for lunch?
Is she thinking about High School Musical?

Dunno.

This picture definitely needs a caption. A title.

"Lost in Thought" is overused.
"Nice Nostrils" loses the purity of the photo.

Who's got the award winning caption for this photo?

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Of Waterbottles and a Basket Breakthrough


Dirty water, which can cause skin ailments, dysentery and lead to dehydration, is everywhere in Haiti, and it kills thousands of people every single year.


(In this picture you can see two children carrying jugs to some kind of watering place. Clean? I don't know)




There are a few government regulated water spigots that provide clean water, where women will carry 5 gallon jugs of it, balanced beautifully on their heads, on the rocky terrain, back to their families.


(This is a pic out the car window of a woman carrying something on her head)






Culligan has an international export department and they deliver to Haiti. But of course, one has to pay for this sparkling, crystal clear, ever and always so clean, liquid gold. Seeing as how 90% of Haitians live well below the poverty line, more people drink dirty water that they have boiled in their dirty bucket.

When we went to Haiti 2.5 weeks ago, we had a couple of empty water bottles with us that we'd purchased at the airport. We knew our host, Dr. B, had a Culligan water system in his home and office. We were instructed to drink this, and ONLY this water. My mother, the designated photographer and general assistant for the trip, filled up a waterbottle and gave one to each of the girls. They never put them down.




(Here we are at Dr. B's house. Notice Katie has a wb in her hand)



Portable and Potable water at, quite literally, their fingertips, was bliss. Now, I know that Dr. B provides clean, safe water for the children at the O. But I doubt any of the kids had a waterbottle to constantly carry around, sip from, fill up and sleep with and shake and drink, and flip the lid up and down and sip some more, and spill a little and toss around and drink again. Enjoyment at it's finest!



(We are watching a thunder and lightning storm on the 5th floor of the guest house with a wb close at hand on the table next to us)



The girls loved them. We took them with us everywhere and especially when we went to the airport. At one point we were headed down the isle off the plane and Katie, in my arms, started panicking reaching behind us when I remembered The Waterbottle! We went back for it and all was well.


(Here we are at Dr. B's office waiting to see the BFather. This is their orphanage Nany. Yolanta with her trusty wb.)

And through every single check point we either had to chug our water or pour it in the garbage can for we were not to bring the liquid past the gates (nor could I get the bottle of bubbles out of PDX unless I wanted to check it. But I had my razor blade to shave my legs with right there next to my toothbrush. THAT I could get on the plane. But never mind bubbles or water!). Anyway, I digress.



(Airport pic. wb on ledge)
























(Airplane pic. wb in hand)







(Airport dinner. wb on table)













(Here we are arriving in PDX. I'm holding the girls, David is holding 2 wb's)


So with every airplane (we took 3 getting home) we had to always fill our waterbottles once we got past the danger checkpoint or buy new ones. And yes, the girls were going potty every 5 minutes. And they needed to wash their hands at every single sink in the public restroom. With soap from every single dispenser. Every five minutes.

Anyway, back to Haiti. We had just met the birth father and were waiting in the lobby for Dr. B to finish his business and take us to the airport. Yolanta had to go potty. Of course. So we walked past the BFather and head to the toilet carrying the waterbottle. Of course. On the way back, as we're passing BFather, he reaches out his hand and takes the waterbottle from Yolanta and takes a long, refreshing drink. Then gives it back with a smile of gratitude.



(Meeting the BFather. Each girl with a wb in hand).



My husband goes for his backpack and grabs a waterbottle, fills it up from the Culligan dispenser from behind the counter and gives it to Yolanta to give to her father.

The adoptive father showing the Jesus in him to the biological father.
The gesture was deeply appreciated and he gladly accepted the gift of water.

***
By the time we got home, we'd amassed several waterbottles and the girls have found more around the house. One day, I peeked in at Yolanta who was secretly hiding something under her bed. I pretended not to notice and later, when the girls were occupied in another room, I looked under her bed and found 8 waterbottles, filled to the brim, in a blue basket.

I don't know exactly why she felt the need to hide them. Or why she felt the need to store them. My mind examined it in several different ways. Is she afraid the water might run out, and now she will have a stockpile of them? Is she afraid she might go back to Haiti and this is what she plans on taking with her? Is she really thirsty in the night? Well, tons of other questions and supposed answers crossed my mind. I said a prayer giving my worries over to Him and decided to let her have her secret stash. Which, when I checked on it now and then, had also accumulated other things I knew were precious to her. A notebook, a pen, a doll, some pictures, etc.

A few days ago, I noticed 4 waterbottles on the banister outside her room. These are 4 taken from her basket. Then this morning, I noticed the rest of them in the garbage can. I checked under her bed an all that remain are the pictures of random family members and friends. The basket was placed on the floor, with nothing in it.










Breakthrough.

Of what exactly I'm not quite sure, but it seems right that she doesn't feel the need to hoard them anymore. Peaceful. Trusting. Permanent.


Thank you, God, for instilling trust in my daughter towards her forever home. May You continue to bless our relationship as mother and child and may she follow You all the rest of her days.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Thoughts about Blogging, Adoption, Birthday.

A blogging friend of mine recently went private feeling slightly uncomfortable that pictures of her way cute kids were being viewed by strangers all over the world.

It does kind of give one the heebie-jeebies knowing that there are weirdos out there peeping in on homelife. Even if the pictures are cute ones of toddlers running in the field or throwing banana's at your sister.

I have the same reservations, but have decided not to restrict my blog (just yet) as the adoption blogging community is so helpful and my site meter indicates I have way more viewers than I could possibly know who to invite. I suspect the majority of my readers are fellow adoptive families. Hi all!

But, with the privacy situation in mind, please know that my posts about the transition period will not be riddled with specific details of struggles or the hardest of hardships that we've been facing. And yes, we've had some pretty tough stuff in the 8 days that we've been home.
If you'd like to send me an email, we can chat privately. I may be calling on some of YOU to ask for suggestions and tips on how to handle certain situations.

However, I would love to share some funny and even some not so funny things that have been happening around here because I so love having my friends (and even some of you I don't know) in on the wonders of my new life. That's what blogging is for, right!?

Imagine yourself as a fly on my wall:

  • English phrases being repeated even when they don't make sense. Such as putting on a pair of sunglasses and saying "nice kitty". Or saying "Thank you!" after someone sneezes.
  • Writing on the wall is not okay.
  • Well, if you reeeeaallly want to sleep with this cuddly Jenga game, I'll let you.
  • Squatting next to the toilet because you sister is taking too long...not okay.
  • Climbing in bed with us in the morning is one of the best parts of the day. We all love it.
  • The cat is nice and smooth for all the hair moisturizer he now has.
  • Turning the music up till the speakers crackle...annoying. (But she knows this. I call her bluff and she often turns it down before I do)
  • Not knowing how to pump your legs on a swing set...saddening. But I love love love being the one to teach you, my sweet hearts. And the joy on your faces is priceless.
  • Biting anything fleshy is very muchly not okay.
  • Singing "This is the Day" in Creole is something I could listen to for hours. (I'll record it for all to listen to)

I have several other blog posts I've been dying to write. But this is what I could whip out for today. Don't give up on me. I've got lots of fun things to tell you about! Here are some of the topics:

#1 Today (July 11th) is Katie's birthday! She turns 4 years old (even though if you ask her how old she is she holds up two fingers and says "trois" (three).

#2 I have more pictures of our days here at home in thier cute American clothes (that you guys bought and gave to me at my shower!) but have not had time to get them up. Oh, that's another topic, I guess. They change their clothes eleventeen times a day!

#3 Amy is adjusting very well as the new big sister (despite the fact that Yolanta is a couple inches taller!) But she has her days where she joins in on the puddle of tears (see #6 below).

#4 Hair. Oh my, hair. HAIR!

#5 Being blessed with meals, phone calls, emails, Costco runs, coffee...you guys are amazing. Especially the coffee drop off.

#6 My emotions going off the charts screwy. But have no fear, my husband's emotions are equally whacky so together we're a mess. If you're still a fly on the wall, you may find us in a puddle of tears, punch drunk laughing at nothing, or asleep at 8:55pm (unheard of 8 days ago). Yeah, we are not really sure what day it is or if the sun sets in the West anymore.

But we're madly in love with each other and with each and every girl called daughter. That's three of them.

How do I have three daughters!? I love it.
Happy Birthday, Katie!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Pictures of Haiti

Hello everyone,


Things are going very well here. Wow, what a new life we all have!

Updates coming later.



Till then, here are the long awaited pictures for you to enjoy.

Please note that this link will take you to my family home page. The family photos are grossly outdated, as well as the code my husband wrote. He's promising to update our website soon, but right now it works for viewing the current Haiti pictures.



Hope this letter finds you well. I haven't read any blogs in over a week so forgive me for having not commented on all my favorite reads.



Enjoy your day.



CLICK HERE TO BE TAKEN TO THE HAITI PICTURES

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Adjusting

Hello everyone,
Just a quick note as the girls are pouring water from one container to the other (yes, right here on the carpet next to me. Things are wet here. Very wet. All the time).

Things are going well and, as expected, are challenging.

Since we came home in the evening and didn't get home till late, and the next day was the 4th of July, and since I had both sisters in from out of town and other relatives and friends around, we've had lots o' people and late nights.
Not easy for adjusting.

So we're going into lock-down. :)

You don't know it, but I just took a break from the computer because Yolanta sneaked a banana upstairs and mashed it in a bowl with water and I needed to drink said gourmet meal. Wow. The things a mother will do, eh?

Anyway, with all the visitors, I need to make sure the girls know who is mom, who is dad, who is sister. There's been some confusion.

We're all doing great, just expected adjustment issues. Please continue to pray.

Thanks for all the emails (I still have 84 in my inbox that have been there for days. I'll get to them soon). Also, I'll send out pics or link to them, soon, too.

Okay, gotta go clean up banana water.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

We're Home

We're Home!



Our emotions are all soaring with so many feelings and so much love.

Thank you to everyone who showed up at the airport. Having so many friends and family there made us feel so incredibly loved. And even though they don't know it yet, the girls are thankful, too!



What an absolutely fabulous support system we have! And those who couldn't be there, I know in your heart you were.



We are looking forward to seeing everyone and having you get to know our Yolanta and Katie. You will love them.



Amy is so thrilled to have her sisters home. She feels like she is in a dream, she says, for we've been waiting so long! But they're here. Finally! Thank you, Lord!



Thank you, Sarah, for updating your blog so thoroughly every step of the way. It felt good knowing that all our friends and family we're being kept apprised of our journey with such great detail and love.



I've got so many more things to say and thanks to more people and stories to tell!

But I haven't slept in days and I smell like a third world country. So I'm off to the showers and to my own bed and to drift off while saying my prayers to God thanking Him for my family.



My family. Home at last.