Yada, Yada, Yada…

To all those wondering why you didn’t get graced with a personal phone call this week letting you know we were leaving the country – don’t worry. We aren’t. 😉

Yesterday marked 5 weeks waiting for our USCIS approval email, and today is (UGH) Friday – which means if we don’t hear anything today, then we get to (oh joy!) wait through the weekend and hope again for Monday!

We’ve been trolling all our FB groups and Haiti adoptive family forums and blogs, (it’s actually quite creepy how obsessively troll-like we are…) and the range of recent USCIS approvals have been anywhere from 5-8 weeks. Ummm…how ’bout today? 5 is good. I’m spent!

I actually figured that last week the passport came through while I was writing this blog post, so maybe if I sat down to write, the email would come through…so far it isn’t working…so I guess I just have to type “yada,yada, yada” and copy and paste for another week. Don’t worry, I’ll spare you the complete boredom.

This week I kept myself busy with distractions – it’s literally all I can do to keep the craziness and insanity at bay. I bought a booster seat for the car – quite an emotional experience, for sure! I don’t think I ever had the concrete thought of “one of these days I’ll actually have a close-at-hand NEED to buy a child booster seat! I’m sure people were wondering why I was standing zoning out at the line of boosters in the aisle for 3 hours. It was like putting it in my cart meant this was actually, for serious going to happen. That he was actually going to fold his little bony brown body into the seat and put his little water bottle in the cup holder and hold a baggie of fishy crackers! FISHY CRACKERS. There are going to be actual crumbs in a booster because he’s going to sit in it, after all these years!

He probably won’t even like them. More than likely, it will be smeared with chocolate pudding or nutella, knowing that boy! 😉

I was taking Ollie for a walk up to the park a few days ago, basking in God’s newest installment of Vitamin D (Praise Jesus for sunshine – we were all getting a bit pasty-vampire-ish) and looking at each yard and fence and house, fluffy neighborhood kitties and miles of green grassy lawns…realizing that in a couple years, this will all be his “normal”. That when he comes home for the first time these surroundings and these crazy people who spray their grass with water, or have a sidewalk through acres of green grass, or who play basketball in their driveways on an actual basketball hoop that belongs to them, who have beautiful flowers and massive trees right outside their windows – this will all be such a crazy, overwhelming experience. The fragrances that he picks up – will be assaulting, because what he is used to is an overwhelming cloud of rotting fruit, garbage, and or ammonia when they mop the floors. He’s used to clouds of dust caking his nostrils on the way to school instead of freshly cut grass and lilac blooms. The wildlife for him will be insane as well! I don’t think I saw a single bird other than pigeons at the orphanage, and our woods behind our house sounds like the Aviary at the zoo – it’s just a wall of chirping and songbirds! Pets on leashes, the Zoo animals behind bars and glass, riding a bike or scooters in the driveway, even walking through a neighborhood – all this will be fantastically new to him. It will be like landing in a new world that he didn’t really know even existed – and one where he doesn’t speak the language.

God sent us a massive blessing in the form of a name and number from a fellow adoptive family in the area – a young woman who works in our community, who is fluent in Haitian Creole! I already contacted her and she is excited to help us with translation or just conversation in Creole whenever we need it for Wesley! God knew what we would need and of all places that he could have placed someone who would know our son’s language – it would be within our community!

While we are beside ourselves with excitement for bringing him home to his forever family, we are aware that bringing him into one world of happiness and joy means a departure and acute loss of everything he has known and loved for the last 7 years. His friends, his nannies, his home at the orphanage, his school – people that love and care for him, and the familiarity of the dust and the humble homes, the frail old men that stand at their doorways and simply watch the children walk to school (I’m not sure if this is a type of neighborhood watch, or just because watching people is more interesting than watching a cinderblock wall…probably the latter). He will lose the comfort of his ease in communication and language, and will grieve the loss of these in a way we cannot possibly understand.

Adoption is a beautiful thing, but it always is a result of some kind of loss. We are praying that over time God will be able to restore Wesley’s heart, that he will come to love and cherish the new loved ones he has here, but that we would be consistent in keeping alive the love and circle of friends and heritage/culture that he had in Haiti as well.

Okay, well, I’m officially out of “yada, yadas” and have to go make a grocery run! Today my task is to keep myself busy making soup and cleaning out the last few things in Wesley’s room so that it’s ready for him!

Distractions, distractions…bring them on!

Blessings,

Laura

 

Tick, tick, tick

The second-hand is still ticking with each passing rise and fall of our chests. Some moments I just want to throw out the clocks, computers and iphones, all constant reminders of the fact that time is continuing to move on at its sluggish rate while I’m clawing after it in a half-dazed state! This period of the wait has been a different beast entirely. I always thought this part would be easier than the initial wait for a referral, but it really is just a whole new world. When we waited for a referral, while we were still on the “any day now” mode for 30 months, the wait was open-ended, so we knew it could be any day but it also could be any week, month or year from now. We had a loose vision of our son, nothing concrete, no expectations really. As time went on it became a painful wait, the pain of feeling like a piece of us was lost – that every day passing without firm knowledge of him was somehow slipping away into oblivion. We really had to fight to be present, to stay engaged with life at home with our kids, with activities and friends – it really felt like a slow strangulation of our hearts at times. There were times we sat on the couch after the kids went to bed and stared at the wall together in our own heads, quietly discussing whether or not it was time to let the dream go. Those were some of the hardest conversations. Some of the hardest things I did during those last few months of waiting was to call some local agencies and inquire about domestic adoption and foster-to-adopt programs. I was so weighed down by those conversations and calls – none of it seemed right.

We knew we were not forgotten, passed over, or ignored by the Lord, but we were really at a point when we were floundering for His direction, His will, His plan for our family. Everything we felt had been steering us in the direction of this little Haitian boy who we just felt in our hearts existed started to be put under the microscope. We asked ourselves heartbreaking questions, we prayed without ceasing, we began to buckle under the hammering questions from our kids and other loved family and friends with the same answers over and over – “not yet”, “we don’t know when”, “yes, we’re still doing this ‘adoption thing’, thanks for asking”. It wasn’t anyone’s fault, and later we realized that we WANT our friends to ask questions and we want to be transparent, but I do not think we ever really vocalized the heavy hearts we walked around with on a daily basis. While we 100% trusted that God had a plan for our family, it is a really difficult thing to spend 3 years of your family’s growing up years plodding a certain journey one footstep at a time through ups and downs together, and then question whether you’re really supposed to be on that dry, wasteland of a dirt road! Our saving grace there, was simply that we kept asking God to shut it down if we were supposed to exit the process. To make it so clear that we couldn’t ignore it if His plan was for us to bow out.

For those of you who have followed this blog, you know what happened on day 898 of waiting for an official match for our son. I was done, I really felt like if God wasn’t going to pull me off this road (figuratively, not literally!) I was going to do it myself – I had somewhat of the worst breakdown of my life in my car, driving up Lakeshore Ave. toward home. I remember that day like it was just a few hours ago – bawling, all alone in my car, feeling like I was really close to having to pull over because I just couldn’t see straight through my tears. I probably looked like some insanely off-kilter soccer mom two-fries-short-of-a-happy meal, pounding my steering wheel, my body wracked with heaves, yelling through my sobs to the windshield (AKA God). We had it out, in that car, myself and my God. I was brutally honest about my heart, my struggle, and that I couldn’t possibly do this any longer. It was day 898 of waiting and I specifically asked God to not allow us to wait longer than 900 days. 900 days was my cut off and I was D.O.N.E. DONE. I told Him that we had followed His guidance faithfully for 3 years and had trusted fully and been through the wringer in order to complete this journey but that we couldn’t do it anymore. I remember feeling so exhausted and drained as my tears subsided, coming home to a quiet house in a daze, like every ounce of strength had drained completely from my core.

2 days later, day 900, we received our referral, in a McDonald’s drive-thru on a holiday weekend. Last week I was in tears again as another family we knew through our adoptive family connections received their referral after 32.5 months of waiting. It brought back that emotional journey, and the wash of relief, hope and joy of hearing those words, “I have your referral!”

We are now at 6 weeks and 2 days waiting for Wesley’s passport, and 4 weeks and 1 day in USCIS. This wait is incredibly different but just as difficult! Now, we wait with pure excitement and giddiness for what is to come – not that it will be all roses and fluffy glitter-pooping unicorns, but sometimes the thought of the elation of homecoming feels like that – but we also wait with crashing disappointment at the close of each business day with no passport issued. I find myself around 2pm looking at the time and praying for distractions and peace to make it through til the next day. Fridays are horrible because you don’t only wait overnight until business starts again, but you have to wait 2.5 days until the offices open again! There is always the seed of doubt that says, “I’m positive it’s already printed and just sitting there”, or “what if it fell off the table and got kicked under a desk?” or like I heard last week from another family, “what if it’s spelled wrong and we have to wait all over again?” This wait is the jittery anticipation, jumping at every phone or email buzz again, hitting refresh on my email every 30 seconds (actually, this blog post is so pleasantly distracting to me, I haven’t checked it in 20 min! – Hang on…false alarm. Just junk promotional mail.) – Yesterday I had another long talk with the Lord. Abby asked me last night how I talk with God if He isn’t talking back to me…I said that’s a very good question! And a great conversation ensued…I love it when a quick goodnight turns into a nice engaging conversation in the dark with the ladybug dreamlight spattering the ceiling with LED stars and a smiling bug!

Anyway, yesterday I was feeling so –

HOLD THE PHONE –

I guess checking your email every 30 seconds does no good when the email is sent to your school email – THAT YOU JUST GRADUATED FROM…

 

WE JUST GOT A PASSPORT!!!!!!

like seriously – in the middle of this blog post. DUDE. That is God just saying, seriously, Child, you have NO REASON to doubt me. NONE.

Deliverance. That has been my word for the last 2 weeks – Deliverance. And here we are. 🙂

So – Now – wow I can’t even think straight. My hands are shaking!! LOL!!

Okay, but really – so now that we have a passport – we could get an email any day in the next 2 weeks that says we have visa approval, and then we get a visa appointment scheduled for a couple days after that email, and then we TRAVEL. Not for a visit – but like to pick him up. For reals.

THIS KID IS COMING HOME, PEOPLE!!!!

~ And that’s all I have to say about that.

🙂

~Laura

Countdowns are TERRIBLE.

Seriously. This about feels like carefully pulling a hair off the back of your tongue. A splattering of fear, apprehension, full-on sweats, and nausea all at once! GRRR! 😉

Yesterday marked 4 weeks waiting for Wesley’s passport, and today marks 2 weeks (out of the estimated 6) waiting for our Visa approval/appointment from USCIS. Don’t have these dates on your calendar? Oh trust me. I do. I made a calendar entry each Wednesday and each Thursday marking what week number it is from here through the end of May – just in case I lost count.

It is amazing to me that life around us doesn’t stop or slow down when we are in a weird spot. We feel in our heads that sucking, whoosh of the vacuum of sound and the slowing of the earth – where the silence makes you feel that you’ve gone stark-raving mad, or at least completely deaf. At times it feels jarring when someone asks “how’s it going?” or “what’s new with you lately?” or “what time is the baseball game tomorrow?” and my response honestly is probably so slow and warbled, faded and disoriented that the K-9 team will be sniffing around my person for some green bits of expensive plant matter! As discombobulated as it feels at time, the constant calendar ticking of events and school activities and sports is a life-saver as it is definitely a distraction and keeps us moving rather than planted on our sorry behinds staring with glazed eyes at a blank TV screen.

I’m especially out-of-sorts because I lost one major distraction this past month – I finished school! (Well, some of it.) In mid-March, I completed my last class of my Associates degree at Clark College, and am anxiously awaiting the printed degree of completion to calm my fears that they will find some random assignment that I missed that causes me not to earn the last measly credit hour! LOL! While the original plan was to finish my 4-year Bachelor’s degree, right now the half-way there degree will suffice. Looking ahead, getting into another school commitment while we are expecting Wes to be home is probably not the smartest journey to take! 😉 For now, I am finding myself thoroughly bored and spending way too much time trying to figure out SEO for dummies on my company’s website (It isn’t working too well, my brain doesn’t wrap around all the jargon).

The kids are smack in the middle of Softball and Baseball – Kris coaching both sports – me dutifully sitting in the bleachers, wearing the appropriate team gear, mortifying my children with cheers, and keeping our 2-year-old Labradoodle, Ollie from snatching sno-cones and nacho cheese from unsuspecting ball-field visitors. When we started the season, we had upwards of 70 games between the teams in a span of less than 2 months. I think we’re only at game 10…whew.

We’ve pretty much been drowning like everyone else in this lovely, green Pacific Northwest (probably more applicable to say NorthWET). A few sun breaks here and there are keeping our spirits dragging on til the next ray of light – tomorrow is supposed to be gorgeous – PLEASE, Mr. Weatherman, PLEASE BE RIGHT!!!

We’re hoping to see a light at the end of the Passport tunnel either this week or next…they haven’t been taking too long lately, so we’re hoping we’re not going to be an exception on the lengthy side. In the meantime, we still just wait for USCIS approval – it can happen anywhere between weeks 4-7 (they say 6, but every once in awhile they get a fire in their belly and process something quick! Pick me! Pick me!), so until then – we keep counting down weeks, and checking email every 22 seconds. 😉

Thanks for following our journey, and pray for sunshine and miracles! On a purely selfish note, my youngest sister and her husband are moving across the nation to the East Coast, almost as far as you can go the other direction from me – to the other ocean – as she got into Med school there to pursue her nursing degree. While I am so stinkin’ proud of her, I’m also super sad that she’ll be gone for a long while – normally we’d say “goodbye, we love you, have fun and we’ll see you at Christmas!” but the timing of their cross-country travel comes mid-May, right before we are expecting to have Wesley home. My purely selfish, asking-for-a-miracle prayer would be that someway, somehow, he’d get to come home before she leaves, so she can meet this little boy that we’ve prayed over, hoped for, and cried over. I’d love prayer over this possibility – and that if it doesn’t happen, that God will provide a way for them to connect in a personal way very soon.

Blessings and love to you all!

Laura (& family)

If you’d like to check out what my new company, Bél Lavi (“beautiful life” in Haitian Creole) is doing, see below:
www.bel-lavi.com

Happy Birthday, Little Man!

Little Man,

Today was a special day for you, but you probably didn’t even know it! Your morning eyes creaked open and the light looked the same. The flies sounded the same buzzing sleepily around your room, the rustling and sighing of your little friends sleeping near you all sounded the same as every other day. It’s Wednesday, so you probably woke up early, ate some yummy spaghetti (hopefully today of all days you got spaghetti!), and pulled on your uniform for school. I’m sure the sun was hot already and baked you into a sweaty crust as you walked the mile to school with your friends, and I’m sure you had a smile lighting up your face just like yesterday. 

But today, Little Man, today was a special day! Today was your 7th birthday! I know that yesterday you still thought you were five, and five has turned into an infinitely long, long, long stretch. But really, you had your 6th birthday a year ago and you blinked right through it without even knowing! When you come home to the United States, it will seem very silly for many years because nobody lets you forget your birthday. They wake you up with kisses and special breakfast, and everywhere you go somebody sings you a silly happy birthday song! There is lots of sweet sugary things on your birthday and mommy will shake her head no or say, “maybe just one bite!” And then Daddy will give you a big piece of yummy cake in secret when mommy isn’t looking. Then lots of times you get special boxes and bags that are all wrapped up in pretty paper and there’s a surprise inside just for you! Definitely no forgetting about birthdays here. Even when you get old and you WANT to forget your birthday…somebody will still remind you!

Today mommy and daddy and your brother and sisters and Ollie and Bella really really really wished we could be visiting you to sing you the silly birthday song! We know there are other friends visiting the orphanage today and we wanted to send you a video to say hello and we love you, but we were afraid it would make your 7 year old heart sad, because sometimes when you’re 7 you miss your mommy and daddy and brother and sisters and your dogs just a little bit more than when you were 6. So we decided to pray lots today and talk about you a lot too! 

We got some great news today, on your birthday! All your papers are ready for the next office at USCIS and will be getting turned in tomorrow morning! This is very exciting it means we are this close { — } to coming back to pick you up! We wish that day was today, or yesterday, or the day before so we could sing you happy birthday today. We will sing lots of happy birthday songs when you come home, to make up for each one that you forgot before! 

Oh Little Man, we miss you so much and are so excited that we will be seeing you soon! We are praying that God would let us come pick you up in May! That is next month!! We need to pray lots and lots that mommy doesn’t get too grumpy while we wait. 

We love you, Wesley Wadnelson, and as your 7-year old eyes rest in the quiet peacefulness of the dark tonight, we are praying that your big boy heart is full of love. Remember that we love you very very much and we will see you soon!

Happy Birthday, sweet boy! 

Love,

Mommy, Daddy, Braeden, Logan, and Abby (and Ollie and Bella too!) (and all of your new family and friends waiting here to give you hugs and kisses and play with you!)

Check please!

Ahem, excuse me, MOI? Check please! We’re all done with you! 

!!!! We have officially exited MOI after 10.5 weeks! Thank you, Lord! (And the blessed staff in Haiti’s Ministry of Interior office!!) next up – a passport for Wesley!

Passports can take 2-8 weeks on average (love how every step has a wide open range of “averages” – only in Haiti!). Notmally, you have passport phase, a 2-week translation of your file, and then 6-10 weeks or so of USCIS. 

Our process will be slightly different – they are going to work on the translation now to cut out that extra mid-point wait, and as soon as the translation is done, they will submit us to USCIS even if we are still waiting for passport.

We are praying hard that God will expedite these last steps so he can come home! When we enter USCIS, they will send us an email confirming receipt of our file, then in approximately 6-8 weeks they will send us a date for our visa appointment (at least this is what we understand…) that visa appointment is what we get to plan our pickup trip around. The visa appointment is normally given about 2-3 weeks in advance from what we are seeing in other families’ processes – so at that point we should have a few weeks notice to wrap things up at home and book travel! 

So excited to be on the ACTUAL homestretch!! Passport phase is a big deal. The passport and visa is what allows him to leave the country of Haiti with us – so this is what the entire 4 year process has been leading up to 🙂

Ready to make the final laps in this race! 

Blessings,

Laura

Day 4, Beyond, & photos! (finally)

Caution – LONG BLOG BELOW! Grab a cup of coffee before you read…preferably our coffee, it will pair better with the stories. LOL

Wow, sorry for leaving everyone hanging! Saturday night late, the internet at the hotel went completely out, leaving us with zero contact with our outside world! 😉 There was a huge Jazz festival and concert series happening Sunday at the hotel, so I’m thinking someone unplugged something by mistake when they were trying to set everything up. I got a text from my sister on the plane that said something like, “You must have had a great weekend because every sentence in your blog post ended with an exclamation point!” Haha sorry about that. Typing an entire blog post with five little fingers wrapped around mine was a bit challenging!

Trying to remember where I left off, I think I got through most of Saturday, though. My apologies if I repeat stories or activities. This post will contain a bunch of photos at the end, so scroll down to the end when you’re done.

We spent yet another sleepless night on Saturday night with the wiggly worm. Clarification – he sleeps like a rock – we were the sleepless ones! Every 15 minutes or so his entire body would be in a different position, sometimes sideways across the bed, but most of the time arms splayed out, or hands and fingers plastered to the side of my face. Either way he turned, he seemed to creep towards one of us, so both Kris and I woke up saying “he was plastered to me the whole night!” LOL Kris says he didn’t sleep, but I was awake half the night while he was snoring, so I just may have evidence to prove otherwise…

Sunday morning breakfast gave us a fun surprise – Wes was super excited because he saw noodles trailing out of one of the catering trays…which meant there was Spaghetti for breakfast! Seriously, I think it is his favorite food. Haitian spaghetti is a bit different than American spaghetti, the biggest difference being that it is typically a BREAKFAST food. I know, completely odd for us, but so very normal for them. He was probably thinking, “It’s about time you guys served real breakfast at this place.” 😉 Haitian spaghetti has a sweeter sauce taste, and while it is a red sauce it also has sliced cooked peppers and this version had dried anchovies in it. I think many times the more common way to cook it might have hot dogs in it? At any rate, he ate three plates of it. Not kid servings, like let’s fill the dinner-plate servings. I think I’m going to have to learn how to cook that one!

While we were at breakfast, a funny thing happened. There were several professional soccer teams in and out during the weekend, I’m guessing there were big soccer matches or something nearby. But at breakfast on Sunday, as Wes and I were waiting to get food, one of the guys came over and rustled him on the head and asked him where he was from (in English), Wesley of course had no idea what he was saying and looked up at me like “huh?” I told him in Creole to say “I am Haitian”, and then the guy understood and said “do you like presents? I’m going to go get you a present, I’ll be right back” – about 10 minutes later, he came down with a yellow and red card, signed, and a whistle for him 😉 turns out he was a FIFA referee from Aruba 😉 We snapped a photo and held onto the cards. The big boys at the orphanage are absolutely INSANE about soccer there, they all congregate around a teeny little TV in one of the rooms upstairs and watch the matches when they are on, so they will all be very jealous that he got to meet a real live FIFA ref! 😉

After breakfast, we played some catch and soccer, and then hit the pool for his daily dose of FREEZING. This kid has no fear! I probably said that last post but it cracked us up! I confirmed with the orphanage director when we got back to Foyer later Sunday, but Wesley has never swam in a pool before, he has been in ocean water once! Kris jumped in the pool and held out his arms for Wesley and he took a flying leap off the side, no problem, goggles and football in-hand! The only slightly unnerving part of it is, Wesley thinks he can swim. Truth is, he is great at flailing around in the water, but he is definitely horizontally challenged on his own! LOL We had to hold him the whole time, and make sure one of us had a hand on him always because he would just take off in the water like he was going to race you across the pool and then basically swim straight toward the bottom. Yikes. Kris said first thing on the to-do list at home is Swimming Lessons! (Good plan)

In addition to some awesome activity firsts like Tennis and Swimming in the pool, he had some awesome firsts with food! We found out that he LOVES ketchup. On his fingers, plate, bread, sandwiches, chicken, etc. Ketchup. on. everything. He even asked the server for ketchup to go to his room! Another first for him was French Fries (with ketchup of course) which he also took to-go up to the room and proceeded to munch them until the entire pile was gone (and then finger scoop the remaining ketchup out and lick it until that was gone as well). Our happiest food-moment for him, was his first taste of ICE CREAM. We told him we were going to get dessert, (after lunch) but I don’t think he really had a clue what dessert even was. The server brought him a shiny silver pedestal ice cream bowl and a little spoon, and three scoops of ice cold vanilla ice cream. He tilted his head and looked at it funny, then took a tiny scoop on his spoon and put it in his mouth. The transformation on his face was incredible! It was like he finally found his purpose in life – to eat this thing called ice cream for the rest of his days. He finished all three scoops with a huge smile on his face, and many times, thought it was too cold, so he brought the bites to his mouth and blew on them a few times before sucking them in, trying to warm them up! LOL

Another fun experience over the weekend was teaching him his new last name, which he loves to say, and we found him several times saying “McGreevey, McGreevey, McGreevey” over and over again to himself! So amazing to be able to tell him that he has the same name as his brother and sisters and mommy and daddy!

All day, he was asking what time we were leaving for the orphanage, and we knew it was starting to set in that he was going to have to go back. We are thankful that he is of developed mind enough to understand the visits and the conversations when we tell him where we are in the process, and thankful that he handles it so well (at least from what we can tell.) We both feel that if at any time he displayed traumatic emotion at our visits and our coming/going, we would make different plans. Thankfully, this hasn’t been the case so we have felt good about our every 3-month visits.

Anyway, he was mentally preparing throughout the day, counting down how many hours we had until it was time to leave (2:00pm), and at first it seemed like he was excited to go back – but as it got closer, and he got quieter, it became apparent that he was doing some self-regulating and preparing himself for the shorter and shorter amounts of time left. A great thing that he was able to self-manage, but it was hard to watch him have to go through that mental and emotional process. It was a quiet ride back to foyer, partly because he was EXHAUSTED from the stimulation of the weekend, as were we, and the heat in the no A/C car was depleting. When we said goodbye, he held on tight, and we told him we would be back in a few months, and that it would be time to come home to America when we come back. Kris and I both decided that even if it takes a bit longer than we expect to come home, we won’t be going back for another visit (unless it is a ridiculously long delay), we feel he bonded greatly with us this weekend, and we want our next time to see him to be the time to bring him home forever.

We were hoping to hear while we were there that we had exited MOI, but as of now, we are still waiting for that exit. Not the timeline we wanted to see, but we have come to expect delays and not be surprised when they present themselves.

All-in-all, what an amazingly divine weekend with him! It was short, sweet, and extremely exhausting, but so worth it. Despite my bug spray, the mosquitoes in this new area apparently have “pasty white legs” on the top of their favorites menu because they had my legs all weekend as their buffet. UUUUUUGGGHHHHH I hate mosquito bites. Weirdly, here at home, they leave me alone, I never get bit – but out there, I just must taste different – Kris doesn’t get a single bite!

We measured him on the wall with my measuring tape I brought along, and he has grown an entire INCH since we went in December! I’m glad, but it makes me sad to miss out on these growing moments! I want to tell God to hit pause until he comes home, so I can experience it alongside him.

Over the weekend we had an awesome experience with the new translator/driver team that we had hired – if anyone is traveling to Haiti, we used The Alphonse Brothers and they were amazing. Impeccable English skills, great personality, and taught us a ton of Creole while we traveled! They were reasonably priced and very flexible with what we needed. Highly recommend them!

There were three other adoptive families we met while we were there – one of which I “met” through this blog, and they happened to be on their bonding trip in the same area as our hotel while we were there, so we met up with them for dinner! Great time sharing stories and swapping journeys, gathering encouragement and insight from others who are going through the same things. We have been blessed by the many people and families God has brought to us over the past few years of process – great contacts and other families to help be an external support system for connecting as all our kids grow up in the U.S.

I’m sure I’ll think of more as time goes on, but for now, I’ll try to get pictures on here since I know that’s the real reason you made it to the end! 😉

Thank you again for joining us on our journey, for your prayers for the weekend – they were answered 100-fold!  – and for your love and support of our family. We are so thankful for each and every one of you!

Enjoy the photos, and those of you who are waiting to see all the new product I picked up at Apparent Project, I’m trying to get some better product photos taken here and then I’ll upload them, so watch the www.bel-lavi.com site in the next few days for new product! I snagged a couple metal wall pieces this trip as well – those are my favorites!

 

Blessings,

Laura

First thing on the agenda, teach our son to Flip.

These are all photos of the drive up to Petion Ville, a very different landscape than what were used to seeing in Croix des Bouquet and down in Port-au-Prince. The streets up here are much cleaner, well-kept, and houses are HUGE in comparison. Lots more money in Petion-ville, and the terrain is almost entirely hills and windy roads, as you can see from the little shot of the hillside with houses built right into the side of the mountain. It is stunning in person, we were not able to get very good angles tho!

Cuddles with daddy, watching Tennis, playing tennis, Eating, and SWIMMING! (his favorite activity by far!)

Ohhh….my piti piti pwasson!

IMG_8963

He thought the swim goggles were the coolest thing. I was really surprised he didn’t attempt to wear them around the hotel for our other activities! LOL

Minions are funny no matter what language you speak!

Lots of food, helping with homework (he insisted he didn’t have any…I couldn’t tell – it was all in French! so I made him read some of the work book to me anyway!), reading stories in bed, his favorite is No No Jack, which he likes to read to me – in English! And mommy and Wesley reading a Bible story from the Haitian Creole Jesus Storybook Bible.

The other Haitian in one of those photos is our Translator, Wendell Alphonse. The picture in the elevator is Wes being super excited to be in the elevator – that was another first! He didn’t quite know what to do with that weird stomach-sinking feeling of going up and down, but he decided he loved it – and he loves pushing the buttons!

The lists in English and Creole are the things we wanted to do over the weekend, each time we did one, he would check it off!

An awesome weekend!

Blessings,

Laura

Day 3 Minions

So, if you’ve never shown your non-English-speaking child the Minions movie – you should. Apparently Minions is funny in ANY language!! Lol! We are now watching the little yellow pill-shaped blabbering cuties for the second time and Wesley is just giggling through the whole thing! He thinks it is so funny when they blabber on in their made up language and fall over and especially when they say “banana!” 😉 I have a video but (of course) photos and videos are not uploading here!! I’ll have to post all these when we get back to the States. 

Today was the longest day in the history of hotel stays. Lol!! It’s been a long time since I entertained a six year old for an entire day in a confined location! 😉

Our sleep-time included Wes sleeping like a rock (and thrashing through it all) all night long until 6:50am when his eyes popped open and he looked at me across the pillow and said “PeePee!!!!!” Lol! 

We tried to watch a little cartoons on the iPad for a few to extend our morning but no cigar. Finally I hopped in the shower and as soon as I got out Wes decided he wanted a shower too. So he got in and proceeded to turn on the cold water and take the most frenzied cold shower ever! When I tried to turn on slightly warm water he hopped out and said it was hot! Haha! He does not like warm water. Not even hand-washing! He was appalled that I would put my hands into warm water to wash them! I didn’t even consider that he’s never around warm water, so it is completely foreign for him. 

After showers and clean clothes, we went down to the restaurant to eat breakfast!

He is going to eat this hotel out of business, for sure! He ate a massive breakfast of eggs (with veggies), bacon, sausage, French toast (haha! You know you spend too much time in Haiti when your phone tries to autospell “toast” as “goat” lol!), watermelon, cantaloupe, mango juice and probably something I’m forgetting! 😉 after breakfast we came upstairs and changed our shoes because he wanted to go play tennis! What a funny kid he is! We played two on one, and had the tennis court staff laughing the whole time because none of us knew how to play and Wesley kept hitting the ball out of the court – over the fence! 😉 good thing he is cute!

We played soccer, football, and then got changed for swimming! He met a new friend in the pool whose mom is American and dad Haitian, and she was close to the same age as he is. She spoke Creole and English flawlessly – gave us something to strive for! 😉 

After freezing to the bone in the pool (again!) we went up to warm up and dry off! We had some great conversation with the other kids via FaceTime, and a million laughs all day long! He is so much more comfortable even today! We are speaking lots of Creole back and forth, and he’s picking up lots of English phrases too. His favorite is when we say, “Are you ready?” In English, and he says “yes! I’m ready!” 

The most eye opening part is probably that we are drinking water constantly and he is normally not drinking even a fraction of this water, or that he’s in the heat constantly so he’s sweating it off. He has to go pee about 47,000 times each day. No joke. He’s not used to AC for sure, and being in cool environments out of the heat is unheard of for him. So I’m sure the water is just sitting inside processing instead of coming out. 

Activities hold his attention for a typical 20 min or so – even movies. He just isn’t used to so many options of things to do. A normal day for him outside of school is wandering halls, maybe playing with other kids but certainly nothing structured. All our cars, legos, sports, pool, food, etc is probably overstimulating. He is having the time of his life having us all to himself though. For sure! He is giggly, laid back, chatty (in Creole and English, as much as he knows) and just plain silly! Typical giggly happy 6-year old! 

He is very excited to see the kids soon and come home to America! We talked about it a few times and he visibly lights up! He is also excited to go tell his friends all about the hotel when he gets back to the orphanage tomorrow 😉 

We are almost ready for bed, going to hopefully sleep all night again, then get up for breakfast and playtime for the morning and lunch and then get ready to go back to Foyer around 2pm because he needs to get back to get ready for evening routine and school the next day. 

Im sure it  will  be such a weird thing going back to Foyer tomorrow for him. Odd because I think he had no clue that any of these experiences here even existed, or could exist for him. All the food, the pool, the grassy area to play (even though it is AstroTurf I’m pretty sure he’s never seen anything like it!) and the room/bathroom/cushy bed, etc. it is probably like living a dream for 36 hours. He’s all snuggled up next to me holdin my hand as I type – with my thumbs. I think he’s pretty well attached. 😉 

I’m a little nervous for how it will go tmw dropping him off back at the orphanage…we’ll see. Prayers appreciated! 

Going to try to call the kids one last time and get this little pumpkin to sleep! 😉

Blessings!

Laura