I have never sweated so much in my life. I’m pretty sure I’ve lost ten pounds of liquid from my body just from breathing here, and it is weirdly easy to get used to. Is weirdly a word? We stopped again for pate (pah-TEE) this morning at the grocery, grabbed a few gatorades and some other kind of meat-ish pastry (they really do mostly meat-pastries here it seems) for our amazing driver and translator, along with some cookies for the kids and Pringles for W. If you are ever near me at home and want a cute video of giggles, ask to see the Pringle video 🙂
Today was supposed to be a big political demonstration day in Haiti – but our translator said it was most likely centered up in Petionville which is another nearby sub-community of Port-au-Prince (I think…actually now that I say that I’m not sure…) it seems like they have “communities” like we do in the states. For example, I live in Felida, but really, I live in the city of Vancouver, Felida is just one of many communities there. So, there’s Port-au-Prince, but within that, there’s Petionville, Delmas, Croix-du-Bouquet, etc. Anyway, Petionville apparently was where the demonstrations were – but there was a big US government alert for US citizens here (we’re on the text-alert system). However today all was eerily quiet. Normally our drive is busy with lots of traffic and people everywhere but it was an easy drive and significantly less people. Kris and I both said, “huh. guess everyone is demonstrating in Petionville today cuz no one is here!” 🙂 Probably a good thing because they issue US citizen alerts for a reason, and the violence with the politics here can be unnerving and unpredictable.
Today we had some sweet moments in the A/C of the car – there wasn’t much free time today with W as they are preparing for graduation at school and the kids had to stay late for graduation photos and practice for singing and dancing for their program. We ended up with about an hour to play today, but it was okay. Somehow W hurt his foot in the night while he was sleeping – his nanny said he must have hit it on his bed, but the top of his foot right below the ankle was very sore and he was limping all day, which meant no running at all, and slow going everywhere else. Poor kid. Mommy and daddy carried him a lot which meant more snuggles. Increasingly, whenever he is picked up, he just buries his face into our necks – both Kris and I, and wraps his arms around us in a never-ending hug. While we love it, it is also hard for our hearts because we can see him bonding closer and closer each day, which will make it harder and harder to say goodbye on Sunday. With his foot hurting so much today, he was very tired and extra cuddly. We ended up playing some pensive games of dominoes on the patio in the breeze, and when that got too rowdy, we trekked down to the car and sat in the A/C to have snacks and chat with the translator until it was time to go.
He must have been starving today, because he ate 2 pates, a small can of pringles, and drank an entire water bottle, half a gatorade and half of “mommy’s juice” (guava juice, which he loves!) My dad used to drink guava juice in a can when I was a kid, and I found it here in the grocery store and snagged it one morning…when we figured out that W loved it we’ve been bringing mommy’s juice every day!:)
Today we had the really odd, awkward talks about 5 more days until mommy and daddy leave. I have to say it is extremely backwards to have to tell your son that mommy and daddy get to play for 5 more days and then they have to go ride the airplane back home to the United States, and that he will stay here with his nanny and his friends. The translator and the nanny told us the kids understand – they see it happen all the time, and more often than not, they know more kids who “live” at the orphanage and whose parents come several times a year to visit than they do kids who have left with their white parents and never returned. For all we know, the kids just think that having parents means someone comes and brings you treats every once in awhile and takes a bunch of pictures of you in fresh clothes everyday! We think he understands…he doesn’t ask questions, he’s pretty much an easy-going, no-nonsense kid, very smart (for the billionth time), so mincing words and painting an easy picture for him isn’t really in the cards. We told him we would get to play for 5 more days but then mommy and daddy had to ride the plane back home to the US. After awhile, we will bring brother and sisters back to visit him and meet his friends, but we have to wait until all the papers are done before we can take him home.
He said he understood – we’ll have more conversations like this each day, I’m sure, but the first one was weird. It just didn’t seem right to have to say that kind of stuff to a 6-year old. We’ve only known him for 8 days but it feels like a lifetime.
Forgive me if I’m repeating stuff day-to-day, but in case anyone has some mythical fairytale ideas about this trip we are on – I’ll burst your bubble right now, so be prepared! LOL He isn’t coming home in 5 days. He doesn’t get to pull his suitcase behind him through the airport or ride on daddy’s shoulders to the airport shuttle, or eat bags of sugared almonds and watch Finding Nemo on the plane. He doesn’t get to say goodbye to any of his roommates or his rice and beans meals, or his yard of goats, dogs and rotted mango pits. The only ones he says goodbye to are us, mommy and daddy.
The papers we filed here in Haiti are US papers that provide him permission to enter the US when this is all said and done (assuming they complete it and sign off), but we still have to wait for an exit and adoption decree from the country of Haiti before we are legally recognized as his parents in Haiti, and then have to go through paperwork and visa stage and passports before he is allowed to come home. The reality of this timeframe is that it could be as fast as 3-4 months (if God decided to do a miracle – which He absolutely could, and we will be praying for!) but more likely is that it could be 6-12 months or more before all is said and done and he gets to fly home.
This will mean one or both of us, or one of us and one of the kids, traveling to visit W for a few days every 4-8 weeks, as finances allow and as the country/agency allows, until he comes home. We are praying we won’t have to make any of those extra trips, that we will just be able to bring him home quickly, but we are settling our hearts in for a long haul, riddled with expectations of God’s great things. He has so exquisitely designed this whole process thus far, that we cannot expect anything less than that for the rest – but His plan and His way are the only way we want to move forward, so we will settle our hearts and wait on Him.
For now, we have 5 more days to eat mangoes, wipe sticky hands, giggle and race cars, do puzzles and draw, teach baseball and teamwork, sing silly songs and be stuck like sweaty glue to this 6-year old hearthrob we have no intention of letting go! The rivers of sweat that run between his heart and ours are something we look forward to each and every day. Doesn’t matter how hot, or how humid, or how long the walk carrying him, every moment is worth it! We can’t wait for the day when he comes home and everyone here is able to meet him for the first time (give us a few weeks to settle in first though…just preparing you ahead of time! LOL)!
If you’re up tonight or tomorrow morning praying, I am worried about his ankle, as he can’t walk much today and its not like they have access to ice packs and kids’ tylenol and ankle braces. Pray that the swelling goes down and he’s much improved by tomorrow! They have to walk about 20-25 minutes to and from school every day, and tomorrow is no exception! He seemed sad today, and I think it was because of his foot…anyways, my mama’s heart is sad for him, and there’s not really much we can do. Another reason to pray for expedited process to get him home!
My first souvenir from Haiti – a black and blue finger! Note to self – do not assist in looking for boomerangs in bushes with 8 year old Haitian boys carrying big sticks. They are not walking sticks they are whacking sticks. Apparently my finger looked like a weed.