Day 1 at the “O”

Day 1 at the orphanage – We feel like this over and over when we are here – every day feels like groundhogs day! LOL If we’d just get that darn decree we’d have a shot at a different pace for the day! 😉

Today started off a bit different, God sent an angel to ring our room doorbell at 8:25am, scaring us out of our drooling sleep, completely disoriented, and then jumping out of bed practically straight into our shoes because we looked at the clock.

Preface: Like most red-eyes, when we travel overnight we lose an entire night’s sleep, so we hadn’t slept in 48 hours save for a nap on the carpet at gate E15 if the international terminal in Atlanta…but even that was broken every 5 minutes by the wonderful lady over the loudspeaker telling us to arrive to our gate at least 30 minutes prior to our departure time, (she didn’t have to worry. We were there 4 hours early), and to not watch other people’s luggage no matter how nice (or threatening) they may seem, and yada yada – about that moment I’d drift off into catatonic sleep for the next 5 minutes til she said it again. When we finally arrive around 2:30pm in the afternoon the next day, and get settled in our hotel room, then its time to eat food because the overnight flights don’t serve meals, and who wants to eat a huge meal at 2am when you arrive at the next airport? bleh. So we make it through early dinner, and stumble back up to our room. But, we can’t sleep yet because it’s only 4:30pm here (1:30pm our time) and if we go to sleep now we’ll be up half the night. So, we attempt to login to netflix or any streaming anything (which is touch-and-go) and dose our way through whatever we can find until we finally can’t stand it anymore and crash about 8:30pm.

Anyways, thats what led up to the Angel ringing our doorbell. Because what actually happened is that I’m so used to my alarm going off, that I must have hit snooze in my sleep for an hour straight because it went off at 7:30am, an hour before. Also possible that somehow it was a silent alarm, but I tested it out this afternoon to check and its certainly loud. Which means, we slept for 12 hours straight. WHEW. Guess we were tired. So we jumped out of bed this morning because our ride comes at 9am and we had to shower, pack for the day and eat some breakfast before meeting them! Luckily we made it, and we still didn’t figure out who rang the doorbell. Seriously, there was no one out there and no one in the hallway. (duhn, duhn, DUUUUUUUUUHHHNNNNNNN…)

We made it out to Apparent Project first (as W is in school til noon M-F, so we knew we weren’t missing any time with him) and ransacked the place as we stocked up on jewelry, christmas ornaments and other fun stuff to bring home! Some awesome treasures for sure! If you’re in the area, (or nearby), watch for a note on how to shop our supply! Our girls are going to do a Christmas shopping open house probably next Saturday during the day, but I might post some online via our square store as well, we’ll see! I have to figure out flat rate shipping for that stuff to make it easy for people to purchase and ship quick for Christmas.

If you are ever at Apparent Project here in Haiti, be sure to run upstairs to their cafe, the guys make some awesome fresh smoothies! Their Mario Special is my favorite, with berries, banana and peanut butter! 😉

Our regularly scheduled run-in at the Stop-n-Go was quick and easy, and we had a great laugh at the Christmas decorations they had put up – something I never thought I’d see in the States, and I definitely never thought I’d see it here – a fake christmas tree, complete with lights, sitting in some motorized large red bowl, that looked like a mixing bowl (this tree/bowl rig was about as tall as me, so not a small bowl! Kind of like a small bathtub, LOL) anyway. The bowl thing was motorized, and the tippy top of the tree was spraying out fake snow that fell onto the tree and back into the spinning bowl where it was then recycled back into the snow-tube and launched again out the top. Quite entertaining! Also, they were playing Christmas music in the store – American Christmas songs, but in Spanish or Latin (which was also weird, as most Haitians do not speak Spanish…haha).

We did have an interesting talk with our translator on the drive about Christmas. We asked if Haiti celebrates Christmas, and he said yes, but mostly just people who have money celebrate it. They decorate for Christmas if they have money, they buy a gift for someone if they have money, they make a big dinner if they have money, they have a party if they have money. They don’t have normal Americanized traditions of stockings hung, or little sweets, pretty much no tradition at all – well, I guess, they only have tradition if they buy it – which most cannot. Beyond that – they don’t do much of anything.

We found out that Haiti’s election (which happened in the last couple weeks, finally!) ended and the result was that one man (the good guy, according to our translator and driver) won it, and the other man who didn’t was being a sore loser and said he was going to try to challenge it…but it sounded like the worst of the drama and rioting and uprising was over, which is good – they both seemed pretty confident that the newly elected president had some good things to say, and some good ideas, and would make some good changes. We are praying that is true, because this country is an incredible place and could flourish beautifully!

When we finally got to the Orphanage, the kids had just gotten back from school and W was just getting changed out of his uniform. We got a wonderfully sweaty shirtless hug from our 6 year old! Sounds creepy, but when you haven’t seen your little one in 2 1/2 months (or much much longer for many parents in our position) the feel of their skin and the sticky fragrance of all the days you’ve missed is incredibly sweet!

He immediately dragged us upstairs to go play, and we introduced him to transformers and airplanes 😉 Granted, this time I bought the younger kids’ jr. transformers or whatever they are called, and they only have one step between bot-to-car so they are easy, but fun! The best thing about that was watching him figure out opening the package and getting the guy out of the twisty wire holding him in! He analyzes it, tugs it a few times, then gets straight to work figuring out which piece needs to get pulled and pushed to untangle – quite impressive!

Today was a bit odd observing him – or rather he seemed a bit off. There’s a cold going around the orphanage and he’s got it – (funny because our other three have it at home now as well!) – so he’s a bit sniffly and has a little cough, and we couldn’t tell if he was off because he was sick or if it was something else. My observation, was that there has been 3-4 families here with constant stimulation for all the kids for the past 2 weeks straight (on their bonding trips) and my guess is that he’s just completely over-stimulated. He had one day, yesterday, with no visitors, but then mommy and daddy came today. We were trying to keep things quiet with some book reading and quiet snacks and lunch, puzzles and cars, but finally he talked us into going out to play. We played soccer with a bouncy ball, then graduated to a tennis ball, then a very flat, well-loved soccer ball, then finally ended with a newer semi-flat ball. All in the 95-degree dirt field (and Weather.com said it was supposed to be mid-80’s…ha.) These kids are incredible at sports. Soccer, especially, but every time we come we are just floored at how good they are with no training at all except the weekly soccer matches they watch on TV crammed into one of the older boys bunk rooms upstairs. Then, they go outside into a large, dusty dirt makeshift soccer fields, where the goals are two haphazard metal poles with deteriorating two-by fours wired to the posts to make a goal. After they are out there, mid-bicycle kicks and booting goal shots from halfway down the field, you realize they are all playing barefoot. Maybe cleats would be cumbersome and cramp their game, even if they had them? Who knows, but seriously, these kids are talented. The sad part is that they go to a school out in the hills in a small village that has no soccer team, because they live where they do, and they cannot go to a private school with soccer teams. Many of them will never sport a jersey with their school colors, or have parents cheering them on the sidelines, they will never get a chance at a scholarship for college, and probably never even see a real-live match in a stadium (we call them games, they call them matches). So many times we have these revelations, and we think – there has GOT to be something we can do. Somehow to help, somehow to show the world how much these kids need others to love them, to cheer for them, to wash their uniforms, bandage their injuries, hug and kiss them goodnight, and answer “yes?” when they call out “Mom?” “Dad?”

Most of you will read our stories, see our photos, join in our journey with encouragement and prayer, and with every word read you will think to yourself, “that’s so great for them, so special for that little boy, but it’s not for me.” But out of the hundreds of people who go back through our journey and read every blog post, or that meet us and hear our story, or that see our family in a park, or that meet another adoptive family, or that go serve in another country, or just go visit somewhere else, and meet a little person somewhat amazing who just rocks your universe…what if out of the hundreds of people who say “it’s not for me”, just one person decides to follow up that statement with “Why not?”

For us, that was the question that gave us our answer. “Why not?” What if just one of you decided to explore the “why not?” You may have a list of 100 reasons why not, but what if you can’t justify a single one of them? What if you explore that question and your answers and you honestly can’t really get them out of your mouth without them sounding silly? What if you just decided to be the one to answer “Yes?” to someone calling out “Mommy?” or “Daddy?”

There’s a million ways to explore your answers, and your questions, but the easiest thing is just start on an agency’s website – they are great for finding info. Ours is http://www.awaa.org (America World Adoption) but there are many many others across the country. What if you’re supposed to say “yes?” and you just don’t know it yet, or you’re just not listening?

No pressure – just putting it out there. Mostly because we’ve met so many amazing kids who need families, and we know so many amazing families who have huge hearts of love overflowing, and an extra seat at the kitchen table.

Always know we are completely open to questions at any time – so don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.

Today, when we said goodbye it was SO nice to say “Na we demen!” (see you tomorrow)…but sad to know this trip is short and he is still staying here. No decree today, so looks like we get to wait in hope again for another week beginning on Monday. Thank you for praying for us – we are okay with it – we know for some reason it just wasn’t the right timing, and that’s okay. We are feeling excited to still be here and to have this connection with him, and looking forward to a LONG saturday tomorrow!

Blessings,

Laura

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