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!
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!
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!