"How blessed is he who considers the helpless..." Psalm 41:1

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Déjà vu?... Terremoto en Chile

I will never know how to put into words the way my life has been affected and forever changed by the quake in Haiti. But now another in Tokyo and in Chile.

When I heard last night my heart dropped. I felt sick again. All I keep thinking thru it all is how I have no need to prove myself. Why does my strength need to be tested? It takes me back to the question: Why is the Lord entrusting me with such difficult things?

I lived in Santiago de Chile after college. I spent one month in Buenos Aires, Argentina and then worked in Santiago. I learned so much in my time there and made such wonderful friends. This tragedy feels eerily like places and people I love are being rocked to their very core. Really? Are Italy and the US next?

As I've been thru various emotions since last night again. I realize that I am not worried for my friends too terribly. They love the Lord and our lives are in His hands. Chile has an amazing infrastructure and the contrast between reactions from both the people and the government is already so drastic.

This quake was a magnitude of 8.8. I think most people know by now... that is not big, it's MASSIVE. It's confusing the way they work, but the 7.0 in Haiti was more shallow and the shaking was actually greater. Cement buildings, as in Haiti, are also the most dangerous. Many people in Haiti did not know what an earthquake was, let alone what to do in an occurrence. The quake at 3:35 a.m. in Chile, a dangerous time because most people are inside their homes asleep, took place south of Santiago near Concepci ón. It would take nearly EVERY PERSON in Concepci ón to die in the quake to equal the death toll in Port-au-Prince.

As you can imagine, I couldn't sleep again last night. Knowing that there is very little communication and seeing how long it took to get info from the devastation in Haiti, I know we are just waiting to hear the reality. And even then the news portray a half-truth and partial story of it all.

I've recently spoke with my bestest, Carmen. She is in Peru and her family in Chile is okay. I've also heard via fb from my friend Cecy and she is fine but without communication. Right now we must all continue to pray for the people who've lost loved ones. Under 200 known at this point. And to pray for those who are now homeless, jobless, etc. Tsunami headed towards Hawaii. I hope that everyone has had sufficient time to get their things in order and head to somewhere safe.

Dios bendiga a Chile y todo nos conocidos del areas de terremotos.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Rice and Beans

diri ak pwa

Thank you to all of the wonderful people who came to our baby showers and donated rice and beans to Haiti. We were able to drop them off at the First Baptist Haitian church this past Sunday. You guys are wonderful!


Sunday, February 21, 2010

We Shall Rise Again

A video with a song for Haiti made by Carribean artists Sean Paul, Shaggy, Sean Kingston, Etanna, Tessane Chin, David Rudder, Kes, Allison Hinds & Destra, Mika & Belo. Better than we are the world... Check it.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

nou se mond la

So this has been a tough week for me. I've had the flu and to make it sound worse H1N1. I've never been down and out this long before. My mind has been all over the place and I go between grateful and distraught often. I'm grateful for the many gifts Isaac has received from our friends and family. Then i'm overwhelmed by how much we have when so many have so little. I'm grateful for those who care to help me get to the doctor, care for my baby, n understanding while i'm so sick. Then i'm burdened with morbid thoughts about people who don't have that. I'm stressed thinking about falling behind on more of my daily chores. Then i think about how blessed i am to be sick and have access to a hospital and water and crackers. Then i think about how little i've eaten and how this skinny look is not cute. But it is temporary and i know that with a certainty others do not have. Those of you who know me know i get restless legs. Idleness, lack of sleep, dehydration, etc all make it worse. It's really miserable. Then i imagine how those buried alive under rubble felt... miserable and fearful. This is just all part of my thoughts and thoughts i know many others deal with at some point in time.

I wish i could share with all the beautiful children in Haiti how much the world cares about them and loves them. There is so much sympathy that i am inspired each day. In feeling the earth shake, knowing the fear n the stench, in my sickness, and now missing haiti and my kids i am somewhat empathetic.... with a rare glimpse into the plight of the people.... i am humbled.

Here's a short video of the boys the morning we went up the hill to pray together.... lol and i put Ronal's favorite song in the background :)

Awwww Jennifer Hudson wow. What beautiful voices! And of course I love me some Wyclef. My favorite line of this touching song redone is... "someone to help you rebuild after the rubble's gone"

Friday, February 12, 2010

President Preval Accepts Christ

Newletter from a missionary I know in Haiti, Dottie Diehl.


I'm sure it will be on TV, it is already on radio here. I was not there, do not know what church, but he was at a church somewhere this morning.






Haiti mourns one month after devastating quake

President Rene Preval has asked for 3 days of praise in worship to lift Haiti to God. I'm joining my sister n Much Ministries in 3 days of fasting n prayer. Wherever u are please pray for #HAITI

Thursday, February 11, 2010

what is happening to the children now?

Immediately after the quake the number one question I received was "what did it feel like?". That has now turned into "What do you think about the Americans who tried to take the children across to the Dominican?". Oh the power of the media!

What I think is that they were most likely well-meaning, ignorant people. They may have actually had permission from someone who was not legit and didn't know any better. It does frustrate me because they gave organizations like UNICEF ammunition to put a halt on children being placed with their families... families that have already been matched and established for them. UNICEF has been vocal and I've heard forceful about trying to put a stop to expediting any adoptions at the critical time. They are steady proponents against adoption all over the world.

Do I ALWAYS believe adoption is best? NO. The amount of money the thousands of people around the world spend on adoption could be put into the economies of these troubled nations and completely change the situations these children are in. But then again if everyone gave (just a small amount) we would have the very same effect. They still say 20% of people who can give give 80% of the donations. The world is not perfect.

Most of the orphans we speak of DO HAVE FAMILIES... If you haven't seen it you really can't imagine it. If you haven't lived it you will never truly understand it. That is why the Lord gives us GRACE and why we hold on to our FAITH. I try to explain to people that there are generally 3 options for many of these children that are eligible for adoption...
1. They stay with immediate or extended family will little to no food, water, shelter, schooling, ect. Every situation is different. But the thing that is missing for many is HOPE.
2. They are taken in at an institution such as an orphanage. Depending on the organization they have a much greater chance at 2-3 meals each day and an education.
3. They can be adopted in to a family where they get individual love and care and a chance to thrive with a new sense of belonging and hope.

Study after study shows that a child who feels safe in a home and part of the family excels in each area of their life, more so than those in institutions and even in foster-type care. I would absolutely love for some of the stable families in Haiti to adopt these children, but sadly this is rarely the case. There, of course, is the restavek mentality and even if every one of them decided to take in one orphaned child as their own it still would not be enough. Over half of Haiti's population is under 18. There are tens of thousands of orphans. So that leaves us with a situation, much like my own, where families in other countries attempt to give these children loving homes. 

At the end of the day we are all people. Somos humanos. An organization who is too preoccupied with a political agenda without thinking of the people they are "protecting" is not one I can support. I've learned much about big organizations and how things play out and it is hard not to be cynical. But I would rather be cynical than naive. There are many good people working for organizations such as UNICEF and the Red Cross. But it important to know that their 'political-ness' has resulted in deaths of innocent children. And beyond that, bringing some of these children home to a place they are headed to anyway only opens up room for our children still on the streets to be taken in at an orphanage to be cared for. Last I heard the orphanage directors' phones were ringing off the hook with the police stations and hospitals discharging children with no where to go.

Special Field Report: Haiti's Orphans Held Hostage from Douglas Phillips on Vimeo.

my heart is broken

Oh how life is precious and how being a parent puts so much into perspective... Every time my baby smiles I think I'm just a lil more relieved. He's safe with me.... But he's always been safe in GOD's hands. I don't worry so much about him (except maybe the fear of spoiling him too much). BTW... first word is "hello" but only when holding a cell phone to his ear LOL

What I do think (worry) about is the unsettled feeling inside me... I can't shake the desire to be back in Haiti. I want to help. I want to educate. I want to cry. I want a few days back where I was at that hospital, or back on my couch after I arrived home watching CNN n following news stories literally 24 hours a day. OK OK maybe I don't want that. But I know I don't want my old life back.

Experiencing a disaster like this one is too big for me. Thank God, He is much bigger. I've thought about how no one should ever see anyone die. Then I think how the bodies were too numerous to count. Then my mind goes back to particular instances... 
The older man we went to Red Cross to donate blood for that very morning in Port au Prince. His son found me in the crowd and brought me to hold his hand, pray over his father, and just BE there. None of his other family members knew his father had passed. And there was no way to call them.
The father who cried on my shoulder while we watched his baby being sewn with no anesthesia.
The young girl who latched onto me and cried in pain thru the night saying "kouche" (lay down) and "kenbe mwen" (hold me). 
The young boy whose arm was badly broken. His mother paced by our car repeating "I see one with my eyes. I have six, Lord. I see one with my eyes."

The need is so great... The death numbers still climbing. There is little to no infrastructure to take care of these people post operation, no IVs, no oxygen, no antibiotics, no basic aid, only to go back on the street, most without a home to go to. The physical, emotional, and spiritual turmoil of the people fills my thoughts and prayers.

Just days before the tè tremblé (earthquake) I prayed the prayer, "LORD BREAK MY HEART FOR THE THINGS THAT BREAK YOURS" and... my heart is now more broken than it's ever been.

This is a video made in 2009. The footage is from Citè Soleil, where Isaac was born. The dominos make me smile.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Definition of a Restavek

I feel like I've explained this concept so much that It'd be great to post about it. My dad put this on his fb status the other day. I love the simple fact sheet. 

In his words... 

"RESTAVEK--If you do the math according to this article Over 348,000 (1 in 10) children in Haiti, in order to survive, are in the child labor force. 

UNICEF estimates that Over 1 in 20 (or over 124,000) children will die. Yet UNICEF Stopped the Humanitarian Parole for the legal adoptions ofchildren out of the country, of whom ...almost all if not all would go to loving families, So if they stay in the country 3 in 20 will die or be forced to work. So is UNICEF--more politically motivated than really caring for the children."

As a woman adopting from Haiti I've had the occasional questions from the Haitian people while I am there. They wonder what my intentions are towards my baby. It may seem foreign to us that they would question the depth of our love for a child we bring into our home. But in a culture where it is relatively common to bring a child into the home to provide work, you can sorta put their inquisitiveness / suspiciousness into perspective.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

baby gettin settled

we've been speaking and to schools and had lots and lots of company. isaac is feeling much better and i have never enjoyed one person more (especially in such a small package)... told my mom tonight she never told me how great it was to be a mom, must not have wanted us to be big headed LOL

Monday, February 1, 2010

from Haiti to the USA... what to expect

Last night i found myself sad that Isaac is so young and will not really remember Haiti. It's not so much that he can't speak kreyol (and i really want him to learn), but i wish he could sing to me... the other adoptive parents of Haiti know what i mean. They sing and dance so much i feel a little sad he can't learn that here. Maybe we'll move back to Haiti ;)

On the other hand, we are so lucky he won't remember much of the earthquake and the tougher things. He isn't experiencing so much of the trauma the other children are. A facebook friend commented that "..after everything you and him have gone through its nice to know from now on he'll have a fighter in his momma always at his back. Enjoy!"

Chris posted the following after so many families were writing about the children being deathly afraid of family pets. Luckily Isaac is so young he has no problem with Maya. ... 
"according to Haitian beliefs, cats can change into Loogaroos, loup-garou (pronounced lugaru) – it’s the French word for werewolf – basically. Kids are afraid of them for the reason that some cats are thought to change into people which can steal children. If a cat walks directly at them looking into their eyes, it is thought to be a loogaroo. If it runs away, it is considered to be a stupid cat that is just afraid of people. Dogs pose a different threat. Dogs are not kept in Haiti as pets. Their only purpose is for guarding the home. Dogs are intentionally taught to attack strangers, and children are taught to avoid ALL dogs because they are considered dangerous."

Tonight i listened in on the Haitian Adoption Trauma Webinar. It was educational and some a little repetitive to me. So, I'm sad he won't remember all this and glad at the same time. What i have to do is just makes sure he knows and loves Haiti and where he came from just like so many of us do!

A message from Hal (HIS Home orphanage director) on 1/28

I am so thankful
Right now my emotions are so raw that I just am elated one moment and tearing up the next. I am so grateful for all that you have all done for the kids and my family. God is Good!!! I am so thankful that the kids that have been united with their forever families got out of here before France and Unicef started their posturing. I wasn't very nice to a Unicef team the other day when they visited and refused to talk with them yesterday when they returned to tell me that I could not move any of the children without their permission. We have secured the new big house and will begin moving and preparations next week. Thank you for your prayers in that matter. Chris and the kids got in to Lima late last night/early this morning. Thank you for your prayers in that matter. We still have about 12 children that were in the very beginning stages of adoptions that we need to get out of here. Please be in prayer for these families that want to be united with their children. They are currently going through all of the emotions that you have all been through for the past 2 1/2 weeks. Their journey is not over and they desperately need our prayers. Thank you for your continued prayers for me. I slept in my bed (not very well) last night and determined that I am ready to go when God decides He wants me. Keep this process bathed in prayer until it is over for everybody. Blessings on all of you my dear CHRISTian brothers and sisters!!! Give all of my beautiful children hugs and kisses from Pastor and never forget that God truly did move mountains to get your children home (Natalie). :-) Love, Hal