In the Summer of 2010 I was one of many lucky people who had the opportunity to take a short trip to Haiti. I fell almost instantly in love and just can't keep myself away. I've spent about 11 months in Haiti since the first time I went two and a half years ago and my time there isn't over. I'm exploring my options on where to take my life from here but it WILL include Haiti in one form or another. This is where I record stories and thoughts about my experiences.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Disclaimer: This is a very scattered blog post. But my brain is very scattered right now. So Please forgive me. It's the best I could do.

My time in Haiti has come to an end. At least for now. My "plan" is to be home for a little bit. I will probably be staying in the Sates for a year to live with my best friend who is also coming home. I may have to learn to live with just visits to Haiti for the next year. I hope and pray that those visits can come often because it's killing me to be away. After a year, I pray that God will show me where to go. I'd love to go back to Haiti. I miss all the people I met there and grew to love and I miss the culture in general. I can't believe that after raising those precious boys for nine months that I had to leave them. I hate that all those kids and I were a part of each other's day for almost 9 months and now it's over. But it is what it is. This has been the plan all along and it's happening whether I like it or not.

Even though I miss those kids, being back has been good. I've actually taken it a lot better than I thought I would. I thought I'd be in tears the whole time. But I haven't been. I miss those kids and life in Haiti but it's been really good to spend time with my mom and others that I love at home. It breaks my heart to want to be two places at once. It's helped to have all the comforts and convenience of life in the States too. It's amazing how much I took for granted before. I'm living life through a new lens now. When I was in Haiti, life was harder in a lot of ways. I looked back through my journal entries and I was always complaining of a stomach ache, bug bites or other physical ailments. It was hot. I was exhausted a lot of the time. I was never alone. Here at home, those things aren't affecting me. There's almost always a quick and easy solution to the problems I have here in the States. It's convenient.

Another thing that is throwing me off is that I am just myself here. I only have me to take care of. Before, I was always on duty for caring for 18 other little humans. I was especially in charge of making sure nothing happened to the boys. Here, I don't have to keep one eye and ear open all the time for crying kids. I don't have to get up in the night to take care of sick kids or babies. I don't have to wake up early in the morning to giggles or screams of all the kids. Here, I can sleep in and be by myself and eat whatever I want whenever I want. But I'm not sure I love it... There are no words to describe how much I miss those kids. I miss the hugs and kisses. I miss teaching. I miss rocking those sweet babies to sleep. I miss kissing Jackson and Noah's fat cheeks. I miss giving them baths every night. I miss playing uno over and over again with the kids. I miss watching and helping Peter and Michaelle learn. I miss it. I miss Haiti. I miss those kids.

Living in Haiti was not easy, but it was so rewarding. It was not at all what I expected. The struggles and rewards were different than I thought they would be.

Life in Haiti was hard for me because I was isolated within the four walls of our yard. Whenever I had been to Haiti before, I was used to being out in the community and talking with everyone, using public transport, and probably being unsafe a lot of times. At Sues, things were safe and contained. Before I went to Haiti, I didn't expect that to even be an issue. If anything, I would have thought that I would be more stressed from not feeling safe. Instead, the stress came from being cooped up. I didn't really have choices when I was there. Things were chosen for me. What I ate, when I ate it, when I slept, how long I slept, and personal space was not a thing. Those were things that I wasn't used to. And it was hard. I was running on little sleep and different food and sometimes I was hungry but couldn't eat because it wasn't meal time yet. I had communication with loved ones at home but it was limited. That added to the isolation. I never went out of the gates and so my friends were limited to children under 11 and the few workers who came in and out throughout the month. Being isolated was something that really stressed me out.

I think that God used that struggle to show me something. Through that, God taught me how I can be strong and live through situations even though I didn't think I could some days. I was challenged in a way that I didn't expect and I think God used it for good. I now realize how adaptable God created me as a human. I think that if I was pushed in ways that I expected, I wouldn't have learned what I did. I'm glad that it wasn't all fun and easy while I was there. I had to work hard to be loving and grateful for where I was and what I was doing even though it was difficult at times. I learned that just moving to Haiti wasn't enough. I had to be loving, caring, patient, and joyful in ALL situations. I really had to work on that. It's easy to be loving and patient when everyone is doing the same for you. But I lived with kids. They aren't always loving, kind and grateful. Kids can be cruel sometimes! That made me need to work harder to act how God wanted me to act. I got through the days that were hard, and I tried to act how God wanted me to. And on the days that were easy, I was grateful. Those were the days that made it all worth it.

I learned that sacrifice doesn't mean moving to Haiti, a place I love, but living fully in ways that God wanted me to even when it wasn't fun and easy. Sacrifice for me meant showing God's love through my actions even when I got no thanks. It's easy to love life and everyone around you when everything is perfect. Life in Haiti wasn't perfect for me. But I had to learn to be thankful and loving even in the situations that weren't perfect.

I learned so much on my trip. I've loved and lived like I never have before. I got to be things I've never been before.

I was a teacher.

I was a big sister.

I was a mom.

I felt a deeper love than I have ever experienced before because God brought those beautiful baby boys into my life. I'm grateful for that. I am so thankful that God put me in Haiti at the perfect time to take Jackson and Noah into a safe home. Although it is so painful to be away from them, I just hope that this is all in God's plan. I hope that this is what I'm supposed to be doing. I am having to learn to let God be their Papa and take care of them. I have to let go and let Him protect them now. He knew them before anyone else did and loves them more than I do. It was something I hadn't thought about until now. Now that I'm not there to be their protector and caretaker. My turn to be their mommy is over. I have to let others do that for them now. I'm so thankful for the time I had with them. I know I will be in their lives forever but it's a hard transition as my role in their lives changes.

I miss those kids.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Yesterday Amy and I headed home from La Gonave. It was  TIRING day. First off, the boat ride was insane. It was a very windy day. So windy in fact, that only a few of the many usual boats were going over. Amy and I took a very packed ferry boat. Everyone was very scared. Almost everyone on the boat was praying out loud or singing. One guy came around and was preaching to people to accept Jesus into their hearts. Amy and I weren't scared of sinking or anything but I got soooo sea sick. I threw up six times over the side of the boat. NOT FUN. I wasn't sitting with Amy (She was busy literally holding a grown woman and singing to her because the woman was so scared). Although it was an awful experience, it had some lovely parts to it. I luckily was sitting on the very back of the boat so I didn't have to worry about accidently vomiting on someones shoes or something. I was sitting in between two lovely woman who helped me out so much. The woman on my right had her hand on my knee the whole time to comfort me. Everyone sitting around me seemed concerned and were helping out too. One man bought me some water. The woman sitting on my left held my legs in the boat every time I leaned over the side to be sick. They held my bags and poured water on my head and washed my face for me. In between the awful moments of hanging over the side of the boat I was so grateful to be in Haiti around Haitians. Every person on the boat that day reminded me so much of how I think Jesus would have acted. People all over were taking care of each other. Amy was holding that terrified woman and singing songs to her, woman were washing my face for me, people were praying for each other. One man on the boat was obviously homeless and so many people on the boat gave him little bits of whatever they had, food, water, money. I see a lot of crappy stuff happen here in Haiti, but I also see some pretty awesome stuff too. Yesterday on the boat made me feel good about being a part of the human race. We were all family on that boat that day. Taking care of each other. I am thankful for moments like those.

Within an hour of stepping off the boat I felt better. Amy and went to do stuff around Port au Prince. We found this shop to make t-shirts and each made a shirt with the Haiti flag on it for seven bucks. Pretty excited for that. We also had to pass by my old house to get to where we were going. It was really sad for me when we passed by on our way to La Gonave. I hated being so close to those kids but not getting to hold them. This time as we were passing Amy said, "why don't we just go. You can go give your boys a kiss and hold them like you want." I had my mind set on leaving only one time and saying goodbye one time. But the moment Amy said that I though "jeez, why not?" Of course I couldn't stop crying. I walked in the gate and went over to my boys. I squeezed Noah so hard. Jackson was alseep in someones arms but I held him too. I couldn't stop crying. The other kids were a little thrown off but happy to see me. I just kept kissing them and getting my tears on their faces. It was really hard to just be there for such a short time but I am so glad I got to kiss their faces one last time. I guess I need to start getting used to saying "hello" AND "goodbye." Hardest thing I've ever done in my life.

Today, Amy and I got to go to the beach with some of the older girls and boys in the orphange. It was a short time but I think the kids had fun.

Amy and I are leaving so soon! Only a few more days. I know I say this every time but I CAN'T BELIEVE IT! CRAZY!!! I don't want to go but I am looking forward to hugging my mom, icee's, my cozy bed, warm showers, and salsa.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Quick update:

Amy and I are in La Gonave with the Extollo team, having a wonderful time! Sherman (Big boss of Extollo) and some others are here visiting as well. The more the merrier! We're staying on their work site in the new house (not quite finished) which will be their guest house. Amy and I have been doing some jobs for the boys like we always do (organizing, cleaning, building rookie shelves for kitchen items etc.) It's been a good time. It's our last night and Amy and I aren't ready to leave yet! Early tomorrow morning we're heading back to the mainland so I'll be spending the last few days in Haiti with the girls in Leogane. I'm happy about that.

Still feels not real that I'm leaving Haiti in a few short days. Not quite sure how I feel about it. I'm really going to miss it here. I miss my boys and the rest of those kids in Bon Repos more than I thought was possible. I'm so thankful Amy has been here to help me through the crazy feelings. But I'm here and I'm okay. Day by day.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Still in Leogane hanging out with the girls. Things have been good. Yesterday we went to hang out with our friend Megan from Respire Haiti  (here's her blog: We also got to see our other white friend Brian who lives in Leogane as well as visit one of the older girls who left the orphanage.

It's been so good to be in Leogane. People know us here and we always run into friends when ever we walk around. Yesterday Amy and I needed to take a moto somewhere and we were a little nervous to go. We flagged one down and got on. The driver turned out to be one of our really good friend's older brother and he knew who we were. Gotta love Leogane!!

Today, our friend Junior who lives in the villiage next door got baptized and we got to go watch. We met at the church and walked for a LONG time to a little river. It was quite lovely. We went home to take a nap then went back to Junior's house where his mom made us lunch.

We are going over to the island of La Gonave again for a few days on Tuesday. I'm going to try and find some ground beef to bring so that Steve (white friend who lives on the island) can make us some American food.

I can't believe how soon I'll be going back to the U.S. It still doesn't seem real to me!!