Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Uncomfortable

It was brought to my attention that the donation link at the bottom of this post was not working correctly. Here is the correct link!

You know what’s really uncomfortable to talk about?

Money…

Seriously, awkward. There is nothing comfortable or socially acceptable about talking about personal finances. No matter how much I have to do it, I still dread the thought. Mostly because I fight so hard to keep the thoughts from entering my mind. I prefer not to give doubt anything to grab onto and believe me, if there is a weakness in my faith, this would be it.

It’s not that I think I won’t eat, I know I will, and it’s not that I think I will be left penniless, it’s the idea that maybe, one day I will want something and not be able to have it. Disgusting, I know but it still creeps in.

In reality I have been “unemployed” since January 13th 2010. Since that day I have worked harder than ever before but my reward has not been a check every two weeks. Then again, could I complain? Instead I have been paid in hugs from little children, a nod of understanding in the dark eyes of a stranger who has trusted me to give their baby 3 meals a day. It is in the heartfelt thanks from parents who lend their little ones to me while sit helplessly at home and wait. I have not gone to bed a single night hungry. I have been taken care of more than I ever could have imagined, in fact it seems I have more now than I ever did before. And yet, there is that bit of frantic doubt that creeps in every once in a while. The what if’s that I continually fight.

The truth is I could not do the work I do without the help of some specific people. There is a church that supports me financially every month. The $150.00 check that they give me in my sole source of “income”. God’s Children graciously provides for my travel expenses and daily meals while I am here in Haiti. Without them I 100% could not be here. When I write it out now it seems silly, honestly what more could I want?

There is something. I have struggled with even posting here because I hate to even mention something for me when there are so many needs in this country. Hungry faces race through my mind as I sit here and type, taunting me, disappointed that I would request so selfishly, a luxury.

Right now I have an internet connection provided by Voila, a Haitian cell phone company. This service is unreliable and incredibly frustrating. I often wait more than 20 minuets for an email message to load, when I have only 3-4 hours of electricity a day to charge my computer batteries often times I can’t even read messages for several days after receiving them. Messages from the agency take first priority, then anything from donors, after that personal emails. Each month I try my best to send updates and photos on our kids to Amy to forward on to parents. At this time I can’t attach a single photo to an email. This means that updates can only be sent out when Amy comes here and takes them back with her, or I go to The States. I have also been dreaming of setting up a Skype schedule for our kids who are in the adoption process, with their adoptive families. For our older kids this would be a priceless way for them to begin to bond with these “strangers”. With the current internet connection that we have this is just not possible.

Today I posted a blog that I have been "uploading” for 2 days. On days where there is national news breaking in Haiti, which seems more often than not lately, I can’t get any service at all. Often those are they days that I need to contact people at home the most. Some days I just want to talk to my mom, or my best friend!

I have found a company here in Haiti that provides very reliable satellite internet. The mission where I used to work had their services and they were wonderful. I have been in contact with them and have been told that for the set up that I would need the cost will be $1,300.oo. I think about how much rice that would buy and I cringe, but I also see how far we have come in just a few short months. When I first came to Leogane this house was filled with malnourished, attention starved children. Now outside in our new playground are 40 well fed, happy little ones. Perhaps we have made it to a place where I dare dream of comfort items being available?

I have spoken to Amy and she has agreed that this internet service is needed but the money to get it up and running just isn’t available. Each month we have just enough to pay our nannies and feed our children. Anything above and beyond will need to be raised as needed.

Believe me, if I could I would front the money right now, but since that isn’t an option I turn to you. I have already received a $100.00 gift from a wonderful family. That leaves only $1,200.00 to go! I am convinced that this dream can be a reality. Each day as I sit and spoon food into the mouth of a child who has known far too many hungry days I am reminded of what is truly important in this world. If I don’t have email that evening life will go on. If it comes down to my luxuries and their lives you can be sure of what I will chose! For that reason we have a special fund set up just for internet service. Each month the needs of this house will come first. If someone should chose to give towards our hughesnet needs it will be saved and when we have enough we call them to come set up our satellite. Each $5.00, $10.00 or $20.00 gift will add up until we reach our goal and while I wait I will be content to spend my extra hours reading stories and loving babies.

If you would like to donate towards setting up an Internet connection here at our house you can go HERE. Please be sure to indicate that your gift is for the Internet Fund. I will be keeping track of how much has been raised in the sidebar so that you know where we are at.

Not This Baby

Once upon a time there was a little boy with scared, staring eyes…
Gup Oct 2010 (8)
A baby who glared anytime he caught me looking his way.
 Gup Oct 2010 (30)
There was once a tiny little fighter with frizzy, brittle, orange tinted hair, who hated to smile, and hated more to eat.  
Lyns Oct 2010 (1)
I am happy to tell you that that little boy doesn’t live here anymore.
No, right now sleeping quietly in the crib in the corner is a little boy who breaks into a grin whenever I walk into a room.
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That weak little boy who turned up his nose at every snack I offered, can be found sneaking food every chance he gets.
Gup Nov 2010 (10)
There is something to be said for a diet rich in protein and treatment for medical conditions.
Gup Nov 2010 (23)Gup Nov 2010 (21)Gup Nov 2010 (20) 

But beyond any food or medicine, love is what brings these kids back to life.

Gup Nov 2010 (40)

Perhaps a little “spoiled” or so I am told, Gup is thriving. He is spirited, cuddly and happy. I wake up every morning to him singing in his bed, I am rewarded each day with his sweet hugs and kisses. I am encouraged by his transformation and assured by his life, that my work here is necessary.

Gup Watching TV In Bed Nov 2010 (1) Gup Watching TV In Bed Nov 2010 (2) Gup Watching TV In Bed Nov 2010 (3) Gup Watching TV In Bed Nov 2010 (4)

Saturday, November 27, 2010

His Birthday

Last year I wrote this post.
How much has changed in the last 12 months.
Today I don't wonder if he is happy. I know he is being loved and cherished. I know that he is having a wonderful day, I love knowing that I don't have to worry about him anymore.

Patrick changed my life in a way that I never thought I would expirence again. Somehow, in the last few months I have been given the opportunity to find that kind of pure love over and over again. Patrick will always hold a very special place in my life but I have realized over the course of my time here that I can love another baby like I loved him. In fact, I can fall in love over and over again, every single morning.

Last night a small group of girls were in my room discussing their new families. Some of them have yet to me matched and it's always difficult for me to try to explain to them why they are still waiting. As I stumbled for the right words little Mia spoke up and said, "Rhyan, you can be my mama for now". Take my breath away!

Patrick, thank you for teaching me how to be a Mama, a lesson that I am living out every single day.

Love you baby, happy birthday!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Darlens

My friend Anna is one of the most amazing people any of us could have the honor of knowing.

Through my time in Haiti I have met a few awesome people. None of them hold a candle to Anna.

Anna has a love that can only have been instilled by God, for babies that need it the most. Through her years in Haiti Anna had held and loved Berlancia, Sabrina and so many others...

Last year Anna was entrusted with a little boy named Darlens.


Darlens lives in Cazale, Haiti at a clinic called Real Hope For Haiti. RHFH is amazing! If I were to send all of you to support another mission here this would be it! They love the people of this country and they do amazing work with malnourished children. RHFH has recently set up a cholera clinic and they have been running ever since. I can't imagine what it is like day to day there. Last week I set one measly suitcase of everything that I could scrape together for them, it didn't feel like nearly enough.

Now, this baby boy that my friend loves is sick. Darlens has some kind of virus and is not doing well. Please, please spend some time on your knees for this precious life tonight.

Right now all I can send are prayers. Prayers for the life of a sweet little boy. Prayers for the heart of a dear friend who loves him fiercly. Prayers for the ones who are suffering. Prayers, that Dorlens will live.

A Different Kind Of Thanksgiving Day

Yesterday was sort of a strange one for me. I was in a funk from the moment I woke up. Instead of the smell of roasting turkey and green bean casserole I was greeted with a waft of charcoal smoke. There was no snow to be had in this tropical climate. In Haiti it was just another Thursday. I spent most of the morning in my room working on my computer and imagining what kind of foods my mom was making at home. I felt sorry for myself and to be honest I was really lonely. Being by myself for my first major holiday was much harder than I anticipated.

By noon I was sick of moping around. I decided that I was going to make the best of it, weather I wanted to or not. I recently received a gift of $20.00 t0 spend on a treat for the kids. I hopped on a moto-taxi and took off to the small gas station nearby to pick up some goodies. I found some popcorn and a tin of butter cookies that I knew they would love. When I came home I informed the staff that we would be having a party tonight. I was going to teach the kids about Thanksgiving and we would celebrate being thankful for all of the blessings in our lives.

We had cake leftover from a birthday earlier in the week and that, added to popcorn, goldfish crackers, juice and cookies we managed to pull it off. DSCN1345

We gathered all of the child ren in the school room and I told them all about what Thanksgiving means. Everyone took a turn to say what they were thankful for while I wrote down what they said. The older kids and nannies helped speak for the little ones and by then end we had a huge stack of yellow, orange and red papers filled with visible blessings. DSCN1351 DSCN1346 DSCN1347 DSCN1348 DSCN1349 DSCN1350

One of the nannies led the kids in a beautiful prayer, thanking God for everything He had blessed them with. I felt my tension and sadness start to melt away. As I sat there and listened to them praise I was reminded of the many, many blessings in my life. Like a movie the faces of these little ones, my “family”, played through my mind. “Lord, thank you for lending them to me.”

When the prayer was finished everyone dug in! DSCN1365DSCN1359 DSCN1378 DSCN1372 DSCN1373 DSCN1374 DSCN1376

At the end of the day I thought back over the holidays I have celebrated in my life and I know that even amidst the difficulty and loneliness, this really was the best one yet!DSCN1343

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Monday, November 22, 2010

Jiji

I want to tell you about a little girl named Jiji.

Jeraldine Oct 2010 (6)

Jiji is 3 years old. About 8 months ago, while living in Cite Soleil, she was struck with a “fever” After being examined by a doctor he is fairly sure that Jiji had suffered from meningitis that had gone untreated. As a result this little girl is now severely brain damaged. I don’t think there are words to use to describe how I felt sitting there while that doctor told me, with tears in his eyes, that had Jiji not been in Cite Soleli when she became sick her life would be much different right now. He went on to tell me just how many children like Jiji become sick in slums and tent cities and die, or are permanently damaged because of a lack of proper medication to treat their illnesses. Jiji is a little girl who fell victim to the injustice of a family who could not afford for their sick baby to see a doctor. Jeraldine 9 (9)

When Jiji’s mother brought her too use she was heartbroken. She told us how she had lost 2 other children at birth. Jiji had lived and she was so thankful that she finally had a daughter. She said that up until her “fever” Jiji was a happy little girl. She didn’t always have enough to eat but she did her best. Jiji was just beginning to stand on her own when she got sick. After 5 days of fevers and “sleeping” Jiji woke up much different than she had been. Her mother was heartbroken that she had once again “lost” a baby. She explained to me that it was hard for her to take care of Jiji before, now it would be impossible. She had no means to care for her and so she brought her to us. She hoped that there was a family in the United States who would take her and give her everything she wanted to. She prayed that one day Jiji would smile like she used to. On that day Jiji’s mother signed papers to give her daughter for adoption and left. She hasn’t been back since and I’m not surprised, when she left she said it would be much to difficult to visit and see her and have to leave again, she said her goodbye.

Jeraldine Oct 2010 (11) 

Since I have known Jiji she has always sat in the same chair. When I arrived she had sores covering her entire lower back from never being moved. She ate, slept and sat in the same place day after day.

Jeraldine 9 (2)

When I arrived I sought out and hired a nanny just for Jiji. She takes care of her round the clock and she has b lossomed! From their interactions you can see that Rachelle loves this little girl! When food is offered from Rachelle Jiji eats it. When she cried Rachelle is the one who can always make her smile. I am so thankful for staff to take care of these kids, ladies who truly love these little ones!

Jeraldine with Nanny 10.10

When I left in late October one of my goals was to find a solution that might help Jiji be a little more comfortable. On my first afternoon home I stumbled across this beauty…

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The answer I knew we needed for Jiji. This stroller has a 5 point harness and head support that helps Jiji say upright. It allows her to be moved easily from one room to another so that now when the big kids go to school, Jiji goes too. When they watch a movie she is right there beside them. When they are enjoying a moment Jiji is experiencing the joy too.

This small investment has enabled Jiji to go from this…

Jeraldine 9 (1) 

To this… Look at that SMILE!DSCN0589

Jiji now spends her days alert and involved instead of on a cot watching the world pass her by.Jerlaldine Oct 2010 (2)   DSCN0504 

I see the huge change that this small thing has made in Jiji’s life and I can see that the dreams her Mama had for her are still possible. Jiji can be a part of a family, she can learn, she can give and receive love and she can live. One day Jiji will have a story that goes far beyond a tent in Port Au Prince or an orphanage in a simple stroller. One day she will surpass everyone’s expectations of her and show us all what miracles exist!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

A Special Surprise

Tucked away inside last night’s boxes I came across a sweet surprise.

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All of the little girls were so excited for their new clothes. DSCN1167DSCN1164DSCN1165 DSCN1166

Thank you to the person who spent their time and energy making these adorable dresses for us!