As a little girl I was a terror. If my parents told me not to touch something, I grabbed it in both hands. If they told me not to go somewhere, I ran as fast as my legs would carry me. So many of those times that I saw as controlling I can now see as protection.
Especially now, in my first few weeks of motherhood I am learning this lesson. Gup has a little walker and he loves to run around in it. To enter our living room there is about a 1 foot drop. I have told Gup countless times to stay away from this area. He has climbed up and down this step, he knows there is a drop and yet, the second my back it turned this is exactly where he goes. He has yet to fall, because I am there to catch him, but one day he might. He might have to learn, as I have, the hard way.
I always have to learn the hard way. Instead of embracing advice I balk at it. I don’t need anyone to tell me what to do!
Well, now I get to learn another lesson, the hard way.
I want to let you all know that there have been some changes in the focus and work of Espwa Berlancia, as well as in my personal life in the last few weeks.
After arriving in Haiti 3 weeks ago, as often happens, all the plans that I had made flew out the window. Spending time in this mission, on the ground I have seen the needs of this community first hand. Along with a trusted board member, and partner 100% of the way, Nicole Hollingsworth, who was here with me, we realized the necessity of a change in our focus.
Instead of working to build a home for children who are infected with HIV we are finding a great need for HIV testing and support in the area. This will take a lot of focus and energy, not leaving enough at this time to also take care of additional children. While this has always been a focus of EB, we are now shifting this to be our primary work.
I personally have found this change to be very difficult emotionally. I am a planner by nature and having things not go according to plan is tough! After the earthquake I was diagnosed with PTSD. I received medication from my family doctor. I was advised by several people to seek additional therapy but resisted. Unfortunately, this has only grown to the point where I am no longer able to continue moving forward until I receive this help. Slowly I have begun to deteriorate and it has gotten to a point where I cannot continue on until this is addressed.
For that reason I will be leaving Haiti on Saturday to return to the United States to seek therapy.
Espwa Berlancia is by no means stopping our work. We have a woman in our prenatal program right now who we will continue to support. We are blessed to have a wonderful nurse here in Haiti who I trust indefinitely. She will be making sure that “F” gets her care while I am away.
The absolute hardest thing about all of this is my Gup. There is no legal way for him to travel with me to the US at this point. There are things I need to do that focus on ME. As a mother this goes against every instinct I have. How could leaving him possibly be for the best? How could putting him back into an orphanage, just when he is learning to trust me, be worth anything else in my life? It has killed me to realize that it truly is for the best. I can not be the best person for him until I am the best person that I can be. I can not do that alone. I want to be the mom he deserves and if a few more weeks is what it takes, it will be worth it in the end!
In a way, I am being given, just a glimpse into the heart of the mothers here. There are many orphanages in Haiti where parents can come back and get their children when they are better able to care for them. They leave them there, it can’t be easy. I consider it a gift to be allowed, if only for a fraction of emotion, into that choice. The choice to leave him in the care of someone else until I can provide for him again.
Oh but still, it hurts.
I do not have a return date to Haiti right now, I feel that I need to focus on getting myself to a place where I am 100% ready to do this without the pressure of an end date. Be assured though, I do intend to return. This is my calling, I can not ignore.
I will come back when I have found my passion again, I will return to fulfill the calling that has always been mine, I will return for the other half of my heart. Held in those precious hands.