Monday, February 24, 2014

A Boy Named Henry

He is my son. A precious, tiny new life that will someday become a man, whom God has chosen and set apart.

He is a baby now, but he is a person who deserves privacy and respect and so I struggle to tell his story because it is not completely mine to share.

But, I know you share in my joy and that you love our family and that you pray us through and you cry when we cry and and praise Him for our blessings and so I will share a peek of this new one with you.

In November, a precious woman came into my life. I instantly loved her, I know that God put that love into my heart because at the time I met her I had no idea how much she would change my life. Today, we share a son.

Over several weeks we began to get to know each other in a way that is reserved for a select few in this world. We had meetings full of beautiful redemption and tears of brokenness. I prayed harder for that woman, in those 6 weeks, than I ever have for anyone in my life. I held her hand and held my breath while we stared together at a grainy ultrasound picture and made out the beautiful profile of the child she carried. 3 weeks later I held her hand and I held my breath while she preformed the most amazing work any human can do and a little boy slipped into the world.

A few hours later, I settled mama and her new baby together in a big room full of beds and kissed each of their foreheads and turned to leave. I carried the weight of what she had just asked me to do. I had given her every option I had available to me for this child. I didn't sleep a wink that night, praying the same 3 word prayer over and over again, knowing God heard all the thousands of ramblings of my heart and my head.
The next morning I rode down to the hospital with my stomach full of nerves, everything could change in the next few minuets and I was scared to death. Scared of changing my entire life, scared of changing Annabel’s entire life, scared of what it meant for my ministry and my free time and my finances and my future. I was scared of the judgment of others, I was scared I couldn't do it and I even begged God to not ask me to. And then slowly my heart began to change… The fear turned to peace, the kind that only He can give. God doesn't often ask us to do things that are popular among man and He certainly doesn't command us to step up to the callings of other humans or even hold us to answer to them. It was clear what I was to do. This calling that He had laid upon my life will be, and has been, met with resistance from some but there was never a doubt in my mind that it was His will.

Two hours later mama and baby had been released from the hospital and I settled this amazing woman into the backseat of a car that would drive her to her house and I turned on my own way, up the mountain to bring a little boy home with me.

I hope that none of you doubt for a moment that I exhausted every other option I could for this small baby, his mother and their first family. I long for parents to raise their children. I long for fathers to stay. I long for food for every belly and work to provide for every need. I long for a safe home for each and every person I come in contact with. I feel anger and despair over what the enemy has stolen through sin and brokenness. I feel anger and that anger drives to me do something but just being angry and wishing for things to be the way I think they should, does not take away the reality that they simply aren’t and they won’t be as long as I live in this world.

You can look at my photos and see a cute baby, he is adorable and I am so incredibly thankful that God entrusted him to me. However, a photo will never show the side of adoption that those of us who journey through it know. Redemption does not exist without first pain and brokenness. All around, from the women who carried my children, to me and back to those sweet ones, this journey is far from “cute”. It is messy and complicated but something that started out so painful can become beautiful, I know because I see it happening in our family every single day.

Now I start out on this road again, of knowing a little person, of falling in love with him and promising everything in my power to be mommy, forever. I know the responsibility it carries, I know the sacrifices it means and above all, I know the joy that it will bring. I cannot think of an assignment more powerful and precious than these two being given to me. I am so thankful, I am so blessed.

Henry

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Christella, Ti Chape

The air had that greyish-orange late afternoon glow that makes everything kind of hazy and dreamlike. There was a little crisp of cold in the air and I was in a hurry. I needed to get to the store to pick up a few last things and then hurry down to the house for Thanksgiving dinner. When I saw her I didn't really want to stop in fact, at first I didn't. But then that insistent, between my shoulders voice spoke up and I asked the moto driver to turn around.

I will be eternally grateful, for the rest of my life, that I did. Everything I had ever dreamed of for my future changed in that moment and I had no idea.

The first thing I noticed were her stick thin legs, the second was the belly upon which she rested. Following the belly I saw tiny arms and the face of a woman that is now burned into my memory forever.

Even though I didn't really want to and I didn't really have time God captured me for these 2 daughters of His as I gathered them and brought them into my home. I listened to her words and they told a a story that seems as old as time, I've heard it over and over for almost 6 years. A man who left, a baby crying for milk that couldn't be given, a tiny family sleeping wherever a space could be found. The way she spoke and the sound of her voice, something connected in me and my burnt out fire for this part of Haiti sparked to life again.

As we sat in my living room that day she told me how she had left home before the sun came up that morning, borrowing the 50gourds (aprox. $1.25) for a taptap up the mountain to search for an orphanage that would be willing to take her youngest daughter. Tears filled her eyes as she told me over and over again “I have no other choice, there is no chance for her anymore. If she stays with me I know she will die.” I looked at the tiny girl in her arms and I knew that she was right. Maybe not today, or tomorrow or even next week but this baby would die of malnutrition if something didn't change for her. She looked me in the eye and begged me to take her daughter. I looked back and whispered  to her my idea for both of them. Again, her eyes shined with tears, this time over the idea that maybe, just maybe, she would get to keep her daughter.

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That afternoon when she turned to leave she kissed her baby goodbye it wasn't forever like she had thought it would be. I agreed to take Christella  for an initial 6 weeks, to give her time to get her healthy and gain some weight. When she had recovered from her malnutrition, Christella would return home with her mother.

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There is no other word to describe Christella but joy. There isn't a person who came in contact with her that wasn't fully enthralled by her presence. To know her was to be filled with her contagious joy. Yes, caring for her was hard work but the reward, unlike most work that I do here, was instantaneous. Waking up in the middle of the night to sneak in extra calories became something I looked forward to when I knew I would be greeted by her giggles and singing when the bottle was finished. That girl, despite all the pain and sickness that plagued her body, was filled with joy every second of every day.

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The initial 6 weeks came and went and Christella was doing great but still just not quite ready (or maybe, selfishly, we just weren't ready to face saying goodbye just yet!). Emily was caring for her at the time and we decided that another 2 weeks would give her that extra little boost that she needed. At the end of her 8th week in our care it was finally time to send our girl home.

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From 10lbs at one year old to 15lbs just 8 weeks later! That scrawny, sick little girl became a chubby, giggling toddler, crawling backwards and trying to stand on her now strong little legs. Our little joy filled Christella had gotten what she needed for this season. With a brave face and a few hidden, secret tears we sent her on her way. Prayers the only thing we could send with our ti chape, our little survivor.

And now tonight, as I write this there is the newborn smell and soft breath of a baby boy lying across my lap. The son that I didn't know I needed, that has filled a corner of my heart that I never knew was empty. He is breathtaking and joy.

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His, although intensely woven into this one, is a story for another day.

Monday, February 10, 2014

30 People - 30 Dollars - 30 Days

It feels like every 6 months or so I am writing a version on this post. Frankly, I’m getting a little embarrassed and a little discouraged. It striving to be fully transparent I’m going to open up to you totally right now about my personal finances.

At this time I (and my 2 kids) am living off of the $205usd that is committed monthly support for me to be in Haiti, plus whatever “extra” one time gifts that come in. To put that in perspective, Saturday I went to the grocery store after not being able to afford to go for over a week. I bought only food, no household supplies at all and spent just over $100usd, that food will last us a little over a week. This was not an extravagant trip by any means, bread, milk, lunch meat, yogurt and cereal filled most of the cart. Living in Haiti is not cheap! While my rent was covered in full for the year I have to anticipate paying again next year. All said and done my rent is just over $300usd a month. Utilities run another $100+ (depending on if it has rained and I need to pay a water truck to come fill my cistern) Annabel’s school costs another $50 a month, plus the $300 registration fee at the beginning of the year. And on and on it goes. Today I have $12 in my wallet to last to through the beginning of March. It’s obvious that the monthly support I have in place now is just not cutting it. I could never begin to express how incredibly thankful I am to those who have committed to keeping me in Haiti and supporting my life here. Realistically though, I can’t go on at this level much longer.

Up until a few months ago my personal finances, the $205 that comes in each month plus whatever addition support happens to be donated any given week, supported both my family and a huge part of my ministry. I often spend my own money on medication for ladies, food and diapers for foster babies and hospital bills. I am beyond willing to do that but I just can’t keep up with the growing needs that come with a developing ministry. I could maybe pay a hospital bill here and there but with 5 deliveries in the last 6 weeks it is becoming increasingly more difficult for me to fill in the holes of unsponsored ladies. I would be devastated to turn away someone who truly needed help because of a financial concern.

I am 100% without any bit of doubt sure that I am here for a reason and that God intends for me to remain in Haiti for a very long time. I just know that I need more consistent help to make it happen. Obviously, I have never gone hungry. My children are well cared for, God IS providing for our needs but I feel that at this time He is leading me to make a few changes. I need to set up a more reliable monthly support system. That is why I am asking for your help.

I need 30 people to become monthly sponsors, each committing to $30 a month for our family’s needs. $30 a month, just about a dollar a day. Surely together we know 30 people who can spare $30 a month!
I am putting this out there and trusting God to do the rest. If you feel led and can give $30 a month for our family in Haiti please use the link below to set up a recurring monthly support profile, share this need with your friends and family and above all, please pray for peace as I go thorough this time of transition and trust!


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