Thursday Morning Mind Dump

It’s almost 7 am. I’m sitting here sipping my Haitian coffee (how much did I miss that?!?) and have decided to give myself a slow start to the day. Chris just left for Port about half an hour ago. It’s not going to be a good day, we can already tell just by the list of things he has to do. The most important will be visiting the Daihatsu dealer to see if they’ll honor a quote they gave us two years ago for a truck. The money from Rotary has arrived, a process that’s taken two years, so we’re eager to finish everything off and get the truck to work. If they won’t honor the quote then Chris and Jean will have to start visiting other dealerships that sell the same make and model and see of anyone else will sell one for the same price. Rotary won’t allow us to add anything to the grant and you have to purchase what they grant is specified for, which is fine – when it doesn’t take two years to have the grant processed and you don’t live in a third world country. We’re trying to stay positive though and are praying that everything will work out.

We’ve settled in pretty well, but haven’t quite gotten back into a routine yet. I think that’ll take a few more days. I managed to get everything unpacked and put away. Usually that takes a while because other things come up or I just don’t have the energy to do it. It’s done though and that feels good. I think that while Chris is away today and there won’t be as much traffic in the house I’m going to do a good cleaning. If only Jabez would learn how to wipe her feet when she comes in and stop drooling like a tap.

We haven’t had rain since we got back. Apparently it’s slowed down and when it does come it’s only “little” rains, meaning it doesn’t flood the yard like it does at the height of the rainy season. I’m kind of sad because the rain makes everything so cool and it turns everything so green. Haiti is green all over right now and I love that because for about 8 months of the year it just looks brown and dead. None the less, things aren’t as hot as they were when we left which is a treat. It was BAD. We aren’t sweating just for the sake of sweating now. Still sticky, but not drippy.

Chris and I went into St. Marc yesterday to run some errands and drop by Barb’s house to visit and bring back some of her stuff that she had here at the house while she was taking care of things for us. There’s this strange thing that’s happened in the last month that we’re still not used to…they’ve flattened out the roads. I’m so not joking. Places that we’re just pot hole after pot hole are now graded and driveable again. It’s so nice because it takes a bit less time to drive, people stay on their own sides of the road, and you don’t feel like you’ve been beaten and abused when you get home. Also, they’re doing a lot of work in St. Marc on the roads AND it looks like they’re putting in a piped water system in some of the outlying neighborhoods. I’m hesitant to get too excited about it until I see the water flowing and neighborhoods improving. I know, I’m a party pooper. It’s just that I would get excited about stuff like that just like a lot of other foreigners, until I lived here for a while and realized that, yes, these systems are a great idea and needed, BUT these projects are often attacked from a North American mindset. A mindset that understands infrastructure and community development. Often these projects are started in a country where none of that has ever really existed and people don’t know how to work as a community or how to maintain these things once the project is finished, or worse, want some one else to take responsibility for it. All of those things are why we’ve started doing a household water treatment project rather than continuing with the community level. Anyway, that’s my two cents about that. I would love to see Haiti get to the point where all of the work that’s being poured into the country will in fact make it move forward and give people a better life. Maybe this time will be the time.

It was funny to hear from Barb what some of our workers tried to get away with while we were gone. It happens every time we’re away, but with Barb it’s a bit harder because she knows too much and speaks good Creole. Apparently some of them forgot how to tell time and didn’t know when 6 am was so they could show up at work on time. It’s amazing to see how quickly they’ve remembered… ;) Jabez has also decided to try a few new things out. The other day she walked into the house and dropped a small rock on the floor, then looked at me all proud of herself. She NEVER brings her rocks in the house, she usually just circles around them and barks at them outside. She learned very quickly that rocks don’t belong in the house. Chris learned very quickly that our dog doesn’t pick up her toys. What can we say, she’s developed a bit of an attitude. We still love her.

I was asked for a garden update. I have no pictures as of yet. Sorry. Things, however, are growing really well. The flower bed that I planted around the side of the house in the spring has taken off and there are big vines growing up the house, the ginger is swirling and growing all over, and plants that were still pretty small when we left have doubled or tripled in size. I have a bunch of cuttings from Judy that will go in the ground in the next few weeks as we get time. I planted a few other cuttings just before we left along our fence that will eventually grow up into a nice hedge and they’re doing great. Also, the round bed in front of the deck by the ocean wall is doing great as well. That would mean I win, because Chris said everything would die because of the salt air. HA! In fact, one of the plants sends off shoots and all of the shoots have rooted and are now little plants themselves.

In adoption news… I had a good time doing some baby window shopping with my mom while we were home. It was fun to “Ooh” and “Aww” and gush over how cute some stuff is. We also looked at the big stuff like car seats, play yards and strollers and found stuff that would work here. My mother is taking her role as Grandma seriously and we’ve all realized we need to step out of the way and let her do her thing. Chris and I say, “Bring it on!” I know she’s going to have fun when it comes time to start filling those suitcases for November. I know my Dad will stand back and that there will be much head shaking and probably a couple, “How are you going to get that into a suitcase?” It’s hard having our parents so far away and not able to be right here to go through all of this with. It’ll be nice to spend Christmas with Chris’ family when we can talk about all of this more and I can go do “grandma” stuff with Chris’ Mum. By then we’ll know what we don’t have and still need to get. Mum & Dad R are also planning a trip here in February so they can meet our Haitian sensation.

I have to be honest, it was still a bit weird for me to be looking at baby stuff because it still feels so far off and like this thing that we’re just talking about, and there was always that voice in the back of my head that said, “Am I allowed to be doing this?” It’s silly and I imagine that every soon to be mother goes through that whether they are adopting or having a biological child. It’s the preparation for that little person that you have never met – someone that isn’t right in front of you. It has started though, and I’m glad. I got some good books while we were away and have started reading those, and bought some material to make bedding for the crib and some cute patterns. I know people will be giving us lots of clothes, but I remember the joy my mom had when she made stuff for us and I’ve been looking forward to that for a long time.

**If you are a man you may want to skip ahead a couple of paragraphs…

Okay, Ladies…I know several of you are adoptive moms. For those of you that are, have you tried to breastfeed your adopted babies? This is something that I want to do. I’ve got some great books that have already been helpful, and visited my doctor while I was home to talk to her about it and we’ve gotten everything set up to get me ready. I also have a supplemental nurser that was passed on to me, so I think things are all in order, I just need to do what I need to do and see what happens. If you’ve gone this route I would love to connect with you. Also, if you’re connected with La Leche it would be nice to connect with you to have the support. Chris is really supportive of the whole thing which makes me really happy. Actually, he kind of expected it – his mom was a LLL for a long time.

**Men resume reading here ;)

As far as paper work goes, we were able to make more progress while we were home. My mom has gotten our taxes done and sent away so they’ll be able to bring all of that in with them when they come. We went to do our criminal record checks, which normally take several weeks to get back, and walked out of the RCMP office with them in hand 10 minutes after filling them out. That was a blessing! We have all our references. The rest of the stuff, like our home study, lab work, and psych evaluation we do here in Haiti, and we’ll work on that over the next few months. Our goal is to have everything done by December.

Financially, we’re at about the halfway mark for what we know we need for the whole process. We were incredibly blessed while home when we received a large gift to put towards the adoption. It was really touching to us because it was given by one of my former students who I got to know really well while working at the church. When you’re just starting out on your own it’s a big sacrifice to do something like this but this person loves us, believes in being obedient to the Lord, and loves that we’re adopting and wanted to be a part of that with us. I think when you work with young people there are times where you wonder if you’re making any difference, but God really used this moment to show me that He has greater plans and that blessings go back and forth. What a great picture of the body of Christ.

So, there you have it. Chris and I are getting excited. It’s actually exciting for me to see him getting excited. I think before we would talk about the adoption, again, sort of as this thing that would happen sometime in the future. Now that the future is only a few months away we’re realizing the reality of it more. Even over the last few days we’ve talked about it several times – things like looking around the house and mentioning what it’ll be like to have a baby here, or thinking about what we have going on over the next few months (a lot!) and that the time will fly and then we’ll be parents – si Bondye vle.

Yesterday while doing something banal like making dinner (I can’t remember exactly what I was doing) the thought came to me that our baby is on the way. Several months ago the thought in my head was “May or may not be started,” but now, because of the time, we know it’s in progress. Fingers, toes, a nose – those things are all being formed. I see pregnant women walking around here and I think, “Maybe she’s carrying what will eventually be our child…” and I feel sad because I know that the circumstances around giving a child up, especially here, are heartbreaking, but I also marvel at God’s perfect planning. What will be heartbreaking to one family will be a gift to us, and I hope and pray that the family will eventually know peace because they know their precious baby has gone to people that will love it immensely. I look at the bassinet sitting upstairs in our room and of the things collecting at my parents house and I wonder who the little person will be that will become part of our family. What will they look like? What will their personality be like? What will they think of having white parents in a black world? I wonder what we’ll be like as parents. Can we really do this? HOW do we do this?

Through all of that I feel God speaking to me about all of it. Adoption is his idea. He did it with us. Amazing to think that we were created by him and adopted by him. He wanted us that badly. Chris and I believe that adoption is part of God’s plan for our family. We believe it’s biblical. “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress…” James 1:26-27. We believe that God is already forming that little person that will be joining our family and that he’s looking after that precious baby and it’s mother. We believe that he will give us what we need to be loving and responsible parents – physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. We are believing him to walk through the whole process with us and to help us when times are challenging. We are excited.

Thanks for journeying with us through this crazy life we’re living!
~Leslie

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About Leslie

I'm Leslie. Wife. Mother. Missionary. In the day to day my husband and I are responsible for running Clean Water for Haiti, a humanitarian mission that builds and distributes water filters to Haitian families. Living in Haiti full time provides lots of stories, and as I tell my husband, our grandkids probably won't believe most of them. Maybe writing them down will give me some credibility.

5 thoughts on “Thursday Morning Mind Dump

  1. Val, whatever do you mean?!? ;) I know I’ve told you this before, but things really have changed around here. Would you believe that the “storage room” no longer exists and we’re down to 4, yes, only 4 Rubbermaids in the house? Things are finding homes and if we don’t need/use it, it finds a new home. Things have been painted, cleaned, fixed etc and it actually looks like a home now, not this place where people camp out. It’s actually pretty fun and I realized walking in the door on Monday that I was happy to be HOME, not just back, but HOME.

  2. LLL here! I was a leader when Princess Grace came to the LL convention in Chicago. Yes a convention of women and nursing babies. There were 3000 women and 2000 babies in attendance. It was not the madness some thought it would be. It has been a long time but I don’t recall even one woman screaming at her toddlers. Love those nursing hormones. You may wish to email LLL international they can set you up with a contact for just about any special circumstance. Peer support is great. Loved this blog, happy for the plants growing so well in the circle too! BarbJ :)

  3. Leslie – I am so glad that Haiti & the mission house has become home! I have to say, through the photos you have shown us – there has been MUCH improvement since I was last there!! Must have just needed a woman’s touch! ;)I am so excited for you guys as you head down this path God has shown you!!! Blessings….

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