7 Years

Seven years ago today I tried to crane my neck to see out the window of the plane from my middle section seat. I knew Haiti was down there. My stomach was flipping and flopping. mid-way through the flight I got up to get something out of my carry on and the seat caught the back of my capris, ripping a nice hole in the back so everyone could see my undies. That was fun.

When we landed, my flopping stomach went into overdrive as I navigated the Port au Prince airport by myself for the first time. I was tired from an already 24 hour journey that had me trying to sleep in the airport during the night. That never seems to work. I managed to get through Immigration, get my bags and head outside. I knew Chris would be meeting me on the other side of the doors. Not only was he my new boss, he was my new boyfriend. No, I didn’t come to Haiti because of him. I made the decision to come on staff about 6 weeks before we ever got together. He was just the bonus. And, just as I had hoped, when I walked out of the airport I saw his white smiling face in a sea of black ones and instantly felt the relief that comes when you know someone else can now take charge of the details.

I look back on the last seven years, and it seems crazy to me to be sitting where I am.

I remember when everything seemed new and crazy and shocking. When I would want to just stand back and observe rather than get too involved. Some days I still feel that way.

I remember the first time Chris made me drive, which followed a colossal meltdown about three weeks in. He knew it was time to push me out of the nest and make me work towards independence. Now when I’m out on my own and people are telling me how they appreciate that I speak Creole and things like that, I know it all really started that day.

I remember the day Chris asked me to marry him, and the day we followed through on that. 

I remember the day we sat down with John McHoul to have a serious talk about starting the adoption process. I remember the first time I held Olivia, so tiny that my hand was bigger than her head. And how she looked at Chris with big, focused eyes when he held her and fed her for the first time. And I remember the day we walked out of the Canadian Embassy with Olivia’s passport and visa. And the day less than a week later when we buckled her into an airplane seat for the first time.

I remember the day in 2008 when I found out I was pregnant, and November 18 of that year when I miscarried that baby. Two years later to the exact day we saw our baby’s heartbeat for the first time and I wept. That beating jellybean is now a very active little boy who I look at every day and am astounded at the miracle of birth, and that God can use loss to make us better people, a better couple, better parents.

There have been moments of fear and anger, from things we can’t control here but have to move through. Through those times I’ve seen how God has changed Chris and I and shown us the things in ourselves that he wants to work on, or the things he has put there to help us work through all these situations. Things he has promised to use for his good, things we didn’t know existed in us.

I came to Haiti at the age of 27, afraid and unsure of what to expect. Since then I’ve become a wife, a mother, a leader, an advocate, stronger, more assertive, more independent, more relaxed and less concerned about controlling everything, better at what I do, and challenged by the things I’ve learned about myself.

Thanks for following along with this life we lead here. Some have been reading right from the start, and others have stumbled upon this blog somewhere along the way. Thanks for caring and for being a part of what we do. Thanks for praying. For supporting us. For being a part of our story.

I didn’t expect to be here for more than a few years. Ha! God has a sense of humour, and a bigger, greater plan. I can’t imagine not being here, doing this. I mean, it’s already been almost a decade, why stop now?

~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.

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