A lot of people have been asking me how they can help for our upcoming missions trip to J’s creche. In order to purchase all of the supplies needed for each child we are asking you to be a part of our trip by sponsoring a child for a one time donation of $40. Your donation will provide a child with a VBS T-shirt, snacks, game supplies and craft supplies for each child.
When you sponsor a child we will email you a card with a picture of the child you sponsored and what to pray for while we are there.
You can donate by paypal by clicking the link below the donate now button at the bottom of this post. Or you can mail a check to me at 2234 Grovewood Rd Clearwater FL 33764.
We can’t say thank you enough to those of you who have already sponsored a child and those of you who are committed to praying for us and the team as we prepare!
It’s been a long 5 months home just waiting for updates on J and how he’s doing. I am thankful to say I have been so blessed to see lots of pictures and videos of him from other waiting Mama’s that have children at the same creche. Each time someone travels to Haiti we share pictures and stories and it really has been a Godsend to keep me sane in the wait for J to come home.
With that said we have planned a trip to visit J. But it’s a lot more than that this time. We prayed “how does God want to use us in this wait and what can we do to make a difference not only in the life of J but all the children, nannies, workers at Chances for Children.” So we decided to organize a Missions trip to Haiti. It’s really a twofold trip. Of course we can’t wait to see J, but we also wanted to be productive and be a blessing to the Kenscoff community while we were there. We are traveling to Haiti June 6-12 and we are taking a team with us made up family and close friends which includes Owen and Emma getting to go and meet their brother! We are so thankful for how we have already seen God’s hand in the planning.
While we are there Emil and some guys will be doing a large work project around the creche and guesthouse. There’s always lots things that need to be fixed or repaired and as the time gets closer we will have a better idea of exactly what Emil will be working on.
The girls, we will do small work projects in the morning and a VBS for the kids in the afternoon. I did get to speak with the missions coordinator from C4C and she informed me they have never had an “all out” VBS for the kids so we plan to do just that. We want them to experience the love of God through us with Bible lessons, skits, songs, crafts, games, snacks, VBS t-shirts. Of course we have plans but we will also be flexible (that’s the key word in Haiti)!! We do want to make this week something the kids will never forget and for them to feel so special and loved.
Sometimes in such a poor country we feel that the kids and people around us need so many physical things to make their lives better. But what they really need is Christ. They need to know Christ and have a personal relationship with Him, He is the one who promises to provide for all of our needs. They need someone to invest their time into their lives and we want to do just that. We want our main goal for the week to be to share Christ to all around us!
So what you can do for us while we plan…PRAY! We need lots of prayer as we plan lessons, skits, and games for a VBS in a country where we do not speak their language. Pray that we can clearly and accurately articulate the gospel through songs and skits. Pray for God to prepare for the hearts of all the children, nannies and C4C staff that if anyone does not know the Lord he would draw them to himself and open their eyes and hearts to the gospel. And pray for our team to prepare their hearts to invest in the lives of everyone we meet. We are so thankful for this opportunity to go and see our J again before he comes home!! And Owen and Emma couldn’t be more excited than they are 🙂
Update on adoption: we are in the step called parquet (children’s court) awaiting our adoption decree. Adoption decree is a big step because once we have it J is legally ours. We can then share with all of you his picture and full name:) YAY!
Just wanted to give an outline of the rest of our adoption process to those of you who have asked how long until our son gets to come home or what’s the process look like until he comes homes.
Here’s the outline of the next steps in our adoption process!
1. The file is picked up from IBESR and taken to Parquet (court)
2. Adoption decree – when the adoption decree is issued, the child is legally yours in Haiti, and they are officially given your last name
3. The file gets translated and legalized and has to go through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
4. MOI (ministry of interior = immigration phase of the process for the child)
5. The passport is issued
6. The file (along with the child’s passport) is submitted to the Embassy in Port-au-Prince
7. If approved, schedule visa medical appointment
8. Complete child’s visa medical appointment for visa
9. Visa issued
10. Exit letter
So that’s it folks! We would appreciate your prayers that these next steps go quickly and smoothly and J comes home fast!! The estimated timeframe is 8-12 months but we know if God chooses he can speed it up.
There was so much that happened in the last two weeks that I really couldn’t process it all while I was still there in Haiti so I tried to just give everyone a jist of what happened each day. The more I’ve thought about everything today on our plane rides and since we have been home there’s just a couple things I wanted to say until I say goodbye on the blog for a while. I really dont blog well so I probably wont write again until we have an adoption update which could be a while. There’s alot I learned in Haiti but the one thing that I keep coming back to is thankfulness. I have so many things to be thankful for some are first world luxuries, wonderful friends and family and spiritual growth and realizations during this trip. At first I was annoyed we had to spend two weeks in Haiti and at the end of it leave J there. I am still annoyed about it but I am very thankful for that time. One, we did get to know his little personality and learn even when we do finally get him home even if he doesn’t remember this time we bonded we know he can bond. It’s a really great feeling to know that he can bond he can attach and he did like us:) Two, I’m thankful for this trip to help me realize a little of what J will feel when he comes home. There were so many times on this trip I was out of my comfort zone. I didn’t look or talk like anyone there. The food tastes and smells different than ours. There’s so many things that will be new and different to J when he comes home so to be in his world for two weeks and feel somewhat how he will feel when he comes home it’s a good reminder and good learning experience.
Some of the first world luxuries I take for granted but today have been very thankful for are: Clean water, hot showers, garbage men, a comfy bed, electricity that the city doesn’t turn off every evening, yummy food, AC, and my list really could go on and on.
I am so thankful for so many wonderful relationships in my life. First and foremost my relationship with God. He was my rock through these weeks. My morning devotions and prayer time with him was what kept me going. And the close relationships God has given me that are such a blessing. Especially Emil. I can’t imagine doing this trip without him. All the things I saw in him on this trip reminded me what I love most about him. He was so fun with the kids they loved him and he was so selfless serving me and everyone around him the whole time. Also my parents. They gave up of their own time to care for my kids for two whole weeks. I know it had to be draining our life isn’t a slow pace sit at home life. But they handled it without one complaint and they are a picture of exactly of what being a servant of Christ looks like. And of course all my friends. I have the best village in the whole world. I really am a blessed girl. I couldn’t even name them all if I tried because so many people helped with donations, prayers, helping with my kids, having snacks ready for me when I got home, the list could also go on and on. I cannot even describe how thankful I am for my friends!
Some of the real lessons I have learned this week that have broken me and hopefully changed me into being a more godly woman, wife and mother are the spirtiual lessons I have learned and am still learning. I learned and am thankful that God is bigger than poverty. That he promises to provide for the needs of his children. What we think is a need and he what knows is a need may be different but I know we can hang on his promises. I am thankful that God is sovereign. when I cannot understand why J can’t come home with us now and how this process can be good or what’s best for him I know that I can trust God. That he is in control that nothing is out of his perfect plan and that he is J’s provider and protector, I am not! Even as I write this I am crying. I want J home with us so bad. I can’t even describe how I love this little guy I hardly know, but I do. So all your prayers are appreciated that God would make this next process quick and smooth and that we can go back and get J quick. But if quick and smooth isn’t God’s plan and it is slow and bumpy that I would trust trust trust and never waiver.
Romans 15:13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy spirit.
Day 13 – Today we had breakfast and went over to get J. Played at the guesthouse most of the day until we thought we had our social worker interview at 12:30pm. We got all dressed up and went over to the crèche to have our interview. A guy who works for our agency was supposed to be coming to translate for us and bringing the social worker. So we waited and waited and waited for about 2 hours. I finally decided I should email our agency since they were the ones who set up this meeting. They did email me back and let me know that their car broke down on the way so they would try again tomorrow at 9am. This meeting is something we have to complete while in Haiti in order to move forward with the adoption process. It’s a social worker from IBESR and they come and ask questions for about an hours in regards to why we want to adopt. We did find out J would sit with us during this meeting. Since we found out they weren’t coming today we left J there to do preschool with the other kids and we went back to have lunch. In the evening we went back to play with j and the other kids before we had to leave at 5pm.
Day 14 – Our last day. Today was a very emotional day. I woke up crying before we even went over to the crèche. I knew we had our social worker interview this morning which I was a little nervous about. Emil’s never nervous. Then it would be our last day to hang out with J and the other kids and leave all our new friends we have made here (the other adoptive families and A). But the sweet part is tomorrow we get to go home and see our kids. I miss Owen and Emma so much. We have got to facetime them a lot and they have got to talk to J some. He likes to talk about Owen and Emma. So we got our breakfast and headed over to the crèche for our social worker interview. After what we went through with this yesterday we figured they were on Haiti time so they probably wouldn’t be coming at 9am but we would get there at 9am anyway just in case. Haiti time is not like American time. It’s like this “so your meeting is at 9am, so you be ready at 9am and we will get there whenever we can”. It’s a cultural thing I guess. For me being a person who is like “I’m always 10 minutes early or I think I’m late” this Haiti time thing has been very difficult for me to get used to. So again we sat for a while. A while being an hour and a half. J wasn’t in a good mood because now his routine is that we come and get him and he gets to go to the guest house. So when we didn’t do that he was upset. So Emil and I actually took turns going to the guest house with him and one of us stayed at the crèche to make sure we didn’t miss the social worker. About 10:30am the social worker and our agency representative showed up for our 9am meeting!! So I went and got Emil and J and we went into our interview. Surprising J was so good most of the time. For an hour and a half he either sat on my lap or Emil’s lap while we were questioned by the social worker. He asked a lot of questions like describe your spouse, what you like and dislike about them. Describe your time here with J how it has gone. Where do you see J in 12 years? How will you keep the Haitian culture alive in your home? Lots more questions but similar to that and then at the end the social worker just gave us advice about adoption. He was kind and so was agency rep so overall It was a good experience. After that J went to preschool and we went out to lunch with our new friends the two other adoptive families here. When we came back we went straight over to spend our last few hours with J before 5pm. We played at the guesthouse. Honestly it seemed like he knew something was different. He was fun but a little down. We gave him one last shower (he loved it), facetimed Owen and Emma and momaw and popaw, and then we went back to the crèche so we could say bye to all the kids. When I was telling J good bye I lost it. He looked at me like I was crazy! But he kept hugging me very tight like he was trying to comfort me almost. He gave me many hugs and kisses. I told the older boys to reassure him we would be back for him and when he was sad they needed to comfort him. Emil and I gave all the kids hugs and said our goodbyes and a few of them said “we are really going to miss you”. We spent a lot of time with the boys playing and it was so much fun. I thought I was done but this one boy he’s 11 Emil and I got to know really well and we walked back over to the guest house he was doing something over here and he gave us a hug and said bye I said P I’m going to miss you and he had tears in his eyes and said I’m going to miss you too! I lost it again! Today has been hard. But good. This is part of the process we have to do in order to get to the end result of bringing J home. What a bitter sweet day. Past all the crying now and soooooooooo looking forward to seeing Owen and Emma tomorrow!!!! I cannot wait!!!!
Day 11 – Monday started off the same as normal. We had breakfast and then went over to get J and bring him to the guest house. B’s family brought him over to the guest house too so the boys played together until rest time. Around lunch we take them back to rest and then have their dinner. After that instead of playing at the crèche in the afternoon we brought J back over to the guest house again because Emil was going to build some tables for the sewing room. He was really glad to have a project to work on. That took most of the afternoon he built two table. J liked helping out. He swings a hammer really good. I can tell he’s going to be daddy’s little helper. After that we took J back over he has to be back at the crèche by 5 they head to bed pretty early.
Day 12 – After breakfast we went to get J and back to the guest house to play. He played some baseball today. J’s pretty good at baseball. He’s very active and loves to play. After rest and lunch we brought some of the older boys over (5 of them) and J because Emil had two more tables to build and they wanted to help out. Some of them were good helpers and some were not. I felt like I was herding cattle while Emil worked. They kept running off and I’d have to get them back in here. I’m exhausted from herding them back to work! They were just excited to get out of the crèche I think. There’s a new couple that came in tonight. They are the parents of two kids at the crèche. They are on the 2 week trip as well! It’s really nice to have another couple here tonight to chat with. After we finished the table we gave all the boys some of the jerky that rugged meats donated for the crèche. They loved it. Not sure if you can see great in the pics but they wanted to thank rugged meats so we wrote thank you on the bottom of the table they built and all the boys signed it. Thanks again Jim and Krista Kuntzelam!! We are so thankful for your love for Christ and orphans!
Day 9 – It’s funny how fast you forget what you did each day. It’s now Sunday (day 10) and I hadn’t wrote about saturday day 9 yet and I already forgot what happened! After breakfast we went over to see J and we knew another family was coming today. We played for a little while at the crèche and then they came. They were the family of a little boy (we will call him B). B is friends with J they are the same age. So once that family came we all came over to the guest house together and J and B played and we got to chat with them for a little way. It’s nice having another couple here again. They aren’t staying at the guest house with us but during the day they were here. Emil and I played lots of cards at night and that was about it for day 8. Missed Owen and Emma A LOT today. Owen had a baseball game and did really good! We got lots of pics from family and friends. So thankful for so many people who love our kids!
Day 10- Sunday. We decided to grab J and come back to the guest house this morning while everyone else went to church. A went home for the weekend to Oregon to see her mom for her b-day (hope your having fun A, we miss you). So we decided since she wasn’t here and no other adoptive families or missions teams were at church we would just have some alone time with J. We just played and hung out all morning. Around 12:30 we took J back over to the crèche for a rest and lunch. Then we went out to lunch at the same restaurant we went to last Sunday. We went with the other couple (B’s parents). It was nice to get out and get some yummy food. We walked to the restaurant from the guest house. It’s only about a 5-10 minute walk but you have to be careful to dodge motorcycle. I swear they would hit us and keep going if we didn’t move out of hte way. On Sundays the cooks are off so we are on our own to eat! After lunch we went back to the crèche to play again. We played with J for a while and I got to talk to and know some of the nannies a little better. Over the week I’ve tried to talk to the nannies in Creole a little. A had told me they really appreciate if you atleast try to speak to them and they don’t speak much English. So I’ve learned a little creole from them. I kept thanking them for taking such good care of J. They do seem to love kids and keep them clean and well kept. One of them that also makes the jewelry that is sold by chance for children. She gave me a bracelet today. I told her I would pay her and she said no I want you to have it! Then I did tell her I wanted J to pick out one he likes for me to give Emma from him! So he picked out a yellow one for Emma and he picked out another one a green one and he said “for Owen”. So Owen got a bracelet too from J. After that we headed back to the guest house and since no dinner tonight we just ate cookies and pretzels for dinner. This is the first night we have no electric or water. We aren’t sure what’s wrong. The maintenance guy who lives here at the guest house isn’t here tonight so we tried to ask the guard and he just said “no gas in the generator” so I guess the city has turned the water and electric off for the evening and our generator isn’t working. We did bring a flashlight and the guard actually brought us his lantern. So we are sitting here in the dark playing cards. Maybe you would think it’s romantic or something but it’s not! there’s mice that live in here lots of flies and mosquitos. It’s only 6pm and it’s pitch black dark. No street lights or lights anywhere to be seen. Very different than in the U.S. where we always have electric and running water! Thankful for the small things today!
Here’s some pictures of the creche. J’s room he sleeps in, the livingroom areas, dining room for big kids, dining room for little kids and outside play area. Also a pic of my kiddos. Thanks Steph for taking them out for cake pops!
Day 7 – This morning we had breakfast and then we went over to the crèche to play with J. The community center was there so we stayed for a while because they sing songs with the little kids while the big kids are at school. J didn’t really want to participate. All he wants to do once we come is come back to the guest house. So after about an hour we did come here. We played legos and cars and swords then at noon we were going with A to the Baptist mission to their gift shop and café so we took J back over for his nap before we left. It was about a 15 minute ride to the Baptist mission and once we got there it was closed. It looked like a missions team working inside. We spoke to a guy outside and he said they were closed until mid October. That was the only shop around here I was excited to go so we could get Owen and Emma a little something (oh well). So we got back in the truck and came back to the guest house. We let J nap for a little while and then we went back to the crèche to play. Emil played a lot of soccer and basketball with the big boys today. I played outside with J and his little buddies. We played basketball and keep away and I took a bunch of pics of J and his little friend on the stairs doing all different poses. He’s really becoming silly and funny (everyone here kept telling us he’s so quiet, but he’s not with us anymore). The hardest part for me right now is knowing I have to leave J here when we come home. A lot of these kids have been left at the crèche by their biological parents and they were hurt. Now I have to do the same thing to him. We come we play for two weeks give him gifts show him love and then leave him with no communication for a very long time. I just can’t wrap my brain around how this is best for the kids. Why Haiti’s adoption process is like this. I don’t want him to feel like we have abandoned him as well. But I don’t know how to make a little kid that doesn’t even understand English all that well understand we are coming back.
Day 8 – Today we had breakfast and then we went over to the crèche to get J for a few hours to play. We brought him over to the guest house right away because we knew we only had a few hours today to play. I wanted to look at the jewelry that the ladies here make and sell. Was able to find a few cute necklaces and bracelets to purchase. I couldn’t understand completely but I think from what I could make out there’s about 30 ladies in the community that make the beads and sell them for income. They are made out of old t-shirts. You can purchase them online so I’ll get that link for you if you want to help support the community here in Kenscoff. After that we had to take J back to the crèche because we were riding down to port au prince with A and some other guys to pick up wood (for Emil to build some tables) for some new couches for the guest house and to go by the store we needed more half and half and coffee (can’t survive without coffee). So that ended being an adventure. We had to go by IBESR to pick up C4C worker who goes into IBESR to advocate for our families. He had to go with us to get the couches. So that took about 3 hours. We waited on the couches forever. Finally we got them loaded in the truck and our driver decided there was no way we could fit the wood in as well. So we headed to the store to pick up the stuff we needed and head back to Kenscoff. Let me just say Port Au Price is unlike anything I have ever seen. There are people everywhere. A was telling us that it’s a 13 square mile area with 1 million people in it. There’s not really stores or shops, everyone just sets up what they sell on the side of the road. So if you need clothes or a purse or shoes or a cell phone charger you just walk down the road and purchase whatever you need. They sell everything even a whole chicken a guy was knocking on our window trying to sell us. And I don’t know if there is speed limits or driving laws but if there are they are definitely not enforced. People drive on any side of the road they want. Pass anyone they want to and motorcycle are going between cars as fast as they can. You have to be a good driver to drive in port au prince or you would hit another car or bystander. There’s people walking down the middle of the road and tap tap’s stopping to pick up people and cars swerve all the time. There were a few times I was actually really scared in the car! But we survived to tell the story tonight! Safely back in kenscoff. We got to go see J for a little bit when we got back and we will head over again tomorrow morning. Hopefully they will get wood tomorrow so Emil can have his project to do next week. He’s going to build some tables for the sewing room.
Day 6 – Is getting to be a little more regular and routine I guess. We had breakfast this morning and then headed over to the crèche. We brought some paper and stickers for the kids to play with. All the older kids were at school because their uniforms finally came in so they got to go for the first day today. So it was just toddlers and babies at the crèche so it was pretty quite. We played stickers and then made paper airplanes with the kids. They ate their breakfast/lunch (not sure which one it is at 10am) and then we brought J over to the guest house to play. When we go over in the morning he kind of whines until we bring him to the guest house and then he opens up and is as happy as can be. He likes to have alone time with us. We did puzzles and ate snacks (his favorite thing to do) then at 11am we were able to get a tour of the medical clinic that’s on site here with the guest house. It’s pretty nice. I didn’t get any pictures but they have a triage unit (well little room) One doctor and one intern doctor. They have two nurses (one is American or maybe she’s from Canada – can’t remember) Anyway she did grow up in Haiti her parents were missionaries. She married a Haitian man and now lives and works here. She was very nice to give us a tour. She was showing us all the rooms they have an xray machine but it’s not working currently so they are waiting on the guy who fixes it to come. Also they don’t have a lot of medications like we do in the US. They have a volunteer that comes in occasionally for dentistry so they had a room for that when he comes. Going there makes you realize what all we have in the US at our fingertips. We have everything so accessible for us. The nurse was telling us once a week they have to go out and look for medications to purchase to keep them in stock. It’s a pediatric clinic so the kids at the crèche are checked there when needed and any of the kids in the community until 18 years of age. I was reading my devotional this morning that put a lot of things into perspective for me. You can get so down being here in Haiti where it’s so different than our life in the USA. You can feel so sorry for the people and kids and just want to cry all the time. This devotional was very good. It was talking about how this moment isn’t intended to be our destination, but it is what God’s using to prepare you for your final destination. Haiti is very poor and a lot of things I am seeing here are very sad and God is truly giving me a heart now to help by serving the Haitian people and helping them in certain ways that I can but this isn’t my final destination and it’s not theirs if they know the Lord. So more than anything while I’m here sharing about the Lord is the most important thing I can do. Another quote from new morning mercies in the same devotional said “a sound biblical doctrine of the future is the only way to arrive at a sound biblical understand of the present. If there is a final glorious destination for all God’s children then this time is not a destination but a preparation for a final destination. There is meaning and purpose in everything we are going through. In a real way, God is using all the difficulties of life in this fallen world to change and mature us, making us ready for the world that is to come!”
Today after one week in Haiti I am so thankful for Jesus dying on the Cross for my sins, for my salvation in Him, and that someday I will spend eternity with Him, not because of anything I’ve done but because of everything His Son did. By living a holy perfect life and dying a holy perfect death for my sins. I know what this means and I’ve always been thankful for it but especially thankful today!
On a side note my stomach is starting to feel upset. Please pray it will get better quickly and I won’t get too sick.
Some pics playing stickers with the kids, hanging with our buddies and me getting my hair done.
Day 5- This morning the mission’s team left early so it’s just Emil and I at the guest house now. It’s a big quite guest house. So we had breakfast by ourselves and then headed over to the crèche to see J. He was upstairs hadn’t got changed yet so I helped change his diaper and get his clothes on. I just assumed he wasn’t potty trained since he always has a diaper on but later today found out he actually is potty trained. I’ll get to that in a minute. We came back to the guest house and played for a while. He loves to come over here and he’s pretty crazy and funny here. He’s really rough and tough. He loves to beat up daddy. We played here for a while and watched curious George on my phone. We decided to give him a bath since he looked like he could use one. I had been told the culture in Haiti is to give a sponge bath even adults do it a lot of times. I’ve also seen him get a sponge bath at the crèche so I kind of assumed we would do that. I walked in the bathroom and Emil had the shower turned on and J LOVED it. He was screaming and laughing and jumping up and down. I think it must have been his first shower ever. When it was time to get out he wasn’t happy about that he probably would have stayed in there for hours. We did have clean clothes but no diaper for him over here. He told me he didn’t need one watch me go potty and he did on the toilet. So I didn’t put a diaper back on him the rest of the day and he went to the bathroom multiple times! Yay for one less thing to do when he gets to come home! After that we went back to the crèche to let him eat dinner and play with all the kids for a while. We have made some good friends with the little boys and girls. Also the older girls gave me a hug today so I felt like that was a good break through. I also bribe with snacks and gum so that helps! Whatever works right?! After playing for a little while I had one of the older boys tell J we had to leave for dinner and would see him in the morning. He jumped down gave us each a hug and ran to play with his friends without crying that we were leaving so that was maybe the first time he did that. I guess he gets it now that we are coming back. I did talk to the man who runs the crèche today and he was aksing us how it was going. I told him that J was so much fun we were having a great time and he said to me “J has always been a quite kid and an observer and a little sad but this week you can tell it’s his week. I have never seen him so happy”. That made my day! We were here alone in the evening for dinner just me and Emil. We ate dinner, read a little, and played cards and I beat Emil two times at rummy. Today is really hit me how much I miss Emma and Owen. When we facetimed them today I started to cry when we got off. I think Emil teared up a little too! Miss them so much glad they are in good hands and having fun with friends.
these are some pics of some of our little friends we have made. My sunglasses got passed around today for a photo op. J took the pic of me and Emil and he said “mommy daddy stick out your tongue”. So glad my kids have so much family and so many friends at home that love and care for them. Owen’s first baseball game was last night.