Sunday, January 31, 2010
Saturday, January 30, 2010
Isaac did OK with Mom gone. He was looking for me and very happy when I came through the door. He has been really sweet to Angeline and they are so cute together.
In other news... remember that sibling of one of our children that was in need of a home? They (HER and her caretaker) are coming to visit later next week. They will be staying here for a week so we can see how things go and pray about her being a bigger part of our family. Can you keep HER in our prayers? Also pray for everyone in our family and HER family because there is SO much going on I know that it can be overwhelming to us all. The tickets were booked and plans were made weeks ago so while its not the best timing we know that it will all be okay.
Friday, January 29, 2010
Come on doctors... let us go! :)
Thursday, January 28, 2010
When we arrived after Angeline being NPO since last night and then a 2 hour drive at the worst time through Seattle traffic... we learned that they might NOT have a PICU bed available for Angeline. We decided to wait and see for a bit- and lo and behold something opened up. More like they shuffled some babies over to NICU to make room for her. We were grateful as getting geared up for this all over again emotionally seemed abusive. They also mentioned that this happens once a year to someone... you know showing up for surgery and then it getting changed after you drive all the way here. I reminded them that it happened to us before- so maybe once a year was a bit of an understatement. Or else we just have really bad luck.
They took us back to the little pre surgery room where we got Angeline changed into her gown and socks. She was already hysterical and very upset... I would guess hungry and thirsty too- but she managed. We had the most fantastic anesthesiologist who LOVES panda's and had panda stickers on her stethoscope. She was able to help get Angeline calm by talking about the pandas and she blew me away with her child friendly skills. We have noticed in the past that sometimes the anesthesia folks have a bit of an attitude at certain places (not mentioning any names). But this gal was great! She let me wear a gown and go back to the OR with Angeline. I sat in a chair with her and hse put the Panda Cam at the San Diego Zoo on the computer for Angeline and I to watch while she went worked on getting her off into sleepy time for surgery. Angeline's eyes rolled back not too much later and I laid her on the operating table saying a little prayer over her. I felt great and I knew she was in very capable hands. And nice hands too! What a bonus!
Lauren and I were shuffled to a "doctor patient conference room" and we were told it would be about 20 mins and the doctor would be out to tell us how she did. So after a half hour went by and hear the CODE come over the loud speaker I felt sick to my stomach and started pacing. I couldn't remember for the life of me what O.R. number she was in. They were really concerned about her airway, breathing and swelling. Finally after about 20 more minutes the doctor came in and told me that everything went really well. That the child near Angeline had an emergency that he had to attend to but that Angeline was doing ok. He showed us where to head towards to get the PICU pager and then we could go get a bite to eat or walk around and they would page us once she was out of PACU *post surgery* and into her PICU room.
The PICU desk was a buzz and everyone just rushed around while Lauren and I waited for a pager. They were very apologetic telling us that they had been slammed busy and that a child just "coded" and that things were bad with someone in the O.R. etc. Lauren and I just stood there dazed and patiently waited for them to assign us a pager so we knew when to return and how to check on Angeline. Finally we had the pager and we headed out to the cafeteria for some yummy salad bar. :)
We figured we had about a half hour before they would have Angeline in her room. We ate and cleaned up the table. Then we headed back down to the PICU desk because we hadn't been paged and we were starting to get worried. There was a girl standing at the desk and she said "Are you Angeline's family??" We let her know that we were and she said "didn't anyone tell you how to use your pager???" We told her yes... that we waited and it never went off. She had tried to call us three times and we were needed back in PACU where Angeline was awake and hysterical.
They said Lauren couldn't come back and so I rushed with the lady back to Angeline. The nurse caring for her was sitting near her but Angeline was sobbing laying there with her eyes swollen shut. I asked how much fluid they had given her in surgery seeing how swollen her face was and she said.... "None." Wow...really? She said "She has been crying so much it made it eyes swell." Hmpf. That's odd. I have seen her throw a big doozy and cry like the dickens and never have her eyes swollen shut especially after being NPO for over 12 hours and not getting any IV fluids. Weird. (I did not say doozy or dickens to her- I just kept my thoughts to myself.) The nurse was very nice but her English maybe not the best. She told me that the PICU was too busy and it would be hours before we had a room. She said that Angeline had three doses of Morphine already and that she couldn't give her more in the PACU. I think I had a really long conversation with the anesthesia folks about the pain meds and how they tend to possibly make Angeline upset and giving her more would then make her more upset even if you suspect that she is crying from pain... she was crying because she was scared and couldn't open her eyes!
I asked about giving Angeline some apple juice and she said: "Oh no, not until she gets to the PICU- that's too dangerous here with her breathing problems." I thought that she had sleep apnea and wasn't aware of other breathing problems but by this time Angeline was calm and resting in my arms, dozing in and out of her pain med induced comfort zone... so I let it go. About an hour later I grew restless and asked her to get on the ball with seeing about the PICU room as it was time for Angeline to "go potty"- which requires a catheter and process and would be much easier to do in a room and not in the open PACU. She told me just to wait and that since Angeline had been NPO and didn't have any IV fluid that she would be OK waiting to "go potty".
So finally it was time to go to the PICU. The nurse asked if it would be OK if "Mom who was keeping Angeline calm and keeping her vitals at normal levels" could come to the PICU to do the "hand off". I felt a little weird that someone had to ask this. I don't know what normal protocol is but it just seemed strange that I couldn't be with my child when I wanted... where I wanted. So I help maneuver the bed through the halls and to the PICU.
The hand off involves a lot of paperwork, questions, reviewing things, nurses, doctors, residents etc. The hand off nurse mentioned something about Angeline's "chronic lung infections" and I had to chime in and mention that was misinformation and I wasn't sure where that was coming from. That she had had pneumonia as an infant coming out of Haiti but that she was septic and had bacterial meningitis so it was par for the course the infection at that time. But that since then she hadn't had any issues. The hand off nurse told me... "well its in your chart". OK... whatever. Let it go type A Momma...
Now I was really missing home and sad that Angeline was still so upset... and the hand off nurse mentions something to the crowd of people hearing the report from surgery and Angeline's vast medical history... and she mentions about the "three tries that it took to get her intubated." No one ever mentioned this to me before so I had to ask what happened and why they had such a hard time. Then she said "she kept sitting up when they stuck the tube in her mouth." I don't know much about anesthesia but I do know that you shouldn't be sitting up when you are intubated unless you aren't getting enough of the anesthesia. What a scary experience for Angeline- now my heart is just breaking!
So I must ask about this and what happened. I stop everyone from carrying on and ask what they are talking about. What do you mean that she sat up when she was being intubated? No one mentioned anything about this to me at all. The nurse and resident tell me that its because its really just an anesthesia report and it doesn't really matter to the parent. Then I let them know that it DOES matter to me and that I would like to know what happened in the O.R. after I left and before the surgeon was there. I would like to know why she was sitting up and what problems she had. I explained that I am always asked before surgery by everyone what kind of issues she had previously with anesthesia and I would like to know so I am informed. Then they do it- then they make the biggest mistake someone can make when talking to a parent about their child... they tell me... "This is medical talk- doctor stuff- and it doesn't really have anything to do with what you need to know. It isn't really something parents need to know."
My head spun around like Reagan in the exorcist.
I said "Despite what you might be thinking about me, I am not stupid. I would like to be completely informed about everything that occurs to my child when I am not in the room. Especially if she had a complication with something. That is my right and how dare you talk to me that way." And then I cried. Big tears. Angeline was upset, these nurses and the resident were not getting the answers and communicating well with one another. No one really knew anything about if she had fluid. How much morphine she had. (Later I find out the PACU nurse gave her three HALF doses because she wasn't sure that giving the full dose was ok since she had a bad reaction to it before. So basically she changed the dosing without permission from anyone.) Unreal- seriously unreal.
At this point I was missing the people in Texas. They tell you everything and then some! And no one would ever make anyone feel as if they shouldn't ask or didn't have a right to know.
So here we are now.... things are better hours later. I do believe that everyone realized that it was not okay what happened and I think that it set the bar to a place where it should have been from the moment we walked in here. They are busy, they are stressed, I realize this but there was no way that things should have happened the way that they did. Angeline has finally taken some tylenol after spitting for the past three hours and refusing to swallow at all. She is watching TV and ate some ice cream. She is by far the most miserable I have ever seen her after a surgery and she doesn't want anyone to touch her but Mom or Lauren. She is the bravest girl that I know and I can't even imagine how bad her throat hurts. She is sitting in the big crib with her dog "Mimi" that her aunt Nina brought her last night. She has enjoyed showing it to everyone and Mimi even got a collar when we got admitted- a collar just like Angeline's arm bracelet.
Bekki came to visit and brought some special things and we are so thankful that we had a mini break from the drama. The PICU is a sad place and being in here reminds me of when Angeline spent her first months in America in the PICU in Ohio. The roommate that we have is from another state and is here alone- and he is just a few months old. That makes me even more depressed and I don't even know the whole story. We all can't wait to get home tomorrow- we miss you guys tons! As long as things go well tonight we should be able to leave in the morning. :)
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
This was too cute to not post. Things are going really well. We are spending a lot of time making up for missed cuddling and holding and bonding time. Isaac is adjusting better than I would have expected and I do sense that he really misses his nannies, friends and the other volunteers in Haiti. Each time there is a TV show they all have his little friends names. It makes me sad that he didn't have more time for a goodbye and slower transition.
Please pray for him and for Angeline. Tomorrow morning Angeline is having surgery. She is just getting her adenoids and tonsils out but because she has been having breathing troubles at night and is on oxygen at night there is some concern on how her airway will react to the anesthesia and the surgery itself. So she will be going to the PICU (pediatric intensive care unit) afterward. Lauren and I are going together with her as she would want us both to be there. My husband will hold down the troops here at home and I know that he will do great- I just worry about Isaac and what he will think about his Mom leaving tomorrow morning. So please keep them both in your prayers. I will update in the morning after her surgery. I am really nervous about the whole thing. Last time when she had surgery on her eyes she woke up in hysterics and that was very frightening. Thanks so much for praying. :)
Monday, January 25, 2010
The night of the earthquake I selfishly thought about my son above all else. I thought about the past four years of my life since we decided we would adopt internationally and I thought about how hard we prayed and worked to bring him home. I thought about how it would feel to give up the last bit of hope that we had to bring him home and I just knew that all our original documents were under a ton of rubble and that included his passport. I emailed my senators and congressman THAT NIGHT. And followed up with phone calls and written signed releases to them all along with the documents that we had of our sons scanned onto our computer. Because there had been some miscommunication previously between our attorneys office and our orphanage and us- we started asking for documents to be scanned to us months ago for our own sanity. And I was thankful that our orphanage had many copies of things that we were missing to fill in the gaps.
I had people here in Washington state who worked all hours of the day and night and took my phone calls even at 5am- in order to do whatever they could to get my son home. When I wasn't working on something I was making other phone calls and advocating in all arenas for my child to come home. I called USCIS, DOS, DHS, and anyone I knew who had any kind of pull or who might know anyone I called. I talked to the media, did phone interviews on the radio, and even some newspaper articles. I let my family go way more public than I ever would really want and it was uncomfortable for us but I felt that we needed to get our story out.
I was told the day we talked to our congressmans office that one of us needed to go to Haiti. Even though they were telling people not to come, since we were willing- as were the other families in our area who were in process- each family had the "dad" travel to Haiti in order to advocate for our children in person and to be with our children during this hard time. Having my husband gone in Haiti made me worry but also gave me great peace knowing that he was with my son.
There were several occasions of continued miscommunication and it was hurtful and didn't feel transparent as I had hoped. There were moments things felt like they would happen right away and other moments where we felt that they would never happen. There were moments that my faith gave me all the peace I ever needed and moments where I threw my faith aside and became completely panicked and nasty because I was willing to do whatever it took. I was even willing at one point to bring my son into this country or another country without approval to do so- but my conscience told me that I needed to really consider what would happen before doing so. I asked- I honestly called people and asked "what would happen if...?" and after hearing how hard it would be and what that would mean for my son and husband and the entire process- I knew that I had to do everything with transparency and ethically!
I know that there are children leaving Haiti who shouldn't be. I know that its a controversal reason why this is happening. I know that in some instances the announcement of humanitarian parole for orphans in the adoption process was a glimmer of a hope and a window of opportunity for many children who have been in orphanges for a really long time. I know that people who are doing this are doing it not only for corrupt reasons- but for heartfelt reasons and they feel possibly spiritually or ethically convicted to do these things. But at the same time- sometimes when things feel that they are the right thing to do in our hearts, legally they are the wrong thing. And because early on there were airlifts of lots of orphans- entire orphanages full of orphans to the USA- this kicked that door WIDE open for huge problems and the entire process to be shut down.
And this was when I knew that it was the absolute right thing for my husband to go to Haiti to bring our son home. While he was there he had other goals to complete but I knew that the main focus was purely on Isaac and bringing him home. Because even though there seemed to be a real chance for many Haitian orphans- there also seemed to be a large monster hanging over the process that was going to ruin it for everyone. Ruin it for my son who has been waiting YEARS to come home. And that is not ok.
So someday I might feel in the right frame of mind to write the whole story but for now- I write it to hopefully help you- whoever you may be- who is waiting for your child in Haiti. I am very concerned about Isaac's friends at his orphanage and I desperately want them home with thier families so that someday my son can have the chance to know them once again in a completely different world.
Isaac's humanitarian parole was processed in Florida. He esentially traveled to the Bahama's and then to the USA as a Haitian without a passport or visa. The people here who helped us were amazing. They moved mountains and didn't take no for an answer. Our documents traveled from one hand and one email inbox to another until they found the right person to give the OK and get the process going so that my son didn't have to go into Port-au-Prince to the embassy. I was terribly scared for his emotional well being and what he might be exposed to. We know that in restrospect the several occasions where my husband and son could have traveled into PAP with armed guards and other groups of people didn't work out because they weren't meant to work out. Even though in the moment we questioned why those people who were there weren't helped to facilitate them getting to the embassy. It just wasn't meant to be.
When Isaac got stuck in the Bahamas with my husband even though it was amusing and wait until you see the pictures- it was very worrisome that they might not be allowed to enter the Bahamas or even leave. It was difficult for them to even get out of Haiti because they had only a folder full of copied Haitian court documents and a letter from the USA government giving them approval to travel into the USA without a passport and Visa for Isaac.
When Isaac arrived at the small Florida airport they had to inspect the small four seater plane. They then had some snacks for Isaac and some lunch later on- the process took several hours to get him in and out. They were prepared for him to arrive and he was the ONLY child there. Can you imagine how long it might take at a larger airport that is very busy and then adding 80 children to go through the process with? It was taking terribly long for families to bring their children out of border patrol and customs/immigration etc.
So today when I heard so many things about what is now going on in Haiti I felt a moment of guilt. Just one moment- I am being honest here- we waited long and steadfast for our son to get home and I am not lacing it with any guilt. I do want his friends and other Haitian orphans and US families in process to have these moments of joy. So I watched today how things unfolded and how they passed around from facebook, to my email inbox, to the joint council, blogs, yahoo groups etc. It was a devastating day for many many families. Many friends children are still in Haiti.
So I had been passing along the information as it unfolded to our congressmans office. They have other local families that they are trying to help and I wanted to be sure that they had all the information. I was grateful that after spending hours with me in the previous days on the phone- and even in person at the airport when Isaac got home- that they would take the time to call me and let me know what they know. Thus why I am now writing this blog post after thinking I wasn't going to get to blogging today. Isaac is now awake and on my lap so I will try to be a bit more concise. I trust what these people know and what they tell me. They know people so deeply involved in the process to bring our children home that they have facts and accurate information.
SO here is what I know...
1. Things are backed up. Things are backed up at the embassy. In the airports. Everywhere! They can't keep up.
2. Most of the children who were in category 1- have already been processed. This is not ALL of the children but MOST of the children who were identified as being eligible to recieve a visa- are now at home with their families. These are children who are like Isaac- who had full and complete adoptions in Haiti and most of their paperwork was able to be presented to the State Department.
3. The children now who are being processed were at a "step" in the Haiti process that is not that of giving a full and complete legal adoption within Haiti. I don't know if that is 2nd legal, or IBESR or MOI, parquet etc or what part they consider a full legal adoption and you are your child's parents- so the children being processed now are more complicated. Remember Isaac took a couple hours. Imagine it being a months work of work crammed into a day and then figuring out how to do that times 80.
4. There are children coming into the US without full final legal adoptions and to parents who might not have USCIS approval. This means that the people may or may not have home studies completed from what I understand. This means that children- even if they WILL BE those peoples legal children can not GO WITH the parents until that happens. They are making sure that children are safe and in the right homes with people who have background checks and fingerprints that are up to date etc. They don't want innocent children who suffered so much already to be put into families or situations that aren't right. They don't want to have to come back 20 years from now and answer to their people- their US citizens who were formerly Haitians- asking questions as to why they are here and without their families and with people who might have hurt them etc.
5. Finding balance in keeping children safe and getting children to their families where they should be has proven difficult. They have a great process in place that has been streamlined as fine as it can go. And its still difficult. So in the meantime they have to put children into "group homes" so that they can be sure that the children are cared for by adults who are licensed and qualified to care for them while they work round the clock to get them home to their parents. I realize that group home is not a great term here in our country- but honestly- these children came from orphanages. Many of which have no shelter, food or water currently. The group homes are NOT like being at home with a family- but they are safe and certainly they wouldn't let any child who needs medical care or medication or special care go without it.
6. Now with that being said if Isaac were in a group home right now I would be totally freaked out. I would be calling my congressman who is the person I elected to advocate for me and my family and asking them to help me to get Isaacs process done so that he could come home. I would pray and stay put right near where the group home was. I would do whatever I had to do to support the people who were processing the paperwork. I wouldn't be bothering them too much as I wouldn't want to delay the process. I would bring them drinks and snacks and send them lunch as they did for my son. I would support them so that they could work faster.
7. There is information circulating about the Haitian government having to give approval before allowing children to leave Haiti. Well yes folks- they do! I do believe that they have always had to do this for all the children who have left Haiti on humanitarian parole. I believe that any child from Haiti has to be declared an orphan before the adoption process can start. I know that we at MAT (Medical Advocacy Team) work with Real Hope for Haiti. They have a rescue center and clinic. Sometimes children are left there out front and sometimes parents bring children there and then they don't come back. They wait months before declaring a child an orphan. They hope that the parents will come visit but sometimes they don't. They wait a full year in most cases before they start the process to declare a child an orphan. I don't know what this process looks like but I know that they even post pictures of the child and family on their gate and do whatever they can to try to find the parents before putting that abandoned label on the child. All children in the adoption process would have had this documentation. But perhaps the children who need the approval now have lost that document in the rubble. How are they going to know that the child being brought for humanitarian parole didn't just get seperated from their family in the earthquake? I pray that this is really how things will go and its not truly every child now leaving Haiti has to get approval from the Haitian government- I hope that some of the children already have that approval. My "person" did talk to the Haitian embassy here today and spoke to officials who said that they weren't even aware this was an issue. Any ideas?
8. About starting an adoption or fostering children from Haiti... this isn't going to happen on a large scale more than likely. And if it does its not going to be for a long time. I do not truly think that they are going to airlift orphans out of Haiti by the plane load and then put them into the over crowded stretched thin US system. Everywhere I look people are being bombarded with people wanting to do this- to bring a Haitian orphan over to keep! Stop people. And programs or organizations who are telling people that this is going to happen soon need to stop. STOP IT. It's gross. Tell people to donate money. Tell the people in Haiti to get organized fast and get some of our unemployed over there to train the Haitians to build orphanages fast and nice new places for the children to live.
9. We have been slammed at the Medical Advocacy Team with doctors, hospitals and host families and we think this is GREAT. Fortunately for Haiti they have MORE medical care and BETTER medical care right now than they EVER have had right within their own country. So we aren't seeing a rush of children needing care YET. We do believe that this will happen. The children will need host parents and docs/hospitals and we pray that people are as generous and will step up to help the children. But the children aren't for keeps. There admittedly have been situations where children come for medical care and then don't go back- but that is VERY rare and typically the children have PROFOUND disabilities. They are children that don't have people lined up to adopt them unfortunately. We also will need host families willing to take in a child with an adult relative or even host families for adults! (If that should happen- better be prepared right?)
10. This is my last bit of information since this post likely was stopped being read about 8 points ago... but I got this blog comment that I want to share:
A story on NBC News tonight about a U.S. couple adopting some Haitian children really bothered me. It was pretty much a fluff and feel-good story, featuring the happy and smiling (white) couple hugging and playing with their cute-as-a-button little (black) Haitian boys, talking about how thrilled they were to finally get the children out of Haiti.
They'd started adoption proceedings before the earthquake, from an earlier visit to Haiti when they had picked the kids out at an orphanage.All sort of sweet and warm-and-fuzzy sounding, until the newsreader came to the real kicker -- the boys' mother is alive, she only gave them up to the orphanage because she was too poor to feed them.And there was the American woman, waxing all emotional about how wonderful it was for the boys' mother to make such a "noble sacrifice" of giving up her children so the boys "could have a better life."That's where my head exploded. Excuse me?
What the hell kind of fucking phony compassion is it to just swoop in and and grab up some children and haul them thousands of miles away because their mother was so impoverished that she had to give them up? Wouldn't REAL compassion be doing something for the mother so that she COULD afford to keep her own babies? These aren't puppies they're picking out from an animal shelter -- although that certainly seems like a remarkably similar paradigm as to how this couple went about "picking out" these children -- these are human beings who are being hauled away from any possible familial connection that exists in their native country. These are children who no doubt have grandparents and aunts and uncles and cousins and possibly siblings who they will now be out of reach from for years to come.
And their mother -- how is it that these smiling Americans seem to have no thought that she might be experiencing unbelievable pain at being parted from her children due to strictly economic reasons beyond her control? That her life is such hell that she had no hope? It's like the mother doesn't count as a human being deserving of a better life herself, so that she could keep and raise her own babies. Nope, the babies went on the market, and the happy consumers swooped in and picked up a bargain. And the kids are just so darned cute. Like puppies.
Wow. I didn't post this comment when I got it because I didn't want to spoil my moment. I didn't want to take the time to think too deeply about this and I felt pissed off that someone would comment it and do so anonymously-which is so sissy. If you have something to say just say it!
Then I read it over and over and realized that they have a good point. While this situation isn't applicable to my family- as I don't have ANY adopted children whose parents gave them away because they didn't have the "means or money" to care for them. My childrens biological parents are dead, inept and insane, or the children were abandoned because of serious special needs. All of them loved their children- I am not saying harsh things about them- these are just facts. None of them were put up for adoption because the Mom didn't have enough money to care for them. I see both sides of the argument and would love for you all to weigh in with your thoughts. Adoption is not a cure for poverty- I know that much is true.
In closing I will let you know that your children will come home! I do believe that they are working on getting your children home right now. I do know that once your children make it home you will want to say to them things in your heart. Things that were in my heart when I saw my son at the bottom of the escalator will likely be the same as what you feel and say to your child. If you have been waiting for a day, a week, a month, a year, or five years- you will feel an apology boiling up from somewhere deep in your soul. One that makes you weep and free the pain of the wait- one that includes... "I am sorry that it took me so damn long to bring you home." Because when your a parent and your child is far away- one minute it too long. I totally get that.
Sunday, January 24, 2010
As they came up the escalator many tears were shed.
Tears of joy.
Tears of missed days.
Tears of Relief.
Isaac thought Dominick's hair was funny.
He was so tired and giddy.
Saturday, January 23, 2010
Friday, January 22, 2010
The other half of Team Reese here at home is frantically cleaning and getting
life organized for the big day------- which hopefully is tomorrow. Praise the Lord.
Did I mention how incredible my congressman and his staff are?
Praise the Lord. Glory!
Thursday, January 21, 2010
I have spent the day on the phone
and computer- once again.
I did take a good long break this afternoon when
reporters came to do an interview about Haiti for
the Medical Advocacy Team. (The org. that I help run
with Salem and lots of other dear women friends.)
My kind sister stepped up and handled the report.
I was so grateful. My face is all blotchy
from crying and I am not a good advocate
at the moment. Things are still up in the air.
The rumors of child trafficking are true.
There are many vulnerable children right now.
And although all of us adoptive families are really
pissed that things are taking so long to get our babies
home- they will all come home. Pray for those who
are out of food and water and those who are sick
who injured. We had several contacts about hurt
children today who need medical visas to the USA.
Things are up in the air with that too.
I so badly want my son and husband home.
But certainly NOT at the expense of little
innocent children- like Lena- who have families.
I thought for a moment- what if someone was trying
to get her out of Haiti and take her somewhere for
the sex trade or even worse....
We have to remain calm.
Orphanages are desperate.
And the world is desperate to get the children
out of Haiti- maybe sometimes a little too much.
The system in place is not working fast enough.
There aren't enough people or resources or
Visa Machines even to get it done efficiently.
We are talking about a 2050 process being
done in Haiti- where there was just a disaster-
and its still 1930. It just won't go well.
But in the end if our kids come home...
and no children suffered and ended up
sold to a family in a foreign country...
or ended up taken away from Haiti when
some of them have families there longing for them.
Then in the end it was worth the wait.
Is this wait painful?
Is this wait emotional?
Do I want all children in Haiti to have a better life?
Can we bring all the Haitian orphans to America?
America has its own orphans that need families!
Lines are being crossed here.
Many many places.
All over the board.
And just do the damn right thing.
Sometimes the RIGHT THING in the moment
IS NOT the right thing long term.
God's plan is bigger than breaking the rules.
Pray for the children of Haiti.
Pray for the waiting parents.
Orphanage workers and directors.
People planning how kids are getting out.
The embassy workers.
Pray that the process gets better.
And that it doesn't get SHUT DOWN.
That is a REAL possibility if things continue
the way that they have gone so far.
We tried to hook up with the relief team early this morning. It didn't work out. I had Jamie drive Isaac and I towards CAP but their driver didn't want to take any detours of any kind, so they weren't able to meet me and Isaac in CAP or anywhere near here. We'll need to work on a different way of getting out.
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Today was a really long day of unknowns.
Just before boarding the plane to Haiti we found out that the team going from CAP (N. Haiti) to PAP (S. Haiti where the embassy is)- were able to board the plane. They still had the offer on the table that if my husband and Isaac wanted to get to PAP- he could ride with them in the morning. They would have the armed guards and they felt pretty safe. Even though they had never driven that route before etc. and Antonio who drives that route frequently- said there was no way he would go.
Just before going back to the dentist my husband called and let me talk for a moment to Isaac. It was bliss hearing them together and hearing Isaac's sweet voice. Its been years. Literally. I needed that right before the dentist as I am such a wuss at the dentist.
I held my hand close to my phone during the three hour procedure. I go to the dental college- so things take longer and more explanation etc. Ouch. Each time it would right I would hope that it was the senators office with a call of good news to let me know that Isaac and his Daddy could leave from CAP instead of going to PAP. But the call never came.
On the way home I called to see if anyone heard anything and they hadn't but would check in. There are people working on it. It is hopeful but certainly not a confirmed promise or anything! And we have experienced so many things changing over and over and over again! What do we do?
We aren't even sure when the next fight is into CAP that would be able to take Isaac and his Daddy back to Florida... maybe sometime tomorrow- or the next day or next....
I got off the phone with hubby and said pray about it. Do what your feeling is the best thing to do. That was tough.
more about isaac and an answer to "the plan" tomorrow for now I must get into the fetal position and hope for a better tomorrow- the one with the plan is the tomorrow i desperately need.
People are still working trying to get this to happen- but its not looking hopeful. Pray.
Hubby met some relief workers on the same flight as he was to be on. They hired armed guards to drive them into PAP. (Cross country essentially.) They said that they would take hubby and Isaac with them and take them to the embassy. PRAISE.
The relief team got bumped off the flight. They were trying to pay someone to give up their seat so they could get there TODAY. The airline is trying to hire another plane to take them. Things don't look hopeful that they will get there today or tomorrow... or ?
Plane overweight so hubby was told he can't bring anything but 10lbs. Told him to grab water purifier and Isaac some shoes- and his bible. What else do you need anyhow right? No comfort items for Isaac. Told hubby to grab the protein bars. No special snacks or toys. Donations were packed and ready to get on of formula and food- paid $250 to get it on the plane- they won't be taking it today- maybe another day soon. SO SORRY.
Feeling defeated. Sad. Confused. Worried. Pissed off. Why is this so darn hard?
Let's throw in a huge melt down by Sophie this morning because her anxiety level as with all the rest of ours is at 10+. She just can't deal with this stress and is home today with me. Poor honey. Doorknob broke on the front door and the TV isn't working. What else?
Oh I get to go and have cavities filled at 3pm. Does it get any better than this? Pray they fit Robert on the plane. PRAY!
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
Monday, January 18, 2010
Secretary Napolitano has announced humanitarian parole for orphaned Haitian children.Please see the attached documents, which detail the announcement and fact sheet. Our gratitude goes out to everyone, including the Secretary, who contributed to this very good news for the orphaned children of Haiti.
The Iveys were very close to bringing home their four year old son Amos when the quake hit Haiti. We have all been watching the latest news and things do look hopeful! You will be blessed by hearing this song!
So far we have raised about $800 for the orphanage supplies for my husband to carry over. Please consider donating by using the pay pal button on the right. No amount is too small! Blessings and Updates coming your way.
Sunday, January 17, 2010
*My husband is NOT flying into PAP. I have had a couple questions as to "how he is getting in" and I would rather not discuss that right now. (I will explain later I promise!) Let's just say that if he is able to get Isaac's visa processed without having to be personally at the embassy this would be a huge blessing. The trip into PAP will be very risky and could be frightening for Isaac. But we do realize that this is likely the reality of the situation. Please pray that they are able to make it safely where they need to be and when they need to be there. And of course that they are full prepared with all the documents that they need and enough food, water and supplies for however long this might take.*
*My hubby will leave tomorrow for Florida. He will be staying in Florida for 24 hours before leaving to Haiti. During his time in Florida my Aunt will be going with him to stock up on supplies for Isaac's orphanage. Some of them will make it on his flight and the rest will be sent over day by day as there is room on the passenger flights. It would be such a huge blessing to be able to have Isaac leaves his friends behind in Haiti knowing that they have a nice little stockpile of the essentials that they will need- like baby formula and medicine. There is a great concern that as the days go by they will run out of supplies and they are too far out to be getting the aid that they will need anytime soon. I have added a paypal button on the right side of this blog for the next few days. If you feel able and lead- please consider making a donation so that we can help buy lots of supplies and cover the extra airfare costs to get the supplies to Haiti and bless them big time! That would be awesome. I did confirm earlier that they are totally out of diapers, snacks and extremely low on baby formula and food for the disabled children who are on "soft" diets.*
*Please also pray for our children's hearts. We have noticed that since we bought Dad's tickets there has been a lot of edginess around the house amongst us all. The unknowns are very difficult for me- and I know that it must be very scary for the children.*
*Keep praying for Haiti. We heard this morning that Real Hope for Haiti has to move because the buildings are unstable- we are worried about our friends and wish that there was more we could do for them.*
If you are interested in hosting a child for medical care- please see the MAT blog later today and we will post some information on there. Thanks so much everyone! We feel your love and support and it means SO much. (Prayers for paperwork, provisions, and peace!)
Saturday, January 16, 2010
My husband leaves here Monday- and will arrive in Haiti on Wednesday. Please pray that Isaac is able to get to know his Daddy and feel comfortable with him quickly. We are not even sure that Isaac's passport and paperwork have been found but we do not want to swoop in at the last second and get him home- we want this transition to be as peaceful as possible for our son- even though the circumstances scream PANIC! Hopefully we will figure out where to go from there- once he is there- or perhaps even before he leaves. I can't wait for them to be together.
Please pray for his safety and please pray that he is able to bring some supplies and donations and that his time in Haiti is not only spent bonding with Isaac- but helping the orphanage and others with whatever they need help with.
And now... I breathe... and pack... and pray more.
January 16, 2010
Thank you for registering your adoption with Joint Council. The database allows us to keep you updated on the latest information and how our ongoing efforts effect you and the children you are adopting.
It is the position of Joint Council that the U.S. government should immediately grant humanitarian parole to all Haitian children being adopted by a U.S. family. At present, Joint Council is appealing with the U.S. government, specifically the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), to issue humanitarian paroles for any child that has been referred to an American family. If DHS issues humanitarian paroles, the children would not need a visa to enter the U.S. and be united with you. This would minimize the paperwork and possibly eliminate the need to find documents, which have been destroyed in the earthquake. Given the urgent needs of the children and the fact that they have you, we believe that humanitarian parole is the most humane solution. We will continue to work this weekend and into next week to achieve this goal. Again, please remember that at this time, we do not have confirmation from the Department of Homeland Security regarding humanitarian parole, but we are working towards that goal.
From our many, many meetings with Members of Congress, the Department of State and the Department of Homeland Security, we feel that you should know that your government is working very hard to find a solution which will help get your children into the safe, permanent and loving setting of your family.
We are also working with Members of Congress, particularly the offices of Senator Mary Landrieu and Senator James Inhofe, to get emergency relief to the often overlooked orphanages. We are compiling lists of orphanages including their location and providing this information to emergency relief organizations via Congress. We are collecting the information from a wide variety of sources including the information you provided when you registered with our database.
Our Responses To Your Calls and Emails
Everyone at Joint Council, our staff and volunteers, recognize the need for you to contact us via calls and emails. Please know that we are working hard to respond as quickly as possible. We do ask that you recognize the tremendous amount of inquiries from adoptive families, the public, governments and the press. If you have not received an answer to your call or email, please expect a response in the next two days. In order to get back to you, we are utilizing many volunteers, so we ask that if our responses are not complete or seem brief, it is only because of the volume and need to use volunteers in our ongoing efforts.
Updates and Information
Please continue to reach out to us and to periodically check our website (www.jointcouncil.org), our Haiti webpage (www.jcics.org/haiti.htm), our Facebook page, and our blog (http://betheanswerforchildren.wordpress.com/). Yesterday alone we posted over 4 updates, so please continue to check in.
We hope that informing you of our collective efforts, particularly in Joint Council’s appeal for humanitarian paroles, will provide you with at least a small amount of comfort. Our hearts and our daily efforts continue to go out to you and the children you are adopting. This is why we do what we do.
All of our best wishes,
Tom DiFilipo, President & CEO
Rebecca Harris, Director of Programs & Services
P.S, When/if we get an answer on humanitarian parole for the children, we will first publish to our website and simultaneously send you an email.
Friday, January 15, 2010
So here's the latest on getting my son home:
1. My paperwork is somewhere at or with New Life Link. That means it might be in that office below- somewhere in the rubble along with my son's passport. Or perhaps it could have been at the translators, or in someones bag en route to somewhere else, or at one of the NLL orphanages- or who knows. Communication is near impossible. There is someone going to see if they can find anything. It might take them sometime to get there.
2. There was a meeting this morning at the Department of State. They are trying to figure out how they are going to handle getting help for the adopted children in Haiti. Pray for swift action for all the children.
3. We know that there are many more orphans now. There are many orphanages without safe shelter. This is a huge problem. Places are running out of supplies. Our sons orphanage is safe but they get supplies from the city. The city is gone. The supplies are gone. They are too far away to get in and get donations. The travel between is impossible. This poses a HUGE problem.
4. We need to pray that the children of American Citizens still in Haiti are able to leave soon to relieve some of the burden on the exhausted system that is cracked.
5. Back to getting Isaac home- We are hearing on different media outlets that there is a family who was called last night by the embassy and granted Visa's for their children to leave. I have not been able to confirm this. Does anyone personally know this family and the situation? From our contact in the gov. there have been NO visa's issued for adopted children YET. They are working 24/7 at the embassy *(confirmed by the Livesays) and they have many more ACS (American Citizens who need to leave Haiti ASAP). Until they are done with this- they won't be able to even think of processing adoption visa's. They are HOPING for next week to start being able to do adoption visas. This is of course dependent upon what happens with all the ACS.
GO SIGN THIS PETITION PLEASE!
Adoptive families need to go register here NOW!
And if you haven't heard adoptive parents need to register with the Department of State by:
Please send an email to this email address email@example.com In the email please include: Your name Your child(rens) names Date of birth of your kids Your full contact information Name and contact information of the creche your child resides.
Please do this at once. The DOS needs to know this info for important decisions that need to be made very soon.Please, EVERYONE, contact your congress and senators NOW and let them know that you are adopting a child from Haiti and that these kids need to be able to come asap.
7. More soon!! News is coming in each minute.
Thursday, January 14, 2010
Babies like Lena. Sweet little minky Lena who I will never forget. Who I know was living in desperate poverty with her mother right near ground zero. I thought twice now that I saw her on the tv. A tiny two year old carried by her mother with large bows in her hair. Bows far too large for her tiny little hairdo. And I look each time for her cleft lip. For some sign of a scar- I pray for that scar. For something that will tell me it really is her. And never do I see the sign to tell me she is ok. I worried and prayed for her desperately before the quake- now my prayers continue but feel hopeless.
The word on the street is that sending a team to Haiti isn't a good idea without a plan. Salem and I have been working on a plan and wondering where we can best serve with the countless folks we have had contact us who are willing to help. Pray for some answers and direction soon.
My dear buddy's little girls classes are doing a fundraiser and that warms my heart. :) We have heard that RHFH is going to be low on baby formula soon. Please donate whatever you can to the wonderful organizations working in Haiti.
In the adoption world the word is that there will be a meeting tomorrow at 10am EST by the department of state who will talk about adoptions in Haiti and those US citizens with children waiting for Visa's or passports. Children who have been waiting years. They said it could take weeks to come to a decision on how to handle things.
I have a favor to ask of you- Please do this- if your reading this- please do this... email your congressmen and women and senators. Contact them by phone- let them know you care about the children and families waiting in Haiti to get the adopted children home. Do it now. Go on...
Pray for fast answers for our waiting babies and that they can come home. The word from Haiti is not good at all. Some reports of violence are coming to us and we are praying that this isn't how things turn. We pray that the Haitian people don't panic and that the violence doesn't continue to be an issue.
I hate reading back on this blog and seeing the place I have been for the past few weeks. The weeks since we thought Isaac's documents were at the US embassy waiting for a visa appointment and the weeks after we heard that there was a mistake on one document and that our things were not at the embassy. I was feeling really sad already about Isaac. Really desperate for my son and not wanting to wait one more day for him. I think that if I could take it all back now- I would have saved my truly desperate feelings for a truly desperate situation- like this one. And perhaps I wouldn't have wasted so much time worrying before. At least there were government buildings, and a dossier, and a passport, and assurance of enough food to eat for my son... and thousands of people in a country I love weren't dead... and people didn't continue to die while they waited for help. Wasted time worrying? perhaps.
They are also selling shirts to benefit Haiti and wonderful organizations that are at "ground zero" full time helping the people. 100% of the sales of these shirts goes to help the people of Haiti just click this link to see more about buying one.
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
For a people who needed a hand up and a chance- such utter devastation and despair. CRUEL.
The picture of the little girl above that has been circulating shows the raw impact this event has had. I see people on facebook posting pleas for someone to come and help trapped relatives who are stuck under rubble. There are no emergency responders. Many UN workers are missing. Things seem to be moving too slow to get help there. Too many questions about the airport and getting in and out. Each minute gone by more people are dying. Pray.
This before and after picture of the National Palace just sums it up. The large building that represents Haiti and all her splendor that once was... devastated. Cruel.
Is my son's file there? Is his passport there? Does anyone know where it is? 3.5 years of our adoption so close yet so far. Selfish I feel thinking of my son as my top priority. I realize this. But my mothers heart can't help but go there. I pray for answers soon. I pray for Haiti. I pray for those missing and injured. I pray for the AID to arrive soon. I pray for the rescue teams to be there within hours. I pray for my sons paperwork to be found and for him to get out soon. I pray for HIS grace and mercy for all. I pray for the cruelty to stop. I pray for Haiti.
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
Please pray for Haiti.
A 7.0 earthquake happened in Haiti this late afternoon/early evening and the epicenter is said to be near Carrefour- which is near Port-au-Prince.
Isaac is OK- Praise the Lord. Children of the Promise orphanage is located in Northern Haiti which is not close to the epicenter. The orphanage adoption worker who fought so hard for Angeline's passport to get her to the US was supposed to be in PAP today doing adoption work. Because of the rain he didn't take the flight this morning. God was watching out for him- Praise the Lord.
We have heard from RHFH- Lori and Licia... they are OK. There is damage to the rescue center and clinic walls and they will be sleeping outside tonight as after shocks continue to happen. They will be sleeping outside with 70 children many who have significant health care needs. They report as well as other friends in Haiti that the damage is terrible and that until the sun comes up in the morning no one really will be able to tell the extent of the damage.
We are praying for Bear's parents and family. For Ella's family, and for Helande and her family who live in the mountains. And for sweet Lena and her Mom who live in a very poor area of PAP. We may never know if they are OK or not. For all the MAT children and the families my heart just breaks.
There are reports of "mountains splitting and crumbling". Because of the deforestation in Haiti there is very little keeping hills and mountains from collapsing. Let alone the lack of infrastructure keeping the buildings standing. We have heard that the palace has been terribly damaged. And the consistent reports on facebook and twitter from friends in Haiti as well as the Livesays (missionary friends at http://www.livesayhaiti.blogspot.com/) are stating that there is screaming in the streets, people are frantic, scared and its dark and still having aftershocks.
One specific prayer request that we have is for New Life Link. They have two orphanages I believe and both have MANY children in them. I have been searching high and low to see if they had damage etc. and haven't been able to find any reports. If you know- please email me. Dear friends have children there and they are the ones processing Isaac's adoption as well as the adoptions for many other children in and out of their orphanage. I also haven't heard anything about PAC- another orphanage if anyone knows anything. Both are near the earthquake from what I know.
This Saturday my Church's team was going to Haiti to do a medical clinic. They were going to be working at Marantha Orphanage which our church sponsors many children there. Please pray for them. So far because of the phone lines being down there has been no communication with many people many places and the folks at my church not only sponsor children there but many have visited and have relationships with the children that are ongoing and everlasting.
Has anyone heard from Vera or Bin?
My heart just aches for Haiti- when are they ever going to catch a break? How will people have enough food and water when there already isn't enough to go around? How will the wounded get medical care when there isn't enough? How will panic not occur?
Pray pray pray.