When we have the opportunity to help anyone, we should do it. -Galatians 6:10a (NCV)

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

We are down to the last days countdown for the wedding! JW, my brother, has been here since Monday helping us get ready.

Things are really busy here trying to prepare everything-doing a wedding in another country is much different that doing one in the states. No wedding supply stores, no Factory Card Outlet, none of your friends here to help! 

Despite all that, I have to say this is going to be a pretty fantastic wedding that we are super excited about!

I was sitting this morning typing out our wedding program for the Haitian minister (whose phone has been turned off the last 2 days so I am going out on a manhunt this evening), and just started laughing. It is mostly in Creole, some in English and some parts are translated into both languages. My head kept spinning as I was typing back and forth between the languages! But I was laughing...

I remember in Feb of 2008 my dad drug me to Haiti on a mission trip. There was a guy named David who was the driver who took us from the airport to the guesthouse. I saw him again the last day of the week long trip and had my dad take our picture together in front of the truck. We just said "Hi" b/c I didn't speak Creole. I came home and said I was never going to back to Haiti.

Here I am in 2012, living in Haiti and marrying the FIRST Haitian guy I met the FIRST time I stepped foot in Haiti.

God has a plan and a sense of humor.

I am laughing b/c I never imagined I would learn another language to the extent of living on my own in another country with a child. I remember crying in language school here in 2009 wondering if I would EVER "get it". Now I am having my wedding ceremony in that language!

God has a sense of humor.

I am laughing b/c when my dad and I first got home from our first trip an were looking at pictures and we came across the one of David and I, my dad said, "Looks like he needs to eat a hamburger...or two."

That skinny guy will now be his son-in-law...God has a sense of humor.

I am laughing b/c one of the groups that are singing in the wedding asked if they could sing Whitney Houston's "I Will Always Love You" b/c it is a beautiful song and because they wanted me to have a song in English. Good thing I checked on WHAT songs they were singing or I would have had one of the greatest break up songs EVER sung at my wedding!

I am laughing b/c although I am really bummed that none of the friends from the states could make it, I have crazy friends here on the mission field who are going OUT OF THEIR WAY to help us make this day special.

I am laughing b/c we have been given a goat and 2 turkeys already as wedding gifts. Seriously. The turkeys are still alive...I think they may become pets.

I am laughing b/c I am happy. Though this life is crazy and I imagine will continue to be...God has a plan.

And a sense of humor.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

We are in the middle of moving. (not to mention planning a wedding!) The 3rd time in 3 years. I think that counts as a pretty good excuse for not being on the blog right now.

So since I'm not writing a new blog right now...click on this link and check it out.

It is an online magazine that Jennifer Bauguss, one of the board members and secretary for Invest Hope, created.

There are articles on parenting, health, gardening, and faith, just to name a few. She finds guests to write articles and do tutorials and she also does some herself.

Jenn has a ton of talent when it comes to design and creativity. She has been an encouragement to me and has done so much work for Invest Hope-she jumped in with both feet and has been such an asset to the mission.

So check her website out...and then bookmark it, because I know you're going to love it!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Evenson update

Double good news for Evenson!

First of all...he turned 3! 

 His host family had a birthday party for him. 
His parents here in Haiti were so happy to see Evenson happy and interacting. He was so sick the last time they saw him in the fall. He had no energy and he certainly wasn't up to eating cake.

 Don't you just want to squeeze him?!?

And playing with the birthday loot!
Look at his stomach! Praise the Lord!

For those of you wondering who Evenson is, here is a before picture of him when we went to the states for treatment of a Wilm's tumor late last fall. Angel Missions Haiti looked for care for him and did the paperwork for a medical visa for him!

LA Children's Hospital is giving him FREE state of the art care.

The 2nd part of the good news is that after 30 some weeks of Chemotherapy...Evenson is finished! The doctors are keeping him i the states for a few more months to watch lab values and for him to completely rebound and then he will return to an anxious mom and dad in Haiti.

Thank you all for your prayers for him and his host parents and his parents during this difficult time.Continue to send them up!

I can not imagine that God doesn't have a plan for this child of His.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Admirer or Follower?

“The difference between an admirer and a follower still remains, no matter where you are. The admirer never makes any true sacrifices. He always plays it safe. Though in words, phrases, songs, he is inexhaustible about how highly he prizes Christ, he renounces nothing, gives up nothing, will not reconstruct his life, will not be what he admires, and will not let his life express what it is he supposedly admires.” ― Søren Kierkegaard, Provocations: Spiritual Writings of Kierkegaard

Monday, June 4, 2012

Tonight Odessa fell asleep on me talking to my mom on Skype. It was so sweet. Especially since today she was not so sweet. First day of no school and I was about to go beat down the doors and demand they reopen for summer session.

Back to the sweetness...
So I savored the moment and laid there with her mouth hanging open and slobber running down my neck.

Made me think of the day back in February I thought the Haitian courts were going to take her away. I never really blogged about my thoughts that day. I asked for prayers, pretty much begged for you all to pray. 

Before I went in I talked over "the plan" with David. In the event I was arrested he was supposed to call our missionary friends Gwenn and Nick in Jacmel. I called them and told them I had a copy of all of Odessa's adoption paperwork and that if David called them could they take it to the American Embassy. They of course agreed. David's job was to find out where they were putting Odessa. That was out biggest fear. There are no foster homes here and social services is a bit disorganized and overwhelmed to put it lightly. Our biggest fear was that they would take Odessa and then when everything was eventually sorted out (which I knew it would be b/c I had not done anything wrong) we wouldn't be able to find her to get her back. This is a very realistic fear in Haiti.

Now I am not going to lie to you and say that I walked into the courtroom full of confidence that God was going to let me walk out with Odessa. But I did walk in with full confidence that my God was bigger than that situation. He is bigger than the judge, bigger than the courts, bigger than the government.

That day I was called a "Child Trafficker", in possession of "illegal adoption documents", and was told that I would never be able to adopt Odessa. Odessa's birth mother was present and was questioned on how much money I paid her for Odessa and how much I had promised to give her when the adoption was final.

As I started at the judge I just kept thinking, "My God is bigger than you. More powerful. Just. Compassionate"

I hated this man I had never met with such an intense passion. Why was he doing this? My "illegal adoption documents" came from the Haitian courts.  And Child Trafficker? Seriously?

All the sacrifices I have made for her. (And would gladly do again.) The time I have spent with her. The bond that we have. The promises I have made her.

But I pushed these thoughts away and looked at the judge as he continued to ramble...

All I heard was, "I'm bigger, more powerful, just and compassionate. Focus on Me."

And I know my God is all these things.

I came home with Odessa that night and put her to bed and then sat on my bed and started grumbling. Yep you read that right...I started grumbling.

It started out as a prayer of thanks but about 2 sentences in I lost it. I told God I couldn't do this anymore. At the time this happened Odessa and I had been together for 21 months. I had been working on required paperwork and been through 2 attorneys and more money than I thought an adoption would cost. And honestly I was just plain tired. I had been to the states for 3 weeks out of the 21 months and frankly was just tired. Needed a break. Without the daily stresses of Haiti and being a foreigner and a single mom to top it off. How could I live knowing that I could be taken to jail anytime the police wanted to check out my paperwork?

So the pity party of a prayer continued.

Then I felt God answer me. (Kinda cool except He wasn't happy). I didn't hear his voice but I felt Him answer me.

He said, "OK. Then quit. No one will blame you. You tried and gave it a good 21 months, nearly got put in prison, you're tired, broke...I get it. So quit. But whatever you do quit complaining about it. I don't want to hear it anymore. No one is forcing you to finish this adoption."


So the conversation went on where I explained how I couldn't ever leave her and that's not what I meant. And He explained how I should be thankful for all this time He has given me with Odessa (reminding me that I did miss out on the first 17 months of her life) how not all adoptive parents get the opportunity to raise their child while waiting on an adoption to go through and how bonded we are due to all this time together.

So basically what it boiled down to was I got a lecture. One I truly deserved.

God never said this journey would be easy. As a matter of fact I have had many people email me saying they were interested in adopting in Haiti and could I give them insight. My insight is this, "Find another country." Seriously.

One Haitian lady ever so politely reminded me that in the time I have been waiting to adopt Odessa I could have given birth twice. Yep that made me feel sooo much better!

This journey has not been easy. And it's not always fun.

I can not imagine it without my big, powerful, just, compassionate God leading the way.