Adjustments & Creating Family Moments

 Sometimes things are hectic.

Sometimes everyone needs a moment.

Sometimes we all just need to take a break and go fly a kite in the park, darn it.

Park… dirt strip where they land airplanes… close enough.

So that is what we did. One of our sweet visitors, who has become family to us here, brought 60 kites from her home (she always thinks of the little things). We packed a cooler, baked brownies, bought chips, loaded the kids up and headed to the airstrip.

  

We had this day planned, and as God always has a plan outside of our own, it turned out perfect, as yesterday was slightly chaotic. We have 13 new children to assimilate into our world, which to say the least is slightly different to their previous living situation. They are adjusting well so far, still clinging to any attention/affection thrown their way and are all in the de-worming, de-eye infection-ing, de-everything else phase. I know it’s kind of gross, but honestly, it’s reality.

I had such a hard time writing yesterday because I had to be so selective in choosing “non-offensive” photos to post online. It was hard because I felt like these children came to us this way and it was their life. They didn’t get to choose to be naked, but they were. The same way they didn’t choose to be sick, to have parasites in their bellies, but they do.

It is what it is.

 

 So any who, our day-o-fun was full of kites, and of course every kid in the village came out of nowhere to be a part. After the kites began to break and everyone got restless, Mami Mya and I began the Village Olympics. Began with a foot race. Then we taught them how to wheel barrow race. Yes, we demonstrated. I was the wheel barrow. Then a hand stand race. No I didn’t not participate. Then an over-all “who can do the coolest stuff” show.

  

During this fun with the kids – our kids loved it, competing and playing with the village kids  was a blast for them – our new children, however, weren’t quite sure they wanted to be in the mix of kids who don’t get to eat all the time. They sat safe and secure next to the Americans to ensure they got to get back on the truck and didn’t get left behind.

We left the crowd in lieu of our picnic location and had chips, brownies and drinks.

       

The little guy on the left is Elby. Everytime he sees me he reminds me of his name so I don’t forget about him. In the purple is Mackenzy… he’s sick and a little confused about this whole situations as a whole. He loves meal time, but other than that is a little lost and drifts to what feels safe. when we first me him he just said “I don’t know” to everything we asked.

To say the least, our kids are all smiles today, and I’m pretty sure the news never want to wake up from this dream. There are many adjustments ahead. Keep us in your prayers. I am wore out, exhausted, dirty and happy. Can’t wait to get home, clean and into bed.

Goodnight,

Hope

Advertisement

Honorary Texan.

“Most peole say that Texans are prideful. I just call it good common sense.” – Myself

One of our girls spent a couple of days in the hospital in the Dominican Republic. We were told she had Malaria, but it turns out that it was a kidney infection or something. The day that she was discharged the border was already closed so she was able to spend the night in Dajabon at the mission house.

She was just happy as a clam and got some hardcore attention for the night. When you live in a house with so many girls any one-on-one time is just the bees knees. Although we have one of the best southern mothers here visiting us whose ministry is to cook us delicious meals each night, Midaline ultimately opted for the good Haitian traditional – beans and rice. However, her life was a little brighter when she was introduced to fresh brewed sweet tea. The real deal – none of that, just add some sugar to it as you want it mumbo jumbo.

I painted her nails, had great food and sweets and even got to sleep in my bed for the night.

We had some Disney DVDs and things, but they weren’t up to our little girl’s desires. When asked what it is that the sweet Haitian girl wanted she boldly declared, “Walker!”

I mean can you blame the girl. The action. The intensity. Chuck Norris for goodness sake. She can’t speak a lick of English. Can barely speak Creole, actually, but ole girl knew about some Walker Texas Ranger.

She knew every character on the show and names them whenever they come on the screen: “Look, there’s Alex, there’s Trivette, there’s Walker, there’s CD.”

Sigh… I guess there’s a little Texan in all of us.

Goodnight, folks! Were off to watch Season 5.

XOXO,

Hope

These Words Won’t Leave My Mind

As I continue to get backgrounds and histories on our children there are just some that don’t leave my heart. It’s so different when you see a child, then learn what their life is like.

I never continue to see them the same.

I then understand their actions, I feel their heart, I see their pain and I am humbled at their happiness and laughter.

One of our boys has a mother. She lives in our village and is very poor. She has a lot of children and leaves them alone a lot to go into the Dominican and work. They live in a two room house, and when I say two rooms I don’t mean two bedrooms. I mean like two rooms total in the house. Two wooden, square rooms the size of walk in closets.

Our boy loves his family. He is proud of them, but also grateful that he lives with us. He was having some behavior issues one time and his mother came to talk to him. What she said to him hasn’t left my mind.

She said, “I think you have forgotten what it’s like outside these walls, son. You don’t understand how good you have it…” – then the kicker – “…I just had to sell our bed to be able to feed the rest of your siblings this week.”

Sell their bed. The only bed. In order to eat.

Now all of his siblings and his mother will sleep on dirt at night. No blankets. No pillows.

I’m not asking you to feel guilty for what you have because God provides and His word says that He provides in abundance. More than enough. Extra… just because He wants to.

But I am asking you to feel grateful.

Because you really have it pretty good in life if you just take a second to look.

If you look around for things to be grateful for, you will indeed find things to be grateful for. However, if you look around for negative things, that is what you will find as well.

The question is – what are you looking for?

Photo of the Day/Cutest Thing Ever

I was working in our office when our oldest boy Robenson came in with a little girl from our Kindergarden.

She had an open wound on her arm and she was scared (you know how it is in Kindergarden – you don’t know anyone, everything is a little intimidating, and for these kids it’s the first time they’re expected to use a toilet, much less be around so many white people everyday). That’s a lot of pressure for a 4 year-old.

So she remembered Robenson from another day so she left her class in search of him. She went all the way across the property and into his classroom so that he could bandage up her wound.

The cutest part is that he loved it! He felt so honored that she looked up to him enough to come and find him for help. He even got down the colored band aides so that he could give her purple bandages.

Pretty much the cutest thing ever and totally made me smile.

Just thought I’d share.

XOXO,

Hope

Some Days Just Get The Best Of You

It’s true.

I sat in church today feeling like once again I would have no clue what’s going on until we dismiss.

I love singing the songs that I don’t know.

I love watching the people worship to words I can’t say but I know are glorifying to God.

And everything around me just seemed to overwhelm me with thanksgiving.

It’s already been a slightly overwhelming week but God showed me so many people this morning that reminded me how good life is and how the small things are Oh, so small.

Our Evenson, who suffers from Muscular Distrophy, can barely walk and has painful joints, but is never found without a smile. Who stays after all the other boys have gotten distracted to help put chairs away. Who goes out of his way to come say ‘hi’.

He sat by me in church today. It’s often uncomfortable for him to sit for a long period of time, but he never leaves his seat. During worship, as most of our other older boys are reluctant to stand, or are bored, Evenson is standing in the middle of them, with his hands lifted and his eyes closed, lifting the most sincere and genuine worship and prayer to God.

I cried because I know God was listening to him.

I cried because he wasn’t embarrassed or ashamed that he wasn’t fitting in.

I cried because, well, I’m super emotional right now.

I cried because he doesn’t deserve MD. He deserves to run. He deserves to play soccer. I pray for him each day that God would heal his body, or at least give him comfort in his bones.

Pepito and Chris Jerry.

Pepito is a single father. He brings his son, Chris Jerry with him everywhere, including church.

Alone.

Every week.

A single father is unheard of in Haiti.

A father is rarely heard of, but a father raising a son all alone is literally unheard of.

Not to mention a son who has special needs. Who requires 24 hour care.

He is a young man, in his 20’s, who gave up his job, his life – everything – to raise this boy who will never say ‘I love you’, who will never jump into his arms or play soccer with him. Pepito has literal minimal resources.

Yet, Pepito loves his son so much.

I cried today watching their love.

I cried watching a father love his son so much with no requirement for a return.

The man in the front who stood giving thanks to God the entire morning.

A grown man being vulnerable is another unheard of thing in Haiti.

I cried watching him be so incredibly grateful for life. For provision.

I cried because of my selfish heart – the difference in the way that this man and I would define the same term of provision.

Provision.

Most likely his children were able to eat this week, thus he feels provided for.

They weren’t out on the streets. Or maybe they were. Whatever the case, he felt provision in his life.

I cried thinking about the lives of the people in the church today. When they’re not at church. When it’s just a normal day. What their homes look like. When and if they eat.

On Sunday they are presenting their best. Even then, in the states we would be in those circumstances feeling like Job, like there is nothing left.

Yet they worship, they give thanks, feeling like they have been provided for another week.

Think again the next time you beg for provision, and clearly define that term for yourself.

Then give thanks.

One is Enough.

I’m sitting on the floor watching little Alexson sleep. With each inhale I can count every rib in his chest. As I rub my hand up and down his back I can feel the bones in his shoulders protruding out. He has lived with us for a few weeks and looks better than he has probably his whole life. He is almost eight years old and weighs 28 pounds. When he came was so pale that Haitians questioned if he was American.

 

Watching him I am amazed at the children who God have brought through these gates.

Some have a bright hope for a future today because of Danita’s dream.

And others don’t make it.

Some were here for a few months. Some a few days.

It’s unrealistic to say that poverty in Haiti is changeable in a short period of time, or without an unchanging God.

Some people ask, “What’s the point?” 

It’s offensive to hear, actually.

I’m not trying to say that we are solving the problem.

But I can tell you the point.

The point is that no child, or human for that matter, deserves to eat out of a trashcan. No child deserves to be left dying alone. The point is that we may not be able to love every child in Haiti, but we can love the ones who are put in front of us.

Even if it was just one – that’s enough.

Hundreds of kids who would never have had the love elsewhere. Never have had the opportunity elsewhere.

Whether for a day or a month or forever, God put them in our path so that they would be in loving arms. Instead of a street or a trash can He has honored us with the opportunity of loving His children, no matter the circumstances or length of their stay on earth.

Even if they come to us and then die hours later, God saw them valuable enough to die loved and comforted and in the arms of His children.

Just Saying.

Hot Showers and Such…

I was recently reading a blog of a girl who lives in a developing country and she does great things for God: she raises multiple children who would otherwise live hungry most days, and she feeds hundreds each week and she teaches English at a small village school. Her life is full of joy and hardship I’m sure, but she is gracious and humbled to do what she does. Although I was inspired by her faith and pursuit, there was a small bit that I couldn’t disagree more with and that I fear a lot of times the terms “missionary” or “mission work”, etc.. get wrapped up in.

This girl was describing the lifestyle of some of the people who surrounded her – their living conditions, their eating habits, their constant desperation for help – and challenging her readers to think more often toward those are aren’t as fortunate as themselves. However, she took that a bit further to say that she was praying that every time people who live in America take a hot shower that she is praying that they feel guilty over the water running over them.

 Wait.

Not only is a hot shower not shameful, but it is a hot shower that a business owner, church member or basic supporter is under each night who make every bit of a missionaries work possible.

I understand her point. But, it is being focused within and being consumer driven and selfish that is wrong. It isn’t the hot shower that should ensue guilt. It isn’t having nice things and enjoying all the abundance of the Lord. It is a greedy mindset that is wrong. Not thinking past ourselves or of the priorities of our God that is wrong.

In fact:

I am so grateful for every single business-minded, wealthy person, pastor, church member, believer, or non-believer for that matter, who understands the importance of legitimate change in developing countries, and sees the potential to act as the hands and feet of Christ through providing for others to go. Whether they may have never been out of the county, never have a desire to rescue a dying child off of the street or could simple not want to rough it in the mists of under-educated people and desolate, desperate lands.

 I’m even grateful for them if they took a hot shower tonight.

Even a little jealous.

The point is, it doesn’t have to be this or that. One is not right or wrong, or better than the other. All equally important although some are not doing what were doing, or doing it how were doing it.

That is all. Goodnight folks. Enjoy your shower.

XOXO,

Hope

Laughter is Like Milk… It Does A Body Good!

 

I think God must have known that I needed a good laugh today.

I began creating profiles for our children so that when people inquire to sponsor them they have photos and information on hand of each child. In Haiti there are three levels of Kindergarden, so many of the children who I were interviewing today are brand new to the whole school idea.

The first week when school started there was the long lesson of – What do you mean I can’t just pee wherever I’m standing? What’s a bathroom?

And of course – I miss my mom!

And just the complete distraction of uniforms and pencils and chalk and all the other exciting things that come along with going to school for the first time.

The questions that I was asking today were about family and eating and favorite subjects. Mostly fun questions, but some are needed for medical history, hygiene, needs, etc.

However, starting with the four-year old class probably wasn’t the best idea since kids are kids no matter where you are and just because they live in the worst poverty in the Western Hemisphere they are just as unaware of everything past playing with cars and singing.

I got some of the best answers today trying to figure out things about these children.

A few went something like this:

“What’s your Mom’s name?”

“Little Lady.”

“No, not her nickname. What is her real name?”

“That’s it. Her sur name is Little Lady.”

When asking what these K-1 students would like to be when they grow up, I got a range of answers, including:

“a bear.”

“A woman who answers phones for people.”

“All of them. I want to be everything there is.”

“rice.” (No joke. That was her answer.)

Another question, “Does your mom have a job?”

I got one boy who said, “Yes – My Dad works and then pays my Mom to cook me food.”

and one boy proudly proclaimed, “Yes she has a job!”

“Well what is her job?”

“Each morning she bathes me, gives me food and sends me off to school.”

Ahhhh, kids. They’ll getcha every time.

Enjoy your Thursday folks. Laugh a little.

Goodnight,

Hope