Tuesday, July 29, 2008

My day in numbers

5-the number of hours of sleep I got last night
6-the hour I left for the airport this morning
1 1/2-the time I spent in line at the airport in Port-au-Prince
1 1/2 -hours to fly from Haiti to Florida
2 1/2- the number of HOURS I waited for my luggage at the carousel in Ft.Lauderdale (never before have I had to wait longer for my luggage than to fly somewhere!)
20-minutes to make my connection in Ft.Lauderdale after my luggage came
3-inches that my drool spread on my sleeve when I fell asleep on the plane
4-the number of minutes by which I missed my connecting flight in Chicago
1-long sigh I let out when I realized, all sweaty from running, that I wouldn't get home until tommorrow
30-minutes I waited for my shuttle to the complimentary hotel
1-really cute little blond 18 month old girl who kept saying "otel, otel!"
15-dollars I got to spend for free on an amazing salad and pizza
4-blisters I have on my hand from running with my carry-on
4-soft cushy pillows on my bed
2-heavy blankets on my bed
8-hours until I have to get up

Friday, July 25, 2008

A Day at Haiti Children's Home

Some people that were recently here thought it would be neat for me to post what kind of activities I do with the downstairs kids on a weekly basis. So here's a glimpse into the kid's daily schedule.

5:30-6:00 a.m. or some other unearthly hour- Wake Up, run around, wake everyone-else up
6:00-Nannies and other workers arrive
6:15- Bathtime
7:30-8:30-Breakfast(happens anytime during this time depending on what is being cooked)
8:30-Head outside if it's not too wet for morning playtime, or head to school upstairs with Minnie
10:00-12:00-Babies and toddlers up to age 4 take a nap
10:00-12:00-Morning activity with Lori, and/or school upstairs with Minnie
12:00 Lunch time-Haitian food
12:30-1:30-Playtime in the big playroom downstairs
1:30-3:00-Afternoon activity with Lori and other staff/volunteers
Monday: water activity-sprinkler, hose on curvy slide, etc
Tuesday: Outing-go for a walk to the river or through the corn fields, and every
other week we go for a treat at Thym's little store
Thursday: Game Day-parachute games(thanks Jen!), tag, hide-n-go-seek etc
Friday: Wading pool in our yard
Saturday: Wading pool again as the water's only good for 2 days in a row'
Sunday: Movie (this allows all of the American staff to have the afternoon off)
3:00-4:00-Mon-Fri-Bible Story Time with Melinda
4:00-:5:00 Bath Time (yes, twice a day!!)
5:20-First Supper-Downstairs babies and toddlers are fed North-American style meals prepared and served by our North-American staff
5:50- Second Supper-School aged children (age 3 and up) same meal
6:00- Daytime Nannies leave, one night person comes on for babies upstairs, bedtime routine starts downstairs
6:00-7:00- Singing and praying, then looking at books in bed while they are called in groups to brush their teeth while we change diapers.

Other Activites:
Sunday: Church-gone from about 9:30-12:30
Once a month outings-consist of going to the pool at a nearby hotel for the afternoon

It's funny looking and seeing what a busy day these kids have! No wonder I am ready to go to bed as well at 7:00pm!!! It's been very interesting to see the kids change over time and start to really thrive on their schedule, knowing what to expect throughout the day. We always joke that our kids are going to arrive home with their adoptive families and cry "entertain me"!! Thanks so much to all of you who have sent and brought the things we need to make so many of the daily activites possible!!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

A quick (it ended up being a little long...a LOT has been happening I guess!!) update on the last couple weeks happenings:

1. My mom came to visit and see just what her lovely daughter has been up to for the last year. It was so awesome to have her here and be able to show her all the things I've talked about and have her meet these kids that I love so very much. I though the heat would nearly kill her, especially as the week before she came we were all in shock over the heat wave that July and August bring, but she jumped in and scurried around, with or without me, a freshly cooled facecloth laying across her neck!! The workers here made a huge fuss over meeting here...she never knew she was such a celebrity in Haiti!! I was very busy that week with mom being here and many many other things happening and so for those of you who didn't know, surprise!! My mom has come and gone almost 2 weeks ago already!! And she left her heart with Berto! It was such a blessing to have her experience my life here with me, and see how much she loved it as well, and know that she now understands with her own eyes why I can't help but be here!!

Mom and I

Mom and her "grandaughter" Naika

2. Dave and Kathy Nelson came along with mom, or she came along with them...whatever! The arrived the same day their daughter and my friend left! Funny how that worked out! Anyway, they came and worked like dogs and sweated(well, Dave sweated a lot, Kathy glistened) as they renovated our volunteer bathroom and painted 3 beautiful murals in the playroom. They were such a treat to have here, being so willing to jump in and do whatever on top of their already full days! Their work here is a great blessing to the children everday as they play in a beautiful bright room and as myself and the volunteers use the new and immmensly improved downstairs bathroom!

Favorite pic of Kathy

One of 3 lovely new murals in the playroom

The bathroom before

The bathroom during

The final product:Beautiful!

3. Joanna got her passport and her parents arrived on Tuesday, and she leaves this Tuesday! She was so stoked to meet them and seems to be doing quite well!! They are really great and have been a huge help around here in the midst of our business! I'm so happy that they live so close at home in Alberta, and that I'll get to see her soon again this summer! It's so great that she is FINALLY going home, but I am really going to miss that busy little bundle of girl.

4. Alissa arrived on Wednesday. She is 2 months old, weighs 2.5kg(which is also what she weighed at birth) and was born 2 months early. She wasn't drinking, as she didn't have enough strength to suck breastmilk, so some bumbo told her not to bother giving her milk but to give her baby cereal and such! Seriously, as Melinda said, someone needs to be slapped!! Her mother is a young girl who we felt so bad for as the Haitian staff here started giving her a hard time about not getting help sooner, but she had been trying really hard to keep a very premature baby alive without any know-how! So, now we have this little so-very-very sad looking little girl in our house. She cries a lot, but seems to be slowly coming along. Myself and some volunteers agreed that she looks like those pictures you see on World Vision. Once again it's so shocking that it's right at our door on such a consistent basis!

4. Carlos got malaria. It was the beginning of the same crazy day I went to go and pick up Johanna's folks. While I was gone a little(actually he's a mammoth baby!!) 3 month old boy was brought in as his mother had gone crazy and he needed to be cared for until the father could figure out what to do. I honestly have not taken one picture of him and only seen him 3 times and heard him cry a lot, but he's doing alright and from what we hear his mother seems to be on the mend.
Oh yeah, so Carlos got malaria. He seems to be doing alright now, though at the time it was a little scary as he shook so hard for so long! He still has the shakes a little though he is otherwise fine, and Melinda is trying to figure out what is happening with him.

5. Steeven continues to do well. He's eating cereal now and starting to become more interactive, and aware of his surroundings. Please continue to pray for healing of body and mind for this precious little boy.

6. Jamesky and Lineda are both downstairs now. Jamesky just moved down and Lineda has been down for close to a month. They are both doing really great and are enjoying their new big world! Lineda is really close to walking and Jamesky is busy standing up and pushing anything he can get his hands on.

7. David's Aunt and Cousin went home last week. They were here for close to a month and I know that God sent them in his perfect timing. Katie kept the kids busy with summer school, and David's Aunt was a lifesaver when all those sick babies came in. It was such a blessing to meet them and get to know some more of David's family.

8. Some more files came out of IBESR(one of the often long waits as part of the adoption process) which means now there will be 4 kids(David, Schilintzsky, Moise, Jon) going home hopefully around Christmas time!!! Lots of happy tears shed!!

9. I am going home in 10 days! I can't believe I just wrote that! Oh my word!! I was not at all prepared for that count! I am really looking forward to going home, but I am going to miss things here a lot!! And I still haven't decided when I am coming and going! Minnie comes home in 8 days, so it'll be so good for everyone that the consistency will stay much the same.

10. My hand has been sore. I think I overworked it one day, forgetting that it's still not completely healed, and I've been paying for it since. Nothing huge, just achy and sensitive, so I've been doing my best to rest it, as easy as that is here!!

11. My bridesmaid dress for Laura's wedding is a size 12!! I just had to put that on here! Mom brought the dress here for me to try on when she came to visit, and I was like, uh-huh, a size 12, is Laura nuts?!?!? But it fit! I guess it's hard to realize when you wear skirts that have been too big for 8 months already!! I think that size 12 may be a roomy size 12, but it's still a size 12!

12. Rose-Lisa, the little girl who was born with clubbed-feet the day I arrived in August, has been staying with us for a couple weeks, and will be here for a while. She's a very, very willfull child, and her very young and inexperienced parents spoiled her, likely largely due to feeling sorry for her due to her deformity, to the point that she became dehydrated and very sick. She arrived in a very poor state, and after a few days of her staying here with her mom, it became apparent that she was going to need a short-term stint to get her used to eating and drinking properly, and to work on her strong will. Her mom and dad were so relieved when we offered to let her stay for 3 months or so and get her back on her feet and work on her issues. So, she's been doing a lot of screaming to get her way, but she's coming along and is gaining weight and becoming more independent. We lovingly refer to her as "ti chat"(little cat), as she does a lot, though less now than before, of whining that sounds incredibly like a ti chat!

Beautiful Ti Chat

13. Berto is doing well and has moved over to the baby room. He seems to be enjoying life over there for the most part, though he sometimes has to wait a bit longer now to be fed as he's 1 of 7 and not 1 of 3, and is as ornery as ever over that!
14. We have had a ton of really awesome volunteers here this summer, and I don't know what we would have done without them! It's been so great to have such willing people here to do "whatever" and jump in with 2 feet! They've made what could have been a really stressful time with all these sick children coming in, into a very manageable time. And others have been awesome with helping me keep the older kids busy throughout the day! Definitely couldn't have done it on my own!
15. Ran into Troy Livesay at the grocery store this week. Reckognized him from their blog, and it was neat to chat with him and meet the couple who are taking he and Tara's place at Lifeline as they move on to other things in Haiti. I got to meet Noah as well and hear all about his cats, as he proceeded to climb the deli counter! Their blog does not exaggerate!! It's been neat to start to get to know some more missionaries here in Haiti and make some connections, and it seems to happen more often than not by "randomly" running into people at the grocery store. Guess God and food bring people together!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Update on Carlos and Steven

Please see Pat's blog Grandma Pat's Babies for an update on these precious little boys. It has been remarkable to see them progress and be amazed daily how God chose to spare their lives and keep them in our care. Please pray for Melinda and Pat as these sick little boys as well as a little girl we now have with us have greatly disturbed their sleep patterns!!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Baby Boy Baby Boy Baby Boy

So much has been happening in the last 3 days I don't know where to begin. Sunday afternoon at about 4:30 brought us a brand new(3 hours old) little boy who we named Micah. His mom is very anemic and somehow managed to WALK, yes WALK down here with her baby and her mom(who works for us) before heading to the hospital to get much sicker. She asked us to take care of her boy until she is better, and as she was so obviously sick and unable to breastfeed, we took him in. We have not heard much about Micah's mother yet, but Micah is doing great!! He weighed in on arrival at 3.8kg and seems so huge in his health!

Then, Monday mornin, my friend Melissa and I hopped in the truck at 7:30 to go and buy some hair as she was planning to get her hair put in extensions that day. As we headed up the hill we saw an lady carrying a baby walking with an old man, and as we approached them, they stopped to look at us quizically and then we passed them. I said to Melissa, "I wonder if they are headed our way?", as the time they spent looking at us was more than the usual stares us white girls driving a truck usually get!

When we arrived at our gate just before 8:00, there they were! I drove the truck in the yard and went to see what was happening. My first glimpse of the baby shocked me, as I was not at all extecting to see a completely listless baby with no blood flow to his hands, feet, eyes or mouth as all of these areas were completely white! I told them to follow me quickly and left them in the porch and ran upstairs and said "I found a baby for you and he needs some oxygen or something really bad! And I'm not kidding!!!"(there are a lot of practical jokes that get played at this house!) Melinda came downstairs and took one look at the baby, who we learned was named Carlos,and whom I lovingly refer to as Calliou, and she said to the family that she would do what she could, but she could not guarantee that he would make it. They looked a little shocked, but then nodded in agreement that Melinda could take him and do what she could. We immediatly started him on oxygen, but he was so dehydrated that we could not find a vein. Melinda tried over and over to get an IV in him, but could not, and resorted to using clysis (inserting fluid under the skin close to the spine) to hydrate him . After 10 hours she finally found a vein that didn't blow, and we were able to give him a blood transfusion. His family told us he was 8 months old, but as he has gotten stronger we can see that he is more like 18 months, as he tries to hum songs, and is very particular about how he plays with his hands and such. Yes, he is alive and geting well, twiddling his thumbs and all!! It has been amazing to see his toe and fingernails turn pink again and watch him literally come alive. He still has a long way to go, but he has come an amazingly long way the last 48 hours!!

Carlos was/is severly anemic and was desperate for blood. His is the foot on top compared with a healthy baby his age

This is Carlos "Calliou". The "pudginess" that you see is all water collecting in his cells as his body is unable to circulate it properly.

That same morning, at about 11:00 one of our workers came up the stairs and said that there was another baby on the back porch. I didn't believe her at first, as 2 had already come in less than 24 hours, but sure enough there Stevenson was. Tears flooded my eyes at my first sight of him, and Pat had a hard time keeping her tears under control as well. This little boy looked like an old old frail man, his body covered in dead skin, sores covering his head and his skin literally folding over on itself there was so much extra. We took him upstairs and Melinda was able to get an IV started in him quickly. Pat and I washed him up and while she and Melinda fought with Carlos to get him stable, I sat and fed Steevenson a bottle of which he drank about 1oz before he was unable to suck anymore. When Carlos was somewhat stable for a while, Melinda cleaned Steevenson up the rest of the way, and shaved his head and removed all the dead skin that she could. 4 hours after wrapping his head he looked a lot better, though he is by far the most pitiful baby I have seen since being in Haiti. He is 16 months old and weighs just over 9lbs....the same weight he was at one month old. Over the past few days we found out a lot about what has happend to Steevenson, and it's so terrible it hasn't really set in as reality for us yet. His mother left him with his father and at some point some woman did something that they believe cursed the child, and when Steevenson began to get sick his father took him to the doctor who was unable to get him well. Then out of desperation and superstition, he was taken to the witch doctor, and after his father realized the witch doctor could not help him, Steevenson's father brought him to us. We are not sure all of what the witch doctor did, but he is passing some very odd stools, and the hair all over his body has been singed off, and it is quite likely the same heat that did that also damaged his skin integrity even more than it was damaged due to malnutrition. At this point Steevenson is holding on, though he cannot maintain a temperature and just moans pitifully for hours on end.

Steevnson:after his bath we still could not see what was sores and what was dead skin. Notice the unhealthy light pink color(it should be much darker) of his tongue

After getting more dead skin scraped off and his head shaved and wrapped

It has been very surreal to be seeing the very things that you know exist and happen but don't really understand. Lots of feeling have been coursing through me. Anger, fear, resentment, pity, frusteration, and an all over inability to understand WHY these things have to happen before these children come to us. I've been reminded over and over of how Satan come only to steal, kill and destroy and how so many people are missing out on the abundant(though they still may be poor) life that they can have in Jesus. It's so blatant here!

Please continue to pray for all three of these new little ones in our house, as well as for the rest of the staff and children as these very involved cases affect the workings of the house!

On another note, my mom and some good friends arrived on Tuesday to spend the week painting and tiling and helping out and getting to be a part of what I am doing here in Haiti. I am so excited that they are experiencing what I love so very much, even when things are so sad and frusterating!