Famous Last Words

Our Adoption Journey to Haiti

Getting Real January 19, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — rgraham100 @ 3:00 am

Sorry for not posting last night, we took the kids out for the first night of Carnival. We started at an Italian restaurant in Petion-ville that had some of the best pizza I have ever had. Then we were drawn towards large crowds of people partying downtown. There was a giant mobile stage and a DJ rocking the local flavor. The streets were filled with people dancing and having a good time. I wouldn’t say we stood out but we were the only moun blan out there, the only people with small children and the only people with no rhythmic movement going on. That aside we had a great time and it was fun to experience some Haitian culture outside of the hotel and orphanage while we are here.

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The last two days have been filled with some amazing moments with our boy and his friends. Eric and Emilia continued to lead arts and crafts with the kids. There were more beads, bands, strings, cut outs and glue than at VBS. They were such amazing leaders getting the kids involved and having such a great time. Eric had most of the crafting down either from his own experience or the printed directions with each kit but there were a couple bracelet projects that seemed to be a bit of a stumper. Fear not, the older girls at the orphanage had it down. They didn’t even need the loom part of the rainbow loom. They would hook bands and strings to their toes and weave these amazing bracelets. They could even take pieces from other projects and integrate them into the jewelry. Pretty cool for sure!

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Emilia really attached to 2 girls. One was younger and spent time in her lap as Emilia’s inner mother instincts kicked in. Very tender and such a loving relationship. The other was with an 11 year old girl Daphne. She is an amazing girl. Her English was better than our translators and she has a heart of gold. Emilia interviewed her and really got to know her better. They hung out for 3 days and when we left today Daphne wrote Emilia a letter telling her how much she loved her and that she was her best friend. Emilia’s next mission is to get home and convince her mom that they should adopt this special girl. What an amazing experience for both of these girls – life changing.

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Noah spent his time playing ball with a few of the older kids. He really developed relationships with 3 older boys who are 12, 13 and 14 (the crew I fell in love with on our bonding trip – Gabriel, Olitch and Roberto). It was so hard for him to say goodbye to them today. Noah also helped with crafts and tended to all of the liitle kids needs as well. He was a rock star and I couldn’t have been more proud.

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Along with all of the fun stuff above, Noah’s primary focus was on J man. He was such an awesome older brother. He played games with J and got him food every 3 minutes when J asked. We walked to the school and Noah wanted to carry him the whole way. He really fell in love with his brother on this trip. J learned to say Noah’s name and would call out to him and ask him for things and it brought so much joy to Noah. The one thing I didn’t fully anticipate was how hard it was going to be for Noah to leave J today. Noah could sense the day was ending soon and started to withdraw a little. He asked if we were leaving soon and I could tell something was bothering him. When it was time to say goodbye he just broke down. He buried his head into my chest and wept. He said he never wanted to leave J man. Then we both wept. It was so real and so hard. We pulled it together enough to walk downstairs and say goodbye to the older crew and then Noah broke down again. I haven’t seen him have such an emotional connection before. While my heart broke for him I was also encouraged that he was able to make such a connection with his brother.

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We fly out early tomorrow morning and we have had an amazing trip. It was the trip we had hoped for from the beginning. I can’t tell you how fulfilling it was to squeeze my littlest one, to see the joy on Noah’s face to just be with his little brother, and to share this experience with great friends.

 

We leave here better from our experience but a little broken from that piece of our hearts we are leaving behind with J. We love him dearly and God willing we will bring him home soon. Love you J!

 

Baby Brother January 17, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — rgraham100 @ 4:02 am

After a goods night sleep we were ready to head to the orphanage to see J today. We had fresh Mango and cafe avec lait for breakfast (the kids actually had pop tarts and sour patch kids). It took us about one and a half hours to get to the orphanage from the hotel and only one fell asleep. Luckily, today our translator sat in the trunk of the Rav 4 so we had a little more room to stretch out.

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We waited in the foyer of the orphanage for the nannies to get J ready and bring him to us. When Noah was asked how he was feeling he said, ” I am so excited, this is the best day of my life, I would rather be here than Disney World.” Nerves were a little high for all of us. I wasn’t sure if he would remember me. Would he be mad at me for leaving him for so long? Or would he just think I was another white person to bring him candy?

Questions answered – he walked up to me, put his arms up and let me hug him so tight as he buried his face into my neck. Neither of us let go for what seemed like an eternity. I told him I loved him and missed him so much. He told me he love me. I cried. He laughed. It was the reunion I dreamed of.

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It was really cool to watch Noah approach J and hug him. They played with toys, ate junk food and did the whip and nae nae together. Noah is such a great big brother and I can wait for Brady to meet J. Noah also played with some of the older boys (12-14). They played soccer, threw the baseball and, of course, had a little screen time. Noah and Emilia had so much fun playing with the kids.

Eric was in charge of the crafts. As the father of 3 sweet little girls, he did amazing with the kids. At one point he had 4 little girls in arms reach, teaching them how to make bracelets. He also ventured downstairs with a bag of 100 lollipops and we weren’t sure he would make it back.

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It was so great to see my boy again today and to see him with his big brother. I knew I missed him but to kiss his sweet face today wrecked me. I am so excited for Becky to come down in March and love on him. By God’s grace we will be able to bring him home soon.

 

Haiti – The Journey Continues

Filed under: Uncategorized — rgraham100 @ 12:28 am

By Patrick Wickline, Special Contributor

To everyone who has followed Becky on this awesome journey via her blog, I apologize that I am about to hijack it. Please bear with me.

Noah and I have been counting down the days until we travel to Haiti to see our little man, and it has finally come. I traveled with my 8 year old son, a great friend Eric and his daughter Emilia. I mainly clarify that because we don’t have my wonderful type A wife to make our packing list, pack all of the suitcases, arrange travel and accommodations and keep us out of trouble. So let the fun begin.

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We rolled out about 4:00 in the morning to get to the airport and managed to get all 5 overstuffed suitcases onto our flight for a minimal fee. Score! Eric and I slept a good part of the way to Florida while the kids entertained themselves by watching movies and eating candy. We had just enough time for a nice lunch in Fort Lauderdale and then onto our plane bound for Haiti. The pilot announces total flight time is one and a half hours and we are excited the whole thing has felt so smooth. Then we got to sit on the tarmac for 2 hours while a storm passed, knocking back our arrival time in Haiti and causing slight concern our waiting driver would give up on us. Customs, baggage claim, and then thrown out into the parking lot of the PAP airport we found our driver and a small entourage to help us to our car.

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Remember the 5 oversized bags? Four adults, two kids and those 5 bags plus our carry-ons squeezed into a packed Rav 4. It was like a clown car headed to the circus and at this point the 3:30 wake up call was hitting us all so the kids snoozed on the hour trip to the hotel.

Once we arrived at the Best Western I felt like I was at my high school reunion catching up with all the friends I made on our bonding trip back in October. Not sure they felt the same way but they all nodded and smiled as I hugged them and told them how much I missed them.

We introduced the kids to some Haitian cuisine at the restaurant with some fritay and kibby and then rounded out the night out with a dip in the pool. Not bad for a 19 hour day. We definitely hit the bed hard and needed the alarm to wake us up this morning.

We just want to thank God for a safe trip down here and for providing us with an opportunity to show our kids a bigger part of His world. We are so grateful for a chance to spend more time with J man and introduce him to his oldest brother and some great friends.

 

Our Next Visit January 4, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — rgraham100 @ 6:33 pm

Patrick and Noah will leave for Haiti on January 15 to visit J.  One of our friends and their 8-year-old daughter will be joining them!  We are thrilled that Moise and Francois will be driving and translating again.

One of our dear friends in Ohio launched a fundraiser in November to raise funds to buy shoes for the kids at the orphanage…we are so excited for Noah and Patrick to be able to share these shoes with the kids!

Patrick will be blogging during his time in Haiti…so stay tuned!

 

 
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