Famous Last Words

Our Adoption Journey to Haiti

Best Day  March 20, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — rgraham100 @ 1:32 am

Our day started as usual. We caravaned to the orphanage, stopping along the way for pate. J was much less clingy today.  He spent the day digging through my bag for snacks and having me carry him downstairs to deliver the snacks to his nanny.  But he wasn’t interested in just sitting on my lap.

Brady has made some great friends and he was more willing to leave my side today.

Around 1:45 we were getting ready to say goodbye and J got very quiet-he told one of our translators that he wanted to leave with me (break my heart).  The translator, without my prompting because I thought it was not possible, asked a guy in charge of the kids if J could go with us. He said yes!!!

We scooped up J and left. He whimpered in the car for a bit…he was scared.  We stopped by the Apparent Project to pick up souvenirs and fruit smoothies. J did awesome.  He just sat in my arms and took it all in.

Next we got back to the hotel and he had fun exploring the room and watching a show with Brady. He fell asleep just before 6. We carried him to the hotel restaurant and he slept through dinner. He is still sleeping now 8:30 pm)… It could be an early morning.  My heart is so full having J sleeping between me and Brady tonight.  Brady cannot quit hugging and squeezing him.

Please pray for smooth travels tomorrow. Brady and I need to drop off J at the orphanage tomorrow and get to the airport by noon.  Pray for no traffic! The rest of our crew is staying back at the hotel and catching the hotel shuttle to the airport.  Prayers for them as they navigate the airport by themselves until Brady and me get there.

 

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Never a Dull Moment March 19, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — rgraham100 @ 2:33 am

Today we met our fellow adoptee parents the Jeffersons, drivers Jimmy and Francois, and translators Luwis and Mike in our hotel lobby at 10 am.  We just met Luwis on this trip – he has been our translator for the last two days.  Let me restate that – Luwis has been Brady’s BFF the past couple of days.  Brady takes FULL advantage of somebody who can translate statements like, “does anyone want to play soccer” or “can I have one of your fruit snacks” from English into Creole.  Brady hit the jackpot with Luwis.  He is VERY patient with Brady and his constant inquiries into the Creole language.

Our first day in Haiti a child on the side of the road gave Brady the thumbs up sign.  Brady has been telling everyone that is the Haitian signal for hello.  So Brady hangs out the car window (Patrick would die if he saw this) and gives everyone the thumbs up sign.

When we got to the orphanage, another adoptive family was already on the 3rd floor balcony and they had their hands full with dozens of kids already.  J and I were very overwhelmed so we asked one of the older girls to take us to a more secluded area.  We had about 10 kids with us and we did some arts and crafts, played with play-doh….it was great downtime.

Once again today J would not let me put him down. He wanted to be in my arms the entire day (while eating Cheetohs of course).  My heart goes out to Brady who just wants his brother to play with him.  Brady, who normally is my free-spirited wanderer, sticks right by my side as well.  So Brady, J and I are three-man amoeba at the orphanage.  My mom, Katie, and Tony hit their stride right away today and got busy spoiling kids. It’s awesome to see them loving these kids so immediately.

baooke

Our ride home was one I will never forget.  There was terrible Friday afternoon traffic, so Francois took us through what appeared to be a jungle and literally through a river where children were bathing.  We were holding our breathe as we passed a car that got stuck in the river (and had two men buck naked pushing the car through the water).

 

lake

We got back to the hotel around 5pm tonight and went to an authentic Haitian restaurant, which was amazing.  We are all pretty devastated that tomorrow is our last full day in Haiti.

 

Brady and J March 18, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — rgraham100 @ 1:38 am

I woke up very early this morning with anticipation for arriving at the orphanage.  My alarm was set for 8 am, but I was wide awake by 6 am.  Our so-so reliable driver arrived at the hotel at 7:30 – I guess he was excited too.

There is another family, the Jeffersons, staying at our hotel visiting their daughter at our orphanage for their 2-week bonding trip.  We all met in the hotel lobby at 9 am and caravanned to the orphanage with two drivers, two translators, and seven Americans.

Because Brady slept the entire way from the airport to our hotel, he really had not seen Haiti.  He was enthralled with our car trip.  The goats, the women with baskets of fruit on their heads, the fruit trees, the sounds, the smells….he loved it all.

We stopped at Belmart on our way to the orphanage to pick up pate poulet (chicken and bread)…one of my favorite things to eat in Haiti.

It was so good to be back at the orphanage and see all of the kids we love. We slowly made our way through the crowds on the first floor and made our way to the second floor where J stays.  He was on his bed when we arrived.  He put his arms up for me to hold him.  He then saw Brady and quickly got down to give his brother a hug.  He tried to kiss Brady on the lips…but Brady was surprised and gave him the cheek.

We quickly moved upstairs to the 3rd floor balcony, aka headquarters.  J quickly moved into eating three bags of cheetos and drinking an entire bottle of water.  He was not interested in playing at all, much to Brady’s frustration.

J was pretty much mine all day.  He either wanted me to hold him and walk around the orphanage or he was sitting in my lap (eating and listening to music).  Brady loved the orphanage.  He was unbelievably kind and loving to all the kids.  He found some boys his age and they played soccer all afternoon.  He was very affectionate to all the little kids – I was so proud of him.

My mom, sister, and brother-in-law also were amazing – they always had somebody on their laps and provided the kids with lots of love and affection.

We left the orphanage around 3pm.  Brady fell asleep on the car trip home.  We took an hour to relax then went to a local Italian restaurant for some pizza and Prestige beer.

We are all looking forward to another big day tomorrow.

 

 

 

 

We Made It March 17, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — rgraham100 @ 12:31 am

Five of us traveled to Haiti today. Somehow we made it.  The travel squad includes my 6-year-old son, Brady; my mother; my sister; my brother-in-law; and me.   We are not a conspicuous group.  Nobody has ever called my family laid back or calm and collected.

We started with a 3:30 am wake-up call.  We headed to National Airport and caught a flight to Ft. Lauderdale. The only thing that got left behind was my sister’s phone.  She left it in Patrick’s car when he dropped us off at the airport. We had a three-hour layover that may or may not have required a beer at 10:30 am.  Around noon we left Ft. Lauderdale and headed to Port-au-Prince.

Customs was a breeze and fortunately our luggage arrived right away.  We paid an airport
“helper” to get us a cart.  We then paid another helper to walk our luggage to the exit of the airport.  Once outside, we had even more help.  By the time we got to our car, we had so much help our wallets were almost empty.

Brady has the gift to sleep anywhere/anytime.  He decided that in the midst of us collecting our luggage at the airport was the best time to go to sleep.  I carried him asleep through the airport, through the crowds and heat outside the airport, and the entire car ride to our hotel.

The ride from the airport to the hotel was just as exciting as I remembered from our bonding trip in October.  My sister, Katie, and brother-in-law, Tony enjoyed the excitement as well.

We arrived to the hotel around 3:30 and got checked in.  We had an early dinner at our hotel restaurant and are planning to get a good night’s rest for our big day at the orphanage tomorrow.

I cannot wait to see my boy, J and for Brady to meet his little brother.

 

 

 

 

Three Years and Gratitude March 3, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — rgraham100 @ 4:47 pm

When we enrolled in the Haiti program at America World Adoption Agency on March 1, 2013, our family coordinator told us that this journey would be unpredictable and difficult. She was right.

As we’ve crossed the three-year mark, I’ve been doing some reflection on the process so far. There have been three distinct phases.

Year 1 – We had no doubt, and still have no doubt, that adopting from Haiti was God’s direction for our family. We entered into the process with complete confidence. Our first year was focused on paperwork and fundraising. It took us from March – October 2013 to complete all of the paperwork. Our paperwork was submitted to IBESR in December of 2013, which is when the real waiting began. We thought that we would receive a referral within 6-8 months of submitting our dossier, so we really did not anticipate any movement in our first year in the process. We were busy, but not anxious.

Year 2 – was awful. My faith was seriously tested. As the 6-8 month timeframe of when we were supposed to get our referral passed, I grew more anxious. 12 months, 15 months, 20 months passed. My anger, confusion, and frustration began to grow. Other families who had not been waiting as long as we waited were getting referrals. Why? I would fall to pieces every time somebody from my adoption agency would get a referral. I literally wanted to crawl out of my skin and emotionally could not handle all of the questions that people would ask me about our process and the timeline. Poor Patrick had to endure this (I am pretty sure there is a special place in heaven for husbands of type A wives). I dove into the Bible, I prayed for peace…but I was still holding onto the notion that things must be fair and that I have something to control in the process.

Year 3 – On September 27 2015, I heard a pastor talking about a time in his past where he was not trusting God with some concerns he had about his teenage daughter….it was very wise and I am not doing it justice here, but you get the idea. I am not sure why this message resonated with me so well. But on that evening, I finally turned over control after one final ugly cry. And on October 1, 2015 we got our referral. We went to Haiti to meet J on October 11. Both Patrick and I anticipated that the waiting period between first visiting J and bringing him home would be infinitely worse for me. But God-willing, it has been the most peaceful time of this entire process. I am grateful every day that God continues to provide me this peace and patience and understanding that He’s got J covered.

 

 
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