Famous Last Words

Our Adoption Journey to Haiti

Mangos and Street Food  March 12, 2017

Filed under: Uncategorized — rgraham100 @ 10:24 pm

We got a late start today. The time change here in Haiti is not quite so straightforward because sometimes they change and sometimes they don’t. Well this year they decided to change, but the telecom companies didn’t get the memo, so Lewis the translator was a bit late😀.

We knew today was going to be a long day with a lot of moving parts. Our driver picked up more mangoes and waters for the kids. And we ordered street food for the entire orphanage.

All of us were experiencing toddler fatigue. We adore those cute faces, but we needed to reclaim our personal space so we invited the older kids to hang with us on the balcony all morning. It was glorious! They made bracelets, made puzzles, they did adult coloring books…in general it was peaceful and fun. 

J was very chill today as well, which was great for me to just sit with him and listen to music.

I want to thank Colleen’s friends and family who allowed us to purchase more than 300 mangoes and bags of water; diapers; 50 jars of baby food; and 150 meals for the kids and staff at Foyer. The best part was that the $$ was for the most part put directly into the hands of Haitian workers. Also, big shout out to Amy Nolan for helping to purchase diapers and formula for the babies!!

The meals arrived around 1 and they were a hit! All the kids devoured the chicken and savoured every last morsel.


In the afternoon, Erin entertained the littles with wiki stixs, pipe cleaners, and sidewalk chalk.

Colleen and Jen fed at least 20 babies pears, apples, guava, etc…

We passed out mangoes and water again around 4. We said our goodbyes and were off☹️


It was an awesome trip-our driver really made the difference. He helped to connect us more directly to the economy and use our resources in a meaningful way. He also opened our minds a bit more about the complexities of this tiny, beautiful place.

We head home tomorrow to snow…but families who are ready for mom to be home.

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Baseball player March 11, 2017

Filed under: Uncategorized — rgraham100 @ 10:54 pm

A lot happened today, which I will get to shortly. The most important news to share is that J used a plastic toy bowling pin and bowling ball to simulate a baseball bat and ball. Be still my heart. 

Ok, now back to the rest of day. We met our driver and translator at 9. Our driver picked up 180 bags of water and 125 mangoes on his way to pick us up to give to the kids today.

Colleen  and Jen both received donations for this trip, so we have been using the donations to buy fruit, diapers, formula, etc…We still had quite a bit of $$ left, so we decided to ask a lady on the street if she could make 150 individual chicken/rice/beans meals for the kids and staff at the orphanage. We found a woman on the street who Lewis said made delicious food. She normally doesn’t cook Sundays, but made an exception for us. She is even going to deliver the food.


We arrived to the orphanage and passed out the water and mangoes, which were a huge hit.


I’ve noticed on these past two trips that J is much more active. We used to spend most of our day on the balcony, but now most of our day is spent running around the yard. Which is great, but makes for one tired mama.

A fellow adoptive mom paid for a ministry called Outside the Bowl to deliver beans, rice, and chicken sauce for all the kids, which was great to see all the kids with full bellies. J said the prayer for his group before they ate, which was adorable beyond words.

He also rode on a bike today, with the help of our buddy Gabriel.

Jen hung with babies again. 

Colleen played soccer with the older boys-she’s the tall white person in the picture below.


Erin did lots of puzzles and had several kids clinging to her ALL DAY. 

We left the orphanage a little early and did some shopping at the Apparent Project. We loaded up on gifts and then got smoothies at Clay Cafe. 

 

These Ladies Keep This Place Running March 10, 2017

Filed under: Uncategorized — rgraham100 @ 10:31 pm

Excited to get our day started, we all met for breakfast at 8. We filled up on watermelon, sweet rolls, and omelettes. We met our driver around 9. He is an American who has been in Haiti for 3 years. He runs a bed and breakfast with his wife and is very familiar with Haitian adoptions as he is adopting two kids and most of his hotel guests are adoptive family.

Our driver was unbelievably helpful and informative. We usually stop at a local grocery store to buy supplies to make lunch for kids. Our driver encouraged us to instead put our money into the hands of the ladies who sell goods on the side of the road. 

He told us about these Haitian women who are up at 3 am, getting their supplies from the markets to sell for the day. They are warming us their ovens to cook pate for the kids who go to school early. “These ladies keep this place running”, he told us.

We decided to buy bananas, mangoes, and peanut butter sandwiches from the ladies. It was an adventure. We made a rookie mistake by getting out of the car at the first vendor. The seller wouldn’t negotiate on price, so our driver moved on. He said it would be a bad precedence to buy from someone who won’t negotiate. 

The next three vendors were a success. Our driver told us that the ladies did not believe him when he requested to buy all of their merchandise (we bought a lot of fruit!). He kept having explain himself and reassure the ladies that he was serious.

We arrived to Foyer a little before 11. Apparently J goes to school now. Who knew? Kiki from Foyer went to fetch him for me. 

When he got to the orphanage, I got a huge smile and running hug❤❤.  Colleen and Jen headed to baby room and jumped in feeding and changing diapers. 

Erin got busy coloring/painting with the little kids.

Our driver helped us keep some semblance of order for the fruit/sandwich distribution. 

We rolled through our day playing with sidewalk chalk, painting, coloring, pipe cleaners, etc…

I followed J’s lead. He was equal parts sweet/snugly and mischievous (he somehow got a hold of a sharp stick and was terrorizing other children with before I finally wrangled it away).

We made it through our first day and left around 4, exhausted and emotionally spent. We are now back at the hotel drinking wine poolside watching stereotypical Americans on spring break chicken fighting in the pool.

 

Traveling with a VIP

Filed under: Uncategorized — rgraham100 @ 1:30 am

We made it! 

The four of us (Colleen, Erin, Jen, and me) had uneventful first legs of our trip and met in Miami around 10 am. We grabbed lunch at our favorite airport Mexican restaurant and headed to Port-au-Prince around 12:30.

Erin, Colleen, and I sat in the back of the airplane with the rif raff. Not Jen. She sat in first class with the diplomats and money makers. 

Once us coach travelers finally made it off the back of the airplane, we headed through customs in record time. We then went to baggage claim, where we got to meet one of Jen’s new friends from first class😀 

Once we all got our luggage, we went and found our ride to the hotel.  We held our own on this trip! Only one us gave up our bag for “assistance” and a tip. Not too bad.

We made the short trip to the hotel. We settled in and organized supplies for tomorrow. And then headed to the outdoor seating area of the restaurant for some red wine, rum punch, and Prestige beer. We ate Haitian cuisine tonight: accra (friend veggie hash);  and various meat dishes with beans and rice prepared creole style. 

We are off to bed now (I love these early bedtimes in Haiti) to get some rest before our first day at the orphanage tomorrow.

 

Trip #6 March 6, 2017

Filed under: Uncategorized — rgraham100 @ 2:53 pm

It is hard to believe that our first trip to Haiti was only 17 months ago.  Patrick and I were reminiscing last night about how our perception and feelings on these trips have drastically evolved.  The very things that at first felt so foreign and unsafe (driving, navigating the airport, etc…) are now some of our favorite parts of our visits.

We are unbelievably blessed to be able to visit our son so frequently (although I miss him fiercely in between visits).  And that we have family and friends who are willing to invest in our family and the kids at our orphanage to accompany us on these adventures.

I leave this Thursday for our sixth trip.  All the boys are staying home because this is a LADIES trip!  I am thrilled that our friends Colleen, Erin, and Jen are joining me.  Two of us are traveling from Virginia, one from North Carolina, and one from Ohio.  We will meet in Miami Thursday afternoon and head to Port-au-Prince together.

All of these ladies are moms with busy lives, jobs,  and families that they are leaving behind – we are so grateful for their love, support, and sacrifice to join me.

Please pray for our trip  – for safe travels, health, and opened eyes/hearts.  I’ll keep you posted during our visit!

 

 

 

Movement February 27, 2017

Filed under: Uncategorized — rgraham100 @ 7:59 pm

And we finally exited IBESR (nicknamed “the black hole” by frustrated adopting families).

This is a big deal. 

We entered IBESR December 13th, 2013.  More than 3 years later, we are OUT.

IBESR is typically the longest/most unpredictable portion of the Haitian adoption process (I hope I am not jinxing our file by writing this).

I know that everyone’s next question is when can we bring him home. Our answer remains the same: we don’t know.

We have three final phases: 1. Haitian courts to get an adoption decree 2. Passports 3. Visa

We are praying for a 2017 homecoming.

I am headed to Haiti March 9th to visit my boo – this progress could not have come at a better time. I had some seriously soul crushing moments last week where I thought the weight was going to break me (I am typically not dramatic, but it was a dark week).

We are so thankful to be moving forward-thanks for continued prayers!

 

Day 3 December 29, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — rgraham100 @ 10:49 pm

We started our day as usual, 9 am pickup. We went to Stop and Go for peanut butter sandwiches and pate poulet.

We arrived at 9:45. The boys played dominoes, we blew bubbles, played with cars, colored, and snacked.

We fed J and his friends lunch around noon. He was exhausted today  and wanted me to take him to the car. He fell asleep almost immediately and slept for over an hour.

A few observations/takeaways:

-Patrick typically hangs with the teenage boys. But for some reason, three little girls attached themselves to him today and would NOT LET GO. It was hilarious.

– I saw a woman carrying 16 dozen eggs on her head. Wha?????

– the kids love Noah and Brady’s hair. They are constantly rubbing their hands through it.

– j is definitely a mama’s boy. 

– at one point today, Brady saw kids throwing rocks at each other and beating one another, he got overwhelmed, began crying and we had to remove him from the crowd. 

– at one point, j peed in a big silver bowl in the hallway. We hope that was a pee pot and not a kitchen bowl.

– Brady is instantly familiar with everyone. At one point, he walked by the head nanny (Mama Tita) and squeezed her twice.

– Noah has had the misfortune of pushing multiple children on the swings who are not wearing underwear (undies are on our shopping list for next trip)

– because the weather was so nice this trip, we got to spend most of our time outside, with the guys and older kids. It was awesome because we didn’t have to kick people off the balcony. Everyone was included.

Saying goodbye to J was of course very difficult. He was in tears, which usually doesn’t happen. One of us will come back in March.

We head home tomorrow…praying for smooth travels.  

 

 
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