Monday, August 29, 2011

Something to do...

Well, it was a tough day.  I was off, which was of course, a blessing after working the night shift on Saturday.  At some point I will have to share the fun and excitement that is a level one trauma center on a Saturday night in the summer!!  Nonetheless, I was exhausted yesterday.  Today, though I faced the day.  It was another biopsy day for mom.  Today it was the lymph nodes.  There are times I really hate that she is far away and I cannot get in the car and be with her.  This was one of those times.  Leave it to modern technology though, she was able to text me.  LOL!!  I got the blow by blow of the injection, the waiting, the endless waiting, to the description of the nice warm blankets they had her wrapped in.  I think my favorite text of the day was a steady stream of nonsensical consonants.  I asked if she had mis typed it, but when I got no answer, I later learned she had just been medicated.  LOL!!  In the end, she called, half loopy to say she was headed home.  What a relief.  Now, time for some serious prayer that the nodes are clean. 

In the midst of my day I looked at a blog by Denise.  She talks about how she thought she would react hearing she had passed through her dispensation and on to IBESR.  I know about that question.  I too fantasize about what that would be like.  To hear, we are through the worst of it, and have moved on to the beginning of the end.  I too began to wonder, will I be at work?  Will I cry?  Will I go crazy?  What exactly?  I am not sure.  Then, as I was thinking about it, I got an email from the orphanage director.  Our beloved Rachel.  No, it wasn't our approval, but a copy of a power of attorney in french that needs to go through the Haitian Consulate.  Well, not what I was hoping for, but at least the ability to do something to contribute to the process.  I do better with work.  This idle waiting is hard.  So, off to call the Haitian Consulate in Chicago first thing in the morning to see how to get this ball rolling.  I think I must be the only one on the planet excited about doing that.  LOL!!  However, it reminds me that every task, no matter how small is one step closer to bringing my little Nate home where he belongs.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

A light in the dark

Ok, I will admit it. I am very good at worrying. The Bible tells me,"don't worry about tomorrow, tomorrow will take care of itself.". For me, that is such a hard lesson, especially today. I have a lot of worries. I worry every minute if Nate is OK, does he remember me? Is his tummy still bloated? Did he get his medicine? Then I worry about my mom's fight with cancer. She is having yet another biopsy Monday, and more surgery later in the week. I worry about if our adoption paperwork will move out of social services soon? Or is it as the blogs say, it has fallen into "the black hole".

So, I drifted through my work shift, worrying along the way. I got home and poured over the email hoping for some glimmer of hope that something would be solved. Nothing. Then out of the blue, Zachary presented me with a sealed envelope."Here Mom, you got email!" He was so proud of himself. I opened the envelope and inside was a simple piece of white paper he had carefully written three little words"I love you". Just what I needed. I hugged him tight and he just beamed with pride. He knew he made my day. It reminded me of all the frustration and worry that came before his adoption was final. It also was a firm reminder that no matter how hard it is, one day I will be looking at Nate in my living room and it will all be worth it.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


Well, I am sensing a theme through my posts. The last one was hurricane, this one is earthquake. Lol! So, today, we had an earthquake. The epicenter was reportedly in Virginia, but Facebook and other outlets are covered with reports of where people were and what shook and how they felt. I was home when it happened and other than a small thud I heard from upstairs that I mistook for the cat jumping off a dresser, I would not have even known if it were not for the news. Nonetheless, all media outlets are covering it. Interviews, reactions, evacuations and on and on. I found myself just tuning it out. Instead my attention was turned to those Port Au Prince images burned in my mind's eye. There was the vision of the the tent cities showing no signs of emptying any time soon, crumbling buildings, and the people. It made me a little annoyed with the media reaction of an earthquake that as of a few hours ago had no injuries reported.

I guess my annoyance was not to last though. In a fit of frustration, I flitted around fox to try to find some other news when I stumbled across an article about Rob Lowe. He is arranging a Habitat for Humanity project in Haiti to build 50,000 homes! I remember seeing their logo down there, but had no idea what the project was. Even better was he publicly challenged Donald Trump to back the project with his many zillions of dollars. How awesome.

On another note I found myself wondering where my little Nate was when it happened. He would have been 11 months old. I know his twin died, but was left wondering if his twin was alive then. I have been composing some questions for his birth mom and I found myself adding these things to the list. It must have been so hard for her with little babies and the earth shaking
under her feet. I am now only hoping she will have the courage to meet us on our next visit.
I would like to be able to share these things with Nate as he grows.

Monday, August 22, 2011


One more time, I nervously watch the news hearing of yet another hurricane. It doesn't look like Haiti is going to get too much of the wind, but certainly a lot of rain. I saw they are to get nearly 10 inches. It makes me worry about Nate as when we were there it was pretty clear he didn't like storms. Today, I could stand it no longer and zipped off an email to the orphanage director inquiring about the state of things. I really don't expect to gain any meaningful updates on the adoption process, but it maybe I will get a good anecdote about Nate. This is where my lack of patience shines!

Anyway, we were given a challenge at church yesterday. It was to fast for 40 days, be it a fast for food or Facebook, or whatever. We were to change that time for prayer to ask God what it was He wants to do with us. How can we be used, in other words. I think this came at a good time for me. Outside, of adopting Nate, I am sure that God has more for us. I am just not sure what that might be. Wuld it be another child? A medical mission? Many more trips to Mountain Top Ministries (ok, so I would love that!) in all actuality we are just not sure. So, day ine down, no good answers, but through my time in prayer I was able to come away wi that there were two people I needed to reach out to. One was my mom, spiraling through a very frustrating cancer work up with no answers just yet, and my friend, hugely pregnant due any day. I love them both and after taking the time to do this realized I had gotten a chance to enjoy them both and be distracted through the frustration of waiting for Nate. We shall see what day two might bring!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Back to work...

Today was my first day back to work. I was dreading it as I lived in my nostalgic world of Haitian memories. As it turned out, being busy wasn't all bad. It took my mind off the seemingly insurmountable wait laying ahead of us. Suddenly today as returning to reality set in, I had a sudden thought of realizing I was completely unable to do anything more in this adoption. I am in the great unknown of when the next step will happen and completely not in control of it. It is all a bit frustrating. We are now waiting for our paperwork to come out of social services. We really aren't sure when this will be. It went there at the beginning of July and at that time we were told five months. Now they are saying,"much sooner.". Whatever that means.

So, working and the kids going back to school must be what I need to take my mind off. I am hoping God finds some other way to speed this up. As I have eluded to before, patience and not having a plan are not exactly my strong suit. That is probably why I endure this stuff. God continues to try to teach me patience. I wonder if I will ever get better at it???! LOL!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Reflections on a day with Nate

Yesterday, we arrived in Haiti.  Nothing could have really prepared me for what I saw through the streets of Port Au Prince.  There was such a huge number of people bustling around all with the same goal.  That was to make some money.  There were young men attempting to wash the windows on the truck we were in, there were children selling ice, many people with stands of American clothing, women with baskets of fruit on their heads and on and on.  This all amidst the backdrop of buildings that had crumbled, all in various stages of being rebuilt. As we left Port Au Prince we began to drive through the winding roads up the mountain to the village of Thommassin.  The area got nicer and nicer as we went.  Then, it happened.  After months of prayer and love from our friends and family, we arrived at the orphanage.  I walked in to our little Nate playing with the children, only to have him immediately walk to me arms held up ready to be picked up and he didn't want to be down much the rest of the night.  I think he somehow knew I was his momma and was ready to go. 

He was a bit stoic for the first hour or so though.  Quietly looking around, not really interactive, just on my lap.  I tried to put him down to see if he would play, but he just gripped  my neck tighter. Eventually, it was time to eat.  He ravenously ate down rice, beans, salad, bread, chicken til I thought he was going to bust.  As he sat on my lap eating, I was able to really look at him.  He has a big bloated belly we became so familiar with in 1996.  Our first child had this as well.  Otherwise, he looks a bit anemic, but we already knew that.  I think God really didn't want me to worry, because all my concerns were a bit better watching him eat.  Eating like that will solve all that when he comes home.

After dinner, we went with the Summers standby.  We fired up the laptop and put on Sing Yourself Silly, a Sesame Street video.  He loved it.  He started to loosen up a bit and eventually began to play.  He did come off my lap but was sure I was not to be more than a foot away.  I watched him with amazement.  He was curious, wanting to find things and learning how to vroom the cars his big brother picked out for him.  In the end, he snuggled in and went to sleep.  It was really a wonderful day. 

This morning we sit in the guest house, viewing the beautiful mountain scene

Yet Still My Head is in Haiti

I am beginning to wonder if I left part of my head in Haiti.  I think at this juncture it is a given that my heart is there.  My little Nate is there, and by default, part of my heart.  However, I have found in the last 48 hours, my head is there too.  I am finding it increasingly more difficult to look at life in the same way.  Today, my daughter, a senior was filling us in of all of the latest teenage drama.  She shared a variety of her concerns about this person or that and on and on...I found myself thinking all of that was so insignificant, when we were face to face with people who could not eat regularly.  I found the line at Target less annoying and just grateful to be in a Target that was ever so convenient compared to the steep gravel road where we bought carrots on Saturday. 

Speaking of which, that was an interesting time.  We pulled up to this gravel road on the side of the mountain.  On the side of the road were several tap taps.  A tap tap is basically a truck of some sort, pick up, flat bed whatever, benches are installed in the bed and sides fashioned out of metal and then the whole deal is painted with colorful paint.  It is used for basic transportation.  People jump on, pay about fifty cents, ride until they want to get off.  They tap the sides of the vehicle to let the driver know it is time to get off, thus the name.  Anyway, there were several donkeys, and even a pig.  The people there were hard at work gathering their vegetables and organizing them for the tap taps to take to market.  We bought some veggies for the orphanage and ate some carrots right out of the ground.  They were really good.  Anyway, as we were drinking it all in, I noticed the road continued on at a crazy grade up the mountain, that vehicles could not drive on.  Two of the children from the orphanage had come from the other end of this road.  I probably mentioned before that their birth mothers had walked twelve hours one way to give their children to the orphanage. 

While we were there a man approached our orphanage director.  He noticed two white families with our black babies and started to ask questions.  Their interchange lasted quite some time as I found out later he had many babies.  Some with mothers, some with fathers, some with no parents.  He was struggling to help his community to deal with it as they did not have even the basic needs for them.  He asked if she would take the babies.  She had to explain she would take children between 0 and 2 as they stood the best chance of adoption.  Besides, at Rivers of Hope all 15 babies except one are linked with families, eight of whom are nearly ready to go home.  Thinking about this, I thought about how difficult if must be to try to decide who would go to the orphanage, who would stay, would they live?  Again, the little things that seemed annoying before our trip, now seem just silly.  I guess this must be one of those life lessons God has set out to teach us on this journey.

However, I did have a true joy today.  I was able to get our orphanage pics uploaded for my fellow mamas blanc.  I loved hearing from them and how excited they were to see their babies even if only on film.  Here's to hoping we can all see them more than just on film, but under our very own roofs!!  No news yet...

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

More Reflecting...

My fellow Mama Blanc Denise asked me today how I was adjusting to life at home. I think this is actually a very good question. About a zillion different things come to mind. I miss Nate of course, but head is just swimming with things. First there are the sounds that linger, the crowing of roosters, the pack of dogs barking, the sound of praise and worship music being played by my husband and Pat, the sounds of Willem's guitar and most important the sound of Nate's laughter. There are the images burned in as well. The sight of Nate's smile, the view of the mountain, the images of the farmers bringing their vegetables down the mountain, or my favorite image, Tim and Pat going by four wheeler up the mountain to Gramothe. It was quite funny actually to see them trying to figure out Willem's new four wheeler then taking off through the MTM gate out into the streets of Thomassin. I think Lori, the other mom and I made idle chit chat while our husbands were off making their way across a river bed and up a very steep mountain. What I later realized, was that we both were just praying. I was a bit nervous about them going out unaccompanied, as was she.

They returned safe and sound, excited looks on their faces. Tim told me all about Willem's church and driving through the village. At one point however, Tim ran over a pile of construction rocks that a man was using to build something. He apparently had to drive over it because the road was tough to pass. The villagers laughed at them trying to navigate their rough roads and steep hills. One man even shook his head while he laughed.

And so it many memories, so many meaningful conversations about God with Willem and the other family. It made realize once again, our adoption is way more than me getting a baby. I find I am learning many lessons here, and I think Denise is right. It will take me some time to adjust back here. As long as it is still fresh, I will not be in any hurry.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


What else can you do while stuck in Miami for a four hour layover? Think about the trip and all of it's glory. Yesterday, we were to go to the orphanage to meet Nate's birth mother. She never did come. However we we're blessed to see the interaction of the other parents and their child's birth mother and sister. To be honest meeting my child's birth mother has been a source of anxiety for me, but they handled it with such grace. It gave me an idea of just how hard things are for the women of Haiti. Rachel told us that really there is no birth control available and mostly the women find men who can provide for them and have children. Often things happen to the men, they leave or die or something, then the women are left to fend for themselves and their children. Many times women have more than one father to their children just trying to survive. These things are unimaginable for me.

Nate did not handle being at the orphanage with us very well. We were trying desperately to hug the children as they swarmed around us, while still trying to focus on Nate. He did not like me holding other children and I found him crying more than once, when the only time he cried in the guest house was if he had to go potty. As much as I don't like to see him cry, it made me happy that he had claimed us as his parents and didn't really want to share. Ultimately, we ended up in a separate room to play for a while. At that time he was getting into this breakable bowl. We told him no and he went to hide behind my chair, his face stricken. He did not like being in trouble and I think he was fearful we wouldn't love him. It took a lot of coaxing to come out, but ultimately he recovered. When it came time for us to go, he cried and cried. We watched as the nannies bathed him and when his jammies were on we got to hug him and calm him down. At this point I was trying to find that magical way to escape with him in my arms. No such luck. We said our goodbyes and then it was my turn to cry.

The good news is, I miss my babies at home and after talking to them from Miami I know they are waiting with open arms. We keep hearing we need to return to Haiti soon to meet with the dean as we should be through social services soon. We will keep praying that comes quickly. Apparently we do not need presidential dispensation so we should go faster than the other families. However, thank you Denise for letting me know signatures are starting!!! Praying for you too!

Sunday, August 14, 2011


I thought I would put up a quick post while my little Nate is sleeping soundly on the bed next to me.  Last night was truly fun.  We got to have Nate all day long.  He played and played and at the end of the day actually started making some sounds.  He had been quiet up until then.  He would point to things and grunt wanting to know what everything was, but he didn't make any other sounds.  Today, though, he did it.  Now, he is pointing at everything saying,"Ma?"  It turned out he didn't really like the downpour we had earlier.  However, we were eternally grateful, as it cooled things down a bit.  Up here in the mountains, it is warm, but not near as bad as it is in Port Au Prince. 

This morning we went to Port Au Prince for church.  We did not go to Willem's church in Gramothe as he was preaching elsewhere, so we went to church with Rachel, the orphanage director.  The church apparently is normally air conditioned, but not today.  There are only brief periods when the public electricity is on, and during church today was not one of those periods.  As we drove through Port Au Prince on our way to church I was struck by all the people walking.  They were in fancy dresses and suits, on every corner and street.  I came to know they were all going to their various churches to worship. Little girls had fancy dresses on and bows in their hair, the boys wore ties and the men suits.  It looked like there must be a fancy wedding somewhere, turns out it was just Sunday.  When we entered the church as the only white people, we were greeted cheerily,"Bonjour!" and smiles.  Music began to play and everyone was on their feet, some dancing, some with their hands in the air, some eyes closed, all in worship.  I stood in the Lord's house listening to hymns with a calypso flavor with my little Nate in my arms feeling very grateful the Lord brought us here.  The other mom we are travelling with was moved to tears, as was I. 

I must make a shout out at this juncture to my Southridge family...,"What can wash away my tears, nothing but the blood of Jesus!" sounds amazing with a calypso beat.  The other couple and Tim and I sang it in English against the back drop of Creole.  I began to look around and it really sank in.  These people have very little, at least some of them.  We passed the tent city just a few blocks away.  No real roof over their heads, no good source of food, nothing really, yet here it is, Sunday, their hands are in the air praising God.  It made life make just a bit more sense. 

After church, we stopped at a street vendor and bought some fresh bananas, which Nate gobbled up, and we even got some flowers for Rachel.  It was the other couple's idea and I loved it.  When we got home there was an early Sunday dinner for us, which was delicious.  Funny, I didn't realize we were eating so early, frankly every day here is a bit of a mystery, so I had heated Nate up some Gerber Ravioli pick ups.  He didn't like it.  I thought he was just full from his banana, but no, he was just waiting on the Haitian rice!!  Two bowls later, plus applesauce he was finally full.  Poor guy.  He is still having diarrhea, so I was glad to have some rice in him. 

Tim made me laugh while the cook was putting dinner out, he was busy teaching Willem how to play boogie woogie on the piano.  It was really funny, as he was not too familiar with it I don't think!!  We also got treated to Tim, Willem and Pat singing some amazing Christian tunes.  Pat is an amazing worship pastor I have a feeling and his daughter can harmonize like crazy. 

Tomorrow we will go to the orphanage, the plan is to spend the day there.  We were to go today to meet Nate's birth mother, but she didn't come.  Maybe tomorrow.  To my other Mamas tomorrow and I promise to love all of your children!!!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

We made it!

Well we did it! We are here enjoying an afternoon with Nate. Our Internet is a bit sketchy, so it has been tough to get a post up. Nonetheless, our travel was as we like it, uneventful. Port Au Prince was really an eye opener. There were a tremendous number of people on the streets all out for the same goal, make money. We saw window washers, kids selling ice and a host of street vendors. The tent cities remain, and there are still crumbling buildings. In the midst of all this though is some new construction, signs of hope.

From there we drove up the mountain to the orphanage. The temperature dropped as we drove which was truly a blessing as we all take turns riding in the back of a pick up truck wherever we go. When we arrived at the orphanage I was surprised to find a reasonably nice facility and the best? Nate greater us at the door. He quietly walked up to me arms stretched wide indicating he was ready to be picked up. He spent yesterday in my arms, not even wanting to be down to play too much. When he arrived today he was a bit more adventurous, but really he doesn't like me to be out of site. I guess this mommy thing is pretty nice for him.

This morning we awoke to some typical Haitian sounds, roosters crowing, dogs barking, but if we listened a bit harder, we heard the sound of a guitar playing ask and it shall be given unto you, Alleluia, alleluia...". It was our host Willem sitting with his feet propped up on the window ledge facing the glorious mountain behind us quietly playing. This led to more spirited music. Tim played the piano in the living room and the couple wen are traveling with, Pat and Lori, it turns out, Pat is a worship pastor. We have had a house full of music since. We are finding this to be a pretty great experience.

Today we had lunch at the Baptist Ministry. It is an American mission complete with a restaurant serving American food. There were plenty of Americans there eating things like hot dogs and pizza! It was nice to see others doing just like we were.

Nonetheless, am off to spend the evening with Nate. We get to keep him til 8 tonight! That means I even get to give him a bath. It is going to be hard to leave in a few days.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

On our way!

The bags are packed, the last minute errands are run and we are in the car travelling to Columbus. I finished out my week of lasts with one more conversation with Mom. She is in good spirits as she is headed for another biopsy Monday. She was more interested in hearing about Nate though. Somehow I think he will keep her going through this cancer. I also spent some time today reflecting on how many people have gotten us to this point through their diligent and thoughtful prayer. I even had a chance to send some thank you's. It dawned on me that I really wish I could bring them with me! It is as if we could be encircled by our prayer family we would be better prepared for what God has in store for us. Nonetheless, their prayers will surely be felt in the Carribbean.

We said our last goodbye's to the children who hugged us tight and I think wished they were coming, but will enjoy their time with Grandpa. It is sure to be filled with a whole lot of golf and grilled chicken! Lol! Grandpa is clergy and prayed for us too. So, I guess we are prepared as we are going to be. I hope Nate knows his Mama Blanc and Daddy are on the way!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

A week of lasts...

Well I did it. I finished my last 12 hour shift in the trauma center before we leave. As I was reflecting on my day it dawned on me I was having a week of lasts. Monday, my daughter surprised me by coming to my Zumba class with me. She has been working a lot and is usually too tired. What a blessing it was. She excitedly told me about finishing high school this year. She shared her hopes and her dreams and laughed and laughed. I have been feeling nostalgic about her adoption remembering the beautiful little three year old girl who sat at my table sipping hot tea and speaking fluent Russian. It seems like yesterday. Now before me was this girl who had faced a lot of challenge and was now becoming an amazing young adult. It was so nice to spend one last evening with her as I am also realizing these evenings are becoming numbered as she is quickly growing up.

Tonight I sit in my recliner, next to Jack in his recliner and we watch our favorite show and enjoy our last night together. Tomorrow will bring a long scheduled afternoon date with five year old Zachary. He is a bit upset about being without his mommy, so he has planned a trip to Target. I believe he has some Lego's in mind to soften the blow! I have a trip to Starbucks in mind so he and I can play the game of Life on my iPad as he loves to do. Maybe this time I will win! LOL! Then it is off to Columbus for dinner with my favorite niece for her birthday and overnight at a hotel airport for our early flight Friday.

The lasts go on and on, last trip to the bank, last trip to church, last conversation with certain friends and on and on. However, there was one last I actually bailed out on. I called my mom tonight. Her recent struggle is newly diagnosed breast cancer. She had her work up
today and wanted to fill me in on the events and I wanted to be there for her. This led to other discussion on this or that and it dawned on me, I wasn't ready to have this last conversation be it. She must not of either as she asked me to call her again before we leave.
I was happy to oblige.

It is funny how I have had all these little opportunities with each important person before leaving on a journey that will be a whole new chapter in our lives. I must admit nerves have set in as we excitedly see what God has for us. In a lot of ways I am humbled by all of this. I guess I never fathomed we could do something like this, and I am amazed at how God has blessed us so much already, so Nate is just our special gift and in two days I get to see him!
Can't wait.

Friday, August 5, 2011

One week to go!

I have spent the week nervously watching the weather. Hurricane Emily was slated to hit Haiti hard this week. I read this article on the Fox News website about helping the people of Haiti. I was encouraged by the headline initially thinking someone had some grand master plan to help these people through a natural disaster. I read on only to learn that the help was not all that helpful. It described a woman currently still living in a tent city 18 months after the earthquake was given one simple object to get through the storm. It was a ziplock bag. Really? A ziplock bag? How is that helpful? She was told it was to put her children's important papers in like birth certificates etc... To be honest, I never even considered this type of thing. I was hoping for the simpler things like shelter and food. After reading this I also learned that there was little else that could be done. There was simply nowhere to evacuate these people to. I started thinking about that for a moment. Nothing but a ziplock bag could be done. For the umpteenth time I realized we are going to learn a lot visiting Haiti. I can't imagine hearing of a such a dangerous storm headed my way armed with only a ziplock bag and a tent, well God too, but still.

Nonetheless, from our perspective I was pretty glad the storm is now gone, and in one week we will meet our precious little man.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Daddy is preparing!

The last few days have been a whirlwind for me. My biggest cheerleader is facing challenges of her own so we are trying to be the rock for her to lean on, love you mom! Otherwise, we are just thrilled to be home from vacation. It is time to prepare. 11 days and counting until we leave. I have been running around doing the practical things, gathering the donations, contacting our coordinator to see what papers we need to bring, printing off forms and on and on. Tim however, seems to be preparing a bit differently. Tonight I got onto my laptop and found the most interesting site up. It was a hymn in French. He apparently has been tracking down praise music used in Haiti and is making the effort to learn some of it. I have long understood that my husband worships through music. He feels close to God when he is playing. To see that come together with our Haitian experience just makes me smile. I suppose it is his time to nest. Lol!

Anyway, off to buy the perfect light weight suitcase tomorrow and some toddler snacks for Nate. The list of "do's" is simply never-ending! Lol!