Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve Cuties!!!!!!!!!!!

Molly just sent these to us. I was so surprised. So cute.

We cry holy, holy, holy

The snow is lightly falling, the Christmas CD is playing, the house is snug and warm. Yet, my heart is heavy for the people of Haiti. A nurse who is spending 6 months volunteering at GLA writes every Sunday about her week and experiences in Haiti. This past Sunday she shared about a trip taken to a remote village in Haiti, a place that appears to be off the radar of most of the world.

High in the mountains above Jacmel, in the South East of Haiti, lies the remote community of Baie D'Orange. Following media reports that 26 severely malnourished children died there in November, the Association of Haitian Orphanages planned a mission to deliver aid to the area. On Thursday night, 5 trucks were loaded with emergency food packets, medical supplies, seeds, tools and banana plants. At 5 am on Friday morning, GLA staff piled into two of the trucks and headed for Port-Au-Prince to join a convoy of 3 other vehicles which would make the 6 hour journey to Baie D'Orange.

The heaviness of despair comes through loud and clear. And somehow, she manages to end her writing with joy and hope. I'm so thankful for all of the volunteers and staff at GLA who are working to bring joy and hope to so many people.

Robin and Emily are getting ready for their trip to Bainet, Haiti in February. They are thinking about what they will bring. A carry on will take care of all of their personal needs, but they can bring 2 suitcases each full of items. It just seems critical to not waste their space and to bring items that will bless and help the people of Haiti.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

PC Christmas

My literacy tutoring is over for the holidays and so we ended with a party. The class I volunteer with practiced a song all week to perform at the party. What a time!!! I don't know if it's cultural or not, but the consensus was that only children sing... not adults. But the teacher perservered and they faithfully worked on it. And sang it. And there were smiles all around.

What really amazed me was the Christmas tone of the party. And why not? It was a Christmas party. But the vast majority of the students don't celebrate Christmas. In fact, the message I've been getting for the past few years, is the need to be sensitive to others during the holiday season. It's "Happy Holidays", not "Merry Christmas". But yesterday was totally Christmas. There was no attempt to pretend anything but. One of the classes even sang "Silent Night". And then Santa came and handed out presents to all of the children. Yes, some of the kids have been in Canada for a few short months and already they learn the joy of Santa... NOT. There was terror on many of the young faces.

This organization is very mindful of the sensitivities of the students and most of the staff have come to Canada from another country. But I've also noticed a strong push to teach the students about life in Canada especially where it's different from what they have always known. I don't know if this Christmas party was in that light or not. But we all exited with "We Wish You a Merry Christmas". Not the PC party I envisioned.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Timeline games

I think the reason this homestudy update bothers me so much, other than the waste of money & time, nothing to gain from it, yada yada yada, is my old timeline. When we received our proposal last October, I really thought Peterson & Gaëlle could and would be home by this Christmas. When it took us 7 months to get through IBESR (our permission from Haitian social services to adopt them), well I knew in my head that there was no way they would be home this year. But I still had it in my heart that I thought maybe, just maybe, by this Christmas.

Next, I adjusted my expectations to spring 2009. But the crushing reality is that even that is a stretch. We're still in Parquet with no end in sight. And now the powers to be in Haiti have added ANOTHER step to this madness for American & Canadian families. There's a new phase called "MAE". In MAE they are supposed to check all of the documents to make sure everything is in order before the file goes to MOI where they check the documents to make sure everything is in order. It makes me want to scream. I can only imagine the lawyers and adoption facilitators in Haiti.

Not everything is gloom and doom tho. I posted Christmas photos from last December. And then contrasted them with Christmas photos from this year. In most of the photos we received of Peterson, he always looked a bit sad and withdrawn. In our latest photos, he always has the biggest grin and seems to be fully engaged in his life at GLA. I know that he is doing just fine. And for that, I'm thankful.

Thursday, December 18, 2008


The paper chase for our adoption started July 2006. It was ridiculously slow here on the Canadian side of things. But we persevered and did what we were asked and learned a few things along the way. Like persistence pays off. Don't take a social worker's word that she/he will "get right on that". Folllow up until he/she "gets right on that".

We just found out that our home study "expires" March 2009. It only has a 2 year life span and we have to update it for our province... NOT for Haiti. Ok, it should be simple and straight forward. And it is... but it will cost us another $800 to get everything done again. I just want to scream. It is useless bureaucracy. It is paper work simply for the sake of paperwork. What? Are they going to take away our permission to adopt? Is there a chance that we are now unsuitable adoptive parents? No... it is just somebody's brilliant idea that home studies need to be kept up to date and the social worker will now be making a ton of money for a couple of hours of work.


I really thought our kids could realistically be home by this Christmas and then this update would not even be necessary. Our province doesn't even require any kind of contact once the children are home. BUT we need to update our approved study because who knows what can happen in 2 years? Right?

I'm going to write an official complaint to Community Services here in NS. I am just spitting mad at this waste of money and time.

Monday, December 15, 2008

December update

Here it is, the December update. It actually surprised me when it popped up today. I love surprises!!!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Cultural illiteracy

I have been volunteering 2 mornings a week in a literacy class for new immigrants to Canada. I love it. The students I help are in the beginning literacy class and their English speaking and understanding is very low. The students continually humble me with their persistence and determination. But last week I had a small reminder of just how difficult this must be for them.

A lady brought in food in anticipation of the coming holiday that most in the program celebrate. So being a bit ignorant of their holidays, I asked what the celebration was called. The students tried to tell me but I didn't understand them. When I went home and looked it up, I realized that they had said the holiday clearly and correctly but because I wasn't aware of the term, I didn't hear. Because they couldn't say, "It is called .....", I didn't understand. Because I am illiterate of their culture, I didn't know what they were saying.

So many of the concepts that we try to teach are totally foreign to them. Concepts that are vitally important to North Americans have no meaning to them. These beginning students learn almost everything by rote memorization. It must be so difficult to memorize words that have no meaning or context to them. But it is beautiful to see the lights come on when they learn something new and it sticks.

Monday, December 1, 2008

November update

I was so fortunate to be able to spend some time with my family down in the states over American Thanksgiving. My daughter, Kaylin and I were the only ones able to go this year, which was a bit sad, but we still had a great time. We met up with my son, my parents, and my brother and his wife and cute little baby boy.

While I was gone, we received our update AND another message with some info on Peterson & Gaëlle. What a blessing... to have family near and far... and to connect in some way over the holidays.

All my girls like gum

I don't know how this happened but lately my daughters are regular gum chewers. Honestly it bugs me a bit, but there are worse vices. Apparently, Gaëlle likes her gum too. This is a story that Molly from GLA just sent us, along with a picture.

(The background info: We made a short little video for Gaëlle's 3rd birthday and posted it for Molly to share with her. Our family does puppets, so it involves a cute little boy puppet that we call Jean-Luc.)

Gaelle LOVED LOVED LOVED the birthday video you sent. Her and Peterson were quite captivated and Peterson kept asking me to play it over and over. Gaelle wasn't sure what the puppet was, you could see her little mind trying to figure out what it was. She's seen homemade sock puppets before, but nothing quite that big or resembling a person quite that much. Gaelle had just gotten up from her nap when she watched it and hadn't seen Peterson for an hour, Peterson had just come from school and was chewing gum... hence the photograph of Gaelle with her hand up to Peterson mouth. She didn't even have to say a word, all she did was put her hand up and instantly Peterson had given her his gum which she happily started to chew. He loves her so MUCH!!!! It is such a beautiful thing to see the way her takes care of her, and spoils her.