Sunday, September 27, 2009

Will they come home sooner?

After our trip to Haiti to sign in front of the Justice of the Peace, we have had several people ask if this will speed up the process for us?

Unfortunatley... NO.

This is a new unexpected requirement that I'm afraid will just slow down the process even further. Just to give an example of time. When we started our adoption the expected time for the following steps took about 2- 4 weeks.

Courts = The dossier is in the Haitian Courts having the actual adoption declared and legalized.

Attest or Attestation=
After court papers are finished, the Act of Adoption must be sent to the National Archives and they declare that the signature on the Act of Adoption is legal.

Legal or Legalization =
All court papers must be sent to the Ministry of Justice to be legalized. They declare that the signature on all of the paperwork actually is the signature of the Judge who signed it.

= Ministry of Foreign Affairs must legalize the signature of the person in the Ministry of Justice who signed your paperwork in the step above.

Just as a reminder, we entered Courts September 3. So, when things were "good" with adoptions, we could expect to be finished with the Court side of things by October 3. Things are unpredictable and that could still happen, but we aren't expecting it.

But who knows?

Saturday, September 26, 2009


It was such a delight to finally meet Gaëlle. We have heard all about her "diva" spirit and have heard stories how she just snaps her fingers and her big brother jumps; catering to her every whim. Well, we did see that side of her. But we also saw a beautiful little girl who desperately needs some love. All that we saw has to be tempered with the fact that she's only 4. She is just starting to put the pieces of her world together, just like all 4 year olds. Just starting to connect the dots.

One thing she knows, is that she loves treats. In this photo she is ignoring the toys around her and getting at her package of gum. She ate piece after piece and shared her gum with others.

Gaëlle rarely sat still for any length of time and yet in between bursts of activity, she would frequently hold out her arms to us and we would sweep her up into our arms. Of course, she also held her arms out to us when she wanted us to carry her somewhere. We always obliged! It was incredible to finally hold our little girl.

Kaylin made sure we packed some of our special fun foods. Food we don't have all of the time, but all the kids love that she wanted Peterson & Gaëlle to taste. One of those snacks is Lucky Charms. I can say without hesitation, that Gaëlle is a HUGE fan of Lucky Charms. It didn't take her long to pick out the charms first, but she always managed to finish the cereal and if her bowl got empty (we always ate it dry-no milk) she would just dump the rest of Peterson's into her bowl. Such a loveable sneak.

Gaëlle discovered hand sanitizer while we were there. I don't know if she has been exposed to it before. It seemed new to her and she loved it. On our last day, Robin gave her a tiny bottle of it and she spent all morning trying it out. She poured out a little and rubbed her hands together then she would smell her hands. Then it would be our turn. When the sanitizer ran out, I put some water in the bottle for her to play with. Which she did. It was so cute to watch her.

Here she is sharing her hand sanitizer with the nannies and the little kids on the playset. She showed them how to rub their hands together and then she would get them to smell their hands. They all obliged her but I wonder what was going through their minds.

We quickly realized that we'll have to do more child proofing of our house than we expected. Gaëlle loves to pull out things and scatter toys, just like any child. However, she often took the time to pick up and place things back in their container. It was really cute to see her "organize" stuff. She really didn't play with toys, but she would take toys out and then put them back in her own way. Here she is picking up cards that she didn't play with. It will be interesting to see if she's just one of those kids who is just more inclined to physical activities or if once she comes home, she will learn to play.

I know we can't wait to find out.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


There was a bit of a cold going around, so please forgive some of the runny noses. I just couldn't resist posting some of those sweet expressions. The kids who needed it were all getting their dose of medicine.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Sweet little boy

We had been told over and over how wonderful Peterson was. He loves his little sister and will do anything for her. He's so generous and always thinks of his friends, wanting to share special treats with them.

We certainly got to see his sweet side. But we also got to see his gentle playful side. We taught him how to play dominoes and we spent many hours with him. The cutest thing ever was hearing him say, "I cannot go."

We were allowed to spend time with the children in the room upstairs and on the outside balcony. Peterson rarely wanted to go down to the playground and play with the other kids, but happily amused himself with the toys upstairs. It was great to see him imaginative play come to life.

I'm thrilled with his love for reading. He loves to be read to and I can already picture many hours sharing some of our favorite books with him and discovering new favorite books.

Did I mention how much I enjoyed reading to Peterson and listening to him read? He did so well and his English is so much better than I expected. He shared his writing journal with us and I have a few favorite entries.

Writing Prompt: What job do you want to do when you are older?
Answer: I want to be boss of Vacation Bible School.

Writing Prompt: What will you do to help Haiti when you are grown up?
Answer: I will pray for the children of Haiti and will give out ice cream. Red ice cream.

Joyce and Molly would check in with us periodically and I think it gave Peterson a sense of security to settle in with Joyce from time to time. She is so good to the kids and with the kids. So laid back and yet so on top of things. A real gift.

I loved to witness his natural curiosity... about us, his new life, and the world around him. He was so full of questions and I would love to just sit and talk with him. Both kids enjoyed seeing themselves on the video and also some footage we had of our family get together in August. It's always amazing to see the wheels turning in Peterson's mind as he puts things together. I know we're going to have fun.

Monday, September 21, 2009

GLA videos

Children washing their hands before lunch.

Children eating lunch at the Toddler House.

Boys getting their hair cut and girls getting their hair braided.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Haiti - Meeting the kids

Somebody asked me what my expectations were from this trip. I really tried to stay low key and keep my expectations low. The purpose of the trip was to sign so we could exit courts. Meeting the kids at this point in the process was completely unexpected so I didn't know what would happen.

Needless to say, the heat assails you when you walk out of the airplane at Port au Prince. Because we only had carry on luggage, we made it through the airport without any hassle. The grey shirts didn't ask us once if we needed help with our luggage and once we were through, we saw Chery with a sign with our names on it. He took us to the GLA vehicle and driver, Wadsen, who had mad driving skills. We stopped at the US Consulate to wait for another adoptive family signing their 1600. After a brief wait, we made the trek up the mountain to the Main House. Eric, the social worker, was in the car with us and I enjoyed talking with him and getting to know a little of his life. He's another young man who is blessed with a warm gracious smile.

Did I mention mad driving skills? All of the GLA drivers impressed me with their calm in the face of sheer craziness.

After a quick lunch, we headed to the Toddler House to meet the kids for the very first time. We've "known" them for almost 2 years, but this was our first face to face meeting. Apparently, Peterson & Gaëlle had been anxiously awaiting our arrival. We were all a little shy at first, but some candy took away some of the edge and we all started warming up a bit. It really is hard to describe my feelings those first couple of hours. After feeling so disconnected from the kids for so long, I knew there wouldn't be an instant connection, but I still felt so far from their world, even though I was holding them and loving them.

Our afternoon flew by and we found ourselves in a rhythm. One of us following Gaëlle around and one of us chilling with Peterson. Then we switched. Gaëlle is just a bundle of energy. She loves to be the center of attention and loved to show off to the other kids her special treats. If Robin or I happened to pick up another child, she would become very possessive. If Robin or I happened to not want to do something she wanted, she would pout. But she also loves to laugh and has the most heart warming smile.

Peterson is just the picture of cool and calm. He loves to play games, read and be read to. During our time there, he also peppered me with all kinds of questions. At times, he was happy to just chill and talk. While Gaëlle made frequent trips to the playground to show me things or to show the kids things, Peterson was content to stay upstairs in the "special" room.

Around 5 we left the Toddler House and headed to the Main House for supper. There were 5 sets of adoptive parents signing and filing our various paperwork. Nobody was there bringing their kids home. Our supper table was also full of volunteers and GLA staff and the food was always delicious.

After supper we had about 10 minutes to scoot upstairs and see the baby rooms. Unfortunately we didn't take any pictures, but I'm glad I was able to see the GLA operation with my own eyes. It is amazing!!! The staff is amazing!!! I'll share more thoughts on all of that later.

Molly and Joyce blessed us all with another brief time with our children before the kids went to bed. 2 of the adoptive families were leaving the next day and so this was their good-bye.

Peterson & Gaëlle seemed happy to see us again and we enjoyed some more time together before we headed 2 doors up the street to the guest house. What a gorgeous spot looking out over the mountainside. It was a treat to wake up in the morning to a hot shower, and a cup of coffee relaxing on the balcony.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Leaving for Haiti

We're getting ready to leave for Haiti today. We're so excited and anxious. Our suitcases are full. We have some treats to share with the kids. I picked up some of Josh, Emily & Kaylin's favorite snack foods for Peterson & Gaëlle to try and share with their friends.

We've already heard that the kids at GLA don't like Kraft Dinner. Gasp! Didn't pack that, but we'll see who likes Smarties and Lucky Charms and Crispers.

We'll try to take lots of pictures and give out lots of hugs.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

All moved in

Robin's mom has left the town she has been living in for the past 14 years and has moved back to Nova Scotia. It's a big change for her in so many aspects, but she has taken it all so well. We're all thrilled that she is staying so positive. She knows that she has lost her independence and she is remaining gracious and even humorous. She has always liked to laugh and it seems as though her playful nature is coming to the forefront.

After we finished unpacking this afternoon and we headed home, we continued to talk about her spirit and the people she is surrounded by. I really wish I could document some of the hilarious stories and things people say. I'm afraid it would come out a bit disrespectful, but she and her "housemates" over the summer are just so funny. Some of them are funny because of their crankiness. And then others are humourous because of their mental confusion.

Today as we were leaving her new "house", one lady followed us down the hallway. There is a locked door that needs a special code and as we left, she snuck in behind us, and caught the door. While we were waiting for the elevator she opened the door with a big grin on her face.

"It's never done that before!"

I think she was so tickled with herself for catching us off guard. She just shut the door and walked back down the hallway. Undoubtedly chuckling the whole time. Because the lock down unit wasn't very secure with us newbies around.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

What a week!

This week has certainly been jam packed. Not only did we get the great news about presidential dispense and parquet, we also received news that all adoptive families now have to make a trip to Haiti to appear before the local Justice of the Peace. This has been floating around all summer but I didn't get too worked up because who knows what the requirement would be when our file got to that point.

Well, GLA decided to follow this new requirement this week and our file is now at that point. So... we're going to Haiti Sept. 15 and we'll get to see Peterson & Gaëlle face to face for the first time.

Quite honestly, it's all a bit surreal. I certainly never expected this and it's not really the way I want to meet them. We only will be there for a couple of days. We won't really get the chance to relax and get to know them in such a short time. They won't really know what to make of us either. It's just so unfair all the way around. Not just for us, but for GLA, and the adoption officials working so hard to facilitate our adoption.

Quite a few people have asked what is left in the process. I've copied a list that GLA uses to help us understand.

Pre-IBESR = We are preparing your dossier to go into Haitian Social Services. There are some legal documents that must be made after you accept your proposal and some of them must be legalized at the Ministry of Justice. If we have problems getting a document, this can delay this step.

IBESR = Haitian Social Services

Parquet = Pre-Courts, they interview the birth parents and give permission for the dossier to go through the Haitian court system.

Courts = The dossier is in the Haitian Courts having the actual adoption declared and legalized.

Attest or Attestation= After court papers are finished, the Act of Adoption must be sent to the National Archives and they declare that the signature on the Act of Adoption is legal.

Legal or Legalization
= All court papers must be sent to the Ministry of Justice to be legalized. They declare that the signature on all of the paperwork actually is the signature of the Judge who signed it.

MAE = Ministry of Foreign Affairs must legalize the signature of the person in the Ministry of Justice who signed your paperwork in the step above.

MOI = All Adoption passports must go through the Ministry of the Interior for approval before Immigration will print the passport.

Printing= Your dossier is in Immigration waiting for the passport to be printed.

=Your dossier is in your country's Embassy waiting for a visa to be issued!

As you can see, there is quite a bit left!!!! However, even though it all takes time, the only real big step left is MOI. Of course, this is Haiti, and anything could happen and slow things down for us.

What a week!

Thursday, September 3, 2009


I can't even believe it. We just received word that our file came out today. This has been such an emotional rollar coaster of a week.

Kaylin started high school.
Emily left for Thailand.
And now after 13 months, we are out of parquet.

Emily arrived safely in Thailand today. I was praying for her safe arrival all day and couldn't stop thinking about her. She sounds great. Her travel - connections - and arrival all went well.

And now my thoughts are turned towards Haiti. And my 2 children there. I'm praying for their safe arrival here. I had stopped thinking of a timeline for that. I just couldn't see past parquet. And there's still a ways to go. But it doesn't look so bleak anymore. It really could happen by Christmas. Or not. But either way, I'm just thankful for the blessings of this week.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Dispense Granted!!!

Finally, our Presidential dispense has been granted. Yeah!!!!! Now we go back to Parquet, where we were last August. And we need to pray that we are signed out soon.