Sunday, January 31, 2010

Children of trauma

Last night Robin and I were sitting on the couch with Peterson & Gaelle having a quiet moment. Peterson started sharing some of his memories from when the houses moved... the earthquake. He just spoke matter of factly about who was where and what he was doing and how he felt. He asked if houses moved here. Then out of the blue he started sharing some of his story with us. We really didn't expect that until he felt more comfortable with us. But again, it was just all matter of fact. I asked questions and he answered. However, during the conversation it became apparent that a psychiatrist would have a field day with what he was saying. We were stunned. Other parents have shared regrets about not seeking counselling sooner. This just emphasized for us that both kids have trauma in their lives and the earthquake just adds another layer to that. Because Peterson speaks English so well, we are definitely going to pursue this.

Gaelle also had a moment last night. Out of the blue she just started crying... the deep body wracking sobs. I just held her and prayed over her, singing softly and gently rocking. Both kids are experiencing so many new things. The experts say to limit their world... keep it small. This will be easy with Gaelle because she clearly does not want to venture far. However, with Peterson, it will be a more difficult balance. At this point he wants to see and experience everything. Hopefully we'll walk have discernment when it comes towards him.

Last night Robin showed the kids how to make silly faces with the webcam. It was good for some laugst.

This morning Gaelle and I didn't go to church. Instead, we baked some cookies.

And we washed some floors. Good times.

Friday, January 29, 2010

We love yogurt

We are in the process of completing a room in the basement and with the snowstorm today, it seemed like a good idea to set up a mini gym. The kids are used to so much physical activity and so it's kind of hard to be cooped up in a house. Peterson showed off his mad soccer skills and notice Gaëlle's backpack. It is glued to her body.

Gaëlle got her hands on Kaylin's hair and showed us her mad braiding skills. She's amazing for a 4 year old, altho Kaylin did say she was a bit rough.

We had a blustery snowy day today and so we didn't venture outside with the kids. But yesterday we all went for a walk with Snickers. Peterson just loves the dog, but Gaëlle is not a fan. Peterson was very anxious to play at the playground, but again, Gaëlle was not. She's not crazy about her boots and she doesn't like the snow or the cold.

And it's sort of amusing to watch Snickers. She is a jealous, moody little dog. She mopes around the house when she's not allowed to be in the room with us. We're giving her more access to us and Gaëlle, but she's sad to be pushed away. Peterson more than makes up for it. He's constantly playing catch with her and chasing her... a game which she loves.

Peterson and Gaëlle have excellent appetites! They will tell us when they don't like something, but that has been rare. Generally kids from GLA don't like crunchy food but the kids will try anything and have eaten whole apples, with the skin, carrots, and dry cereal. However, one thing Gaëlle asks for several times a day is yogurt. She also loves milk. It is so funny to see her down a glass of milk. And we are realizing that they eat as much if not more at a meal than we do. We'll see if that keeps up.

It has been such a huge help to have Peterson. He's a boisterous 8 year old boy but he's also our translator for Gaëlle. We usually get her gist without the help... she's pretty persistent. But there are times when it's nice to know exactly what she wants. He's also provides a real sense of security for Gaëlle. He went with Robin to take Kaylin to work (He loves the car.) and even though I was already holding Gaëlle, when she saw him leaving, she tensed all up. Whereas, Robin and I have left the house and it didn't faze her at all.

We're having a blast getting to know the kids, but it's also exhausting. We forget so much about that age but it's coming back.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

January 27, 2010

What a day. I'm just going to put a few pictures up so my family far away can see some of the events of the day. It was intense, emotional, and quite a blur. I can't even begin to imagine how the kids feel. This morning things are reversed for the kids. Peterson is just full of energy going from one thing to another. Gaelle is very subdued. She doesn't like the dog at all and just wants to be with Robin or myself. We put the kids down last night around 10:45 pm and Peterson has been up since 7 am. Altho both kids slept through the night.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Wednesday at 1 pm

Well, it's finally here. We received confirmation that the kids will be flying into Ottawa tomorrow at 1 pm. When the earthquake hit Haiti 2 weeks ago, it was hard to see past the destruction and horror to this possibility. It has been a crazy 2 weeks and I know what I have gone through is nothing compared to what the people in Haiti have experienced and will continue to live through for many years to come.

I have learned a lot about myself and Robin during this entire adoption process; not all of it good. I'm afraid that Kaylin has also gained some insight into her parents during the past 2 weeks; again, not all of it good. And the reality for our family is that in so many ways, the journey really begins tomorrow.

Robin and I are feeling... well, I don't even know how to describe it. So I won't try. A lot has happened in just the past 2 days since we've been in Ottawa. But on the lighter side of things, we received final travel confirmation about the kids while we were in the parliament building taking a tour. That's so fitting for Robin, Mr. Canada himself.

And the adoption has taken so long so Josh will be more like an uncle to the kids rather than a brother. But maybe he'll be able to share his love for the Sens with his little brother and sister. We did our part, Josh. We picked up a hat.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Maybe Wednesday

It's just been confirmed... the kids won't be flying out Tuesday morning. We're very disappointed but it seems very likely that it will happen Wednesday. Again, we don't have times or the location that the plane will land, just the hope that it will happen.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

On Our Way!!

We are on our way to Ottawa to prepare to pick up Peterson and Gaelle. We believe they will be there or Montreal on Tuesday morning. We are very excited and tired. We have been very busy over the past few days getting things ready for the big day. Through all this waiting and stress we anticipate God's answer to so many prayers.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

The rumor is dispelled

All adoptive parents in Canada will know what I am saying. Here is proof of just how compassionate and proactive the Dutch government has been in getting their children home. I can't watch this without bawling. It really shows the care and concern and speed in getting their children home. Yet it also shows the finality of their journey. My heart just broke as one soldier turned around with his little child and helped him wave "goodbye" to his birth country. Truly bittersweet.

I love the Netherlands!!!!!

This is the translation from YouTube from an online translation site:

A plane with 92 adopted children from Haiti and their supervisors this afternoon landed at Eindhoven Airport. There are Dutch children transferred to their adoptive parents. The children were yesterday by Dutch marines from their orphanage accompanied to the airport of Port-au-Prince, where they flew to the Netherlands via Curacao.

The aircraft departed from Arke Fly on Monday, at the initiative of the Dutch Association World Adoption Foundation and Children, in close cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, from Schiphol to the disaster area. Besides relief on that flight was also a support team of experts on board. The primary purpose of this trip was as soon as possible to safety of the Haitian children who are in the adoption process for Dutch ancestors were. Haiti also flew 14 kids for adoption in Luxembourg qualify.

Eindhoven Airport last Sunday was already a suitable place for children and adoptive parents to have time to know each other. The lobby, which normally military personnel arriving and departing, offers enough room to another, hidden from the outside world in the embrace. Sunday came the first Dutch evacuees and adoptive children from the earthquake-affected area.

Defense Personnel normally work as baggage carried, today took the children from the plane and brought them to the terminal. The airbase was also well prepared for the landing of the aircraft. Besides the usual military deployment such as traffic, fire, security and medical personnel, extra effort was made to convert a quiet arrival of the children possible.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

They landed

A group of medical and relief supplies as well as trained medical personnel made it to our orphange yesterday... as planned. PTL. Here's the link to follow.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Counting our blessings

I want to link to Molly's blog on God's Littlest Angels website. She has great news that the last unaccounted staff member has been heard from. Adrienne was finally able to connect with GLA and let them know that she was ok. I've included a picture of Adrienne with Gaëlle from October 2008. She is a very important person in our daughter's life and I'm so thankful that she is safe.

A different kind of horror

I spend time every week with a lady helping her with English. Her goal is to learn enough English to be able to work. She has a long road ahead of her. She's a smart person, but she is illiterate in her native language and so doesn't have basic literacy skills to transfer over.

This week I have been consumed with Haiti and the horrors happening there. But I still prepared myself and met with my English learner and I'm so glad I did. We were discussing clothes and she started telling me about her life before Canada. She shared her struggles wearing the burka and she shared the story of how her husband died (was killed). My heart just broke for her and once again, I was amazed with her courage and strength coming to Canada.

I want to help her, but there's so little that I can do. However, I'm more determined than ever to work with her no matter what the next few weeks or months hold. She deserves all that Canada has to offer and so much more.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Getting the message out

Robin spent yesterday getting the message out. He was asked by the media relations department in the RCMP if he would be willing to talk about our kids in Haiti as well as Sgt. Mark Gallagher. In the past we have never mentioned our kids in any media form. But these are special times. We want our kids to come to Canada on compassionate/ humanitarian grounds. And we want that now.....NOT 3 months from now. The situation is only going to become more desperate for all in Haiti.

The Chronicle Herald is up now with an article about our situation.

Robin interviewed by Carol Off on As It Happens last night.
Part 3 at the 16:20 mark.

Robin was interviewed by Tom Murphy on CBC Evening News in Nova Scotia. The clip was on after 20 minutes.

He was also interviewed by Evan Solomon from the CBC TV show, Power and Politics.

Melissa and Gerry from Moncton have also been able to get the word out.

There are people all over Canada and the US doing the exact same thing. I've seen and heard Dixie, our orphanage director, on so many shows. We're praying that this exposure will soften the hearts and restrictions for our children to come to Canada. Keep praying!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

An update

We just talked with Molly on Facebook. She is one of the 2 AMAZING workers at our orphanage. She let us know that Peterson & Gaëlle are doing great. They both slept completely through the past 2 nights. Gaëlle doesn't seem to be the least bit fazed by everything. Peterson is taking his cues from the the adults around and they are all keeping their spirits up. They had face painting today. And on Monday they received a couple of rabbits so that is also keeping the kids entertained.

They are still missing/haven't heard from 2 of the nannies. Please keep them in your prayers. And all of the nannies have lost many loved ones. In spite of it all, they are rejoicing and praising God. It really is amazing to see their strength and their faith.

They all feel so helpless in the face of such devestation. The country needs medical experts and as everybody else is saying, they need money.

We have been asked by our orphanage director to beg our political representatives to let the children who are in the adoption process already, go to their homes on a humanitarian/ refugee basis. Please pray that the officials will be open to this and willing to allow a few children to escape the madness. It is really hard for me to even entertain a speck of hope. But Robin is full of optimism and he will be on the phones trying to plead our case.

If anybody knows an official who might be willing to listen to us, please let us know.

We are all so saddened to hear that Sgt. Mark Gallagher was confirmed dead. He was a great person... somebody that Robin worked with throughout his entire career. He didn't have to go to Haiti but volunteered because he wanted to make a difference. It really brings home the cruelty of this event. And I know that his family is but one grieving tonight.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


I know that in times of crisis we are all looking for a way to help... for a way not to feel so helpless. If anybody feels led to donate to the people of Haiti, I am 100% confident that you can trust the orphanage we are adopting from. The director and her husband are AMAZING! In particular, Dixie is very passionate about helping infants who are in crisis. I know that the staff of GLA will have their hands full just surviving themselves, but that won't stop them from reaching out all around to others in need.

Canadians can go to the Canadian GLA website on the right.

Americans can donate at the GLA website.

We're so thankful that our children are safe but we are still praying for Mark Gallagher. He is a member of the RCMP who is serving in Haiti and has not been heard of since 30 minutes before the earthquake. He was so supportive of us and our adoption in Haiti and even took a package for us to the kids.


This is what Dixie has posted on the GLA website.


2:30 AM on Wednesday We continue to have strong aftershocks every 10 minutes or so. the children are sleeping outside in the drive. Even our little babies are outside tonight!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Goodbye and Hello

On the last day of 2009 we drove Emily to the airport for her trip back to Thailand. This was quite different from September when we drove her for the first trip to Thailand. In September none of us really knew what to expect. We were a bit frightened of her long journey all by herself. Would she navigate the various airports? Would she find the right contact person when she finally landed in Bangkok? What would the organization she was volunteering with really be like? How would she survive on her own? Would she become homesick? And on and on...

This time we all know what was going to happen. We know Emily can handle all of the connections in her flight. She knows how to get herself back to her "home". We all know what to expect with her volunteer duties.

So was it easier or harder to say goodbye? Neither. It was just different. Because now we're not operating in fear, but out of knowledge. We all know what she's facing. Wonderful friends & staff, exciting adventures, safe living arrangements, and on and on...

But we also know what she's missing; the security and familiarity of Canada. She's falling in love with kids that she will never see again after May. She's facing the hardship of different cultural realities. A faith system that throws away disabled children because they must have done something in a previous life to deserve that. A culture where you have to measure your words and actions carefully so as not to offend. And she loves the people around her and she honestly does not want to offend. She's missing a dynamic worship experience.

And so it was hard to say goodbye because I know that even with all of the excitement of living on her own, there are going to be struggles and heartache. I want to make it all go away. And yet I don't. I know that character is built through the struggles. I know the next 5 months will continue to shape her into the wonderful young lady God wants her to be. And that will make the "goodbye" all worth it.