Father to the fatherless, defender of widows — this is God, whose dwelling is holy. God places the lonely in families.

Psalm 68:5-6

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Oh My Heart

Gavin & I spent the day at camp yesterday making jelly with Mimi & Granmum. So much fun! When Granmum arrived she handed Gavin 2 tootsie rolls. He held one out and said "this one for Gavin" and then put the other one on the table and said "this one for Esther". Oh my heart... it melted at that moment!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Sweet Baby Girl

Sweet Baby Girl,

I saw the sweetest picture of you tonight. Oh darling, how you're growing up so quickly! Much too quick for me to watch from so far away. I was so happy to see that you're walking now... at least that's how it looked. You seem so much taller than you were in July. I told Gavin he better start growing for you'll be caught up to him soon! But my heart was sad at the same time knowing that you've gone from being a little baby to a toddler without me. I love you so much! My heart aches as I sit here and gaze at your precious little face. I'm listening to your brother suck his thumb as he sleeps in the next room. Someday I will listen to 2 little mouths sucking their thumbs... but for tonight I just imagine I hear yours too. I pray that you are fast asleep dreaming of sunshine and butterflies. Mommy loves you with all her heart... always remember that!

Love you forever,


35 days!!!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Created With Love

It's a wonderful feeling to know how much my family loves Esther. They simply cannot wait for her to come home! She is already such a special part of our family. This makes my heart smile:) I want to share some of the things Esther's grandparents have made for her. Oh how that little girl is loved!!!

                                              The adorable dresses 
                                        Mimi (my mom) made for Esther.

Granmum & Mimi made these yarn dolls for every child in the orphanage.  My mom's friend, Sue, made each doll a blanket & pillow. We took them with us to Haiti in March. Each child chose their very own. What a beautiful sight that was! These 2 were left behind for Esther and Gavin.   

                       My mom made these to go over each of their beds….
                                                    I just love them!

                       Grandad made this furniture and Granmum painted it.
                                                  It’s so special to me. 
                        My children are so blessed to have great grandparents
                                                  that love them so! 

                                                     I see many tea parties in our future:)

                          My mom made the mattress, blanket and pillow in the cradle for
                                 Esther’s baby doll. It matches Esther's blanket that she
                                                        also made for her crib.                                  

                                                 Mimi took the poem “Kisses in the Wind” 
                                           and made this beautiful piece to hang on her wall. 

                                               Each and every gift created with love...

2 Little Pumpkins

We went pumpkin picking this weekend... can't believe it's already that time of year! I couldn't help but wonder if we'd be picking 2 little pumpkins next year... 

37 days...

Friday, October 21, 2011

What it Means to Be Loved

When it comes to adoption people sure come up with some strange questions and comments. Someone asked me the other day why I was going to Haiti in December. To see my daughter of course! This person seemed rather shocked and replied with "You mean you're just going to visit?" Ummm.... yes! I thought to myself, "wouldn't you want to go see your baby as much as you could if she lived in another country?!?!" 
The conversation reminded me of a verse in the Mark Schultz song, "What it Means to Be Loved". The very first time I heard this song I was preparing to go to Haiti. I knew how hard it would be to leave Esther behind when it was time to come home. I wrestled with the idea of going... wondering if it was best for her.  This song brought me to tears as the following verse put into words just how my heart felt. 

"I wanna give her the worldI wanna hold her handI wanna be her mom for as long as I canand I wanna live every moment until that day comesI wanna show her what it means to be loved"
The story in this song is very different than our story, but the desire to show our daughter what it means to be loved is the same. This is my heart. For now I'm only blessed with a few days at a time to spend with Esther. Those days are always followed with a goodbye. My heart's desire is to make the most out of those precious moments. Praying God will somehow use me to show Esther what it means to be loved!
41 days... 

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Treasure Every Moment

Two And A Half

Hold him a little longer
Rock him a little more
Tell him another story
(you’ve only told him four)
Let him sleep on your shoulder
Rejoice in his happy smile
He is only two and a half
For such a little while!

-Author Unknown

What a wonderful reminder! I really needed to read this today:) 

Monday, October 17, 2011

Let the Countdown Begin!!!

Missing my sweet baby girl so much these days! 45 days until I will be holding her in my arms! Esther turns 2 on December 3rd. I am going to visit her for her birthday. I leave on December 1st and cannot wait! This visit will not only be extra special because Esther & I will be celebrating our birthdays together but also because I am bringing my mom along. She will be meeting Esther for the first time. It's oh so exciting!!! My mom is such a blessing in my life... I'm so glad she will be such a special part of Esther's life as well:)

                                                                   Precious Little Toes

Adoption Timeline

*November 1, 2010 – E-mail from Pastor Rigaud at Kingdom of Kid’s Orphanage stating that the next baby girl brought to KKO would be our daughter:) 

*November 2, 2010 – Began Homestudy Process

*December 4, 2010 - Received e-mail from Pastor Rigaud stating that our baby girl had arrived at KKO!

*December 5, 2010 – Began Dossier Process

*January 13, 2011 - Passports Issued

*January 28, 2011 – Homestudy Complete

*March 5, 2011 – Dossier Complete – Praise the Lord!

*March 24 - 29, 2011 –Dana & I traveled to Haiti to meet Esther and deliver our dossier!

*April 28, 2011 - Sent 1-600A

*June 03, 2011 - Fingerprints Done at USCIS

*June 21, 2011 -  Received 171-H  - 1600A approved!!!

*July 7 – 12, 2011 – I traveled to Haiti to visit Esther and deliver our 171-H form.

*July 20, 2011 – Entered IBESR & received our #!!!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Sweet Dreams My Dear Child

On July 7th I traveled to Haiti again to visit Esther. This time it was a bit less overwhelming since I somewhat knew what to expect. Esther was a little bit stronger since she had not been ill previous to my visit. She could stand up by herself and towards the end of the trip she could take a few steps! So exciting to be there for that moment:) She was crawling around quite a bit which was lovely to see as she was too weak to do that when we came the first time. She hadn't grown much since March but she definitely was a bit more independent. It was such a joy to spend the week with her. Oh how I had missed her so!

This trip was a bit different as my husband did not accompany me. He stayed home to care for Gavin. It was a little more work taking care of her all by myself in a less than ideal environment. Although, I did travel with my husband's Aunt & Uncle who are also adopting a little boy (Jean Marie) from KKO. So I was not completely alone! It was a blessing to be able to spend the week with Jean Marie as well. Jean Marie & Esther will live only a few miles from each other when they move to Maine. It's so neat that they are already forming a bond in Haiti and will get to continue to do so as they grow up together as cousins in America!

I'm not sure how to put the rest of my visit into words so I will tell the story with pictures...

The caretakers bathe the children in these buckets with cold water... I bet Esther will find it very strange to have a warm bath when she comes home:)

I took this picture of a neighbor's home standing on the roof of KKO. These are the tents that many families call home since the earthquake destroyed such a huge percentage of Port-au-Prince.

Esther's great grandmother (Granmum) bought this dress for Esther to wear to church. She looked absolutely beautiful!

My mom (Mimi) made this dress for Esther. She looks so pretty in yellow:) Water has to be hauled up in these buckets in order for us to flush the toilets and bathe.

Sweet dreams my dear child... may God hold you in the palm of His hand until we're together again!

Precious Memories

We spent a week at Kingdom of Kid's Orphanage (KKO). It was like nothing we had ever experienced. I had never been out of the country before. So for me it was a mega shock. The smells, the sights, the sounds... it was all almost too much to take in. I had heard stories and seen pictures of third world countries. Being there was so much different. The reality of the situation was devastating. I had no idea. How could I have been so naive?

We knew our time with our daughter was limited. We knew we must choose to delight in her rather than focus on what was. Despite the circumstances many precious memories were created. We were very worried during the first few hours we spent with our baby. We could tell she was sick. She was like "a wet noodle" for lack of a better description. There wasn't much life to her. We knew she had chicken pox a few weeks previous to our arrival. She had many open sores that looked to be infected. She was so tiny and frail that I thought she may break. Of course she didn't but it seemed that way at the time. I washed her, changed her and fixed her a bottle right away. She was really hungry. She drank the bottle so quickly that we were afraid she might get sick. She didn't, much to our relief:)

She seemed to get a little stronger as the week went on. We took her to the doctor and got some medicine for her infected sores and some benadryl to help relieve the itching which caused her to scratch often. The doctor also gave us some vitamins to help with her skin condition. We put calamine lotion on her several times a day. She was a pink polka dotted princess!

Initially we had been worried that she may not like us but actually it was quite the opposite. She attached right to us and wouldn't go to anyone else. She would make a little squeaking noise that sounded like a mouse if we weren't doing what she wanted. She mostly preferred to be carried around and definitely didn't want to be out of our sight. She was so so sweet! It was as if she had been with us always. We loved her and bonded with her just as we had with Gavin. God is so good! He knew that she was our baby girl. He knew we were meant to be together. His sovereignty is so amazing!

Esther sucks her thumb and holds her hair the same exact way her brother does... pretty cool!

We had the privilege of meeting 6 other children from KKO that are being adopted by other families that attend our home church as well. What a blessing it was to take this photo of them all together at KKO knowing they will one day be all together at Lakeside! It was much harder to get this photo then one may think... by the grace of God I can post it here today:)

L to R: Sophia, Riley & Micah (twins), Jean - Marie (Esther's cousin), D'Jemson (Sophia's brother), Judah & Esther (looking less than thrilled with the idea of a photo!)

Meeting Esther was one of the best moments of my life but leaving Esther at KKO was the hardest thing I have ever had to do. There was no comparison to the feeling of helplessness as I handed her to a caretaker and walked away. Oh my soul! Somehow I had to trust that this was God's best. His ways are greater than my ways. Although I knew this, the tears still fell. My heart still hurt. We left Haiti on March 29th but a piece of my heart still remains there today. Oh how I long for the day when our whole family is under one roof! Oh Jesus please hear our cry!

This photo was taken just moments before we left. I would have given everything to take her with us!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Meeting Our Princess - 3/24/11

I could hardly believe we were finally in Haiti! Just moments away from meeting our Princess. I had butterflies in my tummy... both from excitement and nervousness. Would she like us? Would we know how to take care of her? So many questions, so many unknowns. My head was spinning as I shockingly watched all that was going on in the streets of Port-au-Prince leading to Kingdom of Kid's Orphanage. Then the truck came to a stop... this was it. Our baby girl was inside that building. At that point I was just going through the motions... not quite sure what to feel. My emotions were going crazy!

We helped carry in several heavy bags... by the time we were done I knew we had gone up a few flights of stairs but wasn't quite sure where we were. I couldn't get back to the front entrance if I had to! There were lots of children peeping at us from every direction. Most of the other parent's that had come with us were already talking with their children that they were adopting. The other children were older and had come to the airport to greet their parents. My husband and I just stood there at the top of the stairs looking around. Everyone seemed busy. We couldn't speak creole and even if we could we had no idea who to speak to. A young girl came up the stairs a few minutes later. I pointed to myself and said "Mama Esther" and then said "Esther?" in a questioning voice. She immediately turned around and disappeared. Dana looked at me as if to say "I hope she is going to get her for us". 

Words cannot describe what happened in the next few moments. The same young girl came back up the stairs but this time she was holding the most precious little bundle. She leaned over and placed this sweet sweet child in my arms. She fit ever so perfectly. It was as if she had always been there. She was right where she belonged. My eyes filled with tears. I'm pretty sure her Daddy's did too. I hope at that moment Esther knew she was loved! 

Paper Pregnant

I thoroughly enjoyed being pregnant with Gavin... a few small irritants but for the most part it was smooth sailing! On another note... being "paper pregnant" while waiting for Esther to join our family is not so fun. For one thing there is no count down... we have no idea when she will come home. There seems to be no rush in Haiti. Drives me crazy! Obviously God's timing is perfect. I'm not doubting that but I'd be lying if I said I enjoyed the wait. At least with Gavin I knew that he would be popping out in roughly 9 months... AND THERE WAS NO PAPERWORK!

We started our home study paperwork the 1st of November 2010 and FINALLY finished our dossier (all the required adoption documents to send to Haiti) in March 2011. It seemed to take forever! I literally worked on adoption paperwork morning, noon and night. Every time Gavin would sleep I would plug away at yet another piece. I know my entire family was relieved when we closed the door to that chapter of our lives. There is still more paper work to come but I do believe that was the worst of it!

I remember looking at our completed dossiers... what a good feeling! If you've never done one you probably think I'm crazy but if you have I need not say more:) Sending things to Haiti is very expensive so our goal was to bring the final product with us when we traveled to Haiti to meet our daughter for the first time at the end of March. By the grace of God we accomplished our goal and delivered our dossiers on March 24th! Praise the Lord:) We've been told that our adoption process could take anywhere from 9-25 months from the time we turn in our dossier. It's been 6 1/2 months so far... not that we're counting or anything...

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Tiny Miracle

I was getting ready to go on a date with my husband... celebrating my 26th birthday! Thought I would quickly check my e-mail before Gavin woke from his nap. I saw there was a message from Pastor Rigaud. He is the Pastor that runs Kingdom of Kids Orphanage in Haiti. This was the orphanage that we were hoping to adopt our daughter from. I clicked on it and this is what I read...

Praise God. God has brought to me the girl that you have been praying for, week ago. Her name is Esther. She is one year old.

My hands were shaking, I was speechless. I started crying. I had no idea what to do next... kind of like when I found out I was pregnant with Gavin. I was so excited. Gavin was asleep. Dana was at work... I called him anyway! I called Mom. I called Dad. I called Missy. I called Granmum. I wanted to shout from the roof top... I wanted everyone to know... God had blessed us with a baby girl:) I didn't know what she looked like. I didn't know anything about her at all. I knew her name was Esther and that she was 1 year old. And I knew she was our daughter.

A short time later we received another e-mail from Pastor Rigaud.

Her mother and I have named her Esther.  Her dated of birth is December 3rd. She is a precious gift of God. 

God had an amazing way of confirming that this was indeed part of His perfect plan. Her birthday was December 3rd... really? It was December 4th. We were about to go on a date to celebrate my birthday... a day late. I now share my birthday with my daughter... how awesome is that??? A tiny miracle!

The next day we received a picture of the most precious baby girl we had ever seen... our baby girl:)

                                                                And she was beautiful!!!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Ready or not... here we go!!!

I had great intentions on starting this blog many months ago. I hoped to journal about our adoption journey. Well, we're now several months into the adoption process and here I am. Finally finding a few precious moments to try and figure out where to begin.   

God put the desire in my heart to adopt many many years ago. God put the desire to adopt in my husband, Dana's, heart last year... praise Jesus!!! Ready or not... here we go:) I am "Mommy" to two little ones. Gavin turned 2 in July. He is a joy! Love love love that little boy:) Our lives were forever changed when God entrusted such a precious gift to us. Esther will turn 2 in December. Esther lives in Haiti. So has a part of my heart. She is a sweet sweet angel. What a wonderful blessing from the Lord! Oh how I long for the day when I can be "Mommy" to her in a very real way. 

We began our adoption journey on November 1st 2010. We're quickly approaching the 1 year mark... some days it feels like it's been an eternity! So much has changed in our lives since last year at this time. I wish I had been more diligent and started blogging then but I didn't. I suppose life will still go on. And on that note, Gavin is waking from a nap...