Monday, April 30, 2007

Fossil Falls Adventures

I am NOT a camper! At least that's what I insisted a few days ago. I didn't have any good memories since being an adult of camping and I was not thrilled about going along for Kyle's cub scouts family campout at Fossil Falls (CA). Because I'm so "anti-camp" I got quite a few emails from family and friends teasing me about going (you know who you are). It turns out I had a GREAT time!!! I was so glad I went.

Jim, Kyle, Johnny, and Luke at the very top of the huge pile of rocks at our camp spot.
Same pile of rocks, same guys, just a shot from further away. This big pile of rocks was great climbing practise for the adventure we had in store for us the next day.

Luke just chillin' at the campsite.

Kyle and Johnny in front of the campfire that was started with NO matches! Yes, you heard me right. Watch for the upcoming posted video titled "Matches? We Don't need no stickin' matches"

It's not camping without smores!

Kyle, Johnny, Luke, and their best friend Andrew in front of Andrew's tent that Kyle and Johnny camped out in with him.

The 4 Amigo's hanging out inside the tent.

Jim and Luke sound asleep in the back of our Yukon on Morning 2. We slept here with the seats down, a memory foam mattress, pillows, and blankets and were very comfortable!

Johnny sleeping in inside Andrew's tent on Morning 2.

The kids from Kyle's cub scout den that came. On the hike on the way to the rock climbing.

We found this water pump along the way. The weather forcast for that day was 98 so even though it was still early in the morning everyone was happy to get wet with this cold water before continuing on. We also stopped on the way back when we were all very hot and exhausted.

Kyle and Johnny getting ready to head into the great rock climbing adventure.

In the rocks there were all sorts of caves, holes, and paths to explore. In this picture Kyle, Johnny, and Luke had climbed down into a big hole.

The "guys"

Dad- the very experienced rock climber had no trouble getting through any parts of the climb.

Luke (age 3) taking on the hardest part of the climb. He was the youngest at the camp. He was such a natural at rock climbing that he surprised us all. He had NO fear (I had to make him hold my hand near the cliffs!!) and was an amazing climber. Perhaps we should have named him "Billy" instead because I'm pretty sure he is part billy goat!

Johnny going down the toughest part of the climb with Dad there ready to help him if he needs it.

Kyle at the very start of the toughest part of the climb. He did great!!

Proof that I was there. Just chillin by one of the cliffs. I can proudly boast that I was able to do EVERYTHING my 3 year old could do!!!!

There were so many nooks and crannies that the boys had a blast crawling in and out of!

After the hike and rock climb everyone was hot and tired. So we all happily got in our vehicles with the AC blasting and took about a half hour drive to a beautiful nearby lake. The water was FREEZING cold and just what we all needed. Afterwards we drove into a small town and went into a store and got ice cream that everyone ate together at outdoor tables. It was just what we all needed and we returned to camp cooled off and revived!

Luke and Jim on the boat dock some of the craziest of our crew was jumping off of. You can see Kyle near them by the dock in the cold water. I didn't get in past my knees...WAY too cold!

The very insane Jim getting ready to dive off the back of the boat dock. Don't do it! The water's freezing!!

No turning back now!

He didn't stay in long! Haha. He swam right back to the dock but I was still impressed that he did it at all. :)
We all had a wonderful time and except for some scrapes and bruises came home safely and very tired but happy. I wished over and over again for our children in Haiti. They would have loved this and I would have loved having them there!! Maybe we will do it again when they get here. Anyone want to come with us?

April Update photo

Here is the official update picture for April from NLL for Stephanie, Jude and Lovenie. Lovenie is wearing the dress I brought her for Easter and Stephanie is wearing a dress that I brought to her that a friend gave us for her, and Jude is wearing my favorite Jude thing... that very sweet grin he ALWAYS has on!!! :)

I emailed them and thanked them for the picture but also reminded them that they forgot one child now that Jacques is part of our family. Hopefully we will have a picture of him soon too. I got a letter from Stephanie this morning sending her love and thanking us again for adopting all her brothers and sisters. I also got a cute story about Lovenie from Kez. It sounds like she probably understands more then we all realize! I can't wait to get them home!!!!! Please keep praying for them with us. Vilner, as far as we know, is not in the orphanage yet and we do not know when he will be brought in. Hopefully we will be able to have update photo's of our adorable "baby" of the family soon too.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

My daughter is such a PRINCESS!!!!!!

Stephanie would gigle when I would call her a princess and she asked me if I would be putting her in a princess gown and crown and I told her I just might have to do that. I doubt anyone can question what a princess she is after seeing these pictures of her and these video's!

To see our adorable girl dance to to the song "Awesome God" please click here:

To see my sweet girl tell me hello and blow me a kiss click here:

Tonight I got an email from Kez and she told the kids about how we are going to go camping this weekend and here are their reactions:
Jacques thinks that you going camping is a riot (yes, he's obviously got me figured out) and Stephanie is horrified at the concept of sleeping outdoors in a tent (I'm telling you...Princess!). And Jude has finally got the drift that he shouldn't be running around the house naked when I am there.

Gotta Love them! :)

We need YOUR help....

Hi everyone,

I've shared with you all what absolutely wonderful kids the kids of HFC (Hope for the children of Haiti) and NLL (New Life Link) are. There are around 60 of the sweetest teens I've ever met! When I was there I noticed that one thing the kids were really lacking is some entertainment! They would go nuts over anything I brought with me that was electronic, especially my portable DVD player and movies. I shared with you in a previous post about our movie night and what a great time we had. The boys and girls of HFC and NLL live in 2 separate houses. In the girls house there is one tv and a dvd player but very few movies (and they have seen them over and over again!). In the boys house they also have a tv to share and when I was visiting there house they were all crowded around it watching each other play a nintendo game system. I found out that was all they had and they had to swap it back and forth between the girls and boys house taking turns with it. I had mentioned to Jacques in front of other boys that we have a Playstation 2 game. Jacques got a huge smile and all the other boys nearby cheered and laughed for him. They knew what it was and were so excited that Jacques had one. That's when I knew that I really wanted to bring some fun to these kids!!

Last weekend my husband and I had a garage sale and used the money we made from it to buy them a Playstation 2 with lots of accessories and some games! We have also been working to collect a DVD "library" for the kids. We have had friends donate some for us to take and several other adoptive parents buy online and have dvd's sent to us, plus the ones we have that we want to take and we are getting a pretty neat collection! One of the things we like to work on now is bring them another tv. The tricky part about this is that it can not be heavy and lumpy because we have to take it to the orphanage with us. So, we found a 15" flat screen tv with dvd player at Sam's club for only $250! We are tapped out and so are seeking donations to help us get this tv for the kids. So far we are up to promised donations of $95 which is great but we still have a ways to go.

If you would like to help in any way we could still use teenage friendly movies, decent and non-violent but not too kiddie, on dvd- preferably with the option to play the movie in french. Also, more games for the Playstation 2 would be great--again keeping them decent. The boys are REALLY into soccer and basketball so sports and racing games would be great. Another way to help would be to offer a donation of any amount towards the purchase of the tv. If you would like to donate a movie or game please check with me to make sure that we do not already have it.

Thanks so much for considering helping us bless these great kids with some FUN. They will be SO thrilled!!!

You can post a comment if you would like to help or you can email me at

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

A very happy unbirthday!!!

I am so excited to share with you all parts of an email from my dear friend Kez (surprise Kez, I'm mentioning you again, haha)!! I've shared with you all how much I adored the children of HFC and NLL when I got to spend time with them. Some of the greatest days of my life spent with some of the greatest people I've ever met. One of them is Kez. She is a missionary that has been living at the orphanage for a while now and has been such a huge blessing to me personally and a total blessing to the kids that live there. The kids all love her so much. Kez's time at HFC will be ending next month and she will return to her life in Boston. Her birthday is not until August but the kids wanted to throw her a birthday party so they did it this weekend. I hope sharing this letter will allow you to see why I love these kids so much. Also, there is no one that deserves this kind of love more then Kez so I'm thrilled they showered her with it this way! Here is parts of her email about her birthday weekend that I'm sure she will never forget:

On Friday, the girls kicked me out of my room at 4pm. They took me into the guest room and Youdemie and your Stephanie started giving me a pedicure, while Jeanine did my hair, and two others did my manicure. I have never had a pedicure or a manicure before, and I have to say, I may never have another one. The foot-washing part and the nail painting part were fine, but when they started scrapping my feet with a metal grater…I don’t have sneakers because I gave them to one of the kids, so whenever we play sports, I play barefoot. My feet are all calloused and beat up sothey didn’t do so well with the pedicure. But thegirls were just so sweet and so eager to do it for me, how could I not be pleased?

When my spa was over at 6pm, the girls made me dress up and then they locked me in my kitchen. Half an hour later, Kattia and Youdemie came to escort me downstairs. As I walked into the downstairs hallway,I heard one of my favorite Mariah Carey songs start playing. We kept going down the hall, turned the corner, and I almost burst into tears. The courtyard was transformed with balloons and ribbons and streamers and floodlights and an entire sound system. All the kids were standing on the ground or on chairs, waving glow-in-the-dark sticks, cheering, and welcoming me to my own birthday party. They led me to a decorated chair in the middle of the front row, and then the program started.

The first presentation was a “defile” (a model catwalk) by the New Life Link toddlers and kindergarteners. I had known that the toddlers were working on something but everyone told me it was for their graduation in June. They were so adorable, especially James and Mansanto! I was laughing and all the kids were cheering and clapping like crazy. After them, we had a series of songs by the girls, and then the dancing started. Again, I had known that the kids were preparing a dance, but I didn’t realize that actually they were preparing 5 dances, a rap, and another defile! The dances were amazing, especiallythe ones with the boys. You should see Emmanuel dance! And the defile – oh, my gosh! I knew that Debbie loved to sew so about a month ago, I gave her awhole bunch of cloth that Meg had left with me to use for projects. Well, she and a few other girls used that cloth to make 10 beautiful outfits for the models. I was blown away! The older girls cut and distributed cake, gave out candy and sugar cane. Finally, they made me come up and make a speech. At the end of the speech, Stephanie, Jude and a few other kids crept up behind me and threw handfuls of confetti on me (remember Jacques was cutting up pieces of orange paper for Keziah’s party? Yeah, all down my shirt and in my hair and in my mouth and in my ears). Then they brought me into the mess hall to do the ceremonial cutting of my personal cake, which of course ended in me smearing cake on the faces of all the girls. Good times.

I got escorted upstairs, where the girls put me in a chair and carried me into my room. They had decorated my room with blue and white balloons, paper pinwheels, paper chains, more confetti, some Happy Birthday posters, and lots of glow-in-the-dark splatters on the wall, the furniture and the girls themselves. It looked like they had transformed my room into a starry night sky. Again, overwhelming. They gave me a few small gifts and my 21 birthday spankings, plus one huge one to grow on. And then they left me to rave to Kim about how amazing they all are and how much I am going to miss them when I leave.

Back at the orphanage, the girls came up to my room and told me I needed to come down and film the food that was being served for lunch. I was utterly confused by that. We eat the exact same thing every Sunday for lunch; why did I need to film it? But you can’t argue with the girls, so I took my camera and went down and was speechless, again. Apparently, this was part two of my birthday celebration. They had made huge bowls of rice and elaborately decorated them with onions and tomatoes and lettuce. There was chicken, sauce, macaroni salad, beet/potato salad, 2 kinds of juice, and 5 huge cakes that said “HappyBirthday, Keziah!” Dr. Bernard and Claudette came and we brought the boys over so that everyone could eat together. Dr Bernard delivered to me the suitcase of clothes and school supplies that my Sunday schoolclass back in Boston had sent for us, so the birthday girl got to give party favors: t-shirts, shorts, dresses, pens, pencils, markers, and paper for all 60kids.

Finally, the weekend ended with the girls giving me a bunch of birthday cards and us watching clips that I filmed from the party.

(I keep telling my husband that the one I REALLY want to adopt is Kez and he gently reminds me that she's an adult and has a family and I can't adopt her! Mwen renmen ou, se'm! -- I love you my sister! I'm so glad you were blessed with such an amazing unbirthday, Love, Angela)

Monday, April 23, 2007

Bad News Bandits!!!!!!

Kez, Jacques, and Kim
The above photo's are pictures of what a bad influence 2 missionaries can be on my darling sweet son!!!! Kidding of course... these girls bring so much fun and laughter to so many children and teenagers in Haiti. Please pray for them as God is doing a great work in and through them.
Jacques is wearing sunglasses that we bought for him before we knew he was going to be our son and before I knew that I would be going to Haiti. We had gathered gifts and I hand made cards (writing as good as I could in Creole) for Stephanie, Jude and Lovenie and a couple of their friends. At the time we were seriously praying about adopting Jacques as well but had not received a clear answer from the Lord yet so we got him these sunglasses as a gift and I wrote the card simply as friends in America that are praying for him. Then we mailed the cards and gifts to Kim and they all received them this weekend. It's so funny to see him wearing the glasses and think back about buying them not long ago without knowing for sure he would end up being our son and certainly having no clue I would meet him before he received the gift and card. God's so awesome, Life is such an adventure, and only God know's what surprises He has next for us and I can't wait to experience them all!
Here is Kez's explanation about the above photo's. Don't believe her for one second about her innocence and my precious Jacques guilt!!! :)
The photos are from our water fight on Saturday. Kim had brought a bunch of water guns and we were ready to go over to the boys’ house to get wet, but I thought it would be much cooler if we dressed up as bandits and went over fully loaded to attack whoever opened the gate for us. Hence our lovely get-ups. Your punk son, Jacques, kept squirting me in the face, trying to get it in my eyes or in my mouth. I swear, I did not even shoot back at him, nor did I dump a bucket of water on his head, nor did I pick him up and try to drop him in a large puddle. So as you can see, his violence was unprovoked and uncalled for.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Seizure Free for 1 Month 2 days

Just wanted to share some more personal joy with you all. I have not had a seizure since I left the Epilepsy center and other then making me tired the medicine seems to really be helping. Hooray!!! Thanks for all the prayers!

Joyfully, Angela

Friday, April 20, 2007

On the roads in Haiti

What it looked like the further we got from the airport

This is what it looked like in the area around the airport

One of the very colorful taptaps!

Lots of small trucks are used for taptaps

Anything with wheels could be a taptap!
My camera was on the fritz. I wish so much that I could have video and pictures for you of what it was like to be on the roads of Haiti! It was like being in another world!! I found these pictures online and feel like they somewhat share what I saw while there. I was so fascinated by all that was around me and tried to take it all in. One thing you learn quickly in Haiti is there are no driving laws...and if there are any they sure are not enforced! It was CRAZY. I thought it was really fun but could see how someone would find it terrifying (I just happen to really like a good adrenaline rush). Our driver just flew through the streets laying on his horn and every car and person better get out of our way. There was no order. There was one road that had lanes but no one paid any attention to them and drove where ever there happened to be a space. It was hysterical to watch. The view along the drive was sometimes absolutely fascinating and at others so heartbreaking. I couldn't believe the things they could carry on their heads without even using their hands! It was amazing. At some places the sides of the street were covered with food, clothes, or other items to sell. Small outdoor "markets". This is how the birth mom of our children used to make her income too. It was also amusing to watch the tap taps! I've seen lots of pictures of them and heard stories of them but it was unreal to see them in person! Tap Taps are the Haiti version of public transportation! Some are just old pick up trucks that tons of people pack themselves into the back of (you wouldn't believe how many people were packed in!) other tap taps looked more like a bus type vehicle (sort of) and is in really bright colors and wild designs. As we got more away from the downtown area it became much sadder as everywhere you looked there was huge piles of garbage everywhere and people had the saddest looks on their faces as if they were all tired and discouraged. There were some of the "markets' just about anywhere you went. On the less busy streets our driver continued full speed ahead. What made this a little scarier for me was that the streets are now filled with people instead of other cars. We would plow ahead towards them while our driver laid on his horn. People would just continue to walk towards us and our driver would continue flying towards them and I was sure we were headed into a tragedy, but every time... at the very last second... the people would look up and slowly step aside just as our car would get to them. I think I might have held my breath the whole time!!! :) It was terrifying and exciting and I can't wait to do it again. haha.
I thought it was funny that on the way back to the airport (for this treat I got to sit in the front seat with my daughter on my lap, talk about adrenaline!!) I saw two vehicles full of UN troops. What was funny about it was that they were in nice looking SUV's but had taken black masking tape (no joke) and obviously torn chunks of tape off and used it to write a very sloppy UN on the side of SUV's! Have budget cuts come to this? My three year old could have made it look better! :)

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

How does a loving God allow evil things like yesterday's shootings?

It is a question on almost everyone's mind. What happened yesterday was a terrible terrible thing just as many horrible tragedies are happening all over the world and have for many years and will continue to happen. So what is it that everyone really wants to know the answer too... WHY???? Why would someone do something like this? Why would a loving God allow something like this to happen???

Tragic events like this cause us to really reflect on our mortality and the mortality of the people we love. We should be so grateful today that God has chosen to give us another day here on earth with the ones we love! Reminders that such bad things happen in our world seem to have two different effects 1) Draws people closer to God or 2) Causes people to reject God. However... It always calls into question... Is there a God?

I would like to encourage you to ask that question for yourself. Seek God and He promises to answer you! You may be realizing today, once again, that you are not promised a tomorrow so you should not put this question off for another day... there may not be another day. For more information about life after death or how to get right with God call 888-NeedHim or go to

Also, I would like to share with you from yesterday's article from the Answers from Genesis website:

How Could a Loving God ... ?
More school violence in America
by Ken Ham, President, AiG-US
April 16, 2007
Related Articles

Monkeys Everywhere

Today we have yet another sad reminder of the fact that we live in a fallen, cursed world: news headlines (Monday) that, in the worst school shooting in U.S. history, 32 people have been murdered (and 15 injured).
CNN and the Associated Press are reporting that 32 people were killed in two incidents when a lone gunman opened fire on the Virginia Tech campus* in Blacksburg, Virginia. The shooter is believed to be among the dead. University President Charles Steger was quoted as saying that the shootings are “a tragedy of monumental proportions.”
Although this marks the worst school shooting incident in U.S. history, sadly it is not the first involving the loss of several lives. In 1999, Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris killed 12 students and a teacher before killing themselves at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado.
When such terrible acts occur (and sadly, random violence is occurring more frequently these days), they become the major topic of conversation on news and talk show programs. Quite often, church leaders are asked by reporters to give an explanation as to how someone can believe in a loving God when we see such tragedies happen.
Sadly, when it comes to what people would call “natural evil” (e.g., earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes, etc.), I’ve heard many Christian leaders on television make statements such as: “We don’t know why such things occur—we just have to have faith—and we just have to trust God.” When it comes to “moral evil,’’ such as a person shooting fellow human beings, I’m sure most of these leaders would say that it was because of sin. However, if really pushed, many (just like the secular world), would not take all of Genesis 1–11 as literal history.
There’s an inconsistency here in taking Genesis literally to accept sin to explain moral evil, such as the shootings at Virginia Tech, but not taking Genesis literally in their acceptance of millions of years of “natural evil” before man (e.g., death, violence, catastrophe, and extinction of animals).
At Answers in Genesis, we have written articles (and books) dealing with this often-asked question of how a good God can allow all this suffering and evil. For instance, see our article on the Columbine school shootings in Colorado. And we have also posted a booklet on understanding a God of love in the face of the death and suffering around us.
You see, when we accept Genesis as it was meant to be taken—as literal history—then we understand that death, disease, and violence are intrusions into this world, and that they occurred after Adam was created. Paul tells us in Romans 8:19–23 that the whole of the creation is groaning because of sin.
So, it’s not God’s fault that there is death and violence in the world—it’s humanity’s fault, because we rebelled against our Creator. Certainly, the shooter at Virginia Tech has to answer for his own sin. However, we still have to recognize that we now live in a fallen world where we have just a taste of what we really asked for in Adam, when the head of the human race disobeyed God’s instruction not to eat the fruit of one particular tree. In a real sense, we are all responsible for the death and suffering we see around us.
It’s also important to understand a concept that AiG presents in the book How Could a Loving God … ? We read there:
Only the person who believes in God has a basis to make moral judgments to determine what is “good” and what is “bad.” Those who claim God does not exist have absolutely no authority upon which to call something right or wrong. If God doesn’t exist, who can objectively define what is good and what is bad? What basis could there be to make such judgments? The atheist has no basis upon which to call anything good or bad. They can talk about good and bad, and right and wrong—but it’s all relative, it’s all arbitrary. What’s “good” in one person’s mind might be completely “bad” in another’s.
Of course, from a biblical perspective, God must have morally good and just reasons as to why He allows bad things to happen. For instance, Christ’s death on the Cross was an evil event, but God allowed this for a wonderful purpose: to redeem sinful human beings.
We live in an era when public high schools and colleges have all but banned God from science classes. In these classrooms, students are taught that the whole universe, including plants and animals—and humans—arose by natural processes. Naturalism (in essence, atheism) has become the religion of the day and has become the foundation of the education system (and Western culture as a whole). The more such a philosophy permeates the culture, the more we would expect to see a sense of purposelessness and hopelessness that pervades people’s thinking. In fact, the more a culture allows the killing of the unborn, the more we will see people treating life in general as “cheap.”
I’m not at all saying that the person who committed these murders at Virginia Tech was driven by a belief in millions of years or evolution. I don’t know why this person did what he did, except the obvious: that it was a result of sin. However, when we see such death and violence, it is a reminder to us that without God’s Word (and the literal history in Genesis 1–11), people will not understand why such things happen.
There is another important lesson we need to be reminded of in the context of suffering and death in this world. In Luke 13:4–5, Jesus said: "Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them, do you think that they were worse sinners than all other men who dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish."
Jesus was reminding people that every person will one day die, and that they need to be ready! Those who were killed by this tower in Luke 13 didn’t know that when they arose that morning, it would be their day to die. The Lord Jesus, in saying “unless you repent,” was reminding everyone that they needed to be sure they were ready to face eternity.
This is the most important lesson for all of us to consider during this tragic time in American history, and to be reminded of what the Apostle Paul wrote in Romans 10:9: That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.
Be ready!
*This is the very campus where the modern creation movement, in one sense, was launched: it’s the school where Dr. Henry Morris was teaching civil engineering when he co-wrote the classic work The Genesis Flood, which historians acknowledge as the beginning of what was to become a worldwide creationist movement. Return
Recommended Resources

How Could a Loving God ? ?
Solid, biblical, clear, and comforting answers to some of life’s greatest questions, such as “Why does God allow my suffering?” and “Why didn’t God prevent this from happening?”

Why Is There Death & Suffering?
Why would an all-powerful, loving God allow death and suffering?

Why Does God?s Creation Include Death & Suffering?
Why do bad things happen? Each day brings new tragedy and man’s usual response is to blame God. Is this the proper response? Is God responsible for human suffering? In this powerful booklet, Dr. Mitchell provides the answers to these questions and more.

Why Is There Death & Suffering?
In this eye-opening video, Ken Ham answers one of the most frequently asked questions about the Christian faith: “Why do we see so much death and suffering in this world if there is an all-powerful loving God?”

Hope for the Hurting Pack
For those hurting or in sorrow, these resources give biblical answers that bring hope in the midst of the pain. Includes How Could a Loving God … ? A God of Suffering? Why Is Keiko Sick? and five copies of two popular booklets—Why Does God’s Creation Include Death & Suffering? and Why Is There Death & Suffering?

Walking Through Shadows
Drawing on their own personal experiences of horror, heartbreak, and tragedy, authors Ken Ham and Carl Wieland show how the Bible answers the tough questions that people have about death and suffering.

God of Suffering? (A)
“Why would a loving God allow death and suffering?” This DVD was shot on-location in the hurricane-ravaged community of Ocean Springs, Mississippi.

NEW Answers Book (The)
Packed with biblical answers to over 25 of the most important questions on creation/evolution and the Bible, The NEW Answers Book is a must-read for everyone who desires to better understand the world in which they live.

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NEW Answers Book (The)
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Monday, April 16, 2007

Exceptional Encouragement and Inspiration

Hear from a boy while he was still alive and facing his battle of cancer. I think he says it all:

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Saying Goodbye is so hard to do!

Thanks to Amy's pictures I was so excited to have a picture of Lovenie all dolled up for Easter in a dress I had brought for her. How cute is she, huh??? Her big brother Jude is the one with his back to her in the white dressy shirt (He looked so handsome) and the adorable boy facing her is James. James is being adopted by a great family that has his big brother home with them. He was one of my favorites in the orphanage and is buddies with my Jude. Every time I saw him I was greeted with a big hug and giant smile--he was as cute as can be and if he wasn't already spoken for he may have been smuggled back in my suitcase!!!!
Okay, now for the not so fun part of going to Haiti...saying goodbye. One of the hardest things I've ever had to do for sure. It started the night before I left. Jacques and Jude were hanging out in my room with me and Lovenie when they needed to go home for bed (the boys live in a separate house across the road. As I hugged them and told them good night I held back tears (barely) realizing that it would be my last good night hug for a very long time. Stephanie and some of her friends remained in my room after the boys were gone. I was packing my bags and looked over to see Stephanie with her face buried in my bed and was quietly crying. I stopped packing and went to her. She would not look at me or talk to me. Her friends told me that she was sad that I was leaving. I finally convinced her to let me hold her while she cried and just reassured her that I loved her and I would be back for her again very soon! She was very quiet (so unlike her) all night. I knew this was going to be hard. That last night Stephanie and Lovenie slept in my bed with me. It was so great to get to be that near them but I sure didn't get much sleep. Stephanie likes to move around A LOT and take up a lot of the bed and Lovenie woke up many times in the middle of the night. Since I take heavy sleep meds it was so hard to wake up and rock her back to sleep, but so worth it! I loved holding her and singing to her as I walked up and down the dark hallways of the orphanage until she was asleep again, then I would crawl back in bed and snuggle with my girls! Our driver was to arrive to pick us up to leave for the airport at 6 AM and Lovenie woke up again at 3:50 AM. By this point I was so tempted to say my goodbyes to her then and take her back to the baby room, but I just couldn't do it. I would rather not sleep then miss out on a moment of being with her. As I walked up and down the halls trying to get her to go back to sleep was when she was opened up her eyes and said "Ma" and I was SO GLAD I kept her!!! One of the most precious moments in Haiti for sure! She went back to sleep so I put her back in my bed and quickly got ready for the travel home. When it was almost time to go I had to pick up Lovenie and take her back to her room. It woke her up and she started making her crying noise. The closer I got to her room the louder she got, as if she knew what I was up to. I began to pray because I was about to totally start crying and I knew if I started I might not stop. I took her in and put her in her crib as she screamed. I prayed "God please don't let me leave with both of us in tears". After I prayed that Lovenie stopped making noise and just stared at me while I told her goodbye, that I loved her and would be back soon and gave her those last touches and kisses. It was so hard to not start sobbing (even now thinking of it it's so hard not to cry!)
After leaving Lovenie in her room I went to get my luggage and Stephanie, who was coming to the airport with me. Stephanie was super quiet and would not speak to me because every time she looked at me she would start crying. I would just love on her, reassure her, and do my best not to burst into tears. Right before the car arrived Jacques and Jude were brought to me too. They greeted me with big hugs and kisses and big smiles as Stephanie continued to try not to cry. Stephanie, Jacques, and Jude were coming to the airport with us and were all dressed up and looked so gorgeous (wish my camera had been cooperating!). On the way to the airport Stephanie sat on my lap in the front seat and the boys sat behind me. Stephanie still would not look at me and I just kept hugging and loving on her. I could tell her little heart was broken and it made me SO SAD and I felt so helpless! Jacques and Jude kept reaching up and putting their hands on my shoulder or holding my hand and I would give them as many smiles as I could from the front seat.
When we got to the airport we made sure each child had a bag to carry as they can usually get into the airport to see us off if they look like they are traveling with us. When we got to the door of the airport their were security guards that would only let them in the airport if they had passports, so we suddenly had to say our goodbye's outside and sooner then expected. At this point Stephanie really began to cry and I again just hugged and kissed her and promised I would be with her soon but she was so upset she could hardly look at me. Then I turned to say goodbye to our always happy and smiling Jude to find that he had pulled his shirt up over his eyes and turned his face into the side of the building. He was crying but didn't want me to see it. That's when I started to cry and once started there's no stopping it!! I held him too with the same kisses and promises. Then I had to turn to Jacques, who I think I bonded with most, probably because he spoke some English and because he reminds me so much of my husband (now his Dad). He gave me a strong hug and we both cried. I just hugged and kissed him and asked him to please take care of our family until I get back. He promised me he would and I totally trust him that he will! He fits in this family in such a way that can only be explained by God's handywork and his kindness towards our family is just amazing.
So, anyways, now I'm sobbing!!! I had to hurry and leave because it was just too hard for all of us! I looked back to see my friend Kez hugging and holding our children while they all cried and said a prayer thanking God so much that Kez was there to comfort them. Then I stepped into the airport with tears streaming down my face and everyone giving me strange looks. I didn't care! Never before had I felt so empty and heartbroken then the moment I walked away from our children!!! I cried for quite a while in the airport while waiting in lines (although I was really fighting the tears, I kept losing the battle). I actually had several airline employees come up to me and ask me if I was okay and if they could do anything to help. All I could do was shake my head and squeak out a "No Thank you" . As soon as the tears were under control I went to a bathroom and put on make up in hopes of reducing the concern with the airline employees and made sure to put on eye makeup to try and force myself not to cry anymore (I know this sounds crazy but it works for me). I left Haiti heartbroken, sick (still sick and trying to get over it), tired, and spent the rest of the day just feeling so numb! And yet I would do it all over again in a heartbeat for one more kiss and hug from my children. While my heart ached I also prayed and prayed thanking God again and again for giving me this very precious family and allowing me this time with them!
I thank God too so much for Kez who I found out later gave our kids the day off of school, took them to her room, made them mac and cheese (huge treat in Haiti!!!), and watched a movie with them. By the end of that the kids were feeling so much better.
Thank you God that you would give them such a love for me and me such a love for them that it would be absolutely heartbreaking to say goodbye!!!

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Fun times at the orphanage!!!

Kerline's Bon voyage party! Kerline is the stunning girl with the big smile in the bright pink shirt-Now home with her family!

UPDATE: I just got these photo's from Amy (who I traveled with). I'm so greatful to have these memories captured. The above picture is of our movie night. I'm sitting in the middle with the orange dress with my arm around Stephanie next to me, Jacques is next to her in the purple shirt, and Jude next to him. The boy sitting next to me in the white shirt is the very sweet Junior, Ange's sweetheart (Eat your heart out Ange!!!) haha

We had such a great time while there. The kids were so much fun and Kez really invests herself in making sure they are enjoying themselves. I wish I had the video and pictures of these games (remember the first 2 of 3 days were all erased?) because it shows them running, laughing, and screaming. :) First it started off with a big treasure hunt. Kez made all the kids wait in a room so they couldn't see what she was doing and then ran all over the orphanage putting up yellow sticky notes for the kids to find their next clue on. It was so funny when they would find a clue they would scream and yell and jump up and down and then you had to look out so you didn't get trampled as they ran towards the next clue. The final clue was that they had to get me and Amy (the American visitors) in our room together and once they did that yummy chocolate Easter Candie's were handed out. They had so much fun and it was so much fun to be a part of. Then from that moment on we had bunches of kids hanging out in our room.

Amy had brought a stuffed suitcase full of fun and colorful crib toys and so spent some of the first day making sure all the babies had something fun to play with in their cribs. It was so sweet to go in there and see them happily playing with the toys she brought.

After that we went up on the top of the roof with the kids. It's somewhat fenced in and is an area for the kids to sometimes play, hanging hand washed laundry, and gathering water for bathing. Once on top of the roof Kez helped the kids make "kites" using plastic grocery bags (she had emailed Amy and me to bring as many as we could) and string. The kids were having so much fun while up there but were a little disappointed when there was not much wind. This is when I got to know the teen boys better. They all live in a separate house across the road and can only come to the girls house if Kez comes and gets them. They were all so handsome and sweet!!

Later, back in our room, We were hanging out with a bunch of the teenagers (and my kids) and they saw my dvd player and movies I brought along and wanted to look at them. They all got very excited about wanting to see the movie Cheaper by the Dozen. So Kez had the idea of calling it a movie night and got all the kids together that night in one of their class rooms. This class room had a tv and dvd player and she played it for all the kids to watch together. Also, Amy and I had both brought the kids M&M's so those treats were passed out during the movie. It was definitely the most enjoyable movie night party I've ever been a part of. The kids wouldn't just laugh at the funny parts... they would laugh LOUD, bang the desks and stomp their feet... and they laughed often. It was such a hoot!!! The electricity would go out a couple of times during the movie and we would all be sitting in total darkness until the generator kicked in and then the good times would start back up. These kids are so funny and love to have a good time!

The next morning was Easter. We all got dressed up and ready to go. When my kids showed up, especially the girls, they were all frilled up and so gorgeous. The boys were also dressed very dressy and so handsome! Those are some of the pictures I'm saddest about losing. We all walked to church together. I took Lovenie with me and it was her first time to church and likely her first time out of the gates of the orphanage since she arrived as a little baby so that was really special. Church was sweet and fun. It was so heartwarming to see these kids sing out to God during worship time and while I couldn't understand the words in Creole I recognized some of the songs and would sing along quietly in English which won me a smile from Stephanie! After singing I couldn't understand what was being said in Creole but the kids around me where trying to get me to stand up and go to the front. I was not expecting this but as a visitor you have to go up front and tell them who you are, a little about yourself, and who brought you to church with them. Amy and I went up there along with a handful of little kids and waited up front for our turn. When it was my turn I did my best to say in Creole Bonjou, my name is Angela, I am American, and I came with my children Jacques, Stephanie, Jude, and Lovenie.

The last night there was a big going away party for Kerline, who was the beautiful 14 year old daughter Amy was there to pick up. The kids had worked for a long time to make a giant Bon Voyage sign for her and we met for the party in the school room where the movie night was held. Lots of food was passed out (always a treat to get extra food!) and some of the kids would sing her a song, and then took turns standing in front of everyone saying their sweet goodbyes to her, some children even crying. One boy burst into tears and couldn't finish his speech. While I couldn't understand what was being said there must have been a lot of very funny things going on because the kids would do their loud roar of laughter, banging, stomping, and yelling. They were having such a great time. Because I didn't understand what was being said and because it got so loud and I had Lovenie with me I decided to head up to my room and spend that last night playing with Lovenie. I was glad I did because Jude and Jacques followed me and I had some quiet times with them for our last night together before the boys had to go back to their house. When the party was over the boys had to leave (it was so hard saying good night for the last time and I had to try real hard not to cry). Stephanie and Lovenie got to sleep with me so I still had all night to stay up with them. We had a little last night party in our room where Stephanie and Kerline watched one of my movies on my portable dvd player and Amy, Kez, and me watched a movie (and ate candy) while watching a movie Kez had not seen yet.

So much laughter and fun! If it were not for the horrible heat, and having family at home I may have never left! :)

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Sorry Everyone...We all ready claimed the greatest children in Haiti!!!

Tonight I got an email letter from Stephanie and one from Jacques. It's so neat the way God has put a love in each of our hearts and our family bond is already so strong. I wanted to share part of their letters with you to encourage anyone that is considering adoption..especially of older kids. I don't think people realize what a blessing they really are and they are often over looked. Stephanie tells Kez what she wants her to write me and she translates it for me but because Jacques has been at the orphange most of his life and was able to go to school he speaks Creole, English, Spanish, and French so writes his own letters to me (can you tell I'm very proud of him!!!).

I hope you enjoy them sharing their hearts with us, giving God the glory, and are encouraged to consider adopting older children as well:

Stephanie's letter:
Dear Mom,
I am praying for you a lot. For everything that you are doing for me, I pray to God and Jesus. Jesus sent you to me so that you would adopt me as your daughter. I thank you so much. And I will never stop praying for you. I thank you because you are adopting all my brothers and sisters too so that we can live together. Also, you forgot a towel in your room. I am saving it for you and I will give it to you when you come. Have a good night. Tell my brothers and my dad goodnight too. I love you,
Bye! Stephanie Jeannis (age 11)

Hello Mom and Dad,
How are you? I’ m fine but I miss you. Mom, you and Dad are gifts that God gave me. I love you and Dad so much. Mom, say to Kyle and Johnny and Luke that I can’t wait to play with them and hug them. Mom, I was happy when you hugged and kissed me. Only you and Keziah who made that for me. When you left, it’sKeziah who consoled me when I cried. I want to see Dad, I want to hug Dad, I want to play with him. Thank you because you were agreed when Keziah said I wanted to have long hair. I love that. I’m very
happy cause I will have a family, a good family. Stephanie and Jude love you so much. I love you Mom and Dad. God bless you.
Your child, Jacques (age 15)

A couple thoughts about Jacques: Notice that he calls us Mom and Dad many times. Jacques does not know his birth Mom and Dad and I thank God so much that now he has one of each, he deserves to have a family that loves him! Also, the comment about the long hair... at the orphanage the boys all have to keep their hair shaved off. I don't know for sure why but I'm guessing because it's easier. Kez was telling me that all the boys really want to grow their hair out so I told them on the way to the airport when they come home they can wear their hair as long as they like. Their faces lit up!!!

Hope you've enjoyed sharing in our great blessings! Joyfully, Angela

Meeting Vilcianne (the birth mom) and baby Vilner!

Our very adorable baby Vilner!
Vilcianne- a brave and loving woman that we will all always love!

On Monday (my last day) I was told that they were going to look for the Birth Mom and baby Vilner and they took Jude and Stephanie with them to look for her. I was so nervous while waiting for them. With Stephanie and Jude gone I got to really love on Jacques and Lovenie. Kez had told me that it would take about an hour and a half and how ever long it took them to find her. Several hours had gone by and I started to really worry about them so I found Kez and asked her if I should be concerned. That's when I found out she meant an hour and a half each way! I was so greatful that they would go through that much trouble to make sure we meet. At dinner I went down with the girls for dinner. I was mid-bite when suddenly Stephanie threw her arms around me laughing and hugging me, and Jude was standing behind her with his giant grin. Then I saw their beautiful mom (she really is stunning, pictures just don't do her justice at all) walk in. I got up and went right to her and gave her a big hug and she gave me a big hug back. I told her as good as I could in creole that I was very happy to see her today and that I love her children very much. Vilcianne (the birthmom) was carrying a very gorgeous sleeping Vilner in her arms! I asked her to sit with me at the table and if she was hungry and thirsty. When she responded that she was I went in search for another plate, silverware, and glass and served her a meal. As she ate Kez helped us talk about so much! I learned so much. She told me that she was struggling supporting her children and keeping them safe so a friend suggested to her that she put them up for adoption and let a "white family" (her words) adopt them and take care of them. She told her friend "no way" and that her children were her whole life! When Lovenie was born she had Typhoid and was very sick and she is still paying what she can for the doctor bills and she decided then to go ahead and give Lovenie to an orphanage and hope that she would get adopted. Then after that... one night the UN and police came charging through their house and started shooting at people (there is huge contraversy over the police and UN in Haiti). She said she grabbed Jude and Stephanie and hid with them under a bed and prayed for protection. When the police and UN left two people in her home were dead (she did not say who). That is when she decided to get her children out of this dangerous area and give them opportunities that they could not have if they stayed with her. So since they were too old to put into an orphanage she put them on the adoption waiting list. We started the adoption of Lovenie and two months later found out about them and wanted to adopt all three. With Kez's help I asked her if she was surprised to see Stephanie and Jude come and find her today. She answered that she was just so happy to see them. Then I had Kez ask her if she was surprised to hear that I was in Haiti and wanting to meet her. Her answer was "No she was not at all surprised I was there because she prayed many times that God would send me and she would get to meet me".

After we agreed to adopt Lovenies siblings, Vilcianne brought Jude and Stephanie into the orphanage (they were able to move in after we agreed to adopt them) they took a picture of her with the kids. That was a little over a year and half ago. When we looked at the picture we thought for sure that she looked pregnant, and everyone else that saw the photo thought so too. So, we were wondering if she might want the baby (if there was one) adopted as well. We emailed the orphanage asking if they knew anything about the situation and never heard back. For more details about how we were led to add Vilner to our family as well please see my post title "It's a boy...uhm..again!" I was not sure if the birth mom had been told yet that we had agreed to adopt Vilner as well. So I was unsure if I should bring it up but Stephanie had been told and had told her mother so when I learned that I asked Kez to translate for me and talk about it with her. I asked her if she was absolutly sure this was what she wanted because we only wanted to adopt him if she was sure about it (she had already lost all her other children, and her husband had died about a year ago, and Vilner is all she had left). She paused before answering and then told me that she wants very much to keep him but knows it is not the best thing for him because it is so dangerous where they live. She said that she would not allow him to be adopted if it were not for the fact that he would be going with his brother and sisters and she wanted to get to know me and make sure he would be going to a good family and now that she has met me she was sure (although still saying it very hesitantly). Her biggest request is that we would please keep in touch with her and send her pictures and updates of her children and let her get in touch with them if she can. I reassured her that we wanted that very much also and that she would always be a member of our family!

Holding Vilner: After that tough discussion I asked her if I could hold Vilner. He's about the cutest most easy going baby I think I've ever seen!! So adorable! I didn't feel like I got a chance to really bond with him because they were at the orphanage for just a short time and I was trying to be very careful not to make this any harder on their mother then it obviously already was. Plus Lovenie was making her crying noise (she does not actually ever cry she just makes a sound immitating a crying sound) because she was jealous that I was holding him and put her down. So I just held and loved on Vilner for a short while and then handed him back to his mother. They had to leave quickly because where they live is so dangerous that they had to be very careful to get back before dark.

I thanked God again and again that He would allow me that time with them!!! For video's and more pictures of them please see the previous posts!

Meeting Jacques, Stephanie, Jude, and Lovenie for the first time!

I wish I had the pictures and video's to share with you of these precious moments. My first two days in Haiti I took hundreds of video's and pictures for our family and many other families. At the end of day two one of the kids at the orphanage was playing with my camera and accidentally erased them ALL!!! I was so upset...moments I can't get back like meeting my children for the first time and our children all dolled up for our first Easter together. However, I can't imagine I will ever forget my first moments with our children and it was not at all how I pictured it going in my mind but all very wonderful!

When I landed in Haiti I knew that Kez was waiting outside of the airport for us along with Jacques and Stephanie. It was like torture waiting to get off the plane, going through immigration, and wouldn't you know it... our luggage was some of the last ones unloaded. I was with Amy who was there to pick up her 14 year old daughter, who was also outside waiting for her. We couldn't get out of that airport quick enough! Within just moments of walking out of the airport we saw them running towards us. Jacques and Stephanie both ran up to me and threw their arms around me and I just hugged and kissed them again and again. Things at that airport are crazy so we had to keep moving. I was so grateful that Kez and Lamar were there taking over our luggage and dealing with the pushy porters because there was no way I was letting go of these kids! They kept their arms around me all the way to the car and I just kept squeezing them and kissing their cheeks and they would both flash me big smiles. When we got to the car I was so preoccupied with the kids that I never met Lamar (the driver) and so I didn't know who the porters were but I did know that I did not ask them for help so was told not to pay them. One guy told me he was in charge and I needed to pay him for his help, the other insisted that the other guy was lying, not to believe him and he was in charge and I should pay him. I knew we were encouraged to tip our driver but I didn't know who he was and who was lying to me. This is when my wonderful Jacques walked over to me and put a protective arm around me and said (his English is so good!) "Come on Mom" and he opened the car door and closed it behind me and that's when I learned that neither of the arguing guys were our driver! :) Jacques was already looking out for Mom and I was melted by hearing him call me that. We were traveling in a small SUV and it was me, Stephanie, Amy and her teen daughter all squished into the back seat with Stephanie on my lap giving me lots of smiles and hugs. In the front seats were Lamar (the real driver) and Kez with Jacques sitting on her lap! Jacques kept smiling back at me and kept reaching back to hold my hand for a moment from time to time.

When we got to the orphanage we were greeted by all the older and teen girls! It was crazy and wonderful. The moment we got out of the car they were all over us with big hugs, smiles, even some kissing and all of them telling us "Bonjou". It was so fun. Then the kids insisted on taking our bags for us and I had just a few things in my hands. That's when I heard a bunch of girls excitedly calling my name I looked over and they were pointed at the most adorable boy with a HUGE grin and the girls were all yelling to me "This is Jude". I literally dropped all the things I was holding and ran to him. Picked him in my arms and he threw his arms around me and laughed and just curled up against my body while I swung him around hugging and kissing on him. After we got all the luggage upstairs to our room I told our crowd of new friends "I have not met Lovenie yet". I can't even remember who it was that had me follow them to the baby room (it's a bit of an overwhelming blur). We went into the baby room and there she was getting her hair fixed by one of the Nannies. I asked the nanny if I could please hold her and she gave me a dirty look and said NO and motioned that she was fixing her hair. So I just talked to her and told her who I was and touched her beautiful face and arms and legs. It was all I could do to not yank her out of that chair and into my arms anyways. After many dirty looks from the nanny that was trying to fix her hair I decided to come back later and get back to the other kids. When I left her room the lunch bell rang and I headed down with everyone else for my first meal at the orphanage. I was in middle of eating when someone walked in carrying in my baby girl to me!!! I kept her in my arms ALL DAY just loving on her and kissing on her.

It is so neat how God brought us together as a family. Meeting them was not like meeting someone I had never met before but like greeting my children that I have not seen in a really long time. It was so natural to hug, kiss, and snuggle with each other. They all called me Mom and it also seemed the most natural thing in the world! It was indescribable. I could not get enough hugs and kisses and time with them and fortunately they felt the same way!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Great Video's from Haiti

Here is a video of the birth mom of 4 out of 5 children we are adopting. She shares very honestly about her difficult decision to allow her children to be adopted:

Meet baby Vilner. Typical of any child I was tickling him and he was cracking up so I decided to record him while tickling him and he didn't even smile, but you can hear Lovenie voicing her jealous complaint when I'm holding him and not her! :)

This video was a surprise when I got home. One of the boys in the orphanage took it without me knowing. I was singing Lovenie to sleep and Jacques came over to give me a big hug and then at the end of the video Jacques said who he was and that his Mom was there and loves him very much and he loves her too. Very sweet to come home to:

This link is for a video of Junior sending his Hello to his American friend and family

This link is from Emmanuel. One of the very sweet 15 year old boys I recently shared with you about. He is so wonderful! Please pray that he will find a family before he is 16 and no longer adoptable. He would be such a wonderful addition to any family! He's doing his best to speak in English to all my friends in America that I told him are praying for him:

The view of the morning "rush hour" out side of our window at the orphanage. I woke up very early each morning thanks to the roosters in the background and the noise of the many people walking by:

Some of my favorite moments and pictures from Haiti

Stephanie, me, and baby vilner- 13 months old (pictures don't do him justice-he's one of the cutest babies I've ever seen!)

My dear friend Kez and my Son Jacques. Kez is a missionary and RN who works at the orphanage and a hospital in Haiti. While at the orphanage she teaches English classes to the kids and teaches them at every opportunity of God's love. She is amazing and such a blessing to all these kids, they all love her and so do I. She is the one that introduce me to Jacques (by email and photo) and was the one to tell Jacques that we wanted to adopt him! We both adore him!!!

Two Mom's (Me and their birth Mom), two babies(Lovenie 2, Vilner 1), and lots of love!

My adorable son Jude and one of the Nannies. Jude always has on a beautiful smile or is giggling. He is very quiet and shy and will snuggle up close in my arms while letting me hug and kiss on him as much as I want. He would tell me "I love you" in English. He is such a good, sweet, and easy going boy!

Kez, Birth Mom, Me, and Lovenie

In this picture is a "sweet" memory. Lovenie was being fussy and I gave her a sucker to suck on and she fell asleep with the sucker still in her hand and stuck to her chin. I tried to take the sucker out of her hand and she started to wake up. Not wanting to be the "bad guy" I got my friend Amy to take it away and she was able to get it without waking Lovenie up. It was much like a game of Operation!

Stephanie in the dress I brought her for Easter. She's so beautiful that I'm glad that I have 6 sons to keep an eye on their sister!!! She is going to bring so much life to our home as she is always smiling, laughing, and teasing. She's adorable and unfortunatly is aware of it so expects to be totally spoiled...I have a feeling she will get her wish. She's just too cute and sweet to say no to! I've already started calling her Princess Stephanie and she just giggles loving it.

One of the most priceless times in Haiti were the times I would get to hold Lovenie in my arms and rock and sing her to sleep. It was such precious moments. Then as soon as I would lay her down she would open her eyes and scream. She expected to be held and since I've waited two years to hold her I was happy to do so!

My Darling girls asleep in my bed for our last night together. I wish they were here in my bed at home right now! How am I going to be able to wait to hold them again? I just don't know!!!

Lovenie taking a nap in my bed with her arms up over her head. What's sweet about this is that this is how her brothers (our bio sons) would sleep when they were her age. We called it Super Baby. :)

Gorgeous Lovenie surrounded by a bunch of boys. I guess I better get used to that. :) Big brother Jacques is sitting close to her with a protective arm around her. The boys would have to go through him to get to her. :) Our room was always packed with kids. It was never quiet or peaceful, always swarmed with kids and loving every minute of it. They are some of the sweetest boys and girls that I've ever met and it breaks my heart that people overlook adopting teenagers and older children. Anyone would be so blessed to have any one of these boys or girls in their family. They are all just SO wonderful!!!!!

Jacques and Lovenie have the sweetest bond. He is so kind to her and spends lots of time with her. I let Jacques listen to a walkman and a couple cd's I brought and he just loved it so I ended up giving them to him. He took it everywhere with him and shared it with anyone that asked. He's going to be a great big brother to all of our children.

Lovenie went from not wanting anything to do with me to not wanting me to ever put her down. It was so great! A couple times I would put her down and she would cry so I would put out my arms to her and she would reach for me (this is a big deal with her disabilities). When I got to meet her little brother Vilner and held him for a little while she got really mad and started yelling. I finally had to give Vilner back and reached out my arms and made her walk to me and into my arms (again, big deal with her disablities). One time I took her to the babies room so I could clean myself up a bit and she left the room and come to the other side of the orphange and found me! Lovenie is almost 3 and because of her stroke does not speak, smile, or laugh. Stephanie has told us that she has shown pictures of us to Lovenie and got her to say Mama and Papa. Jacques and I were in the baby room together and I was paying attention to another baby when Jacques called to me that Lovenie just said "Mama". I couldn't believe I missed it!!! At around 4 AM on our last morning together Lovenie woke up and I was walking up and down the orphanage hallways trying to get her to go back to sleep. She opened her eyes and looked at me and said "Ma". I just melted!!!!

How do I even begin to describe Jacques??? I am so in love with him. When we started praying about adopting him and feeling like God was leading us to adopt him I prayed again and again "God are you sure"? I felt so insecure about suddenly raising a teenager. I'm so very thankful that God clearly called us to adopt him. He is so smart and kind! We had an instant bond from the moment we first hugged each other and stayed close to each other as much as possible. We may never know who his birth Mom and Dad are since he was found by the orphanage in a hospital... but I can tell you this much...God gave him a Dad and that Dad is my husband and it is just unbelievable how much the two of them are alike! God's so very good and knows what he is doing and I'm so greatful He takes me past my fears to give me a life filled with such joy!!!!

My precious girls! The current count in our house is 7 guys and 3 girls. I'm going to need these girls to help our home to not be totally overtaken by the guys! I've always wanted a very "girly" daughter and was afraid that I would end up with a "tomboy" but, oh no, Stephanie is SUCH a girly girl. She loves to fix my hair, get dressed up and just might be even more "girly" then me. I LOVE IT!!!!