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!!!


LeAnne The Haiti Lady said...

I KNOW that goodbye scene and it wil stay with you forever. I still remember leaving my children, it wasn't until 10 months later I saw them again....I knew they wouldn't remember me or maybe even have anything to do with me, but I was wrong...they ran to me calling me mama and held on tight.
It is so hard to let go and say goodbye, sometimes I think it is harder to wait once you have seen them, but I would NEVER give up the week I had with my kids....EVER!
One thing you can do is take some of the pic's of you guys together and make a collage, laminate it and put grommets on it so it hangs on their beds. This way they have pic's of YOU and THEM TOGETHER from your trip. My kids LOVED it!
Love ya,

Angela said...

That's really encouraging Leanne. Thanks! I don't regret my trip at all either. I hope it's not 10 months until I see them again but agree that it does make the waiting harder!

Love you lots, Angela

ange said...

It has almost been a year since i did that with my girls, I am praying that I don't have to leave them behind again this year! Oh Angela, I LOVE YOU, wish I could just sit and cry with you.