Thursday, July 26, 2007

Goodbye again

Claudette Bernard (who spoiled us all so much!), Jacques, Dr. Jacob Bernard (director of NLL and HFC), Me, Lovenie, Stephanie, and Jude
Today it is 3 weeks from the day I returned home and I'm still barely able to speak of our last moments together. I love to go and feel so very blessed to get the time with our kids but dread the goodbyes even before leaving. Our last night together Stephanie asked me if she could stay at the guest house instead of riding in the taptap the next day. This is when I had to tell her that she could not because the next day was our last day together. She immediatly was so sad (which makes me sad) and when Jude heard this he also got very quiet for a while. I asked him if he was tired or feeling sick and he shook his head no. Then I asked him if he was sad because I was leaving and he said yes and remained quiet and sad for a while. What can you do? It IS really sad!
The last day we all climbed in to the back of the tap tap for our last ride with our kids. We still planned to spend until the afternoon with them but the kids had all by then found out this was the last day and mothers and children both shed tears already that morning. We went and played games, did crafts, gave out gifts, and more that day and when we finally took a break for lunch we had been doing some games with all the kids and I wanted to do much more until I realized we left in about an hour. I just had to drop the games then and spend some time with our children. We had a nice time together until the last hour. When we had about a half hour left I took Lovenie back to the baby room to say goodbye and have my arms available for our other children. Stephanie came to the baby room with me. As I hugged and kissed on Lovenie trying to tell her I had to go but I would be back and how much I loved her I broke and just bawled. I could no longer control my tears. Stephanie had been quietly crying up until then but when I fell apart so did she and we were both sobbing. That triggered Lovenie that something was going on and when I tried to put her back in her crib she flipped out like I've never seen her do before. She was screaming and grabbing at me which only made me cry harder. I had to place her in her crib and was trying to keep her in while shutting the little door. She slammed the door back open and flung herself back in to my arms which made me cry even harder. I held her for a while and Stephanie sobbed next to us. I knew I had to end this scene and put Lovenie back in her crib. It was just horrible. She kicked and screamed and hit at the door of the crib trying to get to me and I had to hold her back with one hand and tightly hold the door closed. To make matters much worse I had to take the time to tie a string that holds her door closed while she screamed and cried and beat the door yelling "Mama." I know it sounds terrible... but it could never sound as bad as it actually was! Then I took Stephanies hand and quickly led her out of there. We went outside to the courtyard where the team was starting to gather for their last goodbyes. Stephanie just crumbled in tears and I took turns holding her and Jude on my lap hugging and kissing them and promising to be back soon and Jacques sat right next to us and I would lean over and love on him too. Meanwhile, there were so many other goodbyes going on around us. Some mothers that were adopting younger children had done as I did and had to take their children to their rooms and say their goodbyes. They sat in the courtyard either expressionless and numb with pain or sobbing with the rest of us. My friends little girls were just screaming and sobbing and clinging to their Mama. I think that made us all cry even harder because us grown ups felt the same way! This dragged on for about 30 minutes it was just horrible. Then it was time to hug and kiss our kids one last time and climb on to the tap tap where we could no longer reach them. When we did that adults and children alike sobbed. It was horrible to be seated there waiting to leave...looking out the sides of the tap tap and see our children crying and not be able to hold them. Stephanie was off by herself sobbing and I yelled to Jacques asking him if he would comfort her and being the amazing and sweet big brother that he is he wrapped his arms around her and let him cry on his shoulder. Jacques brought them next to the tap tap and they put their hand on the outside of the tap tap and I put my hand on theirs from the inside and we just bawled. Then the tap tap began to move and we all waved to all the children and watched as we drove out of the gate and could no longer see our kids. There were so many tears in that tap tap! I'm sure there was many tears at the orphanage as well. I've said goodbye to our children twice now and it is the hardest thing by far I've ever experienced. Your heart feels like it's going to stop beating. There were a couple of Mom's that met their children for the first time that trip and one of them shared with me that she just feels in a funk since leaving Haiti. It's so normal. You bond with your children and then leave. I shared with her that I felt the same way and because I love our children in Haiti the same way I love our bio sons here in America it would be the same as someone coming and taking my children from our home, moving them to another country, and having no idea when they will be returned to me or when I will see them again. I ask you what loving mother would not experience some depression under those circumstances???
Now, all that being said... Is it worth it? Yes, it is so worth it! The pain you experience is worth the joy you have of all those precious moments of hugging and loving on your child. It's because those moments are all so wonderful and precious that the goodbyes are so heartbreaking.


LeAnne The Haiti Lady said...

You made me cry. This was the same scene I had when I left Kai and Nik after visiting them. I to, felt like my heart would stop and I was grieving. I came home with such a depression (more than I had before) and fell into a funk. I know they come home, I PROMISE they come home, but it is never soon enough for us. I would never give up the time I spent with my children, even though the leaving tears you heart to pieces, it is very worth it though.
Love ya,

Amy said...

Ugh, my guts hurt from being wrenched out just reading your experience. I know this feeling and it is the WORST.

I pray they come home soon!!!!!! It's been way too long!!!


ManyBlessings said...

I have said good-bye to my children in Guatemala four times now. Each time a little bit more of my heart stays there with them. There are no words to describe this particular pain.

Praying your babies are ALL home soon.


Rob and Mandy Brelsford said...

What a hard lump in my throat, tears in my eye. How hard it must have been...