Saturday, May 23, 2009

Day One In Port-Au-Prince

If I could sum up Day one in one word it would most likely be~ AWFUL. :( We got into the airport with no problem so that was positive but the rest of the day was beyond tough. We first went to the office to meet with Dr. Bernard and Claudette (orphanage director and wife). We then went into a long and difficult discussion about the details of what has been happening in our home. I could tell it broke their hearts to hear it, but they were so kind and supportive to me and Stephanie. They served us some lunch and then at Stephanie's request sent us to HFC to see the kids. Usually I am thrilled to go there but I was terribly sick and tense about how to handle (and help Stephanie handle) questions about what she was doing back in Haiti. I had made the decision to keep the visit short. The HFC girls and staff screamed and yelled with joy when they saw Stephanie. It was as if she had reached rock star status and everyone just mobbed her the whole time we were there. It would have been sweet except they were so excited to see her but Stephanie chose to pretend she had forgotten all her creole and could only speak English (which is not true). It was very twirpy and I was pretty frustrated that her friends were so happy to see her but she wouldn't communicate with them. At least I didn't have to worry too much about fielding tough questions! We just stayed long enough for Jacques to get out of school and swung by the boys house to get him. Of course the highlight of the day was to see Jacques again! Stephanie with her HFC sisters

We quickly returned back to the office and walked in to see Stephanie, Jude, and Lovenie's Mom waiting in the lobby along with their two little brothers. Stephanie had been super excited to see her Mom again but her Mom pretty much snubbed her. By this time I was so tired and sick that I was shaking and feeling really weak. No fun. We had a bit of a reunion in the office and then Dr. Bernard pulled us all in his office. When it was time to have "the talk" with the Mom the kids were sent back to the lobby. So there I sat just inches from their Mom as Dr. Bernard translated and the story of why we were back in Haiti unfolded. It was so awful. I could tell her Mom was a mix of furious and heartbroken. There were times that she would yell out to Dr. Bernard and it was intense. Whew. Knowing what Stephanie and Jude had shared with me about their Mom I was braced the entire time to defend myself should there be a physical attack. As the details unfolded about what we had learned of Stephanie's past and what was happening in our home things really got ugly. Once it was over we were all called out of the office to celebrate a staff person's birthday. Suddenly we went from this really terrible moment to smiling, singing, and prayer with everyone. It was so tense and awkward. I was so drained that I wanted to just curl up somewhere on the floor.

While we were in the office having this talk Stephanie and Jacques waited in the lobby watching and playing with the little brothers;

While birthday cake was being served I noticed that Stephanie's Mom and Stephanie had disappeared. She had pulled her off alone back into an office. Alarms were going off in my head like crazy. I was so torn between giving a mother and daughter their space and yet not wanting them alone too. I was taking care of the little brothers also so didn't want to walk away from them. I went to Dr. Bernard and shared my concern and asked him to check in on them. He did and came back moments later to tell me they were just talking and that Stephanie's Mom was weeping. I felt a little reassured that maybe everything was okay and this was what they needed but continued to have the feeling that I needed to protect Stephanie. Sadly, I forced myself to ignore it and focused on loving on the little brothers. Something I would later be struggling with guilt about.

The little brothers melted my heart. I just adored them. I learned that they both had been extremely ill. You could see it by looking at them, especially the littlest one. I wanted to just catch a ride to the airport and get on a flight with them but knew it was not possible. It was later that I learned they were starving and being very neglected. They had been brought into the orphanage and placed for adoption several times only to have their Mom return for them and remove them again. They are literally starving to death and have both been seriously ill. There have been many offers of help to their mother and she has refused it all. Learning this did not help the tension already between us.

Little Jason~ What a precious baby. I loved and loved on him while I could. It was so obvious how sick he is. So sad. I just wanted to wrap my arms around him and protect him.

Jacques was amazing with the boys. He's such a sweet and wonderful kid!

(believe it or not, this is the nicest picture I ended up getting of them together)
After Stephanie and her Mom came back out I could tell Stephanie had been crying and was very sad. She became very quiet and refused to talk. Her Mom came storming out and using Jacques to translate started demanding that I get Jude on the phone for her. I refused. I kept trying to get her to stop dragging Jacques in to the middle of it. There was no way I was putting Jude on the phone with her while she was this upset. Later, after learning more, I was so glad I stuck my ground on this one. She then started insisting we adopt Vilner and his brother (again bringing Jacques into it). It was so awkward and so sensitive. I told her that we would not be adopting them. It was so hard to say this as I looked into the faces of these little sick boys. I will be praying for a home for them but for reasons I won't go into... It is not likely to be our home. Things ended on that note. Little Vilner wanted me to hold him and play with him nearly the whole time. When I went to leave he followed me out of the office to the car. When I saw him there I had to pick him up and return him to the office and his Mom. It was very symbolic and I had to hold back sobs as I carried him back in. This was at one time a little boy that was going to become our son and now I had to deliver him back to his Mom.

Soon after we were rushed into the car that would take us to the guest house. Between being ill and the stress of the events that happened... I was totally wiped out. Stephanie cried on the way back but was not ready to talk until days later. It was then that I learned that I should have stuck to my instincts and protected her. The things said to her most certainly were not things that will help her in her healing! There were also threats involved on our family. Sadly, this will likely be the last meeting with their Mom. This makes me so sad as it is not at all what we had hoped for for our children.

It was pretty great to get to sit with Jacques on the way back. For the first time ever though things seemed uncomfortable between us. I couldn't really read what was going on but thought maybe I was misreading things because I was so sick and tired. Sitting on the other side of me was a very hurting Stephanie who I was trying to comfort. Not a day I'd want to live again, that's for sure!


Amanda said...

Oh my goodness, Angela. What a day. God brought you through it. I'm sure there are many things you don't understand and may never, but I'm praying that God continue to sustain you through this all.

DotBlogger said...

Oh Angela. This will probably go down in history as the hardest day ever for you. I will pray for healing for Steph, and the kids at home, the kids at the orphanage, the kids who are starving... oh my. Lord, come swiftly with your healing.
I really appreciate your willingness to be so open and honest. Thank you. Interestingly, it actually helps me here in my home and some of the things we are going through. So if only for that, I thank you for posting.

ManyBlessings said...

Oh Angela...I'm so sorry. For all of this. :( (((HUGE HUGS FROM THE BOTTOM OF MY HEART))

Anonymous said...

Praying for healing for Stephanie.

At least in photos, Vilner looks much healthier. Baby Jason just broke my heart. His brittle, reddish hair... his little body is starving; he needs more protein in his diet.

One Crowded House said...

my heart aches for ALL of you.... I am so sad for Stephanie that her birthmom was so manipulative and difficult.... I think your sweet son in Haiti was just sad to see you hurting, and maybe at a loss because he wanted to make things better... you can see from the pictures how much he loves you!