Thoughts from Haiti

This post was written February 26, 2009 – almost three months after returning from Haiti.  My prayer is that I will always remember, and act upon, the impact the beautiful country of Haiti had on my heart.  Now having had our Haitian daughters home for almost a year, bringing us to 10 children in our family, it can be all too easy to forget, and to not keep these feelings fresh and vibrant in my heart.

I spent a few days in Haiti visiting our daughters and their orphanage in December
2008, and until now, have been rather quiet about the trip. Finally last night I was able to put into words a few thoughts.  This was a letter I wrote to the wonderful family I stayed with while in Haiti.  

I’m not really sure I can put into words my feelings about the trip. As much as I’ve wanted to journal about it, and share my experiences, I’ve pretty much kept most things to myself from the trip. I feel like I have a split personality almost – the “ME” that was in Haiti with you and my daughters, and the part that lives day-to-day life here in Glendive.

So many other adoptive parents have asked me about the trip – wanting a little tidbit of info or insight into their kids and yet, I find myself unable to express any thoughts or feelings or impressions from that all-too-short time I spent with you all. Even now as I think about the sights and sounds and smells I remember from my visit, I’m overcome with emotion and…and…I don’t know what. I can’t (or won’t?) resolve the huge dichotomy between the little I saw and my life here. It somehow seems surreal, and yet, as I lookat the beautiful metal art, and paper church and gorgeous wood bowl, I know it was me that was there. I think about Jenny, now adjusting to life in California, and can’t picture her anywhere else than singing praise song
s in front of the tv at the crèche or playing with my girls in your living room. I have this overwhelming sense that I left something of me in Haiti, and honestly, I’m not entirely sure I want it back. I’m drawn to the country and her people, and I’m ok with that. I don’t want to completely disassociate myself with what little I saw and experienced. My heart breaks, and swells, at the same time as I think about my time there.  

Thank you for your wonderful hospitality, for our frank discussions and connections we made, for your openness and care – for everything. You helped introduce me to a country that will always be a special part of our family, and I wouldn’t have had it any other way. I don’t know what tomorrow holds, and certainly not next year, but I know Haiti will always have a presence in my conscience. It was a real joy to get to spend time with all your kids, but especially Chelsey and Andrew. What amazing kids they are!

PS. On a lighter note, I thought you’d get a kick out of what happened at the airport. I got all checked in without a problem (had a VERY attentive baggage guy who thought he needed $20 for his “assistance”!), and then proceeded to go through passport control. The young man took my passport, asked me where I stayed and who I stayed with while in Haiti. He then asked me when I was returning to Haiti, and when I returned, where would I stay? I didn’t think much of his questions, although was confused about the ‘returning’ questions since I was leaving. At any rate, I explained I had stayed with missionary friends, etc. He then asked me if I would like to make more friends in Haiti and I shrugged and said “sure”. He then asked for my email address so we could become friends and get to know one another! I then figured out this was not exactly ‘passport control’ as I was thinking and started to wisen up to his questions! J I then showed him my wedding ring, and told him “no thanks” and that MY HUSBAND and I usually make our friends together as a couple. “Oh, nothing like that – I just want to get to know you – like a friend”. I told him again, no thanks, and he tried again, this time extolling my beauty. A little unsure how to respond (he did, after all, have my passport still in his possession!), I tried to politely decline his offer. Eventually he returned my passport and I went on my way. Honestly, it added a little humor to a rather sorrowful wait in the airport, and I figured you’d get a kick out of it!