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Monday, November 7, 2011

Hospital visit

Monday, November 7, 2011

This morning as I packed up my kids and took a moto out to the Creshe, I realized how long it’s been since I left here. Over two weeks I think. About time!

I left my babies at the Creshe, and went with Heather to Saint Marc. Mondays is her day thatshe often goes to the St Marc Hospital to help. How this woman does everything is beyond me!She will go there and just do whatever she can. More often than not, it’s holding dying babies. The Haitians do not like holding their baby while it’s dying. They think there’ll be a curse of something.

Since she isa legal Creshe, they’ve called herseveral times already when they had abandoned babies there.

I had heard her stories, and wanted to see the situation for myself. I’ve been to this hospital before – lots of times, but not to thissection. They’vedone some building and remodeling.

We walked in, and Heather’s contacts, an American Pediatrician and his wife, told us we could continue bagging a 3 day old baby that had come in about half an hour before. Or we could just hold him, as he was going to die anyway. So we went to the bed in the hallway (thankfully this was a daythey had oxygen. Often they don’t have oxygen for the babies there). Here they had this little (I guess not more than 4 pounds) baby. They had stopped doing CPR.He had had a pulse of 40 when he came in (should have been 120) and then it stopped completely, so they had been bagginghim for like 20 minutes. As weapproached, a visiting pediatrician informed the doctor that he was actually breathing quite well on his own. The doctor’s like, “if this baby survives, it’ll be a miracle”, and the other one responded, “I think a miracle is happening”. He was still holding his own when we left an hour later. This baby had not been given anything but water for 3 days. Mom said she had no milk. And being smallanyway, that was too long!!!

It was kind of emotional being there. I went into the rooms – so many thin and malnourished kids!!!! They do have a malnourished program there, so that’s good. The PROBLEM is the babies under 6 months, that don’t qualify for peanut butter. And they have so many!!!! The parents are responsible to feed them, so if the mom doesn’t breastfeed, they’re in trouble. Lisa (the doctor’s wife) told me that she frequently finds a baby hasn’t had anything for a couple days. And these are often premature babies!!!! Can youimagine????

She said the hospital wouldn’t supply formula for them. Sometimes they have individual people giving, but not usually.

It was heartbreaking!! These little bitty babies, and nothing to feed them???

Another sad situation is theundependability of oxygen there. It causes a lot of deaths. They said over the weekend, 5 babies died.

The other difficult situation is the lack of staffing. I don’t know what the capacity there is (if there is such a thing in Haiti) but Lisa said they’ve sometimes had 1 nurse for 40 patients, though usually there’s 2 or 3. Usually they have one Haitian doctor and one American. They also do a lot of outpatients too. Can you imagine nursing like that? And we’re talking some are babies born at 6 months of gestation!! I saw no normal size baby – all were either too small or preemies, or other problems, like heart, etc. She said basically the only thing nurses can get done there is give meds.

What to do??? Yes, they have people trying to find solutions. But in the meantime……

If anybody would like to help donate money for milk, I would suggest going through Heather, whom they call sometimes if they have an abandoned child and she’ll give them stuff.

Heather’s website should be up this weekend, but you can still go there; I believe it directs you. Just let her know if it’s specificallyfor that.www.GivingHopeHaiti.org

I just gave my baby her fifth bottle of the day. Can’t help but think of the little ones I saw today, who haven’t had any...


Experimenting play with the fork, post dinner

My cutie pie

Saturday, October 29, 2011

My little family

Good morning,

A cousin reminded me that I haven’t posted since August. I went online and I guess it was true! I apologize to my faithful readers. Time has sped up I think, from what it used to be. I will blame it on that. J

I did however find a started blog from September, which I have just posted now. Sorry!

I feel very blessed of God. I LOVE my life. Having said that, of course it’s not perfect. I am definitelyin the waiting period. But sometimes I wonder why God gave me such a great place to recuperate. I say recuperate, because I feel like emotionally I am recuperating. I feel like I am being healed in a lot of areas; at the same time, I am learning lessons that I wonder if most people don’t learn about 20 years earlier in life; Namely, relationships with friends and fellow workers. Although, a lot of the relationship issues that I’m having probably wouldn’t come up quite that young in life; At least not my life. So I am trying to learn and be faithful to God as I go. I am grateful for the chance to learn these lessons.

Yesterday, a lady that lives here as well asked me if I don’t go stir crazy here. I told her ‘No’. I love it here. I think I get around a lot more than she does, despite my two babies. And also, I guess my focus is different. She’s waiting for a place to live to be done. I live here and am busy with my babies. I’ve always wanted to live somewhere on the ocean for awhile, by myself; me and God (and now my kids). It’s giving me a chance to get to know God better.

Having said that, yes, I do feel like I’m in a waiting period, and when you wait, you have to be strong not to get impatient. I find myself waiting anxiously for all the paperwork to be done. Not sure why, since I love it here (beside the expensiveness of it) but I think part of it is just wanting to have all the paperwork done and not worrying anymore, “what if”. In Haiti anything can happen, and I want to be free to take my little ones whenever, wherever. It’s not so much what I’m going to (although it will be good to see many of you again) since I don’t even know where I’m going, but just being able to close this chapter in my life.

OK, enough ramblings….. and down to logistics.

Caleb’s adoption is still just waiting on the judge to sign the adoption decree. This should have been done the about a month ago, but the Judge went out of the country, on vacation. And now, apparently because he was gone longer than he should have been, they have fired him and are replacing him with another next week. Our lawyer plans tomake friends with him (that’s her way of getting things done, making good relationships with key people) and hopefully get him to sign it next week. That will mean after that, he’s legally mine! YEA!!! I will celebrate somehow!! Of course, there’ll be more paperwork to do afterwards, like name changes, new birth certificate with me as mother, and of course a Haitian passport.

Chania’s paperwork has been held up more than I liked too because of the authentication of the mom’s death certificate. There's too much fraud - people making death certificates of people still alive. The dad finally did show up yesterday (He lives way up close to the northern border of Haiti) and he brought the death certificate, so now that is ready to go into IBESR, the Social Service that has to approve all adoptions. That can take awhile in there normally, but hopefully hers won’t, since I’vealready been approved for adoption.

I was happy to meet Chania’s dad (Eddy) and ask more questions about Chania. He seemed happy to see her doing so well, and that I’m adopting her but when I asked if he wanted to hold her, he said “no”. It’s gotten me thinking about emotions. What do the parents feel when they give up a child? I think not holding them is often a protective issue – they’re protecting their hearts from being attached to the child. I can see this dad can’t afford Chania, since he’s poor and has 8 other children (which is a whole different issue in my book - birth control L.) His other children are ages 4,6,8,10, 14,16X2, 18.

I don’t understand why the mom died. She had the baby in a hospital; everything was normal. She went home, ate and drank something, and then died. But God had a hand on Chania, and I’m grateful she ended up all the way over here with me. It really can only be God. Makes me realize more than ever that God intended her for me.

Vanessa, a missionary from Angel Missions who worked at getting medical visas for kids needing treatment in the US, was way up north visiting a friend for 20 days. Her car had trouble and Eddy (a mechanic) ended up working on it. He told her about his wife dying and his newborn baby. She offered to help but since she couldn’t keep her, she asked him to find a lady to take care of her, and she would provide the formula. After 15 days, she found out little of the formula actually went to Chania. The lady was giving it to other children as well. She was feeding Chania other foods too, gerber, etc.(Yea a newborn!) They said she almost died. Vanessa took her than and kept her for 5 days, and then returned to Port au Prince with her and put her in an orphanage. Again the formula she provided was given to other babies as well, and she wasn’t being taken care of well – dirty, no diapers, etc. When Vanessa met Heather (from my Creshe), she asked her to take her and give her a home, and Heather took her for me.

Yes, the first month was difficult – she was very anemic, and didn’t know how to suck, and was full of gas. But now… She is a different baby!!! So easy to take care of, and smiles so easy. (I must be the most beautiful person in the world to her, cause all it takes is seeing me, and she smiles J ) I guess that’s how that unconditional mother love gets developed, eh?

My first step in sponsoring them to Canada is done too. I just heard from Canadian immigration yesterday, that I’m eligible to sponsor them. I think now we have to wait to finish the adoption before I can do the next phase, although I can definitely get all the paperwork ready. Right now I feel a little lost of all that I need for that, but I’m hoping the Embassy will guide me in that. They get notified from the government of my eligibility, and tell me what I need, I believe. So that will be my job in the next few weeks.

So my prayer requests I guess are obvious: A quick Judge appointment to be able to finish Caleb’s adoption, fast proceedings in IBESR for Chania, and for me to know how to get ready for the application for Permanent Residency to Canada for them.

May God bless you, guide you and give you a good day today!!!!

Elsie, Caleb & Chania

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Hi

Blessings from Haiti!’

Life continues busy here. My baby of 5 weeks ago is a darling, but does take up a lot of time. Although she is a LOT better now. She is taking her bottle like a normal baby, burps almost regularly, and sleeps better in between. Now I have to be very careful because Caleb also LOVES her, but lacks the wisdom in knowi ng how to care for her. His hugs are quick bumping her, seeing her in bed is a challenge to mount her and start “burping” her roughly, and when she cries, he knows the solution is the pacifier, so in it goes by force. So cute, but unsafe.

So I borrowed a play pen finally, thinking now she’d be safe. Would you know it, the first day, he found a way. He was like a cat, looking at a mouse. The screen keeping him out was strange. He’d put his nose or feet or hands to it, thinking it would give, but no. Then in a moment when I left the room (in all security thinking she was safe) he climbed my bed, and through himself in. Thankfully she was on the far end. We obviously have some training to do.

He’s also getting more bold outside. Today he headed to the ocean for the first time on his own, and actually entered it. OK, that scared me. Up until now, he wouldn’t go so far without me.

His will and reactions are also climbing, making me pray harder for wisdom and knowledge to train him. Hopefully his zest for life and energy can be channeled into proper activities.

Chania’s dad came to the Creshe on Sunday. He’s from very far away. FINALLY we were able to get some information about her. I didn’t get to meet him though and he didn’t see Chania. She is his 8th child – there’s 4 girls and 4 boys. No wonder he gave her up! That’s a lot for here. She was born in a hospital. He said her mother ate and drank some after the delivery, then died. They don’t really know why, but figured she didn’t have enough blood (a common cause here if they don’t know. After all, so many women are anemic, and don’t eat right). He had a birth certificate already made, so legally her name is Love Na├»ca Jean. I’m still planning to change it to Chania Delea, so that’s what she is to me. She is a full month older than what I thought; born July 3rd, 2011. Almost 3 months. Now that she’s gained weight and is more responsive I can believe it, but she sure didn’t seem like an almost 2 month old when she came. Makes me wonder what they were feeding her. 7 lbs at 7 weeks! She didn’t know how to suck, so they either spoon fed her or used a bottle that they cut such a big hole into that it was basically pouring in. That is, if they gave her formula. I personally doubt they did; At least not the first month, before she was at an orphanage. I have heard so many things that they feed babies here (less than a month olds) when the mom dies or is sick and they can’t afford to buy milk that nothing really would surprise me anymore. Some things they’ve told me in the past are: only tea, cookies, (these are soaked and water added to be able to drink it), flour water, rice water, etc.

So I wonder what my baby had…. Thankfully her belly is becoming more normal again. She still has a harder time getting the gas out, but that’s coming too. She was very anemic when I got the blood test for adoption done, so I’m giving her vitamins with iron, and will need a blood check basically every month. It could take quite a few months to build up. But again, I hope it was from the lack of food, and not an internal problem, which will then be solved more quickly by good formula and vitamins.

I have had some great help this last month with my babies. My cousin Jessie from Manitoba came for a one week visit and we were able to get quite a few things done in preparation for the adoption. It’s easier taking two babies out on tap taps and motos when there’s two of us. J

Then a week after she left, my mom came from Costa Rica for a little over a week. She finally got to meet her two future grandchildren! She also did some baking in my little toaster oven (a 9x9 doesn’t fit in it). AND she did my laundry by hand!

Yesterday we walked to the clinic to get a medical certificate for Chania’s adoption. It is great to see the staff there. I miss them! But I’m really glad I can be a “stay at home” mom during this time. They change so fast!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

My daughter

Well, this has been an interesting week! And life changing for me.

God gave me a daughter!!!

For some time now, I have been thinking and praying about another child. I felt Caleb needed a brother. I hated the idea of him growing up as a single child. I can’t imagine a life where you’re the only one. Of course, this is me, the 3rd of 8 kids. But I just felt he needed one more, and a boy would be best so he’d have another male figure to rump around with.

So after I moved here, I have been waiting for God to send me a baby, “if it be His will.”

We plan, but hopefully we trust Him to direct. So it was with a struggle, that none of the ladies giving up their babies had boys, except one, who decided to keep her baby for 3 months “so she wouldn’t kill him”. Finally all women had delivered that would deliver before September, and I gave it up to God. Only Caleb. Well, I told myself, it’ll be easier when I leave. Settling in a new place with 2 babies would be a lot of work. I started wondering if I had made a mistake in saying I wanted only a boy. What if God had a girl for me? Was I open to that? And all of a sudden, it didn’t matter so much. Still, I didn’t know any baby girl available either. I also had a desire for one as young as possible. Living where I can take care of them right away, I wanted the bonding process to start as young as possible. I always loved it that I had Caleb from 2 weeks old.

I talked to the lawyer doing Caleb’s adoption and she said if I have another baby before his adoption is done, then she can almost tag it with his, at least a lot of the paperwork. Later would make it take a lot longer. Also, later in the year there is a chance that the law will change again, for single women. They will need to produce at least a boyfriend. (Hey, I guess one could always hire one for a few months J)

Also, there’s a law or something about newborns not being able to be adopted till they’re 2 months old.

So I gave it up to God, feeling like it would not happen. I had about a 2 week period max I figured. This is (hopefully) the last week, since I’m hoping Caleb’s adoption will get approved by IBESR this week. (fingers crossed)

Then on Tuesday I saw a note from Heather (in charge of the Creshe that does the adoptions) saying they have an almost one month old baby girl. I told her I want to see her and she brought her over.

And in came a beautiful, 3 week old baby girl. My first thought was “she’s beautiful”. (I’ll admit, I’m not one of those that think every baby is beautiful; Loveable, yes. Beautiful, let’s be honest. J) But my first impression was – beautiful!

Heather said I could keep her overnight, and pray about it, and get a feel, whether I want to keep her. And I hope she’ll never go out of my life again.

When deciding such a monumental thing, it’s hard to be objective when you have one day to decide. How do I know I don’t make my will God’s will?

But as I watched Caleb’s reaction to the baby, I just felt that I would be depriving him of something special if I did not take her. He already loves her; is thrilled with her. Of course, I still have to watch how he expresses that. His first instinct is to grab at her face; Then, her feet. But he already watches what she does sometimes like a big brother making sure she’s ok. He loves stroking her downy soft hair. (Haitian babies’ hair is incredibly soft).

He can imitate her cry as well. Sounded just like a little baby. And he’s been pretty good at not claiming my lap if I hold her; instead he’ll lay his head against my legs, and make me feel a little guilty, he’s so sweet about it.

So I feel peace about it, and have decided to adopt her.

I went to the clinic to weigh her today. OK, that’s not as easy as before, but I did it. You can pretty well do what ever you want if you want it badly enough. (Did you know that?) Any way, she’s 3.46 kg (about 7 1/2 lbs). Measures 19 ½ inches.

She was born the first week this month. I don’t have the exact birth date yet. But she’s 3-4weeks now.

I also don’t know her name yet. I think they had done a birth certificate, but if it hasn’t been ‘archived’ yet, we can do another and I can name her.

I don’t know her story very well yet but this is what I was told:

Her mother died. (I don’t know when or why)

She was left at a dirty orphanage in Port au Prince. She was there about 2 ½ weeks.

Vanessa from Angel of Mercy Mission rescued her and she was kept at their clinic till now, while they looked for a family. They thought they had one but it fell through.

They are associated with the Comfort Ship (They do the consults there). Heather had to take one of her babies there and when they found out she has a Creshe, they begged her to take her and find a family for her.

I think God picks your family, whether by birth or otherwise. He picked a couple beautiful kids for mine.

So my prayer requests:

1TThat the adoption will go smoothly and quickly as I start this. Most of my documents are good for this one too, and will make it easier. Her age is good too. Since she’s already almost a month, we only have to wait about a month, and hopefully that’s all the time it’ll require to finish it up.

2) That we will adjust as a family – Caleb since he doesn’t have mami all to himself any more and me to being busy and not getting full nights of sleep, and it being harder to get out for grocery shopping, etc But God provides friends to help, and I’m grateful!

Happily,

The Haitian Kornelsens

Elsie, Caleb, & “baby girl”

Enjoy the pics!




















Friday, August 12, 2011

Paperwork

Hi,

So this is really today's update. The last couple ones, I had written off line, and then either forgot they weren't posted, or was waiting on pictures.

I've been really busy getting all the last minute paperwork in Haiti. Being the first "Haitian" adoption for this lawyer I think, and the first for the Cresh, it's one of those things: "Oh, I need another 4 pictures". "Oh, I need a statement from a Haitian bank with 'so and so much' money so yesterday I went and opened a dollar account. Had to return today for the statement. This done going to St Marc with a taptap. Thankfully I already had a Gourde account so it wasn't too complicated, only time consuming.

Early this morning we took 2 pregnant moms to Pierre Payen to do ultrasounds. I am open to adopting another baby boy, so wanted to see if these were boys. :) The earliest one is a girl, the other a boy but not due till Nov., so I guess not for me. God knows if there is another for me. Right now I don't know of any.


Heather is in charge of the Creshe, and becoming a dear friend here. I am SO thankful for her, and all she does for me.

After the U/S, I went to the Creshe, where a psychologist was waiting for me. He did Caleb and my Psych evaluations. I could've done that myself and saved myself all that money!!! Basically it was a matter of recording my data (name, education, etc) and all my family's names, my hobbies, personality, etc.

Anyway, I am now DONE with all the requirements for the adoption, and I think the lawyer's hoping to have it done this month yet. That would be such a miracle!!! But such an answer to prayer. I need to get on the ball with the Canadian Sponsorship paperwork!!!

Apparently there's a chance that the laws will change, so that single people can't adopt. Or at least, they have to have boyfriends.


Has started LOVING books. ALSO loves the camera. He started smiling like this as soon as he saw me with the camera.


He's also learning to smell - loves scented tissues, but even likes smelling his diapers. The other day I told him to smile, and he started sniffing like he was smelling. Guess it does sound similar.


The shower water drains so slowly, it gives him time to play.

Well, I guess you're not reading this just to hear and see pictures of Caleb. But he pretty well is my life right now. It is really nice to have the time to dedicate to him.

It is a strange feeling to still be here in Haiti, and not be actively involved in Mission work. Time is flying, and it seems there is always something to do. Of course, since I don't have a vehicle, everything takes longer if I need to go out.

I feel very blessed at this moment, it's like a "pause in time", only things don't pause. But emotionally speaking, I'm starting to relax, which I realized I needed a lot. I don't know for sure what I'll do after this stage, but God is faithful to guide me. He always has in the past, I don't doubt he will continue.

God bless you all!!!
Elsie



Here's a few site about the American attorney, Time Rowe, for those interested in possibly adopting from Haiti.

http://www.theindianalawyer.com/indianapolis-attorney-creates-rescue-mission-for-displaced-children/PARAMS/article/26763

http://goodnessofgodministries.wordpress.com/2011/02/21/voice-of-the-orphan-in-haiti/

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Home.


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Greetings from beautiful Haiti!

Yea, I’m still alive! I trust many of you that read this have Facebook, and so keep up a little with what I’m doing. For those that don’t, I’ll recap a little what has been happening with me.

Life has changed drastically for me. Both for the good, and also for the sad.

For awhile now, I have felt that my time at Canaanwas drawing to a close. It continually astounds me how God doesthis: I’mat a place without a timeframe – just till God leads me away, and somehow, when the time comes, I go. Sometimes (often) it is negativethings that let me know “you’re getting too comfortable”, or “too settled”, or anything else…. And God says it’s time. It does not always happen suddenly, and in my case it has basically been adding up since almost the beginning of the year. And neither is it always a pleasant thing. For me it’s been a great struggle. The end??? Now what??? I think that is the biggest fear – now what?

Quite awhile ago, I started looking around for another place to live. One of the reasons was that with adopting Caleb, I really needed myown home, where they could come do a “home study”. I am able to do the adoption as a Haitian Resident, which is really nice. Secure and safe residences are hard to find around here, especially for a single woman and child, so I decided to go ahead and rent a small apartmentat Club Indigo. It’s close to Canaan (1 mile) and of course a beautiful place to live (though very expensive for someonenot working).


Love the Sunsets!

It is now 4 weeks since I moved in,and the time has flown!!!! I just love it here. I don’t even mind doing my own cooking so far! It comes with housekeeping included, and I just LOVE that! After living in a house that was dirty ALL the time, it is wonderful to live in a place that is clean ALL the time (except when it’s not temporarily :)

Bones are so fun - this T-bone kept him busy quite awhile

Caleb also just loves this place.

He is such a happy fellow.

He enjoys seeing his friends at Canaan, but if I put him down, he screams.

He has started saying “bye bye”accompanied by waving. Hello and bye are the same waving. He is such a peopleperson. He will walk along and someone passes and he starts waving at them, or pointing to them to draw their attention. Everybody here loves him. His biggest joy is playing with the neighbor boy, and all their toys outside. That’s when I take my computer or other work outside and let him be.


"In front of our house, playing with neighbor boy, Judah Reeves"

I was thinking today, this is my transition time – not quite sodrastic going from Canaan to Canada to live. Honestly, I’m not very excited about going back to the North American life style. There are parts I really dread. Of course many things are easier, but I’m not sure if I won’t feel a little guilty living like that. I think the thing I fear most is that I will enjoy it too much and get too comfortable.

But meanwhile, I’m still here, and I’m going to enjoy my time here. As of end of this month, I don’t plan to work at the clinic anymore. That gives me a really sad feeling sometimes. I loved that work. I’m sad it came to an end. It doesn’t feel real yet. I am really still in Haiti, and not working there??? I have some projects to finish and someone to train, but otherwise, I’ve already stepped aside a lot.

I know a lot of people are probably asking “Why?” There are many reasons that I cannot write about. But the ones I can – Adopting Caleb is definitely one. The adoption is going very well. In fact, the lawyer said the Haitian part of it should be done next month. That would be incredible!!! 2 months or less! It’s not a done deal yet though, so we’ll see. I love the chance I’m having of staying home more and taking care of him – being a stay-at-home mom.

The Canadian side of it is a bit more complicated than I expected. Because I was not born in Canada myself, I cannot make him a Canadian citizen right away. I have to go the ‘Sponsoring him to Canada’ route, and getting him a Permanent Residency card first. Which means that we have to live in Canada as well. So I’m working hard trying to get that started, figuring what forms to fill out, etc.

Today the lawyer asked for more photos of Caleb, and I also need a bunch for the Sponsor application, so I packed up Caleb, walked to the road (10 min), and took a TapTap to St Marc. Caleb is a true Haitian!!! It did not take him 2 minutes to figure out you tap to stop. All he lacked was the coin to make noise (I couldn’t do that to the driver; he’d have had him stopping constantly J.) The truck would slow down to pick someone up and instantly he’d pretend to tap. So funny. He was oohing and trying to talk constantly. Haitians aren’t really used to that in babies I think – at least not in public. Anyway, he had the time of his life, sitting on the last seat in a crowded pickup truck. Arriving, I took a moto taxi to the photo place. That too was a novelty to him and he loved it. Taking the photos presented a new challenge for the photographer. I think he seldom had a toddler that he couldn’t get to stop smiling (the photos were suppose to be without smiling). Caleb is so photogenic. He’d be all serious looking around and then when we had him look at the camera, he’d sit and grin. He held still nicely but grinning. It was so funny.

We then walked to the grocery store, and I tried to gage how much would fit into my backpack.

Haven’t quite figured out how to do grocery shopping without a vehicle. There were so many things I needed. I finally got all my meats and things into the backpack and carried the eggs and bread. The mototaxi was not as fun this time. Holding Caleb in one arm and the eggs in the other, my backpack was top heavy, enough to lift my feet from the pedals at times; and of course I couldn’t hold on to the driver. I was so happy at the end that I hadn’t tumbled over backwards J Don’t think I’ll do that again. For some reason, at the end, the driver took off with out accepting payment. Still can’t quite figure out why. It wasn’t like he was flirting or anything like that. I’m wondering if he really was a taxi or if he just happened to be waiting outside the grocery store for someone and I just took him for one. I did kind of ask if he was a taxi… Anyway, an empty taptap was loading up, and as luck would have it, being the first, and having a baby, they let me ride in the front. Whew! My eggs were saved! Had a moment of confusion though when a well-dressed lady wanted to ride up front too. How she thought she would fit in the single seat with me and Caleb, I’m still not sure. She wanted me to move into the console area). No way possible. It was a kind of double cab (not nice back seats) and she ended up going there. Guess for her that was better than in the back. I would have preferred the back. I had left Caleb’s stroller at the guard house close to the road, so was able to use that for my heavy groceries. Caleb loves walking that stretch anyway. He got to see a rooster (first time??) and honestly got scared of it’s crowing.

Hey, I just thought you might like a glimpse into how people go grocery shopping in other countries. J Enjoy your grocery carts to your vehicles!

Last leg of my grocery shopping trip.


Though life is much more relaxed now, there are still alway issues to deal with. Please pray for me during this time of transition, and Caleb's adoption.

Sincerely,

Elsie


Saturday, June 18, 2011

Adoptions

Hello,

Life here in Haiti continues, with it's ups and downs. My focus these days, besides the clinic, is getting all the paperwork ready for Caleb's adoption. I'm still waiting to move off of Canaan, so I can do the home study, but Sister Gladys has not been at home and available on a week day since the first week in May to sign the paper for me to take Caleb. It is suppose to happen this coming week, but we'll see if she made plans to take a group to a different part of Haiti for the week. They say Patience is a virtue. I hope that's right, because I'm definitely forced to build it.

I am doing the adoption through the "Giving Hope" Creshe. Run by Heather, it has become the only Creshe so far in our area; there are apparently only 16 in the country. In Haiti, a child has to belong to a Creshe in order to be adopted. Canaan is working on becoming one, but so far isn't. It is a long and strict process, requiring all kinds of things, like enough space per child, vaccinations for all your dogs (I wonder what Canaan will do with that???:).

Heather takes in only children that are up for adoption. At the moment, there are 23. Some have prospective parents, others are still waiting. They have hired an attorney that will work only with their Creshe. Because she has "connections" she says she can do the adoptions in about 6 months (which for Haiti is really really fast). Of course you're in Haiti, so you have to think a little flexibly when talking time. I think that is only the adoption part, not the immigration.

One of the reasons I'm saying all this is that if you or any one you know is looking at adopting from Haiti, this is a better way than a lot of others. Run in big part with volunteer service, it is a lot less expensive than other adoption agencies. One of Heather's passions is to allow children to be adopted without the corruption and high cost that many agencies charge. Of course, we are only starting with the first adoptions with this lawyer, but she has given us references, and has done over 20 adoptions since the earthquake.

They have the backup and support of "The Voice of The Orphans", with an American attorney working together with the Haitian attorney. In fact if I understand right, it's "The Voice of the Orphans" that is actually in charge of doing the adoptions, or that has hired the local attorney.

Here's some pictures of kids available for adoption.

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.191493484247116.47816.100001593960971

(Hope you can open it ok).

If you are interested, contact me and I'll get you in touch with the right person and information.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Adoption

Hello,
I feel like a lot has happened since I last wrote. I was able to spend a week with my family in Costa Rica. Love going there! Beautiful weather, nice place, good food, home...
From there I went to NC, which was actually the reason for the trip in the first place. Had a "planning meeting" concerning Haiti. While there, I spent a day shopping. That was fun!
I was ready to come back to Caleb though. Missed him! I kept thinking what it would be like traveling with him.
He is such an active child. My focus with him now is some serious training. Typical toddler stuff but he sure has a stubborn will. Little by little.
Since I'm back, I've been focusing on getting the papers ready for the adoption. It's more difficult because Sister Gladys isn't here to sign him over to me. But there's ways. I can go ahead and start the paper work before she gets back. Just can't do the homestudy, since I need my "home" to do it. My plans are still to move out, as soon as Sister Gladys can sign the paper.
So Wednesday I went to pick up his birth mom to sign a paper to get it started. She and her aunt came and I took them to Heather's, through whose Creshe I'm doing it. As I was waiting for them, it seemed the whole neighborhood came to peer at him. They all seemed to know him orof him, which kind of surprised me, though I don't know why. They talked of him as the little baby. A year changes a baby. They were all so happy to see him. I found out he has a 14 yr old aunt too.

It seems every time I see her, I find out new stuff. This time they said they had been afraid the dad and his uncle would try to find him to kill him. Hard to imagine...
It was interesting to see how pleased they were that he knows me so well and loves me so much. The mom said they liked that I was the one adopting him, because he'd have a "doctor" as his mother. I guess that is only if I'm in Haiti. :) And she added that she's a teacher, so he should become very smart. :)

So I'm very positive right now about the adoption. The attorney has done 20 adoptions since the earthquake, and she says she can do them in 4-6 months. Because I'm living here, and I don't need a presidential waver (since I have no other kids), she says it should be on the shorter side of it. I'm so excited. That is of course the Haitian adoption, not the immigration. I've heard so many horror stories, that I can't believe it'll be that smooth, but who knows... Maybe mine will. She wants to start in July, but we need all my paperwork before. She takes care of all of Caleb's stuff, like tests, and exams, etc.

So if you remember, please pray that all goes well with the adoption in the next months!!!

On another note, our staff is turning around. 4 of the girls that have been here for months left this week - 2 for the summer, 2 for good. One is going into nursing school (inspired by all the needs here??) and one is coming back to Port later in the summer under a different mission. So of the two left besides me, one's leaving next week for the summer and one just came to fill in with Mamba for the summer.
So we got to take Cassie in yesterday, and we enjoyed Dominoes. We don't go there very often. Pizza's such a treat here. Then we went up to a lookout of the city. I can't believe I've been here over 3 yrs and just now found this place. It has such a perfect view of all of Port au Prince.

Pastor Henri had his pacemaker replaced today and Praise God, everything came out ok.

God bless you today, as you continue living for him, whereever you are.
Elsie

Monday, May 16, 2011

Witchcraft

Hello from Haiti again!

This blog may mostly be a prayer request. For some reason, there’s spiritual warfare going on like never before since I came here. Or maybe I’m just feeling it.

It has been a month of frustration in every area – kids, leadership, missionaries, clinic, even Caleb has started acting rebellious, openly defying me. (Too bad I can’t handle everyone like him. Ha!)

It wasn’t until this afternoon that it hit me – Spiritual attacks! It’s got to be that, or why else, in every area? I mean, my best employee up and openly defied me in a job I asked her to do! And today another one! I could go on of things in every area, but I don’t suppose that would help much.

What has made me think about this so much is something that happened at the clinic today.

Christerline is a baby of about 5 months, that we’ve been working hard to get ready to take to the States for surgery, with her mom Estherline accompanying her. Christerline was born without an anus. She was going for reconstructive surgery. The hospital, surgeons, hosts, and private plane has all been lined up and just today we got the final forms to fill out, hoping to take her end of the month, or beginning of June. She was also a Downs’ baby.

Today her mom came in, in tears. Last Thursday morning, about 5 a.m. she was playing with her baby when a turkey made a screeching noise outside (she says they don’t have turkeys in their village). Christerline also gave one big screech, and died. The mom felt her throat right away, and she was gone. A friend lent her money for a coffin, and they buried her in their yard. She says her mother in law told her not to tell people yet (they do that here sometimes), and she says that’s the last she remembers till yesterday (Sunday) when they found her by the ocean (they live maybe a mile or less from it). She doesn’t remember anything else.

WITCHCRAFT?

I think I don’t give enough credibility to witchcraft. Just because I believe in a God that is bigger than the devil, doesn’t mean that the devil doesn’t exist. And we are so surrounded by it here. I’ve gotten used to the negative feelings, the superstitions and almost just ignored them. But to these people it is real! I don’t know if there was a physical reason for Christerline’s death. She had been a little sick a week or two ago, but she was doing fine now. And this is not an uncommon or unheard of thing. There are witch doctors that do this.

Please pray for the mother, Estherline. I believe she is a Christian, but she is surrounded by people who aren’t and who are telling her all kinds of things. Pray she won’t be overcome with influences from them.

Pray for Canaan. Henri and Gladys are basically in the US for a few months and it is hard to run the place smoothly. Gladys came back for the first week of May for a week of ACE training, and now is back again for a few days to get the Visas ready for the kids going to convention on Wed. Which by the way is very difficult and will take God’s intervention (too bad they didn’t start this 5 months ago!).

Pray for the teachers in the school. They have been stepping down harder in the organization of the school and the kids are learning SOOOO much better, but years of neglect is hard to change and it gets frustrating for the ones in charge. They’re doing an awesome job though!!

Pray for the kids. Though this place is so much better than a lot of Haitian orphanages, the fact still remains that there are not enough “moms and dads” to mother them all, and that is hard for any kids.

Pray for the missionaries. Unity among us is essential, but difficult sometimes. Especially when there are more than two of us here. Right now there’s 6 or 7 of us. With all of us having our own way of doing things that needs to jive with the Haitian culture, as well as missing what we’re used to, it’s a challenge for anyone.

Pray for the clinic. I am still working with getting us all to work together smoothly in an unfinished place. The container that has the doors, file cabinets, some of the furniture, etc is still not out of customs. With Gladys gone so much, it just sits there. But more than that, pray that we can meet the spiritual needs as well as the physical in the patients that come. Pray for patience; especially since the weather is getting warmer. It’s amazing how that affects everyone’s dispositions. J

Pray for Caleb and me. Frustrated is putting it mildly, but we’re ok. I am still waiting on Sister Gladys to have time to go to the Judge with us, so we can take him out of Canaan, giving me the responsibility for him. I am praying this will happen tomorrow since Gladys is leaving on Wed. again, but we’ll see what will happen to the kids’ visa situation.

Then I want to focus more strongly on getting the adoption going. One of the holdups (the first one) was B.C., Canada not wanting to adopt from Haiti as of last May. They say this May they will revisit the case. Pray they will go ahead now. If not, it might mean making me go to Canada and changing my province. L

I also haven’t decided on which lawyer to use. Need wisdom there. Heard of a new one that can get adoptions done faster. PRAY that is true!!

Pray for my living situation. I have an apartment ‘on reserve’ for June 1st. If Gladys will get to sign Caleb’s papers, I plan to move out on my own with Caleb. I am SO looking forward to it. I need that change here. But it doesn’t come without cost. Financially it’s really a little more than I can afford, so pray that that will all work out ok. I feel God’s peace about it, so trust He’ll provide a way, as well as transportation.

On Wednesday I am leaving for an almost 2 week break. I am going to Costa Rica for a week, and then a meeting in NC. I am so ready!!! I hadn’t realized that it’s almost a year since I had a longer break than a long weekend. Hopefully I can get refreshed a bit. It's hard to leave Caleb though.

Sorry if this whole blog sounds negative. I believe we’re in a Spiritual Warfare, so please fight with us. There will be a happier one coming, I am convinced.

But to include at least one very special even that happened in the last month – my youngest sister and her boyfriend came to visit. We had a great time together. They got to meet Caleb. On the weekend we drove to Cap Haitian. This gave us the chance to see more of the countryside, which is really beautiful through the mountains. And they even have mountains covered in trees there! We stayed at a nice hotel, supposedly where King Henri (Haiti’s first king) worked in the kitchen as a slave. (debatable J) We ‘horsed’ up to the Citadel. That’s worth visiting. Coming back we ran into numerous “Ra-Ra” groups, making the 5 hr trip into 6 hrs. This is a kind of celebration where groups are formed that danced down the road, sometimes peaceful, sometimes not. Many of them looked drunk. Some dress up in weird clothes, many of the women hiked up their tops all the way – who cares???


Sincerely,

Elsie

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Canaan

Good morning!

It’s 6 A.M., and I’m starting this letter. That’s unheard of for me J but after struggling for 3 hours off and on to sleep, I might as well do something worthwhile. There are 3 reasons for that:

1) Caleb woke up a couple times

2) The inverter power went off, and the humidity and fighting off mosquitoes got me.

3) (and worst of all) there was a rat in my room, eating away at something – plastic? Shining my flashlight, I saw him a few times, but he was in no hurry to leave. What do you do with that at 3 o’clock in the morning?

I guess these reasons are part of why I am writing this specific letter. This is not a newsletter. To make up for this, I promise I will write one soon. J

It is over 3 years since I came to work and manage the clinic here in Haiti. It has been an awesome 3 years, seeing God work and dealing with so many people. I want to continue doing what I am doing, but after 3 years I think I’m starting to get burnt out – the heat and humidity, the rats, the lack of space and privacy (especially with a baby), the lack of electricity, tadpoles in water, and the difficulty in keeping supplied with good drinking water all are taking a toll on me. These are all doable for a while (I have been doing it for 3 years), but as time goes on you start wondering what normal, like what we would have in North America, would be like. I have been thinking about this for quite awhile, and have been keeping an eye out for a place I could rent not far from here, while continuing to work for Canaan and the clinic.

Now, looking for a place to rent here is not the same as in N.A. because you have to consider things like safety, electricity and water supply – besides the cost. So finding a place that would suit me and a baby has been almost impossible.

The costs of renting a house in Haiti has skyrocketed since the earthquake, due to so many NGO’s coming in and needing places. One place that was charging $1,000.00 a month is now charging $7,000.00 and I heard another organization is paying $15,000 a month (these are probably not small houses). But everything has gone up; plus you’re responsible for getting a generator and the gas and security (with a guard most likely) and all the other hassles of being responsible for a place here in Haiti. It has just seemed so overwhelming to me, I haven’t done anything about doing it.

Now, though, there’s a wonderful place (apartment) that has opened up as a possibility for me. It has almost everything I need.

100% secure and safe

Only a mile from Canaan

Electricity 24/7 and internet

No rats J

I can’t imagine a more ideal situation for me. It would be hassle free; only food to worry about – no generator/gas, or other things.

There are only 3 issues I need to deal with before I can do it.

1) Caleb’s custody (I don’t think this will be a problem. I’m hoping to work on this next week or so)

2) The cost of the place. Though the price may be reasonable for here and other places, it is still more than what I can do on my own. Up until now, I have lived off of an investment I made before I came, but that is not returning the same amount now, and it does not cover the cost of the rent, plus food at this place.

3) Transportation. Although it is only a mile or so, I feel it is too far to walk every day with a baby and it’s stuff, in all weather (heat and rain), plus I would need to go do my own shopping etc.

So I am writing this letter to let you all know where I stand, and if anyone would like to help me with my expenses here, it would be much appreciated. It would enable me to continue working in the clinic here.

I appreciate all the prayer support you’ve given me through the years. Without prayer, I know I could not do this.

Sincerely,

Elsie

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Jan/Feb

Good afternoon from Haiti, on my favorite type of afternoon here. I’m on the hammock in my garden, with a view of the ocean and a wonderful breeze. I love these Feb/Mar breezes.

I was reminded the other day that I haven’t blogged since New Year’s. I couldn’t believe it, but since it’s true, I apologize! The older I get, the faster time seems to travel.

And of course it’s hard to remember all the interesting things that have happened this year already! Life never stands still here.

Our clinic construction has kept going. The men are working hard to finish it by April 4th, the date we’ve set for the inauguration. They’re working on the outside porch right now, while we wait for out containers to get out of customs. That is a frustrating process here, but in the end, I’m sure it’ll work. It just takes time. On it we have the doors, all the furniture, cabinets, etc. so there’s still quite a lot to do before April 4. I’ve moved all my medicine and supplies down already, but still need to find places for it all. The pharmacy is not big enough to be storage as well. So a lot of my mornings get spent there.

Otherwise, the present clinic is going well. We are very pleased with the Haitian doctor the Lord provided for us. That takes a lot of medical responsibility off me. When you have to do something, you do it. But I’m glad there’s someone more knowledgeable now; And that we have a lot of the same values for the patients.

An unusual incident that happened in January was when one day I heard a lot of yelling going on (not so unusual) and investigating, found a man with a machete, threatening to kill another woman. Apparently she had picked up a thread of the man’s baby’s blanket, and he thought she was going to put a voodoo spell on the baby. Found out that he actually is a voodoo priest or something, into all kinds of evil things. He had a bad look in his eyes. I brought him into a room to talk to him but he wouldn’t listen. He did give me his machete. He went for the police, but they ended up not coming. We tried to get both parties seen quickly so they could be on their way. I called Pastor Henri down and he talked with both parties. We kept the lady forawhile, till someone in her family could come because we didn’t want him to be waiting for her somewhere down the road. As far as I know, everything worked out ok, but it was an unusual thing to be dealing with. I couldn’t imagine something like that back home. J

Feeding little babies continues to be a challenge. It seems every week there are more babies that need milk. Milk is such an expensive item here, they just can’t buy it. We have 8 babies under 6 month that we are providing milk for now – several are orphaned, 2 sets of twins, and a few others. They are too young for the Mamba program.

3-4 month old with Kwashiorkor. She looks very different now. All swelling in legs and arms and most in the face is gone. Worth it for $50.00 a month? Mother died soon after birth.

Last week, God blessed us with providing a lot of milk through CAM, the organization that gives us medicines every month. The one problem is that it is for 1-3 yr olds. I’m checking whether it can be given to younger ones by diluting it. If so, a lot of our problems would be over in that respect for this year. I also keep getting asked to take a lot of these babies. It makes me sad when we can’t… but right now we just don’t have room for them at Canaan. We want to build us a nice nursery that will have space for them but making a building is so expensive. Right now the 5 babies we have get moved from place to place. We need a house where they have room to sleep and play, and that has a little kitchenette, etc. It would make life a lot easier for the ones taking care of them. Anybody want to help?? (If so, donations can be sent to Chris Hlavacek at www.canaanchristiancommunity.com)

We’ve been enjoying a lot of people coming and going here. Right now there are 7 of us girls here. That is more long term people than we have ever had since I came 3 years ago. Most of them are in the school. Caroline is doing the Mamba program. Speaking of which, tomorrow we’re going to Rosseau to open up another mobile mamba program. It’s about half hour away, on bad roads.

Caleb is continuing to be a happy and growing baby. In January he started taking his first step and he learned his first word – Aleluya! A wonderful word to start with, eh? And usually when he says it, he raises both arms. And it’s alwayswhen he’s happy. It really does describe his emotions. Clapping is for singing, and sometimes when he hears all the kids come in for meals, he’ll start clapping, expecting them to sing. He’s also started hugging me spontaneously, which is enough to melt anybody’s heart. I thought that was something you teach babies. Not him. It’s just something he started on his own.

He turned a year in February. On his birthday, he took off walking and is quite good at it now. Two weeks ago he came down with pneumonia and pylonephritis (kidney infection) where I had to fight for 3 days to keep his fever under 103 F. Thankfully he has recuperated from that. His teething is keeping him congested though, to the point at night sometimes I’m afraid he’s going to choke himself to death with his coughing and phlegm. Hopefully the nasal lavage we plan to do tonight will help.

This next month is going to be a busy one for Canaan, as we prepare to celebrate it’s 20th anniversary in April. We are going to set aside the 1st ten days in April. We plan to have booths of various things, sports competitions, music groups, food to sell, etc.

Sorry this has become a bit general. I’ll try to make it more personal next time, and before 2 months.

Thank you all for your prayers!

Elsie