Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year!

I got this update of Collin yesterday. I'm a little bummed that our paperwork doesn't seem to have moved anywhere, but Collin looks as adorable as ever, and that is something I'm always grateful for.

I'll admit, this last week has been a little rough. I'm sure it's been enhanced by the holidays, but I've found myself thinking about him constantly. This is his first official picture as a two year old. Now, I'm no expert, but I'm pretty sure these are supposed to be taken at Kiddie Kandid's or something, not in the back yard (I think) of an orphanage.

I miss you Collin. I hope next year finds you, and all of your friends, ringing in the new year at home with your forever family! Here's to a brand new year and all of its promise!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Happy Birthday Big Boy!!

I'm not 100% sure that Christmas Day is really Collin's birthday, but it's the only day I know of so far, so it's the day I'm going with. Today Collin turns two. Happy birthday my sweet boy! I know we don't know each other very well yet, but here are a few things I've already learned that I absolutely love about you!

1. You are such a cuddler. It's a good thing too, something we have in common.

2. You are already so compassionate. You're so good to share your toys with your friends.

3. You have such a contagious smile. That may prove to be a problem for me in the future!

4. You already have such a great sense of humor.

Happy 2nd Birthday my silly little boy!! You have completely changed my life in such a great way. I can't wait until you are finally home and we can discover your new world together. My special birthday wish for you is that this is the last birthday you spend in an orphanage. I love you so much and can't wait to hold you in my arms again!

Monday, December 21, 2009

You 'Otta Be In Pictures!

I love baby pictures. In the beginning, I was a little sad about the fact that I wouldn't have any baby pictures of Collin. My mom made a baby book for each of her children, nine total, and the very first picture was the one taken at the hospital. I was sad that Collin wouldn't have that. Then I found out that one of our coordinators was, apparently, as obsessed with him as I am. She's been there with him from the beginning. Thankfully, so was her camera. I asked her if she wouldn't mind sending a few of the "early" ones to me. A few days later, I got a cd in the mail with over 100 pictures. Wanna see? Of course you do, otherwise you wouldn't be checking out my blog! Don't worry, I won't post all of them, just a few of my fav's.

Collin's debut

Pretty sure this is Collin's birth mom.

So sweet!

I can't get enough of this smile!

This is the special rice cereal the kids eat. It's pretty much all they eat.

Love the hair!

Not sure what the pirate's hat was about, but he seems to like it.

Special thanks to Nichole, for taking the pictures, Chareyl for getting them to me, and Lori for transferring them to a cd I could open!

Monday, December 14, 2009

New Friends

Friends, I'd like you to meet my new friend Ralph. Ralph is 6 years old and lives in Haiti. I have the opportunity to help Ralph go to school through an organization a friend of mine started called Haitian Roots. This last trip I was fortunate enough to meet Ralph.

As you can see, Ralph would prefer to be ANYWHERE else. I couldn't really blame him. After all, he had no idea who this tall white woman was, and why in the world should he look he look happy about having to take his picture with her? He doesn't speak any English, so our good friend Harry played translator. Harry told me that Ralph loves school. I think he told me his favorite subject was math, but they were talking pretty fast, I had a hard time keeping up. He also likes to read and color. I also learned that Ralph has two older brothers. Oops, I only brought two cars...

This is Ralph's mom. (I think the man behind her is Pierre, he's trying to get Collin to smile. Didn't happen. He just wanted the cars.) Ralph's mom was kind enough to bring him all the way down to the hotel so I could meet him. No small feat when you consider what they had to go through to get there.

The next night, Chareyl came to find me. Ralph's dad had made his way to the hotel to sign some paperwork and had asked to meet me. I was thrilled. He was so appreciative and so humble. After I left, he left a special message with my friend Brent. He asked him to tell me how grateful they were that someone else cared about Ralph and his education. Then he asked Brent to be sure that I knew that, while what I was doing was definitely helping Ralph, my life would also be blessed by helping someone in need. Right you are, my new friend, right you are! Funny how that works, isn't it?

P.S. If you're interested in sponsoring a child through Haitian Roots, you can visit their website at The cost is only $250.00 per year. It provides needy kids with school supplies, uniforms, books and most of all hope for a better life. Remember Ralph, you promised me all A's in school. I'll be back to check on you...with my camera in tow!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Yes Virginia There Is A Santa Clause!

Okay, so I'm not Virginia, and I already believe there is a Santa Clause, but I'll bet the title got your attention. :) This isn't a horribly exciting post, but because I plan to print this blog out and use it as a baby book of sorts for Collin, I'm documenting it anyway.

I've been waiting for about two months for Uncle Sam and his friends to process my I-171H form. Two weeks before I went to Haiti, I was told that my application was 8 back in line and that they would do their best to get it to me before the trip. Obviously, that didn't happen. I expected it to be in the mail when we got back. Still didn't happen. But finally, after two very long months of wondering if my application was either being used to prop open a door or had accidently been sucked into a beaurecratic black hole, it finally arrived!!! I admit it, I did a little happy dance in the street. Good news, it was dark and no one saw me. Bad news, the roads in my neighborhood had not been plowed yet and were a little snow packed. No worries, a little slipping and sliding, but no falling and bouncing! All that for one little piece of paper... Oh well, this officially puts us one small step closer!

Now, let's see if I can make it to January/February without losing it! :)

Saturday, November 28, 2009

It Seemed Like A Good Idea At The Time

In an effort to avoid black Friday shopping with my crazy, er, determined sisters and sister-in-law this year, I volunteered to host the first annual cousin camp out. I thought it might buy me a few more hours of sleep. Stop laughing. Here's a list of participants: Jaxson, 7; Lexi, 5; Kaylee, 5; Logan, 4; Kaycie, 18 months; Bridger, 6 weeks. Here they are.

(Kaycie was already asleep)

Yeah, they look all sweet and innocent now... Here's a rundown of how our night went:

8:00pm - Mommies, a couple of daddies, and one terribly unfortunate uncle arrive. Mommies put baby Kaycie to bed and feed baby Bridger.
8:10pm - Mommies are grouped together over my kitchen counter finalizing the strategy. This year it was complete with an excel spreadsheet and assignments for specific areas of the store.
8:15pm - I'm laughing hysterically as Kate gives the final "marching orders" complete with warnings of never leaving a man behind, and instructions on how to "move up in the ranks" (they are a military family).
8:20pm - The parents leave to do a little recon on where sale items are going to be placed in the morning.
9:30pm - The kids and I make popcorn and hot chocolate and settle down to fall asleep in front of Finding Nemo.
10:30pm - Kaylee is asleep.
10:45pm - Logan is asleep.
11:30pm - Jaxson is asleep.
11:45pm - Kaycie is awake and not happy.
12:00am - Lexi is finally asleep; Kaycie, still screaming.
12:30am - Feed Bridger, Kaycie still screaming.
1:00am - Bridger is asleep on his blankie, I'm rocking a still screaming and nearly hyperventilating Kaycie.
1:30am - Kaycie finally falls asleep.
1:35am - Bridger is awake with an upset tummy.
2:00am - After rubbing his belly for awhile, Bridger fills his diaper and goes back to sleep.
2:35am - Logan wakes up confused at where he is and asks if he can watch a movie under his bed.
3:00am - Lexi falls off the couch.
3:30am - Feed Bridger again.
4:00am - I finally get to go to sleep.
4:48am - Bridger is awake. Again.
5:15am - Rock N Walk Bridger in the front room while listening to one of my neighbors leave for, presumably, more shopping.
5:35am - Lay Bridger back on his tummy on the floor. He falls asleep, but his tummy is still upset so he's crying in his sleep.
6:30am - Feed a restless Bridger again, and this time he finally falls into a restful sleep. Just my luck.
7:15am- Kaylee's awake.
7:50am -Logan and Jaxson are awake.
8:10am - Kaycie and Lexi are awake.

Glad I picked the option that allowed me more sleep... :)

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

And A Little Child Shall Lead Them

It's Thanksgiving. This year, I'm thankful for this little boy in Haiti.
His name is Fabrice. He's Collin's friend. In fact, I'm pretty sure he looks after Collin at the orphanage. This last visit in October, Fabrice taught me a lesson that is particularly meaningful at this time of year.

It's sort of a tradition, on the last night in Haiti, to order pizza from Domino's. Yes, there is a Domino's Pizza in Haiti. It's astronomically expensive, but it's there none the less. This time, when we were done eating, I noticed Fabrice walking around the tables and picking up the pizza crusts off of every one's plate. (It's apparently an American thing not to eat the crust.) When he'd finished collecting crusts, he put them on top of a leftover pizza that no one had touched yet. We asked him what he was doing. He informed us that he was taking the pizza back home to his friends. My friend told me that in the six times she's been part of "pizza night" in Haiti, it never once occurred to them to take the left over pizza back to the orphanage. They generally just gave it to the hotel staff.

Thank you, Fabrice, for teaching me about love and generosity and taking care of the ones you love. I'm grateful that you are there to look after Collin when I can't. I'm grateful that, when you come home to live with your incredible forever family, you'll only be down the road where you can continue to be a great example to all of us. Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Where's The Beef?

When we're in Haiti, we eat at the restaurant located inside (and outside, where I met all of my mosquito buddies) the hotel. It's safer that way. The menu selection isn't huge, but everything I've tried so far, I've enjoyed. I didn't get to try the fried tarot root that my friend Brent ordered, because Collin took it away from me and gobbled it up. He apparently REALLY enjoyed it. Wanna know what else he enjoyed?

Hamburgers. Yep, the restaurant serves hamburgers and french fries. Who knew?
He didn't care much for the bun, the lettuce or the tomato. Nope, this boy wanted meat!

It's a good thing too, since the patties were about the size of his head.

He also liked the french fries. Although mostly because they were a more efficient way of getting the ketchup into his mouth. It's a little sweeter there, I don't know why. My favorite dish so far? Haitian spaghetti. Yummy!! Collin likes that a lot too. Wanna know something he didn't like? Banana's. Go figure...

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Show Us Those Pearly Whites!

Now admittedly, I don't know much about how things work in an orphanage. There are somethings that I didn't even think about, like where do you keep enough clothes to take care of 68 kids? I'm sure there's a closet or chest of drawers somewhere, but I didn't notice one when I was there. Other things that I found out accidentally, like how you bathe 68 kids at one time. It involves a little bucket line where they dump water over them, scrub them down and then dump rinse them off. Sounds like fun huh? There are other things that, although they amaze me, I prefer not to spend too much time dwelling on. Like this for example... How do you teach 68 kids how to brush their teeth? Where do you keep 68 toothbrushes? And how do you keep them all separate? Yeah, let's stop thinking about that shall we? One way or another, they apparently do. This is Collin and Nathan as I was unpacking. Collin grabbed my water bottle, and proceeded to show me how to brush his teeth.
Luckily, the concept of turning the water bottle upside down to get the water out, has so far escaped him!

Every morning (and some nights, when he wasn't too sleepy; hey, cut me some slack, I'm still new at this) we went through the process of brushing his teeth. Twice. The first time so he could eat the toothpaste, and the second time so we could actually brush his teeth. Even got the top ones, sort of, after a semi-ridiculous game of charades to get him to open his mouth...

We did a pretty good job, don't ya think?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Collin Update

I got an update on Collin this week. It's pretty much a recap of things I already knew since I'd just been to see him, but since this is someday going to serve as Collin's baby book, I thought I'd post it anyway.

I know, he looks thrilled doesn't he? There's actually a story behind it. The picture was taken while he was sitting on my lap. Chareyl was trying to make him laugh, he was not only completely uninterested, he decided that she was getting too close to his momma. He had a tendency to swat at anyone who threatened the "mommy, baby bubble". Here's what we know:

Report of the month: Oct. 2009
Name of the child: Olivier Danial
Date of birth: Dec. 25, 2007 (This is new, apparently I have a Christmas baby!)

Physical Development:
Height: 31 inches Weight: 18 pounds
Head circumference: 18 inches
(Date Measurements Taken: 10/21/2009)

Up-date: Olivier was in Catholic care before the parent trip because he had not
been feeling well, he did great at the clinic and was doing great when his mom arrived in Haiti. Olivier is quite the little mommy’s boy so it is a good thing she was able to visit him on the trip. Olivier is developing well, does age appropriate activities. At this time he shows no sign of serious illness.

File Process: File in Haiti waiting submission to IBSER.
Tia was able to sign the log book with civil court while on the parent trip October 22, 2009 she also was able to give copies of her passport showing entrance into Haiti to visit her son.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Sweet Dreams

One of the things I love most about my son (Hmm, I wonder how long it will take to get used to saying that) is that he is so cuddly. I'm told that he's been that way since he was born. Collin has been at the orphanage since he was about a month old.
One night during our last visit, Collin woke up at about 2:00 in the morning. Now I can't imagine that much happens when you wake up in the middle of the night in an orphanage. Especially in an orphanage with 68 other kids. I was curious to see what he would do, and if there was a particular way he comforted himself. Side note... if you know me, you know that my emotions, ALL of them, are in some way attached to my tear ducts, keep that in mind while I share the next part of the story. I could see Collin sit up next me in the bed and look around him. Then I felt his little hand pat my cheek. Bring on the water works. I did manage to whisper "Mommy's right here" before the flood started. With that, Collin crawled back onto my chest, nestled his head into my throat and went back to sleep. Being a mommy is AWESOME!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

I've Turned My Son Into A Fruit Loops Junkie

I can just see the "Mother of the Year Award" now. Collin has never had fruit loops before. I knew we were going to church while we were there and he's never sat through that before either. I thought it would be a good idea. After the first block of meetings, I tried to put the lid on the fruit loops so we could go to the next set of meetings. And apparently, that's where I went wrong. Five very loud minutes later Brent, Lori, Brent's mom and I took a screaming, fit throwing Collin (I had given the fruit loops back because of that whole "why would you take food away from a starving orphan?" argument, but apparently the damage had been done) Jess and Nate and walked back to the hotel. At least he's got some fight in him right? That will come in handy during the foreseeable future while I'm trying to get him home. :) For the next five days, the second thing he would do everytime he woke up (the first was to snuggle with mommy, LOVED THAT!!!) was to point to the shelf the fruit loops were on and look at me with his big brown puppy dog eyes. Did I give in? You be the judge...

I know, I know, but seriously, could you say no to this face??

I rest my case.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!

Tucker is just as anxious as I am to get Collin home...
But for entirely different reasons...

Happy Halloween!!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

A Bug's Life...

This post is brought to you by Cortizone cream, the letter "I" (for itchy!!!), and the 44 mosquito's (yes, I counted) that made a meal out of me this past week. A shout out to the two pesky little buggers who bit me on my face, and a special thanks to the sneaky little guy who must have found me in the shower, because I can't imagine how else I could possibly have gotten a bite in that area of my anatomy. But I digress...

This is what we found we when checked into our first hotel room in Haiti.

Looks dead huh? Yeah, that's what I thought. That's why I took his picture. Then his antennae started moving. Then one of his legs started moving. Then I was on the other side of the room with my fingers in my ears so I wouldn't hear the crunching sound when Lori stepped on it. Now he is officially dead. I don't do cockroaches well. Luckily, this is the only one I saw this trip. :)

Turns out the semi-dead cockroach was a bad omen for our room. We found out about an hour later, after we'd unpacked everything, that our air conditioner was broken. It was over 100 degrees in Haiti last week. We NEEDED air conditioning. Luckily, the hotel had two additional adjoining rooms on the next floor. And luckier still, Brent and Lori were willing to move upstairs with us. Thanks guys, I don't know what we would have done without you!!

I'd hate to leave you with such a yucky picture in your mind, so here's another cute one of Collin.

Dang he's cute!!!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Star Light Star Bright...

Wanna know what I'm wishing for tonight? All you have to do is ask. Well there are a couple of obvious things that are always on my wish list, but tonight, I'm saving my biggest wish for... a little white piece of paper. Didn't see that one coming did you? :) This particular piece of paper (I have no idea what color it is) will be delivered by my friendly neighborhood postman or woman, I'm not sure, it's been a while since I've seen him, er her. This illusive piece of paper is from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, USCIS for short. The paper I'm waiting for is called an I-171H. Why is it so important? The I-171H form is apparently required to allow the United States Government to do their part of the adoption process while the Haitian Government does their part. Why would one governmental office ask for this piece of paper from the other when neither one of them cares about the other's position? Yeah, I have absolutely no idea. I'm just doing what I'm told.

The I-171H is mailed to me from USCIS once my fingerprints have been processed and I've been cleared to adopt a child. The problem? USCIS is just starting to process paperwork filed the 1st part of August. Because I had to wait for my home study to be completed before I could file, my paperwork didn't get filed until the end of August. The very last day of August to be precise. The bigger problem? I have to file the I-171H (I'm starting to hate the name of this form) in person at the embassy in Haiti. I'll be in Haiti at the end of the week. Whether or not the form will be with me, remains to be seen. There's a chance, albeit a very slim one, that it could still make it in time. And hey, isn't that what wishes are for?

Monday, October 5, 2009

Breathin' A Little Easier

A lot of you have been asking me if I have any more news on Collin. Thanks, for all the prayers and well wishes. I did finally receive another update on Collin tonight. No pictures, but good news. They (and by "they" I mean Harry, our translator, coordinator and friend) are now almost certain that he is having an allergic reaction to the medicine he has been receiving. They've stopped giving it to him (good thinking) and the swelling is starting to come down.

I'm glad to hear it, but I still won't believe it until I see him and hold him in my arms. 11 more days...

Thursday, October 1, 2009

I Want My Mommy

I got September's update on Collin. I got one in August too, but I couldn't figure out to save the picture so I didn't post it. Lori had to do it for me this time.

Mommy's a little worried. Scratch that, mommy's a lot worried. Mommy can't help visions of some unknown tropical bug bite attacking her son running through her mind... I'll just let you know up front that this post is a tad irrational...:) Collin doesn't look good. Aside from the very sad, I like to call it "I want my mommy" look in his eyes, the swelling thing is freaking me out a little. We think it's possible that he's been given motrin. Some Haitian kids are allergic to it. It would account for the swelling, but I'd still feel better if I knew exactly what was going on...

This is the part I wasn't prepared for. I spent most of the day in tears. Remember that irrational thing I was talking about?? All I could think was how much I wanted to scoop him up off that couch and fix whatever is wrong. 15 more days...

Monday, August 24, 2009

The Great Button Caper

Not long after I made the decision to adopt Collin, I got a mysterious package in the mail. When I opened it I found this:

Yep, it's a bag of buttons. And not just any buttons. Buttons emblazoned with the name of Collin's orphanage and it's logo. Now what is so mysterious about a bag of buttons you ask? Well, let me tell you. First of all, let's talk about the return address. Oh wait, there wasn't one. Well, maybe there was sort of one. A post office box in Pleasant Grove. Box 555. Sound familiar to anyone? Okay then, let's talk about the post mark. Now, you'd think a post office box in Pleasant Grove would be post marked from Pleasant Grove, or at the very least Salt Lake City right? That's what I thought, but we're wrong. This particular evelope is post marked San Diego. Do you know anyone in San Diego? Neither do I. Let's move on to the address the myterious buttonmaker used to get this package to me. For any who may not know, I live on a street that is both named and numbered. The post office, and the phone book, use the name. I use the number. The buttonmaker used the name. They also used my full name, middle initial included. Now all of this, combined with the fact that there was no note, none whatsoever, leads me to believe that the mysterious buttonmaker wants to remain anonymous. Now where's the fun in that?? Come on now, mysterious buttonmaker, reveal yourself! Okay, really, I just want to know who to thank. The buttons are absolutely darling. Whoever you are, thank you so much for your thoughtfulness and creativity!

Monday, August 10, 2009

What Do You Do During A Rainstorm In Haiti?

Well, you find ways to entertain yourself...

Thursday, July 30, 2009


The package has been found!!! It went on a coast-to-coast tour, through Oakland and then on to Memphis, but it is now back in the great state of Utah and on it's way to Ogden.

Thanks everyone for your concern. I am now breathing normally again. :)

Seriously, Memphis???

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


One letter sized fedex envelope, bound for Ogden, rerouted to... wait for it.... Oakland! Yeah, I don't know why either...

What does it contain you wonder? Oh nothing much, just the original notarized acceptance of Collin's referral, the original paperwork needed to complete my home study, a sample package of the paperwork needed for my foreign dossier that will go to Haiti, and oh yeah, a check to pay for the translation of said documents into French. Just everything I've dropped everything for the last two weeks to get together.

If you happen to see it, please notify fedex, because although they have been very kind amidst my near emotional breakdown today, they have absolutely no idea where it is... Oh yeah, and could you notify me too? I'll be the whimpering mass hiding under the covers... :)

Really, I'm okay and I'm sure they will track it down tomorrow. Or else. :)

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

We Interupt Our Regularly Scheduled Program ...

Okay, so some of you already know, but for those of you who may not, I'm going to make it official. After a WHOLE LOT of fasting, praying, crying, pondering, praying some more, temple visiting, and one fabulous priesthood blessing I have made a decision. I am expanding my family by one adorable little Haitian baby. I'd like you all to meet Collin "Ollie" Andrew.

I imagine that if Ollie actually understood what just happened, his reaction would be something like this:

Or maybe this:

All I know is that if I were with him right now, my reaction would be this:

Now I know what a lot of you are thinking,(believe me, I've spent a good part of the last two weeks thinking it myself)and I love you all so much for your concern for me and my well being. I've had the opportunity to grow a whole lot closer to Heavenly Father over the past two weeks and, though the details are a little too tender to submit to blogland, I have absolutely no doubt that I am doing the right thing.

And so little Collin, we embark on this little journey together. Please take care of my heart until I see you again. I'm gonna need it back some day. But most importantly, I'm gonna need you!

Just you and me kid. Well, for now anyway. (Hey, this process takes almost two years, you never know what can happen in two years!) It's shaping up to be a pretty exciting next couple of years.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

It's A Small World After All...

The first day we were in Haiti, we didn't go to the orphanage. There were some political protests in the plaza across the street and it was a little dangerous for us to venture out. Day number two was more of the same with an added twist. The employees at the hotel asked us to stay inside because the police had just fired tear gas on the protestors and there was "a little bit of gas in the air". Now I don't know much about tear gas, and I think I'd prefer to keep it that way. We stayed inside.

On Wednesday, I was able to join a group of amazing people going to the orphanage to drop off supplies and do a little work to improve the living conditions of the sweet little children living there. I had a little project to contribute myself. In retrospect, it probably wasn't much, but I hope it will bring a few smiles to some precious little faces. This is the wall before I got to it. Sorry Mr. Alien, but you are in my way.

This was the finished product. These are pictures of the children and some of their forever families. Sorry I can't get a tighter shot, but there are a few privacy issues I don't want to violate...

Most of this I did with an adorably plump (not sure how he managed to be plump in an orphanage) little boy on my hip. I tried to put him down, but he kept tapping on my knees, and it didn't take long for him to break down my resolve.

I hear the map fell down about 10 minutes after I put it up. Apparently that tacky clay stuff doesn't hold up so well in when subjected to blistering Haiti heat in the middle of June. But hey, neither do I! 1,002 uses for duct tape!

We were able to bring down some fans for the orphanage, so that when it actually has power, they can cool it down a bit. And by "we" I mean the real hero's and volunteers. I just rode in the van.

Stay tuned for the next installment. Things really got fun when we LEFT the orphanage...

Friday, June 26, 2009

Sweet Surprise

Once we managed to make it through the airport circus, we made our way to the La Plaza hotel, where a wonderful surprise was waiting for all of the adopted mommies (the daddies had to stay at the airport and wait for another van) and, as it turned out, me.

The orphanage coordinator had arranged to have all of the children already at the hotel. These are my good friends Lori and Brent's two little angels Jessica and Nathan. Aren't they darling?

As we were collecting our luggage and heading to our room, the coordinator told me that a little boy had "accidently" been brought to the hotel. Accidently? Yeah, I totally got set up. She asked me if I'd stay with him for a while and they'd take him back to the orphanage. This is sweet little Olivier.

Ollie wasn't feeling well, and spent the next few hours cuddling with me. Needless to say, when Nichole came back to tell me she was ready to take him back, she left empty handed. I got to spend the next four days playing Ollie's "mom". It's an experience I will cherish for the rest of my life. I had no idea I could fall in love so completely, so quickly. I miss his big brown eyes. They seemed to look right through me. He was sick for most of the week, but still managed to play a little. When he got tired, he would come to me, hold his little arms up, and nestle into my neck. I miss you Ollie. I hope you are feeling better and that there is someone there to cuddle with you and make sure you are getting plenty to eat.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Welcome to Haiti!

Actually, after a VERY long journey, we're all back safe and sound. I even managed to bring everything back with me, with the tiny exception of my heart which I seem to have left with an adorable 18 month old baby boy. But we'll get to him later... Let's start at the beginning, I've heard it's a very nice place to start.

This is the Port Au Prince International Airport.

Not what you were expecting? Join the club. This was the first of many surprises I received on our little trip.
Once we cleared customs, or the Haitian version of customs, we collected our luggage and went outside. That's where I met surprise number 2. Let me introduce you to Big.

Yep, Big. Not Mr. Big. Just Big. Big was in charge of making sure our luggage got where it needed to go. The first thing I learned? You don't mess with Big. These airport employees love to transport your luggage for you, for a small fee of course. Big is the one who decides who got to assist our group. And I repeat, you don't mess with Big.

This guy tried. A few minutes later, Big was explaining what happened to the police, who were called because Big and his "friend" were about to duke it out in the parking lot. Not to worry, they made up not long after, and appear to still be friends.
Once that was settled, all of our luggage was loaded on to this.

This is called a tap-tap. I don't know why. I would say it has something to do with the sound it makes as it drives down the road, but for that to be true, it would have to be called the bang-bang. This particular tap-tap was driven by Pierre. I can't remember Pierre's role with the orphanage, but I'm sure Lori will leave a comment and remind me. :) I got to visit with Pierre on our way to the hotel. What I remember most about Pierre was how excited he was that last year he and his wife were able to travel to Salt Lake City, with the help of a sponsor. They were able to attend a session of conference. He was still so excited about it. It reallly made me stop and think about how blessed we are. I hope you get to return to the states soon Pierre. I know there are a few more temples you want to go through! :)

Before we could go to the hotel, all of this:

Had to be loaded. I didn't think it was possible. Big did. And what was lesson number one?

Big, you are my hero. And thanks for the alligator clippy. I still have no idea who it belongs to...