Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The Incredible Journey of the Heart---Part II

How I put my dossier together in 30 days, including my home study is a story by itself.
Not one I am going to tell at this time although it was humorous sometimes, as well as frustrating and exhausting. Let me just say I was determined. I had been denying myself, and I could not be denied any longer! I had a lot of help and support from the PAC group online as well as my friends, some family members, and co-workers, although I’m quite sure they thought I had gone insane! My social worker was fabulous. I had no idea if I could really make my July 15 deadline, but all I can say is, I just went for it. I also knew the only way to possibly make it was to hand deliver it myself which was OK with me because I still had to decide who to adopt! And I knew that for me, this life-altering decision would be best made in person. From where I live, Haiti is not that far away. Also, again, I give all the credit to God because logically, it’s hardly possible to do a dossier with home study in 30 days or less, and I know His hand was in it the entire time.
I had two little girls (sisters) in mind. They were a good age for me, 4 and 5.

But I knew better than to get too attached to the pictures of them, because they were not yet living at the crèche and several people’s adoptions had either become precarious or fallen through about that time, for whatever reasons. And it seemed more much more prevalent with the kids that were not yet at the orphanage. However, they were so darling; it was difficult not to dream. That dream got me through my rush dossier, and I did finish it all on Friday, July 13th when my documents came back from the Haitian Consulate in Chicago. My flight to PAP via Miami was scheduled for 6am on Sunday morning, and I did have to pull an all nighter to tie up lots of loose ends in all areas of my life before I left. So I arrived Sunday in Port-au-Prince around noon, with no sleep. It took so long to find my luggage I was sure it was lost, but I finially located it, made it through customs and found the driver for Wall’s International Guesthouse.

After I got to Walls, I met up with another mom from the PAC group that was there, and she took me across the street to the orphanage to meet Marie, the director. Did I mention it was hot?!!!! Here I was, sitting inside trying to be polite, sweating buckets. It was probably only 2 o’clock in the afternoon, but with the heat and no sleep, I felt like I was melting! After she agreed to find out about the sisters for me, who were still living with their mom, she gently suggested I go get some rest and come back later, with my dossier. So I did exactly that. When I came back in the evening, she said that Caleb, her assistant had gone to look for the girls, but it turned out that they had gotten into a dangerous situation of some sort and they had moved away suddenly with their mother, and no one knew where they were or even if they were still in Port-au-Prince. So my cautious intuition had been correct, but still, it was disappointing. We talked then about the right fit for me and who was available for adoption. I knew there were two sisters living there that were in the age range I wanted and they needed a home. In fact, I had seen the older girl in the crowd of kids that was swarming around the courtyard when I had been there earlier. She was not like the majority of the other kids that run straight to you for all the attention they can get! She sort of hung out on the perimeter of the crowd, but I couldn’t miss her. The pictures I’d seen of her on the web site were attractive; however in reality she was absolutely stunning. I don’t mean that in any superficial way, it’s just a fact.

So when Marie mentioned this pair I said of course I was interested, and we sat on the porch (where it really is a bit cooler) as she looked over my dossier. Then Dada came out with Widmina and Lovely, the girls we had been discussing, and they were very shy. They probably would have hung back but Dada was crouching next to them, coaching them on what to do! She would tell Widmina to kiss me on the cheek, and tried to get them to call me “Mama”. It startled me, because she was so bold about it (laughing the whole time, she is such a gorgeous girl herself) but of course I realized that she really wanted the best for them. The girls were very polite as well as reserved; I felt that none of this was easy for them. I know they did not understand a word I said to them, but Widmina would just say “wi” in a little voice to everything I said to her in English and Lovely let her big sister do all the talking. Marie pronounced my dossier “good” which meant complete, and said she would take it to First Legal the next day. About this time, a mom showed up at the door with her 2 daughters, who were probably about 6 and 4 years of age. They were getting their picture taken and then came in to where we were all seated, where the mother, in Kreyol began extolling her daughters’ virtues to me. I could not understand a word she was saying, but it was very obvious that she was trying to get me to choose them.( I guessed that when Caleb had gone out earlier looking for the original sisters, the word had gotten out that there was a ‘blanc” woman looking to adopt 2 girls. Or maybe Marie told her somehow.) The older girl was actually flirting with me, and then her mother brought her over to the other side of my chair and opened her daughter’s mouth to show me how good her teeth were. Widmina and Lovely remained standing on the other side of my chair, pressed kind of close to me. I caught Dada’s face out of the corner of my eye, her smile was gone, and all I could see were big eyes. Marie just sat there calmly. The last thing I wanted to be was rude, but I was definitely feeling emotionally overwhelmed by this woman and her older daughter, and I’d had about all I could take. It was very sad because the situation especially for children is so terrible in Haiti and this mother wanted so desperately for her daughters to have a better life. I really wanted to spend more time with Widmina and Lovely but this woman was determined not to leave me alone, and it was after dark by this time. I asked Marie if I could come and get them the next morning and take them with me back to Walls for the day. She graciously said “Of course!” and then Dada walked me across the street and back to the guesthouse.

Luckily I am an early riser, but the rooster went off before my alarm did. Those of you that have been there know exactly what I mean. Also, you can’t hit the snooze button on the rooster; he goes on and on and on. Jen (PAC mom) and I went back over to Marie’s probably around 8:30, but the sun rises so early and it gets so hot, it felt like it was high noon. We sat in the kitchen with Marie, waiting for the girls to come down, and it turned out that a group of lab reports, including theirs, had just come back for review. Marie asked me if I wanted to look Widmina and Lovely’s lab reports while she had them there, which of course I did. Jen is a nurse, and she quickly scanned the reports proclaiming them good except for a little anemia, common in Haiti.( a bean and rice diet, mostly) The common problems you might encounter in Haiti with children’s health besides lack of nutrition are TB, hepatitis A or B, sickle cell anemia or sickle cell trait, and of course HIV. But then, consider too the alarmingly high infant/child mortality rate.
Their reports were very good news indeed.

About this time, Widmina and Lovely showed up at the kitchen door dolled up in dresses and looking cute but shy. I took their picture a few times, and we waited for them to get some breakfast, and then Jen and I took them and Wil back to Walls and went swimming!

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