Sunday, May 24, 2009

Goofing Off

After a hard week we are just pretty much goofing off on this long week-end. If I can get some housework caught up that will be bonus points.

The girls did well at *Summer School*. They had their ups and downs. ( Not sure I did as well my first week back to work, I had my ups and downs as well.) They started, and were of course, very shy and withdrawn, did not want to eat the food (which I anticipated, and therefore packed lunches) and Princess Pistolero cried the first day when I left. But they adjusted more easily with each passing day and by Friday the director was impressed and happy with how much they were coming out of their shell. Little Miss Lady yelled "Bye" to everyone when we left which made them all laugh. I'm hearing more English, slang included, as in 'yeah' for yes, at least from my baby.
At home, adjustments continue. They are getting more comfortable, I can tell, because they act more like kids, but understand their boundaries ( and my limits) better. Tyler has regressed a little. I think he is just jealous and depressed about his lack of attention from me. He's just a grumpy little corgi. My other dogs spend alot of time outside and are not as impacted; he has always been inside and pretty much the center of attention. Princess is still scared of him and screams and gets all herky-jerky around him which freaks him out and so he is not exactly warmed up to her. But Miss Lady is more relaxed and has learned how to pet him, not scream and jerk around. Hopefully this will all resolve itself. Soon.

Tyler's face tells the real story here.

The girls still love the camera and often want to pose for photos and videos. Miss Lady gets very hammy which is funny, but it does not capture her true nature and I am going to try to sneak up on her with the camera more often***wish me luck with that!

She is just so very beautiful in her natural state, and I'd like to catch more of her that way.

Speaking of hams....

I'm going to attempt to do hair tomorrow for the first time, the fancy braids are getting little fuzzy. Should make for and interesting day!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

New Blog Names


As promised, I have new blog names for the girls. I'm tired of typing confusing initials that will only get more confusing as they progress, as they are, to their American names. Am working on one for big brothers LG and NG and will post those as soon as I know.

Little Miss Lady

Princess Pistolero

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Grieving

Yesterday I went back to work after a 28 day leave of absence. It's the only time I have been gone that long in the 13 years I've worked there. I would have taken 6 weeks if we did not have such a huge project going on; I was worried about the girls not being ready to go to the next phase of their life. Daycare. Which we call at our house, "Summer School". Regular school session is over this week, so it would have been a waste to enroll them. These children, especially older, have ingrained in them that they will be attending school when they get to where they are going...USA...Canada...France. I think most of them are very excited about that. I know mine are. I have no way to explain the concept of daycare to them, so that is why I'm calling it Summer School. That is a concept they can sort of grasp. Except I don't think they know what 'summer' means. I was afraid to put them in a regular summer day camp. Those tend to be large and rowdy and I feared they would get swallowed up. I am optimistic that they will pick up language quickly, but I knew they were going to need some special attention. I chose a smaller daycare, close to my work, that has a diversified staff. They also have a summer camp session, but since it is small, I think they will be OK and I also think they will have fun. I am hoping that the whole experience will help them with their English.

So I was nervous yesterday. I was afraid they would freak out. I could tell they were nervous and maybe a little afraid, and little ML cried a little when I left. But I did not get a phone call all day, and when I went to pick them up, they still looked a little nervous and scared, and they were happy to see me, but the staff said they did well. After we left, I was afraid they would not ever want to go back but I was wrong about that. They started talking about it immediately and wanted to go back. I had to explain they had to wait till the next day to go back. They learned two new words, 'Tabasco' and ' gum'. LOL.

Later after we got home, W had her first full on grief meltdown. I knew it was coming but was sorta thinking it might come later than this. It was triggered by something small (as always seems to be the case with meltdowns of any sort) but once she let go of it, she really let go. How do you know it's grief? Well, it's a deep and melancholy cry that seems to progress, but it's also recognizable if you have ever been there. Deborah Gray says in her excellent book "Attaching in Adoption" that the closest thing that we as a parent might experience to this type of grief would be if our husband/wife/partner ditches us after a long term relationship and/or marriage, leaving us to hold the shattered pieces of the relationship and wondering what just happened. Although, as she puts it, we come to realize eventually that perhaps this person did us a favor. Different even than death. With death, at least we come to an understanding (hopefully) and acceptance comes faster, but in the other scenario we are left with alot of unanswered questions and a lack of closure. Different than a mutual break-up. Well, this happened to me fairly recently, between this story and what happened here.. (and someday perhaps I will write the in-between, but not today)... I think that relationship might have literally killed me, had it continued. And although I know that logically, it been a long crawl out of the wilderness. Let me just give you the short version. I know that level of grief. And so apparently, for me it had a larger purpose, I can sort of grasp what she's feeling. I recognized that cry. I was able to rub her back, stroke her hair and let that hurt little girl come out. And she is hurt, make no mistake. I think my new blog name for her is going to be 'Little Miss Lady' because that is how she acts much of the time. She holds it all in and keeps it all together, way too much for a nine year old child. But the hurt is there, and it has to come out. I don't know how long it will take, but with grief, it takes what it takes. The good thing is, children are capable of healing MUCH faster than we are. For her, I am banking on that. After about 15 minutes, little ML, who was totally freaked out to see her older sister, her rock, lose it, suggested we go for a ride in the 'machine', which we did, and got ice cream cones too. The rest of the night was easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Birthday Party, American Style


The girls attended their first birthday party last night. It was at Chuck E Cheese. Initially, it seemed, they wondered just what the heck their mother had gotten them into.


A giant dancing singing mouse? You've got to be kidding me!



They were quite skeptical at first. ML went up to the stage and checked behind the curtain to see if the robot Chuck E was still there. He was. I think she put the whole thing together at that point!

One really great thing about these kids, is they really do know how to have fun. Once they got over their initial skepticism, they had a blast.


Little T did have a birthday cake and we sang 'Happy Birthday" so that was familiar to them. When Chuck E came out, they stood on the sidelines at first, but then they got into the act.

video

That is Janet and I laughing in the background. So cute. Check out little T, the B-Day girl!

Thanks Janet, Ashley, Meghan, TnT, for inviting us! What a fun night we had!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Payoff! And Other Ramblings....

Guess what I found out today? My girl can read!!! Yep, it's true, W can READ! Not really well, she is in the beginning stages of sounding out words phonetically, but she can do it! This is so amazing to me! Two years ago when we met, I gave her a crayon and she did not know how to draw, did not recognize her written name. She was a blank. I have watched her progress with every visit and since she has been home she has been coloring alot and been interested in her scholastic books that I bought for her. I realized she understands the concept of addition, she just needs to go to the next step with it ( I still have not found an abacus, I'm now looking online) But we are struggling with language somewhat. She has finally realized she is going to have to learn English, that her new world is not going to do it her way (Creole). So she has been putting more effort into basic vocabulary. Today out of the corner of my eye I saw her looking at a piece of paper, and she said 'popcorn'. I took the piece of paper from her and saw that it was a shopping list from a few days ago, and I had written popcorn on there. She was able to sound out a couple of other items. Later we worked with some new alphabet flashcards, and the item was spelled out on the back of the card. She was able to sound out a good deal of these words, although admittedly 'igloo' and 'x-ray' were pretty foreign to her. This ability is going to help her with language, and I actually think she realized that. I think that's why she started showing me.



Recently I have been cleaning out my email because my son said my 10000 emails were messing up the system (ya think???) and I deleted the batch from our yahoo group (a very long time ago) where people were saying M would never get a school going at the creche, it wasn't going to happen, etc, etc, etc. Well, that was wrong, it DID happen and IT IS producing results. And little ML is not too shabby either. She can count to 100 and she knows her letters. The language thing is easier for her just because she is younger. I don't, however, think she can read yet.



For all our arguing, I miss our old yahoo group and the way it used to be. Because there also used to be alot of support there. What happened to that?



**************************************



In unrelated news, I was glad to know they found this guy over the week-end. Even if they did find his body 3 MILES FROM MY HOUSE! This entire tragedy occurred while I was gone. I got an alert from UGA on that Saturday night, but I thought it was about bad weather. Although I did think it was strange that I did not get another alert saying all was well. I just figured, 'this is Haiti, signal probably did not come thru and sure am glad I'm not flying up there tonight if it's bad weather.' Uh, no, it was not bad weather. I did not know a henious crime had been commited or that there was a nationwide manhunt on for this guy until Monday when I got back and heard it on the radio in my car. I can't even describe my shock at that point. Things like that just don't happen around here.



Anyway, not knowing his whereabouts, and knowing his house/property were not far away was creeping me out. What a horrible tragedy, what a horrible thing for he and his wife's children and for the other victim's family members, and for this community as well as the UGA community. I'm extremely relieved it's over.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Mother's Day Redoux




I did not have a chance to say much yesterday. In addition to my own mother, I had another mother on my mind. She has been on my mind pretty much everyday for the past 2+ weeks, which was the day I met her. Hold on readers, we're going back to Haiti for a moment.

*************************************
When M picked me up at the airport she informed me that at least one of the birth parents would be coming on Saturday to say their final good-bye to the girls. Her feeling was that it would be the father. I had planned for this, it's something that M allows in some cases. It's one of the reasons I planned on staying 3 days. But when she told me it was actually happening, I felt weak in the knees. How do you do this, say good-bye to your children forever? Truthfully just thinking about it made me feel wimpy, and I am not really a wimpy person. I had no other information except that they were coming on Saturday. I had no idea what time. I felt safe in assuming it would not be first thing in the morning. I figured, late afternoon. Maybe later. About 1/2 way thru the day I told the girls and they just nodded. By dinner time they still had not come, but I had no doubt that that they would. I was pretty sure this involved a long car ride from Haiti's Southern Coast. We were on the terrace, it was dark, and we were halfway thru dinner when all of a sudden W started yelling "M'Tante! MTante!" (My Aunt, My Aunt) and jumping up and down in her chair. I looked over by the bar entrance, and sure enough, there was M. This is what all the kids call her. I waved, she came over to the table. She had more paperwork in her hand. She said they were downstairs. I asked if they wanted to come up and join us and she said no, they would wait for us downstairs. So she exited, I called the waiter and had him wrap up the uneaten dinners, none of us were hungry at that point anyway. While that was happening, W started jumping up and down on her chair again, shouting "M' maman! M' maman!" and sure enough, over by the same bar entrance, there was their maman and M's assistant, Caleb. They waved and then turned around and went back downstairs. We finally got the check taken care of and we soon followed. They were sitting on the wall by our room at the foot of the stairs. The girls ran up to their birth mom, and Caleb said hello again to me.

You know, some situations, you just can't prepare for. You just have to go with it. I know for some that have adopted from Haiti, this is not a big deal, and that some have already established relationships with the birth parents. But since these parents lived so far away, that has been impossible for us. At any rate, Marie introduced us, and she stood up. (And she is so tiny, but this did not surprise me at all because the girls are too) She had on a white suit with her pearls and low black pumps. Nothing fancy, but very understated and nice and I knew it was her best. She was everything I knew she would be. I wondered what in heavens she must think of me, this big blond in a tank top, but she came to give me a hug, and I said "Madame" and she hugged me and said "Madame" and we hugged and hugged. Then she held me at arms length and went into a speech. I kept looking at M, thinking she was going to break into some translation at any moment, but she waited. I know she did not give me the whole thing, because the translation was short. "She thanks you for taking these girls. They are good girls" Maman started talking again, and M said "She says she thanks you now and she will thank you from the heavens above" I looked at M sharply and she repeated "she says she will thank you from the heavens above" I said something, something like " I know they are good girls and I promise you I will take very good care of them". And then we went inside and took some pictures and she visited with the girls and Marie gave me the rest of my immigration paperwork. Then it was time to say good-bye. First of all, M gave the girls a long a serious talking too. Maman, Caleb and I watched, me in fascination, and everyone serious, and when she was done, she said,"I just told them to NEVER let a boy touch them in certain places!" I said, "wow, thank you". M said, "Oh, I tell all the girls that before they go!" and I was thinking wow, you are such an awesome woman! Then it was time for Maman to say good-bye. She was very serious but short with each girl. M and Caleb looked on with seriousness. I looked on with both hands clapped over my mouth and tears streaming down my face. I don't ever remember in my life using that gesture. Everyone was serious but I was the only one crying and I could not help myself. But they came to terms with this years ago.

************************************


Believe me, over the last two weeks, I am very clear, as are the girls (thru smiles, tears and fears) that I am their mama. But I will never forget their first mother and of course, neither will they. I am a sheltered and spoiled American. I never thought this would be my life. I have no regrets, but I can't say I've ever had anything to prepare me for this. I am a rookie. God help me. My thoughts on Mother's Day yesterday were different than they were 15 or 20 years ago, when I was wondering if my (then) husband would remember to honor me, and what kind of gift he would come up with. Or even 10 years ago as a divorcee and a single mom, wondering if anyone cared. How foreign to what I experience now. It's so not all about me it makes me cry in shame. But I also feel a huge gratitude. Gratitude for the chance to raise these girls and give them a shot at life. And gratitude that I have been given another shot at life.
***********************************

There have been alot of moments over the last two weeks. The funniest one was the other night when I found little ML sound asleep standing up in the kitchen. I knew she had been quiet for a few minutes and when that happens, you better just check on it. The saddest? Today I took the garbage out and I forgot to tell her and when I came back she was again standing in the kitchen screaming in fear. I felt so awful. Her vulnerability was so front and center. W. tries to hide hers from me. I tell her every night that I love her very much, and I know she needs to hear it, but she has alot of walls. She wants to trust, but she is going to test first. I think that is pretty normal for her age and her circumstances. She is very much like me, at least how I was as a child. I finally got her to wear this outfit today. She has resisted some things and she is a very modest little girl, but today she wanted to wear jeans and flip-flops just like me.





Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mother's Day


Happy Mother's Day!
(And yes, they had to wear those Georgia headbands with their Sunday dresses...lol)

Thursday, May 7, 2009

10 Days Home





Some of you may be wondering what it's like now that the girls are finally home and I have not had much of a chance to write about that. In fact, I have little chance to write about anything! The biggest change is that I am extremely busy and only have a little time to hop on and off the computer during the day. The girls are very interested in the computer, but there is still too much language barrier for them to understand the parameters of computing rules and so I am avoiding it for right now. They just want to pound away at any and all keys, and with that I see disaster looming. However, I will start to teach them in short time.



I came home sick for the first time, and not only that, the first day back, we'd only had about 3 hours of sleep before we started our first day together. Those things may have been unavoidable but they made things more difficult. Of course, we don't live in a perfect world, so we do the best we can. They were very curious about every little thing in the house, and wanted to explore and take apart (and put back together) everything. As ready as W may have thought that she was to come here, the whole thing just rocked her world. I could tell she was really grieving and wondering what the heck she'd gotten herself into. Both of them tested boundaries to the max and found out they had some. After a couple of days of testing and pouting and crying, they settled down a little bit. Through it all I tried to keep them on a simple routine of breakfast, some morning cartoons (I don't have cable so the one's on public television are what they get and especially little ML loves those, she repeats the alphabet and numbers, etc) Then we get ready to go SOMEWHERE in the MACHINE which is the big event of the day. At first it was taking forever even get to the car to get going because of the amount of stuff they wanted to take with them, but we are down to snacks and W's little handbag, as of yesterday.




Remember this; everyday gets easier, and that is just the truth.


They eat really well...and constantly! They like plain spaghetti, rice and beans, (I use Zatarain's and it is very inexpensive at Wal-Mart) potatoes, carrots, tomatoes, pineapple, mango, watermelon, grapes, corn on the cob, eggs, popcorn, bananas, banana chips, chicken, pork, and beef although they are unsure about hamburgers. They like hot sauce and salsa verde. It's easy sometimes to forget about the Latin influence in Haiti sometimes because other things (like the poverty) are so overwhelming, and the language of business is French, and there is a dominant French, as well as American and Canadian influence there. But staying at the Visa this time, I sat on the terrace alot, and I felt like I was in Hemmingway's Cuba. Also, there were alot of Dominicans staying there, which added to that atmosphere. I believe it also contributes to their culture in the way they do things. Very socially, and a strict timetable is often just a suggestion. (No slam on anyone's culture, just saying our is different.)


Anyway, I was worried about them eating, because W was such a picky eater at Walls, and ML was always overdoing, but they have evened out to some good healthy appetites, which goes like this:



Breakfast, snack, lunch, (also an on the road snack) snack, dinner, and possibly a bedtime snack.




I have started them on a multivitimin. They went to the doctor on Monday. They will go for lab work later this week. He is going to do their immunizations in about a month. They are the same sizes, both clothing and shoes, as they were the day that I met them, almost two years ago. W has gained 5 lbs, and ML has gained 1 lb. To give you an idea...ML is 6.5 years old and weighs 38 lbs. These kids are tiny. It will be interesting to see what the lab work reports.




Knowing some simple creole helps, and having a book handy for language reference has also helped. In fact I would say the most frustration comes from communication breakdown. They get really frustrated with it, especially W. The first couple of days they were hoarding their stuff. Not food, their stuff. They kept it all in plastic bags, and W even put it back in her suitcase. I put the suitcases away and helped them put all their clothes and toys away again. And they have stayed there. Now they help me put their clothes away after I wash them, which I do alot, because they have about 4 outfits they wear over and over again. They finally figured out I was only trying to take care of them when ML ran laughing out into a busy parking lot and got a very very stern talking to which made her cry. When I got in the car with her, I saw one of my creole books and was able to explain to her that it was dangerous and I did not want her hurt. Then we went to the park and it had a little street with a crosswalk in it and I was able to show both of them how to cross the street.




They love going to church. This is a big deal. Something they obviously did before, but were unable to do for the last 2 years. I go to a very contemporary non-denominational Christian church. They are big on music, and the girls LOVE this. It is also very casual, but the girls also think church is about being dressed up, so we are the most overdressed people there. LOL. Ya can't miss us!
Yesterday I bought a $9.99 Rubbermaid step stool, which ML decided was a doll's table. As soon as we got home from the store they set up for a tea party. Except they call it "Cafe". They got all the dolls out (wish I'd been faster with the camera) and also set up on this other stool. Tea towel is the table cloth. If you look close you can see some tiny porcelain tea cups and saucers. I made them some pasta, (it was snack time again) and wha-la....we had a Cafe in the living room.


Everyone asks how is LG adjusting, and I have to say, pretty well. It is a big change for him. He and I have been pretty laid back in our lifestyle, it's just been me and him. He was talking to his brother, NG on the phone yesterday and I could tell NG asked him how it was going. LG said it was going good. He said they were loud and very energetic. This is true, especially in comparison to how quiet things were around here previously. But he does well with them, and I am sure to allow him plenty of time ALONE when he needs it, or with his friends. Of course, the girls ADORE him!





video

As for sibling rivalry, they have reserved that for someone else.


And ML is very serious about this. She came up to me the other night, and very vehemently informed me that I was NOT Tyler's mama, I was HER mama, then she said "and I love you very much!" Poor Tyler. He is feeling left out and lost lately. He just can't believe someone does not love him, because EVERYONE LOVES TYLER! Again, it gets a little better everyday. They are less and less afraid of him, but I would not say they are totally accepting by any means. Right now I am keeping the other dogs outside most of the time. Strangely, Molly the big fluffy Chow-Golden mix does not bother them. She is pretty mellow and unlike Tyler, I don't think she cares if they like her or not, so that may be it.

Well, that's about it for now. Today we are going to an educational toy store to see what I can find to help with some language issues. Other than that, it's taken me 2 days to post this! Yes, life has changed!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Week-End Carriage Ride

Saturday I was going to take the girls to an Arts Festival in a neighboring town. After finally getting out the door and into the car and driving, little L got her whine on. There was no consoling her and I could tell she was just tired. She was also incessant. I hoped that the activities of the festival would distract her. When we got there, I realized it had been silent for a minute, and I looked in the back seat and she was asleep. So we did not go to the festival, I just kept driving!!! I drove another 30 minutes to historic Madison Georgia (Sherman's Southern HQ during The War) where my friend has a week-end carriage service. She had been wanting to meet them and had been concerned about our trip last week, so I pulled up on the town square, and there was her horse and carriage!

She took us for a short ride around the main part of town. I had been on the full tour before and that would have been too much for these girls. But it was real nice of her to accommodate us.

video

We are discussing her cousin, my son, and then she is giving directions to a lost tourist. The look on W's face is priceless!

When we get back to the town square we get a few photos before we let Elaine get back to business.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Hair Sisters



Janet and Stephanie, thanks SO MUCH for the hair stuff! The girls love it!

video

Friday, May 1, 2009

Haiti

I woke up last Thursday morning after 1.5 hours of sleep and the first thing I thought was: today is the day I go to get my girls. I was so freaking tired another part of my brain said 'no, not today!' and wanted to roll back over and go to sleep...yes really. When I fell asleep earlier I noted that every single muscle in my body hurt, down to my fingers and toes. This was a culmination of days of preparation, including painting the room the 'night' (in reality, just a few hours) before. Why so last minute? Well, there has been an ongoing construction project going on in my house, which involves changing out one room, and making it for LG, so the girls could go into his old bedroom. Let me just say the construction on LG's room is NOT finished, which was/is really disappointing. But, that's the way it is so we're dealing with it. Meanwhile the poor kid is living out of boxes and sleeping on the couch. Anyway, Janet and I had spent hours putting together their bunk bed before I started painting, and I swear that bed had 400 pieces to it. We were getting a little goofy putting the dang thing together. T n T wanted to help too :)

I got up and got moving and started feeling a little better. At least I had not pulled a true all nighter like I had done twice before. I left for the airport later than I would have liked, and got stuck in some nasty early morning Atlanta traffic, which worried me. I arrived at the ticketing counter 50 minutes before my flight was to leave, a little strung out. But there was no line. When I came up to the counter the lady started yelling at me that I had to go to the kiosk. I said it was an international flight, she yelled 'you have to go to the kiosk' so I went back, and sure enough it scanned my passport and printed my boarding passes. Then I had to go back to the counter to check my bags. I did NOT go to her window, I'd had enough of her. I have noticed that American Airlines has some rude employees over the last two years that I have flown exclusively with them. Anyway, positive my big bag (full of donations) was over 50 lbs, but it was only 40 lbs, I could not believe it! The gate was very close, in the main terminal, as I remembered it. I did not wait for long when I got there. It was almost time to board. But that is when I quit worrying and actually got really excited, thinking 'Yay! I'm going to get my girls!'

The irony. I'm boarding a plane---me---and I'm relieved and happy! I sat next to this really cute (too young) guy with a multitude of tattoos, who crossed himself before take-off and looked at me sheepishly afterwards. Hey, I was thanking him. I was too tired, I was giddy. I fell asleep on and off on the tarmac hoping I was not snoring. I fell asleep in the air. When we arrived in Miami, he crossed himself again, and self consciously smiled at me. Got off the plane and realized I was at the same gate Mrs. K and I were at the year before. Walked past the restaurant where we met Aves that day and had had a quick lunch, I suddenly realized the date, that I was back here exactly 10 months to the day that we had traveled this same route, same flights. It was all so eerily familiar. I thought of how long the last 10 months had felt. Once I was here in the same place, it felt like no time at all. In honor of our 10 month travel anniversary I ate at the same place and then went to find my gate which was in another terminal. I had a 4 hour layover and the planes were on time. When I got to the gate, there were alot of people hanging out even though we were not leaving for another 3 hours. I recognized a guy that came to Walls last summer trying to sell us some Haitian dolls and other crafts; what was strange was that he was on my last flight coming home too. He looked at me like he recognized me but could not quite place me. I was really too tired to socialize. I did not want to talk to strangers about my adoption. After calling Janet to make sure she survived the bunk-bed assemble, I sat across from the gate and watched TV and dozed. Finally I woke up, and several groups of people at the gate were in heated discussions, no doubt about Haitian politics, and I was glad I was sitting where I was. I did not have the energy for that on this day. I wanted to reserve myself for my girls.

The flight to Port-au-Prince was smooth and uneventful although the landing was a bit bumpy. When I stepped out of the plane I could feel a cool breeze from the top of the riser. I have never, ever felt a cool breeze in PaP before. Got thru immigration quickly, and started searching for my bags. Finally found the first one on the conveyor. Looking for #2 and the electricity goes out. That is the second time that's happened while I have been in that airport. Everyone groaned, but I was hoping my 2nd bag was on that long snake of a conveyor somewhere and not still outside. Luck was with me; I found it, and ran for the exit. Just then the power came back. I got outside and the swarming began, I just kept saying no, no, no, and searching for M's face in the crowd. Finally I saw her waving and she backs some Haitian guy off my luggage. We hug and kiss, and she says she is waiting for one more person, her friend, is on this flight. So while we are waiting we catch up. It has been a long time since I had this much face time with her. Her cell phone rings incessantly. She tells me the girls are good, and W is SO READY! I ask what about L, she just shrugs and says, L is L. (As I blog more about the girls, you will begin to understand that. I already knew what she meant, that is my Baby Pistol) She says she will take me to the hotel, and then bring the girls over later. I notice she has lost at least 30 lbs. I mention that, and she kind of half smiles. I ask her if that is on purpose, and she says 'yeah' and shrugs. Then she says 'it's mostly because of stress'.

I had already surmised that but I did not know if she would tell me or not. She went on to talk about how difficult things had become and how she would wake up in the middle of the night worrying. This is mostly around a few files that are stuck in a crazy bureaucratic conundrum. But, she said, she had made contact with a judge (?) who was sympathetic and eager to resolve the problem and she had an appointment with him soon, and was hopeful. I could tell also that she was jacked because the girl's files went thru. They were the first American files to pass in months, and there are more to follow soon, so it seems the log-jam is loose. I have said this before (maybe not on this forum) but M is a very determined woman who does not like to fail. She came right out and said that. But she didn't have to, I already knew it, because I know her character and I have somewhat of an understanding of what she is up against. She told me to tell the others that are waiting that we must not remain discouraged, we must not fight amongst ourselves, we must use our energies positively to band together, (reading between the lines, to support her) to get these kids home. She said there is tremendous pressure, building more everyday, and it is beginning also with French and Canadian governments as well.

Anyway, we wait and wait, and she wonders where her friend is. Finally, the woman emerges. She has a Haitian guy pushing a luggage cart with 5 or 6 bags on it. M gets all excited when she sees her and we start moving towards ? I'm guessing M's vehicle, and I'm just walking along airport row, looking for it, when a stubby little tiny SUV pulls up and M yells "Watch out, Marta!" I realize this is our ride. I meet M's cousin Regine, who is driving. We look at all the luggage and the little SUV and our four giant purses, and everybody laughs. But we pile it in. There are also two empty water bottles in there, that need to go for refilling, I assume, and they could take up a whole seat alone. We cram everything and everyone in there, laughing all the way. Everyone except the Haitian guy who is now asking Miss Miami Diva for some money for his trouble. MMD's attitude completely changes from sweet and flirtatious to something more moody. Her eyes are hooded. She flips her hair and then smooths it back with her hand. He asks again (and againandagainandagainandagian) with always the same reaction. Regine drives away. I felt bad for the guy, but I was laughing at MMD's audacity and her ability to pull it off. By now we are driving in Port, so no time to think about it. We get up to the main road, and Regine decides we are going to take a shortcut to the Visa Lodge, which requires cutting straight across 4 lanes of very busy traffic. For the second time that day I wonder if I am going to die en route to getting my girls. (The first time was when the Airbus bounced on landing) but after much honking and other adieu, we get across the road and start climbing up a side (unpaved) 'street'. Some of these side streets in PaP are the gnarliest things I have ever seen, (and I'm a skier!) and I mean that in the most literal sense. The only visual I can give you is it's like driving up a really twisted tree root. So we bounce around on that for a minute, still laughing about how squished we are in the car, and the street straightens out and is relatively level. Ahead in the distance I see something large. As we get closer I see it is a trash pile. Very large. With two pigs eating on it. As we get closer I realize the pigs are very large. In fact, as we get even closer I realize they are the biggest pigs I have ever seen in my life. They are huge, like wild boar size. But they are not wild boars. They are pigs on a trashpile in Haiti. And as we drive right by them I see they also have 10-12 little piglets with them, noshing around. I was dying to get a photo , but it got very quiet in the car and I was feeling that it would be the wrong thing to do. We get past the pigs, and MMD says, oh so sweetly 'So Marta, is this your first trip to to Haiti?' I say no, it's my 4th trip. M smiles wryly, and the mood lightens up again. We go around another corner or two, and we are at the Visa Lodge.

M actually goes with me to the front desk and haggles my room price for me. That was awesome! She tells me she will be back soon with my girls.

I sort the donations. I unpack. I go upstairs and lay on the chaise lounge chair, and take a few photos, until the mesquitos start biting. To which I think "Oh hell no!" and go back to my room. I'm not hungry, but I am still very tired, so I lay down and decided I'm going to take a nap even though I am so restless I don't think I can sleep. I am awakened some time later by a loud knock on the door. I open it, and there is M with one little girl on each side of her. I am always shocked at how tiny they are. And then they both shout in unison "Hello Mommy, we love you!" and run to me.





daily scripture