Saturday, October 20, 2007

News from Haiti

My adoption buddy Laura is in Haiti right now, visiting her daughter and all the other children. I met Laura when I was there in May, and I am so glad that she is in my file group. I look forward to seeing her while on our vacation in another week or so, and again when we go to pick up our children in Haiti. While there are really nice parents adopting, as with everything else there are always a few cuckoos in the group, and I'm fortunate enough to be waiting with a nice group of families.

With Haiti, you can be fortunate enough to have a lot of information about your children's birth family, or you can have very little information, as we do. Coupled with the fact that even the little amount of information can often be inaccurate (for instance, our boys were first thought to be brothers, but now are cousins; and both boys are called by names which aren't their legal names), a big hole of sorts exists.

Our boys, August 2006

All afternoon I have been trying to figure out how I should write this. Long story short, our awesome adoption agency, CCI, sent us a HUGE package: their "Adoption Toolbox." Complete with roughly 8 books on adoption, a number of Haitian children's books about their culture and folklore, a Haitian coloring book, a cd, a really cute angel teddy bear, a water bottle, wristband, etc. Awesome! Well, Cliff and I dug into those books, and we now both feel that it is very, very important to guard their personal family history.

Joel and Merisier's history is not mine; it is theirs, and really, it is one of the few things they have coming into our family. And it is painful, truly painful, as are most adoption stories in an impoverished third world country. Their stories are special, their stories are private, and Cliff and I agree that it is their decision when and where to share their stories; not ours.

So with that being said, I'm going to try not to release too many specifics, but yet try to blog my own feelings and reactions on this matter.

Today, Laura posted that when she arrived to visit, my boys were down in the waiting room with one of their birthmoms. The birthmom was holding them, and feeding them boiled eggs, crackers and candy. My dear friend Laura captured photos of the three of them together, for which I am forever grateful.

This news completely caught me off guard. In May, when I questioned Marie of their families, she said that they live "a bit far away," and were only able to visit once in the 13 months that they were there. Children are brought to Marie by a variety of circumstance, and many of them have birthparents who visit on a fairly regular basis. Others had birthparents who were able to meet the adoptive parents on their visits. We were not that fortunate.

So to learn of the mother's visit took me a bit by surprise. Honestly, my first thought was the worst: she came to get them back. I felt a bit woozy, and anxiety gripped my stomach. Then, a moment later I became elated with a grand daydream: that maybe she was there to do the Parquet interview, and Marie just forgot to update us about our file. Of course, Laura would be shouting from the orphanage rooftop had that been the case. Finally, I focused on the idea that maybe she was there just to visit. To touch, to hug,to breathe in this child she so bravely gave up out of love, out of a great want for him to have a better life. Perhaps even to find out if they were successfully placed, and if so when they would be able to go.

As I got my bearings, I began to realize what a beautiful gift this is. That she came to see them. That my boys spent a few quiet moments with her.

My boys are quiet and, in Marie's words, "nice, well-behaved" boys. They don't cause a ruckus, and as such, I think they are often overlooked. Cared for, most definitely, but I don't think they are any nanny's pet favorite. So I think that many days, they just go about their days, at their home, but without receiving any special attention.

This is part of my urgency in getting them home. I don't want them to EVER go a day again without being hugged, kissed, tickled, told how special they are and how much they are loved. As their mother already in my heart, it is very difficult for me to even think of this. For the most part, I have done a pretty good job of compartmentalizing the emotional aspect of it all, at least the painful aspect of it.

Today, however, it came rushing back. That moment I realized that I could perhaps be losing them (which has happened more than once to people--in Haiti, parents have until the 11th hour to change their minds), I realized once again just how much they mean to me.

Our Boys, May 2007


me said...

This was beautifully written Sarah. I could relate to so much of what you said. Thanks for sharing your insightful thoughts.


P.S. your boys are adorable!!

Sawatzky Kids said...

To be honest I don't even have a comment for you I am just sitting here so humbled and amazed at this post. My chest is tight with my emotions after reading this. These words sit on my heart and mind FAITHFUL, HONEST, TREASURED, HONORED, BLESSED, CHERISHED.
Thank you
Michelle and family.

Aves @ Call of the Phoebe said...

Thank you for sharing your deepest thought!!

If you are willing to share the titles of the adoption books and the books related to Haiti, I would sure appreciate it. I will add them to my already expanding library on both subjects.

Cindy S

Jen said...

It's funny how people take privacy for granted when it comes to adoption. The questions like "where did you get him" "how much did it cost" "are his parents dead", etc come so easily to people you hardly know.

I think you are very right, their history, their story is one of the few things that is theirs and is not ours to do as we choose.

This Mama said...

I agree - this is a great post & I would love to know what books your agency passed on to you. Our agency gave us a great on-line resources and articles but never did I find anything on preserving your child's privacy in regards to their history.
Im really enjoying your blog...thanks again! (I love your ghost craft as well - I think we just might have to try that one out)
~Mandy :)

Small Town Girl said...

Thank you for posting your thoughts on this. I know I share the fear of the birthparents coming back and changing their minds, and it is such a huge fear that I sometimes forget about the huge sacrifice they have made---in other words, I get so focused on me, I forget about everyone else involved. I also think about the lack of attention on a daily basis...I remind myself that their situation is better than most, but still it makes my heart ache. I worry too about the privacy issues, the last thing in the world any of these kids need is to feel objectified. I know that it is up to me to protect them and put up needed boundries from (hopefully) well-intentioned others.I pray that I will be aware and capable when this issue presents itself.