Despite the delays getting out of Nashville causing us to spend the night in Miami and arrive a day late, our trip to Haiti exceeded anything we could have imagined in every possible way! From the second we walked in the door and the kids ran into our arms we felt our family we had prayed for so long was finally a reality. The smiles we witnessed all week which not only covered their faces but shone through their eyes were definitely an answer to prayers. Thanks to each of you who having been praying so much!
Our week was filled with firsts.. our first meal together, first time giving our children a "bath", first time with them experiencing a hairdryer, first time snuggling and sleeping together (DEFINITELY a highlight of the trip for us!!!) plus many many more. The new creche (orphanage) that they have been moved to is absolutely first class. They have three hot meals everyday. Many wonderful caregivers that love on them and show them God's love everyday. Bikes to ride- definitely a highlight to them. When we showed them a video of their cousins riding bikes here in TN they were SO excited learning they would be able to have their very own bike in the United States! We fit together so perfectly!! We really got to know their personalities. Ben and TeTe(pronounced TayTay) get along wonderfully and although we did observe a few bickers (though we really had no idea what they were saying to each other because they only speak creole) they behaved very well and we have no doubt they will support each other in their transition to life in America. We have talked about what our favorite things were which are very hard to determine because it was all so wonderful but a few include nightly pillow fights and tickle tortures hearing their amazing giggles; Joe teaching Ben a few new basketball skills; sharing meals together and their delight with ice; amazing church service as a family; Really feeling like parents for the first time.
Although we were worried about the language barrier it was not as big of an issue as we anticipated. We have some creole lessons we listen to in the car and Joe really did a great job communicating with the kids. For Betsy it was just amazing how much we could communicate without words. In nursing we learn 70% of communication is nonverbal and this most definitely proved true. For the kids I think the highlights were glace (ice). After every meal they would empty all the leftover ice from our glasses and the ice bowl and fill their water bottles. They were truly amazed by how cold it would make their water. Something we as Americans totally take for granted and expect, we should all pause and thank the Lord for how blessed we really are!!!!!! They also enjoyed the nightly "rough housing" with poppy! Apparently it is not customary in Haiti for fathers to "play" with their children! They really loved this time spent with poppy and it was so wonderful to hear their laughs and screams of pure joy. For mommy, the nightly showers were not a chore but a pure delight. Mommy even let them stay in a few minutes longer than the allotted 5 minute shower cap just so they could play a few minutes, a privilege they had never experienced. The warm water in the shower was another first for them. TeTe loved it but Ben after getting over the excitement of the water coming out warm and running naked back into the room to share this news with TeTe decided 15 seconds into it he preferred the fret(cold) shower! He was totally adorable playing with the cup dumping ice cold water over his head and loving every minute of it with the biggest smile and magical giggles! TeTe discovered the hair dryer and wanted to dry her hair each night only succeeding to frizz out her braids. Mommy never tackled the hair! Thankfully the caregivers there are very devoted to keeping the kids hair looking its best and rebraided her hair halfway through our stay. It took about 3 hours and she slept through the whole thing. Ben wanted poppy to shave his head which apparently is how he thinks he looks most handsome. Speaking of handsome... we had the wonderful opportunity to go to church with the kids on Sunday. This was a wonderful experience. We had hoped for this and taken along a 4 piece suit for Ben and a beautiful church dress for TeTe. They were very excited to get all dressed up and after posing for a few pics, they had to go show off their new digs to the other kids down at the creche. On Monday we were able to take a day excursion to the Haitian "zoo" and Fort Jacques. This was wonderful time getting away from the creche and allowing the kids to get out and experience a monkey for the first time. Riding in the car was definitely different than what they will experience in America as they stood the majority of the way so they could see everything there was to see. (until Ben fell asleep in poppy's lap). There is no such thing as a seat belt much less car seat in Haiti.
From the time we arrived to the time we drove away to head back to the airport the kids were with us! It was truly the best 5days ever! We can not wait to get them home and never have to make them cry because we must leave them. We have felt something undeniable in our hearts since we first met them telling us we were meant to be a family. This past week was not only a feeling in our hearts (which grew exponentially) but a real life experience of our family! We could feel their loving hands around us, taste their precious kisses and for poppy taste their tender skin as he ate them up, see the beautiful smiles which penetrated deep into their eyes, hear their laughter, immense emotion in their dialogue, and amazing voices as they sang. It was as if we had always been a family. We guess in God's eyes we always have. We will never stop praising him for leading us to Haiti, to the desolate home our children had to endure to meet us, and to the place he has now brought them. One day soon He bring us together forever. We can't wait for you to meet them! Thanks for everything you have done to support us on this journey! We love you!
Living By Faith~
Poppy and Mommy, TeTe snd Ben