Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Well, that last post was a 'fun' one.  I'm all about the 'joys' of parenting here.  Sigh...onto other things.  Encouraging things...

Practical, Real, Tangible ways to facilitate grief.  *disclaimer- not a pro, just a Mom with grieving kids.

Write down memories - allow them time/space/resources to write out what they remember.  Don't disagree if it doesn't match what you were told.  If old enough, let them write it down.  Help them fill in the details if they ask.  Be careful to not interfere in their memories with what you believe to be true.  Give them prompts based on their story.  Don't shy away from the hard topics.  Ask them to write about daily details.  Ask about people.  Re made a  book.  A page for each family member.  Stories about siblings, parents, the orphanage, and the process of coming home.  We did this project during the summer.  We had specific time to sit down and write. We were making a book. It was serious business.  Rough draft, editing, publishing, illustrating, and binding.  It gave weight to the importance of the memories.  After writing on hard topics, we made time for the grief.  For the push back, acting out, and were available.  We didn't write the day we had doctor's appointments later.  We made this project the priority for the weeks it was in process.  There were many great conversations that came about.  Questions asked, and room to answer in context of the whole story.  And at the end, we turned a corner.   There was healing in some significant ways.

Pray- Pray for the family they are separate from.  If you know their names, pray for someone each evening.  If you don't, pray for them by role.  Don't know if they are alive, pray for their caregivers.  Pray for their 'orphanage' siblings.  Prayer moves the hand of God.  And in prayer, they can feel powerful in a powerless situation.

Grief meltdowns-Grief looks different in every person.  In every situation.  I've grieved for my Mom very different than other losses in my life.  Grief for a parent is different than other grief.  No more, not worse, just different.  Culture affects how we grieve.  If they were allowed to grieve in the past, and how, will effect how grief shows up.  Re grief showed up in meltdowns fueled by rage.  This isn't anyone's fault, it's how he is equipped to deal with the raw emotions of loss.  He starts out pushing back against us, his parents.  He becomes passive.  He starts to spiral around the issue.  Some days we are just waiting for it to come.  Grief is lurking out the door, but won't just open the door and come in.  It wants an invitation.  Yes, it's okay, now is a good time, come on it.  Some days it burst open the door, and gets comfy on the couch, to stay awhile, before we've even taken a deep breath.   But when he is spiraling, the only resolution is to grieve.  It usually involves wailing, tears, trying to get away from us, tearing apart the room, and ending in a hollow stare and tears running down his face while we hold him.  Then some time alone to recover.  Time alone, but with us close.  When this happens, this is all that happens.  You turn off the stove, and dinner is late.  You miss church, the soccer game, school event, and grief takes over.  Thankfully, this cycle is less and less.  By allowing the cycle to happen, it has allowed him to grieve the loss.  Er's if different.  It's over abundance of activity.  It's a need for constant attention.  The desire for a bottle, to be cuddled, to be right where you are, doing just what you are doing.  It's the need to be close, really close, all the time.  It's separation anxiety.  And it's just beginning.  It's listening to her tell her story over and over again.  Trying to make sense.  It's answering questions about whose tummy she came from daily.  It's clarifying the unknowns over and over again.  It's falling apart when someone doesn't want to play her game with her.  It's taking rejection very personally.  It's over reacting to being told no.  It's an inability to deal with unpredictability.

Be present- this is hard.  Hard because it triggers every grief you own.  Don't shy away.  Don't hold back the tears for your own lost, even in the midst of theirs.  Don't give up and leave them to their own emotions.  If you are exhausted, and can't do one more minute, then stop trying to control it, just sit in the room and pray for them out loud.  If they are in the corner, completely shutting you out.  Stay anyway.  Sit in the room, even if you say nothing, your presence matters.  They fear the grief.  They need to see in you that the grief doesn't win.  Yes, you leaving might make the meltdown end sooner.  Our theory has been to let it take as long as it takes, but we aren't going anywhere in the meanwhile.  Even if it's just sitting in the room, doing nothing.

Professional help- there is no shame in seeking out help.  This parenting is not normal.  You don't have the tools.  You didn't sign up for this.  If you don't see progress, get help.  From some one who understands trauma, loss, adoption, attachment, and be willing to try something that feels strange.  Different kids need different approaches.  There is no one size fits all.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

I said I was going to post more, and I've had this post running around my brain for awhile.  In the vein, that this blog offers me a place to put my thoughts down, and I'm not an expert.  At least not on parenting.  Or adoption.  Or really anything.  Except how to do laundry really fast to keep up.  I may be an expert on that.  So please don't take my words as if I somehow have this all figured out.  I'm just thinking through my life, and putting it down here.

In light of Mother's day, I'm going to write about grief.  Yep, that uplifting and encouraging topic.  Of wait, it's not.  Neither uplifting or encouraging.  So maybe come back to this next week.  I won't be hurt that you don't want to go there on this beautiful weekend.  So you've been warned.  Hard, heavy and yucky topic ahead.

Grief.  Mother's Day is a huge trigger of grief for me.  My own Mom died 11 years ago.  I talked to her in the morning, made plans, and hung up the phone without a second thought.  And less than 12 hours later, I was racing to the hospital, saying over and over again, "Please, no.  Please, no.  Your will, not mine.  But Please, no.  This can't be.  It simply can't be HAPPENING."  But it did happen.  Brain dead.  Organ donation.  Eating breakfast at an IHOP, while life goes on around you.  Then good-byes.  And then the final blow.  She is gone. Death.  Loss. Shock. Numb.  And the aftermath.

I had attended a funeral a month before all of this flooded my life.  There were parents standing over a small coffin.  And a Mother who somehow stood and shared, and I was in awe of her strength.  Which is a good indicator of how LITTLE I understood of grief.   The uncle shared his understanding of how grief feels.

"We are all walking along on this journey of life.  Walking along, checking out the scenery.  Beautiful, Life, Joy, Peace.  And we come to the part of our path that lead to grief, the ocean.  Some times it's a slow meander down to stand and watch the tide come in.  Sometimes, the path gives way underneath you and suddenly your drowning.   But there you are, standing in the ocean of grief.  Regardless of how one arrives, there you stand.  Well, standing might be a bit generous, more like flailing your arms, trying to get one good breath of air and feel your feet underneath you.

But you don't get to just walk out of the water and be done.  You make it to shore, you get your feet underneath you, and the only path leads along the water.  Well, actually through the water.   And so you take a few steps, and another wave comes.  And it washes over you.  And you lose your footing again.  You get mouthfuls of water, and your chest hurts to breath.  And when you get your feet under you, your so tired.  A few more steps ahead, and another wave comes.  And you repeat.  repeat.  repeat. repeat.  It seems endless.  It is endless, the path is long, and the waves make it hard to move forward.  And then one day, a wave comes, and you notice your feet don't move.  You're still out of breath, your chest hurts, you are wet, but your feet are planted firmly.  Sometimes the tide is out, and the waves just lap at your ankles, reminding you that you are still next to grief.   Good days, you stay dry and feel like you've came to terms.  Then a really big wave comes.   Your path now always has an ocean at one side.  Some days you forget it is there.  Then a significant date comes, and your standing in the waves again.  Or a song, or a smell, or a memory and  once again the path is headed back to the ocean.   You learn to feel when the path twist that way.  You learn  how to choose to visit the ocean when you need to.  You learn to let the path wander that way, get wet, and then move away from it. "

But I'm not the only one in our little family who lives this way.  My children live with this too.  They too have an ocean of grief that regularly pulls them in.  Their grief is bigger and greater than I could ever imagine.  So how does one parent a child in grief?  I'm not really sure.  Most days I feel like we're just trying to keep their heads above water, so they don't get lost in it.   But I think we've learned a few things.  From my grief.  From walking with them through theirs.

-Grief doesn't end.  You aren't going to love them enough to make up for the loss of their birth family.  Read that again.  I know as an adoptive parent we really want to believe our love will somehow save them from the pain of loss.  That in choosing them we will somehow compensate for abandonment.  That with all our therapy, attachment parenting, and good intentions we can somehow fix what is broken.  *I believe in therapy, attachment parenting and good intentions, it just doesn't fix all the brokenness that comes packaged up in their story.*  They are not going to have a day when magically they are done grieving.  When you've filled the hole completely.   You aren't going to be enough.  Yeah, I know - it sucks.  It really, really sucks.  It sucks more after two years, then it did after two months.  I'm willing to bet it sucks more after 20 years then it does now.  I don't have to be 20 years down the road to guess that.   There will be days they will long for their birth family.  Maybe not to live with forever.  But to know them.  To understand their own story through the key people.  To be held by them.  To know their voice.  To know who they look like.  Who has their laugh.  They will push you away, simply because you are not them.  You aren't what they want or need.  Because they are grieving.  Not because you are lacking.  Not because you don't love them.  Not because they don't love you.  But because you aren't what is missing.

-Grief is messy.  At our house, grief is loud.  It's defiant, and quite honestly exhausting.  It involves wailing.  It involves pushing away.  It is attachment rejection.  It's actually a pretty crappy guest.  It doesn't let you know  it's planning a stay.  It messes up the schedule.  It tears up bedrooms.  It thrives on chaos, on a busy schedule, on tired parents.  It's not easily appeased.  It requires attention.  It demands it.

-Grief matters.  How you allow your children to grieve matters.  How you react to your children's grief matters.  I don't have a lot of advice.  Other than as someone who grieves.  Don't tell them they are ok.  Don't give them platitudes.  Don't tell them they should be grateful.   Don't tell them you understand.  Unless you've lost your family, your culture, your language, your country, and everything you know.  In that case, relate all you want to.  But most adoptive parents have no ability to understand what their children have lost. Acknowledge that.  Be sorry, but leave pity alone.  Don't leave your children alone in their grief.  Be present in it with them.  Be strong enough to stay.  Don't turn away.  Don't take it personal.  Cry.  With them and for them.  Tell them their story is sad, and breaks your heart too. And mostly, pray.  Pray with them.  Pray God's word (Psalm 116) over them as they fall apart.  Hold them when they will let you, and sometimes even when they won't.  And pray some more.

-Grief heals.  This is the hardest to accept.  When grief happens, and it is walked through, there is healing.  When you stay put, and let the grief come, wash over, and the tide to go out, there will be healing.  It is hard.   It's hard to choose grief.  It's hard to go walking into the water, fearing you might drown.  But you won't.  You don't.  You come out having one less wave to get to healing.  And while healing is a life long process, it does get better.  Teach your children to grieve.  Speak to them about it.  Name the process.  Name the jumbled up emotions.  Give them permission to miss and long for their losses.  Have compassion for their story, long after they've come home and transition is over.   Accept that your child comes with grief.  Long term, not just in transition.  It may leave for awhile, but you can bet on seeing that shore line again. and again. and again.

Here is the amazing thing.  Grief is a great teacher about life.  And God will slowly begin to bind up the broken places.  He has recently brought me woman to start to fill some of those spaces left void without my Mom.  11 years of grief came first.  In part, my own stubborn desire to hold onto grief in lieu of my mom, kept me from being open to those relationships. In part, I just had to go through the grief process to this place of healing.    And that is my prayer for my children.  And my job.  To walk through the grief.  To allow the pain of grief to lead to healing.  


Monday, April 16, 2012

A year disappears

Yeah, so I suck at blogging. It sounded like a great idea. It is a great idea. And then almost a year goes by...and...no post.
So where does one begin again. Some days I think I have stuff to share. Experience to give others to learn from. And then we have a DAY, and I'm reminded how little I know.

So for now... pictures and an update is going to have to be enough.

We just started soccer. With 3 kids. Soccer + 3 kids = tired parents. We had our first full week. R slept three hours on Sunday afternoon. Because of the schedule, he has to take the kids to practice three days a week at 5:30pm. And then gets cold and wet for over an hour. Because spring soccer isn't a warm and dry sport where we live. And then, because we hate sleeping in on Saturday mornings, Re has 8:30am games. Every. Weekend. We're just lucky that way.

We just got a nice, big, fat tax return. It's how the US Government rolls when you have four kids, and one income. They give you money, thanking you for having an income. Sometimes I just have to shake my head and wonder. Anyways, we went all sorts of crazy with it.
We bought a 98% energy efficient.....furnace....
We rented USDA BLM cabins in the mountains for a week in the summer.
We paid for all the kids activities. Soccer, outdoor school, etc.
We went out to dinner. At a real restaurant, the kind that doesn't have a kids menu.
(We even had an appetizer and dessert- white chocolate creme brulee )
We put money in savings. This parenting thing is expensive.
We are still waiting on the IRS to cut us the check for the adoption refund. Family and Friends think we've made the whole thing up. Funny how we have to respond in 30 days, and they have 3 months to give a 'prompt' response. But they do give out money for being an employed citizen. So then again, logic isn't one of their trademarks. And we aren't waiting on to go on a fancy vacation. The siding and fence aren't going anywhere, or getting any better.

We are trying to figure out next falls school schedule. And drinking schedule. Seriously. Four kids, in four different schools. All three girls in transition years. Ce has applied for an early college high school program. P is hitting Jr. High. She didn't get into the charter school as hoped. We are still deciding on what the fall looks like for her. No simple solutions involved. Re is just going to go to the same school...sigh...Thank God. And Er is 2nd on the waiting list for a charter elementary school. So the fall...a little frightening.

And the big questions. How are Re and Er doing? How is our family doing? What does it look like now?
Most days are really good. Some days aren't. Some days are really hard. And the day can change quickly. Based on many factors. Only some of which we understand.

This does feel normal now. All of it. The four kid load. The grocery bill. The need for a protective cover over the thermostat. The juggling of the schedule.

R and I have worked hard, and figured out how to carve out US in all of this. Which is challenging on a daily basis. We both recognize the ability of our 'family' to rob us of our marriage. Sounds strange to you. You're welcome to a weekend at our house, and see if you've managed to have any sort of conversation that wasn't interrupted.

We are still churching up in Portland. We still love it. We still think it's slightly silly. We haven't been able to make ourselves think about finding one in the same place we live. And since our kids do so well with change, we haven't began to even think of the process. And honestly, we have grown so much in our understanding of the scriptures, church, the kingdom, and our role, we don't want to stop the journey we are on there, to find something more closer.

So there is an update. I'm at point to start processing through writing again. So I'm sure I'll start to post more. But don't hold your breathe...posting more may be 4 post a year. That like 4x more than last year.

Monday, May 16, 2011


So how the heck did three months go by without me noticing. Seriously??

New News...
My brother and sister in law are expecting again. Which means I get to be an Auntie again. Which I love!!

I learned to corn row. This is HUGE in our world. We have been blessed with a lovely woman who is from Africa, and willing to teach us 'white mama's' what to do with our kids hair. Re has decided he wants his braided too. We shall see...

And the kids...
Well, it's been almost a year and a half. It feels normal now. It seems natural. Most days. Most days I feel like I have no clue what I am doing. But that also is starting to feel normal.
Re is doing really well in school. He is at grade level in second grade. We are awaiting ESL testing from this spring to see where we are at in language development. He is certainly fluent, and will ask if he doesn't understand. He is very literal. If you say dinner will be ready in about 10 minutes, you can bet at exactly 10 minutes, he will be at the table. The food issues are improving, and we are able to be reasoned with regarding food. He still struggles with being emotional with us, with eye contact, and yet is sure to give me a hug EVERY day before school. Er is a spit fire. She continues to see us as 'nice white volunteers'. Can't imagine why we would tell her no, or why she should listen to us. She makes us laugh with all her funny comments, and the attitude that comes with them. She is attending preschool, and will be going three days a week next fall. She continues to need a lot of attachment work. I can tell when we haven't had enough eye contact games, or connection moments. She talks often about being a brown baby. A brown baby in Haiti. That I fed and took care of. We spend a lot of time explaining that she had a brown mama in Haiti, who fed her when she was a baby. And a brown sister and brothers who took care of her. And then Molly and Joyce and the nannies. She is still trying to make sense of her story. It's always fun to hear her tell her story.
P has adjusted well. Which surprises us. She always surprised us. She is the sweetest big sister. She is playing the viola, and in choir. She loves to read to Er and most nights reads to her before bed.
Ce has struggled with the adjustment. Partly being 13 just sucks. Everything at 13 sucks. Having two 'new' loud and busy siblings suck. Sharing your parents with them sucks. And no one loves her. And no one cares about her problems. And. it. sucks. to. be. 13. I remember. So we get to practice grace. And be thankful we got at least one boy. Only two mores times through this stage.

R and I are hanging in there. We had no way of knowing the impact this last year and half would have on us, personally and in our marriage. We've made a pact. If one of us tries to leave, they get full custody of all four kids. You don't get to be the one that leaves, and the fun, part-time parent. You leave, you get to be the full time single parent. Seriously, we aren't going anywhere, but we are having to work hard at making it be good.

I wish I had something super exciting to post. Maybe that is why I haven't posted. Nothing exciting is happening. Which is a very good thing in our world. Seriously, a few months with nothing exciting is exciting.

Saturday, January 22, 2011


Okay, so a friend of mine just mentioned that I forgot a part of the story. I have purposefully left it out. Why? Because up till now you think I have it together during all of this. That I had a firm grasp of reality and was functioning. However, that is not true. Really. If God had directed my ways, if I hadn't been leaning on him, and keeping my focus on his promises, we'd never made it to Miami.
So here is two examples of how I really functioned.
1. We needed pictures to send to request the visa's. I spent at least 30 minutes trying to figure out how to scan the hard copy we had. It was a picture of us with the kids in Haiti, from our visit. I was kinda freaking out. A friend stopped over, and suggested rather simply that Target does that. Puts a picture on a cd, so you have a digital image. It was like I had never heard of that. Except that two years ago, I took an entire stack of pictures and negatives in to Target, to put on a disk. So off to Target, pictures on a disc, emailed off. Two days later, I realized I had a picture in my email that would have worked. Clearly not thinking clearly. God sent my friend, to help guide me through, when my mind wasn't working.
2. I booked our flights on the phone, and then was transferred over to the hotel reservation line. I book a hotel room, explaining that we needed one we could check in early. And also that had 24 hours shuttle, because we didn't know when we'd need to be shuttled. So we booked a room with early check in and 30 minute shuttle runs, and moved on to the packing. Those things didn't happen. Here is what happened, and my reaction.
-We got off our flight, and went to wait for our shuttle. We waited 45 minutes. Which didn't make sense, because it was suppose to run every 30 minutes. We call the hotel. They tell us they send the shuttle when they know someone needs picked up. And they will send it, and will be there in 15 minutes. Another 20 minutes go by. I insist that R call the hotel. They state it just left the hotel, and will be there in 5 minutes. We've now waited over an hour, I'm very tired, and just spent the night on a plane, not sleeping and reminding myself that there was enough air for everyone, and I wasn't really going to die because I had to share my personal space. ( I don't fly well ) The shuttle shows up, and we stumble on it. I don't say anything to the driver, but if looks could kill, he'd have been pretty dead. For some reason, I pictured him sitting there finishing a cup of coffee and reading the paper for the first entire time we waited.
We walk into the hotel, a nicer hotel that catered to business people, to find three men at the desk, checking in or out. So we set our bags down. And stand there and wait. For over 15 minutes. Not one of the three people working at the desk acknowledged us. We conclude that they aren't actually checking in or out. They are just talking. So I ask if we can be helped. We are told we'll be helped when they are done with the people standing there. Standing there visiting.
Another 10 minutes go by. I'm getting angry. I'm tired. I expect to be at least greeted. I expect them to at least make a feeble attempt at customer service. I'm tired, and irrational at this point. This is not a cheap motel, and we certainly were not getting a deal. I ask again, still trying to be nice, to check in. The young man informs me check in is at 3:00pm, and points to the sign on the wall. It was about 12:15. And I was about 3 minutes away from losing my mind. I explain that we were told we'd have early check-in. He informs me that they only do early check-in, if they have rooms available, and that housekeeping is working on them. He'd check with them and get back to us.
Another 15 minutes go by. He doesn't call housekeeping. One of the housekeepers walks by, he talks to them, and tells me he doesn't have any rooms available. Now check-out is at 11:00am. So I ask if they have had people leave at 11:00, and it's almost 12:30, then it seems reasonable that at least ONE room might be available. Nope, doesn't appear so. Now, I stomp over to the couch, lay down and try to calm down. This last all of 3 minutes. I go back to the counter, and tell them we need a room in the next 10 minutes, or they need to cancel my reservation, and I'll walk over to the Hilton and get a room there, which they will get ready for a paying customer. They then tell me they can't refund our money, because it was paid to the reservation line. So I call the reservation line, and they insist that the hotel's description includes early check-in. And they can't refund it, unless it's 24 hours prior. I didn't even make the reservations 24 hours prior.
So I go inform the clerk that they have told the reservation line they do early check-in, and need to get us a room, considering we booked them for that reason. He again said they didn't have rooms available. And I became hysterical. Really, look up hysterical woman, and there is a picture of me. Tired. Wrinkled. Mad as all get out. And about to rip this kid's face right off of him. *disclaimer- he turned out to be a nice kid, he was just doing what he'd been taught to do. I demanded a manager, in the next 5 minutes. I figured they had to have one on the premises and it wasn't that big of hotel. I demanded it loudly. A few minutes later, a manager arrived. I explained, while trying not to weep, what the situation was, without being melodramatic. We reserved a room, with early check in through this company. You are refusing to check us in. We want you to get us a room in the next 10 minutes, or call the booking company, explain you refuse to honor the early check-in and we will go to the hotel next door. She went to explain they don't do early check-in and I lost it on her. Really lost it. Something like this, "You have to be kidding me. You are in the service industry. You advertise with the booking agent, that you do early check-in. You advertise you do 30 minute shuttle runs. So you lied to them, and to us. We waited over an hour just to get picked up. Then we waited 15 minutes to get someone to acknowledge we were waiting to be helped. We were told we couldn't check in early, but we booked you specifically to check in early. Your clerk said he would check with housekeeping, but couldn't be bothered to pick a phone up and call them and explain the situation. You are now refusing to refund or cancel our reservation, even though you haven't provided 2 of the 3 things you advertised and we booked you for. WE'D HAVE RECEIVED BETTER SERVICE AT THE FRICKIN SUPER 8. So I'm going to lay down in 10 minutes to sleep. Either in a room here, that we've paid for. Or at the Hilton next door. Or on the couch in your waiting room. Or maybe in the doorway, so everyone can step over me. " And then I just broke down in tears, almost to the ugly cry. I just started to lose it. And this poor woman, looked a little bewildered. And then I realized she had no clue what the big deal was. Why we didn't want to leave our baggage, go out to lunch, shop and come back in a couple hours. I started to explain that our kids were coming from Haiti that night, we hadn't really slept in days, we just flew across the states, and we NEEDED to sleep. As soon as I started to explain our situation, the ugly cry started. I managed to get something like this out, "tired, flew all night, getting our kids from Haiti, tonight. Tired, need sleep. Can't wait another 2 hours. "
She seems to get a grasp of the situation, and called housekeeping. We had a room in 10 minutes. And the offer to come get us or take us at any time, regardless of the shuttle schedule or non schedule. And they were kind enough to give us blankets to take to the airport, which turned into a very good thing. They drove us to the grocery store, they really did redeem themselves. The poor kid, who I apologized too, as well as the manager, was actually just new and young. God somehow stepped in and kept me from using all the naughty words that were running through my head, that usually aren't filtered when I'm that tired and upset. That even though I was hysterical, and it took that to get their attention, I didn't do anything that would have made me a complete hypocrite.

Friday, January 21, 2011

One year ago

One year ago we were in Miami, and we were waiting for a moment that was years in the making, and were about to witness a miracle. It's still unreal to me, and I still feel overwhelmed as I process it.
I've already blogged about waiting in Miami, and getting them. So I'm just going to provide links to those post.

Part 1

Part 2

Tomorrow marks one year of Re and Er being with us. Unbelievable. Really.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Remembering Part 3

The 20th...the day started off with a lot of concern and frustration on our part. The US government was going to allow visa's to be issued, however we were asked by the Joint Counsel to stop petitioning for security, transportation, and water for the Embassy, to provide a safe place for the children to come and be evacuated out. So we knew they could come home, but the US Government would not be providing a safe haven for them during the process. It's easy to pass judgement on the US Government for this decision. However, as time has gone by and given me perspective, I see that they would have been making an empty promise. There was children evacuated out by the US, and they were waiting at the embassy and escorted out on US aircraft. However, to offer to provide this to hundreds, possibly over a thousand children, was not possible. I'm grateful now that they let GLA know they would have to provide their own transportation. It was really God not answering the prayer, knowing much better what the other options were.
The other exciting news was that another orphanage had evacuated orphans out successfully. BRESMA set the precedent that these kids could get on a plane, and be transported out safely, and be admitted into the United States.
I'm going to give you a run-down of the emails we received, followed by our reactions and what we were doing that day. Some of it is painful to remember, some is full of JOY. It's going to be pretty honest, and unedited.
6:52am -Do not panic...wait for word on what to do. We will let you know as soon as we can... Coming into MIA might not be the way this works out, so please do not make any plans. I promise we will let you know what to do-just stand by.
A few minutes later - And pray without ceasing and trust Dixie.
We fought the instinct to make plans. We check out tickets to all the major airports on the east coast, bookmarking the major ones. We continued to wrap up arrangements here. Work, kids, and all those little details. R left to work, kids left for school. It was crazy busy, and we knew we were just killing time. We were confident it would happen, just didn't know the when. I started to really think of the list that NEEDED to get done before we brought them home, and then prioritized it. I jumped every time the phone beeped with a new email or facebook post.
At 8:48am-PLEASE do NOT post to the Internet just yet - Dixie will be making an "official" announcement on the website and we ask that you keep this quiet until at least then. ATTENTION ALL US FAMILIES: The US Embassy has issued "humanitarian parole" visas for all our children in the adoption process to US families. This means we are sending the children out tomorrow (Thursday) on a flight to Fort Lauderdale Florida. We do not have specific flight details yet, but will let you know when we do. We need ALL families to come to Fort Lauderdale by tomorrow to pick up your child! Please bring supplies for your child - diapers, clothes, bottles, shoes, etc... Sorry, we do not have time to send out sizes to everyone, so just do your best guess.
This sent our hearts racing, and minds reeling. We called each other, and just were over the moon. OUR kids had visa's. Re and Er had a visa. They were coming home, and by the next day. We were holding our breath for a official GO. We notified family and friends. We started to get bags packed. I started to mark off things on the list that would never be accomplished. I moved getting coats and shoes for them, as well as travel supplies to the very top of the list. I started to make a plan for the day. I needed to meet a friend at the outlet, and needed to get shoes and coats. Part of the heartbreak of the day, in all honesty, came into this part of the day. I called our church to let them in on what was happening. I called a very good friend of mine. She told me she'd come be with me for the morning. Our friendship had been strained for awhile for various reasons, however I felt she'd be a great support while my mind was kinda racing out of control. I made plans to leave and meet another friend, based on her showing up at a certain time. I waited over a half an hour past the time we were suppose to leave, and she hadn't showed up. I left a note, and raced out the door. I was very saddened and disappointed by this friends actions. By the time I realized she wouldn't be coming, I didn't have time to figure out another option, leaving me by myself for the morning. This person had insisted she was there for me, and at one time we were best friends. It was disheartening. I was already overwhelmed, and I had no ability to filter my reaction when she texted me later, or even when it played out later. One of the lessons I learned through this experience is to ask help of those who are showing up, not those you'd like to show up, or feel should show up. I had many other friends who would have been there in five minutes. However, I quickly held onto a friendship that hadn't worked in a long time, wishing it wasn't strained. It was a sad part of the day, and still makes me sad.
Anyways, onto the rest of the day. I bought coats, shoes, and after a run to Target, had all the travel supplies we needed. I picked up paint samples for the kids rooms. I stopped off at a friends, to deliver paint samples. I came home for nap time, and to pack. I somehow managed to get R and I a couple changes of clothes together, and the kids bags packed.
While I was out and about I got these emails...thankful for Internet on a phone. Otherwise I'd have been stuck at home.
10:22am-Please stand by and be ready to travel… but please hold off until we know final travel details… I know this is hard, but we don’t want any false alarms… We will let you know as soon as we know the plan! BUT… BE OVERJOYED!
11:21am-UPDATE - We still do not have specific flight details. We are working on it and will let all of you know just as soon as we get the details.
In the meantime, it may be best NOT to purchase tickets yet. Please put tickets "on hold" or buy fully refundable ones - as plans for the day and/or city may yet change.
We will let you know just as soon as we can!

12:12pm- Just wanted to let you know that we need you to be on stand by and ready to come to Florida, but do not buy tickets yet until we notify you. We are still not sure of the date or location the children will be coming to, but we will let you know as soon as we do. Dixie is asking that you not call the orphanage or email, but wait until you are notified. If you need to call me, you can call the Colorado office. Thanks for your patience, I understand how you are feeling!
We continued to hold off on tickets. We were at a disadvantage being on the west coast. We had the farthest to go. It takes at least 12 hours to get from here to there. We knew we needed to leave that night if they were coming in the next night. We figured we needed to be on a plane by 11:00pm, if we were to hit the east coast by the next morning. We figured we could wait until 6:00pm to buy tickets. We had friends, who is a pilot in Florida, who offered to fly us anywhere on the east coast we needed to go, if we got to them. We figured we'd fly to Miami, be there in the morning, and then get to where the kids were. But we needed to get to the right side of the States before the next morning. It was nerve wracking. I doubted moment to moment if we should already be in the air. And yet, I knew it would do no good to get halfway to the wrong place. At about 4:20pm, R's mom stopped by to get instructions for the daycare, and the girls. I had daycare parents picking up that I was informing of the plan. It was a general mess around here. I had a couple friends dropping stuff off, and was trying to finish up packing so we could leave quickly.
At 4:42 pm- OK - Official news - The children will be arriving into Miami, Florida tomorrow late evening. The plane is scheduled to depart Haiti at around 7pm (and if it departs on time, will arrive in Miami around 9pm). Once we arrive, the children will be taken to another facility (I do not yet have the specific location), which is where you will be able to pick up your child. However, because of the late hour and the time it will take to get all the children through Immigration and settled, it's looking like most likely (although not definite yet) that we will have families pick up children the next morning. We need ALL families to go to the Miami, Florida area tomorrow. Get a hotel room there, let us know where you will be staying and how to reach you. And we will contact you once we have specific information on how to pick up your child. Please confirm with me that you've gotten this message so that we can be sure you will be there to get your child. Use this email address until tomorrow morning. After 10am eastern time, please use: (no longer important). All families - please be sure to print off all information that you emailed to Joint Council and the State Department. They are saying that these papers will be needed when picking up your child.
Also all families please be sure to bring necessities for your child - clothes, shoes, diapers, bottles, formula, etc... We will not be bringing much with us from Haiti

I read this and my heart stopped momentarily. It was really happening. Even as I was packing our bags, I was hesitant to really get too excited. I was still holding my breath. I held my breath a looongg time, but I exhaled just a bit in that moment. Immediately, I booked tickets to Miami. We needed to leave in less than 5 hours. R walked into the door of chaos and confusion. We both had things to wrap up before we left, so I headed out for last minutes errands. The girls were a little freaked out at this point, and we had to remind ourselves to slow down and explain what was happening to them. Whatever exhaustion I had felt was gone, and the adrenaline was pumping.
We left our house at 9:00pm. A little bit more than 4 hours after the official go. One day after requesting visa's. It was all a little crazy. Okay, alot crazy. We had many moments where we just looked at each in disbelief. There was a moment at the airport as we waited to board our flight where I just stared at the kids bags, trying to comprehend that we'd be holding them very soon. That the clothes I'd packed, they'd get to wear. I'd be dressing them in it to come home. It was a shocking thought process.
We boarded the plane somewhere around 11:00pm. We flew through the night. We laid over twice, because you don't get to be picky when you book flights 4 hours before you board. We tried to get some sleep. We landed in Miami about 11:00am the next morning.
I'll leave it there for now. The next 48 hours were a wild ride. And I've covered them in detail before. I may go back and fill in some of the gaps.