Wednesday, February 19, 2014

It's no secret...


...WE AREN'T PERFECT!


taken from http://www.livesayhaiti.com/

Friday, February 14, 2014

Telling Secrets


Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. This post is paid for by the AdCouncil. 

All words and thoughts are my own.


Revealing a pretty enormous secret here today.  Ready for it?

These kids (and their three siblings) do not have anything happening in their life that comes even close to "perfect" parenting or a perfect upbringing.  (So, not really a secret I suppose.)

Their freaky eyes say it all, don't they?


If you have been reading here long, you know that we do not think everyone should adopt. Adoption is not for everyone. I am certain of that.  Having said that, I do think that more people are qualified, able, and really ready for the job of fostering or adopting a child.  

It is not uncommon for people to say, "I could never do it."  Their reasons are not usually given.  On occasion, people hint at not being "good enough" to do it. Recently someone told me they could "never do foster care because the goodbye would be too hard".  

Families that have adopted tend to be friends with families that have adopted. We get to help, encourage, and build one another up; it is a beautiful community.  In 12 years of being adoptive parents Troy and I have yet to meet anyone that is perfect.  None of us were raised by perfect people, and by golly, our kids won't be either. Fear seems to hold people back from really investigating the options.  From the conversations I have had, most of the fears are based on false assumptions.

Kids don't need perfection. Even kids that have lost a lot and have been hurt in their lives. They need stability. They need love. They need some structure and predictability. They need food and a bed. 

Statistically, studies show that imperfect people are parenting the vast majority of the world's children. This is good news. 

I submit to you that pain is a part of life. Goodbyes are a part of life.  Disappointment is a part of life.  Messing up is a part of life. Starting over is a part of life. LOVE and sacrifice are a part of life. They are worth the pain. Love washes over these things, love lights the path when things get dark or scary or very, very sad. Love gives you courage to do hard things.




Unlike many adoptive parents and foster parents I know, I did not grow up hoping to adopt. We ended up adoptive and foster parents without it being part of our personal five or ten year plan. We stumbled into it; I am so grateful.  While it has not always been easy and it certainly has not been painless, it has been worth it and has been so rewarding. The blessings of the children that have come into our lives via adoption and foster care are impossible to quantify. 

Kids don't want perfect parents - they want HUMAN parents. Most of you reading qualify! 




If you've ever wondered about adoption and/or foster care, ever thought about it but became afraid, or ever even considered the possibility, please check out these links:








It is not a secret anymore. You don't have to be perfect to be an adoptive or foster parent  - perfect is a lie - kids need families and love - not perfection.


Monday, November 18, 2013

Ekubo Ministries

Visit Ekubo Ministries online auction!! You can shop from your seat for your Christmas list folks AND help a ministry in Uganda. Duh! Who wouldn't want to do this?!
FOLLOW THIS LINK!
http://www.ekuboauction.blogspot.com/
*One of the MANY awesome gifts!!!


Happy Shopping!

http://www.ekuboministries.org/

Monday, November 4, 2013

November

November is Orphan Care Awareness Month. I can't say much more than the following words. Don't take them lightly.

"The truth is that the 143 million orphaned children and the 11 million who starve to death or die from preventable diseases and the 8.5 million who work as child slaves, prostitutes, or under other horrific conditions and the 2.3 million who live with HIV add up to 164.8 million needy children. And though at first glance that looks like a big number, 2.1 billion people on this earth proclaim to ...be Christians.

The truth is that if only 8 percent of the Christians would care for one more child, there would not be any statistics left.
This is the truth. I have the freedom to believe it. The freedom, the opportunity to do something about it. The truth is that He loves these children just as much as He loves me and now that I know, I am responsible."
Kisses From Katie

Watch Katie's video below



Saturday, July 6, 2013

It's T-shirt time!



No we aren't calling any "cabbies" or anything crazy like that!!
 
Anyways, because of demand we have decided to do a QUICK t-shirt order!! If folks still want shirts later, we might take up another order. However, this order, I need it by 11:59est Tuesday, July 8th!


Sooooooooo here they are (if choices change, which would be unlikely I will contact you asap)...

*NAVY SHIRT= white/aqua font on front & white Hebrews 118
(written large) on the back
*WHITE SHIRT= navy/aqua font on the front & navy Hebrews 118 (written large) on the back
 
$15 each (add $1 if xxl or above)
 
***Must order this time around by TUESDAY AT 11:59PM EST :)
 
*Pay via paypal (my email is hebrews11.8@aol.com or I can invoice you) or personal check.
 
*All proceeds from t-shirt sales will go to the orphanage he is at or another ministry we are visiting on our trip. This isn't a fundraiser for us, just t-shirts to support us & fund another ministry.
 
 
 ***And a shout out to Josh Brown for the graphic design!!!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Dear Moms of Adopted Children (borrowed blog post)

A good friend sent this link to me & I thought I'd share. This blogger couldn't have said it better. She made me speechless. Thank you kathylynnharris. Below are the words she shared in her post...

Dear Moms of Adopted Children


First, a quick note: I wrote this piece after reading an essay written by Lea Grover in the Huffiington Post, titled “Dear Less-Than-Perfect Mom.” The post by Lea was wonderful, and it made me think about us moms who found our sweet babies through adoption, and how we face unique challenges. I hope you enjoy it, whether you are the parent of an adopted child or not. Happy early Mother’s Day, everyone.
——————————————————————————————————————
Dear Mom of an Adopted Child,

I met you in adoption education class. I met you at the agency. I met you at my son’s school. I met you online. I met you on purpose. I met you by accident.

It doesn’t matter. The thing is, I knew you right away. I recognize the fierce determination. The grit. The fight. Because everything about what you have was a decision, and nothing about what you have was easy. You are the kind of woman who Makes.Things.Happen. After all, you made this happen, this family you have.

Maybe you prayed for it. Maybe you had to convince a partner it was the right thing. Maybe you did it alone. Maybe people told you to just be happy with what you had before. Maybe someone told you it simply wasn’t in God’s plans for you to have a child, this child whose hair you now brush lightly from his face. Maybe someone warned you about what happened to their cousin’s neighbor’s friend.

Maybe you ignored them.

Maybe you planned for it for years. Maybe an opportunity dropped into your lap. Maybe you depleted your life-savings for it. Maybe it was not your first choice. But maybe it was.
Regardless, I know you. And I see how you hold on so tight. Sometimes too tight. Because that’s what we do, isn’t it?

I know about all those books you read back then. The ones everyone reads about sleep patterns and cloth versus disposable, yes, but the extra ones, too. About dealing with attachment disorders, breast milk banks, babies born addicted to alcohol, cocaine, meth. About cognitive delays, language deficiencies. About counseling support services, tax and insurance issues, open adoption pros and cons, legal rights.

I know about the fingerprinting, the background checks, the credit reports, the interviews, the references. I know about the classes, so many classes. I know the frustration of the never-ending paperwork. The hours of going over finances, of having garage sales and bake sales and whatever-it-takes sales to raise money to afford it all.

I know how you never lost sight of what you wanted.

I know about the match call, the soaring of everything inside you to cloud-height, even higher. And then the tucking of that away because, well, these things fall through, you know.

Maybe you told your mother, a few close friends. Maybe you shouted it to the world. Maybe you allowed yourself to decorate a baby’s room, buy a car seat. Maybe you bought a soft blanket, just that one blanket, and held it to your cheek every night.

I know about your home visits. I know about your knuckles, cracked and bleeding, from cleaning every square inch of your home the night before. I know about you burning the coffee cake and trying to fix your mascara before the social worker rang the doorbell.

And I know about the followup visits, when you hadn’t slept in three weeks because the baby had colic. I know how you wanted so badly to show that you had it all together, even though you were back to working more-than-full-time, maybe without maternity leave, without the family and casseroles and welcome-home balloons and plants.

And I’ve seen you in foreign countries, strange lands, staying in dirty hotels, taking weeks away from work, struggling to understand what’s being promised and what’s not. Struggling to offer your love to a little one who is unsettled and afraid. Waiting, wishing, greeting, loving, flying, nesting, coming home.

I’ve seen you down the street at the hospital when a baby was born, trying to figure out where you belong in the scene that’s emerging. I’ve seen your face as you hear a nurse whisper to the birthmother that she doesn’t have to go through with this. I’ve seen you trying so hard to give this birthmother all of your respect and patience and compassion in those moments—while you bite your lip and close your eyes, not knowing if she will change her mind, if this has all been a dream coming to an abrupt end in a sterile environment. Not knowing if this is your time. Not knowing so much.

I’ve seen you look down into a newborn infant’s eyes, wondering if he’s really yours, wondering if you can quiet your mind and good sense long enough to give yourself over completely.
And then, to have the child in your arms, at home, that first night. His little fingers curled around yours. His warm heart beating against yours.

I know that bliss. The perfect, guarded, hopeful bliss.

I also know about you on adoption day. The nerves that morning, the judge, the formality, the relief, the joy. The letting out of a breath maybe you didn’t even know you were holding for months. Months.

I’ve seen you meet your child’s birthparents and grandparents weeks or years down the road. I’ve seen you share your child with strangers who have his nose, his smile … people who love him because he’s one of them. I’ve seen you hold him in the evenings after those visits, when he’s shaken and confused and really just wants a stuffed animal and to rest his head on your shoulder.

I’ve seen you worry when your child brings home a family tree project from school. Or a request to bring in photos of him and his dad, so that the class can compare traits that are passed down, like blue eyes or square chins. I know you worry, because you can protect your child from a lot of things — but you can’t protect him from being different in a world so intent on celebrating sameness.

I’ve seen you at the doctor’s office, filling out medical histories, leaving blanks, question marks, hoping the little blanks don’t turn into big problems later on.

I’ve seen you answer all of the tough questions, the questions that have to do with why, and love, and how much, and where, and who, and how come, mama? How come?

I’ve seen you wonder how you’ll react the first time you hear the dreaded, “You’re not my real mom.” And I’ve seen you smile softly in the face of that question, remaining calm and loving, until you lock yourself in the bathroom and muffle your soft cries with the sound of the shower.
I’ve seen you cringe just a little when someone says your child is lucky to have you. Because you know with all your being it is the other way around.

But most of all, I want you to know that I’ve seen you look into your child’s eyes. And while you will never see a reflection of your own eyes there, you see something that’s just as powerful: A reflection of your complete and unstoppable love for this person who grew in the midst of your tears and laughter, and who, if torn from you, would be like losing yourself.


Thank you Kathy for speaking my heart.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Depraved Indifference

-Turn the music player off at the bottom & watch the video.-

"I suffer from depraved indifference, so do you." 

Very powerful. Don't ignore it.



Friday, May 3, 2013

Apparent Project

As I mentioned in a previous post, we are partnering with http://www.apparentproject.org
and selling bracelets as a fundraiser. Part of the money goes to the Haitian artist and the rest towards our adoption fund. This gives you a chance to give to two great causes.
"We are a market place designed to empower & market Haitian artisans in their work. We are officially endorsed by the Apparent Project, and are also working with other artisans in Haiti to make a difference in the lives of working families."-Market Haiti (where you can purchase Haitian goods)

There is a tag on each bracelet that lets you know how to pray for the artist and what their employment means to them. Email me at hebrews11.8@aol.com to order via check, etc. OR use the paypal button on the right sidebar to pay online. IF you order via Paypal, add $1 per bracelet for shipping, include mailing address, & Memo that it's for the bracelets.
 
BRACELETS $7 EACH
$4 of each sale goes back to the Haitian artist & the remaining to our adoption!!
Thanks,

"When you say YES to adoption, you are saying YES to enter the suffering of the orphan, and that suffering includes WAITING FOR YOU TO GET TO THEM. I promise you, their suffering is worse than yours. We say YES to the tears, YES to the longing, YES to the maddening process, YES to the money, YES to hope, YES to the screaming frustration of it all, YES to going the distance through every unforeseen... discouragement and delay. Do not imagine that something outside of "your perfect plan" means you heard God wrong. There is NO perfect adoption. EVERY adoption has snags. We Americans invented the "show me a sign" or "this is a sign" or "this must mean God is closing a door" or "God must not be in this because it is hard," but all that is garbage. You know what's hard? Being an orphan. They need us to be champions and heroes for them, fighting like hell to get them home. So we will. We may cry and rage and scream and wail in the process, but get them home we will."
--Jen Hatmaker

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Giveaways

For those that participated in the fundraisers...We decided to do a giveaway for each fundraiser as a Thank You gift. We wish we could give you each & every one of you with something special, but we can't... :( However, we greatly appreciate any and all that you have done to support our adoption. We are beyond humbled that you would want to do so in so many ways. Words just cannot express our gratitude!! This process would have been more difficult without your encouragement the past several months. We can honor you by striving to honor the Lord in how we live out our lives.

The winners & their loot:

Thirty One Gifts- Elizabeth Guinn
*She won a Keep-It Caddy in Turquoise & a matching lanyard
 

Pampered Chef- Pamela Robinson Harris
*She won seasoning mix & few small items.


 
Puzzle Pieces- Crystal McGrew
*She won a Keep-It Caddy in Party Punch & a matching lanyard

All drawings were completed using www.random.org where each name was entered & the computer chose the winner at random.

~Congrats to those listed above!!~ The puzzle piece fundraiser's final completed picture will not be shown on here due to new laws in the adoption process. If you have NOT seen the completed puzzle & would like to please email me at hebrews11.8@aol.com and I will gladly send you the finished puzzle picture!!~ALSO, we do have a few pieces left that can be saved for you if you still want to be a part of that fundraiser.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Phil. 1:3 "I thank my God each time I remember you."


Thursday, April 25, 2013

Worn

     I know that many of you probably just read this blog to pass the time of your online binge for the day, because you can't sleep at night, because you're nosy :), to look at what you assume is a perfect little life & because yours isn't you're just glad someone's is...or perhaps you just stumbled upon this blog & have no idea why you care about what this random stranger is writing. In the midst of the updates & posts are a lot of pauses in dates. Those pauses could mean that the Lord is working on my heart, that I'm just pissed  because I don't have any updates for you, for us, & for our son, or sometimes I'm just not supposed to talk/write though it's hard for me to do. Those pauses don't show a lot of the aggravation, heartache, & toll on someone during the adoption process & during life in general. SO let's get this straight...I won't just write about the "happy" if you don't just read about the "happy."

     A lot of times I write for myself & I get more out of it than anyone reading ever will. And though that is almost always the case, there are a lot of times that I feel led to write something or share something because someone needs to hear it, to know they aren't alone, or to be encouraged. This.is.one.of.those.times.
Don't stop reading this now young lady/young man. Don't you go assuming this is some "religious" message or some serious crap that you don't have time for or that it couldn't possibly be speaking to you. Why did you go click on this blog post today? What led you here? How can you know without knowing that it isn't you that this is for? I know you truly don't want to be called out or even to be embraced by the only thing that can give you peace or cause your heart to change. Some of you think it's all nonsense & garbage. You don't have a reason to want to believe. You've been let down by everyone your whole life, or maybe just recently. You still matter. Don't resist it y'all. What do you have to lose, really? So stop whining & continue reading... ;)

     Anyways...a song was posted on my Facebook not once, not twice, but three times today. When I first saw it my initial thought was, "oh yeah that's a great song." The second time it was more like, "that is a good song but odd that I so just saw this a few ago & those people don't know each other." The third time I just hit play.  And so the "hitting the knees" began. Praying this speaks to you today. There's the song & then the story behind it (it's short so don't skip it).
We all have "pain between the pictures." (Or pain between the posts.)-Tenth Avenue North
"It's not your circumstances that need to change, it's you."-Tenth Avenue North
Lyrics:

Let me see redemption win
Let me know the struggle ends
That you can mend a heart
That’s frail and torn
I wanna know a song can rise
From the ashes of a broken life
And all that’s dead inside can be reborn
Cause I’m worn

My prayers are wearing thin
Yeah, I’m worn
Even before the day begins
Yeah, I’m worn

You have three choices below...it's your choice... =)

*If you have about 10 minutes to hear his story, humor, & the song*

 
*If you have time for the song & 4 extra minutes.

*If you just have time for the song*


        Just know that adoption is hard. Waiting is hard. Kids in general are hard, right? Life is hard. It doesn't mean anything is wrong with me to pity me. It means I'm human. And I choose to share that with you. So please don't ever read this blog or see me and assume things are perfect b/c the Lord is giving us the opportunity (as He is some of you ;)) to give orphans a family. As a matter of fact, it's the hardest, most humbling thing I've ever done. Life that sometimes sucks makes us relatable to someone else. Your story, my story...well they're our stories because somewhere along the line it'll make us relatable to someone whose paths we cross & because during those times we grow.  He's got ya friend, always has...just hold fast!

    So beyond thankful that I know for a fact that in the end redemption does win. My struggles are nothing in comparison to those that happened on a cross 2000 years ago. I am worn, you may be worn, but redemption wins y'all!
 



 
~If you liked that song & want more...here's a bonus

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Brief Update

  • Pray that we exit our current step with the adoption process SOON!!
  • I promise I am working on some tshirt ideas! It's been delayed for a few reasons but I haven't forgotten for those of you who are interested.
  • We originally were selling the blue/gray bracelets & keychains. We decided to go a different route and hand those out instead. The aqua blue bracelets will be given away (request one if you'd like) or sent with some tshirt orders. The gray key chains can be bought at cost which is $3.
  • The reason we changed our minds about those is because we decided to work with The Apparent Project. We can sell their bracelets and it would support not only our adoption, but a Haitian artist. We felt that supporting this ministry would help two causes at once. Each bracelet has a name & picture attached to it which would show you who you supported by purchasing the bracelet. Their statement is...
    "We are a market place designed to empower & market Haitian artisans in their work. We are officially endorsed by the Apparent Project, and are also working with other artisans in Haiti to make a difference in the lives of working families."-Market Haiti (where you can purchase Haitian goods)
  • The bracelets are made from cereal boxes, scrapbook paper, magazines & flyers, and connected with seed beads. *I will let you know soon possible ways to purchase these bracelets. I am looking into places to set up & sell them.Update:They are now available, contact me for details or to purchase!
    
  • This blog will be going private within the next few days. It will only stay private until we are very close to bringing out kiddo home. In order to post pics, and possibly more detailed updates, I am making it private in order to protect any information from here on out. Please email me at hebrews11.8@aol.com or contact me on Facebook if you want to view this blog. There is a Facebook page that will soon go private also & a place you can find updates as well. Anyone who has contacted me thus far is good to go. If you haven't, please do so soon. Thanks for your understanding! UPDATE: Blog privacy is on hold...it is still a public site! If you read this blog & aren't my "friend" on Facebook but would like details of adoption updates, please request via email (hebrews11.8@aol.com). Specific updates on our process and/or pics will NOT be posted on here until further notice. Thanks y'all!!
  • And FINALLY, we are probably 25-50ish pieces away from completing the puzzle. Not very many left! If you have mentioned you'd like some, please contact me now!! Pics to be posted THIS week so finish that puzzle ASAP!! ;) Update: Due to new regs with our adoption country, new pics will NOT be posted via blog until further notice. If you aren't a "friend" on Facebook, but contributed in any way to the Puzzle Fundraiser, please email me at hebrews11.8@aol.com!! Thanks!
This kid who likes to wear his pants on his head says to HURRY so he can show you his face! =)
 

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Anne's search for her parents

Please help my sweet friend Anne find her birthparents! She was born in Florida (USA) in 1983.Please share with those you know, especially in the southern part of the U.S.!! Ready...GO...like right NOW!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Christ Is Risen

I don't have a lot of words for how awesome Easter is, especially if you are a follower of Christ. I am, however, quite shocked at how callused even we as believers have became of this holiday. It should be the biggest day of the year, the biggest party, the biggest celebration, the longest, loudest worship service, full of emotion.  We should sing the loudest, preach the longest, "amen" the most, be the most passionate, about this day. This day, He is RISEN. Risen. Did you catch that? As in, he isn't in the tomb! The grave could.not.hold.him. Is that something you hear often? I don't think so. We can only beat death because of Him. We don't have to fear death because of Him. We have hope, only because of Him. He didn't just die for our sins...He arose to give us hope...to continue living in us. We are the risen church. Wake up y'all! Allow Him to give you new breath. It's not just a religion. I'm not just "spiritual." I have a relationship with my Lord. He is risen. Find new life in Him, He's waiting for you!
 
Beneath the weight of all our sin
You bow to none but heavens will
No scheme of hell, no scoffer's crown
No burden great can hold you down
In strength you reign
Forever let your church proclaim
Oh death! Where is your sting?
Oh hell! Where is your victory?
Oh Church! Come stand in the light!
The glory of God has defeated the night!
 
Christ is risen from the dead
We are one with him again
Come awake, come awake!
Come and rise up from the grave
Take a moment to listen to the song below. The 2nd video is one of the most amazing versions of the song, or any song. If you have a few extra minutes enjoy the 2nd video's bonus.
Fab-u-lous!!
 

 

Friday, March 29, 2013

Sunday's A Comin'

"It's Friday...but Sunday's comin'" is one of my favorite sayings when I'm having a rough day or to remind a friend during life's moments that sometimes just suck. Dark days can consume our joy. But it won't last. It's not the promise. Whether life's dark or light, I love to know that "Sunday's comin.'" Psalm 30:5b says, "weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning." And for that, I'm so thankful. During the dark day of Good Friday, remember the man who gives you hope. He does, whether you choose to believe it or not. Whether today is a dark day/moment for you or whether it'll be tomorrow or next week...it'll eventually arrive. It's life. It's sin.  Hold onto this fact: Although it may be a dark "Friday" in your life, y'all Sunday is comin'! Hallelujah.
 
Listen below to the song "Sunday" by Tree63. May it become a moment of worship & gratitude today. Don't think you don't have time to hear the message, friend. He took a lot of time for you thousands of years ago "today," won't you give him a few moments of yours?

Broken promises, weary hearts

But one promise remains

Crucified, He will come again

It’s Friday but Sunday is coming

Yeah, it’s Friday but Sunday is coming


Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Our Trip To Haiti: Part 1

 Our less than 24 hour trip to Haiti was quite eventful and humorous, to say the least. Let's break this down a little for ya.
 
  • Paperwork Goof: We were making a trip to the Embassy to sign a paper for his Visa.  We also planned to deliver a set of signed papers that they would need later on (hopefully soon) and it would save mailing them to Haiti. This would save postage and waiting on the mail, etc. I noticed the night before that one of the papers had to be notarized. I cannot tell you how many papers I've looked over, notarized, and rechecked over the past year and a half. However, this ONE time, I noticed it when we couldn't get a notary (like the night before we left). BUT we found a solution! The Miami airport has a notary WAY down next to baggage claim. Mostly an extra exercise for me during our short layover in Miami but regardless, awesome. First hurdle jumped...To be continued...
  • Pants: Since we were only going to be there overnight, because I usually over pack, & I didn't want to pack around more possessions for 24hrs than a lot of people even own...I decided to take a change of shirts & wear the same pants (jeans) for both days. How bad could jeans get just sitting on an airplane? Well, that would have been somewhat of a great plan until I looked down on our first flight and realized I had a hole in the crotch of my pants. Fantastic. Thus, began my prayer to"please please please not let my pants split anymore & allow me to make it back to the states before I flashed anyone." Hurdle #2...To be continued also...
  • Urgent Landing: We were flying from Lville-Miami-Haiti. About halfway through the first leg of the trip, the pilot comes over the intercom on the plane and announces that we will be making a landing in Tallahassee.  One (of the two) hydraulics systems went out on our plane and though there was a backup, it wasn't suggested to fly with only one (b/c there would no longer be a backup) thus the need for an emergency landing (that we didn't know was an emergency at the time).  We had lots of time in between our connecting flights, no big deal, right?  Wrong. As we began to have view of the runway, we noticed it was surrounded by firetrucks and firemen in what looked like astronaut suits (the silver flame resistant suits) greeting us. Obviously, this was a little more serious than we thought.  We soon were informed that the alarm for the hydraulic system could mean something as minor as a fuse that needed repairing or that the wheels/landing gear wouldn't work properly. Awesome. I think that perhaps this could be a little more specific on planes, but that's just me. Detailed Ashley couldn't handle being a pilot, I need specifics people!! Obviously the landing gear and wheels worked or this story would have taken a different turn at this point. But hey, we're alive and no one had to put their fun aluminum foil spacesuit to use.                            

  • Tallahassee Airport: Evidently our arrival was the most excitement the Tallahassee airport had the whole day, possibly the week (or more).  While some very irate passengers immediately got in line to schedule flights so they could make sure they arrived at their luxury vacation destination sight, we just sat back and relaxed for a few.  During this time, a few interesting things happened. You see, the one lady that looked like she worked there came over the intercom with a message similar to, "Welcome Flight #3572 flying from Lville to Miami. Unfortunately, you have landed in a little podunk (yes she really said this...on the job...over the intercom) airport here in Tallahassee (obviously she doesn't know who we are) and we weren't prepared for your stop. Please give us just a few minutes and we will start working on flights out of here to take you where you'd actually like to visit." I don't know about you, but I've used "podunk" a lot in my life & I've never used it to refer to a city with a population of over 500k in it's city limits (& the 128th biggest city in the U.S.) as a podunk town. I'm not sure if I was more surprised that she, while at work, on the job, actually used such professionalism insert sarcasm or at the fact that she thought she lived in a podunk town.

    During this time, I am noticing that the gentleman who had been one of the Ground Traffic Controllers (wearing the safety vest, ear covers, & directing the plane with wands) was now the guy at the desk booking our flights out of there. I felt like I was on an episode of Wings
    . One employee=quite a few job descriptions.


    After this lovely gentleman booked us on a flight that would get us to our connecting flight from Miami-Haiti in time, I went in search of none other than...superglue. Yes, I thought I could keep the split in my pants (hurdle #2) from getting any worse if I super glued the edges of the rip. The podunk airport wasn't helpful except they had one place with food for lunch. :) Fast forward through all of this craziness to the next hiccup in our trip. Hurdle #3 complete.
  • Welcome to Miami: A greeting right outta the gate with a Bicardi Mojito bar meant we weren't in Kansas, errrrr Tallahassee anymore folks. (No, I didn't stop to visit but maybe I should have.)And we definitely had arrived beyond Podunk-ville. Thankfully, we arrived in plenty of time to catch our connecting flight with a little time to spare (it was slightly delayed, thank you Lord...making it a whole 45 minutes layover). However, we didn't have enough time (or were afraid we wouldn't make it) to go to baggage claim for the notary we needed for the papers. (Hurdle #1) Thankfully, the agency was just glad we made it in time to connect and assured us we could drop them in the mail the next week, no problem. Shew. Back to the tasks at hand... Superglue. Low & behold Miami airport had some at one of their 1000+ shops at the airport.  After thinking about this, I couldn't figure out why we could buy and transport Superglue on the airplane, but I guess it's safe??? Anyways, mission accomplished. If you haven't already noticed how the Lord has had His hand in making sure to get us where we needed to go, then hold onto your britches darlin', He is about to blow your mind!We are now at the gate about to board our flight to Haiti when our tickets won't scan. Seriously y'all, I can't make this stuff up. You remember that fun little "Lloyd" from our pretend show "Wings" we just lived out earlier in the day? Yeah, though he totally meant well, he cancelled (accidentally) our connecting flights to Haiti and they had already filled our seats. Just FYI: There are zero flights remaining to Haiti this day & we have to be there at 7:30am the following day. Monday's flight wouldn't leave out until after 9am. Insert Ashley starting to panic & trying to withhold her country redneck side on somebody. (After the day we already had, I should have known it would work out but I admit, I had my doubts) According to the little desk lady, there was one seat available. Quickly in my head, I thought "Scott can't go, I'm the one that's dealt with all of the paperwork,etc. and I don't have time to give him an Adoption Paperwork/Haiti Trip Details 101 at the terminal." My second thought was "I could go...alone...yikes!"

    During this time, the airline lady made an announcement over the intercom (when she realized it was their fault our tickets were cancelled) that they were offering an $800 travel voucher & overnight hotel stay to anyone willing to give up their ticket? Whoa, what?!?! I'll
     give up my seat! Wait...I don't have one, I need one. Oh yeah. By now, know that we are only about the last half dozen folks in line and this beautiful Haitian girl comes up for her to translate what she had announced. Upon hearing the offer, she quickly said "Oh, I wait. I wait." Trying to hold back the tears, I tried to thank her though she didn't understand me.  Whew...on the flight to Haiti we go...Praise the Lord!! Seriously, I'm worn out from just reliving this as I type.  But how awesome is God? A lady that didn't even speak the language just happened to ask them to translate & she accepted the voucher & gave up her seat. We.can.now.both.go.to.Haiti. Hallelujah! Hurdle #4:Jumped.
  • In-Flight: Scott & I were originally supposed to sit together in the Emergency Seats (lucky us) however since we barely got on the flight, we sat apart on the way to Haiti. This landed me in between two gentleman from Global Compassion Ministries out of Missouri. After talking with one of the gentleman in particular (shout out to Alan H.), I found out that a guy from their mission team just got sick at the Miami Airport and decided not to go on the trip. Seriously. (His suddenly available seat=the other one seat for the flight that had been open for us. )He had been sick for a few weeks, felt better, and decided to try the trip to Haiti. He got sick again right.before.the.flight and had to bail. Had he not decided to play it safe and return home, I wouldn't have made it to Haiti. Hello, can I get a Hallelujah!? I told them our story and we were all just blown away at the timing of the Lord. I asked him to tell his friend that he obviously wasn't meant to be in Haiti and either didn't listen the first time or the Lord just needed to make room.=) Either way the Lord worked it out through people serving Him and hearing His prompts to get me on that flight. I could have burst out into worship right there. Bless you Global Compassion and Thank You Lord. Just speechless about the whole situation and the entire day in itself.  Hopefully we will keep in touch. Whew. Taking a deep breath. Y'all, the Lord can blow your mind if you realize His hand is in everything. They made sure we made it through Customs okay and waved us on our way. So thankful for encounters from God.  
  •  

     
    (pics from airplane window...2nd pic shows one of the many tent cities still there)
     
  • Arriving in Haiti: I'm not sure I can fully put into words what I was thinking from the moment I left the doors of the airport until now. I'm still processing it all. I'm still trying to take what tiny bit of Haiti that I witnessed and pour over it and learn from it.  Exiting the airport was a wild mess. There were a few hints of smiles ahead while we were there, but to be quite honest, most of the jokes of the trip thus far, stopped at the doors of the airport. This is about to get real, y'all. My view of the world, the Lord's people, my selfishness & arrogance, etc is all about to brought into the light.  People were everywhere, shouting, and honestly I have no idea what they were doing or who they were waiting to see.  We stood outside of the chaos and looked around for anyone looking for us.  A clean cut, gentleman finally came to us with a sign that had our name on it and I recognized him from pictures so we decided to follow him! Ha! We weaved in and out of people staring and started on our journey to our overnight lodging. The laws of the road are much different in Haiti. It's every person for themselves. Driving or riding in a manual vehicle is quite the experience when you don't get over 10mph!  It had also recently rained thus making small ponds in their roads. As we were riding down the side streets, one large "puddle" of water we took on the right side, the next one on the left. It was a maze and quite a journey (very bumpy) to arrive where we needed to stay. At one traffic stop during the trip, a kid came to clean our windshield & windows for money. (a common thing in Haiti) When our driver and "guide" told him "No" (& whatever else they were saying) it didn't bother the boy. Seeing that they had Americans in the vehicle, he knocked on my window and peered into me with the saddest face he could make. Part of it was an act, but his eyes were not. Scott grabbed my hand as I looked away, fought back tears, and we drove off. Scott knew that ripped my compassionate, broken hearted soul apart. After finally arriving at our location, an "armed guard" opened the gate to the hotel for us after a LOT of horn honking on "our" end.  We were thankful for staying in a clean and secure place until morning.  However, the highlight of the night may or may not have been a Coca-Cola! Ah, thank ya Jesus!! I've never tasted a better one! Overnight was quite uneventful as we got a good night's sleep...with air-conditioning (a treat in Haiti).  January=still "summer" in Haiti.

    There were a few funny, but minor things from our stay overnight. You know it couldn't go too smooth with the day we already had! But seriously, after I left that airport, all funny pretty much went out the window. But here are a few...First, we had a window in the shower. Yes, a window in the shower folks!! We were on the ground floor, that looked out onto the patio/common gathering area. Annnnnnd we have a window in our shower. I'm sure this serves a practical purpose in Haiti, I just wasn't anticipating it nor did I need it for my shower! Sooooooo, Scott got to stand
    in the window while I showered so our trip to Haiti didn't turn into a peep show. (And yes he had to face outside to make sure someone wasn't peeping...b/c I'm paranoid I know) True story. Prob TMI (too much info) but I'm being real with y'all here, so cut me some slack! =) And I'm well aware I sound like a "yuppie" & that day, I'll admit I probably was.

    If I could have taken the picture the other direction, you could have seen all of the outside, including the gentlemen on their laptops by the pool. Crazy. (Only a First World Problem, right?) Second, we did finally get to order supper. It took F.O.R.E.V.E.R. (like 2hrs ha) which I hear is a common time frame in Haiti.  =) Third, it was finally time to try and rest with this little guy above my head. Fortunately he didn't move and neither did I. I prayed & convinced myself not to be creeped out. He's more freaked out by me than I am of him, right? Right. Breathe. Anyways, I finally fell asleep after this crazy long day and didn't wake up with him on or near me!! Hurdles #Ilostcount


    Ohhhhhh, and you better believe I super glued the tear in my pants & let it dry overnight...(And you can bet my Mama didn't know about ALL
    of this until we were safely back in the states. =))

  • Day 1 summed up in one word: Ridiculousness
     
Part 2 will tell about our trip to the Embassy and getting back to the states...
 

*Feel free to comment on any and all posts. =)