November 3, 2016
As I sit here typing under my mosquito net I am listening to the most beautiful songbird outside of our window. There aren't true windows here like what we are used to in the States. Here its a screen with these clear blinds that somewhat cover the window. Our room is right in front of the guest house and one window is directly next to the common eating area (which also doubles as our lounge area, game playing area, etc). We get all sorts of noises that come through the windows each day.
I just cannot believe we have been gone for a week as of today and we are on our 6th day in Haiti. I honestly thought I would be struggling and missing home being in such an unfamiliar place, but that's not the case. Instead it quickly felt like home here. I don't know if it's the people or the fact that our daughter was born here, but I fell in love with this country almost immediately. Things are so different here. It's not everyday that you are surrounded by a giant wall with barbed wire and sharp rebar. And I am certainly not used to having a guard with a giant gun just walking around at all times. But, somehow, all of these things started to just feel normal. We came hardly speaking the language, and while we still have the language skills of a one year old, we are slowly soaking in the words and becoming more familiar with the pronunciation.
We've had a couple of trips outside of our usual walk from the guest house to the orphanage and back. It was a great opportunity to see more of Haiti and I was so thankful for that. There are goats wandering the streets, people selling things on every corner, trash littering your way, large houses amongst the smaller ones, the rockiest and bumpiest roads I've ever witnessed, bright colors all around you, Tap Tap's whizzing by on the streets filled with so many people, dogs lazily resting underneath the shade of a tree, motorcycles darting in front of the car, and people everywhere. This is not a country where you stay inside of your home. People are always outside here. They may be chatting while sitting on a crumbled wall or walking to the market, but there's always so much activity here.
We have 8 days left to soak in the sights and sounds and smells of this beautiful place. Which also means 8 more days getting to know every bit of our daughter before we have to say goodbye. I don't want to miss a smile, a laugh, a cry, or the silly words she makes up just to see if I will say them. I love how we spent so much time trying to figure out what, "ga-gi-o" meant only to find out that it means nothing. She will say it until I repeat it and then fall over in a fit of laughter. We figured out that if we change the pitch in which we say it or the volume that she will laugh hysterically. We may not understand every word she says (and she says A LOT), but we have found ways to work around that and we have a good rhythm going.
I did want to share about our answer to prayer. Previously in Haiti adoptions, IBESR (social services) would do referrals in batches so multiple families would go on their bonding trip together. That changed very recently and when the other family, whose file had been with ours the whole time, received their referral and we didn't, we realized we wouldn't have anyone else here to share in the emotions of all of this. We really didn't think it was possible to be here with anyone else, but I had multiple friends remind me to just pray about it. A few weeks later our friends from our tiny town received their referral. We had started the process together, but our timelines had gone in different directions so we couldn't believe that our referral's came so close together. While their child is at a different orphanage, that orphanage uses our orphanage's guest house. They inquired about when they could travel (we had about a month and a half before we could travel due to Josh's job) and it happened that they would overlap us by one week. I can honestly say I don't know what we would have done without them here. They kept us from ever feeling homesick because we had a piece of home right here. They were able to tell us what to expect for various things. We were able to go on a couple of adventures together. And, of course, there were game nights and ridiculous jokes and it was so much fun. They headed home in the wee hours of the morning, but we are so thankful for the time we had.
I wish I was able to share pictures with you of all that we have seen, but they will just have to wait until we return back to the States. It may mean a few posts of just photos coming your way soon. In the meantime, I have been posting photos to my instagram if you want to check those out. We still will be unable to share photos of our girl until we receive her adoption decree (the official document that shows that she now shares our last name). Once that happens we can flood the internet with photos.
Time to get ready for another day with our daughter! Good morning from Haiti!