Monday, June 28, 2010

Haiti Update June 28, 2010

New update from Christy tonight:

Hi all!

Yesterday was good. It was not busy at all as everyone rests on Sunday- go figure? It was an amazing church service and it was a treat to watch these people worship. No homes, no material possessions and not always knowing where the next meal will come from but these joyful people worship and praise and trust the lord for all their needs. It was truly amazing!

We got a special treat and were taken to one of the beautiful beaches off Haiti and were given lobster, conch, and fish. It was very special and once again we got to travel by way of the open air truck. They call it a Haitian car :) We then came home and relaxed late into the evening talking as it poured rain.

Today has been really busy in clinic. By 1PM we had seen over 40 patients. We were so excited that 2 people from Texas joined our team late Saturday night. One is Scott and he is an associate pastor at a large cowboy church in San Antonio. The other member is Michael who is is a registered nurse in Dallas. He is from Nigeria and came to the states 15 years ago with his family. He came to the states by way of winning the visa lottery they use to have. It's an awesome story but he is a great man and does amazing in clinic as he is use to this type of nursing since he is from Nigeria. Both scott and Michael will be here until next Saturday.

Tonight we actually have to start packing up to get the stuff we are leaving for the people of the community organized. We have tomorrow and then we have to leave for Port-au-Prince by 6am Wednesday morning. Our flight leaves at noon and we get into LAX by 8:50. I can't believe we have to start packing. Time has gone so fast and we are sad it is ending. This is something I have grown to love and while I miss the comforts of home I could do this much much more - and I know we will - as a family. This is for sure not a fad- this will continue! Kev already has plans in the works and we will tell more later.

I write my emails throughout the day and started it at 1 and it is now 7 and we still have a line out the door with patients waiting. It's been a crazy day and we are exhausted - completely and totally! Our translators have left for the day so we have a Haitian who speaks Spanish translating to one of our team members who speaks Spanish who then translates it to us in English. Totally funny looking especially when we are trying to translate about vaginal infections and other sensitive subjects.

I'm exhausted so I'm gonna end this email so we can finish up our final patients and eat dinner. Lo and I are exhausted.

I will write tomorrow. We miss everyone.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Haiti Update June 27, 2010

I am posting pics early because I am leaving to go camping for the night. This is what I've received from Christy so far today. No written update yet, but I imagine she will send one at some point. From the info I received, it sounds like they attended church for 2-3 hours and it was all in Creole (which makes sense of course, but they couldn't understand it at all)! Their services take place outside under a tarp.

Chris wrote that the shortest guy in this group below is their clinic translator, Daniel. She said that this whole group of men were amazing singers. Daniel apparently speaks many languages and the girls just think he is so smart! He cannot afford to attend university, but Chris says that she, Kev, and Laura have plans for their Daniel:):). I can't wait to hear!

Another pic of the men's group below. Chris says that the one in the white shirt is Nixon. He has been translating for them over the weekend. He attends university in Port-au-Prince and studies computer science. She said he is also so smart!

Looks like the beach!:) Nothing written sent with this pic, so not sure of the story yet.

Oh one more pic just came through - she says they took them to a beautiful beach!
Ok that's all I have for now! I will update again tomorrow when I get home from camping. Not sure if Cass or anyone else will post a written update on the blog tonight, but maybe someone will:)


Saturday, June 26, 2010

Haiti Update June 26, 2010

New email and pics from Christy:

Not a lot to post today. It was Saturday and clinic was slow. We had a few of our missionaries who had been here for 3 weeks leave and 3 members of our team took them to the airport in Port-Au-Prince (3 hour drive) to drop them at the airport and to pick up the new 3 team members from Texas. So our team was small today but Kev was out in charge of the labor so lots got done. It was a crazy hot day. Thermometer said 103 in shade. Crazy hot. Almost unbearable but we made it.

Clinic was really slow today. Probably a mix of heat but also it was Saturday so it was slow but still good. The creator of the Haiti rubble house was in our camp today. They are building 5 houses in our area for people in our church here. It's really a cool house and they already built the prototype right here by our camp. It's the coolest idea and Kev is jazzed and is planning on coming back to build one. The total cost of the rubble house is about $2500 and you can have one totally built house in 7 days. It's crazy and can really work to help rebuild Haiti. I'll give you more info later but it's just totally cool and Kev and I are hooked.

We also did bubbles with the kids and they loved it. Overall, it was a great but slow day. Kev was really busy with construction and loved every second of it. He is such a hard worker and mobilized all the troups. Totally impressed with my awesome husband!

We just finished dinner and are waiting for the rest of our group to get here. Miss you all tons and will write again soon.


And now the pics!

Saying goodbye to John and John Jr, missionaries in the group who had already been here for 3 weeks. Chris says they will miss them. John Jr. helped out in the clinic everyday. He is currently a student at The Citadel in South Carolina and would like to eventually be an Emergency Physician.

Daniel, one of the translators, selling his goods:

And the rest of the pics are from when they did bubbles with the kids. In the last pic, Chris was showing that their little camp kitty got bubbles on her too:

That's all for today! I will try to post pics and an update tomorrow if I get one from Chris early in the day (I am going camping) - if not, I will update on Monday.:)


Friday, June 25, 2010

Haiti Update June 25, 2010

I got an email and several pics today! Here they are:

Hi! Things are well but Laura and I have been so busy in clinic that I have hardly had time to stop for meals. I swear I am getting good at this medical stuff. I know a lot of info on symptoms and meds and all kinds of stuff. Feeling like my next project to tackle needs to be medical school -lol- can you imagine? Anyway things have been busy but good. We are enjoying the work we are doing.

We have gone out into the community a few times and those are the experiences I love. Getting to see the reality of Haiti and experience the people first hand has been awesome. It's hard to see but good to experience.

Today Laura and I went to the home of a old woman who had a stroke and can't walk and lays in bed all day and her daughters care for her. We were told about her and that we would have to change her catheter and clean her huge bedsores so you can imagine how freaked out I was with that idea. All my worst nightmares wrapped in one. Well I am happy to report it was not too bad. The smell was fine and it was amazing how clean they kept their little tent. The sores were pretty bad- like spoonfuls of flesh taken out with sores all around the missing flesh. It was gross but not as bad as I thought. It stretched me a bit but I'm glad about that. Laura was amazing. She is such an amazingly loving and skilled doctor. I am continually impressed with her graciousness and loving heart. Will put the patients above her needs constantly. Completely impressed. (Laura says "Awwwww how sweet of her to say that!")

Kev and our construction team are doing great work. It's been really hard to adjust to the heat but they are working hard - Kev especially! Kev is such an amazing worker. Kev has also taken up watching the women in the kitchen cook. It takes hours for them to prepare the food, as they cook on charcoal and have no running water or anything. They do a great job and Kev has started taking down what they cook and how they cook. He is captivated, but the women laugh at him because only the women cook in Haiti. Our male translators think Kevin is crazy for cooking. They just laugh but Kev is in heaven in the kitchen watching them. The kitchen is attached to our clinic so we get to watch them cook everyday but the others don't so our team has taken up watching them cook and asking questions. It really makes the women proud!

It's been even hotter today if that's possible. There has not been any rain so the sun is out and bright. We are wet pretty much 100% of the time - dripping- shirts with sweat drips all over - just wet. Hard to get use to. Still not use to it.

Other than that we are good. Another team is joining us tomorrow and we are told there are 2 nurses with them so we are looking forward to sharing the clinic responsibilities. It's overwhelming the steady stream of people waiting for Laura and I to help. Glad to have others helping.

We miss everyone but happy doing the work here. I will write again soon.

Love tons,

Pic of Kev with little local kids who latched onto the group and really wanted their picture taken as the group was walking to the pharmacy:

Christy with the same little ones:

On the way to the pharmacy:

The ladies cooking for the group:

Kev and others watching the women cook:

One last thing - Laura texted me today and described the pharmacy to me - it is a tiny cement room with literally no working light (Laura used her cell phone for light and had to get really close to the meds to see anything). You walk in and it's almost completely dark and there is only one tiny little window that offers no circulation. They bought some hydrocortisone cream today, which again was ridiculously expensive for the Haitian people. She also described just how limited their supplies are once again. Really sounds like there is a great need there in Grand Goave, although I'm sure they will describe all of this more in detail when they get home.

I will hopefully post another update tomorrow as I get new pics and information:)!


Thursday, June 24, 2010

Haiti Update June 24, 2010

No written updates from Christy today, but she did send several pictures- I wish I had more explanation for them, but this is what I got. I also heard briefly from Laura that they had a good day - they were able to make it into town to run errands and made a stop at the local pharmacy - I believe they were looking to buy some albuterol inhalers for their asthma patients. Laura said it had very limited supplies and was small and dirty, and the meds were very expensive for the local people - she sounded discouraged by that. She also mentioned that the people seem to like to negotiate prices and take their time - not much "rushing" around going on like there is here at home. And, it sounds like they had another busy day in their little clinic! The only other information I heard was that it was more breezy today, which helped with the heat, and Christy did post on facebook that the need there in Haiti is huge. I can't wait to hear more details of their trip, but in the meantime, here are the pics!

A view of the local kids' classroom:

Stray dogs looking for food:

Kevin and Laura in the classroom:

Kevin helping a little girl at the well pump water:

Cute little kid:

Kevin, Christy, and Laura in town:

Kevin in town:

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Haiti Update June 23, 2010

Hi everyone! I received quite a few pictures from Christy today via email from her phone. She also forwarded a brief update and my sister, Laura, who is there with her, has texted me a bit as well. Here is Christy's update:

We are doing great. Tons of rain so it's been hard and muddy but it's not been as hot as usual so that's good. Its still crazy hot and we are sweating wet all day. Kev is soaked and dripping constantly. Yesterday he drank about 30 24 ounce bottles of water and only peed 2 times. It's still hot but the rain makes it tolerable- if that's possible. Food is ok but portions they cook for 13 people are equivalent to a portion for maybe 5 in the US. It's minimal but we brought other snacks so we're fine. Days start at@5am and bed @8 so it's not our normal schedule. Also with the rain the mosquitoes are minimal as well. So we are happy about that. Again it's primitive but ok. We are loving the kids and workers. Everyone is so loving and sweet. Most of them are already Christians so we just fellowship together every day.

That was pretty much it for Christy's email, but my sister, Laura, also texted that they were very busy in their little clinic all day! Lots of patients lined up and they are so happy that they are able to help some of them. Laura said that Christy is an excellent medical assistant and has learned so much already! And she has been just great with the patients. For those of you who haven't had a chance to meet Christy in person, I'll just say she is known to be very outgoing and sociable! She enjoys talking and getting to know people, so I can totally imagine her doing great in this capacity in the clinic. They are seeing mainly people with respiratory, skin, and stomach complaints. Many of the patients are children. The group brought a load of reading glasses with them and have found that many people are requesting them. They are also seeing a lot of itchy, allergy-type eye issues. The people seem to be opening up a bit and are becoming more friendly as the days go by. It sounds like they are becoming more comfortable with the group of volunteers. From what I hear, the construction work on the new school is going well also.

Ok, now I will post some pics!

Christy and Kevin with local children:

Local kids:

Laura and Christy with Bilede, a little boy who was hanging around and very interested in the pictures on Christy's camera:

Christy with an adorable little baby girl that was brought to the clinic for some sort of stomach issue. They thought she was just the cutest little one:

Laura and Christy with schoolgirls:


Unfortunately, it looks like they have to dump their trash down by the river, and a lot of it ends up in the water. I'm not clear on the details, but Christy sent a bunch of these pics today. There are many animals that eat the trash and these wild pigs were hanging around quite a bit.

This is a little kitty that has been hanging out around the camp. She sleeps in the clinic and likes to climb all over Christy and Laura while they try to work. They said she's very cute and friendly.

Okay that's about all I heard today, besides a hilarious email from Cass, Christy's sister, about how she's doing watching Ethan, Owen, and Mia at home - loved that email Cass - totally gave me a good laugh:). I will keep updating as I get information! I know Christy would like me to send a big thank you to her family for all of the love and support they are giving her and Kev by taking care of the kids and making sure that everything is running smoothly at home so they don't have to worry. Christy and Kev both truly do have wonderful extended families! And I know that Christy also is so appreciative of all of the support and prayers from her friends from home, church, and blogger-land! Thank you!!!!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

First Pics From Haiti

Christy sent some pictures via email this morning! Very cool to get more of an idea of their basic set up! I didn't get another written update yet, but will post it as soon as I do. I'm sorry these posts aren't very elaborate on my end (Laila) - I've never blogged before, so I'm just trying to get them up and do it semi-right.

Pic of Wayne, Matt, and Kevin:

The guys working:

Their bathroom and shower setup:

Another pic of the construction - I think they are building a school, but I will double-check that:

The tents they are staying in:

Picture of Christy and Laura in the little clinic:

Monday, June 21, 2010

Christy's First Update From Haiti

Hi everyone - this is Laila, Christy's friend, posting for Christy. She just sent an email update from her Blackberry and asked that I post it here. It sounds like they had an eye-opening day, but are doing well and getting settled in. Here is her email:

Wow was today a mixed bag. I saw things today that I will forever remember and will leave a lasting impression in my mind. Today was also a day of enjoyment and intrigue that brought us closer to our goal.

We had a long day of travel and we were exhausted. When we finally made it to Haiti we were met with heat but also a flood of people needing and asking for our help. Unfortunately, it was not appropriate to give them money so we had the hard job of telling children barefoot, covered in dirt with ripped clothes that we could not give them money. Hard. We were met by International Ministries and they took us to the truck we needed to load our 18- 70 pound bags into as we brought a ton of supplies and meds. We loaded the bags into the truck and then we were told we needed to join the bags and ride in the back of the truck, all 9 plus 4 others, all the way 3 hours plus to our destination. And so we loaded up unable to sit down- we stood up for the next 4 hours over bumpy roads and gawkers waving and staring.

On that long 4 hour ride standing up in the back of a truck we saw things that I have never seen in my life. Concrete ruins and mangled buildings. People living in poverty you can not imagine. It was hard to see but came to a head seeing naked babies and children living in a center divider of a road in plastic tarped rooms the size of a small powder room. Literally childen, families living in a center median in a room about 5x5. Covered in dirt and playing naked with rocks on the ground- tent after tent the same scene. It was enough to push one over the edge and it did me. How could these people survive like this? How can we live like we do while this poverty is happening. Heartbreaking.

We drove for 4 hours to end in Grand Goave, our place of residemce for the next 9 days. We met the other missionaries and found our tents and saw what we would be doing. Laura and I were very pleased with the clinic as it was an actual room with a ton of supplies. It will be a great place to work. We unpacked which took a while and had a dinner the local women prepared. It was a nice time. The kids are adorable and I can't wait to see them more tomorrow. As soon as we finished dinner it began pouring and I mean pouring. It was crazy rain so we we're stuck in a leaky tent for the rest of the night. Kevin, Laura and I are in a tent together and Laura and I both were fortunate enough to get a shower tonight which was wonderful. Cold water but wonderful! I'm now off to bed after being sleep deprived for 2 days and being emotionally exhausted. Please keep us in your prayers. We are having a good time. Its just an absolute adjustment from everything we know. No comforts of home - nothing. But, we are here to help and help we will.

We miss the kids already and we hope they are having fun. We love them so much. I will send pictures tomorrow.

Love Christy

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Off to Haiti

I just wanted to let everyone know we are heading out the door right now to head to the airport to leave for Haiti. Please keep us in your prayers. Good news is I found out I will be able to use one of my older phones for unlimited email while I am there so I will be emailing updates to my friend Laila and she will post them on my blog. So, you all will get to travel with me. I will be able to take horrible quality pictures with my phone and email them as well so I will have some pictures, but they will be poor quality.

So, off we go for an amazing adventure!! Please keep our team in your prayers and I will update as soon as we get down there and settled.

Big Hugs,


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Our Trip to Haiti

I have mentioned it a few times but Kevin and I are going on a missions trip to Haiti. We are heading leaving this Sunday night for a missions trip with our Church. It is something Kevin and I have wanted to do for a long time and I am thrilled we have the opportunity to travel with our church. We will be in Haiti for 10 days and will be in the Port-a-Prince area. We will be joining an International Missions group and will then become cogs in a working machine.

The primary goal of the tip is construction but we are fortunate enough to have one of my best friends come with us who is a medical doctor, therefore we will also have a medical team which I will be a part of--- totally scary for me- I'm not the medical type-I'm the psychological type but this will be good for me- stretch me a bit.

We will be living in tents in one of the tent city areas of Port-a-Prince. We cant bring much with us of value including wedding rings, etc. because of theft. It is going to be very primitive with a possibility of showers and a hole that may be considered a toilet, but it will be an amazing opportunity to show many people the hope Jesus can bring.

My sister is moving in to take care of the kids and we have a nice busy schedule for them to be occupied each day we are gone. It will be hard being away from the kids but they will have a blast with aunt Cassie, all the cousins, grandparents and friends.
Please pray for our trip and I will blog about it when we are back. There is no Internet in Haiti and we will not even have a phone or anything to communicate (although one team member might bring a world phone so we can send a message or two). It is going to be hard to be in such hot and humid weather with no air conditioned relief. I know that sounds pitiful, but we are so use to being able to get relief in the heat and there is none of that there. So pray for us that we will remain healthy and strong but also that we are able to really make a difference for just one person. I will post before we leave but please keep us and the kids in your prayers.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

My Beautiful Kids!!!

Yes, much of the time I forget about their beauty and focus on their annoyances but sometimes I take a picture that just makes me stop and gaze. I was in the car on the way up to Owen and Ethan's friends house this afternoon and I took my phone and surprised Owen with a quick picture. This is what I got:

Sometimes he just takes my breath away. He is such a beautiful boy and he has a heart to match. A true clone of his father, he is a skilled kid who works hard and always does his best. Liked by all who he encounters, he is easy to be around and a natural leader. Just an awesome kid who by the way made high honor roll this trimester (3.5 GPA or above) and I am so proud of him!! Man do I just love this kid!!!

And then there is the clone of yours truly! A kid who must be around others at all time-- a talker who charms the girls with his words but also his dimples. Aww.... my boy. This one takes the easy way out whenever possible. Grades and academics come easily so he just skims by and is totally happy with B's-- were not!!! He is an authentic kid who loves others and most of all loves Jesus and actively walks day by day with Him. While this kid drives me nuts (too much like his mom :) he is an amazing, charismatic and gifted kid who I am constantly amazed by!

And then there is the peanut! Yes a peanut in size but a giant in personality. She shocks people with her advanced language and people are often left with the sentiment that we have our hands full. Full they are-- full of an exceptionally intelligent, wildly independent, fiercely strong willed, beyond adorable snugglebug who constantly challenges our parenting abilities. While she is a challenge, she is also amazing in every way and I so look forward to see who this little girl grows up to be!!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

What Spelling?

OK, I think Finley will probably be the name. Not 100% but close. We have been looking at other names and we just cant find any we like as much as Finley. I was speaking with my mother in law- Mary- today and she said Finley sounds kind of Asian-- like Fin Ley. I had never thought about that before but it kind of does sound Asian which led our conversation down a spelling path. Mary suggested the spelling Finlee instead of Finley. I am not one for odd spellings because I think it makes it tough for kids with having to spell it and pronounce it -- BUT-- I don't think the spelling Finlee could be mispronounced. I also think it is kind of cute and defiantly a different spelling from the traditional spelling. So, give me some input-- Which do you like better-

Finley or Finlee

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Home Study Scheduled!!!!

We got a call from our new social worker and I am happy to say SHE ROCKS!!!!! I have been so worried about this HAGUE home study because it has a lot more requirements than the old NON HAGUE ones. A few years ago they had the Hague Convention that put extra requirements on international adoptions. All counties involved agreed on certain requirements that made things much more difficult for adoptive parents. One requirement is that the home study involves many more components including a ton of education (which is good) and 4 social worker visits. All in all, the time to complete a Hague home study is much longer than it use to be and most agencies quote 3+ months to finish the full study. UGGGGG!!!! So, I was really worried that the home study process would be drug out and if any of you know me well you know I like to move fast and get things done. Well, I was happy to say once again-- OUR SOCIAL WORKER ROCKS!!!! She was so nice and totally open to moving quickly. She said she could move as fast as we wanted and that we could have everything done quickly. I was sooooo happy after our conversation and I cant wait to have our first meeting in our home next Wednesday morning!!!

I have almost all our home study paperwork done. Literally my list of like 25 things is almost completely done with the exception of our final DR appointment next Friday to complete the forms and the kids medical forms. We have done our live scans, drawn labs, completed our criminal record statements, written our autobiographies, created our disaster plan and a ton more things under our belts. As soon as the final pieces of our home study packet is complete, I will begin putting the paperwork for our dossier together.

For all of you who have not done adoption before, this is the sequence of events for China Special Needs:

1. Home Study- takes about 3 months on average
2. File for I800A (immigration paperwork allowing us to adopt an orphan)- takes @ 5 weeks
3. Meanwhile compile all paperwork for dossier and once the I800A approval is back you can get everything authenticated- this takes @ 2 weeks once I800A is back
4. Send dossier to China and wait for your Log in Date (LID)- takes from 2 to 3 weeks to get LID
5. Once we are logged in, we could get our referral at anytime-- sometimes a week- sometimes 2 months- just depends. Our agency usually matches within a week or so
6. Once we are matched with our new little girl, the process has many more turns but all in all, from referral to travel ranges from 4 months to 6 months. I pray we will be more towards the 4 months but we will see!

So that is the run down until referral. Once we get our referral I will break the steps down again. I am so excited about all this and I cant wait to get moving on this process!

I have been very busy with the end of the school year almost here. I only have a couple weeks left and then summer-- yaa!!! I am so looking forward to relaxing. I still will have my private practice work to do but my normal "work" will be done. Boy are out of school on June 16 and then Kevin and I leave for Haiti on June 21. Not sure I have mentioned it on my blog or not, but Kevin and I are going to Haiti on a missions trip with our church. I will post more on this trip later but it is going to be amazing!