The Boys Are Back*

Mark and Jafta got into LAX late last night. They had such a good trip. Keanan got out of the hospital on the very day they arrived. His foot is doing much better. Mark got to go on a doctor’s appointment with him. The surgeon seemed very competent, and it looks like the infection is going away. His wound still needs to close up and heal a little more, and he is still not able to walk on it. But hopefully in a few weeks he will be back to his active little self!
Keanan was a little subdued on this trip, which is to be expected. He’s been through a lot this past month. He was really happy to see Mark and Jafta, but preferred to interact with them while in the hands of his nanny. He is very bonded to the nannies, which is so good to see. He was really playful with Mark, and Jafta is just smitten with him.

We got more news on the adoption process. We are still in parquet (the second stage) – which we thought we had cleared. We were bummed to hear that but we should be getting out very soon. When we clear that, his adoption will be final in Haiti, but not in the US. Lots of hoops still to go, but we have cleared the big ones related to our family size. The good news is that the council for the death decree has been completed, so hopefully that won’t be hanging us up in MOI. It will still be several months before he comes home.

On their last day there, I got to SKYPE with all of them! It was so cool to see him in person. He was kind of shy about it, but he was holding a photobook of our family. While I was talking, he starting kissing the photos of us. I WAS DYING!! He is so cute, and my heart hurts to get him home.

A note to other adoptive parents:
I know there are some other parents adopting from Heartline who read my blog. I just want to let everyone know that all the kids are doing great. They are happy and healthy, and we continue to be impressed by the care they get. Mark thought he recognized every single nanny from our trip a year ago – so they are getting consistent bonding with the same amazing ladies. The nannies are interactive and very loving to all the kids. Shelly Tlucek is doing such a great job overseeing everything. She has put the kids on a daily rotation, kind of like a developmental preschool. They do different activities like a playdough station, a book station, a blocks/puzzles station, etc. It is obvious that a lot of thought has gone into making this a stimulating environment for their little minds. We took down two more trikes, and some duplo blocks and new books. The kids still love the trampoline best!

Mark also took balloons and made balloon animals for all the kids. Those were a big hit.

When Keanan came back to the boys’ home after his two-week hospital adventure, all of the boys greeted him like a long lost brother. So did the nannies. It really is such a family environment there, and each and every child is thriving. I ordered my husband to get a photo of every child – I have uploaded them at the Heartline Kid’s shutterfly page.

((((((*5 points if you recognize where that song is from . . . )))))

brotherly love

I got to “chat” with Mark on facebook for a while tonight. He sent me this picture of the two boys together:

Jafta is still running a fever in the evenings and his asthma is giving him trouble. Luckily I forced Mark to pack the nebulizer, just in case. Mark said he was fine during the day today, and then just got sick again when they got home. Keanan is getting better but still pretty quiet and not his usual active self. Jafta is really loving on him. I love how he has his arm around him while they are watching a movie.

Today Mark and Jafta got the chance to tag along with the Livesays and a team from the Austin Stone church to visit a few organizations doing great work in Haiti. Check out Jamie and Aaron’s blogs for their personal accounts, and Tara’s for more pictures. It sounds like it was a powerful experience for everyone. They visited a home for disabled children, and Mark said that Jafta was amazing with the kids there, giving wheelchair rides and playing and not even batting an eye at their disabilities. I don’t know what I did to deserve such a compassionate little guy (or how I can get some of it to rub off on India). Jafta is such a sweetie.

India and I are doing . . . okay. She’s been a little fiesty all week. I know she is missing her brother and daddy. Yesterday she was playing with her Ariel doll and kept saying “She just wants her daddy right now”.
I’m feeling a little heavy tonight. I found out that my grandfather died today. I won’t be able to go to the funeral this close to my due date. I’m really feeling sad to miss that, and to miss this visit with Keanan. I feel my heart pulled in different directions and yet I know I need to stay here and take care of incubating the newest member of our family for a few more weeks.

missing my boys

Thanks to the modern technology of the satellite phone, I’ve actually been able to talk to Mark every night they’ve been in Haiti. That has been SO nice. We are also always trying to chat on facebook, but somehow I missed him every time he’s on. Yesterday afternoon I was in a benadryl-fueled nap and woke to several messages from friends telling me to get online. I had just missed him. Mark is wondering how I am on facebook all day when he is home, and yet he can’t reach me when I am in Haiti. I am using this as proof that I am not online ALL THE TIME. I take breaks to eat and sleep, thank you very much.

Mark let me know last night that Jafta is running a fever and needing breathing treatments throughout the day. He sounds pretty sick. He is lethargic and grumpy, and refused to eat anything last night. If there are two things that describe Jafta’s baseline, it is active and hungry. So I think Mark was worried. I think he caught something before he left for Haiti and it’s just now showing up in full force, because he had a rough night before they left. But I know it’s hard for Mark to be seeing him sick, and Keanan recovering at the same time.

Mark said Keanan smiled so big when he first saw them. He is immobilized with the cast and very subdued (also not like him). But he’s been really, really snuggly with Mark, and laughs and smiles at Jafta. I know if they were feeling better these two would be wrestling and running all over the place. For now, Mark is in the role of comfortor with both of them, and I am wishing even more I could be there. I am stoked he is staying with a missionary family that is taking great care of them, and of Keanan. He is still on a lot of medication and, like most kids, not really thrilled when it comes time to take it. They are making sure he gets everything prescribed. Yesterday all the nannies from the boy’s home came to visit Keanan at the home where Mark is staying, because they haven’t seen him in almost two weeks since he was hospitalized. Mark said he recognized every nanny, and that they all seemed very bonded to him. Every time we visit, we are reassured of how much he is loved.

reunited and it feels so good

I just got word that my three boys are hanging out in Haiti! Mark and Jafta arrived safely this afternoon – I guess they got to have a nice little delay on the tarmac in Miami. Keanan was discharged from the hospital just this morning. Talk about timing! They are all together now, and I’m hoping Keanan is not TOO freaked out by the white man he probably barely remembers and his over-enthusiastic big brother. I’m wishing so badly I was there.

Here are some photos of his last day in the hospital. This hospital is really, really nice and it looks like he is being so brave! The doctor confirmed that it is, in fact, a staph infection. I’m so glad he got such good treatment, is home, and things are improving.

Anticipatory Behaviors & Haiti: Where The Good Toys Go

They boys are en route to Haiti. I just talked to Mark and Jafta. They are all settled in to their hotel in the Miami Airport. Yes – in the airport, as in right next door to the gate where they landed. Pretty cool, huh? I’m not sure why we’ve never done that before. It’s so much smarter to show up to Haiti showered and rested, instead of on the tail-end of a long red eye flight.

Today was a hard day for me. I’ve been so consumed with getting them ready for this trip and collecting donations that I think I was in totally denial that I wasn’t actually going. As I dropped them off at the airport, I was so, so sad. I think it didn’t hit Jafta that I wasn’t going until just then, either. He was giddy with excitement all morning at then after I said goodbye to him, Mark said he was really quiet and sad for about a half hour. Which is a pretty sharp contrast to how he has acted for the past 24 hours.

Jafta has what I like to call an “anticipatory behavior” issue. (Actually, I completely stole this descriptor from Christine – one very smart mama). When he is excited about something, he acts like a total and complete spaz until it happens. He basically becomes the Tasmanian devil. Only louder. It is really, really annoying because he ends up driving us nuts AND getting in trouble over and over again. So much so, that I typically don’t even tell him things in advance anymore. If he has a playdate, I tell him 5 minutes prior. If we have a birthday party to go to, I announce it on the way there. I didn’t even tell him when it was Christmas Eve – he just woke up one morning, and BAM, it was Christmas. This may sound mean, but trust me. It is better for everyone involved, including him.

Anyways, we couldn’t really hide the Haiti trip. So last night, he was a whirling dervish of energy. We put him to bed at 8pm and he was up until 11!! This is despite numerous stern lectures from us about his need to sleep. Luckily he got a decent nap on the plane today, but I feel sorry for the people sitting in front of him. I have a feeling they got some decent kicks in their seat backs from my over-excited four-year-old.

Meanwhile, on the homefront, India is completely and totally bitter that she is not going to Haiti. She was angry with me all night. She has been watching the donations come in all week, too. All she knows is that there has been a pile of bubbles, balloons, tricycles, and toys that she has not been allowed to play with because they are going to Haiti. In her mind Haiti is just an island where all the “good toys” are going, and she can’t go with them. All night tonight, she has been showing me a toy and saying, “this toy is from Haiti”. She’s also been asking about the bubbles in Haiti, and if Kembert (Keanan) is playing with the balloons. Such a humanitarian, that one.

By the way, here’s a picture of their luggage. Thank you SO MUCH to all of you who dropped donations off this weekend. We fit an unbelievable amount of stuff to take for the orphanage, women’s program, and sewing program. Mark and Jafta have all their personal stuff in backpacks. We bought these big duffle bags last year just for this purpose, because they carry so much and then we can fold them up and bring them home until the next trip. Each bag was exactly 50 pounds – lots of weighing and redistributing last night to fit it all in without having to pay the heavy bag penalty. It’s fun to play “mules” for the missionaries who work so hard in Haiti.