Samuel Jerome and Richnightder

Samuel Jerome and Richnightder
Our boys in Haiti

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Gotcha day, Church fundraiser, and Madi's big day

First and most importantly, my friend Lori and her husband Brent celebrated their gotcha day today with their beautiful little boy, Nathan. Their adoption story is definetly not one that was easy peasy, but today the 3 of them are together forever, in the U.S.A. Now please don't stop the prayers or thoughts and good vibes as they are still trying to bring their baby girl home from Haiti too, as are many, many other families who are now roadblocked once again due to the most assinine, backwards, ill-intentioned efforts of UNICEF. DON"T GET ME STARTED ON THE NEGATIVE EFFECTS OF UNICEF. LET ME JUST SUFFICE IT TO SAY THAT THEY ARE NOT PRO-ADOPTION AND WOULD BE VERY HAPPY TO KEEP ALL OF THE RELINQUISHED ORPHANS IN HAITI......FOREVER!!!!

Our itty-bitty little country Lutheran church today held a pancake breakfast to raise money for Lutheran World Disaster Relief...which has already donated several million dollars to Haiti, and also had a silent auction. I had Haitian families that live in Bismarck come out to partake of the action with us and it was good to see them. Also had horse friends show up to donate and show support as well as a homeschool family that we are only just getting to know. All of these old and new friends came to show support because of our family's ties to Haiti. This means the world to me, to know that other's really understand how much this disaster affects our family. Haiti is not just my boys' birth country, but our forever adopted second homeland. It was good to hear Creole bantered around and to watch my boys listen and speak in their native language.

At one point, the Merger family were speaking to Jerome in Creole and he must not have understood as he looked right at Yves and said " Hey, I non konprann. I parle Spanish!" OMG everybody burst out laughing and Yves and Nirva just told me I need to speak Creole to him, more than Dora is speaking Spanish. Jerome is a total crack-up!!

Lastly, my beautiful almost 13 year old daughter was invited to go to see Avatar,,, BY. A. BOY!! After I read her emails without her knowledge, I realized that this boy did indeed invite her on a date. Now since I know the family of this young man, I can vouch that he is indeed a nice young boy and his mom and I have been known to have a good laugh over a STRONG Margarita. So in other words, he comes from a normal, nice family. And the best thing of all, her young beau insisted on paying for all the costs at the movies including the extra-large popcorn. WooHoo.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Minneapolis and Jerome's eye surgery

It's official. Jerome will have his strabismus surgically corrected at the University hospital in Minneapolis. Seems he needs more correction than is easily achieved here in Bismarck. NO DUH! His eyes need to be pulled not only in and out, but up an down. Jerome is thrilled...seriously...that surgery is ahead for him. He has been asking to have his eyes fixed for a month now.

One more appointment tomorrow to finalize everything and we'll know the exact date, but looks like in March my beautiful boy will have his eyes looking in the same direction all the time.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Young brains and hearts with penetrating questions

Blogging sometimes causes me to stop and think before I write. I don't often stop and think before I speak, so anytime I pause to collect my thoughts before allowing the words to flow out of my mouth or fingers is a good thing. I am typically a very open person. What you see is what you get. I try to not put on pretenses and just be me.

I have, however debated whether or not to blog about my son's comment he made last night at dinner. Once you put something out into the blogosphere it becomes public, very public and since it involves my kid, I had to think about whether or not to share it. I am seeking I guess good natured ideas regarding his comment and the BEST way to address it. My fear is that I am sharing his thoughts in a public forum. In other words, I am sharing his story of his young life without his permission.

So having said all that, let me recap his life story thus far to encompass all of his 7 years on this earth. Richnigthder was born to a remarkable couple in Haiti named Camesuze and Jean. They were very poor and struggled to feed themselves and their oldest child, our son. They chose to give him life (food, health care, education, etc.) by surrendering him to the orphanage which then matched him with us. He was only 3 1/2 years old when that happened and he vividly remembers the trip to the orphanage and the moment they walked away without him. He speaks wonderfully about them and their love for him was evident when they said goodbye to him with us present. Sometime after they placed him in the orphanage, they had another child, a little girl named Sylove.

Richnigthder has gotten to meet Sylove several times when his parents made the LONG trip to visit him at the orphanage. We have never seen her, but from what Richnigthder says, we guess her to be about 2 to 2 1/2 years old now. Several months ago I asked him if he wanted his sister to come and live with him here with us and he said no, since he didn't want her to have to live at the orphanage. That sounded reasonable to me, since no matter how good an orphanage is, it is never, ever a replacement for a loving family.

We were eating dinner at the Cracker Barrel last night when I asked him again, since he has seen the destruction caused by the earthquake in Haiti, if he would like Sylove to be with us. His answer brought Marc and I each to a state of spleechlessness. He told us he would like Sylove to visit us here, but that she has to go back to Camesuze and Jean since they want to 'keep' her. OMG, I had the biggest lump in my throat and heart.

Does Richnightder perceive that his birth parents chose to "give" him away and yet "keep" his little sister?? How do we explain to him that Camesuze and Jean love(d) him so much that they had to choose adoption as the only way to ensure his survival? How do we explain that they couldn't feed him, yet they appear to be able to feed Sylove, at least for the time being. I feel in my soul, that at some point, if they have survived the earthquake, they will have to surrender Sylove too to an orphanage. Will this mitigate Richnightder's obvious questions and angst? All I know right now, is that since the earthquake, the Laurie household has had to face many, many difficult questions, mostly posed by a young boy, relatively new to this earth, yet seeming to possess an old soul. He makes my brain have to stretch to think of different perceptions and to imagine walking in his shoes.

All of my kids are adopted, yet he is the one that makes us think and question and search and ponder whether we are doing and saying the right things to make his life the best it can be. Why can't this kid raising gig be easy, just one day? Time to get these kids into the bath and then to bed and a lovely cocktail for me!! 'Night! Oh, and I am open to suggestions.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Our family in Haiti

This is a picture of Richnightder saying goodbye to his birth parents, Camesuze and Jean on our pick-up trip April 30th, 2009. While we all tried to smile, we all knew the anguish it was causing Camesuze and Jean. We had just gotten done having a translated conversation in which they told Richnightder it was ok to love us and to be happy. They also asked if we would allow Richnightder to see them again, to which we replied an absolute YES! These two people loved him enough to make a plan for him that would cause them grief and heartache while trying to afford him opportunities in life they could not provide. They also adored him......this was abundantly apparent. We love these two people for creating this wonderful, resilient child and now we may never, ever know if they survived this catastrophe.

The room this picture was taken in, was in the transition house/main offices for FEJ/CEJ in Port-au-Prince. This building is no longer habitable. All the files, computers, records, documents are most likely gone in a cloud of dust. Thankfully, all the babies, children and staff members escaped there without injuries.

Life as we knew it in haiti is now incomprehensibly changed. If it was difficult on the best of days it is now an unfathomably difficult struggle. How is it possible to have a society who previously had so little to now have absolutly nothing? How is it even possible to have less than nothing? The answer to that can be found in the face of every haitian right now. I have tremendous survivors guilt, just because my children are not there enduring what their birth families are. Perhaps, Richnightder's birth family is dead. How do I look at Righnigthder's face and explain that we may never know the fate of his beautiful birth mother and courageous birth father?

We long to go to Haiti and help, but we do not have the skills needed there now. Perhaps if Marc's employer sends a peace keeping force he will go to aid in that. Until then, we sit, and watch and wring our hands with worry, and fear and gratitude that we are not there. How selfish is that?!!

Jumbled thoughts at best today, for the many people we know and care about and love in Haiti and their unknown fates.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Sadness beyond sadness in Haiti

The last thing a struggling country like Haiti needs is a catastrophe. They have no infrastructure to deal with anything as simple as a car accident let alone a catstrophic earthquake of significant magnitude.

My heart aches for all the people of Haiti who now must live in a new form of chaos and poverty. Please keep the people of Haiti in your thoughts and prayers as we have many, many people that live in Haiti that we know and care about. The orphanage our children lived in, suffered some structural damage, but everyone is alright. I can't explain to you the sadness in my heart to know how many people are currently suffering beyond description.

My two boys' families live in Port-au-Prince and we may never, ever know if they have survived this catastrophe. I pray for my little boys that they find peace in their hearts and we eventually find that their families miraculously survived. This is a sad, sad day for our family and all of Haiti.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Only in North Dakota. Well, maybe Siberia too

IT's been colder here. Last January 15th, it was -44f. Last Friday morning it was a little chilly at -32f. Jerome had an eye doctor appointment and Thomas had one too, but for his rash. Anyhoooo, after Jerome was finished at the Opthamologist's we went thru the drive thru at McDonald's. See, I am a great mother, feeding my children hot, fat-laden, delicious tasting food at regular intervals throughout the day. For some unknown reason we had to wait for Jerome's #9 crispy chicken sandwhich to be made, so I had to pull forward and wait for our order. A few minutes later, out walked a young boy who appeared to be about 15 carrying our order. I rolled the window down and promptly scolded him. Only in North Dakota would someone meander outside without wearing a jacket, in only his short-sleeved shirt. At the time, checked the temp and it was -30f. I told him he should be ashamed to come outside without a coat on and his mother would be disappointed in him. He sulked back into McDonald's and I am sure talked about the bitchy old lady that just chastised him for his stupidity!

I relayed this story to Marc later on and he then pointed out to me, that he ran outside to plug in his car in only his underpants that morning.....after just having gotten out of the shower and still with wait hair. If only I had a camera to catch him hustling across the front porch in his panties and snow boots. :) So maybe guys don't call their undies panties, but they should because underwear or briefs or whatever never sounds as nice or dignified as panties.