Going into the blogging about Haiti, I knew days 4 and 5 would be hard to sum up. I knew that it would be hard to make it accurate to my experiences without being overly emotional and dramatic. I knew a lot of things about blogging days 4 and 5… none of which helped me figure out HOW to do it. So, let’s just start with pictures.This is Judson. He lives at the Cretch, which is the orphanage for infants through children around 8 years old. Judson is the exact description of precious. He’s tiny and cuddly and smiley. He’s got a great snorty laugh, and he babbles in his sleep. He’s 6 months old and weighs 10-11 pounds. He has a problem eating which will need to be fixed with surgery, and he changed my life. That sounds like an exaggeration, but I can’t explain to you how much it is not.
During the week, several of us were paired with babies who were sick. We each got our partner and made sure they got their medicine, were fed at the same time every day, and got extra love and care. Judson was my partner. His favorite place while we were together was laying on my chest, like the picture above. If I tried to put him on my lap, or on my arms, he would wiggle and kick and scrunch his nose up until he was back on my chest.
I would sit for hours each day like that. Just holding him close to me and letting him sleep or feeding him or letting him chew on his shirt or my shirt or a bib or anything else he could reach. Being the person to care for Judson that week was absolutely the most purposeful my life has ever felt. I was needed, I was loved unconditionally, and it felt like our hearts were made to be together for those few days. I believe that his being sick at that moment and my broken ankle were planned long ago so that we would have a few days together under the banana trees at the Cretch in Haiti. That Judson specifically was put in my arms out of all the other sick babies, that our nurse Pam thought to pair people from our team with sick babies from the orphanage, and that he was as content a baby as can be. That every small detail of this trip, and his life, and my life had been orchestrated by a God who knows exactly what Judson and I need every day of our lives. That week, we needed each other.
On day 5, we were told that it would be our last day in the Cretch, and that we’d be going to a village for the next days – to say our goodbyes. I cannot remember a time in my life where saying goodbye was more difficult. I couldn’t look at his face without crying. I couldn’t hold his hand without imagining my life without him in it. I couldn’t say goodbye. It hurt on every possible level.
Judson taught me that family doesn’t have to be organic. Children within my reach need mothers. I’ve got enough love in my heart to share with kids who need love. He taught me that adoption is not only a great option for some people, but that it’s a great option for Dave and I. Because of the love I felt for Judson, I would be able at some point in my life to have a child by adoption and know that we could love each other well. Because of the love Judson showed to me, I could confidently say that I’ll never be able to turn my back to the adoption needs in the world.
I found out a few days after the trip that Judson has a home in Wisconsin. He’s got a family that loves him dearly that’s working right now on getting him home on a medical visa. You can read about him and his family here.