Tuesday – Haiti 2012

Tuesday morning, I packed up some craft supplies and took a short bus ride over to LaBoule orphanage. I had been warned that it was very dirty and very over crowded.

We walked through the halls of the orphanage and saw that the warnings were true. The bedrooms were full of bunk beds – 3 high and touching on all sides. And dirty doesn’t really explain the conditions very well. There was urine surrounding one side of the building; we walked through it to get to the kitchen. There were rat droppings on the mattresses. 80-100 kids live in this orphanage. Many of them have no documentation, and are unable to be adopted. They’ll spend their entire lives here.

Apart from these things, the children here seemed happy and healthy. They loved to play with play dough and jump rope. Sweet, respectful kids.

It’s really hard for someone who doesn’t yet meet the requirements for Haitian adoption to see things like this and not get completely outraged with the Haitian government. It’s fine, in their eyes, to have 100 children living in these conditions, but it’s not fine for a 26 and 28 year old couple who has been married for 7 years to take children away from here and give them a different life in America? I don’t understand that. I probably never will.

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Monday – Haiti 2012

Each day, we got to choose which project we wanted to do that day. The choices were: work in the Cretch, lead a VBS in the village, do a community immersion project (such as helping villagers do laundry, or pick coffee beans to roast, etc.), go to another orphanage, or help build a home. Monday, I signed up to work in the Cretch.

There were a few little girls that I stuck with most of the week. My first buddy of the day was a sweet and shy little girl. I never could get anyone to tell me what her name was, but after getting home and looking through my pictures from my first year, I think it might be Nashme. Not sure about that, but they had similar smiles. Though I’m nowhere near a professional and am just guessing based on other kids I know, I have a feeling this girl has a developmental delay of some sort. She was completely nonverbal until the last day I was with her (when she sort of counted “one and two” with me), didn’t make much eye contact at all, didn’t interact with the other kids much, and did a lot of non-stop self-soothing things, like sucking on her fingers. It took her a few days to warm up to me and interact with me, other than being held and talked to. I discovered that she loved to be tickled when she would place my hands in her armpits and her neck, so I would tickle them. She’s so precious. This photo shows her sucking her fingers and covering it up. She would put two fingers in her mouth and cover it with her other hand. Sweet thing was afraid of getting in trouble, I think.

That’s her on the left. The girl on the right was quite the spit-fire.

After we fed the baby girls, I went upstairs to the toddler boys’ room for while, until I got covered in some projectile vomit from the baby I was feeding. Then we decided it was time to break for lunch (and change clothes, of course). Before I got a vomit bath, I let the little guys play with my hair for a while. They loved every second of that. I’d like to note that this picture shows 8 toddler boys playing with my hair at once. There should be an award for allowing that. It was such a blast making them laugh though.

After lunch, we went back down to the baby girls’ room. One beautiful baby girl wasn’t feeling well. She was running a fever and coughing up a lot of junk. She sat upright and rocked herself back and forth most of the morning. When I finally had free hands to pick her up, she fell right to sleep and slept the rest of the time I was down at the Cretch.

I could not get over how beautiful she was. She passed her cold or whatever bug she had to me, unfortunately, but it was worth it to spend some time letting her sleep on me. Seriously though, she’s the most beautiful baby ever, I think. Eyelashes for days.

They took her to the doctor on Tuesday and she wasn’t back for the rest of the week. Hoping she was getting some great rest while she was away.

This is Christie. She has the softest hair on the planet. She was one of the smallest babies at the Cretch.

And the other girl I spent a lot of time with was Loudjina. She was so expressive and funny. She would make faces until you laughed, and then start laughing along with you. Her favorite face was to pouch out her lips. She was such a blast. Here are a few of the many faces of Loudjina.

Spending the day in the Cretch was such fun. Being surrounded by kids is something I absolutely love. But when those kids are Haitian, my spirit is overflowing. I got to spend time feeding them, comforting them, and playing with them. It was one of the best days of the trip this year. I’d do this for the rest of my life in a heartbeat.

Here’s a quick little video of my day at The Cretch.

Saturday and Sunday – Haiti 2012

We got to Port au Prince last Saturday, and made the bumpy bus ride up to Thomassin that evening. I feel such a sense of contentment when I am in Haiti, and Saturday that started to sink in as we drove past the markets and groups of people. Though I can’t speak much of their language, and we don’t have a lot in common, I really feel a sense of unity with the Haitians. More on that later this week.

When we arrived at Bethel Guest house, we immediately went down to the Cretch, the orphanage attached to the Guest House. We went up to the room with the toddler boys and settled ourselves in. It was wild and cute, as one would expect of a room full of toddler boys, and I loved being able to watch our team members meeting Haitian orphans for the first time. I scooped up as many as I could into my arms, and we just played and laughed until dinner. I have such peace in that. I could already start to feel God reaffirming my decision to become a foster parent and renew my passion for orphans.

Sunday we went to church in a small village. I’ve been to three different churches in Haiti, and every time I am blown away by their services and their passion for the Christ that Americans seem to gloss over. The location of the village church we went to was breathtaking. One of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been, by far.

Sunday after church, some of us headed back down to the Cretch and held some more babies. I love being able to head down the stairs to spread some love around to the babies. It’s my very favorite thing.

Each day this week, I’m planning to write about one day (with the exception of today and Friday, where I’ll write about two days) and show pictures to you and share about my experiences in Haiti this week. I can’t wait! I love talking about Haiti, so I hope you love hearing about it.

Haiti x 3

In just 4 short hours, I’m meeting my team at the airport for our week in Haiti. I’m a little wired with excitement, nerves, and Reese’s milkshake. In that order.

As always, I would love your prayers. Prayers for safe travel, prayers for our work to show off God’s big love and not America’s big bank checkbook, prayers for team unity, and prayers for the orphanage to be left a better place than we found it. I think it’s safe for me to speak for the team when I say your prayers are such a big deal to us.

I’ve done this enough to know that my heart will be broken in the best kind of way when I get home. I’m so looking forward to telling you all about it. You’ve helped me go on this trip; for that I am SO thankful.

Wedding Season

I’ve been working on a few little design projects for some upcoming summer weddings using Hairicatures. So fun!

You can order Hairicatures from here now! I updated my old Etsy site and we’re ready to roll! It’s still not perfect (like the spacing on that header… yuck) but I’ve got a lot of “last hours in the US before heading to Haiti for a week” projects that I need to finish up, and a messy header in a pinch is better than no header. Right?

Thanks for all your orders, folks! Getting paid for design work is a dream come true – something I never thought would be happening this time a year ago. It makes my heart happy.

A Journal For Every Occasion

Lillian saw these sweet little mini-books in a baseball card sleeve from the Martha Stewart website and I begged her to pin them on Pinterest so I could save the link.

So, as I tend to do, I took that idea and ran with it for days and did nothing else. At first, I made myself a set of mini books for my Haiti trip. Here’s what they look like. Please pardon my chipping nail polish.

Then, when that wasn’t enough, so I made three more just like it for a few other Haiti team members. And then that still wasn’t enough so I made a summer-set for all my summer fun. Here’s what that set looks like.

The last set I’m working on is a gift for my sister-in-law, so I can’t give too much of it away, but here’s a little peek at it.

I’m a little bit anal about keeping different journals for different things. I keep a different journal for everything – poetry journal, a notes-from-church journal, a deepest-darkest-thoughts journal, etcetera. So this project is perfect for me!