Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Flag Day

Flag Day in Haiti

By Samuel Jean Baptiste, Child Advocate

Why are you proud of Haïti? 

One of the answers you might hear when asking the Haitian people this is: We are proud of Haïti because we are the first black independent nation in the world.
Though the Haitian people face many social and economic issues, they all remember the day their country won its independence from the colonial slave system: November 18th, 1803. Earlier that same year, on May 18th, 1803, Jean-Jacques Dessalines took down the French flag and ripped out the white band.  He then had Catherine Flon sew the blue and red stripes together, creating the blue and red Haitian flag. Ever since that day, the Haitian people have celebrated May 18th as Flag Day. 
Today, the Haitian flag is composed of horizontal red and blue stripes, with the center displaying the weapons of the republic on a square of white cloth.  Inside this square reads our country’s motto: L’Union fait la force (Unity is Strength). 
Every year, it is easy to tell when 18 me (May 18th) is coming. You hear kids saying, “Map defile pou 18 me…” (“I will be in the May 18th parade…”).  Everywhere you look, you see people selling the Haitian flag, including in the Champ-de-Mars, a beautiful place that has historic monuments, the National Pantheon Museum of Haïti, next to the Toussaint Louverture Airport, and elsewhere.
The National Ministry of Education in Haïti also organizes special activities for May 18th. Students at some schools dress up in red and blue, the colors of the flag, and go to Arcahaie, in the Ouest department of Haiti where the flag was created.  Others go to Champ-de-Mars for a parade; they dance in the streets and act out a drama relating the history of Haiti. It is a very unique cultural experience, and is exciting to see how the young people get involved.
May 18th is an important day for another reason as well.  May 18th is also University Day in Haiti, so we also have activities related to education and culture on that day.  
It may be a normal day elsewhere, but May 18th is a very important day for Haiti!

Thursday, May 12, 2016


Exactly 1 year and 5 months ago today we turned in our application to adopt from Haiti, changing from Ethiopia.

It was 3 years, 7 months, 1 week, and 2 days ago that we excitedly turned in our papers to begin our adoption journey (thinking that would be from Ethiopia at that time).

Yes, this has gone on a long time.

Yes, we still have a long way to go.

Yes, someday it will definitely be worth it.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Mother's Day

The day before yesterday was Mother's Day.

I had a nice day.  Mark and the boys let me sleep in and made me breakfast.  When the smoke alarms went off like they always do when cooking bacon - all 3 boys jumped in bed with me and gave me cuddles and then gave me cards they made.  We visited Mark's parents and mine.  And Mark made me a delicious dinner of salmon, brown rice/quinoa, green beans and an amazing salad (how lucky am I?).  I feel beyond blessed as I think of my own mother and the woman who raised my wonderful husband...and as I looked at the three amazing little people that I've been blessed to have call me Mom.

And yet...there is always that twinge of pain on Mother's Day.  For different reasons.  Of course there is the part of me that remembers the years that this holiday was so painful as I yearned to become a mother - and my heart goes out to all the many women (and men) in that situation now.  I also think of Noah's birthmother who brought him into the world and struggled so deeply with her decision to place him in our family, believing that it was what was best for him but breaking her heart to do it.  And then I think of what is going on somewhere in Haiti...

There is a mother who has met some level of intense tragedy.  Perhaps it was a fatal one.  Perhaps she is unable to care for her young child and has had to make the difficult choice of placing her into an orphanage just for her to survive.  My heart aches for this woman that I will likely never know.  It hurts to know of the heartache that must inevitably precede the joy this child will bring to us...and I worry about that child.  Her tender heart is going through trauma and loss too.  Is she being cared for?  Is she being fed?  Loved?  Where is she?  How old is she?  When will we meet her?  And while she isn't mine yet, my mother heart aches for her.  To be able to hold her, to know her, to give her a home and family and teach her to rely on the consistency that we'll offer her.  For our family to be complete.

The wide range of emotions that I've felt over the last week or two as Mother's Day approached has been all over the map.  Overwhelming gratitude.  Sadness.  Joy.  Hope.  Heartache.  And so I have prayed.  More than normal.  For those aching to become mothers, for those who have lost children, for those who have lost mothers, for children who desperately need a family, for the women who broke their own heart because it is what was best for their child.  And I pray for my heart to find focus on the love and gratitude.  And to know that He is in charge and watching over everything.

*I ran across this post from five years ago (from my personal blog that I don't post to any more these days), and wanted to come back and include it here.  I didn't even remember writing it and it echoes a lot of what I just said:

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Cookbook & Creole

There is only so much you can do during a wait like this to keep yourself sane.  I'm trying to channel it in productive ways the best I can!  I just bought a Haitian Cookbook and am excited to try a few things out of it! I also registered Mark and I for a Haitian Creole class to start this summer!!! I got the workbook/dictionary in the mail yesterday and am really excited to learn some basic Creole for when we go on our socialization visit to Haiti and meet our little girl.