One tiny bundle of blessed joy! Melissa! She was so beautiful and had definitely filled out from the skin and bones she had been. You judge for yourself.
1st Day with Melissa
5 months later
But, she is definitely still very small for her age. She has developed as well being able to now do 4 month old and some 6 month old gross motor skills. She can rollover but usually tires easily from that. She also sleeps A LOT. Likely from the extra work her body has to do with her heart.
It was beautiful to see her bond with Wilna and Stanley who take care of her now. I'm realistic enough to realize that she wouldn't know me when I came this time. But, I came armed with a talking photo album with messages from her blanc (white) family and pictures. It is good to know that she is bonding and feeling loved when we can't be here. Thank you Wilna and Stanley.
We spent the first night re-learning each other and again, my heart was full.
The next day was full of hurry up and wait and bouncing around Port au Prince. I traveled with Michelle to take a child who is a candidate for heart surgery to get an echocardiogram. This beautiful little girl was named Kathleen. She was 2 years old. As I checked her in the truck, her oxygen level registered 68%. This would explain the blue lips and clubbed fingers for sure. After much searching and pleading, we found a physician who would do the echo but he couldn't see her for another 2-3 hrs. We headed back to Petitionville and 2 Domino's pizzas later we went back and got this little one's echo.
She was found to have a large ventricular septal defect which blessedly is very repairable. Through the new program with Chadasha Foundation and Internation Childrens' Heart Foundation, the Lord will provide for her medical healing. What a blessing.
It was Melissa's 1st birthday so we rushed back to Petitionville (ha ha, I said rushed through Haiti traffic) and picked up the gorgeous cake for her. We were ready to head back to the guest house and PARTY. Melissa's birth Mom was waiting for us when we returned for the party and the blessings would not only be for Melissa, but for us all....
My apologies to those few out there who have been following Melissa's story. This entry is long overdue. Last week I traveled back to my second home in Port au Prince. The trip was primarily planned to spend Melissa's first birthday with her. How could I possibly miss this special milestone. Secondarily, it was to meet some contacts and plan for a team that I was pulling together to come late April.
Some of my Facebook friends were privy to the concerns that I had developed in the days leading up to the trip. Usually my emotions are full of excitement and anticipation but not this time. I wasn't sure if it was unknowns about the future of things with Melissa's mother showing up or the future of my role in ministries in Haiti. All I was sure was that this trip was not feeling "right." So what I always do when I feel like this is pray...pray...pray. I prayed the Lord would take this trip and use it for HIS plan and glory. I gave Greg a short list of things I'd like to do when I came and I readied for the trip.
On the flight, I had some concentrated time to read the book Crazy Love by Francis Chan.
It was exactly the word I needed to hear. By the time I got off the plane in Port au Prince I was recharged and ready for God's plan. It really focused me to surrender to God's love and plan for me in ALL things. It occured to me as I finished this book, why so many fall in love with Haiti and discipling here.
In Haiti, you see and touch the face of God. No lie! It is here. Tangible and real. Nothing in the way to block your front row view. Who wouldn't want more and more of that? Crazy love is real and undistracted here.
I must say at this point, I've really gotten a system to traveling into to Haiti alone. Never thought a year ago the Lord would develop in me an ability to travel on my own to a third world country. I'm the greatest "Chicken Little" that there ever was. I truly think that the Lord will give us what we need when we are following his way. So, without hesitation, I darted through immigration and customs and headed to the pickup area. Greg greeted me and we waited for a team arriving that would be staying overnight at the guesthouse on their way to Les Cayes. I was so excited when Greg showed me what he had for me. My OWN Haitian phone!! Woo hoo! Now, I felt like I was a more permanent part of this mission. Don't laugh. It really was big for me to have some sense of a long term place here when my heart calls me her time and again. My passion continues to grow for my mission family in the Chadasha Foundation. The group I represent Project Sharewood is a sister to Chadasha Foundation in many ways. This group of God's faithful servants has blessed me so to welcome me into service with them. Check them out at: http://www.chadasha.org/. I'll speak more to some of their visions as this story progresses. The Lord has called me to walk along side these incredible people.
On our way to the guesthouse, I had to laugh at myself as the Lord once again taught me to never say never. While in Charlotte I believe, I watched an employee sweeping up litter outside on the tarmac/concourse. He really was having to search for anything to sweep given the pristine look of the area. I thought to myself, "you'd never see that in Haiti."
So as we were leaving the airport grounds, there in the turnabout, were 2 women sweeping up trash in the gutter. WHAT? They were a part of the work for food program that is becoming more popular in PaP. I just had to laugh and remind myself that God IS at work here. When I got to the guesthouse, it was like coming home. Hugs and gifts were shared with my Haitian family and my heart was full. Then, finally, Wilna (wonderful woman caring for Melissa) and Melissa arrived. Heart skipped a beat.
Sweet, sweet baby finally back in my arms...God is so good!
If you didn't read the last post, please do. As I was steering 7 10yr old little girls through the breakfast line at the hotel this morning, I received 2 pictures of Melissa and her Mom. The love in her mother's eyes was unmistakable.
You all know all I know at this point. I haven't heard how it went or what was said. It stinks sometimes to be so physically far away from where I feel I need to be.
So what was my first reaction to the pictures? A sad joy, if that is possible. Also the silly observation that she looks like her Mom. There was an emotion of commitment to this child and her family. God brought this Mom back to us for a reason. I will pray for the direction He is asking of us and we will follow His will. Bondye Bon Tout Tan! (God is good ALL the time!)
Thank you all for your sweet words of encouragement. They all keep me going I assure you!
I haven't blogged in awhile for the simple reason that not much has evolved. The steps for the adoption have been slower than usual and slower than necessary in truthfulness. The letters, documents and such require many hours of work during "day hours" and frankly our schedules are confined by full time jobs. So we are figuring this out but not in the timely manner we'd hoped for. We were very fortunate to have a friend from medical school who is currently a pediatrician at Harvard offer to inquire with his colleagues about Melissa's medical care. If they come through and offer help, we may be able to pursue Humanitarian Parole for her more expeditiously. So that is the extent to which we have progress. Little to none but we continue our efforts.
As many of you know, I leave in a few short days to go down alone for a brief visit to celebrate Melissa's first birthday. The weeks of planning this trip have been exciting and full of anticipation. But, for reasons unclear to me, the last few days have been filled with an emotion of doubt and uncertainty. I have prayed again and again that the Lord would use this time for His will and purpose. That will continue to be my prayer.
The "pothole" in everything came today. I got a call from Greg (missionary we work with in Haiti) this morning. Apparently at some point (I'm not sure of the exact details) Melissa's Mom "showed up".
Yes, I said it. Melissa's Mom is back after being completely missing in action for the last 5 months. She hid herself so well that concerted efforts could not find her as we tried those first 2 months. I was told that she came back and spoke with Yanick (clinic director/wife of community pastor) professing her apologies for the way she left Melissa. I was reassured that the Mom didn't request to have Melissa back however.
WHAM!!! CRASH! Pothole...
Now all who I have spoken with in the last few months know that my biggest rub has always been the fact that Melissa has parents. It is a big struggle for me to process adoption of children who's parents have placed them in others care for the sheer fact they cannot support the child due to circumstances. It means more to me to build up these families and keep them intact whenever possible. This is the reason I have fallen in love with the Apparent Project (http://www.apparentproject.org/). That is their goal as well.
So, what could be better than having a chance to help Melissa's true Mom provide better for her family?
**Crack** My heart breaking a little wider...
So, tomorrow (or today by the time I post this) the Roberts will be taking Melissa to the Pernier Baptist Church to see her Mom. And even as I type this, the ache gets a little deeper. I now wonder what His purpose for this trip truly will be. And I pray with every breath, that He will show what is best for Melissa with all of my selfish desires and wishes aside. Jack and I talked and agree that we want what is best for her and we can not rule out that we may not be what is best for her. We hope we are. We feel we are. But, we are at least honest enough with ourselves to know that some of those emotions could have selfish motivations. We truly love this child enough to follow God's will for her.
The emotions of this news were definitely mixed. I was truly thrilled that this woman would seek Melissa out. From the first day I never doubted that her Mom loved her. She was malnourished but otherwise cared for. She had no diaper rashes or any signs of neglect. She had been loved to the best of her Mom's abilities. I believe that with every ounce of my soul. I have never questioned her Mom's choices because frankly I can not say that mine would have been any different in the desperate situation she was in.
And yet, my heart aches and breaks a little more faced with the fact that this road has become even rockier and unsure of its ultimate destination. Those emotions were shared with Jack (my husband) only briefly with a quick cry in our hallway before we had to put on our "happy faces" as we were hosting a sleepover for my 10 year old's b-day at a local hotel with family and friends. Sometimes I really don't think I have the fortitude for this journey. We must, however, dig a little deeper again and journey on.