A week ago last Wednesday my Daddy drove Craig and I to the Seattle airport where we passed the day waiting for our red-eye flight. At supper we ate pizza because that’s what we were eating the 22-23 years ago when we first talked of adoption. We were also prayerful about the unrest we had learned about in Haiti. I slept most of the way to JFK, and Craig didn’t. As we moved through airports, I experienced great joy and felt like I had the best secret in the world as I moved through lines and crowds.
Upon landing in Port-au-Prince, we immediately saw improvements both structurally and in lifestyle from last May. I proudly navigated through the men wanting to “help” with my luggage this time. (I found a firm mother voice was quickly responded to, and I didn’t feel like I was being disrespectful.) Rachel picked us up from the shady waiting area, and we headed to Rivers of Hope. None of the day before’s concern over the soldiers in Parliament seemed warranted. Worry never helps and rarely do I worry knowing the full picture of what I am worried about.
When we entered the orphanage, Mica was waiting all dressed up with matching socks. When I bent to greet her, she studied us, and then a nanny said something that entailed Maman, and she jumped in my arms. Rachel took us to the outdoor living room, and Mica and Craig played “Tick tock Mica is a little clock” a million times. As we shared a salad, we could see Mica’s appetite had improved from last year. Her friends watched and cackled through the window that looks out onto the patio. Mica knows how to play to her audience. Eventually the other “older” children were allowed to join us, and they played, danced, peek-a-booed until it was time to go. As we left the nannies came to say good-bye, and Rachel took us to Beth and Willem’s guest house. We ate supper with the Charles family and enjoyed hearing about the last year of their lives. Mica ate very well!
At bedtime she strongly shook her head “No” if the routine was out of order or not properly managed; we even flossed teeth without a fuss. Then we sang her to sleep. We were beat and quickly followed her until three in the morning when she woke up to play.
The next day we had a leisurely morning playing with Mica and delighting in her laughter. Mid morning Rachel took us to town to the National Haitian History museum. I learned Haitian history; we saw a Haitian Liberty Bell with a crucifix on it and paraphernalia of various Haitian leaders. Mica was captivated by one self-proclaimed Haitian Emperor’s crown. During the drive about we also did some drive by shoe shopping. Rachel pulled up on the sidewalk and bartered for a pair of flip flops. She is a force to contend with! Then we headed to a buffet and enjoyed tasty fried cod, Haitian pork, rice, green beans and fried plantains. The street vendor’s plantains were amazing. Friday also granted us the opportunity to meet Rachel’s cousins and then one of her sisters.
Saturday was a relaxed day around the guest house. Mica is terrified of the dogs, so we stayed inside, felt safety being the goal. Timmoumon (sp?) styled Mica’s hair for church the next day. At supper that night, Willem asked Craig to preach the next morning. Mica enjoyed playing with a mini soccer ball, “machines” (cars), and singing a Creole, “Alleluia.” The vigorous singing of this song gave music to our hearts.
Have I mentioned how amazing Haitian porridge is? Cream, cinnamon, star of anise, vanilla with the oatmeal makes an amazing breakfast. After breakfast we headed to church in a truck and an ATV. Craig and others stood in the back while Mica and I sat in the cab with Willem and Beth. When we got to church, Rachel commented on how much she enjoys seeing Mica enjoy her parents. The music was lively and heartening; two of the songs we knew in English and could join in. Craig preached about the lost son. (Luke 15) Willem is an excellent translator. All in all we felt so blessed to worship with the hundreds who were there.
Funny cultural difference: If a kid got up to go to the washroom, teenage/young men at the door would shake their heads and send the kids back to their seats. After lunch, Rachel and Willem took us to Mica’s home village. On the way we were stopped at a police check, saw tents in the middle a hot open field, UN soldiers with guns. Once we arrived in the area, we found hedges made of cactus fascinating. The area is hotter and drier. Cows wondered around. We are thankful to be able to describe to her the area. By Sunday evening I felt ready to get home.
Monday we visited a shop, got some pastries, and we returned to Rivers of Hope where a medical team was filling the guest house in preparation for their work at Mountain Top Ministries’ medical clinic in Gramothe. She was interestedly observant of the people.
We were ready to go home and thankful for Rachel’s helping us navigate through the airport. We visited with a man who works for the Red Cross who almost missed our flight because of tire burnings in Carrefour. Our road had been backed up. While some people express anger and frustration, we were in the middle of such intense joy.
An entrepreneur who grew up in the US but is originally from Nigeria asked us if he could tell us something an adopted friend of his wished – that her parents had learned to care for and style African hair. He seemed to approve what we have lined up.
Boarding the flight felt joyful; we’re really going home with Mica! We were bumped up to first class, met another adoptive family taking their child home. Mica asked for the washroom, but when she saw the airplane washroom she refused to enter. (Envision clinging to the door frame accompanied with screaming.) Glad we brought pull-ups just in case. Sitting in first class while remembering the older women putting their hands to their mouths to show hunger was an emotional contrast in a short time span.
When we arrived in Montreal, we waited in customs for Mica’s permanent residency and then ran to our gate – like sweating run. I felt like Ping of the Yangtze River sneaking on the back of the line. And then we were on the way to Vancouver where our family stayed up late to pick us up. Caleb dressed up for the special occasion; he kept telling his grandparents, “I can’t believe this is really happening.” He covered Mica in a blanket. The other two tried to engage her in play which she was ready to respond to by the next day when we kept everyone home from school
Adoption feels like what might could be until it is – Mica’s our daughter living with us.