Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Back to Blogging About My Children

Since HATS-Haiti is "ALL ABOUT THE CHILDREN" it is time for me to get back to blogging about my children.

Leica came to me at age 4. She was a very quiet and polite girl. She never did cry or kick up a fuss about being brought here. She, however, stayed as close to me as possible every day, for quite awhile. It was obvious she was not used to eating well or having much of anything. She was in awe of everything she experienced and everything she was given and showed thankfulness for it. She spent a lot of time at my place and quickly became very close to Ti Luc - bosom buddies actually. They still are!! Leica just turned 7 and she continues to be a lovely child. She loves to help me, go places with me, and loves to help Ti Luc with things he has not yet mastered.

Leica, not too long after joining us
Leica 5 Yrs
My Princess Leica

She is a fantastic big sister to the younger children - like a sweet little mother at times to the youngest ones. When not in school Leica likes to help whoever is cooking for the children that day. She loves to go for walks, loves school, and loves to kick the ball and to look at books. Leica captures the heart of all visitors and workteam members. I call her my princess and she truly is. Leica, like Ti Luc, has been blessed with a chance for a future and my daily prayer is for her to become all that God for have her be.

Good Friends (Ti Luc and Leica)

Best Buds - Leica & Ti Luc

Karma joined us last August. She has not yet been here a year, but she has knit in so beautifully it seems like she has been a part of this family much longer. She had been living in Port au Prince before the earthquake. The house she lived in with a family member collapsed but we thank God that they were in the street and were saved. Karma, too, is a sweet and helpful child. She is smart, inquisitive and very eager to learn. Karma is a little reserved and was shy when she first came. She loves to walk with me, sit with me, and loves to spend lots of time with Leica and Ti Luc. In school Karma, Leica, and Ti Luc are seen as a special threesome. She, too, loves to see that Ti Luc is cared for at school and that everyone treats him very well. She is very good with the younger children. She can be often seen carrying one of the little ones, sitting holding one, or playing with them. Karma's life too has improved greatly since she joined our family. My hope and prayer for Karma is that she will continue to want to learn, and that she will grow up to be a tremendous asset to her people in Haiti.

Karma just joined the family Aug 10
Karma & Ti Luc
Gorgeous Karma
Leica and Karma
Karma with Anne
Early Sunday morning walk with Karma

Anne is the newest addition to our family, the baby that I introduced you to on Monday's blog. She is 10 1/2 months old. Anne has not had a good start in life and arrived ill but she is doing a little better every day. She is now in a place where she can gain health and strength and enjoy being a part of a special family. Anee wants to be in someone's arms all day long, and does not want whoever holds her to sit down with her. She is my cutie pitutie 'keep on moving' kid. We are very thankful for one thing, the 'keep on moving' is not essential all the time. She sleeps well during the night. She is starting to be quite interested in her new brothers and sisters and hopefully soon we will see her toddling around behind them. God sent this precious little one here and for this we are thankful. She has been with us only 6 days but we all say it seems like it has been weeks. She is important to all of us.
If there is anyone interested in sponsoring Anne for the orphanage you may contact me.

JJ and Moise with Anne Mar 27th
Anne with Poppa Luckner

Martha holding Anne for her treatment

We put these three precious ones, along with Ti Luckner, in the hands of the Lord and ask him to help all of us do everything we possibly can to see that they grow up as he would have them do.


Karen and kids

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Some things just don't change

Some things just don't change - at least not yet. Work, work, work, busy, busy, busy and then for a change it is more work and busyness. That is life in the fast lane of Haiti - at least at the HATS-Haiti Mission. It is 8:30 pm and while attempting to do this I am also trying to keep my eyes open and trying to keep my head from hitting the keyboard. I was up at 4:15 a.m. and am now quite tired - no exhausted is more like it. Will do this blog, and once more put the rest of the work on hold, and go to bed. If this does not read properly it is because I am doing it in a vegetative state.

Seth and Jessie were able to sleep in their place Friday night as planned. Truly a blessing. A minor bug to iron out yet - a copper attachment to the propane tank on the ground to the hose from their stove upstairs. Can't find it in this area so perhaps in St. Marc tomorrow.

There was excitement in the air on Friday morning when I drove unto the compound and exited the truck with a baby, the latest addition to our family, in my arms. Anne is a ten month old cutite pitutie girl. Shortly after bringing her into my kitchen I had Jofky and Karena join us. Those two little ones were fascinated and amazed at Anne. Ti Luc wanted to kiss her. Anne was naturally not at ease with a lot of people so I had the other children stay outside in the yard. I could hear the excited voices of my other kids and there they were, cute little faces pressed against the screen door, looking in at their new little sister.

Anne being welcomed by Ti Luc, Jofky & Karena

Other kids looking at their new sister through screen door

Karma with Anne

Friday saw us receive a new shipment of the wonderful Reliv Kid's Now for our school students. It was unloaded and packed away quickly with the help of the older children. This product has been, and is, a tremendous help to the health of our students. Many thanks to the providers.

Unloading truck of Reliv for our school students

Assembly line of workers to pack away the Reliv shipment

On Saturday morning we had another great visit from Juan Cabrignac and the Argentain Soldiers stationed in St. Marc with the UN. This was the third time they came to visit with us and they plan another visit before their stint is up in June. They brought us clothes, for our children and children in the area, and food. Wow. We are blessed. The soldiers and the children thoroughly enjoyed each other. One of the soldiers is a nurse and she was very helpful to me in regards to Anne's health. I knew Anne was ill and I was doing my best in treating her. The nurse gave me some important and helpful information and directions. I are going to miss Juan and the soldiers when they leave Haiti.

UN visit Sat Mar 26, 2011

UN nurse helping me with my ill new daughter

Juan and Karen

Two fold blessing - Soldiers and the children

Our school had exams last week, and our elementary students have this week off. Secondary students are continuing to write two days of this week, and then they too will be off until Monday, 4th. My kids are happy about the break but not as happy as their mama is. The big questions is - will I be able to hide in my office for a few hours at a time this week and try to catch up on a few things. Or is that a pipe dream?

We have been continuing our walks along the canal and I am doing early morning walks again on weekends and when school is not in session. Our kids like this a lot and I will share a few photos of our excursions with you, plus one of Judel with a friend on his shoulder and Ti Luc and Karena doing laundry, by hand - oops by feet, as Karena chose to do it the same way big brother Ti Luc does.

Mother & daughter carying water early morning

Judel with a friend on his shoulder

Out for a walk

Enjoying time outside the compound

 Karena doing laundry Ti Luc style

 I have not forgotten about continuing blogging about my children. It is a matter of too much to do, in too little time, and not enough energy to go around. It, however, will get done.

Once again. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Blessings to all of you. Karen

Friday, March 25, 2011

Another Day At HATS

As the sun goes down on yet another day here at HATS, I am not going to lie, I am pure exhausted. Karen, Seth, and I have been working vigorously on trying to finish our house and to put the finishing touches on the girl's house. A lot has happened since we last conversed, however, we are still living in a screened-in porch! :) We truly love it, though. It is a different time in life. We have not gotten everything done in our house, simply because little things just keep popping up. The count down of things to finish has begun and we are very excited to finish them and get moved in.

Sun going down

Sunday was the elections and from what I have heard they were one of the calmest yet. We will see if this holds true on March 30th when Haiti gets the results. It was so calm in the area that day that we had visitors. Karen, Seth, and I were using the day as a catch up to read and relax. I took my time to read and sew curtains. There are many things in life that I would love to learn. One of them being to learn how to sew. Well, I knew we would not have much access to decorations for the house in Haiti and would need some extra, so I brought some sheets and pillow cases to use. On Sunday, I hand sewed my first curtain! And there are many more to come. What I am even more excited about is getting to install them. Since the walls are cement, we will have to drill holes and install screws. I have worked with power tools a lot because my dad and husband are both carpenters, but what is really exciting is that I will get to sew my own curtains and install them myself! Talk about learning to do things hands-on. Man, I have needed Haiti a long time ago! :) A wonderful surprise showed up in the afternoon. It was a group from Indiana and Illinois that were staying at the Borel complex. It was fun to have them around and to get to talk with people from around our home. One of them even knew where Hillsboro and Coffeen were. Hillsboro is my hometown. The sign reads 6,800 people. What is very interesting is that the year before the sign read 4,400 people. No we did not have that many people move there in a year. That year we decided to count our inmates. So, yes, a third of our population is the prison. :) As for Seth's hometown, Coffeen, it only has about 400 people, so it was very shocking for someone to know where it was!

Jessie & Seth enjoying chatting with people from their home area

Monday was a very fun day for the timoun (children) because they did not have school as it was a study day for their big exams this week. Monday morning the older students went to the school to practice up for the test and when they came back home we threw a birthday party for Leica and Mirlande. The girls were so excited for their gifts that they didn't even eat or drink their cookies and soda that were handed out. Leica turned 7 this year and for her birthday Karen gave her sunglasses and a big 3-D form princess castle to make and hang on her wall. Mirlande turned 10 and for her birthday she got sunglasses and a watch. The girls had a blast and were all smiles the whole day. A couple hours after the party, a group of women came and stopped in with Missionary James for a visit. They are doing women's conferences in the area. One of the women was Tifi's sponsor, so she got to see how much Tifi had grown physically and mentally since the last time they saw each other. For Seth and I, it was great to have missionary James to visit. He is about Seth's age and really down to earth. We were discussing what we would miss most, other than friends and family, obviously. It didn't take us long to shout out Dr. Pepper. James was right there with us on that one. His supply now was from his last trip out of the country and he is rationing it. :) I continued with a cheeseburger, french fries, ...can you tell I am a junk food queen. As the conversation came to a close, I suddenly realized what I would miss most is ICE. I have an infatuation with ice and I love everything to be cold. That is not possible here. The electricity is not constant. The only way they keep things cold when the generator is off is by putting it next to a huge block of ice in the freezer that melts throughout the week.

Two princess birthday girls

Excited birthday girls

Birthday party time for Mirlande and Leica

Tuesday was the start of the students big exam week. The students had prepared and left earlier Tuesday morning to conquer the tests. While they were at school, Seth and I took the time to write all our thank-yous to people back at home who have supported us. We were planning on tackling them little by little until we finished them, however, then we learned of the mail system in Haiti. In the U.S. it’s so easy to send and receive mail. If the U.S. mail system is like making ramen noodles then the Haiti mail system is like making chicken cordon bleuau Prince where we can pick it up, but not everyday, just on Wednesdays or Saturdays, because that’s when they’re open. Port au Prince is a three hour drive from here so as you can guess, we don’t make that trip too often. Karen was planning on making the trip today with Luckner to get much needed supplies that we can get no where else, so the task had to be done. She was going to be stopping by the Agape mail office and we needed that package sent.

After the thank-yous were complete and the envelope was sealed, Seth and I set out on our own little adventures. Seth's job was to finish putting together our shower rod and do a screen for our main door area.

Seth doing screening with a very cute inspector

The day before at the birthday party I promised Leica I would work on the castle that she got for her birthday with her, so that was my job. I think I got the much better end of the deal. Leica put together the princess castle, while Mirlande and Karma watched and JJ checked in on us every once in a while to make sure we were doing it right. We had a blast and completed the entire castle! I didn't realize until we were finished that we had sat for 2 and half hours on the porch floor working on the project. The girls must have been super interested to sit there for that long! As you can tell from the pictures, that after we finished we celebrated with some silliness!

Jessie helping Leica with her BDay gift Castle

Today is Wednesday and as I mentioned earlier, Karen and Luckner headed off to Port au Prince, which left Seth and I to watch over Ti Luc and to get him ready in the morning! This is one of our favorite task here at HATS because Ti Luc has such a great sense of humor. We got an hour all to ourselves to play, eat breakfast, and get ready for school. Karen will have to tell you all about Port au Prince, but while she was away it was party time (I mean work time) here on the compound. :) I went to work on our house painting. I touched up white, moved on to purple, and now it looks as if blue may be in my horizon for a while. Three of the next tasks involve blue paint! :) As for Seth. he installed our shower rod, hooked up the hot water heater, worked on a screen for area at bottom of our stairs, and started to get the stove ready. It will be done in no time.

One of Jessie's projects with blue paint

My dream for this weekend is to be moved all the way in by Friday night. It will be cutting it close. I would love be to sitting on my couch Friday night with the breeze blowing in, watching a movie on our computer with my husband as M&M cookies bake in the oven! Sounds glorious, Eh? (as Karen would say) :)

Monday, March 21, 2011

Ti Luckner

Sorry about no blog for a few days folks but we have been a 'little bit busy'. Getting the last few things hooked up in two new houses, putting the finishing touches on them both, purchasing needed items that can actually be found in this area for them both, moving things into both houses and then helping the children adjust to the separation of boys in their house and girls in theirs, along with the regular work load here has kept Jessie, Seth, and myself rather occupied.

Seth, however, has 'finally' finished his blog that I was able to add photos to and send off today. I will do my best to get this one finished and posted as well. Hopefully I can get it written faster than Seth did as I do not fear the internet. Fear the internet - No! Frustrated with the internet - Yes! To live in Haiti one must learn to accept and tolerate a lot of things. Seth being a weightlifting champion, world war II fighter pilot, and inventor of the IPhone, will learn, as a means of survival away from family, to not only tolerate the internet but to embrace it. He has certainly proved his ability to 'learn all things and do them well, as you will see from his blog.'
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

This blog will feature "Ti Luckner". I had planned on blogging about Leica here too as these two children love each other dearly, and have been a 'twosome' since Leica joined our family. Since July last year, however, when Karma joined us the 'twosome' has become a lovely 'threesome'. They play very well together, really enjoy laughing and having fun, and Leica and Karma both like to look out for Ti Luckner at school and help him with things he cannot do for himself. I have decided to write about Leica and Karma another day. It is taking a long time to find photos, etc. I am starting with Ti Luc because some of you who have been following my updates and blog since I have had Ti Luc, have been asking to see more photos of him. I appreciate your interest in and your prayers for him.

Ti Luc (Alex)
The adoption is still in process and I ask for your prayers specifically towards that end. It is has not been in the hands of the lawyer for some time, but in the hands of the government. Ti Luc and I really want this to go through so that he can travel to eastern Canada with me in July for the Springdale Reunion.

Ti Luckner (Ti Luc) came to me when he was 7 weeks old and weighed 3 1/2 lbs. At that time he was not Ti Luc but Alexandre (later called Alex by his siblings here at the orphanage.) He was born premature, with early labour being brought on by stress. The city of Gonaives was flooded in a hurricane and his mother, father and their three children ended up on the roof of their house hoping for help. His father and the three children were washed off the roof and out to sea at night in the wind, rain, and flood waters. Ti Luc's mama, a little over six months pregnant, sat on the roof crying for help. She was rescued and carried to the hospital in this area where this precious little boy was born. Ti Luc was at the hospital receiving help until I brought him to HATS, a very little baby that could be carried in one hand. (One name that comes to me when I think of Ti Luc receiving help at the hospital for the first seven weeks of his life is Samantha, a young woman working there short term, who saw that the baby boy was cared for. ) He was too little and in need of far too much care to enter the children's home, so into my place and into my heart he came!!

Ti Luc & Leica Dec 2009

It was quickly obvious to me that my baby boy had problems as he was not developing normally. He could see nothing, and could hear nothing at 7 and 8 months. I took him to a pediatrician in PAP for advice on where to go and what to do to help him. The doctor's advice was totally unacceptable to me and I certainly let him know that. He told me to put him one side and choose to help a child who could be helped. He told me my baby would never see, hear, talk, walk, or learn anything. I was upset and I told him my boy would do all those things and he would do them well. I believed what I told the doctor and I held unto that belief always.

Leica feeding Ti Luc Feb 2010

Ti Luc (Alex he was then) was prayed for a lot by many people.  The scripture about 'praying without ceasing' became very real to me as my every waking thought and prayer was for my boy.   One month after the visit to PAP Ti Luc blinked in response to a camera flash and a few weeks later was visibly startled at the noise of a door blowing shut.  That was a celebration and praising God time here on the compound.   He has continued to develop and grow in every way.  One year ago, Ti Luc started walking.  Now he walks, runs, dances, and plays soccer.  He falls but has learned now to roll instead of falling on his face.  He is strong in his lower body but weak in the upper.  He has a fantastic sense of humour and loves to laugh, hide, jump out at people, and make lots of noise.  Ti Luc has lived with me from birth and I have been going through the adoption process for him for the past two years.  He tells people that when Mama goes to Canada again he is going too.  I sure hope so!!

Goal for Ti Luc shortly after learning to walk one year ago

Ti Luc is a very special boy, now 5 1/2. He has amazed the Haitian people in this area, who thought, like the doctor, he would amount to nothing. He continues to amaze everyone with his abilities. He is in the Prescolaire 3 class at our school, along with Leica and Karma. He learns well, remembers what he learns, speaks and understands Creole and English, and is learning French. He is now learning to read French and doing well. He knows his letters, numbers, colours and shapes, but does his writing on the blackboard, or in an exercise book, with his feet. He is becoming more proficient daily at using a pencil, pen, chalk, and crayon with his toes.

Walking & carrying June 2010

Some use their hands on computers. Ti Luc uses his feet

Ti Luc and little sister, Karena Mariah

I can hold the banana. I want to feed myself too March

I am really going to do it Mama

I did it. I did it.

 Ti Luc reading his lesson for school

Ti Luc says I can write on a blackboard too

 I thank God for this precious boy and for choosing me to be his mama. God has a plan for his life. It will be interesting to see what Ti Luc does in the future but I hope it will be something for the betterment of his people in Haiti. Thank you for all your interest and support for this precious boy since he has joined this family.

Mama Karen and Ti Luc