Tuesday, February 4, 2014


I am learning the difference between Uganda and Haiti more and more.

There are so many more American brands, such a nice supermarket, so many American vehicles on the road, and so very many ex-pats here. There are no children begging in the streets who knock on your window, smiling with upturned palms held out to you when you inch down a road of traffic here. There are Ghiradelli chocolate chips in the grocery store. There are no stipulations on which produce and protein to avoid at restaurants. And without fail, when we have ventured to a restaurant or church or shopping on an excursion the travel may feel somewhat similar to Ugandan travel on dusty, hot roads, but arriving at the destination is like stumbling on the lost paradise of Shangri-la. Rumbling past a tent city on what can be described as a "road" in only the loosest of terms, put-holed so deeply that we bounced off the seats of the car even when driving about 15 mph on Sunday night as we headed to dinner, we passed countless ambling, solitary, naked children, a 100-lb wild hog perusing trash for dinner, and a tent city which was so huge I cannot still wrap my brain around the fact that so many people actually live there, under tarps and clutched-together, shoulder-to-shoulder, held in place with a literal and figurative tension. It feels like living in Memphis again - there is a nervous tension here, and as I drive past the tent city in a tinted and air conditioned car with white people and arrive at a pizza restaurant behind a gate to find the sky obscured by hot pink, dripping bougainvillea branches, and sit and watch American TV being cabled here in English on the big screen TV, and eat pizza and Baklava, surrounded by missionaries and sweet folks who live here and are a community for one another, I realize the gap between color here is immense after all. I am taking it all in, all the stunning, side-by-side incongruences...and I am starting to feel in my spirit why it is such a fight to get this baby girl home. Maybe it doesn't make things any easier, but it fills me with awareness and then love. I needed some love mixed into this grit and knowing I am not fighting the people of Haiti but rather allowing them to be generous, I have far less demand in my spirit and instead such gratitude. There is precious little out of which to scrape generously. That we would be approved to take such a jewel, such a treasure causes honor in my heart and such thankfulness. 

 Today at 6:30am, we will leave the guesthouse in dressier clothes and drive through town on the crumbly roads to the US Embassy. We will hand over our passports, our appointment notices, and our electronics and wait for a number of hours, likely, to be interviewed by agents about our daughter. They will take the paperwork from us, and her birth documents and will hear the fragile story of this delicate baby girl, the one who bit people when she was brought to Three Angels at approximately 6 months of age, weighing 12 lbs, and they will make notes about us. Then, when we arrive on the other side of court proceedings many months from now, they will look at these notes and all the papers and decide if our child's story is legitimate and whether she will be allowed into the US with us. It's a little nerve-wracking, what feels like constant and repeated interviewing and story-repeating so you can see why it is a very good thing that what overwhelms me lately is that important gratitude and not resentment. After lunch, we will go see our baby girl. Everywhere I go this week I have seen butterflies, "papillon" in Creole, and I don't know if it's a theme my eyes find in their quest for beauty or if it's truly a Haitian "thing" but the butterfly I will go to ask to adopt from the US Embassy here in Port-au-Prince today has the loveliest wings, though most of the time they are not unfurled. She is warming, yes - and y'all, she is the bravest soul. Tears fill my eyes and they would yours, as well, if you could see her take 2, now 3 audaciously daring steps in shoeless feet, her grow furrowed, her hand trembling but outstretched, as she comes closer...closer...almost there....closer...YES! to accept an embrace from us. She will scurry back to the nanny, tearful and feeling so many things that she has to cry it out amid our shouts of "Bravo, bebe! Bon fe! Oiu, bebe, mesí!" ("Bravo, baby! Good girl! Yes, baby, thank you!") She is still cocooned, but I have seen how beautiful this is going to be, y'all...it will take your breath away. 

 Must go now. Please keep sending me cold water in the form of verses, words, songs and lovingkindness - everything here is lukewarm (again, figuratively and literally) and seeing emails to read and hearing your encouragements is like finding an icy, blue pool waiting in a thick, green jungle. Rest assured, we are so grateful. And walking on. 

love, love, love

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