Today was our last full day of this trip. Tomorrow we will leave for the airport after lunch. But, today was about heat. HEAT, y'all. It has reached a heat index of 125* daily, according to The Weather Channel and we certainly are feeling it, baking in tank tops and cotton skirts, laying under fans to try to stop sweating, amazed at Haitians who wear wool caps in the morning though it's 90* outside and a jacket to keep away a chill at night though it's merely 87*. Today, we were grilled like a diner-made tuna melt on a greasy griddle by IBESR for a solid hour, y'all. We were asked every little, minuscule, imaginable detail about our family, discipline practices, and decisions; everything from "Why do you have three boys at home and have already adopted a daughter and yet you still want to adopt another child? Why did you chose a girl? What do you think she might do at home? Chores?" to "What will happen if, while she is here in Haiti, she loses an arm or loses a leg? Will that make you stop the adoption? Why don't you just send money to care for her in Haiti instead of adopting her?" to "What will happen to your children if you are divorced? Where will they go? What if she bites one of your other children? Will she be abused with a belt? Will she be put away into a closet ?" to "What will you teach her about her heritage and Haiti? Will you only tell Paula that you are a gift to her? Or that you are her parents?" to "What if she rejects you when she is an adult and does not want you to be her parents anymore? Why did you chose this child? Chose Haiti? Chose adoption?" and finally, "Do you have reservations about accepting this child? Do you want her, now that you have been with the child for 2 weeks?" and we were finally able to tell her what was in our hearts honestly: that we have chased this daughter of ours from the first moment we saw her and have long-since decided we would walk through every open door we could find towards her, that we could never, ever leave her, that she is our flesh and blood in a Haitian body.
That felt good.
Like exhaling after holding my breath for 13 months.
As overwhelming as it was, once again, answering calmly, though we have done home studies, psychological evaluations, agency and orphanage applications, I found myself impressed with Haiti for being thorough, and sort of proud of them and encouraged that they put so much effort into assuring that we know what we are in for. They fine-tooth-combed our expectations. It was an interrogation, albeit a much more kindly-delivered one. Our small daughter curled up in my lap, totally still confused and overwhelmed by the lady with her pencil skirt and librarian bun and sensible flats and reading glasses, and she fell fast asleep for almost the entire time, right on my lap as if on cue to say: "see? we are so, so in sync." I couldn't have been more grateful. My daughter, sleeping there on my grateful lap, radiated a thousand degrees of heat and peace while she slept in my arms, and I felt a big, wavy, warm bubble envelope us while she peacefully snoozed. My blood pressure sank and I just knew without a doubt that an army of people were praying, that the Lord is "fighting for us" and that it was no mistake that no less than 8 people have reminded me of that verse in the last 2 days. When she had taken an hour's worth of notes, the Social Worker congratulated us, affirmed we were to be blessed by God, and shook our hands while nodding and smiling. We exhaled so deeply and walked away, winking at the next family that it was their turn for interrogation. Not even twenty minutes later they were finished, the Social Worker smiling at us all, satisfied either in the length of time she had spend with us all, with the similar vibes of our answers, or just with their pretty faces because she left as briskly as she came and announced us all "finished" with this visit. Done and done. All that to say, "TIH", y'all. ("This is Haiti") A 9am meeting may happen at 1pm like ours did today and you may be asked one million and six questions or you may be asked only 15 and sent on your merry way. TIH.
Heat + pressure + time creates diamonds and today we were treated to a bouquet of precious jewels, brighter and more beautiful than 10,000 diamonds.
The clouds parted and my daughter's sunshiny smile broke free today. Soleil. The sun. Dawn broke. This butterfly's wings peeled open and she shined so brightly I couldn't stop snapping pictures.
My heart is so prepared to be split open and destroyed to leave her tomorrow...without a return date, without a PLAN for her to be with us, that I am still not even thinking about it. It feels like knowing I am leaving Luke in the NICU tomorrow. I am not facing it yet. Tomorrow there will be grace to get me through it. Tonight, I am just heading to bed with this smile in my mind and the promise of 8 arms around my neck in Sarasota by midnight tomorrow. I will scoop up as many diamond-smiles from this delicate, precious butterfly as I can hold in my heart and memory bank and then climb on a plane, my legs carrying me and my heart dropping breadcrumbs and fight my will as we fly far away. The heat and pressure will remain and more time will continue to compound them. I would like to stop right here, to take her home right this minute. I can't. And tonight is not the time to face that.
We will be needy of prayers tomorrow, I will honestly tell you, friends. Not afraid, but certainly needy. G'night.
love, love, love,