Wednesday, February 5, 2014


By night, my feet are swollen in a way I have not seen them since the final months of pregnancy. Seriously, it's like my feet have been replaced with sausagey-toes and rounded feet, held together by the plastic, silver straps of my flip flops. It takes til the next morning to recognize my feet again. The food here is heavy on the salt, the MSG and bouillon sold in huge canister we would likely find coffee inside of back home, like a Mega Folgers Can, but in Haiti it's salt. Added to the heat, the salt is bloating us and leaving us stretched to the limits of our skin. Everything here needs preserving. Everything is vulnerable. The building are stacked like Jenga blocks. The roads are like a sandy beach, shifting and falling apart. We have seen a tarantula crawl out of a riding toy in the sandbox where we were playing with our kids. We have watched from the rooftop as a rat meandered, unhurried on a sand pile behind our guesthouse. I smash a cockroach or two most mornings, the flip of the bathroom light making them wake up and run for the hills. A mouse showed up in the linen closet last night. All that to say: things here need preserving as they are held in balance between being sustained and being devoured. 

 Yesterday, we had our appointment with the US Embassy here in Port-au-Prince. An Embassy appointment is intimidating in a way that any appointment you attended which required no less than 4 security searches would be intimidating, but the Embassy is preparing for the say when the US government will make it their job to determine if my daughter, who will at the point be deemed a Downes in a Haitian court of law, legally meets the requirements to become a US citizen and whether they will give her the proverbial "golden ticket", her visa for entry to Florida when she comes home one day, forever. We were minimally questioned about our family's basic information and her basic information, but it was very uneventful otherwise and as long as you abide by laws of decorum and compliance and such it's no biggie. Done and done. Many of you have asked why it is that we cannot bring Paula home when we leave her in 2.5 days. Basically, this 2-week trip has been a mandatory step to completing Haitian Social Services (IBESR's) requirements for matching us with her, just like all families from 2014, onward. All families who want to adopt from Haiti have to come here, to spend time with their suggested, referred match at IBESR's invitation and complete a couple visits with a social worker, to satisfy IBESR that we love Haiti, we love this kid, and when IBESR says "jump" our answer, naturally is, "how high?" That includes the next visit from the Social Worker from IBESR, scheduled for tomorrow morning. So, this had to happen; without this visit our daughter will never be adopted by us or anyone else. 
After this, we will wait to hear that IBESR has released us to move forward in the process and our paperwork will make it's way through the Haitian court system (in our absence) under power of attorney. 
After the court system has been passed and legalized, our case with a completed decree of adoption will move forward to applying for and waiting for a passport to be issued from Haiti for Paula to travel to the US complete with her little, bitty, sweet baby face. 
Finally, all the court proceedings, all the IBESR findings, the Haitian passport and all our initial paperwork which arrived in Haiti back in April 2013, and the interview that was conducted yesterday here in Port-au-Price at the Embassy will be evaluated and when completed will, Lord-willing, equal a visa being granted to our daughter. We will come and retrieve her. We will be here a few days.

... And we will bring her home forever. It feels like a dream, some moments more possible than others, even for me who has lived that miracle before. It's like knowing the intricacies of anatomy and trying to believe a baby can ever be formed inutero - it's a really enormous creation and feels so ridiculously gigantic that I struggle to believe it isn't imaginary. And then again, babies are conceived and birthed every day, all over the world since the beginning of time and without much help from us humans at all. It happens. 

 Today, we will spend all say with our daughter and though I know she will have the stance of an orphan, that she will play the "come-here-go-away" game while she is with us, although she may run and look worried from the moment she sees us, though she may only brighten when we are leaving at noon for lunch and her naptime, though those may be the only moments that she will smile and wave - when we are leaving and she is relieved of us - I can continue to offer, offer, offer and smile, smile, smile, and love, love, love and, as my husband said "bear. down."
We are leaving soon, and we can do nothing about it. We don't know what the timeline will be like but we are told at least another year. We don't know if we will see her again in that time. We don't know if she will remember us, or whether we will start back at Square Zero. We don't even know when we will know any answers to any of these things. All we know is that today we are here and today she is ours to love as greedily and generously as you can imagine. All we know is that miracles and babies happen, somehow, even in this crazy world, all day, every day. All we know is God preserves...He preserved me during some painful experiences in childhood with a babysitter, He preserved my Rissa in a hut in Uganda, and He will preserve my Baby Girl here in Haiti. He will keep her even though we cannot. He will use people like the amazing staff at Three Angels, the nannies, her sponsors in the USA, and people I will likely never even know who will enter the green painted gates to come "love on some babies in Haiti", totally unaware that they are loving someone else's flesh and blood, someone like me who wrestles to reckon it everyday that others may cuddle her while I may not, He will use all of these and many more to preserve her. And one day which I can only a teensy bit picture, she will come home and the swelling from all the preservation will recede. Her little girl heart will be elevated, the salted and bloated feelings will be absorbed and we will wake up one morning, long after, and realize that finally we can recognize who our daughter really, really, really is. That's what will put me to sleep every night til I see it realized. Jesus does these things, friends. He is the only one who can and He certainly still does. He has been making beauty out of dust since the start and I wait to see it still. 

love, love, love,

No comments:

Post a Comment