Friday, December 30, 2011

Baby Wilkenly

Recently I had a father come to COTP with his malnourished 9 month old son.  He sat in our pharmacy for about 2 hours as I talked to him, learning about his story, hearing his heartbreak, and deciding if we were able to help him care for his baby boy.

Wilkenly's Mom had died when he was only a month old leaving his father, who has no other family to help, alone to care for such a fragile little baby.  Dad asked me if I would admit the baby.  This is always a hard decision to make and one I don't take lightly.  If there is any way I can keep a family together I will do what it takes to ensure that we help make that happen.  Wilkenly clearly met the protocols to start Medika Mamba (MM) as he was severely malnourished.  Even though he was tiny, I knew his father had cared for him for the past eight months on his own, so I was hoping that if we just gave him some assistance, helped his child become healthier, that Dad would realize he was able to care for this child and we wouldn't have to separate them.

I decided we would admit him in to the MM program.  Even after I explained this program, Dad asked again if I would keep the baby.  For some reason I couldn't do it.  I wanted this family to stay together.  However the more I talked to them, the more I began to wonder if it was the right decision.  I left the pharmacy and talked through the situation with two other people to see if I was making the right call.

We decided that we should admit him to the MM program and then when he came back in a week for more MM, I could reevaluate the situation.  If the child got better, even just slightly, maybe it would give the Dad a chance to see that he was capable for caring for his beautiful son.  If he got worse, then I could easily admit him at that time.  Even though he was tiny, it wasn't an immediate life or death decision.  I often have families come back once or twice before I admit a child to ensure that I have all the facts staright and that I'm making the right decision.  It allows the family time to truly think about their options rather than to make a rash decision out of fear.

I sent Wilkenly away that day with a little bit of MM and gave him an appointment to come back in one week.  I do this all the time and normally have no problem with it, however this time it was different.  I walked in Nicks office later that day and told him I didn't know if I'd made the right decision.  I kept telling myself over and over "he'll be back in a week.  If he's not improving, if Dad still wants him admitted, you can do it then.  He'll be fine for a week."  But I couldn't get him off my mind.  I kept thinking about him, worrying about him, and praying he'd come back for his check up.  I desperately awaited Thursday.

Thursday came, but Wilkenly did not.  I watched the gate all morning, no Wilkenly.  Finally by noon I couldn't handle it anymore.  I gave his phone number to Rosaline and asked her to call and verify that he was coming.  She got ahold of the Dad who told her he didn't have the money (less than $1 US) to come out that day.  We ensured him we would pay for it and that we just really wanted to see them both.  His response was that he didn't have time to bathe his son that day and that he thought he could come out the next day.  I told Rosaline that I was afraid if he didn't come out Wilkenly would die.  She agreed.

Friday came and went.  No Wilkenly.  We called Dad.  No response.  Another week came and went, still no Wilkenly.  We called several times but never reached anyone.  Finally Rosaline got ahold of the neighbor that had come out with them that day.  She gave Rosaline their address and she went to their house to check on the baby.  Neither Dad or Wilkenly were there.  Rosaline left a message with the neighbor saying that we would admit the baby and that we really wanted to help them out.  No response.

Another two weeks went by.  Rosaline and I agreed that we had done all we could and now just had to wait for the Dad to accept our help.

Yesterday the neighbor came by with another child.  I asked her how Wilkenly was doing and she let me know that he had passed away.

My heart sunk.  Instantly the "What If's" went through my head.  What if I had admitted him that day.  Would he still be alive?  What if I would have simply told the Dad we would continue to discuss it the following week rather than only thinking that in my head?  What if I had done more?

I know I can't help every child in Haiti, but what about this one, this little guy that I held in my arms for a few minutes?  This little one that I made and fed a bottle to?  This little one that I packed a small bag of food for and sent out the gate?  What about Wilkenly?

Most of the time when we choose not to admit children, they leave and I never hear from them again.  I don't know what the rest of their story looks like.  I don't know if they flourish in their families care, if they become sick, if they die, or if they go off to live with another family member.  I never hear.  Sometimes I think it's best that we don't hear.  This job is incredibly difficult and if we were to hear of kids we turn away getting sick, it's inevitable to wonder if it was some how our fault.

I fully know Wilkenly's death is not my fault and I don't blame myself for a second for it.  Maybe we didn't give him the help his father had originally asked for, but we did offer him help that has been proven thousands of times to literally save lives of children just like him.

At the same time, I also don't blame his father.  I can't even pretend to imagine what it must be like to live in his shoes.  To have your wife pass away (likely from something preventable) and leave you to care for your one month old baby by yourself.  To not have your parents or siblings there to help you with the baby because they all died in the earth quake, from malaria, and other minuscule things.  I have no idea what it would be like to not have a job and literally have no way to feed your son.  I can't imagine for a second what it would be like to watch your only son, your only living family member, slowly die of starvation and to be able to do NOTHING for him.  He reached out, he asked for help and wasn't given what he had hoped for.  He was tired, worn out from a life time of suffering, perhaps facing depression and post tramatic stress disorder.  He had no one to turn to, no one to encourage him that he could do it, to tell him he was a good father, a good person.  I don't blame him for a second.

The systematic problems that Haiti faces are so deep and complex that I still can't even process them after 19 months of living here.  Why are so many Moms dying during child birth?  Why are so many babies dying before they reach 5 years of age?  How come there are literally no jobs available any where in Northern Haiti?  Why are there no decent health care options?  Why aren't more people doing something about all of this.  Where do I fit in, how do I help, how do I make the most effective changes in this world I live in?  There are so many questions that I just don't have answers to.

I want to save lives.  I want to do everything I can to keep families together.  I want to go visit our children who have been reunited and hear something other than, "No they haven't eaten today."  I want to help change this broken world that we live in.  I don't want these children that come into my path to suffer.  I don't want them to go a day without eating.  I don't want them to die.

More and more I'm learning that I can't do this on my own.  It's not up to me to save Wilkenly's life or any other baby for that matter.  I'm here to be God's hands and feet.  I'm here to help serve his people, his children.  Yes some of these children are going to suffer.  They're going to be malnourished and often go days with out eating.  And some are even going to die.  I don't understand it.  I hate it.  But it's God's plan.  Theres a reason why Wilkenly died.  Theres a reason why Luc passed away.  Theres a reason why Marie died in my arms.  Theres a reason why I buried Olivenson, Annella, Sabyna, Jossette, Deborah, and many many more.  I have no idea what these reasons are.  I have no idea what we are all supposed to be learning from this, but I have faith that there is a reason.  I have faith that they are all safely nestled in God's arms and that some day I will see each and every one of my babies again.

I don't know what the future looks like for Haiti.  I don't know what the future looks like for any of the babies in our care or various programs.  And I especially don't know what the future looks like for me.  But I continue on each day knowing that the future isn't up to me and that there is someone much greater in charge of it all.  This life doesn't make sense, but it's not up to me to figure out.  My responsibility is to love on the children and families that pass through our gates.  To make them feel heard, loved, and cared for.  Sometimes I'll be able to offer help, but often I won't.

Please continue to pray for all of our Staff members as we take on the incredibly difficult job of caring for these 61 beautiful children.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Prayers for Gup.

Theres another Missionary that lives on the other side of Haiti that I try to stay in contact with from time to time.  She is in a similar situation to Nick and I, where she's caring for the child that she hopes to adopt, however doesn't meet the Haitian Requirements, and therefore is a few years away from making her child legally hers.

We know several people in Haiti who are doing the same thing as us.  Most call us crazy, but we all know that we wouldn't have it any other way.  Its a huge risk to do this.  It's a huge sacrifice.  Our lives are somewhat on hold for years, never knowing what could happen or when it'll be over.  Most of us choose not to talk about all the potential things that could go wrong.  We choose not to talk about the adoption process.  Instead, we wait on God and pray daily that it will all work out the way WE want it to.

However right now Rhyan could use your prayers.  She has been caring for Gup for over a year now.  He has been her baby, her first son, her life.  But right now, she's not sure that she will be the one who gets to watch him grow up.  His biological mother has asked to take him back.

Of course, this is amazingly wonderful and amazingly awful all at the same time!  I am a huge advocate for reuniting kids to parents IF it's in the childs best interest.  Sometimes it's obvious one way or the other. Some times it's harder to tell.  All I know is that this is going to be incredibly difficult for Rhyan, Gup, and Gups biological Mother.  Please pray that God's will is done and that Gup grows up to be an amazing young man who is showered in love by two Mamas!

Please pray that Nick and I will never have to go through this with Eventz and pray for all of our friends who are also trying to adopt while living in Haiti.  Please pray for Rhyan during this incredibly difficult time in her life.  And finally, please pray for all of the biological families of these kids who have had to make the most difficult decision I can ever imagine in order to do what they feel is in the best interest of their child.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Ground Breaking!

For the past 18 months Nick and I have lived on the Compound at COTP.  There have been times where this has been a huge blessing and times where this has been a night mare!  Living here has been a way to really learn the ins and outs of our mission.  Its helped us get to know the kids, staff, and volunteers much better as well.

But, as you can imagine, living at work can only last for so long before it begins to burn you out!  For instance, tonight, we had two different sets of 4 nannies come up to our house needing help with minimal things during our family time.  It's not uncommon for me to get interrupted multiple times a week while brushing my teeth as there is always someone on my balcony screaming my name!  And you can only imagine how well nap time goes with all these interruptions.  Family time can be almost impossible here more often than not.

We are excited to announce that the construction has finally began on our Direct House (which we will live in) in the back property.  Although it will still be on the COTP compound, it'll be in the far back corner which will allow us some space and privacy.  For the first time since moving to Haiti, we will be able to go home from work!  We can't even begin to express how excited we are for this!  Having space to get away from everything, to focus on our family, and to relax, will greatly help keep us from getting burnt out and allow us to do our jobs much better!  This house is going to be a huge blessing to us and our family!

Every night the four of us walk out to the back property to check on the progress!  It has come so far already and with every new development, we get more and more excited!  It still has a LONG way to go, but even just looking out back and seeing that something is there, brings a glimmer of hope to us!  We are beyond excited for this change.  We are so excited to finally have a yard that our kids can play in!

COTP will be building a series of houses on our property to house our babies, but there will be more information on that later.  For now, check out some pics of the progress we have made!  It may not seem like much to you, but we think it's pretty dang amazing!

Nick drawing up the house plans with the guys!

The site of our future home!

What I'll see out my bedroom window!

We had to build this road to get to the back property.  We even had to build a bridge to get over one of the trenches!

The crew digging out the foundation of the house!

Laying the Portals for the perimeter wall!

Our future home!

We will be looking for groups to come down and help with various stages of construction for not only the Directors House, but all the other houses as well.  Or if you are unable to make a trip down, but would like to be involved, we would always appreciate your financial support.  For more information please contact us at or Jamie Groen at

Thursday, December 8, 2011


Mud in the Puddle!

Mud on the Shoe.

Mud on the Socks.

Mud on You!

Mud on your hands.

Mud on your toes!

 Mud on your Checks

Mud on your nose!

Mud, Mud, Everywhere!

Mud on your elbows.

 Mud in your hair.

 Mud on your chin!

 Mud on your ear!

 Mud over there!

 Mud over here.

Mud in the puddle.

Mud in the air.

Mud, Mud, everywhere!


Saturday, December 3, 2011

Decking Our Halls!!

Living in Haiti, its very difficult to get into the Christmas mood. There could be a lot of reasons for this. The fact that we dont go to store after store that is blaring Christmas music, with windows full of Christmas decorations, and all sorts of Christmas displays throughout may be part if it. Or the fact that as we are driving around our radio doesn't have Christmas music on every channel (actually we dont even have English channels!) and that we aren't passing house after house covered in lights and decorations, might be another reason why. A lack of friends, family, and holiday events might be another. But one of the biggest reasons is because here in Haiti we don't have the Chistmas weather. Don't get me wrong, I love the 80 degree days and being able to wear shorts in December, but it doesn't set the Christmas mind set.

As I think of all these things that are missing, all the things that make my Christmas Christmas, and realize how I'm totally missing it all. It wasnt snowing out when Jesus was born, it was probably just as warm as it is here. There wasn't chrstmas music and decorations every where. He was born in a barn, without any thing nice at all. There wasn't anything making that day special except for Jesus Himself. Boy do I have a lot to learn.

I'm not saying that Jesus is against lights, decorations, and Christmas music, as long as we don't leave him out and instead use this time to come together with friends and family to celebrate his birth. This year were trying to balance both of these. How do we allow our kids to enjoy some of the things we grew up with, allow them to get excited about Christmas, but also teach him the true reason we are celebrating?

Thankfully for us, living in Haiti makes it difficult to have the Hallmark Christmas many of us dream of. We arent overwhelmed with temptations to forget why we are celebrating like we would be if we lived in the States. We are doing our best to give our son the best of both worlds. Therefore we have been busy "Decking Our Halls" but we've also done our best to remember Jesus.

Even from a young age, Nick has been obsessed with Christmas lights, so we knew this had to be apart of our family traditions. We ordered 12 strands online to decorate our house and my Mom brought in 2 strands as well! Thankfully they are all LED lights, and all of them together only use the same amount of power as one fan. In other words, we had to find a way to justify using them! We can tell already that Eventz is going to have the same obsession as his daddy does! He is in love with the lights and enjoyed helping decorate! We wanted to go big, to have our whole house shiny and glimmering, but we were missing a few key pieces. We didn't have a tree topper, and of course theres no where in Northern Haiti to buy one, so I had to make one from scratch. We also needed a little more glitter, so the boys and I had to make some snow flakes to hang up around the house.

Growing up I always had an advent calendar to help us count down to Christmas. Again, being in Haiti, I have no way of getting 25 small gifts for each of the boys to open. I instead had to come up with something else for them. Thankfully matches ar easy to come by, so I took 25 match boxes, dumped out the matches, and decorated the box in Christmas paper, and labeled each one 1-25. Inside of each box is a little note, and every morning the boys get to take turns opening that days box. On the note is an activity we will do as a family. Some of them include, watching a Christmas movie and eating popcorn, going on an adventure walk, making Christmas cookies, going on a tractor ride with Daddy, Having a picnic, eating Breakfast for dinner, etc. Even though the boys are much to young to understand what's going on, it's a way for us to spend quality time as a family this Christmas season. Lets be honest, I think I'm enjoying these times way more than the kids!

Also, to ensure we aren't leaving Jesus out of this holiday, each night while the boys are playing, Nick and I read a devotion out loud that goes through the new testament and leads to the birth of Christ. We don't make the boys sit through it, because that would be impossible, but feel that even if they hear it in the background as they are driving their trucks around, it'll still benefit them in some way! Living in Haiti makes having family traditions much more interesting. There not impossible, but they take some creative planning. I'm so very thankful to have the Internet that helps me come up with some great ideas to help entertain our crew during this time of year! Here are a few pics of our family decking the halls!

First you untangle the lights!

Then you make sure they all work!
Wedly of course LOVED all the hats!

Building the Tree!

One of my Favorites! 
Mommy, where do you want this Garland?

Making Christmas Cookies with Grandma!

Hanging the Tree Topper Mommy Made!
Look Daddy!

Adopting an HIV+ child

Earlier this week was World AIDS Day. As always, I seem to miss it every year and have to post about it afterwards. I always struggle to know what to say. 

Here at COTP we have four HIV+ positive children. All four were given this disease at birth. There are so many stigmas out there which lead us to believe that those who have HIV or AIDS did something wrong, that they are dirty people who sleep around or do drugs. This myth is not the truth. Our kids did nothing wrong, and likely their mothers did nothing wrong either. Most of them contracted this through their spouses.  But yet they are still faced with this disease every day.

Our kids are incredibly lucky to be receiving ARVs which will help them maintain their health. Twice a day they take a whole cocktail of medicines. Many people around the world don't have the opportunity to receive these meds. Our kids our blessed.

All four of our HIV+ kids are up for adoption. Two have been matched with adoptive families, two have not. One of these kids was here last year when I posted on World AIDS day asking everyone to consider adopting one or more of our beautiful HIV+ children. Today he is still waiting. Waiting for someone to love him. Someone to make him feel special. He's an incredibly handsome smart young man. He's all boy and loves to play. Pool day is one of his favorites. He loves to go to school and laughs the entire time he play on the play ground. He loves to learn. He loves to smile. He loves kisses and hugs. And he desires to be loved.

Please, please don't make this little boy wait another year without knowing there's someone out there who loves him. If you or someone you know is thinking about adoption, I ask that you pray about and consider adopting one of our HIV+ positive children. For more information please contact Robin, our adoption coordinator at

Thursday, November 24, 2011

You know you've been in Haiti too long when...

A wise man, aka my neighbor and fellow missionary, once told me a good joke.

"When a person comes to Haiti short term, they'll find a bug in their food and throw their meal away.  After you've been here a year or so, you scoop the bug out and go on with your meal as if it's no big deal at all.  However, once you've been here a significant amount of time, you take that bug out of you meal, grab it by the neck, and tell it to spit your food back out!"

Well I'm somewhere between the second and third one!  Prior to moving to Haiti, if a bug even landed on my food briefly, I'd hand it to Nick and find something else to eat.  Oh how my life has changed!

Someone recently sent us down a box mix to make cinnamon rolls, and you can only imagine what a treat this is for us!  We had a few sitting on the table wrapped in foil and I went to move them to the fridge when I noticed the top was covered in ants.

Oh NO!

I quickly ripped the foil off only to find that a handful had already made it inside.  The old me would have thrown the whole bundle in the garbage, but not any more.  Those are precious treats now.

I carefully plucked each ant I found off and threw them on the floor, and while doing so made the comment to Nick that "It's not like they don't carry any bad diseases or anything!"  Nick got quite a kick out of this and told me I've been here to long!  I guess so!


Since moving to Haiti I have become acutely more aware of all the blessings I have.  As I logged on to Facebook today, I saw post after post of people listing what they were thankful for.  Most said friends and families, a few said their health and the health of their loved ones.

What I didn't see was that people are thankful for the hospital and medicines that allow them to be healthy.  Or the car they drive to get to the doctors when they are sick.  The shoes they wear on their feet so they don't have to walk barefoot to get medical care.  Nobody was thankful for the cupboard of over the counter meds they have in their home that they can take every time they don't feel good.

I take these things for granted just as much as the rest of us.  I have never appreciated enough how much of a blessing it is to always have a bottle of tylenol in my house, car, backpack, and purse incase a headache ever comes on.  I've never really had to suffer through it.  Not only do I go to the doctors when I'm sick, but I also go for preventative care as well!

These things are just part of my life.  They are normal.  Why would I be thankful for something that everyone has, something that wouldn't make sense not to have.  That is until you meet someone who doesn't have it.  Until you meet lots of someones who don't have it.  Until you meet lots of someones who don't even understand what it is when you try to describe it.

So this year, I'm going to do it a little different.  Yes I'm thankful for my friends and family.  I'm thankful for my health and the health of my loved ones.  But, I have SO MANY more blessings than that.  Today I'm going to share some of those with you.

-I'm blessed to have shoes
-I'm blessed to have quality clothes
-I'm blessed to have tooth paste, tooth brush, soap, and other hygiene products
-I'm blessed to have a bottle of tylenol and a bottle of vitamins in my house
-I'm blessed to have a bed to sleep on
-I'm blessed to have blankets to keep me warm
-I'm blessed to have electricity
-I'm blessed to have the most amazing son and husband in the world
-I'm blessed to have a fan to cool me off on warm nights
-I'm blessed to have more food on my shelfs than I could eat in a month
-I'm blessed to have amazing technology at my finger tips
-I'm blessed to have clean running water.
-I'm blessed to not have to walk miles carrying a five gallon bucket of water to cook, clean, and drink with.
-I'm blessed that my son doesn't have to carry water as his daily chore.
-I'm blessed to have a vehicle to drive so I don't have to walk every where
-I'm blessed to have a University education
-I'm blessed to have the freedom of religion
-I'm blessed to have a house that doesn't leak every time it rains
-I'm blessed to have a door that locks when so many others don't
-I'm blessed to have recreation
-I'm blessed to have access to quality health care that doesn't require me to walk several miles and sit in line for hours or days to receive.
-I'm blessed to have a house full of toys for my son to play with
-I'm blessed to have the ability to read and write my name
-I'm blessed to have money saved aside for the "rainy day"
-I'm blessed to have the opportunity to live and work in Haiti doing Gods work daily

I'm Blessed, I'm Blessed, I'm Blessed.  This list could go on forever.  Anyone who's reading this is more blessed than they know.  We have so much to be thankful for.  I don't know about you, but I personally am not nearly appreciative enough of these blessings.  Even living in Haiti and working everyday with people who literally have nothing, I still always want more and more.  I still don't get it.  I'll never get it.

Today, being a day of Thanksgiving, it's easy to be reminded of all the blessings we have.  Tomorrow will be much harder; but what would our life look like if we remembered these things daily?

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Educating our Families

Over the past year, I have always wanted to add an education component to our formula program.  I have been running this program since shortly after moving to Haiti, and although I very much enjoy running it, I fully realize that the program has more potential than what I can offer it with my limited Creole and lack of cultural experience.  I knew that the best way to ensure that this program was making a lasting difference, beyond just the time the families spend in our program, was to hire someone to teach information that the participants could use not only for this child, but for any child they raise.

Thanks to a grant from Haiti Serve, today we had our first Formula Program Class!  I was very nervous and excited to see how this would go.  We hired Mary Lourde, the lady that teaches our prenatal classes to do it.  I have honestly never sat in on these classes and had no idea how she would do.

I am excited to announce that she is AMAZING and defiantly the best fit for the job.  She did so well today with all the guardians of our kids.  She choose to talk about serum, which I thought was a great first topic since we recently had one baby pass away from Cholera and four others admitted to the hospital for diarrhea and vomiting.  She discussed how to make it from scratch, when you give it, and for how long.  At one point she even demonstrated how much water you would need by filling up two empty coke bottles with water and presenting them to the class.

I expected her to stand at the front of the class and just lecture the whole time.  This was not her approach at all.  She made sure everyone was involved in the discussion.  Instead of just saying "this is how you make serum" she asked the class who knew how to make it.  She then challenged them and asked where they received this information, if they actually do it just as they were told, etc.  Mary Lourde spent time making sure that each participant spoke up at least once during class.  She made great eye contact and just did amazing over all!

I was also nervous about what our parents/guardians would think of these classes.  I didn't know if they would be accepting of the program or if they would be upset that there was now a hoop to go through to receive their formula.  I should have known the value that Haitian put on education and realized that they of course would love to go to our little "school" to help them learn how to better provide for their babies.  They were all very attentive and excited to be there.  Many even thanked me for the opportunity to go!

There has been 3 families in our program for several months now that all live very close to each other.  I have never once seen these families interact.  However, today they all waited for each other after class and walked home as a group.  By requiring them all to come at the same time and sit together, they are able to have fellowship and will hopefully build lasting relationships with each other.  They will be able to lean on each other in time of need and have someone to talk to that understands what they are going through.

The only thing that didn't happen today that I expected to was prayer and singing with the our families.  Mary Lourde does this with the Prenatal ladies but did not do it today.  My assumption is that she choose to skip it since we started out with everyone signing contracts, but she agreed to do it next time!  I am also excited because this will take this program from being just a humanitarian program to a mission program!

For so long I have felt like this program is just a band aid; helping a few people with the problem thats here and now.  I have never felt like it makes a lasting difference in their or their children's lives (minus the benefits from the nutrition).  Now however, I feel like we are teaching skills that these Moms, Grandmas, Aunts, Fathers, Uncles, Neighbors, and Cousins can take with them and spread to their community.  Now if any of their kids get sick or any of their neighbors children, they will be able to offer appropriate advice on how to make serum and when it's necessary to give it to them.  They will not only benefit from these classes, but their entire family and community could as well!

I have dreamed, talked about, and begged for these classes for a year now, and today I couldn't help but smile as I sat in the back of the class and listened to the discussions our families were having with each other and Mary Lourde.  It's finally happening.  So much has changed, and it was all from a one hour class.  I can't imagine what is going to unfold over the next several weeks as these families continue to met, learn, and grow together.  All I can say is I am looking forward to meeting with them all again in 2 more weeks to discuss whatever topic Mary Lourde decides to discuss then!

I love that COTP continues to do all we can to keep families in our community together!  With out this program, many of these babies would have been admitted to our care, become extremely malnourished, or potentially could have even died.  It's great to know we are able to provide assistance to these 13 beautiful children which hopefully will help them flourish in their parents home!

Please pray for Mary Lourde as she is teaching and leading these families, pray they are able to use the information she is providing them, that they create lasting friendships with each other, and most importantly, that their babies grow and thrive in their care!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Thanks for the Diapers!

COTP Diaper Drive
Diaper Drive Update

 A few months ago we Nick and I asked you all to help us with our need for diapers. We are excited to announce that the diaper drive was a success and we now have 17 people shipping down a box each month! This has greatly helped our diaper needs! It's great to have quality diapers coming in regularly to use on our amazing kiddos!

For those of you that ship us a box each month, Thank you so much! You have no idea how much we appreciate it!

If anyone's still interested in sending us diapers, or other supplies, off of amazon each month, please contact Nick and I at  Now that we are up to 62 kids we could always use a few more!

Thanks so much for your continued support!

Nikki and COTP staff!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Happy Family Day

Eventz in Daddy's back pack on a Moto Ride!
Today Nick, Eventz, and I are celebrating.  One year ago, the three of us became a family!  I remember coming back to Haiti after announcing we were adopting, and being so eager to see my beautiful little baby boy!  I sat in the stuffy, small airport in Port au Prince, watching every minute slowly tick away on my watch, wanting time to speed by so I could give Eventz hugs and kisses.

After what seemed like an eternity, I finally walked into my new apartment, asked the nanny that was watching him that day where he was, and quickly walked into my room to see an incredibly tiny little guy sound asleep in his play pen.  I just stood on the side and stared at him for the longest time.  I wanted to pick him up, tell him the exciting news; that I was his new Mommy; and give him a hug and a kiss, but decided that could wait and instead I just enjoyed the moment!

Eventz demanded I play in this position and
refused to let me get up!
Last night I read through some of my old blog posts about Eventz, and it killed me to see how big he has already gotten.  My once tiny baby is now a running, exploring, adventurous toddler who loves to learn!  In many of these posts, I talked about how I was trying to get Eventz to say Mama.  He refused for the longest time and would only say Dada.  Now however, Mommy is one of his favorite words and he says it all the time, always with a smile on his face!

Yesterday was all about Eventz.  We let him lead us on an "Adventure Walk."  He just wandered where ever he wanted, and we followed close behind.  He lead us to the shop, played with stuff there for a while, and then ended up going over to the neighbors where he ran around for about an hour!

Nick and I are only just now beginning to learn how difficult this adoption is going to be.  I had always thought we would let him live with us for a year and then at least start the 2 year process to make him legally ours.  I expected us to be able to go to someone's office, tell them our story, and either be approved or denied to start the adoption.  However, there is no way to know whether or not we will be approved until we actually submit all of our paperwork; which is several thousands of dollars; and since we don't met the Haitian requirements, theres a good chance that would be denied.  At this point it looks like we are going to wait the four years until we met the requirements before we even try.  This means 6 years before he'll be able to leave the country.

We are still hoping and praying that the Haitian laws change, but know they likely wont!

Regardless, we are so blessed to be spending this time WITH our son!  Nick and I just can't believe how well he fits into our lives!  He has a combination of both of our personalities, and if it wasn't for the physical appearance, you would never know he wasn't biologically ours!

Eventz now knows what a lion, kitty, puppy, goat, sheep, and cow say!  His favorite toys are his plastic lions, which he carries ALL over the place and 'roars', and his toy quad, which he pushes around and says 'zroom' to!  One of my favorite things Eventz does is go to the edge of the balcony, stand on his tippy toes so he can barely see over and yell "Ni, Ni" (Nick, Nick)!  Apparently he has seen me do this a few times, and now when he wants Daddy, he simply calls for Ni to come up and play with him!  Eventz is completely bonded to Nick and I and loves to give us hugs and kisses!  He knows that we are Mommy and Daddy and he knows he's well loved!

However, God never ceases to remind me what sacrifice had to be taken in order for him to be ours.  On our Family Day, Eventz Dad came to visit and began talking to me about Eventz baby sister, who is one month old.  I was reminded that Nick and I aren't the only ones that love Eventz, that there are two other people out there that love him even more than we both do.  That they love him so much, they made the incredibly difficult decision not to parent.  Everyday we love him more and more and are so incredibly thankful that he lives with us and is ours to care for.