Friday, November 4, 2011

How do you tell these stories?

One of my friends, Jillian, recently wrote this in her blog, and I can't sum it up better..

"Why have I not been writing? Good question- one that I have been asking myself a lot lately.....Thing is, sometimes all I have, is the energy to live here in Haiti. Writing about it, having to dwell on it, and attempting to make my everyday poetic and inspiring is draining so say the least. And most nights, especially the most frequent ones, I have found myself more than drained, completely uninspired, and the least bit poetic. It isn't that I don't have good stories to tell. I have plenty. It's just that sometimes, I can't muster up enough energy or spirit to make them inspiring."

For every blog I post, I have probably 10 potential posts I would like to write about.  Amazing stories, that I want to share.  But the fact is, one, I don't have time. Two, I'm tired.  Three, they aren't always inspiring.  And four, I don't know how to tell these stories and do them justice.

This life I live, it's full of of making life and death decisions EVERY day.  I hate making decisions, ask anyone who knows me, I can't even decide where to go out to eat.  Now I'm supposed to be making decisions that literally could result in a helpless baby dying, often multiple times a day.

What do you do when one someone you know has a baby that dies and it's twin is equally as sick.  Do you do nothing except encourage the family to care for the baby and ensure them this one won't have the same fate, even when you know that may not be the truth since the baby is so fragile?  Do you separate the family for a short time, while the baby is healing and gaining weight, even though this causes the Mother to not be able to breast feed once reunited, when you know they can't afford formula and otherwise could breastfeed until the child is 18 months (or longer)?  Do you choose adoption?  What is the right way to or not to help?

What do you do when one of your favorite nannies comes up to your house and apologizes for missing work, and then points to her black eye and tells you that the father of her kids gave that to her when she went to ask him to help pay for food for them?

What do you do when a grandma begs you every week to take her grand baby because she isn't able to care for her, yet you see her deep love and that the baby is in fact doing fine?

What do you do when you suspect physical and sexual abuse in the home of one of our kids?

How do you know when it's time to take a child to the hospital.  When is all we can do not enough?

What do you do when a child you really thought should be up for adoption, gets reunited?  What do you do when a child you really thought should get reunited, goes up for adoption?  How do you know when to push for a child to be reunited and when not to?

What do you do when you hold a dying baby in your arms?  What do you do when a baby dies in your arms?

What do you do when you are the only one to attend an infants funeral, because they have no one else.

What do you do when a child is abandoned at your gate, not because they aren't loved, but because they are SO loved.

What do you do on days when you have seven families, with seven children, all in need of help, sitting at your gate asking you to take their children.  You can't take them all.  They all need help, but they don't all need to be separated.  How do you decide which one's to and not to help?

These decisions are tough.  These situations are heart breaking.  These stories are real.  These faces and names are stuck in my head.

Yet somehow through all of this, God gives us strength, peace of mind, and the energy to carry on.  Everyday Nick and I pray that we do God's will before our own and that he helps us make the right decisions.  That he guides our hands and feet and works through us.  That our work here is not ours, but his.

We've done a lot of debating recently in regards to whether we are Missionaries or Humanitarian Workers.  I'm torn.  It feels like all we do is Humanitarian work.  We care for the needs of these kids, our staff, and their families.  But are we preaching, are we spreading the word?  Not directly.  However, I can say that if it weren't for my faith I likely would not be here. 

My prayer is that through these works we are doing, the love of God is shown.  When we hold a child; whether it's for five minutes at the gate, three months while they get healthy, a few years until their adoption is complete, or an undisclosed amount of time until they leave this world and go home; I pray that we are able to show God's love to each and everyone of them!

When I make a decision, even when the parents aren't happy and our staff is encouraging me to change my mind, I have peace of mind knowing that God is in fact the one who made the decision, not me.  If I was making these decisions on my own, I'd be a wreck.  I couldn't do it.  I'd see a child die, I'd hear an awful story, and I wouldn't be able to handle it.  But God gives me the strength to carry on every day.


  1. Good job Nikki. That is exactly what you are to do, is to draw near to God and ask him to provide you with his strength and his wisdom in every day decisions. I'm so proud of you for all the work you and Nick are doing on behave of all those little children, families and nannies. You will be so blessed for all your hard work.

  2. I wish I had some profound words to say...but I don't. I can't imagine how difficult it is to make these decision day in and day out. Just keep leaning on God, and asking God for direction. He will not stray you in the wrong direction! Even when it may not always make sense!! we continue to live everyone at COTP up in prayers!

  3. I have tears in my eyes reading this Nikki because you said it so well. These were and still are the thoughts that go through my head every day. Our hearts are with you through each step. I pray God's wisdom and peace over you often. Thank you for being his hands and feet because you really and truly are.