Sunday, December 18, 2005

Christmas in Zambia

Today's service at church was extremely moving. It was a Christmas on-location service - in Zambia. It reminded us so much of Haiti. We couldn't believe how similar it was. We were so moved - Scott was moved to tears by the fact that God would ask us to help by bringing Noah home. It really is amazing that he is entrusting us with this. I still can't understand why God would choose to speak to us directly and to give us this child. It truly amazes me.

Monday, December 12, 2005


At 1:30, I left to go downtown to get our adoption documents authenticated. Unfortunately, it took me an hour and a half to get downtown! I was in such horrible traffic - I thought I would be fine at that time. It didn't help that the ramp that I was supposed to exit on was under construction and I had to make my way back to where I needed to be. Then, I needed to find parking, which was also more difficult than I thought it would be.I did get parked, though and started walking quickly to the Secretary of State's office. They only allowed walk-ins until 3:30, so I knew I needed to hurry. I got there in plenty of time and handed in my paperwork. After a few minutes, the woman called me up to the counter. She told me that they could only authenticate two of my four documents. Apparently, the guy who notarized our documents at the bank had a middle initial on his notary stamp, but was not registered with that initial. So, that meant that his notarization was not legal.

So, long story short, my trip was basically for nothing. I will have to make the trip again after I get my documents re-notarized. Sigh!

Saturday, December 3, 2005

Craft Show Fundraiser

Today, my mom and I did a craft show to raise money for the adoption. I had made little snowman ornaments out of lightbulbs - they were really cute - and I was also selling an adoption cookbook that had been put together by adoptive families fundraising.

The craft fair was at an elementary school in Skokie. It wasn't a teriffic success, but it was an interesting experience. First off, I wished right away that I would have brought a table cloth - most everyone else had one - I didn't even think of it. We sold two ornaments and two cookbooks almost right away, but then went for about three or four hours without selling a thing. Lots of people came around and talked to us about the adoption, but no one actually bought. It was a bit disheartening. But then, in the last 45 minutes or so, we suddenly started selling a lot. In the end, we sold 9 snowmen and 8 cookbooks. So, we did end up making some money even though it wasn't much. Hopefully we'll find a way to sell some more of the cookbooks - I don't think I'll be able to sell anymore ornaments, though. Oh well.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Psychiatrist, Take 2

So, today was our SECOND try at a psychologist appointment. We met with Dr. Markin, who was really nice. This was SUCH a better experience than when we met with the psychiatrist. We talked with him about our history and about why we wanted to adopt. He said that it was their policy that we needed to meet with a psychiatrist as well. I have to admit, I had a quick, "Oh no, not again" thought, but Dr. Markin was so much nicer than the last doctor that it didn't seem like as much of an issue. Luckily, they were able to squeeze us in to see Dr. Walt later that same afternoon. Of course, that meant that Scott had to miss even more work, but we were really glad that they could get us in that day since Scott is going to Las Vegas next week.

We went to McDonalds and then stopped at a local farmstand and bought a pumpkin and then it was time to go back to the doctor's office. I talked to the psychiatrist myself first. I have to admit that it felt a little strange to talk to her about how I felt God led me to this adoption. She wanted to know about the details of how I felt this leading. She kept asking questions like, "So, did you actually hear God speak to you?" and "Why did you feel that you needed to adopt? Did you need to feel more special?" I was starting to think that she might say that I was crazy after all. I just tried top answer the questions as honestly as I could without making myself sound like a loon. I felt better by the end, though. She basically said that sometimes "miracles" do happen and God leads us to do things. I was so glad to hear that she didn't think I was just plain crazy. After she talked to me, she had Scott and the kids come in. She asked Scott about his reasons for going along with the adoption, and I think she just wanted to see the kids and get a gauge for the fact that they're healthy and happy. Amazingly, they were very good - neither of them had had ANY naps that day and they would both have normally been sleeping at that time.

This evening, Scott and I went to our sign language class and we were the only two people there! It was kind of fun to have our own class. We ended up spending a lot of the time talking to the woman who's kind of in charge of the program about what does and doesn't matter in the "real" world of ASL. She basically told us not to get hung up on the details of word order, etc. She said that most things are accepted and that there are no hard and fast rules. She also mentioned that even among Deaf people, there are lots of arguments about what is "right." It made me feel a lot better about our chances of being able to really communicate in ASL.

Thursday, October 6, 2005

Working on Another Psych Appt

Today, I spent a lot of time getting a psychologist appointment. Scott and I decided that we should just go with a psychologist instead of waiting weeks to get in with another psychiatrist. I called ComPsych (which is the program with CDW) and got referrals for a few different psychologists. Then, I called them all and managed to get an appointment with one on the 18th, which is just 5 days after we get back from our trip! I can't tell you what a relief that is. I was so worried that I would have to wait weeks and weeks to get an appointment.

Other than that, I just worked on my to do list for the trip. Getting things together, working on the babysitting instructions, etc. I can't believe we're leaving in just a couple of days!

Wednesday, October 5, 2005

Psychiatrist Woes

Well, my day can pretty much be summed up by this post that I posted on the Haitian Angels board:

So, I know many of you have had "issues" with finding a psychiatrist,etc. I just thought that I would vent about the problems that I've been having with this.

First of all, my home study social worker recommended that we get an appointment with a psychiatrist rather than a psychologist. She said that she had some people who were adopting from Russia and they decided to change the rule to only accept a psychiatrist - those people had to get their psych letter re-done when they were already halfway through the process and it held them up. This sounded like good advice considering the fact that Haiti's elections are coming up and who knows if the new people in charge might decide a psychiatrist letter is needed.

Little did I know how hard it would be to get an appointment. Most offices told me that it would be a month or two before I could get in. I found one psychologist who (after not calling me back for a week and then playing phone tag for a week) said that he could have a colleague do this for me very soon. He said in one week, or at the most, two. We got the appointment for two weeks later, but the doctor ended up being sick that day. We rescheduled for tonight (one more week later).

Well, the appointment was a disaster. Basically, the guy that I talked to hadn't told the psychiatrist anything about why we were coming. When we showed up, the doctor was downright hostile toward us - he said that he didn't understand why the Haitian government would want this and that it was ridiculous for us to want him to give us a "stamp of approval" to adopt a child. While we were sitting there, dumbstruck, he called the psychologist who had set this all up and apparently he told him that we would need to have a bunch of psychological tests done (which I know we don't need - other places had told me we could do this in one meeting). By the time we left, I was about ready to cry - the whole thing was a huge waste of the six weeks that it took me to get the appointment! I felt so stupid because I KNEW that I should have triple-checked ahead of time that they were NOT going to force us to have a bunch of tests done. The doctor said (with real attitude), "Well, you'll have to get all of these tests done and by the way, they're very expensive, but nobody ever said that adopting a child was cheap." As if we don't know that! Obviously, we'll pay what we have to pay to get our son home, but now we'll probably have to pay for this ridiculous non-appointment AND pay for another doctor (who knows if insurance will cover any of it - especially if they get a claim from two doctors).

I'm just SO frustrated because this is the last piece of paper that I need to complete my dossier (well, I'm still working on the NOTARIZED bank letter that BOTH of my banks are refusing to give me) and now it's looking like it's going to be over a month before I can get it. I don't know how you guys who have been waiting for so long can stand it. I just want to get my little boy home and start teaching him sign language. I know that every month that I am delayed in getting his dossier to Haiti is another month that he has no language to speak of. Sorry for my very long rant. Just a bad day - I know you all understand. On the plus side, I'm going to be visiting my little sweet boy in just four days, so I really should count myself lucky.Nicole H.

Tuesday, October 4, 2005

Sign Language Class

Tonight we had our second sign language class at Center on Deafness. We had a sub who was Deaf, and it was great to "talk" with her. It was interesting to hear her perspective on growing up oral/signed English and then learning ASL later in life (when she was a teenager). The class was really good and we were glad to talk to her. We also talked to another woman whose daughter got a cochlear implant when she was one. This class is great because we're able to connect to people with real experience with deafness (whereas most people that we were in class with at Harper were just there to try and work toward an interpreting career or because they were curious about sign language).

Saturday, October 1, 2005

Noah's 1st Birthday

Today was Noah's first birthday. It was hard to know that we're missing it. We had a little birthday party for him. We just put a candle in a piece of cake and sang Happy Birthday to his picture, but it was still nice to do something. And, of course, Jaden was very excited to celebrate.

Friday, September 30, 2005

Video of Noah

We got a video of Noah in the mail! We weren't expecting it at all, so it was really exciting. I saw the package in the mail and I thought "That looks like it's about the size of a videotape." I was trying not to get my hopes up, but I basically tore the package open and then immediately called Scott. He wanted to see it right away so he came home for lunch. It was so sweet to see him crawling around (he doesn't really use his legs yet, but he pulls himself along with his arms). He was really adorable. I can't wait to go visit him! And Jaden was really cute, watching him. He kept saying things like, "Baby Noah is being silly. Baby Noah is playing with the Winnie the Pooh toy." He was really sweet.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Psych Appt Cancelled

Scott and I were supposed to have our psychiatrist appointment tonight, but apparently the doctor is sick. :-( So, we had to reschedule it for next week. Sometimes it feels like we'll never get done with our dossier. I wish that I was better organized - I could have gotten things done quicker, I'm sure.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

New Sign Language Class

Tonight was our first sign language class at the Center on Deafness in Northbrook. We're really glad that we ended up taking it. It's a lot different from Harper, but it's good to get a different perspective. Harper goes at it from a much more academic standpoint. This class is much more laid back and geared toward real life use of sign language, it seems. In some ways, I think that it's probably not as good for pure ASL, but it's good to have this other perspective. We are thinking that it would be nice in the future if we could take both this class and the Harper class.

We also talked to several people about early intervention and about services that are available for Noah once we get home. They told us to call when we get Noah home and they will help connect us with the proper people. One of the women used to interpret for the school in Vernon Hills and she told us a lot about it. The only thing that I'm not crazy about is the fact that they use something very close to signed exact English. She said that when the kids are young, they even use signs for "ing" and "ed", etc. I don't really think I like that. Scott said that after talking to her, he felt more reassured about it (she explained that mainstreaming is their main goal and that they use the special signs so that the kids will really understand English grammar), but I still don't feel very good about it. I just don't see how throwing English letters at the end words in a visual language makes much sense. I would really like to see some actual data on how Deaf kids learn best. All I've heard is anectdotal stuff. Of course, both sides insist that their way is better.

Monday, September 26, 2005


This morning, Scott and I went and got our vaccinations for our trip to Haiti. We had to get a Hepatitis A shot and a Typhoid shot. Scott also got a Tetanus shot, since he didn't get one when he had his physical. We had to bring the kids with us, but it didn't go too badly. They were actually very good, considering.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

The Trip is On!

I booked our tickets to Haiti!! We finally figured out all the details and Scott got approval to take the days off from work. I was so excited to actually book the tickets. We are going from October 9th through the 13th. I can't wait to see Noah! Now I just have to figure out everything we need to do before we go. I did get us an appointment for immunizations on Monday morning. So many things to think about!

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Planning a Visit to Haiti

I spent a lot of today trying to figure out whether or not it will be possible for us to go to Haiti in October. We were thinking of going from the 13th to the 17th, but I hadn't looked at the flight schedule correctly. There are no flights out to Cap Haitien on Thursdays.

I spoke to Robin on the phone for almost 40 minutes today. I found out that there are some days that would be better for them because they already have to drive to the airport. Apparently, the airport is only 7 miles away from the orphanage, but it takes them 45 minutes to drive there because the terrain is so rough. She said that there are potholes the size of a car. She also said that there are no real roads, no road signs to speak of and no traffic or street lights. Apparently, people basically just use their horns constantly to let others know what they're doing. Robin also said that Cap Haitien is much different from Port au Prince. She said that the violence that the media talks about in Haiti is pretty much just in PaP. She also said that the media really blows things out of proportion and that it is not as violent as they make it sound. So, it's an option to go after the elections if we can't make the week that we want to go in October work out.

Robin told me a lot about the orphanage. Apparently, Robin's mother (and she) started the orphanage 6 years ago. They went out there and basically started taking in babies when all they had was a shack to stay in. They had no electricity and didn't even know where they should go to buy food, etc. They had five babies and it was just Robin and her mother taking care of them. Eventually, they found a building that they were able to rent. Then, they moved out to the country and were able to stay in some buildings that had been used by some missionaries. After a few years, they built their own building and the missionaries moved back into the old buildings. They now have a generator (and therefore electricity). Robin said that many people have commented on the fact thta COTP seems like a much nicer place than other orphanages they have been to in Haiti. She said that they really try to take care of the kids like they are their own. She said that they know each child's cry and whether the cry is a pain cry or a "someone's taken my toy" cry. They really love these kids. I really feel like we are blessed to have Noah living in this orphanage.

Robin also warned me that Cap Haitien is a lot poorer than PaP. She said that people are always shocked when they get there. They are not prepared for the level of poverty and the number of people in the streets, and the amount of garbage in the streets. It's hard to imagine how it will be and how we will feel when we get there.So, I ended up calling Lynx airline to find out what flights they have seats on. It looks like we can fly out on the 9th and come back on the 13th. In some ways, it's not as ideal (Scott will have to take one extra day of work off, we'll have to miss a sign language class), but it will most likely work. We're trying to work out the rest of the details so that we can actually schedule it!

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Garage Sale Day 3

This morning, the garage sale was VERY slow. Absolutely no one came during the first two hours and then a few people trickled in. By 11 AM, we had only made $10 (the sale started at 8 AM again). But, at least I had a nice relaxing morning to catch up on my Yahoo Group reading and my journaling. :-)

The rest of the day was equally slow, but we did end up making $67.70, so it was worth it. It was funny - we actually made $10 after we had already packed everything up and were loading it back into the garage. I was wheeling the old TV stand (which we had books on during the sale) back into the garage and someone pulled into the driveway with a truck. They asked how much we wanted for the stand. Since we hadn't really had it in the sale, I asked Scott what we should sell it for. He shrugged, "$10?" We figured they'd try to talk us down from there, but they didn't. So, we made $10 after the sale was already way over. Overall, we ended up making $571.3o! I was definitely happy with that number. Hopefully we'll make even more in a couple of weeks at our next door neighbor's sale.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Garage Sale Day 2

Today's sales were even better than yesterday! I was a bit worried for part of the time because we weren't as busy overall as we were yesterday. We had some loooong lulls. But, we sold some of the bigger items like the lawnmower and the TV. So, overall, we ended up making $260 for a grand total of $505 so far. Yay!!!!

Friday, September 9, 2005

Garage Sale Fundraiser

We were up until 2 AM last night working on garage sale signs and had to get up early this morning to start the garage sale at 8 AM. So, we're pretty tired. But, I was also very excited about the sale and didn't mind being tired much.

The sale went very well. We ended up making $245 today. I was very happy with that and am hoping that we can make about $500 for the whole sale. It was really encouraging to have such a great start. We really sold quite a few things. Scott's mom came over to help out, which was great because otherwise I don't know how I would have picked Jaden up from school. It was also nice to have her here while I fed the kids, etc. She stayed until I put them down for their naps. The one drawback of today was that I couldn't end the sale until after Scott got home from work because I couldn't bring all the tables in myself. It turned out that Scott had to work late and couldn't get home until 6:30! By then, I was exhausted and the kids were hard to deal with (since I couldn't really do much with them).But, overall, a very good day. I even met several neighbors (a couple of whom I ended up talking to for a long time). Hopefully tomorrow will go just as well.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Last Homestudy Visit

Today was our last homestudy visit. I spent the morning getting the house ready - luckily, the kids were cooperative and both took an afternoon nap.The homestudy visit went well. We feel pretty positive about everything and would be really surprised if we weren't approved. Nichole was really nice and even though the kids were a bit crazy at times (Danielle was full of energy and running around - she kept bonking her head on things, though - it was pretty funny), the visit was a very pleasant one.

After Nichole left, Scott and I sat down and watched coverage of Hurrican Katrina. It is just incredible the devastation that has been left by this hurricane. Apparently, the levy that keeps water out of New Orleans (which is below sea level) cracked in two places. 80% of New Orleans is underwater! They say that there could be as many as a thousand people dead in New Orleans alone. And there are probably hundreds dead in Mississippi as well. I think this may be one of the worst natural disasters to ever hit the U.S. And, to top this all off, there are looters who are wreaking absolute havoc in New Orleans as well. Some people are just taking food and water in order to survive, but others are taking advantage of the situation, which is pretty much complete chaos. CDW is going to do a 4 to 1 donation match for the hurricane relief fund, so we will be giving through them.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Noah, it is!

We picked out a name for (previously) Louis! Scott decided to ask Jaden what name he liked out of our top three - Derrick, Emmanuel and Noah. Jaden said he liked Noah the best. We even tried asking him again and ordering the names differently and he definitely said that Noah is his favorite. So, we decided to go with Noah! I guess it's funny that we let Jaden decide, but we couldn't really decide anyway. I was kind of happy that he hadn't picked Derrick, since this was my least favorite of the three. I was torn between Emmanuel and Noah, though. And Scott said that he liked all three. Anyway, it looks like we're sticking with Noah!

Monday, August 22, 2005

More Names

We talked about names some more today. I brought up the name Noah. During the service when God first told me that we should adopt, Noah was one of the main examples that Mike Breaux used to illustrate someone who obeyed God, even though people thought he was crazy and he wasn't sure of the outcome. I thought that this would be a good, meaningful name that we could use. Scott agreed. So, now we've got our list down to three names - Derrick, Emmanuel and Noah.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

What's in a Name?

Today felt like a busy day, but we really didn't do all that much. Scott had to work in the morning, so we went to the 11:15 service at church. The service was about keeping our promises (especially those to God), even when it's hard to do. This service once again really confirmed for Scott and I that we are going down the path that God wants for us. We know that it may be difficult at times, but we have made a promise to God and we are going to follow through.

Scott and I also spent some time talking about a new name for Louis. We just don't think that Louis Hewitt sounds right at all, so I think we're definitely going to change it. We like Emmanuel for a few reasons -

1. It is a common name in Haiti, so it keeps his Haitian heritage.
2. It means "God with us" which we think is extremely appropriate.
3. It is a somewhat common (but not too common) African American name, so he would fit in with other black people here in the US.

We're still not positive, though. I wish it was a bit shorter, since he will have to spell it a lot. Also, it might be hard for him to say (if he's at all oral) and if he hears at all, he might not hear well enough to tell the difference between "Danielle" and "Emmanuel" - they sound very similar.

So, we're still working on the name thing.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Visit with the Bremmers

Today was an interesting day. We had Scott's friend Mike Bremmer and his family over for dinner. Mike and his wife are both Deaf. I was a bit afraid that it would be awkward and that I really wouldn't be able to communicate, but it was a lot better than I thought. In general, Mike is pretty easy to understand because he talks pretty well. And I was better at signing than I thought I would be. Probably the best way for us to continue to learn sign language is to attempt to keep in contact with Deaf people and to go to Deaf events. Unfortunately, I found out on Friday that we can't get into Sign 201 at Harper. The class is already more than full and they won't let anyone else join. I was really disappointed and upset at myself for letting this situation happen. I've been so focused on getting things ready for the homestudy and the dossier that I lost sight of the fact that school was about to start again. I guess at this point, money needs to go toward the adoption, not toward school, but I still am a bit concerned that we are going to fall out of practice.

Anyway, it was nice to have Mike's family here. I don't think his 7 year old daughter was too thrilled to be here, though. She was bored and didn't appreciate a 3 year old chasing after her. It was a bit cool, but everyone but me still went in the pool for at least a little while. I'm glad they were able to enjoy it. Mike and his wife (her name is Russian - Merana?) were very nice and have said that we should come to their house some day soon.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Police Letter

So, today we went to the Mundelein police station and I filled out a form to get my criminal background check. Jaden got a Junior Police Officer badge, which was pretty cute.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Fingerprints and Police Letter

We went to Waukegan today so that I could get my fingerprints done. This ended up being very stressful because I didn't have the homestudy agency address with me. I had to make a ton of phone calls before I finally got it from information. Ugh! But, the fingerprinting was simple.

This evening, I tried going to the Mundelein police department to get the form I need to fill out for my criminal background check, but the officer who was there had no idea what I was talking about. I'll have to go back again tomorrow.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Are You Insane?

Today we went to the bank and got money orders for our I-600A form and for our fingerprinting. Then, we went to Kinkos and Fed-Exed the I-600A. The kids were very good, ecept they got pretty wild at Kinkos. I kept having to tell Jaden to stop playing with things and Danielle found a whole rack full of tubes that she thought was great fun to play with. And, of course, then Jaden thought that looked fun as well and he joined in. They guy was trying to ask me how I would like to send the documents while I was attempting to put tubes back into the metal holder. It was very crazy! Then, I asked him about printing labels online and he asked what types of things I usually send. I told him that I was adopting and would need to be sending a lot of things Fed-Ex. It didn't occur to me until I was driving away that he must have thought I was crazy! Here I am, fighting to keep two little children from wreaking havoc on the store (and losing the fight), saying casually, "Yeah, I'm adopting." He was probably thinking, "Are you insane?"

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

1st Homestudy Visit

Today was our first homestudy visit. It seemed like it went very well. There were times, though, when you wondered about what she wasn't saying. For instance, she asked us about why we had decided to adopt and we told her honestly that we felt led to do it. I told her a very truncated version of the story of how I felt God told me that we should adopt. She just kind of nodded and didn't say anything. It felt so strange because we have no idea if she even believes in God - so the story was kind of hard to tell. But, overall, I think the visit went very positively. We are going to schedule our next visit later in the week.

Saturday, August 6, 2005

Homestudy Educational Meeting

We went to the educational meeting for our homestudy today. Even though Scott was still sick, it went well. We were there for about four hours and we had a good feeling when we left. Mostly, it made us happy about the situation with COTP. As Nichole (the social worker) was talking about the unknowns in orphanages, we really felt positive about the updates and pictures that we get from COTP. Many people only get a tiny photo and a medical page.

We made an appointment for our first home visit - She's coming on the 9th at 8:00 AM. Of course, we realized that we really need to make absolutely sure that everything is baby-proofed before she comes (we really need to do it anyway), so we stopped at Home Depot and Babies R Us and picked up some things.

Tuesday, August 2, 2005

Trip to get Birth Certificates

I drove out to Waukegan to get Jaden and Danielle's birth certificates and our marriage certificate. I forgot to bring the directions - Luckily, I remembered what they said and miraculously didn't make any wrong turns. Unfortunately, when I got there, I had a hard time finding a parking space. Dragging the kids two blocks to get there was not something I was looking forward to. I ended up driving around a couple of times and luckily a spot opened up right in front of the building. I was not thrilled at the prospect of paralell parking, but the spot was big enough that I managed it with relative ease. Of course, I went in the furthest entrance from the office I needed to go to. I had to walk through the entire building (with the kids in tow, of course). The good thing was, the actual process of getting the certificates was pretty easy. I thought I might have to wait an hour or something to get them, but they were able to print them immediately. And I got a little clipboard and a pencil for Jaden. He was able to color while we waited. The biggest issue was keeping Danielle from walking away. Now that she can walk, I can't keep her to stay still!

Monday, August 1, 2005

Paperwork Snag

I am more confused than ever about the paperwork for the adoption. I thought that I understood it correctly - that if Scott and I went to visit Louis before the adoption was final then we wouldn't have to become foster parents. But, now I'm not so sure. I'm trying to find out for sure if we will get an adoption decree in Haiti, or just guardianship. If we get the decree, we don't have to do the foster thing. I would sure like to avoid that!Anyway, it's all more confusing than ever. And I found out that we were missing some paperwork for the homestudy. She said that she was going to fax it to me right away, but I never got it. Urgh! Oh well - at least she said that we were scheduled for the educational session this Saturday. Now I just have to find out the details - where, when, how long, etc.

Sunday, July 31, 2005

Today, Scott was sick with a cold, so I brought the kids to church myself and met my mom there. The service was about how we can be "stolen by success". One of the bible quotes really struck me - I think it might have been from the Message translation - I should really see if I can find it again. It was about how to truly be a success in God's eyes, and one of the lines was something like "Do not be impressed with yourself". What a convicting message! It's so hard to keep God at the center of everything and not want praise - not want to feel like you did a really good job. I am always looking for things that make me feel good about myself. I should only be looking for things that make God look good - after all, anything I do is because of Him.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Adoption Books

This evening, Jaden and I went to the bookmobile. They had three books on adoption on hold for me. I was very excited to get them. I've already read 60 pages of one of the books, which is on the issues of trans-racial adoption. It's been a really eye-opening book to read. It's interesting how I've managed to live such a color-blind life. I never really thought about the fact that the reason I am able to do that is because I'm white. African American people don't have the luxury of being color-blind because, no matter how the world has changed, there is always someone out there who will treat them badly because they are African American. It also never really occurred to me that, although our child will in many ways be growing up as a typical white American, when he is not with us, he will be seen as a typical African American. It's definitely good to read these things and to try to get a handle on the special needs that our child will have simply based on the fact that he is black.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Deaf Magnet School

I found out today that there is a deaf magnet school just about 2 miles from our house. What are the chances of that! This is the deaf school for all of Lake County and it just happens to be practically in our backyard. Guess God knew why we should be here!

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Homestudy Paperwork!

Our packet from the homestudy agency came! Wow! There is a lot of information that we need to fill out! I think we decided that we want to travel to Haiti ahead of time, just so we don't have to worry about becoming a licensed foster home and readopting - whatever we can do to make the process less arduous. Even without the foster care paperwork, we have to fill out a bunch of questionaires which ask for very detailed information on our lives. We each have to fill out a family history, a marriage report and a discipline form (describing our views on proper discipline). Then, together we have to fill out an adoption questionaire, asking questions about why we want to adopt, what we think it will be like, etc. These questions are very detailed - For example, we have to talk about jobs that we've had, going all the way back to high school! It took me many hours to fill out the first one (which I did today).

I guess the paperwork fun begins!

Thursday, July 21, 2005


One funny thing happened today - My mom and I decided to watch a movie that I had gotten from Netflix. It ended up being about people who had encephalitis! At first, I thought, "I don't know if I want to see this." The people in the movie had become catatonic years after their illness. But, by the end of the movie, I really was struck by the feeling that those people deserved love as much as anyone else. When they "awoke" from their catatonia, they knew that people had come to visit them - they knew they were loved. Of course, I was also relieved to find that the type of encephalitis that they had was an epidemic that happened in the 20's and doesn't happen anymore.

Another interesting "coincidence" - Scott found out today that his boss, Doug was adopted and that he had encephalitis as a child. Doug said that he was really happy that his parents had adopted him, since they knew that he had many severe food allergies, which would be difficult to deal with. All of this just strengthened Scott's conviction that we are doing the right thing - Which I'm sure was God's plan!

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Moving Forward

I wrote an email to Robin today and sent it to Scott to see if it sounded okay. I basically said that we had found out further information about encephalitis and that we didn't think that we were equipped to deal with the issues that could come from it. I took Deb's advice to heart and decided that I needed to assume that if Scott wasn't feeling right about this that perhaps it was me that wanted this adoption and not God.

But, when Scott wrote me back, he asked if I was convinced that this was the right thing to do - he said that he was having a hard time closing the door on Louis.

Scott came home for lunch and we discussed Louis some more. Surprisingly, Scott said that he didn't want to say no quite yet. He suggested that we email Robin and try to find out some more about the type of encephalitis he had, how he is developing and whether or not he has ever had any seizures, etc.

I did email Robin, and got a response back from her. She didn't have much more information to give, but she did say that he had one seizure the day he got sick and hasn't had one since. She also said that he is developing completely on track for a child in Haiti.

I talked to Scott on the phone while he was waiting at the airport. He is flying to Las Vegas for work tonight and his flight has been delayed. I was expecting him to say that he didn't feel like the email gave us much more information, but instead he said that the email gave him a much greater sense of peace about the adoption. We talked about it and agreed that Louis is a normal little boy developmentally right now. As far as the future, we have no guarantees, but for now we are going to continue moving forward with the homestudy. We're just going to have to trust that God is with us through all of this and that He is not out to sabotage us. Things might be hard, but I think we can handle it.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Christian Friends

Our friends John and Deb and Hailey came over this evening. It was so great to see them again! We really miss hanging out with them. We talked to them about the adoption with them and they were very encouraging. Deb told me that they have been praying for us and that they truly believe that this is what God wants for us. But, she reminded me that I need to put God's will above my own and that if this is the child for us, God will put Scott's heart at peace with it. She said that, maybe, if Scott is feeling uncertain, this child is not the child God has planned for our family. It was really good to get her perspective on this. I had been so focused on the fact that it seemed like God did want this to happen, that I never considered the fact that perhaps Scott's feelings were due to the fact that God was giving him a different message. At the same time, Deb told us that the fear we were feeling was not coming from God and that we shouldn't make a decision based on fear, but based on prayer and what it seems that God is telling us. I'm trying hard to do that, but sometimes it's hard to hear what God is truly saying. I know that I felt so strongly a year ago that this was what God wanted. Our Christian friends really seem to support us in this and believe that it is a true leading. It's just hard to figure out moment by moment if we're still being true to his will.I am praying now that God will give us the answers we need. I pray that He will either give us a sense of peace about this adoption or that He will show us that this is not the child for us and that He has another plan for us. Please, God, show us your will.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Encephalitis Scare

Tonight was a rough night. My mom came over and mentioned that my dad said that there are lots of problems that can go with encephalitis. I decided to look on the internet again and this time found a couple of sites with extensive information about encephalitis. These sites said that children who have had encephalitis can develop seizures, lack of short-term memory, behavior issues, balance problems, vision problems... the list goes on. And, many of these things you just wouldn't be able to detect in a child as young as Louis is - we just don't know if he will have these problems in the future. This freaked us out quite a bit. Scott and I talked about it and Scott basically said, "I don't think that I can handle that."I was so sad - even though I'm scared about what could happen, I'm already pretty attached to little Louis. And things felt like they were moving along so well - like they were meant to be. It just made me start to question all over again what it is that God wants from us.I felt somewhat reassured when I read more and more stories of children with encephalitis. It seemed that in the worst cases, the children were pretty bad right from the start - couldn't eat, couldn't drink from a bottle, couldn't roll over, had seizures. It seemed that kids who were developing on target (like Louis is supposedly doing - for a child in Haiti) or a bit behind weren't that bad. Also, I found several instances of children who were left deaf by encephalitis, but didn't have any other major problems.But, Scott didn't think that he wanted to risk it. I spent much of the night just crying, wondering what was supposed to happen.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Homestudy Packet

Not much to say about today. I called a homestudy agency and they are sending us a packet with information and an application. We went in the pool after Scott got home from work. That's about it.I couldn't sleep tonight, so I ended up staying up till 12:30 AM, writing a letter to Mike Breaux, the pastor at our church. I really hope that Willow can do something to raise awareness about adoption and possibly even raise money to go toward adopting families. It breaks my heart to see so many children waiting.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

As of tonight, it looks like we're adopting a little boy! We got some more information from Robin about Louis and the more that Scott and I talked about it, the more we felt that this orphanage and this boy sounded great. I wrote back to Robin and told her that we would like her to go ahead and send us the list of paperwork that we would need to file. Later, I was talking to my mom and she said that she didn't see Louis in the list of children (on the page that I sent her a link to). I thought at first that she must be crazy, but when I went to the page, his name wasn't there. So, I decided to take a look at their "Our Babies" page, which lists all of their kids, even those that already have families waiting for them. Sure enough, there was Louis with a blue border around his picture - to quote the site, "The babies that are highlighted Blue already have a family." Wow! I couldn't believe it when I saw that. We hadn't even started our homestudy yet. I had no idea that she was going to put him on hold for us! Was it really happening? Did Louis have a family? The thought of it now makes me cry. There's a part of me that thinks it still won't work out and that it's not real, but then there's another part of me that feels like God is purposely making this happen quickly so that we can't overanalyze and back out. I prayed that he would let us know if this is meant to be - put a stumbling block in our way early on if this was not the path he wanted for us. And here we are -not a stumbling block in sight. The fact that the people from Children of the Promise are such strong Christians is also reassuring to me. I know that they are also praying about what is best for Louis and they obviously feeling led toward us as well. I'm really excited (and a little bit scared) about this whole prospect!

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Learning More about Louis

Today would have been a relatively unremarkable day, if it weren't for the fact that we got information about little Louis. I found out that he is still available and found more information on him on the website for Children of the Promise (the orphanage where he is living). Scott and I read about Children of the Promise and were really impressed with how wonderful this place seems to be. What a blessing to have this kind of resource in Haiti. We also looked up a bit more about Haiti. We're both so incredibly sheltered - we knew nothing about this country - not even where it is located. It turns out that Haiti is just south of Cuba, near the Dominican Republic. They speak French there (thus, Louis full name - Louines Pierre). I have also heard the language called Creole, but I need to look into that further to see if it is a French dialect or if it is its own language. It seems that there has been a bit of unrest in Haiti recently, so it's not the most stable country to adopt from, but we really feel good about the orphanage and about this little boy. At the end of the day, Scott and I decided to fill out a preliminary application to adopt from Children of the Promise.
I have attached the picture and info that COTP had on Louis.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Finding Louis

This evening, I sent an email to a woman from Until All Have Homes, which is a group that helps find homes for special needs children. I wanted to know if a child that I had heard about on the Deaf Adoption Yahoo group was still available. He is a little boy named Louis, who is in Haiti. He had encephalitis, and because of this, is now deaf.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

The Decision

Today at church, Mike Breaux interviewed a 15-year-old girl who lost her arm when she was bitten by a shark two years ago. It was amazing and inspirational to hear about this girl's journey. Just four weeks after her attack, she was back in the ocean, surfing. The thing that really amazed me about her is that it seemed like she never had a moment of "why me?" pity. She said that she and her mother had been praying that she could have more of an impact for God and that when the attack happened, they felt like it must somehow be an answer to prayer. How much faith she must have to immediately jump to that conclusion! I couldn't imagine that that would be my first thought. Obviously, since her attack, she has been an inspiration to hundreds of thousands of people, so it was an answer to her prayer. Certainly not the one she had been expecting, I'm sure!

After we got home from church, Linda and Chris and Krista and Molly came over to visit with us and to go swimming. Everyone had lots of fun playing with the new pool toys we got for Jaden's birthday.

When they left and the kids were napping, Scott and I ended up hanging out in the pool together and having a conversation about adopting. I felt like we had kind of avoided the issue lately and I wanted to get a good understanding of how Scott felt about it. I feel so strongly that God was leading us toward adopting a deaf child. I won't go into the details of why that is now - I will leave that for a separate post - but, suffice it to say that I felt like God had made it clear that this was what he wanted for us. Because of this, I feel that if we don't do it, we are basically saying, "Sorry, God, I know what you want me to do, but I don't want to do it." After talking to Scott more, I realize that he has fears about how adding a deaf child to our family would affect us, but that he also feels called toward it - perhaps in different ways than I do. He says that whenever we have a conversation about it, he feels encouraged. He made a joke that now I just need to get him to sign on the dotted line soon after one of those conversations. :-)

When the kids woke up, we decided to watch the Veggie Tales movie "Jonah." Interestingly, the story, of course, is about how Jonah tried to run away from what God told him to do. The moral is that we need to follow God's commands, even when it's not something that's easy for us to do. Neither Scott nor I failed to see the parallels with the conversation that we had earlier today.

Saturday, July 9, 2005

Dreams of Haiti

So, I'm creating this blog to document our journey to adoption. And our journey to Haiti, which we now feel so connected to. We hope to someday find new ways to serve in Haiti. Right now, we're working on the adoption and we're hosting Ruthlande - here from Haiti on a medical visa. For now, we'll have to be content with that... and with dreams of Haiti...