Tuesday, December 22, 2009

My November Haiti Trip by Taylor

Monday November 2,2009

Today has felt like it was never ending. We had to be at the church house at 1:30 A.M.,but we didn't leave until 2:00 A.M. We had a long car ride to Atlanta, Georgia. Kevin Rudd drove. At first Mark Zimmerman rode in the passengers seat next to Kevin. Kayla Zimmerman and I sat on the first bench. On the second bench it was my dad,Paige Leslie, and Traci Warwick. Leah Stout and Carol Stout sat on the third and last row. After the second stop my dad sat next to Kevin. Mark sat in between Kayla and I. He held my pillow on his lap for Kayla and I to sleep on. Fortunately Kayla and I both slept a little. The car ride was restless. The good thing was that there were only nine people on the trip, so there was more car space for everyone. Once we got to Atlanta we had to get all of the bags out of the trailer. Once we got that done we went to get our boarding passes. Next, we all went to put the bags of stuff to take like water buckets,extra food snacks, and medicine through security. Then we had to go through security. I thought it kinda strange that you had to take off your shoes and put them in the tray/bucket. If you've ever flown before you'll know what I mean. I got a little nervous on take off. I held my daddy's hand. I sat in between Daddy and Carol. I thought it was fun being able to chew gum and not get in trouble for chomping it. I didn't get in trouble for it, because if you didn't chew gum your ears could pop. They would pop because you are so high up from the ground. Once we were about to land you could see all the buildings in Miami,Florida almost. Once we landed I was so happy that there was only a few more hours untilI would get to see my sister for the first time. I was hungry, too since I hadn't eaten anything since dinner the night before. It was about 9:00 A.M. when we landed in Miami. We got off the plane, went to the restroom, went through security, and got on another plane to go to Port-Au-Prince. I sat next to daddy and Kayla. We got snacks. I didn't like the cheese on the crackers, but I loved the chocolate. I had water on the way to Miami. I had Sprite on the way to P.-A.-P. Kayla and I watched the Hannah Montana Movie on my I-pod.

When we got off the plane I felt like I was already sweating. Since they don't have the tunnels that you walk out of the plane on, you step straight outside into the very humid heat of the sun in Haiti. Next, we had to go to immigration. It felt very good in the air-conditioning. We had to wait in line at immigration. After that we all went to the bathroom. When you washed your hands you had to hold down a button to keep the water running. Leah held it down for me. The truck was a whole new experience for me. Kayla and I took lots of pictures. We were the only people that had never gone before. After a while I gave Daddy the camera. It stunk in the city!!! Good thing Traci had this vaseline that was for you to smell. It blocked out the smell. It didn't smell bad in the mountains. This drive is about three to four hours long. When we first saw the orphanage the girls saw us and rushed to get everyone to the front porch step so they could sing to us there. They sang the "Welcome" song to us. once they were done singing Odette came running up to me. She knew where I was because during the song she wasn't really singing she was looking for me, because she knew I was coming. She got my hand and didn't let go. She immediately took me upstairs and showed me her room. Then she told me to sit on her bed. She started fixing my hair. Then we got up and played for a long time. When we got to Kamatin we got all of our suitcases and choose our rooms. My room was Daddy,Odette, and I in a bed. In the same room it was Mark,Valencia, and Kayla. Also in the same room was Kevin and Benita. Odette and I made our bed. We didn't have comforters, because it is to hot to sleep under comforters. Then it was time to have dinner. I wasn't that hungry so all I had was rice and beans. After dinner we played for a little. At Kamatin when you walk out on the balcony you are on the lower roof so we played out there for a while. After that we took our baths. Odette, Benita, Valancia, Kayla, and I all took a bath together. The water is very cold!!!! Benita likes to throw the cold water all over Kayla and I to make us squeal. They all thought it was very funny. When I was washing my hair Odette said no. Then she took over. She also washed my back for me. When we got out Odette brushed my hair for me. It was the end of the best day of my life!!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Parent meeting update

Both of the parent interviews went well yesterday. We are supposed to find out soon when the DNA testing will be. The problem with that now is that they have a new requirement that all DNA testing is to be done in Haiti but they do not have a system in place to do it yet. So our next prayer is that will be in place soon and that this step will not hold us up in the end. Thanks for your continued prayers!!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Parent Meeting

Please be in prayer this morning for Odette, Valancia and their parents. They have a meeting this morning with the USCIS (US Citizenship and Immigration Services). In this interview they have to appear with the girls and state that no one forced them to go through with this adoption and they are willing to do this. Please pray that this meeting goes well. Our other prayer request is that they do not require a DNA test for the parents. This is being requested more often lately but we are praying this is a step that we do not have to do because it means another $800 that we will have to pay. Thank you for lifting these two families up in prayer today.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Updates

Sorry I haven't posted an update since Andy and Taylor made it back. They had a wonderful trip & when they have caught up on some sleep, work and homework I will have them write some on here. When asked what was the best thing about Haiti, Taylor said "Odette", then when asked what was the worst thing about Haiti she said "having to leave". I think I have to agree! She is already saying that she wants to go back when we go to bring Odette home.

Here are a few pictures of the week:

Taylor and Odette meeting each other for the first time


Taylor getting her hair fixed in the first few minutes they were there



Andy, Taylor, Madam Gaspard and Odette

Video that made my day

video

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Good-byes

Please be praying for two of my little girls this weekend. Pray for the one that has to load up in a truck and head to the airport to come home after saying good-bye to her sister for the first time tomorrow and pray for the one that is going to have to watch her sister and daddy load up on a truck and drive off. This is the 10th time that we have had to say good-bye to Odette as we headed to the airport. I pray there will not be many more good-byes before she can load up on that truck with us heading to the airport to come home. Andy called this morning & said Taylor crawled in bed with him this morning and started crying for the first time this week. When he asked what was wrong she said "I don't want to leave, I can't do it". Not only has she fallen in love with her sister but she has a whole new family and group of friends that she loves and has to say good-bye to. I love that she has fallen in love with our Haitian family like we have I just hate the heart-break that I know that she will go through saying good-bye and leaving. Pray for Andy too as he is torn saying good-bye to one daughter and climbing on the truck with the other so he can come home.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Picture from Haiti


Last night I was having a rough night wishing I was in Haiti & I opened up my email to find this picture that Kevin sent. It was the most precious thing that I could have gotten in that moment. Looking at that picture was very surreal though. If you have been to Coq Chante you know that the picture is taken on the steps in the dining room that lead to the roof. Those same steps that I have sat on and climbed up more times that I can count, Taylor is now sitting on with her daddy and her sister. Seeing them in the same picture makes this week so much more real for me.

Andy said that he could not have planned for the girls to get along better than they do. They had an instant connection and have stayed by each others side since they got there on Monday. He said last night watching Taylor and Kayla playing with the other girls you would think that they have all known each other their whole lives. He said the week is going really well and that Taylor is enjoying every minute of the trip. I can't wait to hear more stories and to see all the pictures from the week. Thanks for your continued prayers throughout their trip.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Headed to Haiti

Right now as I type Andy & Taylor are on a plane headed to Miami. If all their flights go as planned they will be in Haiti at noon today. This is Taylor's first trip & she has been so excited to go meet her sister. Please be praying for a safe trip for the eight people on this trip and also that they will have a great week loving on some precious girls. I am so sad that I am missing out on seeing Taylor & Odette meet for the first time but I can't wait to hear all of the stories and see all the pictures. I will update as the week goes on.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Something Big

Do you want to be a part of something big? Our family would love for you to pray about being part of supporting the Coq Chante orphanage and school either through a one time gift or a monthly gift. For those of you who do not know, we have raised money through the Barefootin' for Haiti Golf Classic the last two years and will continue to do so this October 26. In this past this money has been sent on a monthly basis to pay teachers, pay caregivers and to feed and house our 18 girls. We are the sole contributors to this orphanage and if we do not send a check each month the orphanage and school will close. Our goal for the next year is to be able to fund the basic operation costs from people like you that are willing to become a "Partner in Hope". A monthly gift of $30 will support the school & orphanage for 2 full days of the year. If this is something you are interested in or would like more information about you can email me- allysbox@knology.net or you can visit www.haitigolfclassic.org to find out more about being a Partner in Hope or a corporate sponsor for our upcoming golf tournament. Also feel free to pass this along to anyone that you think may be interested.

Please take a few minutes to watch this video to see exactly where your money will go.

video

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

SWING

Here is Andy's newest project. Andy had one like it when he and his brothers were young. He has talked for years about building the girls one. Now after many hours working on it in the garage, the swing is a permanent fixture in our yard. The girls have had so much fun on it and it was the hit of Taylor's party last weekend. Now I just can't wait for Odette to be in our yard riding it with them.

video

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Happy 10th Birthday Odette!

Today is our little girl's 10th birthday. I am so sad that we are not with her today. I thank God for bringing her into our lives and our family and I pray this is the last birthday that we have to spend apart from her. I pray today that the road to bring her home is much shorter than the road that we have traveled so far. I am thankful that Andy got to spend last week in Haiti with her and have her first "birthday party" with her. I sent icing cookies from Rita's Bakery for all the girls to enjoy. We also bought her some Polly Pockets, new hairbows and stickers and Mamaw & Papaw sent her some new pajamas, an angel pin & a purse. The girls also sang Happy Birthday to her which we were surprised that they knew. They sang it through twice in Creole and once in English. When I talked to her last Thursday after her party she sang it to me in English over the phone which was really sweet.

video

Monday, July 20, 2009

Daily Conversation

Odette is part of daily conversation at our house, not just by us but by our girls too. On Saturday we talked at dinner about the gumbo Andy had for lunch and how we thought she would like it. That sparked more conversation about what foods she will probably love and what she won't (the won't list will probably be small). We went to Dollywood yesterday and the girls talked all day about her and what rides she would like and which ones would scare her. I told them after the truck rides in Haiti that don't phase her the rides at Dollywood will be a piece of cake. She is just part of life in our house even though the girls have only had phone conversations with her (which consists of I love you, I miss you, and how are you?). So all that to say, never worry about asking us about Odette. Never think that asking us how she is or when she is coming home will upset us or bring her to our minds. We may not have answers other than it will be a lot longer than we hoped but we do not mind talking about her. She is never more than a moment from our thoughts and our hearts are constantly divided between our life here and our family in Haiti. Talking about her may bring tears but don't feel bad thinking that you caused them (they are always on the brink of falling anyway). I know God is teaching us and strengthening us during this process and I can not wait until the day that she comes home but until then she will daily be on our hearts, in our thoughts and in conversation in our home.

Allyson

Monday, July 13, 2009

Important Legislation Proposal

*If this passes it has the potential to cut months off of the international adoption process.

Please take a moment to read this and sign the petition. Please ask your spouses and friends to do the same.

"The intercountry adoption process is a long, tedious process for American citizens seeking to adopt a foreign born child. Paperwork includes home studies, finger printing and criminal checks. The process can take up to three years to complete.

At the completion of the adoption, the child must be approved for a U.S. immigrant visa in order to enter the U.S. and gain citizenship. The immigrant visa is required despite the fact that the "immigrant" is the child of a U.S. citizen.

The U.S. is one of the few developed countries in the world that requires internationally adopted children of citizens to immigrate in order to join their new families.Most countries recognize internationally adopted children as citizens upon the finalization of their adoption. The Foreign Adopted Children Equality Act (FACE Act) would recognize that internationally adopted children deserve to be treated as children of American citizens and accorded the same citizenship process as children born aboard to American citizens.

Under the FACE Act, Adoptive parents would apply for a U.S. passport and Consular Report of Birth instead of a visa. These documents provide adoptive parents with immediate proof of citizenship for their adopted child and provide immediate proof of U.S. citizenship. "

- McLane Layton Equality for Adopted Children (EACH)

Please follow the link to sign the petition.
( http://www.gopetiti on.com/petitions /face-act- of-2009.html )

To learn more about Equality for Adopted Children (E.A.C.H),
visit http://www.equality foradoptedchildr en.org/

Thanks!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

May 2009 Trip Video

video

Thursday, May 28th

Odette was very restless during the night and spent the night tossing and turning so neither one of us got much sleep. She woke up and you could tell she had been crying during the night because her eyes were puffy and red. I was very surprised that she did not pull away this morning like she normally does when I get ready to leave. I sat that morning and held her and told her over and over that I loved her. Kevin explained to her that I had to leave that morning so I could get home to her sisters and that her daddy would be there in two days. She looked really sad and she cried but nothing like the previous trips. Leaving will never be easy but knowing her daddy would be there with her in two days made it much easier to leave her at Kamatin that morning. We both just held each other and cried until time for me to leave. I was overwhelmed saying good-bye that morning when I looked over at Benita who was still sleeping in her bed and realized that the next time I see her that she will be at home with the Rudd's. I can't wait until the time that I say good-bye to Odette in Haiti and know that the next time I see her she will be coming home. When we pulled away Odette was standing on the front porch with Valancia smiling and waving at the four of us who were leaving early. As hard as it was to leave two days early I am thankful for every minute that I got to spend with her and the other girls on this trip. No matter how many days I am in Haiti I think I will always want two more days.

My favorite picture of us from the week

Friday, July 3, 2009

Wedneday, May 27th- Beach day!

Today as most days this week began really early. Odette and Benita were both up before 5:00 when the sun came up and were headed off to Valancia's room to get her and tell her it was bath time. Those girls love a bath. I can't wait until they are home and learn what a real bath is with warm water. The other thing we will have to work on is teaching them to sleep in. Luckily at home the sun doesn't come up before 5:00 am but I'm sure what ever time it comes up these girls will be out of the bed headed for the bathtub.

We all got up and got ready for the beach and some of the guys took the truck to Coq Chante to pick up all the girls for the beach. I love beach day when we go to Haiti. It is a great day for the girls to just be kids and also I love the fact that Madame and Pastor get a day off where they can just sit and watch the girls and their boys having a fun day. I think the girls love the beach more every time that we go. Usually they play in the water for a while and then play in the sand and get ready for lunch then they usually change clothes and sit and talk until time to go back to Coq Chante but this trip every one of the girls got back in the ocean and played for a long time after lunch. Lunch was the other difference of this trip. Usually we buy fish for them from someone selling food at the beach but this trip we bought a grill to take with us each time that we go. They all loved the food. They all had their first hot dogs and loved them- only the older girls did not like the taste of mustard on their hot dogs. They also had grilled chicken with barbecue sauce and they all loved that too. I'm surprised we didn't have some sick little girls after the amount of food they all ate. They also had ice cream before we left to head back.

One thing that started bothering me at the beach was I noticed that Odette was starting to pull away some from me. She played in the ocean with me and we had a great time but then she did not want to have much to do with me. For most of the girls they know that beach day means we are leaving soon. This trip that was not true for most of the group but since I had to leave a couple of days early to get home in time for Andy to leave with the June group that was true for me. I tried not to think much about it because I didn't want it to ruin last day and I was good until the ride home. Since the truck was full I rode in the mini-bus with Odette on my lap. I spent the majority of the trip back to Kamatin crying over the fact that I was going to have to say good-bye to her once again. The thing that made it easier was knowing that it two days Andy would be with her. I spent the entire day saying "Daddy vine samdi" (Daddy is coming Saturday)and she got very excited and happy each time I would say it to her. I did not have the heart to tell her yet that I was leaving early so I just played up the fact that he was coming.

I had not prepared myself for the fact that I would have to say good-bye to the rest of the girls that night. We stopped by Kamatin to drop off part of the group and I made the decision to say my good-byes there instead of riding back to Coq Chante. Odette had run inside so I knew I could say good-bye there without her finding out but I know that I couldn't keep it from her if she went to Coq Chante with me. So as hard as it was I kissed them all and promised I would see them soon.

I was so happy I made the decision not to tell Odette that I would be leaving the next morning because we had such a sweet time together that night at Kamatin. I know that if I had told her she would have been sad and I would have missed out on watching her play and laugh with the other girls on the roof. I think later she realized something was up because as we were all hanging out in our room I started packing up some of my things. I was going to have Kevin help me tell her before bed that I would be leaving in the morning but she fell asleep before he got back from Coq Chante so I decided to just curl up beside her and enjoy my last few hours.

We can't wait until the day these 4 are running around White Stone!


I love this picture!

Videos

Our girls singing on the beach

video

Odette, Benita & Valancia playing on the roof

video

Beach pictures

Beach- May 2009

Odette

Samantha

Atanie

Linia

Marie Michelle

Islande

Yalanda

Guerline

Gueline Maneese

Saintemene

Benita

Merline

Christianie

Dieula

Onise

Malange

Madestine

Valancia

Gladys

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Tuesday, May 26th

Today we finished up giving shoes to the other 7 classes of school children. One of the girls around Odette's age that is another class was asking who was Odette's mama. I got teary later realizing that she has been talking about the adoption with other children at school. While giving out shoes, I went upstairs for something and when I came down the little boy from the day before was on that side of that church by himself just looking at me again so I got him a pack of crackers and he gave me the biggest smile. I loved on him as much as I could then I went back inside. Later one of the other team members brought him in and found him a new pair of spiderman shoes that made his face light up. We then took him upstairs and found him some new clothes, a new hat, and made him up a bag of little toys and snacks to take home with him. He looked like a new little boy that day, not just because he had on new shoes and clothes but because he finally had a smile on his face and his eyes were no longer sad. We found out his name is Andre and he has been in my thoughts many days since we have been back.

Later that day we went for a walk in the community. We first went to the Laurient house where Atanie and Linia's family lives. Then we went onto to Odette's house. I was looking forward to stopping by their house this time because I was such a wreck when I was there last time and I was looking forward to seeing her family. I really thought I would keep it together until Odette's papa saw me and got a big smile on his face & said "Mama Odette" and gave me a big hug. So again I started crying. I was able to pull it together though & this time when Odette went inside her house I followed her in. Their house has two rooms. The back room has two beds and the front room has one bed and a very small table and a few chairs. Odette seemed more comfortable this time and spent more time talking to her siblings inside the house. All of her siblings except her two older brothers were there. I meet her sister Ronette who is 16 for the first time. When I walked in the house she was holding a picture of me with Odette from the first trip. I also got to meet a few of her cousins that were there that day. As much as I would like to think going to her house in the future is going to be easier I don't think it ever will. It is hard to see the conditions that she grew up in and her brothers and sisters continue to live in (although it is much nicer than some other houses we have been to) and I am always overwhelmed seeing her parents and knowing how much they have given up for their little girl to have a better life.



We then continued our long walk to the house of Madame Gaspard's sister and her family. This is a family that most of the team got to know in February. When we got to her house her little boy was by himself. He is four years old but doesn't look much over one year old. We were able to give him snacks and also gave worm medicine to him an all the other children in the house next door.

That night the truck did not get back to take us to Kamatin until after 9:00 so we had some time after our walk to hang out with the girls and they sang for us. That is always one of my favorite parts of the trip.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Monday, May 25th

This morning we spent a lot of time waiting to do a food distribution for the parents of the school kids. They had a parent meeting that morning then we started passing out food and praying for their families. Next we started passing out shoes to the school children. Before we left for Haiti we spent over a month collecting over 300 pairs of new tennis shoes to give to the school kids (we also had many left over & got to hand out some to the community children too). This first day we made it through three classrooms of children. We washed their feet and put on new clean socks and probably for most of the children it was the first time they had new shoes on their feet. We also handed out a pack of crackers to each of the children as they waited for their new shoes. Thanks so much to all of you who are reading this who helped with the shoe and snack collection for this trip!



The one thing that sticks out in mind the most from this day is a little face that I can not get out of my head. Eddy asked me to take individual and group pictures of the oldest class of students that are "graduating" this year. As I took pictures in the back of the church there was a little boy that stared at me the entire time. They had the gate to the entrance of the church closed so no one besides the school kids could get in. So all day there were a group of children that do not attend school that stood and watched as we took care of the school children. It was so hard not to grab a pair of shoes for each of them but we knew our first priority on this trip was to make sure every one of the school children were taken care. There was just something about this little boy, he stood there most of the day in his Lion King shirt with his hood up. He had the saddest little eyes that were fixed on me every time I looked his way. I took a picture or two of him and went over and touched him and smiled but that was all I could do for him that day. His was the face I would see every time I closed my eyes that night to try to go to sleep.

We had really hard rain that afternoon. Every time it rains even a little at Coq Chante the rain blows in the windows and everything gets wet. This is the hardest rain I had seen there and was amazed how fast the rain came in and started standing in the rooms. Gladys ran and got Gina and showed her how wet everything in her room was and Gina helped her move the girls boxes and beds to get them out of the rain. All of the older girls were helping move not only their things but all of the supplies and shoes that we had brought to keep everything from getting soaked. It was so sad to see what they go through every time it rains. Madame Gaspard asked on a previous trip that we would pray for new windows that would keep the rain out so she would not have to keep waking the girls up to move their things each time each time it rains. That is one of those things that we take for granted. We would not be ok with our childrens beds and belongings getting wet every time that it rains. So I would love you all to join us in praying for the funds that it will take to put new louvered windows in that will keep the rain out of our girls rooms. If this is something you would like to help with financially you can email me to let me know.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Sunday, May 24th

We started our day at church. I love worship time at Coq Chante and the freedom that these people have when they worship. We could all learn from watching them. We also had the privilege to pray with many of the people at the end of the church service. After church instead of cooking food for all the people at church we did a food distribution and were able to provide enough food for each family to eat for many days instead of just one big meal on Sunday.




One of my favorite memories of this trip was a mother's day service that all of the girls had for their mothers on Sunday afternoon. From what I understand they do something like this each year but wanted it to happen while our trip was there this year. Like many things that happen in Haiti we were not prepared for it so Greg and Kevin spent the morning in Jacmel shopping for the mothers' presents while the rest of us were at church. Many of you may not know but all of the girls except Merline have a mother that is still living. Each of these mothers have made a tremendous sacrifice in letting their girls go live at the orphanage so they can have an education, daily meals and a chance at a better life. We will be forever grateful for the sacrifices that Odette's family has made for her. As the mothers arrived they came upstairs to where the girls rooms are and the mothers of the older girls (around Odette's age and up) had their hair done by their daughters. It was a very sweet time and I enjoyed my time watching them. For a long time I sat in Odette's room with her and her mom as she fixed her hair and listened to them talk to each other. This is the sweetest connection time I have witnessed the two of them have. I video taped them talking to each other. I have no idea what they are saying (they could be talking about the weather) but I think it will be something special for Odette to have as she grows up.

Like everything this week the Mother's Day program was hurry up and wait. What was supposed to start at 2:30 finally started around 4:00 as the last of the mothers came in. I was so happy to see that all of the mothers came to see their little girls. The program began with each of the daughters getting up and either reciting a poem or singing a song for their mother. It was very sweet and you could tell that a lot of time was put into learning their poem and songs. Even Atanie who is 4 learned something to recite for her mom. After that all of daughters presented a gift to their moms which was a set of glasses. For most of these families it is probably one of the nicest things that they now own. After giving out gifts the girls presented a sweet gift to Madame Gaspard who takes care of them and the room erupted in clapping. Those moms in the room were clapping as hard as they could and many were crying and you could feel the appreciation that they have for her and what she means in the lives of not only their girls but in their families lives too. Eddy also had each of the mothers that are adopting (and Al as a fill-in for Sheri since she was not there) come to the front to be recognized.

The whole ceremony was such a sweet time for me. Each year at Fountain City the kindergarten does a Mother's Day Tea where all of the children dress-up and invite the moms to come to tea where they say a little poem when you walk to the door, they serve you your plate, bring you gifts they have made over the last few weeks and sing a special song lead by their music teacher Mrs. Beeler. It is one of my sweetest memories kindergarten memories in Ms. Gibson's class of Taylor and now this year of Molly & Abby but I remember being a little sad this year at the tea thinking about how I missed this with Odette. But the Mother's Day program in Haiti that Sunday was my Mother's Day Tea with Odette. Although it was for Odette's mom, Marie Claire, I felt blessed to be able to witness it and share in the celebration.

Odette, Marie Claire & me

Odette doing her mom's hair

Christianie doing her mom's hair

Madestine doing her mom's hair

Malange, Valancia & their mom

Christianie, Dieula & their mom

Onise and her mom

Guerline and her mom

Samantha & Saintemene and their mom

Marie Michelle, Islande, Yalanda and their mom

All of the moms on the trip got to pray over our girls' moms