There are some things the same and some things that are different about Odette since the day I met her in May. Here are a few things I noticed about her during our February trip. . .
1. She is much healthier. During the May trip she was so sick. What a difference clean water and regular meals make. Her skin and hair look so much better.
2. She has such a quiet confidence now. On my May trip and then on Andy's August trip she wanted to be on our laps whenever she could. She would hang around me waiting for me to sit down and then she would jump in my lap before anyone else had the chance. Since Andy asked her if she wanted to be our daughter she has a new found confidence. She still loves sitting on our laps but she doesn't "have" to be there. She feels much more comfortable running off and playing with her friends now. She would often come back in the room I was to look for me & would come over to tell me she loved me & would sometimes stay with me but often would run back off to play. She just wants to check and make sure we are still around. She knows that she has a place now and knows that when we are in Haiti we aren't far away.
3. She is LOUD. She talks so loud at times. I was a little worried that our family would be a little overwhelming for her especially at dinnertime which Molly & Abby think is their stage because everyone is in the same place at the same time. At dinner we look at each other often and laugh and wonder if she is going to think this is too crazy and ask to go back. After this week with her I think she will fit in fine. She talks really loud when she is talking to another friend and telling them something. She talks especially loud when she is listening to Andy's ipod. She doesn't realize how loud she is with the earphones in. We spent a lot of time this week laughing at how loud she is. She is Andy's daughter after all!
4. She LOVES to sing. After the first day she was constantly singing. One of my favorite parts of Haiti is listening to the sweet voices of 18 girls as they sing for us. She loves singing with the group but she is often found walking around singing to herself. One day she was singing by herself and Jennifer S. asked her to get the other girls to sing too & she said no. Jennifer asked her if she just wanted to sing by herself & she said "wi". I miss hearing her sing but I am happy for all the videos I have of her singing. Andy said we will know when she is comfortable being here in our house when she starts singing again. I can't wait for the day when we hear the voice of our little Haitian girl echoing through our house.
5. She is a silly normal little girl. During the week as we went back to Kamatin to sleep each night we got the privilege of watching the girls being adopted really interact. We had so much fun watching them and laughing with them. One of my favorite stories of the trip happened on of our last days there. For those of you that haven't been "baths" in Haiti consist of a tile tub with a 5 gallon bucket of COLD water and a cup to pour that cold water on yourself. It sounds bad but you are very thankful for the two or so "baths" that you get during the week. Jennifer S. had been talking about taking a bath all afternoon and was just waiting for one of the guys to bring up a 5 gallon bucket of water from the lower cistern so she could take her bath. When her water came she went to the other room to get the shampoo. I saw Odette heading for the bathroom & told her no because it was Jennifer's turn first. She laughed and called for Benita and Valancia & they said something to each other in Creole. When Jennifer came back in the room Benita yelled for her and started taking her back towards the door. When she did Valancia and Odette ran in the bathroom giggling and got in the tub and Benita followed. We laughed so hard at them tricking Jennifer. They would start laughing anytime that they heard us telling someone the story. I think as we talk about the girls everyone thinks of them as poor little orphans in Haiti but they don't realize that although they live a completely different life than we do here they are still little girls who love to play, laugh and be silly just like our kids do.
6. She loves little kids. She will have a great time playing with Nathan and Evan when she gets here.
7. Her English is getting better. When we were there in May they would repeat phrases like "I love you" but now they look at you and say I love you and know what they are saying. Even little Atanie who is three looked at me the last day and said "I love you Allyson". We are very thankful that someone from our church is paying one of the school teachers and Hippolite to have English class with the all of the girls and the Gaspard boys a few times a week. We are amazed at what they have learned in such a short amount of time. They loved showing of their new skills and we heard these things many times during the week... my name is ________, what is your name?, please stand up, please sit down, open the window, shut the window, and them counting to 20. One of the first days we were there Odette had listened to Andy's ipod so much that the battery was dead, she handed it to me & said in English - "you need to charge it". So if her daddy didn't teach her anything else in January she learned the phrase "you need to charge it".