Since Andy is on his way to Haiti as I am typing I figured that I better finish up the February trip before he gets home & we start writing about his trip.
This was one of the best weeks of my life. It was one of those weeks that I cried harder & also laughed harder than I ever have. It felt great and completely right to be "home" again after nine long months. I had a wonderful time with the girls and enjoyed getting to know the Gaspard boys better. God also used this week to confirm so many things for me. Although I know with everything in me that He wants Odette to be our daughter. I sometimes think what we are doing is crazy & doesn't make sense (which it won't to most people) but I know in my heart it is what we are supposed to do. I think I saw many of the things that we will have to deal with when she gets here like the language barrier and I realized that though having her here will be wonderful- life will also be harder or at least very different for our family. But on a ride to the orphanage one morning God clearly showed me what Odette being a part of our family means for her future. Most days as we rode to the orphanage we would pass people on the street but this one day which was market day (I think it was Thursday or Friday) there were much more people out either trying to sell goods or buy supplies for their family. I looked into their faces and saw what Odette's future would look like if we weren't obedient to God's call for our life. I know things will be different here for her and many times hard and frustrating but God showed me clearly that morning that she will not have to fight with everything in her just to survive and put food in her babies bellies. She will also never be in the position where she will have to give up her little girl so she will have a better chance at having three meals a day and an education. I will be forever grateful for the sacrifices that her parents made not only for her but for us & and am so glad that Odette will not have to make the same sacrifice one day. God showed me clearly that day that no matter how hard life may be in the future that she is our little girl that he has entrusted us with & that is all that matters.
Saying good-bye this week was so hard but very different than my May trip. When she was so upset in May, Eddy promised her that I would be back to see her & I knew that someday I would fulfill that promise to her. I just didn't have a clue that the next time I saw her she would be my daughter. I tried not to think too much about leaving her because I just wanted to enjoy every second of my week with her & the other girls. I did ok until Friday when she started getting sad. The girl that I had to slow down from running to get on the tap-tap every morning all of a sudden had to be talked into getting on it to head to the orphanage. In the past beach day was always the day before we left & the girls started to figure out that when beach day was over it was time to say good-bye soon. But this trip we went to the beach a day early. I made sure that she knew that we were not leaving that day but it didn't seem to make a difference. So we climbed on the tap-tap & I gave her the ipod & the window seat and then I just cried most of the way to the orphanage. I thought I was going to be big until closer to time to leave but seeing that she was already getting sad was too much for me. I was a wreck all morning. Finally I asked for the phone & called Andy because I just couldn't do it on my own at the moment. I finally pulled it together & we had a great rest of the day. The girls were exhausted and went to bed early which worked out great because we ended the night washing our Haitian friends' feet and praying over them. I had not been a part of anything like that before and it was such a special time. Then we headed for the roof to spend some time under the stars reflecting on our week & spent time in worship. There is nothing like worship on a roof in Haiti under the prettiest night sky you will ever see.
The next morning we finished packing our things at Kamatin & headed back to the orphanage. Because our flight didn't leave until late that afternoon we got to stay with the girls until a little before noon. We had no agenda that day except for loving on girls that we wouldn't see again for a while. When we pulled up at Coq Chante that day Pastor Gaspard was standing by the steps with tears flowing down his face. I haven't seen him cry like that before & it was so hard to watch. Since they were not there the night before we took time to wash Pastor & Madame's feet & pray for them that morning. I love that family more than I can say and am so thankful for the parents they are to our girls on a daily basis.
Odette was sad on & off all morning. She would get upset and cry and then we would have more fun together and laugh. She was ok until I told her that I loved her and would be back soon to see her. She got really upset and then ran off. I found her crying quietly in her room so I spent some more time loving on her. She began to withdraw and when I asked her to walk me out she wouldn't. After a few more hugs and kisses and promises to be back I ran to the front of the orphanage and lost it. She eventually came out to the front balcony but she wouldn't make eye contact with me. It was so hard saying good-bye and I just pray that there will not be many more good-byes before she gets to climb on the truck with us to come home.