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.


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 /face-act- of-2009.html )

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


Saturday, July 4, 2009

May 2009 Trip 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!


Our girls singing on the beach

Odette, Benita & Valancia playing on the roof

Beach pictures

Beach- May 2009





Marie Michelle




Gueline Maneese











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.