Friday, May 15, 2009

Good-bye to my kids

I got to spend 2 days at HFC during my last week in Haiti. In the mornings, I helped Dr. Bernard make corrections to the New Life Link website and in the afternoons and evenings, I got to catch up with my Haitian kids. Teenage orphans are such enigmas - in some ways, being with them is amazing, but in other ways, it's so painful. I have a dream that someday, when they are grown up, they will sit down with me and tell me honestly how they felt about life in the pension, about having adoptive families or not having adoptive families, about people like me coming and going, about just being a teen. It is so hard for them to trust people and it is hard for me to see us gradually losing the fragile trust that we once worked so diligently so create.

The kids are growing up. Our oldest 5 (Alex, Evens, Stephanie, Argentine and Kattia) have only 1 more year of high school. Another 7 (Duck, Jefthe, Jacques, Bernadin, Jeanine, Youdemie, and Martine) will graduate in 2 years. HFC is working on ideas to help those children transition into adulthood. Please be praying for them in this process and pray for the children who definitely have fears and questions about their future. People often ask me how long I intend on staying in Haiti and although I don't know for sure, I do feel that I have a commitment to stay in the country until those older kids are well established. They are my brothers and sisters, my sons and daughters, and even though I have stepped back from them in the past year, I cannot imagine not being available to them should the need arise.

Oh well. Time to stop being melodramatic. Some things don't change - like the boys wanting me to come watch them play soccer at Maranatha. I like their new coach. He actually makes them warm up and stretch before playing, and he holds a special session on Saturday mornings just for the little boys. Speaking of little boys, Ernso went home to France 3 weeks ago. Silly Bernadin forgot that he had promised to call me and tell me when Ernso left so I completely missed his departure. Tsk tsk, Bernadin. The boys miss Peterson and Mathurin a lot too, especially on the soccer field.

USAID has partnered with the local government to repair the road that runs through Fort Mercredi. Now perhaps I won't have to wish I had written my will each time I drive down that precipice in the tap-tap.

Evens Auguste, our oldest kid, has been coaching the girls' basketball team for his class at Maranatha. His team made it to the final of the school's intramural basketball league so some of the kids came to watch the championship game. None of the 3 HFC girls in Evens' class opted to play, but Stephanie was in charge of the music and halftime festivities. It's cool seeing her outside the pension and seeing how all her schoolmates respect her leadership. Evens' team lost and I was told later that in the despair of defeat, a girl from their class started having palpitations and passed out. None of the teachers took it seriously, so Stephanie, Kattia and Argentine took care of her, contacted her parents, and arranged for her to be taken to the hospital. How's that for maturity and leadership?!

If you remember, in February I was at the pension when a team was building giant wood bunk beds for the boys' house. By miraculous maneuvering they were able to get the bunks into some of the rooms. The boys can finally enjoy a bed that is long enough for them and wide enough to really stretch out, but the trade-off is the loss of open space in each room. No more sitting on the floor and playing cards in rooms 1 or 2.

Another change at the boys' house is their new dog, Milo. Milo is still a young puppy and he loves to nip.

Just as I was worrying that the kids did not really trust me anymore, Jacques Obain changed my mind. We were sitting on the roof together, not really saying anything, when out of the blue, he began to talk to me about his biological family. We don't know much about Jacques' family because he was found alone at the hospital when he was a small child. I've always guessed that Jacques has a million questions about his family and probably a lot of resentment, but in the 3 years that I have known him, he has never spoken about it. That night on the roof though, he started asking questions and honestly admitting how hard it has been not knowing the truth about his family. He didn't cry but I did.

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