Archive | haiti

spiritual scabs

I don’t like the word “scab” but it was the only word that made any sense. That’s what it was: a scab. A place where I had once been wounded. A place where healing was in the process of happening.

Scabs itch. They’re the natural Band-Aid that is meant to be temporary. They are ugly too, though they do beautiful work. Underneath a scab lies a wound, but a wound that is growing new skin like a butterfly in her cocoon. A scab is a good sign.

I was once so bloodied and bruised, I hardly looked like something made in God’s image. Though I was just a little girl, Satan had no mercy in his abuses. But a good doctor took me in and bandaged me up. He anointed my wounds with oil and fed me my milk with a spoon. He washed my feet and rinsed the blood from me, from my hands. He made me clean and whole.

And once I saw how compassionate He was, I wanted to be near Him always, like Fantine and Jean Valjean. Like anyone who has known a rescuer. I made a covenant, in awe that He wanted me even more. But I was not faithful. Like a man who has to repeatedly purchase his own wife from the whorehouse, I made Him chase after me. I wandered and drifted from Day One.

But He always took me back.

he always takes me back

And He continued to heal me. But girls who spend too much time in their own minds, are bound to fall into one of the many crevices of the human soul. I sat there in the dark and thought little of that which is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent or worthy of praise. Mostly I thought about how dark it was in there. A place inside of me-still so dark.

So I picked at the scabs. One step forward, two steps back.

I remembered the children at the orphanage who used to purposely maim themselves in order to receive a bandage from us. They loved the bandages with the cute cartoons on them, but mostly they loved the attention. The two seconds of having their hand held, the adhesive bandage being pressed around their finger. One scratch would be opened time and again in order to get the chance to go upstairs and receive a Band-Aid from a blanc.

At the time, I found this annoying, disturbing and unreasonable. Now I understand. And I have compassion on the scab-pickers. Because that’s just what I do. Sit inside my head and pick at old scabs while the doctor is watching me with eyes full of compassion, saying, “I’ve healed that already! We were going toward full recovery! Why dwell on the past when I’ve given you such a future?”

Did I mention that He always takes me back?

“You may be sighing and groaning because of inbred sin, and mourning over your darkness; yet the LORD sees “light” in your heart, for He has put it there, and all the cloudiness and gloom of your soul cannot conceal your light from His gracious eye.” -Charles Spurgeon, Morning and Evening



what adoption taught me

It’s been a long time since I’ve been to Haiti.

I miss it sometimes for reasons I can’t always place my finger on. Sometimes I miss it for other people (little people who can’t remember what they miss) and sometimes I think I want to go back and finish things I began. I don’t know if I’ll go back, but I want to. Haiti rarely leaves my mind for a day.

For years now I’ve followed various blogs and Facebook groups which feed my constant need to see pictures of Haiti and her people. I often cry along with the nurses at Real Hope for Haiti as they show pictures of starving, dying babies and hopeless moms and dads. I pray for them and then, typically move on.

But sometimes, a picture really strikes me and I take longer to click away, move on. Sometimes the eyes look familiar. Sometimes I think I’ve seen those hands somewhere before. Sometimes the hurting families pictured on these blogs and websites look like my family.

This is what adoption has taught me.

Jubilee is my sister. She talks like us, eats like us, sings the same songs I sang when I was little. She reads my old books and wears my old clothes. She is unique. She is beautiful. She means everything to me. I’ve helped raise her up from infancy. I learned how to change diapers, how to rock and soothe a crying baby, how to entertain a toddler-for her.

Jubilee isn’t a number on a graph about orphans. She isn’t a statistic about victims of poverty. She’s a person and she’s my sister.

When I see a picture of a hungry baby, I can imagine that they are just another “case.” I can click away and not let their eyes haunt me, because surely they are different. Different than me. Different than Jubilee.

But when they look like her. When they look like Willin. I remember. I remember that everybody is somebody’s everything. Everybody is somebody. Everybody is a self.

Not a number. Not a statistic. Not another sad case. A person. A soul. A fragile body. A Jubilee. A Willin. You and I.



hope of the earth

I walked into the session rather skeptical. I was interested in the topic, but I wasn’t so sure about the author. After all, she didn’t just write Christian fiction, she wrote Amish fiction, a genre I have never fully understood. I see why one or two books set in an Amish community could be really interesting. Even having a talented writer create an entire series in the setting could be neat, but a genre? Mystery, Comedy, Romance, Amish? It baffled me.

Well, the session turned out to be pretty interesting and, I must say, peaked my interested in picking up an Amish novel, though I don’t see myself hopping on the bandwagon all together. When I left, I still didn’t understand why this was a justifiable genre, but I did see why people like to read about other people who live simpler, happier lives than they themselves. Lives that are supposedly attainable today.

However, the thing I really took away from that session was-as is common to me-a story. I don’t remember her charts or graphs or even her advice (sorry!) but I keep going back to that story.

(wordage is all mine)

The author had been doing research for one of her books by communicating with an Amish bishop with whom she had connections. She told us how difficult communication was, that it required patience. The Amish community had telephones, but they were kept outside of the home in phone booths and callers were expected to always leave messages. At some point or another, the messages would be checked and they’d call back if necessary. The author was waiting for one such call. She had left a message days before and needed some information for her book. She was trying to be patient when suddenly she became very distracted. Our country was on the brink of electing Barrack Obama and most of us were glued to our television screens, awaiting the news. Democrats and Republicans alike nervously twiddled their thumbs like daddies outside delivery rooms, some hoping for one thing and others for another. Who would win? Who would be disappointed? The author had become so pensive that she decided to take the dog out for a run before the election was announced. She’d take a run and come back just in time to hear the big announcement. Just as she was about to walk out the front door, the telephone rang. It was the bishop. “Oh, I can’t talk now!” She thought at first, but then-remembering how difficult it was to get a hold of him-she decided to take the call.

“What have you been doing?” She asked him.

“Oh, I’m all worked up! Tonight’s a big night.” He told her.

(“The elections!” she thought.)

“Tonight,” the bishop continued. “Jupiter and Venus are aligning and I can’t wait to see it.”

A little stunned, the author said, “Oh, I thought you might be referring to the elections.”

“Well, I voted.” The Bishop assured her. “But now I’m just going to go outside and look up at the stars.”

The author closed the story with some of her own thoughts. Though he saw the importance of the elections and had cast his own vote, the bishop didn’t continue to fuss and worry about it. Instead, he focused on what would last.

Tonight as I watched President Obama and Governor Romney debate about foreign policy, I was envious of this peaceful, collected bishop. It is so easy to confuse “this could change the world” with “this is the center of the world.” The elections are important, but there are other things which are even more so.

I was saddened by Governor Romney’s closing statement. “America,” He said. “Is the hope of the earth.”

The hope of the earth? Oh, Mr. Romney. I certainly hope not. For if that’s the truth, we’ve no hope at all. America is just another splotch on the globe. Thankfully, it’s all in God’s hands.

After the debates, my brother flipped through Fox, CNN, MSNBC and we heard varying opinions and conclusions. Some words were encouraging, others disturbing. Most were uninformative. After this, I did what any good American would do. I got on Facebook. It isn’t quite like gazing into the night sky, but it’s just as predictable. Facebook friends were ripping into individual candidates and touting their own solutions. I scrolled.

Finally I landed on something more appealing, yet heartbreaking. It was a post about something important that had absolutely nothing to do with the debates (at least, not in broad terms.) It was a picture of a little brown body, lying on a blue gingham sheet. The baby boy was wearing only a diaper. The image was taken from behind where his ribs and spine are extremely visible. He’s dying as is, but nurses are trying to save him as I type. Between 50 and 60 other patients are sleeping outside of the clinic gates (if their ailments and location allot them any sleep at all) waiting to be seen in the morning.

They aren’t watching the debates. They aren’t voting for our president. They are people of this earth, and they are in need of hope.

Obama claimed to be hope incarnate. Romney believes that our country as a whole will become hope. I know this will come as a shocker, but I don’t believe either candiate is perfect and I happen to disagree with both of them on this topic. Jesus is our only hope. He will come through for us. Isn’t that a relief?



choose the risk, choose the risk, choose the risk

Sitting in the sunlight which is streaming through my very own room, I write a letter. I am enjoying the twittering of birds in the trees outside my window and the shush of the air conditioner vent, cooling down this Summer-like day. It’s very pleasant.

But then she comes back from school. The creak of the front door, the thump of her backpack on the floor, the stomping up the stairs, the crash of her bedroom door. It sounds very routine. 

Every week day, greetings are ignored on the staircase where she bumps against me. I let it roll of my shoulders. Yesterday, while my parents were at the hospital with Granny, Birdie and I cleaned and did laundry and cooked dinner. It wouldn’t have seemed much of a burden really, if after Sam and Willin and Jubilee all chanted their thanks, she had too. Just one word before you push your fork into your mouth. Just a “thanks.” 

While I sorted towels and threw them in the washer, pulled sheets out of the dryer, folded socks, while Birdie dusted the window sills and did all the home-schooling with the other three, she was on the couch, asleep. Oh how she can sleep!

I’m not writing this to complain, to gain your sympathy or your praise. My day-to-day life, I think, would be very much the same whether she was here or not. We cook, we eat, we clean up. Sometimes we see her, sometimes we don’t. 

She’s a pretty girl. Clever, talented, very well-liked at school. I wonder at her home-life, for didn’t she say that she wanted one? It must not be at all like she was hoping.

But back to the sunlight, the letter. I hear her come home and then become engrossed in my scribbles. I don’t hear the conversation starting between she and my mother, until I feel the tension through the floor. Jubilee comes upstairs to borrow my little red scissors and avoid the scene. I hear that it is something about homework, teachers, computer privileges. Then with the playing dumb, the lying, the begging. Her tone becomes frustrated and sharp, my mother’s choppy with attempted patience. 

I’m bringing my ice cream-sticky mug down stairs when she tornados past me on the second flight. I just brace myself and bump by. 

Her brown-red face blurs past and I see my mother sitting in her chair in the living room, looking weary. I feel my blood heating up and before it boils, I go back up the stairs and look out the landing window. 

Sam and Willin are kicking the football around in the soft, five o’clock light. I can hear my dad on the phone, telling someone that he’d still like to go back to Haiti someday. For half a moment, Haiti gives me a bad taste. What if going to Haiti brought me another relationship that feels like a failure? What if my efforts were met with more ingratitude? 

But that moment passes as the boys pass the ball. My blood cools down, my heart warms up and I think that nobody could replace these children in my life. Nobody could replace mischievous, goofy Willin. Nobody could replace patient, witty Sam. Nobody could replace hilarious, bouncy Jubilee. And nobody could replace her. Even with the shoulder bumping on the stairs. Even with the brash words. Even with the shoveling food with no gratitude. 

She’s taught me stuff. And it’s not her fault that that’s the role she’s had in my life. No, her actions aren’t always acceptable, and they are her responsibility, but she didn’t choose Haiti, abandonment, separation, neglect, three-year adoption, mental trauma, learning disability, tricky age-order, language barrier, insecurity, emotional baggage, begging bio-relatives, confusion. 

She didn’t choose all that, but I can choose love, because the truth is, love is always worth the risk. Every time.


other posts about her here:

the storm (and mostly after it)
ransomed from futile ways
love thy neighbor (easier said than done)


rich in thought

“Good Boy (Little Orphan at the Train)” by Norman Rockwell

I didn’t mean to, but I suddenly started reading a ton on poverty and the church’s response lately. I guess that when we “don’t mean to” get so interested in something God’s doing in the world, He’s doing something in us that we didn’t see coming.

Here are a few links I’ve recently run across God has recently brought to my attention. They may contradict each other, but that might be a good thing. They all come from people who confess the name of Christ and we can learn from each of them individually in order to construct our own thoughts and beliefs on the subject.

Caring for the Poor while living in the Good Ol’ U. S. of A. (see Heather’s other posts on the subject here…scroll to the bottom of the post)

Projecting Poverty where it Doesn’t Exist (Steve Saint, son of Nate Saint, has a great point)

A Poverty Theology Parable (Mark Driscoll’s parable rings true in this heart…read it for yourself)

My Closet, My Purse, My Heart  (one girl has a heart transplant at the Dollar Tree)


p.s. profile and “about me” and delicious and all that updated today!


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