Many of you probably remember our Haitian adoption story I wrote when I was fifteen. That edition of the story has touched a lot of hearts and led to some great conversation, but after discussing it with my family, I’ve decided to remove it from the internet for the time being. Hopefully, in the future, I can write more about those experiences and events, but at this point, I want to update my online presence by putting that very old, very long, very poorly written piece to rest. ;)
For those who find particular interest in our story, I’ve written a more concise version and would love to answer any questions through email at firstname.lastname@example.org
I originally considered myself to be from a family of six. After my younger sister was born, my parents decided they were “done.” However, God knew what He was doing and kept their hearts open to more children. When some close friends of ours were struggling with infertility and looking to adopt domestically, my mom started doing some research on their behalf. What she learned about orphans broke her heart and it cracked open a little bit wider.
After that couple was placed with their lovely daughter (who is now eleven!) my mom kept educating herself on adoption and obsessively scrolling through photo listings of available kiddos. She ended up reading about Haiti, a country surprisingly nearby, incredibly poor and full of misplaced, unwanted or orphaned children. Through a combination of prayer and faith, my parents ended up contacting an orphanage in Petionville about adopting a little boy younger than my youngest sister (who was eight at the time.) We flew to Haiti to meet him shortly after.
After meeting our referred child (now my fifteen-year-old brother) we met many other children in need of families. We added two more to our dossier from the same orphanage, a nine year old girl and an 18-month-old boy. Later, my dad who is a pediatrician, was asked to visit two twin girls who had been abandoned, and give them a medical check. They were just a few months old at the time and we immediately fell in love with them. Sadly, one of the babies passed away of an infection before we were able to get her home.
At this point, we began traveling back and forth from our home in Texas to Haiti whenever we could. We were working furiously on the adoption paperwork and preparing our modest home for new children. I was eleven the first time we went and that trip changed my life forever. I remember telling my friends at church when I would find out I was going back to Haiti. I was always thrilled to go back!
A few months into the process, we received the devastating news that the orphanage director was being removed on claims of abuse. My parents wound up rushing down there to run the orphanage in his place. We left right before Christmas and my parents assumed the temporary position of orphanage director at the home for roughly 100 children.
We spent a few months living at the orphanage, happy to be with our new siblings but also missing home and going through some extremely stressful times. My dad went back and forth for work, along with my teenage brother who was in college and working in Texas. After a matter of months, we got our own apartment and Haitian staff took over the administration of the orphanage. During this time, the government collapsed and there was some very violent rioting. I remember times when we (the kids) weren’t allowed out of the apartment while our parents went to meetings for the adoption paperwork, despite the dangerous streets.
Because of a presidential coup and all of the turmoil in the already corrupted government, our adoptions ended up taking about three years. I celebrated my thirteenth birthday in our apartment there. Finally, due to many reasons, we had to come home without the kids. Our dear friends, John and Beth McHoul kept them for nine more months while we moved to a larger home, sought medical help for some health issues my sister had developed and settled back into life in America.
Finally, in March of 2006, my two youngest siblings were able to come home and then the other two in May. We began our new, crazy life together and never looked back!
Life has not been all sunshine and roses since their climactic homecoming. Raising a big family is hard, but it’s harder through adoption. Adoption is not for everyone and we know why now! But we made it through the hard times and don’t regret the way our family was made.
Now, eight years after our Haitian adoption, my parents are in the process of adopting a nine-year-old girl from Eastern Europe. She is expected home in September and we could not be more excited. And you know what else? That little girl who was placed with our friends as a newborn is now best friends with my eleven year old sister from Haiti. God works in mysterious ways.
(I blog a lot more about being an adoptive sibling at my other blog, Pineapple Siblings.)