Saturday, October 27, 2007

Back Home...

The trip itself couldn't have gone smoother (despite a four hour delay getting out of Miami due to an engine issue with the plane). Travel was easy and I felt incredibly safe the whole time - our drivers were amazing. They got us out of Port Au Prince quickly and without incident. For those who have been to Haiti, I don't need to describe PAP. For those who have not - - it's just really hard to put into words but imagine people, cars, animals, and trash everywhere. No street signs, no traffic signals, no infrastructure... it's chaos.

Our orphanage is in the country - it's about 40-60 minutes outside of the city. Again, the poverty is palpable but the scenery is some of the most beautiful I've ever seen. The vegetation was lush and the mountains were majestic. I fell in love as soon as we started down the (narrow, unpaved and very rocky) road. The orphanage sits on a beautiful piece of land behind a high wall with a massive metal gate. There is 24 hour armed security. The gate opened and it was like an oasis filled with fruit trees & flowers.

Crèche Enfant de l’Jèsus
We drove in and met Madame Coindy. She lives in a little house on the orpahange grounds and basically manages everything on a daily basis. She is an older woman who is Haitian but married a man from France. She spent 34 years living in France and all over Africa and came back to take care of "her" babies at the Crèche. She's quite a character. Upon arriving, I received some sad news. Our baby wasn't at the orphanage and I would not be seeing him until the next day (I'll give a more detailed description of day two in a future post). But I took time the first night to play with the big boys and to get some pictures and video.

Madame Coindy and Orphanage Staff

Since the orphanage is so far from the city, the foundation has a house in PAP where administrative/social work is done. It also has a fully staffed nursery upstairs for new children. They screen them for illness before bringing them out to the orphanage and also take children there when they have mandatory doctor visits (for immigration). Children who are sick will sometimes stay there, as well, so they'll be closer to a doctor. This was the case with Asa. He was being treated for the lingering effects of malnutrition and had gone there a week or two before, so the doctor could see him more frequently. They would have brought him to the orphanage the day we arrived, but the cars were tied up waiting to get us at the airport (due to our flight delay). On the second day, we went to the city to meet our social worker & to file papers at the immigration office. And I finally met Asa.

The First Time I Saw My Son

At the Transition House in PAP

I was so blessed that an ER doctor and his wife (who were meeting their two gorgeous children for the first time) were also on the trip. He confirmed that Asa was very anemic and protien deficient. Asa's little ankles and feet were puffy with fluid and he was so very sleepy. I have to say that this does not speak at all to the care he's received in the orphanage. The care the children receive there is wonderful. They are doing the absolute best they can for him but the best in a third world country isn't anywhere close to America's standards. Please pray for Asa. His condition seems cyclical in that the anemia makes him lethargic, he's too tired to eat well, he's not getting the proper nutrition and thus staying anemic. He rebounded from the malnutrition upon entering the orphanage in May but may be backsliding a bit because he had been pretty sick.

Tearfully Holding My Boy in the Office
of the Transition House
Mostly, we just cuddled. He snuggled into me like a baby koala bear. I was able to bring him back to the orphanage and help care for him for the last day and a half. There were a few times when he was wakeful enough to hold toys but his eyelids were so droopy. He just didn't have the energy to do much at all. I did discover, though, that he has amazing fine motor skills. He was picking up and stacking the tiny Kreyol flashcards I had. He loved holding my wedding ring and watch and when he did eat a little, he fed himself very well (I have video & will try to get it up soon).

This orphanage truly is a shining light in a country that can be full of dispair. Even though my trip wasn't quite what I had anticipated (I thought I'd be playing with a bouncy, happy toddler) I'm so glad I had the opportunity to hopefully give him some comfort when he was feeling so bad. We're praying for Asa's healing and resting is God's sovereignty. There's lots more I want to write about but I'll save it for later. Thank you SO MUCH to everyone who was praying for my trip and we ask for your continued prayers for our precious son.

Asa - Wearing the Nike B-Ball Outfit I Took Down

13 of your thoughts:

Trisha said...

Oh Beth, I will pray the Lord will just put a healing touch from the top of his head to the bottom of his precious little feet. He looks so tired, it looks like you were there at just the right moment in time to just love on him:)

Kathy said...

He's precious. Praying he'll be happy and bouncy soon.

Anonymous said...

He is so sweet!! I am so glad your trip went well. We will pray for little Asa and for God's healing.

john & amanda (& grayson) said...

Bethie -

We love you and are so happy that the trip went safely! What an adorable nephew you've given us! Amanda and I are already praying for little Asa. Seeing the pictures of you holding him made my eyes misty...

Can't wait to chat.

ManyBlessings said...

What a precious little guy. Praying for his healing.

Melissa E. said...

Were you able to feed him while you were there? How absolutely precious he is! We finally can see that bottom lip in these photos! What a kissable little face he has! I am so glad that you were there to cuddle his sleepy little body and we will pray for God's healing touch on him.

BethPie said...

Thank you so much, everybody!

Melissa, I did get to feed him. They had him on a prescription formula with higher iron but it really disagreed with his tummy (and it ended up on me). Poor thing! So they gave him Pedialyte to drink and let me feed him some fish and plantains. The next day, he didn't want much at all. He had a few bites of pasta for breakfast and some rice with meat (goat?) for lunch. Then he didn't want anything at all and we were giving him droppers of pedialyte the rest of the evening. The doctor who was with me stressed to them that he needed iron drops which, I believe, they are now giving. They put him on antibiotics - just in case - since he had a little fever and diarrhea.

Nadra said...


He is so cute. We'll be praying for him. Thanks for sharing this part of your journey with us.

Christine said...

What a sweet little boy. What a moment! Thanks for sharing.

Stepping Out of the Boat said...

Oh Beth...he is so precious! That basketball outfit is adorable!

Sorry that he is feeling so weak...I am sure it was excruciatingly painful to leave your boy there while he was sick.

I am so sorry! Please keep us posted!

Anonymous said...

Oh, he is so cute! What a blessing that you were able to love on him. I will be praying for him!

Donna Boucher said...

Welcome Asa!

Praying for you!

Mrs. Greg Green said...

I am so sorry for his health issues. The poor little guy! It must have been hard for you to find him so at your first meeting, but how wonderful to have been able to hold and comfort him. I pray he will bounce to health quickly and that your whole process will move speedily so you can give him all the care he needs every day.