Though I try to look at the positive, and we thank the Lord for the opportunity to be a tool to His hands, there is much about an influx of 20 orphans to and overcrowded home that is not a bed of roses, and doesn’t have a pleasant odor.
Thursday afternoon Magalie called Joyce and reported that there was a chance we were going to temporarily take in a few children, mostly babies for the nursery, but also some older toddlers. In Haiti the first report is NEVER the final outcome, so immediately we knew more was in store, most likely several children over the age of 5 yrs. Within an hour the official number became 15 total mostly little ones and a few older ones. Well when the truck rolled in to the main house and the children started to pile out I looked at Melissa and I said, this is way over 15 and there are no babies. We filed them down to the common room of Kay C at the Main House, to try to match ID”s with children, slap on bracelets, take photos, and get whatever information, however accurate or inaccurate it was from Social Services before they fled after what for them I am sure was a immensely draining, heart wrenching day. I can only imagine the chaos, tears, and trauma that took place as kids were divided into vehicles, unknown siblings sets split up, and unfamiliar adults whisked them off on and unknown road to an unknown destination.
There are 21 kids aged 3-8 yrs, and 2 infants. (one of the three year olds would easily pass as a 1 1/2 yr old) All but the three youngest are vocal, know their name, talk about things, ask for things, cuss you out. Physically they are in better shape than the kids we took in from Fond Parisian in that large group last year. But emotionally I would not say they are. We have fed them small portions at and in between meals to slowly start to expand their stomachs so they do not vomit everything back up. Medika Mamba (high protein, calorie, and vitamin packed peanut butter) is a tasty treat, but it does not place against their constant begging for cheese puffs. All but one of the kids gulps back pedialyte which is a wonderful help, one of the few areas that is not a fight! Their stools are pale, and on day three of their parasite treatment they are starting to complain of belly aches, some have pooped worms, but there is much to come before they are cleaned out. They all have scabies some worse than others. One little guy has rat bite marks, another weeping infection on his finger. They are all underweight, and most have bloated bellies and ribs showing. One precious girl’s limbs and face are evidently swollen from kwashiorkor.
Evening of the first day we arrived back at Toddler House with them after our already bursting at the seems house of 65 were bathed and tucked into bed. It made it easier to bring them all in, bath, treat, pj, and put them to bed in the only empty room in the house the school room by day and now bedroom by night. We currently have 5 bedrooms and 10 nannies at any one time for the 65 kids, roughly 14 kids per room. But the rooms are too small for 7 bunk beds so already many kids snuggle up with a friend on the bottom bunks. With 20 new kids, and their health issues, plus the chance that they will be heading elsewhere in the coming week/s, we wanted to keep them separate from prolonged physical contact with the other kids and avoid all sharing of clothing and bedding. Our only two options to put them down for the night were the dining room floor (no door to contain or close them off from wandering around) or the school room. So we hauled out the chairs and tables and covered the floor with mattresses. I am so thankful for everyone who pitched in, no matter how long their day was already, or if they were feeling ill they stepped up and helped to strip of their few articles of clothing, wash faces, wipe noses, wipe bums, do scabies treatments, pajama, hold, kiss, love, pray with… these same individuals have walked with us and constantly offered a hand, a prayer, and an encouraging word, please lift them up as you have time: Melissa, Susie, Emelyne, Dave, Nikki, Brandon, Holli, Timothy, and Rhyan. Our nannies have done an incredible job, filled with compassion they took this group on with such enthusiasm and immense love that they leave us in AWE! As you can please lift up: Yolanda (has been so sacrificial and a constant help), Marielle, Gwo Mama, Carrine, Darline, Estelle, Nadine, Clarna, Ketlie, Nadia, Joselaine, Yvena, Nadege, Irene, and our cooks who are now responsible for feeding 100 mouths three times daily: Gislene, Adeline, and Jesula. The devil is trying his best to tear us down, this sudden influx of kids comes at in the midst of two weeks of the 65 kids at Toddler House passing the flu around to each other, with sometimes up to 30 kids running a fever at a time. The day they arrived Joyce and I were fighting it, and in the two days since we have been short two nannies who are too sick to come into work. He is full of evil tricks!! But our God is stronger!
As the Kenscoff kids have come out of the “shock” of Thursday they are reacting in many different ways the most common is aggressive anger. We have witnessed and been through so many different ways that kids deal with trauma and change in their lives… and though aggressive anger turning into fits of raging screams and tears are not easy or pleasant to deal with they almost always prove to be a speedier healing than introverted withdrawl and refused interaction. As each day/hour progresses we are learning more and more about each child individually and they are becoming more comfortable with sharing their emotions and expectations with us. This morning while sitting in the yard with all 85 kids running around bumping into each other about 5 collected themselves on my lap, two others over my shoulders, and one leaning into each side, both new kids and previous kids. One new girl, slapped away one of our little 3 year olds who had come to say “hello” to me. “No,” she said, “you can’t touch her, go away.” That moment, that statement, that emotion says so much about how EVERYONE is feeling. 65 wanting to know how this changes their lives, if there will be enough love for everyone, enough time, enough space? Will the new ones like us? Will they be nice? Will they be more special than us? and 20 new ones, fighting for love, for acceptance, to be heard, to be respected. I don’t feel like there are many “firsts” that I experience anymore, living in Haiti at the orphanage for 10 years I have become accustomed to pretty much expect nothing normal, accept all things odd, and never be shocked. But 5pm, May 31st, 2012 brought something none of us had ever experienced before. The enormity of integrating 20 hurting hearts, sick bodies, broken souls, with 65 little darlings who were in the midst of their path of growing, healing, and finding stability, security, and love already. We covet with complete sincerity your prayers.
Please lift up all of our existing children and their turmoil, the gentleness they have shown and compassion they have given to the new kids, sharing snacks, cuddling, pushing on the swing, sacrificing toys, and the insecurity this brings with trying to find out if their “place” is unshaken, and their worth non lessened.
Berline, Linda, Berthony, Carine, Chelley, Christoph, Daniel, Davidson, Delta, Deny, Dieudonne, Dieudson, D’jemson, Edelyne, Elverson, Eunise, Faubert, Frantzdie, Gethro, Jeanilia, Giovani, Ismaylove, Jacques, Jean Marie, Jean-Moliere, Jeanrismond, Johanne, Jonel, Joracin, Judith, Julena, Julena, Julner, Kerby, Kimberlie, Laurore, Leika, Lourdia, Mafise, Marie Laure, Matnel, Mewoogye, Michno, Mickenson, Mickenson, Mikerline, Montesquieu, Nadege, Naila, Papouche, Peterson, Rilinxe, Rosegaelle, Rosemidor, Rose-Myrtha, Samy, Sebastien, Wanderson, Wanso, Widley, Windy, Wislande, Yvenson, and the three that spend their mornings with us from the main house, Faland, Dave, and Mardochee.
For each of our newbies please pray for their future, that their birth families can be found so they know where they are, that if they want them back they can provide for them, that other homes made be found for them if it is in God’s will.
Guerson, Kendy, Minashka (Evident extreme trauma), Minashken (Evident extreme trauma), Richardson, Nathaniel, Djenylove, John Love, Melissa, Iderby, Milandie, Stevenson, Dayana, Jacky, Beatrice, Judeline, Winzor, Derson, Marie Therese, Iverson.
Thank you for all the support, for all the encouragement, for all the prayers… we feel them and we need them!!!
11 “being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience,” Colossians 1:11 (NIV)
Posted on Sat, June 2, 2012