Friday, February 18, 2011

Blessed Beyond Words

Three words...GOD IS GREAT! I am blessed beyond words at the hearts of our friends, family and those we don't even know. You TRULY inspire us to do more for others! Also, thank you for the kind and uplifting words regarding yesterday's post. It was extremely hard and painful to write, but I do feel better! Praise God!


CONSIGNMENT SALE (NEXT WEEKEND) - I am putting a lot of items in a consignment sale next weekend. They accept children, teen and ladies clothing, toys priced over $10, furniture and nice home accessories. If you have any of these items you would like to donate, please let us know and we'll be happy to pick them up. You can email me at or call me at 615-417-3377. Yes! I will be pricing, tagging, pinning and taping all weekend and next week long.

SPRING YARD SALE (APRIL 8-9) - We are collecting items for our Spring Yard Sale to be held at 1029 Dorset Drive in Hendersonville (Somerset Downs' subdivision). So, if you are spring cleaning and would like to help bring Beatrice home, please call us at 615-417-3377 or email at and we'll be happy to pick it up for you.

If you haven't read yesterday's post, Our Most Recent Trip to Haiti, please see below.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Our Most Recent Trip to Haiti

It's time to post about our trip to Haiti! First and foremost, thank you to everyone who prayed for us. Quite honestly, I didn't think that I would post anything for at least a week or two, because I have been deeply grieving for our daughter. I am amazed at how God answered everyone's prayers so quickly! Trey and I are feeling much better. Praise God!

Now, let's get to our trip!

We arrived at the orphanage on Sunday evening during a worship service. When we got off the bus, we heard the children singing. What a beautiful sound! I walked in and immediately started scanning for Beatrice. I finally saw her on the front row! I didn't know if it was appropriate for me to go up there, so I hesitated. I didn't want to do anything wrong. I couldn't take it long, and became selfish. I no longer cared if it was right or wrong. I rushed up there, knelt down in front of her and told her how much I missed her. She doesn't understand English, but she does understand the warmth of a hug and smile. I walked back and sat down. When I turned around, Trey was up front giving her a big hug! She came back and sat with us during the remainder of the church service.

The main objective for our mission trip was to give the orphans their immunizations. The first two days, we gave over 680 shots! The children and team were crying. It's difficult to explain that the injections will help them. They were screaming words like "Why? "Why?," "Jesus! Jesus!," "DouDou! Help Me!" and "My friends! My friends!"

When it came time for Beatrice to be seen, I checked her in at triage and then walked her to Trey's exam room. While he was doing her physical, she jumped every time someone new walked into the room. She knew the shots were coming and wasn't happy. I placed her in my lap, and held her arms and legs for Joe and Betsy to inject her. I think Trey was surprised that I wanted to be the one to hold her down, because he kept asking me if I was sure. I was there for Christian and Austin, and I wanted to be there for our new daughter. I am strong in times like this, because I know the end result is good.

On Monday, February 7th, I was resting (or maybe pouting) in bed when Betsy came in and asked if I heard what Pastor Dony had said. I didn't. The Haitian attorney had already been to court TWO TIMES and Beatrice was going to be moved to the creche (the transitional home) within a month. Trey walked in crying, and of course, that made me cry even more. We had no idea that things were moving so quickly. This meant that it was possible she could be home by Christmas!

Great news turned into troubling news on Wednesday. We were told last May that one of Beatrice's parents were murdered in a home invasion prior to the earthquake, and that the other one was killed in the earthquake.

Beatrice and I were sitting in the clinic attempting to talk about family when she became very sad. Chelsea went and asked a translator to help me. When he asked Beatrice what was wrong, she didn't want to talk. Another interpreter walked up and asked what was wrong, and she wouldn't answer him either. He grabbed her arm and told me he was going to take her and find out. I pulled her arm back and said no. He knelt down and spoke to her in Creole. She immediately started talking. Ughhhhh! I wish I understood Creole! What did he say to her to immediately make her start talking?

He stood up and said that she was sad, because her mom was dead. She started sobbing. I put her in my lap and just held her tightly. He then pointed to me and told her that I was now her mom. I just looked at him, because we were asked not to tell her about the adoption yet. Ughhhhh again!

A few minutes later, the interpreter IN FRONT OF BEATRICE told me that BOTH OF HER PARENTS were murdered with a knife in front of her. Ok. She can't understand English, but she does understand "Mama," "Papa" and hand motions. He said "Her Mama and Papa were killed with a knife in front of her" as he was using his hand to demonstrate being slaughtered. He even used his hand to indicate they were decapitated. I cannot describe the disgust I had and still have.

Trey and I talked to DouDou about what had occurred and questioned the validity. He strongly encouraged us to trust the new information from her current village and not what we had learned last year. If all of this is true, and we pray it is not, she will need significant counseling.

To say the least, we were emotionally depleted the following day. I don't want to speak for Trey, but I had the hardest time giving love, touch and time to all the orphans. I didn't want to be touched. I just wanted to be left alone. I kept praying that God would give me strength to go on and give each one of them my best. I wanted every single one of them to know they were loved, wanted and cherished. Do you realize these children just want to be held? They need and deeply desire touch. I felt so horrible that I didn't "want" to give it to them on this day. I could (and maybe should) delete this paragraph, but I want to be transparent. I want you to see all the emotions, because I know in the end, God will bless us for being faithful. He didn't say this process was going to be easy. He simply said "Go!"

The next day we learned that Beatrice was going to be moved to the creche in Port-au-Prince on Saturday, February 19th. Fantastic news! The creche, which we were able to visit, is a perfect transitional home. It has electricity, running water, toilets, showers, swimming pool, basketball court and a playground just to name a few. It is located right next to the President's home, so it is in a good area. We can fly and visit her as often as we like too! Of course, that takes money, and every single penny we raise right now is going to the adoption expenses - a whopping $20,000!

One of the ways we are raising money is through our adoption t-shirts. We gave Beatrice one while we were there, and she looked ADORABLE. She loved that we were wearing the same shirt! She kept showing all of her friends. :)

We still have lots of t-shirts to sell, so please consider buying one, two or a dozen and supporting our adoption. You can find all the details here. Since I'm discussing fundraisers, we are also taking donations for our Spring Yard Sale. What a perfect time to spring clean your home, get rid of those unwanted items and donate it to a worthy cause.

So, now back to our trip...

One afternoon while in the clinic, Beatrice was showing Trey one of her school binders. She had written the name "Brendalene Jean-Baptiste" on the outside. Trey pointed to the name and asked "Who is that?" She pointed to herself. We discovered with the help of translators that her given name is Brendalene. Beatrice is her nickname. We can only imagine the things we'll learn once she is home!

If you are on Facebook, then you already know we were able to tell Beatrice our desire to adopt her. We spoke to Erica and DouDou and felt the right thing to do was to share our hearts to Beatrice since the interpreter had already told her.

DouDou asked us to get inside his truck to have some privacy. If you are outside, you have a minimum of six orphans at your side. DouDou translated for us and Joe took pictures - priceless pictures! We shared our desire for her to be a part of our family and come live with us in the United States. We asked what she wanted. Her smile says it all!!!!!

We showed her a picture of her new home. I think she likes it!

We are grateful for Jeannie who blessed us with using her cell phone. Beatrice was able to talk with three of our six children (Taylor, Kevin and Christian) for the first time. Taylor and Kevin's mother, Lori, said she teared up as she watched Taylor and Kevin talking to their new sister. What a beautiful moment! Quick note to Lori: Thank you for being supportive of us during our adoption. You are an amazing, Godly woman, and we love you VERY much!

Friday, oh Friday! We had to leave all the orphans. What an emotional afternoon. I saw so many of our team members and orphans crying. The orphans sang to us, and then one of the older boys prayed over us. These children have an incredible relationship with our Heavenly Father! I cannot stress that enough!

Beatrice walked with us to our bus. I held onto her as long as I could without sobbing. I finally had to let go and dash inside the bus. I looked back at Trey holding her - a beautiful yet emotional sight. Pastor Lionel and Pastor Dony loved on her as we left.

About an hour after we had arrived back at the Guest House, my dear friend, Christy, came to me and grabbed my hand. She asked me to come outside for a surprise. There stood my amazing husband and beautiful daughter! Pastor Lionel had brought her over to have dinner with us! OUR FIRST FAMILY DINNER!

The Guest House is on the ocean, so it's definitely a little cooler there than at the orphanage. Beatrice was FREEZING! We went to our bedroom and I gave her one of my jackets.

We went outside to have dinner in the gazebo. Jonathan noticed she was still cold, so he took off his own coat and put it on her.

There were no tears when we parted that night - only smiles, kisses, hugs and a grateful heart. 

We are home now and working diligently on all the paperwork and fundraisers. Please help us spread the word about our fundraisers through email, Facebook, Twitter, etc. The adoption costs are extremely high, but we know that God is faithful and He will provide every single penny!
  • Spring Yard Sale - Collecting items now!
  • Adoption T-Shirts
  • Coffee with a Cause
  • E-Bates
  • E-Fundraising Online
  • Donations
Click here for complete details on all fundraisers! Oh, there's one more not listed on the fundraiser's page. It is the Spring/Summer Lia Sophia show my mom, Carolyn Swaby, is hosting. The jewelry is, love, love it! You can get all the details here.

As always, thank you for supporting and loving us!

Many blessings,

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Patience and Prayer

There are so many of you who have called, emailed and facebooked for updates since we returned from Haiti this past Saturday night. We TRULY appreciate all of you, and feel blessed to have you in our lives. My plan was to blog the following day with lots of stories and pictures as I know you are all anxious for an update. I have tried, but can’t. I am emotionally depleted. I met with my amazing counselor yesterday, and she revealed to me that I was grieving. She is going to help me through this, but I need and kindly ask for your patience and prayers for our family.


Friday, February 4, 2011

Beatrice - 2 Weeks Ago!

I met a family who was with Beatrice TWO WEEKS AGO, and she looks healthy and happy! PRAISE GOD!

Between seeing this picture of her and leaving for Haiti in the morning, I am a big mess! Crying! Crying! Crying! I'm crying because she is healthy. I'm crying because I can't wait to see her. I'm crying because I'll have to leave her. I'm crying because our 12 year old, Austin, is sick and I'm having to leave him. I'm crying because I'm stressed and overwhelmed. Geeeeezzz! It's ridiculous! Please pray for me. Please for my husband to cope with my emotional roller coaster...ha! Even though I laughed at that comment, I'm serious!

We will not have access to the internet while we are in Haiti, so I will post an update and new pictures when we return.