What have we been up to over the past few months? It is has been a calling that we did not see coming but it has been an adventure to say the least.
On April 4, our family was waiting anxiously for the arrival of our new puppy, Bert. He would be arriving with his brother, Ernie, on the Agape Flight for April 6. They are Great Danes flown all the way from Canada. A blessing beyond measure. The kids were looking forward to puppy snuggles. We were alsoloking forward to a mid summer vacation to Michigan. It had been a long time since we had been back as a family. While we were making our summer plans, God was getting ready to reveal His.
What we did not see coming was that we wouldn't just be adding a puppy to our family. Our plans were about to change. We would become foster parents at the same time. That same day we moved L into our house. Overnight our family dynamic quickly changed. Living at Children of the Promise most of her life she has been dear to me for years. I have been a constant in her life for awhile. There have been many changes in her cargivers over the years. It was coming to a time in her life where she needed consistency. It quickly became clear that the best place for her was with all of our girls.
Over the next few months we took care of L by provding a stable enviroment in her transition period. Waiting for her forever family had been a long process. We were able to begin forming the relationship with her parents. Giving her freedom to ask questions and understand where she would be going.
This process required a lot of time on all of our parts. The kids had to be okay with us giving much of our time to another person. They had to deal with the fact that L needed a lot of "Miss Amy" and that no matter what I still love them. We were all in this together, as a family. L needed them too. The best gift the girls gave her was allowing her just to be a girl.
We loved her and protected her. Our home provided her some time to settle before the next transition in her life. Joel and I made the desision that we would not travel to the USA or talk about it until her time here was over. She needed us and that was all that mattered. We had to give up dates and time alone as a couple. Family trips were now a family of 7. This was huge not due to the extra person but the fact that L was not used to leaving campus. Being included in all activities was a new thing for her. Together, we went out for pizza and visited a grocery store for the first time. Truthfully, it was the first time any of us had visited a grocery store in Cap Hatian. All these activities helped her to feel she was included. English became her first language. The girls were able to talk her through traveling on airplanes, manuvering airports, and talking with her about things she would see in the States. It took all of us together.
Then on August 17, 2017, we recieved the wonderful news that L was cleared to go home. I told her that tomorrow her mom and dad were coming to Haiti to pick her up. She was so excited! Her papers were done. She and I spent the night going over what she wanted to do over the next few days with her parents. In the morning Heidi helped her to clean the apartment where they would be staying and we moved her belongings. The reunion was so sweet. She was excited but calm because they were not strangers to her she had already formed a relationship with them over the past few months. The first day together our families went to the beach. L loved eating crab and swimming and she wanted to share that with her parents. Then, we had a pizza and movie night where we watched "Beauty and the Beast". It is one of her favorite sound tracks to listen to. The last item on the list was a goodbye party. She and her mom made cookies for the party. We invited her old nannies and friends. I broke out my polaroid camera and we took pictures to remember the occasion. When it was over she headed off to pack for the flight home. A few hours later we said our goodbyes and took the last pictures before her flight. She was off to begin the new chapter of her life. It was a long wait but she grew, we grew and so did the dog!