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Thursday, October 2, 2008

Haiti Day Seven (Last Day)

The boys woke us up in the wee hours of the morning for bottles on our last day in Haiti. As tired as I was, in my heart I knew I had to cuddle them and appreciate these moments of holding them close before daylight and reality struck. A few hours later, more bottles and then the four of us headed to a final breakfast together. As it turned out, another Chilean peacekeeper was at the table next to ours and he asked if he could join us. He and his family live not twenty minutes from us here in Santiago; it was an interesting conversation hearing about his experiences in Haiti these past almost twelve months.

Back to the room and the boys were already tired from their early morning. Ian fell asleep but Alec was very clingy and weepy; he refused to sleep and wailed every time we tried to lay him down in order to finish the final details of packing. He was so cozy and warm in my arms, snuggling close and just wanting to be still and be held. Finally everything was packed, included their matching little backpacks and all the clothes they had worn with us this week. I like to picture them in those same outfits even though we are so far apart for now ...

Noon arrived and shortly after the pick up truck with Mirlande and Barbara. Mirlande took Stephen from where he had just moments before finally fallen asleep on the bed; we never had another chance to hold him before we left. Ian sat happily on my lap the whole way to the airport, checking out the world around him with his usual curiosity. Once we reached the airport our goodbye was all too quick. I handed him to Mirlande and saw him look at me seriously with those big dark eyes of his ... they were teary and although I knew it was from a little cold he had managed to catch in the air conditioned hotel room rather than actual tears, it brought my own tears close to the surface. Pedro and I kissed both boys goodbye, grabbed our baggage, and they were gone.

The floodgates opened much later, after the insanity of having four baggage handlers fighting over our bags and pulling us in front of other waiting people and through security and asking for a $40 tip and later when we didn't cough that amount up, one of them returning to insist he must have another tip for the security guard who had let us through (go figure) ... after our brief stop in the smoke-filled upstairs lounge for a $5 pizza and cold bottles of Coke ... after the wait in a crowded, standing room only waiting room filled with hundreds of people and one belligerent drunken man shouting and arguing with everyone in sight. It wasn't until after we walked one last time across the hot and noisy tarmac with airplanes lined up for loading passengers, and after our short flight to Panama and layover there.

It was in the dark hours of the night on the second and final leg of our trip, when most everyone was sleeping except for the one baby at the rear of the plane whose cries reminded me of the ones I had responded to every night this week but could respond to no more for a very, very long time. It was then that the tears flowed and wouldn't stop, when I looked at the empty seat beside me and kept thinking that our babies should have been there, they should have been able to come home too ... and I remembered a similar night four years before, after having experienced the heartbreak of relinquishing the baby boy we'd loved for one week and thought we would be adopting. I remembered how for weeks afterwards we would interact with other people and surely to them our family seemed just fine, but always my mind was screaming that we weren't fine, that there was a gaping hole in our family unit and couldn't everyone else see that?? That loss was constantly with me for such a long time ... but the flood of tears on this night was therapeutic, it was a necessary cleansing, and with it the prayer over and over again that God would do a miracle, that He would bring our boys home in record time.

And so we trust ... and so we know ... that He will.


Kathy said...

It's hard leaving. I've done it three times and it doesn't get easier.

Bebe Haitiano said...


Gracias por visitar mi blog. Yo estoy corriendo como loca para terminar todo, y mi idea es viajar a conocerlo la segunda quincena de noviembre. Espero que salga todo hermoso.
Te dejo un beso y te linkeo.

Dale said...

I just read your entire trip. I'm praying for a speed miracle for you!

alejandra said...

stephanie, entre a contestar tu mensaje y vi lo de owen! como esta el ahora?
me emocione leyendo la despedida y los sentimientos en el avion, es asi, pero es muy bueno llorar! y no te sorprendas si te enfermas en los dias posteriores a tu llegada....yo me enferme a la vuelta de cada uno de mis viajes......
no sabia la historia de ese bb q nombras q estuvo c uds una semana, que duro de afrontar, y de procesar.....
les dejo un beso gde a vos y tu marido y me alegro q hayan disfrutado a sus preciosuras.

Kathy's Korner said...

it is soooooooooo hard!!!! We left S for 6 weeks...the longest of my life. It is undiscribably hard to have your heart living so far from you.

I will be praying for that miricle!

Rebekah said...

One of Steven's favorite foods is kiwi, and the ones at our local market are from Chile. Every time I buy them or feed them to him, I think of you and pray for you.

I'm praying with you for an impossibly fast adoption.