Friday, January 14, 2011

Leaving Is So Hard...

Brian is leaving Camatin, the orphanage where our little girl lives.  Actually, he's leaving right now, as I type.  I am as messed up as if I were leaving her.  This is crazy...  I left Haiti and my little girl, Merline, a week ago.  It was so hard to walk away from the sweet face that God has entrusted to me.  I cried, she cried, we prayed, we hugged, and tickled to try and lighten the mood.  It didn't work.  It was worth a shot though.  Anything is worth hearing that silly giggle.  I know God cared for Merline long before I even knew she existed and that He cares for her now while I'm waiting to bring her home, and I know that He will care for her after I'm gone.  But I want my hands on her.  Touching her face like I touch Molly's every morning.  I want to watch her lose herself in her favorite songs with her little ear buds in like I get to do with Emmie every day.  I want to teach her to love how our family gets together to watch Tennessee football and basketball like Riley.  Selfishly, I just want her here.

Merline's Family's House (where she was born)
I think of her Mama, Margila, who didn't have the chance to watch her little girl grow because she had a baby on the floor in her house and didn't have any medical care.  It's so hard to understand when a simple infection is so easily treated here.  I imagine that Merline, her baby girl, looks a lot like her.  I think of her Papi, Guadys, and the sacrifice he made many years ago to let her go so she could have food to eat and a place to sleep.  He's such a sweet man who lost so much in such a short time.  He lost his wife, Margila, a few days after she gave birth to their 7th child.  Within a month, give or take, he can't really remember, he lost that baby, a boy.  Three months later he lost another son, a few years older than Merline, he was sick and had a fever.  Not long after that he was given the option of giving his youngest child, Merline, to an orphanage the community church had just opened.  She was somewhere around 3 to 4 years old, the details are sketchy.  She was tiny for her age, bald due to malnutrition, and full of worms.  What I can't get out of my mind is that she was his.  She was the daughter of Guadys and Margila.  He had lost so much, so quickly.  He loved her so much, he wanted her to live, so he sent her to a place he trusted to care for her.  He let go.  He had to.  I cannot even imagine.

Merline's Family's house
Guadys didn't come around for a long time.  So long that most people thought she was a "true orphan."  Until we started the process to adopt.  Merline knew who he was and would speak to him a little, but that was about all.  When we spoke to him about adopting and if it was something he would consider his words were, "when I gave her to you (the orphanage) I trusted you and I trust you now.  If you say it is good, then it is what I want."  He asked if she would go to school, and I told him yes!  That was pretty much the conversation.  I was confused and hurt for Merline.  Don't get me wrong, I was off the wall elated that we could start the process, but how could he just say okay, that's his daughter.  My frustration was a sign of the world I have grown up in.  If you love someone you fight to keep them!  Haiti's different.  Sometimes, if you love someone, you let them go if it affords them an opportunity that you can't give them, regardless of how bad it hurts.  I realized, after I got over myself, that he loves her enough to let her go.  I honestly don't know if I would have the strength to do that.  Guadys had lost so much and I can't imagine he could take much more so when he gave her to the orphanage, he let her go in his mind.  But not in his heart.

Merline and her Papi, Guadys
Since we have started the adoption process he has started coming to visit Merline.  They have this neat relationship.  They joke with each other and you can see the love on his face.  You can also see that he's released her.  He can't take care of her, he can barely take care of himself and the other children (who are older now), even though he works so hard.  I'm amazed by the kind of love it takes to do what he's done.  I'm so glad that when Merline comes home she'll have had some sweet time with her Papi (she calls Guadys Papi and Brian is Daddy, that's her distinction) and she'll have sweet memories of him walking for miles to come and visit her.  I want her to come back and see him as often as we can afford to get her on a plane.  When he visits she always wants to give him something and if it's when I'm there she runs up and grabs food out of our stash, chips, peanut butter, crackers, chocolate, anything.  I just love that she wants to share with him.  Honestly, that's just her heart, she gives everything away.  I pray she never loses that.

Adoption from Haiti is hard.  The way we are adopting is hard.  Getting to see her and form a bond and having a foundation for when she comes home is a gift.  Leaving her is kind of like somebody reaching in and taking my heart out of my chest and then telling me to get on the truck and go home.  It stinks.  Don't misunderstand, any adoption is hard and all adoption should be God breathed.  It's not for everybody and I strongly, strongly believe that not every child in Haiti should be adopted.  Not even every child in an orphanage(my opinion).  But adoption is beautiful.  It reminds me that I am a child of God, He adopted me to be in His family, He chose me to be His and He released me from my fear.  That's what I want for all of my children.  Merline, Riley, Emersen, and Molly...

For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, "Abba!  Father!"   ~ Romans 8:15

I didn't mean for this post to be this long...  It really started out as a struggle to process and deal with being away from my little girl.  Somehow it changed.  I'm grateful I have this outlet to share about Merline's family.  I cannot put into words how blessed Brian and I feel to be a part of the Augustave family and to have them be a part of ours. 

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