Friday, December 17, 2010


I wish I had more time to keep this updated. So much happens with 3 kids, especially when one is 2 (yes, she's 2!) and is learning something everyday.

I had to post because I just got done playing a duet with our 9-year old daughter. She's much better/faster than I am so she has to wait on me and sometimes just start over. She's so patient, but it is so fun to try and play a duet!

Jack is on the floor behind us trying to fix my vacuum. He had the job of vacuuming the living room today, but something got stuck, so he has completely (completely!) taken apart the vacuum head (central vac) and found the culprit. A bobby pin. He's now putting it back together. I love it that he can figure things out like that. He loves to build and figure out problems. I"m already starting to rely on him for some things around the house!

Charline is literally learning something new everyday. We started the 'Holding Time' technique at Thanksgiving and it has done wonders for this household. Even her preschool teacher mentioned how she was able to 'get over' an issue very quickly. YES! Major improvement over the several, many, lots of tantrums we were facing each day. She's a much happier kid and we are a much happier family! She is learning new words everyday, she said 'cow' today! I should really keep a list, it's so cute to hear. She went to our animal program today and go to see a turtle (wouldn't touch it) a snake (touched it, reluctantly), a flying squirrel and a turkey vulture. She also loves to help around the house, whether it's putting the dogs in the kennel while we go somewhere, helping unload the dishwasher or clear the table. She loves to help.

This past weekend I taught the older two how to cross-stitch. They love it. Jack seems to enjoy it more than Taylor, actually. I think it's because he's creating something. They are both excited to finish their project. We have to do it mostly during nap/bedtime so baby doesn't interfere :) They've both taken over the project and now know how to read the picture themselves and count stitches and everything. So, this year they've learned to sew, knit and cross-stitch. I hope we can continue to practice throughout next year!

Anyway, Christmas cards haven't even been started, but I am hoping to get something put together, probably will be after Christmas, possibly after the New Year. It's been hard to get in for pictures!

Thought I'd post a small update anyway.

Friday, October 15, 2010

OCT 2010

How does life get busier and busier? Oh wait, I know the answer---ME! I over-schedule! In saying that, I really don't have time to write on here, but I need to, to remember better the cute/cool/not-so-cool things that happen with 3 kids.

I am writing because this morning, I came in our bedroom to make the bed and hear "mama? mama?" getting louder and louder. Charline's room is directly below ours, so I can easily hear crying/talking, etc. Jack had already been asking to go get her, so I said he could now. He went down and without being asked, changed a poopie and got her dressed. He's 6. 6. He LOVES taking care of his little sister.

Last Saturday, I ran to the Farmer's Market and while I was gone (Nathan was here, obviously), he had made fried eggs and toast for Taylor, then himself and when Charline got up a while later, he made her eggs and toast also. Did I mention he's 6???

He's also gotten Charline ready for bed the last 2 nights. Again, he changes her diaper and gets her pajamas on her. He will even give her a bath. Of course one of us is always around for all of this, but the fact that he is so willing to help his little sister (without being asked!) is so wonderful.

Not to leave out Taylor, she, too, is a little mother hen. She loves to play with Charline and distract her so she doesn't go into a full blown temper tantrum. She's the farmer, though. Jack would be more of a gardener, she's more of the farmer. She LOVES her chickens and taking care of them and it's strange, but they obviously love her back. They follow her and sometimes, she's the only one that get them to their pen at night!

Anyway LOTS to do today, need to go. Hopefully I'll be better about writing the happenings, because so many neat things go on around here.


He has such a big heart for his sisters, it really makes me want to cry.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

So much to write, so little time. I see I haven't posted for almost 3 months. We've all been adjusting very well. Charline continues to sleep well at night, eat good during the day and is growing like a weed!!

She had her 18mo. check-up at the doctor yesterday and she is actually ON the charts now--pretty close to 'normal' ranges!! She is over 22lb (gained 8lb since coming home) and has grown 3" since coming home also.

I should be better about writing more down in a journal or on the calendar, but it is so hard so I'll have to generalize. She has gotten SEVERAL new teeth in the last few weeks. She has already had her first haircut. She has been to the lake and lakehouse and had a blast. Although...she didn't like the lake water. She went to the beach/ocean 2times with me in Haiti (more times with her nannies) and loved it. She loves bath time and her little pool at home, but had an issue with the lake. :)

She has been to Silver Dollar City (huge amusement park) and LOVED the kiddie rides! We had to ride several times and she just squealed with delight.

We have all camped in the motorhome in Branson and in Springfield (I'll explain later) and figured out how to make that work.

I have taken her to a tea room, just her and me. It was fun! She has chased our chickens and duck. She loves the sandbox, although I need to watch her because she likes to eat the sand :) She still loves to be outside, especially without shoes on. Clothes are optional for her too :)

Not to leave out the older two...
Taylor has had her formal dance recital and it was beautiful! She had to learn her dance as well as another dance because she was asked to be the helper for a younger class. She did fantastic. She also had her formal piano recital. Again, she did fantastic. Her piano teacher has 39 students and she was one of 5 picked for an honor group to play for the 30minutes prior to the recital starting. She is a phenomenal piano player. She especially likes to record her playings on the piano and either sing along to her own accompaniment or choreograph ballet dances to go with her music.

Jack has gone rock climbing a couple of times and loves it. He's definitely our monkey boy, so rock climbing is right up his alley! He also has started tee ball this spring. We've enjoyed going to his games, but he's totally bored. Not enough action :)

6 weeks ago we started a minor remodel. They did some of what they had planned, got stuck on other projects, added new pantry cabinets, added a bigger deck and ended up doing really shoddy work on the inside. (Very long story shortened!!!) Part of the re-do was to completely re-finish the wood floor also. The contractor tried-2 times and he still didn't get it right----which is why we moved out for 10 days to a campground 5 minutes from our house, to let the floors get done. We enjoyed the pool while at the campground at least. We now have to have various other professionals (dry wall, paint, trim, etc) come in and fix all of our contractors mistakes, so after 6 weeks, our house is still a mess. Very stressful.

Anyway, that's been our busy life for the past 3 months in a nutshell. I'll try and post more regularly, but it seems so hard to find the time! By 8pm (when all kids SHOULD be in bed), I'm completely exhausted. Hopefully this summer will slow down at some point, so I can just relax and have some fun.


Thursday, March 25, 2010

Bike riding / planting seeds / Charline

Yesterday was a nice day and I decided it was time the kids learned to ride bikes w/o training wheels. I took them off and took off the pedals on Jack's bike (couldn't get them off T's bike) so they could work on balance before actually riding. That lasted 3 minutes, he was anxious to ride! I put the pedals back on and they got the hang of it in about 5 minutes and rode and rode. Thankfully we have quite a bit of pavement for them to practice since we don't live in a neighborhood that would have sidewalks. They now LOVE riding their bikes and Taylor's excited about riding her bike w/o all the noise the training wheels make!

Monday, we planted seeds in some peat pellets to try and grow seedlings for our attempt at a garden. Today, the broccoli has sprouts! The onions and pumpkins are starting to peek through too! I also am trying to get sweet potatoes to sprout by putting them in a glass of water. So with riding bikes, attempting to grow food, our new duck, chick, our tadpole and our many (wild!) birds at our feeders, we're having a lot of fun this spring!!

Charline loves to try on shoes, it is so funny. Whether they are her shoes, or anyone else's!

Today is different that yesterday, weather-wise. Yesterday was sunny, upper 60's or so. Today, it has rained all day, is windy and cold (45 but feels like 37)! The kids are out riding their bikes, with their winter coats/gloves on, though. Charline LOVES to be outside. She tries every chance she gets, so I put on her lined rain coat (she already has on 2 layers under that), her winter hat and gloves and she's out enjoying the cold/windy weather. Actually enjoying it.
This weather is so crazy. 70's to 40's/snow/ice to upper 60's to 40's/rain/wind. Thankfully the kids enjoy just about any weather, especially Charline.

Charline also LOVES bath time. She loves water. She loves water being splashed on her face. She'll be snorkeling before we know it!

She was truly meant to be a part of this family :)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

New Vegetarian


Sunday night Jack comes in wondering what 'butcher' means. I asked him where he heard it--making sure it wasn't used inappropriately in a Star Wars/Batman show. He heard it from daddy about butchering animals to eat them. We talked about it, how we get out meat from cows (they are butchered) and chickens/turkeys, how they're killed, then plucked of all of their feathers. At this point, Taylor deems herself a vegetarian. She did this a few months ago and lasted a day, so I didn't think much of it.
Monday, we went out for Mexican. Nate and kids usually split chicken/steak fajitas. Not Taylor! She ordered rice and beans, but finished my tostada (w/beans). Tuesday, we ran through Arby's for lunch. Again I forgot, but she refused to eat the sandwich. I always order the turkey/swiss w/o turkey. She ordered the same, but w/no onions and reg. mustard not spicy mustard. Today we made a new crock-pot soup that called for chicken stock, but I used vegetable stock (she protested the chicken stock), but she's learning how to modify foods to fit a vegetarian lifestyle. She seems pretty determined this time to stick it out, so we'll see. I've ordered a couple of books, however, on raising a vegetarian child, to make sure she is getting what she needs.

Yesterday, we went to the Discovery Center. I tried to get there early (9:30am) to beat the Spring Break crowd to no avail. 2 bus loads kids werer there! We still enjoyed it. There is a room for 5 and under, so we went there first. There was a really neat spot with magnetic gears and info. about them. So neat. Of course, that is what Jack loves! So we learned about gear ratios and how it takes some kind of energy (human, electricity, wind, water, etc) to move the gears. When we got home, he got out his bike and figured out the gear ratio.
They also had a demonstration on sound which was neat because we learned about the hear/sound last year! They really enjoyed that and even participated in making some music with different lengths of pipe. We re-learned all about vibrations/sound.
Jack is also into the human body, and they had a real human skeleton and a real human brain on display. He thought that was pretty neat! We stayed over 2 hours, but had to leave at noon b/c we were already passed Charline's nap time, plus it was lunch-time. We missed two big areas, so we're excited to back sooner than later. I got 'season' passes last year, but didn't use them that much, but I think we'll use them more now. Charline did great, so I'm not worried about her either, except that we have to work around nap/meal times.

I also just ordered Season Passes to Silver Dollar City and White Water for this year, so hopefully we'll use those a lot too. I'm slightly nervous about taking all 3 by myself, but I think it will be fine. Charline loves her stroller, but also like to walk, so that is nice.

Charline is 100% walking now. I was always concerned that it would be harder to keep track of her, but actually it has made things easier. She's more independent which she likes, actually. She's not quite as clingy and is free to explore most of the house. We have a gate at the top of the stairs and she just roams and explores. The only room that's not suited for her is the classroom, so I'll have to re-do that soon. We've moved school into the kitchen for now so she can explore the kitchen (tupperware, plastic plates, oven mitts) instead of getting into the classroom stuff while we're doing school. Plus, the kids' desks are low enough for her to grab their papers and bug the kids. It's working for now to have the kids at the kitchen table.

Anyway, gotta go.


Sunday, March 21, 2010


Where to begin??!!

It has been a long time since I've posted and a lot has happened.

Charline has been home 2 months today. She has grown and changed so much in that time, it is still astounding! When she came home she weighed 14lbs, was incredibly weak and could only sit up for about 30 seconds, then she would just fall over. Now, however, she is a normal 15month old, weighs 20lbs, and is full of energy and curiosity! She has been fully walking for about a week now which is beyond fun. She can sign for "more" and "please" which helps and she can say "up" (Uhh) which helps too. She likes to climb and do whatever big bro/sis do!

Taylor is still in her ballet class and taking piano lessons. For ballet, her teacher has asked her to help a younger class with their ballet performance. She is ecstatic. She goes to class 15 min. early now to learn their routine, then attends her class for 1hr 15min. to learn her routine. Her teacher said she would advance to Level 3 next year because she takes it seriously, she works hard and improves every week. We are so proud of her.
She is also excelling at piano. She is truly gifted and likes fast-paced music. So fun to listen to her play! She likes to see how fast she can play something, although I'll hear her teacher correct her often because she's supposed to play at a certain tempo :) She will have a piano recital in June, after her May ballet performance. It's a joy to watch her!!

Jack is still all boy. He loves to wrestle, climb, jump, and just be active. He still enjoys puzzles too! After playing baseball with Uncle Chris the other week, I learned, he's really good! He agreed to sign up for tee ball this spring.

Uncle Chris has been here 2 times since Charline has been home. We sure enjoy having him here. The kids love to play on his iPhone (I just have a boring Blackberry). This last time, he had to get his tire fixed and took both kids with him! They were only gone for 1 hour, but he said they talked him into buying them a candy bar and a pop (I even sent snacks with them!). So funny!

Friday (Mar 19) it was about 70 degrees, sunny and gorgeous. We played outside ALL day. Jack had zoo class from 1-3, so Taylor and Charline and I walked the zoo. It was packed, but still fun. We came home and played outside some more. It was soooo beautiful. It has been so dreary and cloudy that it was nice to enjoy the warmth and sun. Of course, that night it rained and by Sat. afternoon, it turned to sleet and by Sun. morning (today) it accumulated and is rainy/sleety/snowy and windy. Ugh. We are enjoying our time as a family though. Nate and Jack just put together 5 floor puzzles!

Yesterday, Nate took the kids to Orchelins (farm supply store) and bought the kids a duck and a chicken. I rallied for at least 1 chicken to have the potential for raising our own eggs. The kids love their new animals. We've had to set some rules, however, such as they can only get them out when we know about it. The duck is hilarious because it follows Taylor everywhere. She has to stay on the wood floor though (another rule). We don't let them run around the house, they do have a nice, comfy cage with a nice heat lamp, but occassionally, Taylor will let the duck follow her.

Nathan tilled a garden a couple of days ago, so hopefully we will have some type of garden this year. We usually don't have a garden because we are gone so much--at least 4 weeks at a time for vacation, but this year, we're not going anywhere. Wait, I need to clarify....the kids are I are not going anywhere :) Nathan will go photograph Tiger Sharks in April in the Carribean on a live-aboard for a week. Then he'll go to Alaska in July for 2-3 weeks for Salmon Sharks again. Normally, we'd go, but not now. St. Louis Doctor didn't think it was wise to take Charline to Florida in April (to Disney World after Nathan got back) beacause she has been so sick. The doc. didn't want to risk her getting sick and compromising her healing body. Alasksa--who wants to take a 1 year old on a 12 hour trip (that includes 2-3 flights, one of which is 5-6hours)???? Anyhow, we'll stay home for those, but will try and go on a 2-weeker in Sept. somewhere close (when all other kids are in school!!).

Well, my free time is up. Charline is napping, but the fam is hungry. Always busy. I'll try to keep updates more frequently, but it's hard.

I didn't mention school, it's going great. Kids are learning a lot and having fun doing it (most of the time!)


Thursday, February 4, 2010

Charline is Home -- Sun 1/31

Sunday 1/31: We all went to church. I figured that since Charline still doesn't do that much, might as well go to church! Of course, she did great. She just let us hold her the whole time and didn't make a peep--except for her cough. And she didn't have a blow-out at church--yeah! Everyone at church had been keeping up with her situation and been praying for her, so it was nice for them to see her, they all loved it.

We had put together her stroller yesterday, so we brought that along and went to the mall to walk around to see how she likes riding in a stroller.

So far, she hasn't squawked about anything...the cold weather, being bundles up, wearing 3Xs the amount of clothes she's used to, the car-seat, car rides, hats, gloves, carpet, the crib (the dog she had a few issues with, but that's improving).

Anyhow, we arrived the mall way before anything opened (even Starbucks), so we walked and walked. She didn't mind at all! We finally went to eat at a new Mongolian restaurant in the mall, her FIRST time at a restaurant in America! I tried to give her her water out of a sippy cup, but that doesn't work. She likes water straight out of a regular cup or glass. She ate a few of her snacks, then I gave her some noodles all chopped up. She LOVED them! Then she had a blow-out. So after a change of clothes, she finished her lunch and we went to the store Sephora to get her some products that will be good for her hair and skin. It was a great trip.

--Once again, have to go, Charline just woke up--

Charline's Home--Thu 1/28 - Sat.1/30

Thu 1/28: We ventured out today to Taylor's Ballet class. Charline did great. She is still pretty inactive, so to take her anywhere is easy. As long as I'm holding her, she's perfectly content!

The kids absolutely LOVE Charline. They try and try to play with her. Taylor loves to pick her up and hold her. She will also play the piano for her and the first couple of days, it would put Ch. right to sleep on the living room floor. It was so precious. Jack loves to play with her and try to get her to interact. Their game is...Charline drops it (any object) and Jack picks it up. She loves that game with her big brother!

Today, she seems a little more alert, more curious. She also smiled a little today--at the kids!

After Ballet, I went to a children's 2nd hand store and got a 'sling' and a wipes warmer. She cries and cries b/c the wipes are so cold (she doesn't cry anymore--money well spent!) She also likes her new sling. It keeps her nice and snuggled in to me, so I can have 2 arms free! Works great for school-time too!

When Nathan comes home, the new trend is after supper, we get Charline ready for bed and Nathan holds her. He lays in the easy chair and she rests on him. She usually falls asleep like this. Nathan loves holding his new daughter and Ch. loves being snuggled in with her Daddy!

Fri 1/29
Charline tends to wake up about 1x/night hungry, so I get up and feed her and she usually goes right back to sleep. This morning, she was super tired, so by 9am, Jack is so anxious for her to get up, he HAS to check on her. Well, that woke her up. It was just so cute he was so ready for her to be up for the day. The kids absolutely love her!!!

Today, it snowed 6-8 inches, so we stayed in all day!!

Sat. 1/30
Our little newspaper (The Republic Monitor) gal came out to do an update on our situation now that Charline is home. She even took a couple of pictures, so we have our first family photo!! Charline even let her hold her. It was neat!

Nathan took Taylor and Jack to see the movie "Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs" then out to Steak and Shake for supper. They had a great time and said the movie was hilarious!

Charline continues to have stomach "issues" and I can't get it figured out. I've tried bananas, rice, applesauce and nothing seems to "bind". We'll keep trying.

--I'll write more later, time to get the fam up and going--

Charline's Home--Sun 1/24 - Wed 1/27

Sun. 1/24: Aaron, Charity, Elijah, Ayden and Evan came with us to the airport to greet Nathan and Charline. A couple of couples came up wondering if she was from Haiti, they were so happy for us. We hadn't told any reporters she was coming home, we wanted a simple, family reunion. I was so glad Aaron's were there with us, it was such a sweet time!

That night the kids all wanted to sleep in our bed with Charline and I (Nathan needed sleep bad, so he slept elsewhere). Taylor, Charline and I all slept together, Jack was too wound up to lay down, so he slept downstairs with Daddy. Charline awoke in the night b/c of a major blow-out. The first of SEVERAL. I had to change all of my bedding and throw in in the washer on the sanitary cycle. Taylor was up with me the whole time--she was so excited to have her sister home.

Mon. 1/25: Nathan stayed home from work still trying to catch up on sleep.
(Fri. we don't get the call til late, I'm at Wal-Mart about midnight getting diapers, etc. to send with Nate, so he only gets about 3 hours sleep. Sat. He's at the airport by 4:30am, in FL before Noon and waits all day, gets a call at 9pm that he and the other families are to drive 3 hours to get the kids, he returns to the hotel about 5am on Sunday. Naps a couple of hours, then flies all day home...very little sleep in about 48 hours).
Charline didn't do much but rest/sleep and eat a little. The kids tried to play with her, but she just didn't have the energy to do anything but lay there and have major blow outs!!

One fun surprise today was a bouquet of flowers! My friend from Alaska was so nice and sent over flowers and they are so beautiful and fragrant!!

Aaron stopped by to get a picture quick and Nathan tried to hand her over and she screamed. Not sure what she was thinking--being handed off AGAIN, but she wasn't having any of it!

Tue 1/26: Jack went to work with Nathan while I took the girls (girls...isn't that great!!!) to the doctor for Ch's first check-up.
Weight: 14.14 lb (normal for 13mo.old is 20-21 lb)
Height: 28.5" (I measured her in Haiti in June and she was 26")

She tested negative for TB and her Iron levels were much better (in the normal range) than when she was tested in Haiti! Yeah!
Even though she has a terrible cough (has had it since June at least), her lungs are clear.
Her ears are good, but she has had an infection that cleared on it's own (we'll monitor that)

After 2.5 hours, we grabbed some Arby's and came home. 30 minutes later, the dishwasher installer showed up, yeah! Taylor loves helping with Ch.! She gave her some of her curly fries and roast beef and Ch. loved it!! She was shoveling it in (she needs calories, right??) when Nathan called saying Jack was throwing up everywhere. We loaded up and went and got Jack. Poor guy was having a terrible time with this issue! We went inside for just a minute and Ch. let Marla hold her!! I was surprised, but it was so great! We only stayed a couple of minutes, then headed home...Jack stayed downstairs and watched cartoons b/c I didn't want Ch. or the rest of us getting whatever she had. If Ch. lost any more weight, she'd have to go in the hospital.

Jack dry heaved the rest of the day, but was able to keep down 1 tsp. at a time of Gatorade later that night. Yeah!

Wed. 1/27: Jack woke with a 100.2 fever, but remained fever-free the rest of the day and no more vomitting or dry heaving! He felt hungry, but i stuck to the BRAT diet quite strictly. It worked. He got better and nobody else got what he had!

Charline continues at this point to be pretty lethargic. She eats sometimes, not always. Likes a bottle sometimes, not always. And no matter what she eats, it all comes back out.... I am so worried she's not going to gain weight. Sometimes all the formula comes back out in formula form, what do I do??

CRIBShe likes her crib and after the first couple of nights, she is sleeping in her crib now. For a little while, she would start off in her crib, but wake up at night and wouldn't go back to sleep unless she was sleeping in our bed, usually on top of she can hear the heartbeat? It puts her to sleep everytime.

NAPS: She tends to take 2 naps/day, which is nice. I am able to get some school done and keep up with the laundry, although that's a daunting task because I've never had to wash so many sheets/clothes, plus wash them on the sanitary cycle which takes 2 hours each load!

Charline's Name

We have been spelling Charline's name "Charlene" for this entire time. I believe it's because when we got the referral from our U.S. agency, that is how it was spelled. However, in going through this process during the last month, we have realized that all of her official/adoption documents have it spelled Charline.

When we visited the doctor 2 days after she was home, they said it needed to be spelled the same as all of her official documents. I'm assuming it will have to be that way for Insurance and many other documents we'll have to fill out in the future, so we are now spelling it Charline, as it was originally spelled in Haiti to make everything so much simpler and to make sure no paperwork gets thrown out because of a typo.

I know the Haitian government will throw out/have you re-do paperwork for a simple typo, and I know we're not dealing with the Haitian government anymore, I don't want to take any chances with our government!



Charline has been home about 10 days now. I should've been reporting each day, but a) she needs held constantly, so it's hard to get computer time and it's hard to type so much with just one hand. And b) she wasn't doing anything for so many days. She was completely lethargic, wouldn't even lift her head off of my shoulder. Would barely eat, could only sit up for a few seconds, maybe a minute, then fall over. She had been so dehydrates and malnourished, she just didn't have the strength to do anything but sleep and poop, and cry when she wasn't being held.

We were terribly worried, but knowing a few things and knowing what she had been through especially the last 10 days before coming home, we knew she needed time to adjust to her surroundings and her body needed time to adjust to a new environment, new water, new food, etc.

She came home on Sunday 1/24. I called Nathan while he was in Florida, because I was looking at the calendar of when we found out about her.

March 22, 2009 we got an informal referral (meaning someone at the orphanage was so excited to tell us there was a baby girl for us)
March 23, 2009: Our agency gave us the formal referral for Charline.

EXACTLY10 months later...

Jan.22: We get a call from the State Dept. informing us Charline has the clearance to leave Haiti and come home.
Jan. 23, 2010: Nathan is reunited with our daughter forever.

God is good.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

SUN. 1/24: CHARLENE is almost home!

FRI. 1/22 started off as any other day. I took the kids to lunch, then Jack to zoo class and while he was at zoo class, Taylor and I participated in a Field Trip to "Kids Against Hunger" to donate items and learn how this organization is feeding the hungry in Haiti, Mexico and Africa.

We came home and decided to go out to eat for supper. Nathan and I made a pact not to check email until 7pm. We were told we'd get an email from Barbara if Charlene had gotten a Visa, so I put my phone on vibrate, then he stuck both phones in his inside coat pocket.

Well, we never heard my phone, heard Nate's phone, but didn't answer in time b/c it was hard to get to. I checked the phone # via White pages and it was from Westchester, D.C. I thought that was strange, but they didn't leave a message and I said if it was important they'd leave a msg.

We ate and got back in the van. This time we were going to have the phones ready. Well, my phone was ready, but it was Nate's that rang. Again, we missed the call, again from D.C. We had also missed a call from SecureNet about the alarm at the shop (not an uncommon call), so I wasn't too worried. However, we had missed 2 or 3 calls at home as well and this is the message we had on our home phone..

"This is (___) from The Department of State Adoption Task Force regarding Charlene. Please give us a call back." WHOA. Maybe that call was important :)

We finally got a hold of them and they said Charlene had been issued a Humanitarian Parole, they would call us back when they had the manifest stating which plane she'd be on. WHOA.
At this point, Nathan is calling Barbara wondering what is going on.

While we were waiting for the State Dept. to call back, I ran to Wal-Mart to send money to a friend who lives ini PAP and has helped with our adoption, but who is currently in the Dominican Republic buying supplies, then driving them back to PaP to help people who don't have food. I get a frantic call from Nathan telling me I need to come home NOW.

We learn that Charlene will be on a plane to Florida the next day (Sat. 1/23) and Nathan needs to get to Orlando ASAP. So, I got him a ticket for Sat. at 5:50am, he was in Orlando by 11:30am Saturday morning...(about 12 hours after word from the State Dept.)

He patiently waited at his hotel all day. We were told this is what would happen:
Barbara and the kids in their private plane would fly to West Palm Beach, FL.
They would clear customs there, get back on the plane and fly 1 hour North to Melbourne, FL (that's where the pilot's hangar is).
Then they would get in a Limo (another nice man wanted these orphans to arrive in style and donated his limo!) and drive to Orlando and meet Nathan and the other waiting families at the hotel.

That's not what happened. Nathan gets a call about 8:45pm (FL time) saying the kids are stuck in Customs and the families need to West Palm Beach NOW. So, I rented them a 15 passenger van (that's a God most car rental places have that on hand??) and they all drove 3 hours to West Palm Beach. Customs usually closes at 10pm, but the Customs officials stayed there until 1am to process these kids--Awesome. If they hadn't been able to get there, Charlene and the others would've been placed in custody of someone overnight-ugh. Another God-thing!!

Nathan called at 11:50pm (12:50am FL time) to say Charlene had cleared customs and she was in her Daddy's arms! Praise God! They were still waiting on 2 other families to clear customs, then they were going to drive the 3 hours back to Orlando. He said Charlene fussed about the carseat, but quieted down when the van started moving!

Apparently there were 2 couples and 3 dads and if I or anyone else had gone, there wouldn't have been enough room in the van. A God-thing!

Nathan called a few times throughout the night reporting on Charlene. It was absolute music to my ears. He says she's taking it all in. They rode a glass elevator to the 6th floor to their room and she just looked and looked.

Can you imagine for a moment? She just left her devastated homeland with sights/sounds/smells that are probably unimaginable to us, then a few hour later, she's in America, in a 5star hotel with completely different sights/sounds/smells/air temperature.

They will fly into Springfield tonight (Sun 1/24) and I can't wait to see them (less than 48 hours after "the" phone call!). I have a full day planned (Church, Shopping--I still don't have anything for Charlene- and Groceries) so maybe the day will go fast before we have to go to the airport. I'm so excited to have her here finally and be a complete family.

For us, the wait is over. For many others, many of our friends, it's not. Please pray for them, that their kids get out quickly and that their kids remain healthy through all of this!

Thank you Barbara for working so darn hard to get these kids their needed paperwork! And thank you to the U.S. Government and all of the Senators who pushed hard to make this happen! And thank you, God, for being a rock and letting something good come out of this devastating tragedy!


BLOGS I've read to keep up-to-date on Charlene's orphanage: (he's awesome and his updates are awesome) (Barb's site. Daily updates on the left) (1 of 2 American nannies at the orphanage. Her Dad is currently visiting there and her Mom will post if she hears from Lacey)

Prayers have been answered and in God's perfect timing and perfect way.

Overview of the past week

This past week was spent waiting, basically. The Senator's office has been so good about calling with any updates the State Department has come up with!

The Senator's office did call on Monday? saying that the State Dept. is going to issue "Humanitarian Parole" to the orphans to get them to the States. She then said they needed to gather them up at a 'safe place' in PAP, issue the parole, put them on a plane to NY. I am ecstatic the gov't is working so hard and so fast to get our babies home, but that plan made me nervous. I kept praying that Barb would get her a Visa and escort Charlene to the US via her private plane. Now...Barbara does not have a private plane, a businessman from Florida is graciously donating his plane and fuel to be able to bring supplies to Haiti and our babies home. Unbelievable!!

We went to a prayer meeting Wed. night to pray specifically for Haiti. Those wonderful people prayed for Haiti, the Haitians and even specifically for Charlene and our family. It was amazing.

I should've been journaling each day, but as I look back, it seems all I did was wait. Wait for the email saying Charlene was coming home. Wait for a phone call for any possible updates.
This is by far the hardest thing I've ever gone through, but I think that and I instantly think of Charlene's situation.

She has survived a deadly earthquake that has killed her neighbors hundreds of thousands of people. She is unprotected from looters, etc. She is sleeping and eating outside on the gravel/dirt with 70 other people crammed in a tiny area. Does she have enough food?? Does she have clean drinking water?? Does she have formula so her body has proper nutrients?? Is she able to have clean diapers when needed??

She is 13mo. old and has endured more in the lat 11 days than most of us will ever endure in our entire lives.

I thank God for sparing her life. I thank God for the caregivers He has placed at the orphanage to care for her and the other precious babies/kids. I thank God for Barbara who will stop at nothing to legally get these kids to safety (USA). I thank God for the Senators and US government who have worked tirelessly to bring these beautiful Haitian children home quickly.
I thank God for everyone who has prayed for Haiti, prayed for the people there, prayed for our family, our situation and especially for Charlene. I thank God for everyone who has donated, either to Haiti relief or directly to Charlene's orphanage. Every penny counts and is much needed.

I will never be able to thank everyone for their prayers, donations and support, but know I am beyond grateful for it all!

I will post more later.


Saturday, January 16, 2010


It's Saturday, I will report what happened on Fri 1/15.

We were on the phone/email and Facebook all day. I contacted Congressman Roy Blunt's office and I thought she said there was nothing they could do since we were already in contact with Senator Kit Bond's office, but I was mistaken. She (Sue Ellen) called later in the day to report that they were working together to "get around the red tape". They had sent all of our information to the Consulate and to their congressional liason in D.C. Liz from Senator Bond's office called later to report that she was talking with someone (a real person) from the State Dept., but also told us that we need to wait. My Mom has also been doing the same thing we have, only with her government officials in Iowa. She's written letter after letter, made phone calls and I think she's at where we're at. Wait to hear from the State Dept.....

The State Dept. works during the day and has their meetings at night about what to do and what to do with these children. Sen. Bond's office said we may get a phone call Sat. morning about what was determined/talked about at the meeting last night. Even though it's a 3-day weekend for most gov't offices, the State Dept. is working around the clock and Sue Ellen (Congr. Blunt's ofc) and Liz (Sen. Bond's ofc) will have their cell phones on in case they hear from the State Dept. and will contact us immediately.

Facebook has been a God-send. It is has allowed all of us adoptive families stay in contact. I have gotten to know the other families that are adopting from the village where Charlene is before this, so it's been great to stay in contact with each other and keep each other posted on whatever we find out.

I called Charlene's orphanage Fri. afternoon and talked to a really nice man. He and a friend flew down on a private plane. He told me of all of the repairs he has been able to do. He said batteries were thrown about in the earthquake, so he got them back to working again, so they have some power. They were able to have a good meal Thu. evening and share with others outside the Village. That's the thing about Barbara, she will ALWAYS share with others in need, even if SHE's in need. The babies are still staying/sleeping outside because they continue to have tremors which make it terribly unsafe to be in the concrete buildings that now have cracks and are unstable. I was so thankful that he was there repairing what he could! He didn't have any info. on the babies, as he's not concentrating on them. He said they plan to fly out Sat. morning to take 2 or 3 kids to FL for medical treatment.

Nathan talked to Barbara last night and she gave us a supply list a little different from the list Lori gave me the other day, so that is helpful. She really didn't say anything new, all kids seem to still be okay, but they have to get them out. We (all adoptive families) have to be diligent in getting our government to issue these visas to these kids that have already been adopted in Haiti. I have (adoptive) friends who have done interviews with their TV stations, NPR, newspapers to get the word out, hopefully all of this media attention about these children will help the gov't find a way to bring our babies home.

Saying that...Charlene is legally our daughter. Haiti approved/finalized the adoption by the time we visited Charlene last Oct. It was just a matter of 'legalizing' the documents, then getting her a passport and visa, so THANK GOD she was that far along in the process!!!

Nathan and my Dad have plane tickets for the first flight to Haiti on the 21st. I am to contact American Airlines each day to make sure they haven't cancelled the 21st flight. I am absolutely terrified of Dad and Nate going down, but I also will feel better with them there with Charlene. They will be able to help at the Village for a few days before returning home hopefully with Charlene!

I don't really know what else to 'report'. I can say that the outpouring of prayers, love, support, help from SO MANY people blows me away. There is no possible way to thank everyone enough for all of this awesome support.

I will keep posting as I know more.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Latest from State Dept.

I was told to pass this case any adoptive families are reading this, but not on FB.

U.S. citizens with pending adoption cases in Haiti are requested to contact the Department of State at for information about their adoption case. In your inquiry, please include: full name and contact information of parents, full name(s) of child(ren), date(s) of birth of child(ren) [if known], and the name and contact information of orphanage. Your constituents can find additional information about adoptions in Haiti at

We are trying desperately to get Charlene home on an emergency Visa. Nathan is scheduled to fly down Jan. 21st (leave 20th, arrive 21st). He will take 5 bags of supplies and hopefully, prayerfully be able to bring Charlene home with him.

Mom and Dad and Nathan and I will be working all day today to get a Congressman or Senator can get us an appointment at the US Consulate in Haiti so Charlene can get a Visa and get out. That is her only hope.

We actually talked to Barbara last night and she couldn't stress enough what a dangerous situation the kids are in at the Village. They continue to have aftershocks which continue to leave even more cracks in the concrete buildings that are somehow still standing. The could collapse at any time. Plus, disease/illness will start to set in. To be honest, lives will be lost if these babies don't get out.

Please pray, I can't stress that enough. The State Dept. seems to be on the side of getting these kids out, I just pray we can get Charlene out week.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

more news

Our paperwork is currently in MOI (Ministry of Interior). After MOI, it moves to the Immigration office so Charlene can get a passport. After the passport, the paperwork moves to the Visa building where she would be issued a Visa to be able to come home.

I just learned that the MOI and Immigration buildings have collapsed. Our fears have been confirmed that our paperwork is most likely lost/buried in rubble. (The Visa bldg is ok, I believe)

I know Barbara is an excellent keeper of paperwork, so I pray that all papers can be re-created and continue on in the process.

There is only one operational gas station in PAP at this time and all grocery stores have doubled the price of their food. This is going to make for some very dangerous situations as people are desperate.

Please continue to pray for Haiti and for Charlene and for her Village and nannies.

Donations for Charlene's Village

I'm re-posting this. I just talked to Lori and she made it clear that any money she receives goes into the bank that same day and Barbara will have instant access in Haiti. Lori makes copies of all checks received and keeps all receipts from the bank and gives them to Barbara when they meet.

If you would like to help, please send your checks to:

Lori Shepler

11188 Giddings Place

Noblesville, IN 46060

I have also learned that the grocery stores have doubled the price of their groceries, because they can, so Barbara really needs all the financial help she can get.

Thank you in advance for helping our daughter's orphanage be able to get through this terrible tragedy!
Minister of Foreign Affairs (2-8wks) DONE
Preparation of file for IBESR (2-8wks) DONE
IBESR (3-12MO) ENTERED JUNE 2009 (wile I was in Haiti!) EXITED 9/29/09
Civil Court (4-8wks) -- OCT. '09 -
Legalization (4-12wks) -- DEC. 09
Minister of Interior (3-6MO) ENTERED DEC 21, '09
Immigration/Passport printing (2-8wks)
USCIS (3wks+)
Visa Process (1-2wks)

= 10.5mo – 29mo TOTAL

Pictures of Charlene's Orphanage after the Earthquake


This is where Charlene lives


This is Charlene's kitchen


One of the bedrooms--minus the wall


The new playground that a mission group put together--minus the protective wall


More playground equipment. Taylor played on these. Notice the protective wall COMPLETELY gone


The kitchen


This WAS a building, I'm assuming the food depot.


Sleeping outside...

During this terrible tragedy, what can I be thankful for?

1. God is in control--even when I don't like it or understand it-AT ALL

2. The many, many, many prayers/support from family and friends and people I don't even know.

3. Charlene is alive!!!

4. All babies/nannies are alive

5. There are 2 nurses visiting the Village during all of this

6. The Village was damaged, but not demolished.

7. If anyone is going to get anything accomplished, it's BARBARA!

8. I've had contact through Facebook to keep fairly up-to-date on information

Please continue to pray...this is just beginning. The orphanage will run out of food very soon, they need that wall rebuilt for protection, they need diesel for their generator and our babies need to COME HOME. Please pray for safety, peace and wisdom for all involved.

Thank you!

Donations for Charlene's Village

If you would like to help Charlene's Village, here is some information that was posted on FB.

From Lori: just heard the needs for barbara are: food depot collapsed in the night, so they've no food, no diesel fuel, their surrounding wall [for protection] has completely collapsed, masonry work's needed, etc. - please read comments [below] for how we can all help..

  • Lori Goen-Shepler mailing $ to me so i can deposit it into barbara's bank account, so she can draw from it in haiti - mail to:

    lori shepler

    11188 giddings place

    noblesville, IN 46060...

Thank you in advance for any help you can give!

Please continue to pray.


Barbara: she started this orphanage several years ago and still runs it. She always wears a blue dress.
"Village": The name of Charlene's orphanage is Ruuska Village, so sometimes I refer to it as the village, sometimes orphanage
"Creche": Another orphanage down the road from the Village. Mostly for toddlers.
LaWanna: She is not mentioned in these articles, but she is Charlene's nanny. She is from Indiana and has taken wonderful care of our daughter.
Lacey: A nanny who started taking care of babies a few months ago ago at the village. She is mentioned in the 2nd article.

It's 6am and I haven't heard anything. A FB friend said she was going to call Barbara last night at 5pm and post any news. That didn't happen. I'm sure communications is near impossible. We'll continue to wait for more news.

Kelli Hewitt (Lacey's Mom) posted an email from Lacey (written 1/13)..
Uffff, It is crazy here today. We didn't get any sleep last night. Now we are sending emails... the babies are still outside. Upstairs is too big of a mess but we really need to get it cleaned.. all our diesel cans were stolen.. Barbara says the LOOTING has started. Everyone's homes have collapsed, we don't have enough shelter here either. The nurses, Carol and Mandy, are busy putting stitches in kids' faces, doctoring head injuries, and burns...etc.

Please continue to pray.....

Love, Lacey

A friend posted these news articles she found. They mention our daughter's orphanage. The first one is about a nurse visiting her orphanage, who Lacey mentions in her above email.

There are still lots of adoptive families that don't know if their kids are alive or not and there are adoptive families that have learned the horrible truth that their kids did not survive this earthquake. I am so thankful that Charlene and all babies/nannies were unhurt in this tragedy! I ask for continued prayers for the families who aren't so fortunate.

I'll post more as I know more.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Haiti Earthquake 1-12-10

a 7.0 earthquake hit Port-au-Prince yesterday (1/12) about 5pm. Via facebook (the only form of communication it seems) we learned that all kids/nannies at the village were okay.

1/13: Today, we've learned that all kids still seem to be okay, HOWEVER, the food depot (the building that stored all food) collapsed during the night. Also, the wall that protects the village has also collapsed. They have no food, and no diesel (for the generator). Without diesel, they may not be able to run the water filtration system. Without the wall, the women and children there are extremely vulerable.

The news reporterss say over 30 "aftershocks" have happened since the 7.0. I have a FB friend in Haiti now visiting her son and she said they had aftershocks all night with 2 'big ones' at midnight and 3am.

We are thankful that, as far as we know, Charlene and all kids/nannies are okay. We are concerened about their safety, about the food shortage and clean water. Another concern is that everyone remains healthy though this, as all hospitals have either collapsed or have significan damage.

Another concern is our paperwork. We were in the last stage before our paperwork was to be looked over by the U.S. gov't for Charlene's visa and passport. I don't know what will happen now, but will update if I know anything.

I am asking for prayers for safety for Charlene and all babies/nannies at the village. That they have enough food and clean water and that they all remain healthy. Also, for our paperwork to somehow continue on in this process. I also ask for prayers for Charlene's Mom. We knew her whereabouts before this, but I don't know now. I pray that she is okay.

I'll post updates as I know of them.