For 10 straight days an extremely large group of people succeeded in having Haiti on an entire lock down. By this I mean we did not leave our homes. Vehicles did not move, banks and government offices did not open, markets stayed shut down, and schools remained closed. I have already heard it being called “Operation Lock Down”. Today would have been day 13 but the last couple of days there has been a break. There are still small protests in various areas but we are starting to see Haiti function again. Schools tried to reopen today but parents and students are too scared to send their kids yet. We don’t know what tomorrow will bring. Our hope is that there will be peace for some time but we know it isn’t over. The goal was to remove the current president and he remains in his place and has told the people he will not be stepping down.
Now that it feels like we can breathe a little, there are so many things going through my mind. Most of you reading this know we are in the process of adopting Ezekyal who is a 9 month old Haitian baby who has been living with us since October 18. We are his legal guardians here in Haiti but have not adopted him yet. We were, by a miracle, able to obtain a travel Visa for him to travel to the States with us this past October. It was a 3 month Visa and we returned to Haiti with him on January 20 at that point knowing we would reapply when we were ready to leave the country again. As soon as he entered back into Haiti, he could no longer legally enter the United States without a renewed Visa. We set an appointment for March 7 and began praying that God would grant us favor again and we would receive another Visa with plans to most likely travel back to the States before summer. We had no idea what was coming on February 7. When Ezekyal was born (to read more about that story click here) and Matt and I were praying through and talking through what we felt like God was asking us to do in regards to his precious life, we knew that if we made the decision to make him ours that was that-we were all in. If he got a Visa, great, we would travel with him and if not we would not leave Haiti without him. As of October 18, when he began living with us, he was ours. There was no turning back. That became very real these last 2 weeks. This past Saturday, I sat here in what Sophie affectionately calls our “Haiti Home” with Sophie, Elijah, and Ezekyal napping, the older boys playing Xbox, and the younger kids watching a movie and counted as helicopter after helicopter flew over our house presumably evacuating the Americans in the country. Matt and I would look at each other each time and total our count. I think by 1pm we had gotten to 12 helicopters. It was an extremely eerie feeling. Throughout all of this, my biggest fears have been running out of supplies and being targets for people who become desperate. Because of these fears, I would have liked nothing more than to put my family on one of those helicopters and get my children out of Haiti. If it were just Matt and I, it’s a no brainer….we stay. With a 3, 2, and 9 month old, it’s a scary position to be in. However, we did not have that option and that is clearly not what God had in store for us over these last 13 days.
I do not believe this is over. The Haitian people are tired of being tired. They’re tired of corruption, hunger, joblessness, and having to fight for everything they ever need. I am not sure what the future holds here for Haiti but I know God called the Bush family (including our beautiful Ezekyal) to be here in Haiti during this difficult time. There will be more updates to come about how the kids are (100 percent fine), how amazing our employees have been, and just generally what is going on here in Haiti. I did not actually sit down to write this blog. It was supposed to be about our employees but this is where God led. Thank you to everyone who has prayed for us and checked on us. We are ok. Keep praying for Haiti this place we love. One of my favorite quotes I’ve ever read about Haiti is from a book called “The Big Truck That Went By” and says, “to love Haiti is to come away bruised; that loving Haiti is to love something that may not even love itself, but that it’s still love after all.” This is how we love Haiti.