One of the things that a lot of people ask us is how All Things New operates while we are in America. This is a very valid question especially since so many things have kept us stateside recently. We will always have fundraising responsibilities and because of that we will always spend some time in America each year. As you probably know, however, our recent move to rental properties was expensive and forced us to do extra fundraising this year and waiting to complete Sophie’s adoption and subsequent paperwork took almost 6 months. Because of these 2 things we will have spent almost the same amount of time in Haiti and America this year and this will (as far as our plans go) not be the norm. While we will hopefully be able to get back to our normal schedule soon (an upcoming announcement may hinder this a little) this question gives us a chance to brag on our employees, talk about the progress ATN has made over the past few years, and let each of you know that our kids are good even when we are not there!
While we are in America, our employees take care of our children and ministry and they do a wonderful job. We have it set up with our employees where there is a clear hierarchy with 2 clear leaders, Gina and Lener. Gina is our house mom manager, but she is a lot more than that and especially while we are gone. We run many decisions by her, we trust her completely, and she is a very very intelligent and capable manager. While we are gone she can communicate any issues/problems that arise but she oftentimes handles them herself and just tells us about them later. Lener is our driver/orphanage assistant/do-all kind of employee and he has been with us for a very long time. He worked his way into a job by making himself so valuable in small roles that we pretty much had to hire him full time, and the more he works for us the more valuable he becomes. He also has direct communication with us while we are here and he keeps us apprised of everything that happens outside of taking care of the kids. He is also learning English and it is fun to see his progress. Because of Gina and Lener we are connected with our kids and our employees and we hear all of the news in Haiti and everything that happens to our kids!
Besides Gina and Lener, the rest of our employees are wonderful while we are here in America. Our House Moms know what is expected of them and they perform their job each and every day. They know the schedule, know our children, and they love them and treat them like their own. The very fact that we could be in America for over a month at a time is a true testament to their ability to take care of our children even better than we could. They are truly a blessing to ATN and if they were not good at their jobs we could not have been here in America. I cannot express how great these women (and Jeff) are and how much they love our children.
We also have Marjorie, Gisele, our tutors, and our security guards who continue to perform at their jobs and continue to take care of our kids and keep them safe. We have changed Gisele’s job 4 times now and she just continues to perform admirably well no matter what we throw at her. Marjorie was our first employee and followed us from place to place. She has worked for us in the worst of times (while we were with Audancin) and in the best of times (now) and she has never complained! In fact, she constantly cooks for us, worries about us, and does extra things to take care of us just because she is a good and kind person and a friend. I can describe our tutors in one short sentiment… “All of our kids passed last year!” I could say more, but I don’t think I need to. And finally our security guards continue to keep people out, watch over our possessions, and make sure our kids are and my family are safe even while we are away. We know and trust each one of our guards and they have not disappointed us yet.
The bottom line is, and I would not say this if I believed in jinxes, All Things New is running like a well-oiled machine. Are we better when Jess, Sophie, and I are in Haiti? Yes. Do our kids need us down there because we are their constant and they know that we love them and care about them? Yes. Are there difficult things, do our kids misbehave, and do we make mistakes? Absolutely. But GOD has built an incredible ministry to these children and our employees are a huge part of this. When we leave Haiti, we are sad and we miss our kids, but we also know that they are loved and taken care of extremely well even without us, and that is how All Things New operates when we come to the states for fundraising, vacation, or adoption!