The four of us returned from our first month in Haiti Sunday evening. It’s always been hard coming back but that is magnified now with 2 babies. Matt and I both still deal with some culture shock and feelings of not knowing how to comprehend these 2 different worlds we are a part of. And, make no mistake, they are 2 very different worlds (Haiti and America). Having a 22 month old and a 7 month old however, very much changes how we decompress. Instead of catching up on sleep, binging on a TV show we have missed, and getting good takeout, the babies’ needs obviously come first and so the chance to process what we have just been through and dealt with in Haiti gets pushed to the back burner.
And so the last couple of days here in America have been spent doing laundry, watching Sophie enjoy her toys she missed, getting groceries (always an exciting thing after time in Haiti), watching Elijah make some forward motions to start crawling, all the while missing Haiti and the kids and worrying that there is an extreme amount of political unrest there right now and another potential hurricane on the way.
One of Sophie’s favorite things to do is go for a walk after dinner. We go walking most evenings in both America and in Haiti. As I sat down with her last night to put her shoes on for our evening walk, I saw the Haiti dirt on them and had to take a moment to think through all Sophie’s shoes have seen. Now these specific shoes she got right before we went to Haiti this last time so for the purposes of the rest of this blog, let’s assume metaphorical shoes.
I sat there and put her shoes on as she squealed in excitement (if you’ve been for a walk with us you know she LOVES getting her shoes on so much that she sometimes gets so excited she cries) and just thought wow…to have walked in Sophie’s shoes in her last 22 months of life would have been an amazing thing. Here’s what Sophie’s “shoes” have seen:
- They’ve been on 16 airplanes.
- They’ve gotten to know 25 Haitian brothers and sisters who love her like she’s their own and would give her anything of theirs (we have to stop them from giving her their toys) to make her happy.
- They’ve spent Christmas in Haiti! Christmas got to be about Christmas and not presents and shopping!
- At 15 months of life, a baby boy appeared in their house that did not grow in her mommy’s tummy but instead just showed up one day to change everything!
- They’ve heard endless knocks on the door of her parent’s house in Haiti of people asking for jobs, food, a place for their child to survive and other countless things.
- They’ve sat on her mom’s lap in an old truck that we hope has a little life left in it and bounced around the Haitian back roads to go play with the kids.
- They’ve gone on evening walks in Haiti surrounded by kids that love her, goats, cows, and chickens.
- They’ve waited with her mom anxiously while her dad was taken to Haitian court.
- They’ve prepared for not 1 but 2 hurricanes in Haiti!
- They’ve slept in 70 degree rooms and 90 degree rooms.
- They’ve fallen and gotten stitches on a rainy Sunday evening in Haiti.
- They’ve been loved by grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, friends, All Things New employees, and a baby brother who thinks she’s just about the funniest thing ever.
As this week has gone by, God has continued to remind me of the amazing life He has set out for Sophie and Elijah. I cannot imagine many 22 month old little girls who are loved as much as Sophie is and have experienced the things she has already. As a mother who takes her babies back and forth in these 2 worlds, I deal with a lot of fears and anxiety over the upheaval in their lives and the things that could happen to them. Then I have a moment like I did the other night where I see that Haitian dirt on Sophie’s shoes and can’t wait to get back there. Or I catch a whiff of the bug spray she wears day in and day out and want to be back in that country we love more than I can stand it. We lead amazing and adventurous lives and I am so happy that Sophie and Elijah will experience all that they will.