Friday, April 20, 2018

Home...

That’s right we are home!

We got home on Tuesday, April 10 to this amazing crew of support! 

It was a wonderful way to be loved on and cared for!


Two weeks ago today we picked up our sweet daughter from the orphanage to be an orphan no more. It’s almost surreal, no it really is surreal, when I take a few moments and realize we have actually reached this point of the journey.

The Fisher Five Forever

I did a really good decent job of documenting the first couple days for her, but there’s no way I could write it all out here. Just know it was amazing and crazy and a bit of a roller coaster and those first couple of days this mama was just worn out! That has really continued since coming home. Going back to the toddler years (which are even younger than her age) add in communication challenges, trauma, ALL the change, and then pretty much ALL the new things on top of it will surely wear anyone out! But it is SO WORTH IT!

I promised, and I want to keep that promise, to share some of our journey for those of you who have prayed and supported us along the way. I’ve been documenting lots of milestones through pictures on Instagram and Facebook so if you don’t follow me there, it would be a good step to do if you’d like to see the progression of this journey now that she is home. I really am going to try to do a better job of blogging at least for the first year but I can’t promise much because when I go back to work all bets are off. ;)

So, here we go....

The trip began on Thursday April 5th. It started off with a bang as we slept through my alarm and were awoken to a knocking on our door at 5:18am (18 minutes past our planned leaving time). For those of you who know how important it is for me to be on time, you can imagine the chaos that ensued. Alas, our dear friend Nick delivered us to the airport on time and we safely made it out of RDU on our 7:05 flight! The Lord then graced us with the opportunity to fortuitously meet another family adopting from the same orphanage as us waiting for the fight to Haiti (thanks Facebook!). We landed in Haiti around 1pm knowing we would pick up our visa at the Embassy on Friday and then be off to pick up Lonise forever! (FYI autocorrect always changes her name to Louise 😂). We knew that was our one final night to relax so of course it took 1 1/2 hours to get the room safe batteries changed before we could go out and about. It was a true Haiti experience (it involved lots of screw drivers when all that was needed was an allen wrench! HA). Our hotel was just what we needed, we had a true Haitian dinner and enjoyed the view of the lands. Check out these incredible houses in the mountain side!


Friday April 6th - Gotcha Day!

We were up bright and early for breakfast and our awesome driver was there precisely at 7:45! The plan was to head to the US Embassy to pick up her Visa and all our paperwork, stop for a few things at the grocery store and then head to the orphanage for a likely quick pick up/farewells and head back to the hotel for the remaining days! We arrived to the Embassy around 8:50 and it was oddly empty. They had told me they had a modified schedule that day but to come between 8:30 and 11 and we would be good! We hoped out of the car (no electronics allowed or I would have pictures) and headed up to the first security check point. The guard looked at me the following conversation ensued:

Guard: Why are you here?
Me: To pick up our daughters Visa.
Guard: Well we aren't really working today
Me: Smiling -  I am here to pick up our daughters Visa.
Guard: We aren't really working today, do you have an appointment?
Me: They said to come anytime between 8:30 and 11:00.
Guard: Reluctantly sent us through

Security Checkpoint # 2 (Different security guard):

Guard: Why are you here?
Me: To pick up our daughters Visa.
Guard: Well we aren't really working today
Me: Smiling -  I am here to pick up our daughters Visa.
Guard: We aren't really working today, do you have an appointment?
Me: They said to come anytime between 8:30 and 11:00 so I am here to pick up her Visa.
Guard: Sighs, picks up the phone, speaks in Creole and then motions us through the metal detectors.

It appeared as if they were training workers that day because we passed an American giving a tour explaining a new mural designed to promote the stoppage of gender based violence in Haiti. We headed over to the assigned counter (#25) and waited for them to finish a group meeting. I hoped over to the restroom and they were ready for me when I got back. The US side of the adoptions process at the Embassy was THE kindest group of people in the process. They were truly amazing! 5 minutes later, she hands us all our paperwork and a lollipop and this mama had tears in my eyes!

We headed out, off to the store for water, bread and peanut butter (to not eat out so much) and a few other things. We then hoped in our car and had the quickest journey to our orphanage to date! We stepped out of the car and it was just like it was 16 months before, eerily similar! We walked in, were surrounded by lots and lots of Little's and then I began a fairly complex conversation with our translator and and orphanage worker about a mix up regarding the last piece of documentation we needed. I will save that story for another day but suffice it to say it caused our visit to the orphanage to be about 3 hours long of waiting, wondering and some undue stress!

While in the midst of discussing, Daniel was down with the kiddos and I hear "Jennie"... and then another little girl starts tapping my leg and she and Daniel are both saying "Lonise". Little bit had snuck into the middle of the chaos and was just standing there. I stopped talking, bent down, said Bonjou Baby, kissed her sweet cheek and picked her up.

It was NOTHING like we anticipated, but since when has this journey been? Here is our first picture together! I cropped out a dear blessing on this journey that we will share about one day!



I have so much more to share, but it's late... please stay tuned as I plan to blog more about these first two weeks soon!

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Almost Home...

We are ALMOST THERE! We received our USCIS approval and now are waiting on her VISA and then we get to go bring our little one home! 

Ya'll this is HAPPENING!

Through this process, we have been blessed with your support, prayers, and encouragement, and we know you are almost as excited as we are for this homecoming!  Thank you for all you’ve done to make this dream come true for us, but our journey is just beginning!  We have been reading and talking with our adoption caseworker about how to help ease our daughter's transition, and we’d like to share with you some insights we’ve learned. We pray you take a few minutes to read this, ask us questions beforehand and know a little more about what the next step of our journey will be like. 

We have come to understand that for us, this is a joyous forming of a family, but for her, this change can be a significant trauma. She is about to be taken from the only home and “family” she has ever known and put into the arms of people who are strangers to her. We understand that we will have to parent her differently, so she will bond with us and learn to trust us.  We are asking for your help as we adjust to our “new normal,” and here are some suggestions for you to help us:
  • We would love for you to meet us at the airport, but please keep in mind that we will  have just been through a very long week and put her in a really loud machine that flies (likely to be a little odd) that likely has been stressful for all of us. I can imagine we will not be at our best- ha! So we welcome your grace, hugs for us and our other kiddos and forgive us if we are cranky :).
  •  We expect to try and “cocoon” for several days or even several weeks (or change our mind on how long). We know we need time to settle into our routine and to get to know one another.  She has to realize that WE are her new normal and the people that will meet her needs, not all the people coming in and out who may or may not come back (like currently happens at her orphanage). Please let us know if you want to come visit and please don’t be insulted if we decline a visit or ask you to leave after a short stay. It's not personal, it's just sometimes needed! It may also be fine and welcome (again grace needed here).
  • We know you want to love on our new daughter, but please help us establish our family as the ones who will meet her needs. No hugs and kisses from you (until we green light it) – hugs and kisses are reserved for mommy and daddy only!  You can absolutely offer a fist bump, a high five, or a sweet wave. We want her to develop healthy relationships and boundaries with all of our friends and family!
  • Please feel free to offer help.  Text us and ask what we need from the grocery store; bring us a hot meal (I know a meal train is being set up so we can connect you there). We know we need to accept help; anything we let you do for us will leave us more time and energy to devote to our new family of 5.
  • Don’t forget our other girls.  They are likely to feel like they are missing out on the attention they used to get and would welcome the chance to go out for ice cream/cake pops/play date with you.  Offer to take our girls to church or to their sports’ practice.  We want to keep their lives as normal as possible, but we may have our hands full with our new little one, so any help you can offer is appreciated.
  • We will likely need empathy and a listening ear, without judgment or just a break for one of us to get away! There are times we may need to talk, vent, question or cry. Just keep being the awesome support system you are!
This journey is life-changing for all of us.  We have endured long and hard for this and though we have tried to prepare in every possible way, we know there will be bumps along the way.  Our strength comes from the LORD, and He has blessed us with an amazing support system of friends and family. Above all we covet your prayers so please keep them coming!

Thank you for all you have done for us as we Journey on to officially become the Fisher Five!

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Bonding Trip Day 1 and 2

3 Months... It's been over three months since this day but I finally had the chance to review at least day 1 and 2 of the journal I wrote from our bonding trip... so I am ready to share. The way I captured things changed as the time goes on but this was my documenting day 1 and 2 the night of day 2. My goal in all these writings was to capture our journey. Every moment and detail is so precious to us even it if might be mundane to the world. I am not sure how long it will take to review the rest as it is just emotionally hard; however, I promise they are coming!

Thank you for journeying with us :)

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Bonding Trip Day 1 and 2 -
So many words. So many feelings. So many things to be thankful for. Such confirmation. 

I am not sure I can adequately capture them all or capture them accurately but I want to try and at least preserve as many of my jumbled thoughts as I can. 

These moments are too priceless not too. There are too many days ahead to try and remember them all so alas here we go…

Day 1 - We said farewell to our first two daughters bright and early at RDU. Thankful for loving family taking care of them, knowing they are in good hands from everyone helping, but also bittersweet saying good bye for so long. Off we went to start our day of travel. It was a fairly uneventful day and we made it into Port Au Prince about 45 minutes late. We proceeded to immigration and Daniel grabbed us immigration forms in French which I proceeded to mess up twice even with the help of some very nice Haitians. Ah Well. We got down to the baggage area (which thankfully we have both experienced so we knew what was to come)… chaos, missing bags, and voila thankfully Daniel knew the trick and found our last bag “off to the side”.  We worked our way through to customs and then see a gentleman holding sign with my name and our hotel up and we were quickly whisked into the hotel shuttle and were off. Not more than 5 minutes later we were checking in and super thankful to have chosen a hotel with AC, a warm shower and a king bed (albeit a VERY hard one).

We settled in and then had the immense blessing to have dinner with another family in the adoption process from our same agency and orphanage. What we were hesitant just a bit about at first, being that we were exhausted, turned out to be the BEST decision. So grateful for their hearts, their wisdom and their willingness to share life with us that night. So awesome to meet people on this similar journey with you.

We finished up dinner and came back to our room to sort through our things to figure out what the heck we wanted to take on day one. She is so young, and it’s been so long, we really just didn’t know so we packed what we thought would be best, reorganized and then skyped our precious girls in the states and hit the sack. For a bed that feels like plywood boards, we slept like rocks!!!

Day 2 - started with a fantastic filling breakfast of fresh fruit, bread and then a yummy ham and cheese omelet (thanks to our friends for the tip)! We came back to our room, grabbed our bags and waited for our driver and translator to arrive. A good mommy brain moment ensued when we were waiting and I looked down and realized I still had on my flip flops (aka not good orphanage shoes!). A quick change and I was all set. Haiti traffic is unpredictable so our ride was a bit late, but again we know that is just how it happens in Haiti so not shocked. The normal vehicle which has AC and tinted windows that our agency normally utilizes was in the shop so a well-loved, no A.C. vehicle was our ride for now and our journey to meet our precious daughter began. We made a pit stop at a local store (decorated with a self-creating snow blowing Christmas tree) to pick up our water for the day and we were off. The car was playing The First Noel and it was simply surreal. We laughed, smiled and just soaked it in! We navigated through Haiti. Words are not very accurate for the traffic, the sights, the smells, the landscape. It is so foreign yet so familiar. As Daniel said to me, it just feels good to be back, not quite home, but good.

We traversed the muddy, rocky bumpy roads out into the more rural area where the orphanage is located and shortly pulled in. It’s an impressively large building, gated in, dogs, chicken coop, rocks not sure what I was expecting so not sure if this met or didn’t meet my expectations. It just is. It’s her home. It’s a place that will forever be part of our story.

We got out of the car and a swarm of children came out asking “who?” because they knew were someone’s mama and papa. We told them and they pulled us to her room. The nannies took her out of her crib, a room with 16 beds and likely 20 babies, and proceeded to freshen her up for us. New diaper, new outfit, creamed and powdered.  As we were waiting, Daniel pointed to a freshly painted mural outside her room (painted the week after we were matched) that reads “You are my hiding place, you protect me from trouble. You surround me with shouts of deliverance. Selah. Pslam 32:7.” And we were floored. Right outside her door is the name. The name we have prayed over since we started this journey in August 2013. Selah. Her name. (Not sure where in her name, but part of her name for sure). What an incredible gift, what a blessing to have those words. He is faithful. His timing is perfect.

They then handed her to our translator who was in the room who said “Maman Ou  - your Mama, and then handed her to me!” She snuggled right up onto my chest, and I melted ya’ll. I just can’t even. My heart, right here in Haiti. We all moved up to the third floor balcony which is reserved mostly for visiting adoptive families, which is where we spent most of our day. We got settled with a handful of other littles hovering around and just snuggled. This is all so new to her. This was likely her first time upstairs. We were new. All was new.

After a bit of cuddle time, and Daniel playing with some of the other kids (soccer, peek-a-boo, coloring tic-tac-toe etc.), and then he cuddling her, we got out some toys. She held a little plush baby for a bit but a little baseball rattle and a grippable ball with holes were the big hit. She gripped them tight for most of the day. I was thirsty a little while later and when she saw my bottle she started crying (well more wimper crying). I thought she might be thirsty and showed her sippy cup but she wimpered more.  (I now realize it was because she still uses a bottle). I offered her some of mine and her sweet self did her best to drink the water bottle like a bottle! (Oh mommy fail for no bottle today). She snuggled some more and I just had this feeling she wasn’t feeling well. I knew she would be snuggly, but she felt warm and the next thing I new I said, I think she might need a new diaper. I look down and, yep. There was some milky liquid. So I grab the diaper mat, lay her down and man oh man did she need a new diaper. She had a massive blowout. I proceeded to do my best to clean her up and was going to take off her outfit because it had gotten dirty. Mommy mistake #2 for the day was standing her up to take it off without a diaper. The next thing we know there is diarrhea everywhere, yep, straight out and all over the floor and changing pad. Awesome. NOT!!! We did our best to clean up what we could, got her in a too big diaper, picked up the gross mess (now have bags for dirty diapers tomorrow), and headed down to her nanny. I told our translator she felt hot and so the nanny called the nurse who took her temp, got her medicines for her fever and diarrhea, a clean outfit and a bottle of pedialyte which she chugged down!  Daniel proceeded into a wash room to try and clean the diaper pad to the best of his ability and we all went back upstairs.

Our sweet girl proceeded to fall asleep in my arms for some much needed rest and our translator kept the rest of the kids at bay (minus one of the older girls who quietly colored with some markers and paper we had packed – thanks Laura!). It was a nice time of rest and comforting our precious daughter. When she woke up we only had a little bit of time left. She seemed to be feeling a bit better and she lay on my legs looking at up us with her beautiful brown eyes. Just going back and forth between Daniel and I, who knows what her precious little self was thinking but we were falling deeper in love each moment. Daniel took her into his lap for the last few minutes of our time and we got her to start grabbing at a little duck finger puppet! It was her first real attempt at interacting and of course it was then time to go! We took her back to her nanny, waved bye bye and we were off back into way worse traffic than before… Haitian traffic puts American traffic to shame. Seriously. It’s a wonder there are not accidents every two minutes but they amazingly navigate it seamlessly.

A quick (or not so quick) stop to buy diapers (her size which are one smaller than I brought), bottles, diaper trash bags, bread, peanut butter and jelly and water and we were headed back to our hotel.

Wow. What a day. Thankful, blessed, overcome and in awe.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Bonding Trip

We are on day six of our bonding trip and so in love and so confident that this is the journey we are to be on and she is our daughter....


I had planned to blog every day but decided to privately journal instead. These are such precious, yet exhausting days that we want to treasure forever. When we get home I will edit them into shareable versions as we are so thankful for each of you journeying with us!


Please keep the prayers coming!!!


Thus photo was on Wednesday :)


Wednesday, November 23, 2016

How can you help?

Since many of our friends and family have asked "How can we help you in a tangible way right now as you head to Haiti?" (outside of the prayers we continually need for us, for her, for our girls etc.) we wanted to get something up!

As we prepare for our upcoming trip we would welcome your support in helping us get some supplies for our little one and her orphanage. If you would like to purchase any of the items below, please just get them to us by Friday December  2nd.

If you would prefer to send us funds to purchase items here or in Haiti (example we will buy diapers there because they take up so much suitcase space), or to help cover the cost of our trip (currently at $3455 not counting food and in-country expenses) please let me know. You can donate to us directly, send us a check or I can get you my email and you can donate via paypal directly. 

If you also just want to support our holistic adoption journey and the expenses remaining (not just supplies or the cost of this trip), feel free to click the "support our journey" tab above. 

Please know this is simply a response to people tangibly asking how they can help and not a pressure for support. We appreciate your prayers, support and words of encouragement as we continue our journey to officially becoming The Fisher Five!

Please keep us posted if you plan to send any of the items so we can space plan our bags accordingly!

Specific Requests from our orphanage right now:

  • Formula for the babies (not expired)
  • Powdered Milk
  • Protein (Beef Jerky)
  • Vitamins (Infant Drops, Chewable and Gummies)
  • Pedialyte Packets
  • Cleaning Supplies (Clorox Wipes, etc.)
  • Clothes - all sizes 
For Daniel and I to take:
  • 30 miniature scented hand sanitizers (gifts for the nannies) (example: Bath and Body)
  • Cliff Bars/Protein bars/High Protein trail mix (multi flavors)
  • Gatorade Packets
  • Mini Packs of Hand Wipes
If you want other ideas, just let us know! If by chance we get more than we can take this trip we can always take it next time! Thanks again for your love and support.

If you would like to pray for us specifically in the coming month below are a few specific requests:

  • Protection and good health for us and the girls and our families while we are apart
  • Strength to love and serve our new daughter and the kids and staff at the orphanage for 2 weeks
  • That we would find our rest in Him as we seek to daily trust in His plans

Jennie and Daniel

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Our Daughter...

Yes, that's right, we got the call. Baby Haiti... Our 3rd daughter has a name and a face and a story and we are yet again forever changed.

Our daughter.

OUR DAUGHTER!!!

11-14-16
I was sitting in a conference room at work around 3:15 finishing up a meeting when I get a text from Daniel that says "Call me ASAP". I finish up and call him, totally expecting him to have a question about something he needs to buy at the store. Nope. He says "Guess who I just talked to?"... I said "no way" and he said "Yes" and I said "You have got to be kidding me" really loudly and then lots of words and tears and "no ways".... And a whirlwind ensues... All we knew at this point was her name, her birthday and her orphanage (all of which we can't share publicly until she is legally ours in Haiti several months from now).

Back up to April and the story most everyone doesn't know...when we got a call that turned out to be a false alarm which resulted in lots of heartache and patience and trying times. All just a part of our journey, but one we knew we needed to walk quietly and privately. Leaning on His strength in our weakness. So this time, between Monday when we got the call and Thursday when we got her sweet picture and paperwork, there was an unspoken uncertainty that our hearts might ride the roller coaster again.

But not this time.

This time, Thursday morning 11-17-16 at 9:41, we received our official referral. We promised each other on Monday that we would wait and open the paperwork together on the phone so we could see her sweet face and learn her precious story at the same time. So of course, I couldn't get a hold of Daniel (for good reasons). Of course I called a bazillion times before us finally connecting an hour later.

We opened the email and immediately scanned to the last page. We saw her big brown eyes and melted. Our Daughter. Her story. Her. Words don't really do justice at this point. As we learned who she was, and how she came to be ours, our hearts were immediately reminded that our great joy comes out of great loss and I was humbled and my heart grew in immense ways. Please be patient as we navigate the road of honoring her and her story. We don't know what we will share or when we will share it. Just know she is and has always been so deeply loved.

The rest of the next two days were filled with all the wonderfully crazy moments of sharing our joy (telling the girls was super fun and I will detail that separately), getting things lined up to say yes and planning our trip to Haiti where we will spend 2 weeks bonding with her precious self. There is so much more but not for now. We received 4 updated pictures of her beautiful self yesterday
(3 taken yesterday) and we are smitten!

We are so grateful for His grace and our adoption in Christ which called us into this journey. We are so thankful for you, your prayers and your support as we continue our journey to fully becoming The Fisher Five.

We have months and months ahead of us but for now, we celebrate this milestone and long for the moment soon to come when we get to look her in those beautiful big brown eyes for the first time.

Our Daughter.


Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Three Years...

Yesterday marked three years since we were officially accepted into the Haiti adoption process by our agency for a process we anticipated taking two maybe three years max from start to finish. We were to be here in 2016 with our three daughters preparing for a second grader, a kindergartner and a preschooler. We would likely already have had a year of being a family of five under our belt. 

Yet here we are, still the Fisher Four waiting as patiently as possible for that official call. Seeking daily to trust in His perfect timing regardless of how hard the waiting is. Oh the waiting. It is HARD ya'll. I am not going to sit here and pretend it's all sunshine and roses. It is not. April was really tough due too some really unique challenges we faced in our process which were new even to our agency (will share once all is said and done). 

Yet God is good and we still trust. He has shown Himself in the midst of the hard times in some really awe-inspiring ways that will be told in their own time as well. Little confirmations, big totally amazing non-coincidences, encouraging words from people we have not heard from in a long time, and simply sharing in the joy of other adoption journeys.

I know we have been quiet on here but please know we still cherish your prayers and support. We are confident our February prayers were heard, even if the answer was not what we were seeking. In a recent sermon we were so humbly reminded that just because He doesn't answer our prayers in our preferences, doesn't mean He is not answering.

I know I have shared it before but He has fully impressed upon my heart in this journey Exodus 14:14- "The Lord will fight for you, you need only be still" and so that is where we rest. Praying daily for the precious one He is preparing us for from the beautiful country that has captured our hearts.

Our present journey is nothing compared to what lies ahead, we just need to patiently wait and trust... 

Thank You for praying us through!