Welcome Home Picnic for R.J.

After 9 action-packed days at home with R.J., followed by 10 fun-filled days at Granma & Granpa's house in Iowa introducing R.J. to family & friends there, we are back home ... with 5 more weeks before the boys start school. Now it's time to introduce R.J. to all our friends here at home!

We have a Welcome Home Picnic planned for this Saturday, July 14th from 11am to 4pm at the Gas City Park. Come for as long, or as briefly, as you wish!

Lunch is at Noon. Fried chicken, watermelon, cake & ice cream, and table service will be provided. Please bring your own drinks and a side dish or two to share (salad, veggies, chips, etc.). And, if you do plan to join us for lunch, PLEASE R.S.V.P. no later than Friday, July 13th.

We hope to see you Saturday! :)


Day 3 in Haiti with photos

Click here to see this photo super-sized

We all slept in this morning until 8:00! Papa and R.J. went down to get their showers first, while I organized things in the room. After they returned, I went down to shower, and when I got back, Phil said R.J.'s birthmom had arrived and was waiting to meet with us. LaDawn had come up to our room to let us know, and she thoroughly explained to R.J. what was taking place. We had a very good visit of about 30 minutes with James acting as translator for us.

By time R.J.'s Haiti Mama left, it was time for us to leave for the Baptist Haiti Mission to do our souvenir shopping. Laurie and Jean each drove a vehicle and took about 8 of us farther up the mountain to BHM where we shopped and then had lunch. Some of the others chose to also do some shopping at the market outside the BHM compound, but Phil and I chose to limit our purchases to the wide selection inside the mission store. Thanks to R.J.'s newfound interest in taking pictures, I've posted a couple for you to see the BHM store. And the prices are great -- without having to negotiate as you would at the market (much to my delight!).

We all ate lunch at the Tea Terrace, which is a nice little restaurant at BHM. Phil had a Santo Domingo sub sandwich, curly fries, and Diet Coke; I had a Salad Mezon (chef salad) and Coke; and R.J. had the Especial -- a kids' meal with chicken strips, fries, small Coke, and a toy. We decided to have ice cream as well -- sundaes for Phil and me, and an ice cream cone with "white" ice cream for R.J.

Upon arriving back at GLA about 1:00 with all our purchases, Phil and I decided we'd better work on reorganizing and packing our things, and we managed to consolidate enough to eliminate 1 suitcase and 1 large carry-on bag (since we no longer need room for the donations we brought). We were surprised how fast we finished packing, and it left us with enough time to take turns taking a nap before dinner. Meanwhile, R.J. did various things: played with the babies & volunteers on the balcony, rode a bike and scooter, and used the computer. There was a 10-minute rain shower just before supper, which increased the humidity, and we actually felt hot and sticky for the first time here at the Main House; otherwise, it has been very cool and pleasant!

Supper was a delicious and very typical Haitian meal of chicken, rice, and red sauce; avocadoes; salad; fried accra; mangoes, bananas, and watermelon; and we had a cake and cupcakes baked & decorated by Molly for LaDawn's last day at GLA after two years of outstanding service. :) We will be flying out on the same plane with LaDawn tomorrow.

After dinner, we hung out with Joyce and Molly while R.J. practiced his bike-riding some more. We also got to see the sun set over the mountain behind the Main House. Then we had a call from Charlie and Aunt Pam at 7:30. They are understandably very excited (as are we) about our arrival at the airport tomorrow night!

We relaxed in the Main House for another hour or so, and by about 9:00, R.J. was tired and wanting to head to bed. R.J. said it was Mama's turn to read the bedtime story, then we said prayers, with R.J. going first tonight and praying a very sweet prayer in English, followed by lights out for Phil and R.J. I returned to the Main House to go over our last set of paperwork with LaDawn and to post this last blog entry from Haiti.

Our alarm is set for 5:45 tomorrow morning. We depart for the airport at 8:00, with Laurie serving as our driver. The three legs of our flight home will take 12 hours altogether -- 11:00 a.m. until almost 11:00 p.m., and then we have a 90-minute drive home from Indianapolis. It will be a long, but very exciting day!

Don't expect another post until at least Saturday, but we are eager to share with you the delightful event of finally uniting the whole family by introducing R.J. to his proud younger brother Charlie. Again, we'd appreciate your continued prayers for safe travels, good health, and a smooth adjustment.


So excited at home!

We received this e-mail report from "Aunt" Pam, who is staying at our house with Charlie this week while we are gone. Gram (Phil's mom) is also helping out in the afternoons and evenings. Many thanks to them both! :)

Date: Wed, 20 Jun 2007 00:17:01
From: Aunt Pam

Angie, Phil and R.J.,

It was so good to talk with you tonight. When I told Charlie at about 7:45 that we had to get out of the pool because I had a very big surprise for him, he couldn't guess what it was! We cleaned up, got our p.j.'s on and then about 8:00, I told him. His eyes got as big as saucers -- he said, "Mama said they didn't have a phone in Haiti!" [Angie's clarification: Charlie asked if we could call him while we were gone; not thinking this was possible, and to keep the explanation simple, I said they didn't have a phone.] He was very excited! We watched a little of the Charlotte's Web movie to help the time pass and then made our way to the computer (to get the phone number) and phone.

I wish you could have seen his face during the phone call! Priceless! I wasn't sure how he would be after the call (tears or smiles?). But as soon as we hung up, I said something like, "Isn't that amazing that we could talk to Haiti so far around the world?" He was all smiles, hitched a ride on my back and then we went down to finish the movie. It was good we had lotioned up and put on the pull-up because he almost made it to the end of the movie before he was a goner! I carried him up to bed and he didn't even wake up! (Sorry no prayers tonight but I said one over his head as he slept!)

I think I may go in to the office for a while tomorrow, then stop at home for a bit. I probably will stay in Marion on Thursday so I can get Charlie a little earlier from daycare. We want to do a little afternoon swimming and want to have plenty of time for dinner, etc. before we leave for the airport.

Well, I better hit the hay! The "prince" may get up early! Sorry about the breakfast donuts [Angie's clarification: She's really not sorry at all!] but it is getting to be a routine. I will probably spoil all the good habits you have established. That's an aunt's (and grandma's) privilege.

Know that there are many praying for you guys!
Aunt Pam

P.S. I intended to have Charlie write but he was exhausted! Maybe tomorrow! :)

Photos of Day 2 in Haiti

Click on this photo to see it in super-size!

ABOVE LEFT: Kids at the GLA Toddler House
ABOVE RIGHT: Joyce, Molly and R.J. with the donations we took along
BELOW LEFT: Papa pushing R.J. in the wagon
BELOW RIGHT: R.J. talking on the phone with Charlie

We talked to Charlie on the phone this evening! GLA has a satellite (high-speed) Internet hookup and Vonage telephone services with a Chicago number. The connection is clearer when calling from the States (rather than calling from Haiti to the States), so Aunt Pam had instructions to call at 8:30 tonight. The three of us talked to Charlie and Pam for 27 minutes!!! R.J. was grinning from ear-to-ear while talking with Charlie. Charlie had a hard time understanding R.J. because of his Haitian accent. It will take some getting used to (it has for Phil and me), but the phone makes it ten times more difficult, I believe.

Anyway, they'll call again tomorrow, then the next evening we'll see them in person! Time here is going quickly, but we are here for just the right amount of days. We're ready to start getting R.J. into the routine of our family life at home, and I don't think I could be away from Charlie at such an exciting time for our family any longer than these 4.5 days!

Check again soon for more updates. It has gotten easier to transfer and upload photos and to do email and blogging since Joyce lent me her laptop with a wireless card! I just have to contend with R.J. for computer time! :D He is quite good at using the computer: He has played Reader Rabbit's Kindergarten learning CD (numerous times), he has listened to music, and he has looked at the "Charlie Blog" videos today. We actually had to give a 10-minutes-more time limit at bedtime so he'd go to sleep! :)

Phil and R.J. got ready for bed and were falling asleep by 9:00 p.m. when I came downstairs to work on posting photos again. Tomorrow morning we can "sleep in" (maybe 'til 7:00??) with no early appointments to keep.

THANKS to everyone for your prayers on our behalf!!! WE CAN FEEL THEM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And we cannot wait for you all to meet R.J. Every single wonderful thing you have read about him from the updates over the last 14 months is true!

He's a keeper. :) :) :)

Day 2 in Haiti

You are the first person to write us back!  Thanks for the note.  We are doing great!  R.J. is opening up more and more.  After our visa appointment this morning, we visited the Toddler House where R.J. has been living, and the kids sang for us, and R.J. played the drum.  He is quite a good drummer!
R.J. and I were up with the sun at 4:50.  Papa woke up about 5:20.  We got our visa this morning.  Everything for the adoption is done, except for getting on the plane to come home!  Tomorrow we'll shop for souvenirs at the market, and probably meet R.J.'s birthmom.  Thursday we'll leave for home first thing in the morning.
There were several near-chances for a rain shower today, but the clouds passed us by.  God is holding off the rain so the mosquitoes don't come get me with their Dengue Fever!  :)
Tell Charlie we miss him a lot.  We can't wait to talk to him this evening.  Learning freestyle at age 5 is fantastic!  (You got it exactly right. Good job, Gram!)  Take care and we'll see you after just 2 more sleeps.
Love, Angie (for Phil and R.J., who prefers to be called R.J.!)

Lucille Macomber wrote:
You three make a good looking group.  RJ Looks happy.  Just one little person missing from the picture.  Charlie will be glad to have you back;  he seems to be doing well but misses you of course. 
He did very well in swimming; started teaching him how to put his face in the water and then turning his head for a breath.  Also free style.  I think thats what its called; not being a swimmer.  He was really tired last night; hope he slept well for Pam.
See you in a couple of days.
Love, Mom


Meeting R.J. for the first time!

We've had a good but long day. We got up at 5:45 (after finally getting to sleep at our Miami hotel about 1:00 a.m.), went to the airport at 7:00; made it to our gate by 9:00, but the plane didn't take off until 11:50 (1.5 hours late). We finally got to the orphanage about 3:00 p.m. because our plane was late and then it took over 1.5 hours to get our luggage at the Haiti airport (only a bit longer than in Miami last night).

Anyway, R.J. is great! He was wearing his Big Brother shirt today for our arrival. He has been pretty shy and nervous with us. He won't talk much (not even to Joyce and Molly), but he sure does understand a lot of English when you talk to him. He also can read and write in English quite well. It's very impressive. At one point this evening, while he was being shy, he lay down on the concrete and wrote Charlie a letter in English, unassisted!!! He also read the bedtime Bible story aloud all by himself with help on only about 4 words.

R.J. LOVES his MP3 music player! He had it on most of the day from 3-8 pm. He looked through a lot of the gifts (toys and games, not the clothes yet) that we brought him, and we just kind of hung out before dinner, which was at 5:15. The weather is about 75 degrees F. and breezy here on the mountain in Kenscoff. Perfect!

The food for dinner was great! Something like taco casserole and salad and fruit and Pepsi. Jean Bell, who runs things for GLA in Colorado Springs is here, and she made the food. There were lots of avocados to eat, too, which made me very happy!! After dinner, Papa pushed R.J. up and down a steep hill/ramp within the orphanage compound on a two-wheel bicycle for about 20 minutes. Papa got very tired. Then, after giving Molly and Joyce the books and photos of R.J. that we brought them, they left for the Toddler House. (We're staying at the Guest House which is part of the Main House/Baby House compound.) That gave Mama, Papa, and R.J. some alone time (for the first time of the day) at about 7:00. We played Go Fish with alphabet cards, and R.J. won!! He started coming out of his shell a bit while we played cards, but he was really tired (he was up at 5:30 this morning), so after one game it was time for bed. Yes, it was only 7:45 p.m., but it was already very dark and seemed like about midnight to me and Papa.

R.J. was restless until Papa and I settled in for sleep too. Papa fell asleep in about 10 minutes. R.J. fell asleep in about 20 minutes. I waited until 8:30, just resting with my eyes closed, and then snuck out to post this.

We can't wait to get home to Charlie on Thursday. Pray that we make all our flights and that they're not running late like our two flights down here! Tomorrow morning we depart the orphanage at 7:00 a.m. for our Visa appointment at 8:00 a.m. in Port-au-Prince. We'll be back by lunchtime. Then who knows what we'll do after that?!

We'll post more after we're home. Time is short here and I need sleep instead of spending time on the computer, so check back in about a week. :)