TWINS PLUS A WHOLE FAMILY TO LOVE

I am on another trip, but this time with my family going to the beach! We are all so excited and looking forward to getting there. While in the car, I am reading the new book, “Inconceivable” which Patty had suggested I read. I have not gotten very far into the book, but I am reminded how fortunate I am that I have such a wonderful relationship not only with Patty, but the extended family as well.

While I was in Haiti Patty’s sister, Cathy, sent the twins a package. Brian did not want to open it while I was gone, so they got to open it the first morning I was home. It had books in it and some that will help them learn to write their letters. I was so thankful for such a wonderful gift since I have been looking for something like that. It is not the gifts that are so important, but the fact that Cathy thinks of them and makes us feel so loved.

When we went to visit the Cassidy family last March, Jim’s Dad told me we were now all family. What a privilege that not only Patty and Jim have taken us in, but the extended family as well. I did not think about how some families would not have accepted us as openly as the Cassidy family has, until I have read about other families who did not understand why anyone would “give” their embryos away and do not have any part in wanting to know about the child that resulted in the donation.

I tell my embryo adoption story to anyone who will listen, because to me it is answer to prayer. It is one way I feel I can not only educate people about embryo donation, but also a way I can show God’s love. Just this past weekend I went to my “Morrow” family reunion, where I did not know many people. Yes it is strange to go to your own family reunion and not know most the people, but they were distant relatives.

I found myself telling this young boy, about 13, about my miracle twins. This boy attached himself to them and wanted to take Natalie home. They are wonderful as can be, but I was a bit concerned, so I stayed with them and took the opportunity to share our wonderful story. And what a wonderful story it is, not only do I have two adorable children but a wonderful family to boot!

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SPREADING LOVE

The second day of our trip we woke up in the hospital in the D.R. and crossed the border to Haiti to Batey 41, which is a village my church provides a salary for a minister. They have a building that is used as a school and a church. They have 115 students for next year and the full time missionaries provide clean drinking water for the students, otherwise the village does not have a clean water supply.

The full time missionaries gave us very useful advice that I had to use when I got there. They told us we had to push ourselves down and let love flow out of us. When I stepped off the truck and saw all the children who ran up to us, some without shoes, some without pants, but all without a full belly, it was hard. I did shed a few tears, but I had to remember that I was not any help if I just cried. When the children asked for water, it was very upsetting that I could not give them mine, but when I held them or played ring around the rosy with them I knew why we were really there.  The Pastor just beamed as the children sang “Jesus Loves Me,” “Frère Jacques,” and many others in Creole. These songs I just recognized the tune.  The smiles on their faces were just priceless. At this point I wondered who was ministering to whom.

A doctor from the hospital and one of our teammates, Susan Treadway R.N., held a clinic while we played with the kids. They treated patients with burns, parasites, malaria, diarrhea, and prenatal care.  It was a very successful day but very heartbreaking to see such poverty.  I think I have always been thankful for the privilege of medical care, but now I really am! If anyone has infertility problems, I am sure they do not have the privilege that I had to receive adopted embryos. People who are infertile must just suffer in silence.

The next day we crossed over the border again into another village they call Batey 40 (they are named from how far they are from the capital). I could tell at once the adults in the village were a bit hostile and not welcoming. The children wanted to be loved on and in fact one older child wanted to be held so bad that when she was told no that she was too big, she jumped into the arms of one of my team mates.

This village had a bit better homes and more of the children were clothed, but they were lacking love in their hearts and inter peace. I even witnessed a fight that broke out over a lottery ticket! What lottery tickets are sold in such conditions!?!

The overall feeling of this village was “give me, give me, give me.” However, I am sure not everyone was like this. I was blessed to witness a child asking, my fellow teammate, Malyndia for help for his baby sister. Malyndia got me and Melissa the Missionary to walk with her back to the hut where his mother was and his baby sister. The baby had been having diarrhea and throwing up for a few days. We prayed over the baby and Malyndia left the mother her water to give to the baby. While I was in the home of this family, it was very humbling. It was nothing like I had ever seen in my life.  All of what I was experiencing was overwhelming and hard to take in.

As we loaded up in our trucks, with the engines running a few people handed the people out water. The trucks were running just in case a riot broke out. I am happy to say one did not, but I did see a few of the adults shooing us away as we left. The differences between the two villages were like night and day regarding their attitude. Both of these villages make a living by making charcoal and taking it across the river to sell. As you can see in the pictures, the living they make is very little.

Seeing this environment makes me not only appreciate my life but the privileges I have living in the US. I am happy to say that one of these privileges is the best health care in the world and that includes embryo adoption.

DAY ONE OF HAITI AND THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC

I am happy to report that I made it home safely from Haiti and the Dominican Republic. When the group of 22 first arrived in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, it was a bit hectic with workers at the airport trying to take your luggage, so that they could receive a tip. It was our job to let them know that we could handle our own luggage, but with a language barrier and very aggressive airport employees, it made the situation quite interesting. I must have looked frazzled, since the youth minister at my church, Davy, looked at me and said, “This is the hardest part of the trip it is just downhill from here.” Well, now that the trip is over, I am not sure he would even agree with his own statement.

Our group was met by Chris Keylon, our group leader, Sarah Sealine (She just left a good job at Children’s Hospital in Knoxville) a missionary who had just arrived in Haiti two days before we arrived, and our interpreter Kessy. We loaded all the luggage and ourselves in trucks and headed to a house known as, the Chadasha “Guest House”, to unpack all of the supplies before heading to the Dominican Republic for three nights. When we arrived at the Guest House we met five of the employees and three other full-time missionaries. One of the missionaries was caring for twin Haitian girls that were rescued out of one of the tent cities. These girls were found with the skin just hanging on their bones and in such poor health. An orphanage that Chadasha supports has taken these girls in and many others who require food, love and security that their family could not give them, but are now receiving with the help of so many people. Of course they made me think of my own twins and how blessed I am to be able to give them everything they need to thrive. I am thankful these twins are now getting the attention they need. The team worked very well together making assembly lines and doing what needed to be done to unpack toys, backpacks with school supplies, over the counter drugs, toiletries and other items we were handing out on our trip. Once that was taken care of, back on the truck we went.

During the ride, I thought of a song I learned at a music class I took the twins to when they were babies. It is called a “Smooth Road.” The song went through different types of roads and I would hold Natalie and Julian and do the motions of the smooth, bumpy or rough road. I now better understand what a rough road really feels like. It is a bit like a roller coaster that can lift you out of your seat and you are hanging on for dear life. The drive took us a little under six hours to get there and I now have a new appreciation for the roads and traffic in the US. I have been to New York City, L.A. and Boston and the traffic there does not do justice to what we experienced. It did not appear to me that there were any traffic laws in either country and I am so thankful I did not have to drive. At one point the trucks took on the duties of a boat, when we went through water that was up to some people’s knees. The border to the D.R. closed at 6pm and we arrived five minutes till 6. That is just the beginning of prayers that were answered on this trip.

We arrived at Jimani, D.R. and were so happy to see the hospital along with the orphanage. The rooms we stayed in were built for medical staff to stay while working. The country is a beautiful place with mountains surrounding it as well as the water. The hospital is up on top of a hill where you can see the vast land. For security, the hospital has a brick wall around the perimeter and a gate they lock at night. The group had the pleasure of meeting the hospital administrator, John and his wife Melissa along with their daughter and son. John’s parents are also there and his dad, John Sr., worked in Johnson City, TN for many years making prosthetic limbs. His goal is to be able to get one started there as well. The hospital now serves as a clinic Monday through Friday, however it was used as a full hospital after the earthquake.
Two cooks prepared our food for us and we were all thankful for them. We ate a wonderful meal and headed off to bed. It had been a long day and we were looking forward to another long day at a village in Haiti that is called Batey 41, at which our church funds a pastor’s salary and helps provide a building that serves as a school and church.

Thanks be to God for a safe trip and for the work He allowed us to do. Galatians 5:13 “through love serve one another.”

RANDOM THOUGHTS AND HAPPENINGS

 

 

 

 

 

— Maria has decided to take a pacifier. She rejected it shortly after coming home from the hospital and would occasionally use a cold one to chew on to sooth teething gums; however, in the last week she started sucking on it to fall asleep. I wonder if this has to do with the two upper molars I feel starting to push through and the fact that we stopped putting her in her zippered sleep sack that she “nastificated”* by chewing on the collar and zipper. I have mixed feelings on this, but it does help her fall asleep easier. We’ll deal with getting rid of it down the road. *”nastificated” – to make nasty

— Grant loves pointing at everything. He points, talks, and attempts to climb your body to get closer to whatever he’s pointing. The wind chimes on the front porch and the mail box are exceptionally fun to reach and play with.
— Maria’s desired method of discarding something she’s done with is to throw it. We’re going to have to work on grace and gentleness. She also lacks patience and will scream if whatever she is pushing around gets stuck. If she can’t throw it, she gets even more upset.

–Pregnancy was one of the best things to happen to my body. (Bet you weren’t expecting to read that today). I am smaller than I’ve ever been and have been able to get into yoga poses I never thought possible. Perhaps it’s a change in shape, more flexible hips, or just improved confidence. I know that I put on some weight due to stress of infertility and the hormones leading up to our transfer did me no favors. Returning a healthy diet after the babies were born and breastfeeding also helped shed the pounds.

–I like the look I get when people ask if the babies are on whole milk and I state I’m still nursing. “They still need milk; I still make milk,” is my reply. Plus, they are pretty sensitive to dairy and the more I read about cow’s milk the more I’m convinced it’s really not good for any of us…cow’s milk is for baby cows. If you are interested, the babies and I love almond milk. (Jeremy is still trying to figure out where the nipples are on almonds.) The next question, which has happened twice, makes me laugh… “Do they still nurse every 2 hours?”… NO! (I should scare them and say yes.) They generally nurse 3 times a day and eat their solids at breakfast, lunch and dinner. (They are vultures…it’s impossible to eat anything without sharing it with them.) I can say it is liberating to only pump once a day while I’m at work and I love the days I’m off and don’t have to hear the stupid thing.

–I think one of the hardest parts about being a parent is consistent discipline. Both babies love to stand up and mess with the buttons on the TV and cable box. They also both know they are not supposed to get up there. Sometimes I just have to say their names and they will get down; other times they will look at me and smile to see if I really mean it. It’s a daily battle and some days it would be easier to let them push the buttons.
–Grant’s favorite word is “uh-oh” and he uses it anytime he drops something. He started chucking food on to the floor the other night and said “uh-oh” with each handful. I tried to explain that “uh-oh” doesn’t apply when it’s intentional….he just smiled.

–Grant was not impressed with swim lessons this past weekend. When I started the 1, 2, 3 count to take him under water he started shaking his head “no”. It made me laugh. They are learning to communicate more and more each day.
–Maria has started to become a little social butterfly. We had a wedding and birthday party last weekend. She gladly smiled and talked with lots of people she didn’t know. She even let us put her down with a group of other kids and she jumped right in and started playing. She draws the line at letting a stranger hold her, though.

–We started the summer session of Music Together last night and they had a ball. We have a fun and very diverse group of kids and parents in this session. When going through some tonal patterns, Maria and Grant did the responses and the teacher said it was very impressive. Brilliant little kids, if you ask me.

–Baby laughs are the best. Most nights when I’m nursing Maria, Grant usually stands in his crib and we play peek-a-boo, or shake my hands or whatever else he thinks his funny. He giggles and in turn, Maria giggles. It makes me smile.