One family's journey to hear God's calling, overcome our fears, and be obedient to Him!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

First Day of School

Today the girls start school in America!

Yesterday we registered, toured the school, and met their teachers and principals. Then we went and bought backpacks and school supplies.

They are so excited!

It is amazing how fast the girls have acclimated to a new family, a new home, a new country. Their first 39 days has included several doctor appointments, immunizations, meeting a lot of family and friends, Christmas, a week long family getaway to the mountains, a fun first snow day, and new hairdos, just to name a few.

Thank you for all of you that continue to pray for the girls and our family!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Arriving Home

As the plane began it's descent through the skies over east Tennessee both girls were gazing out their windows. The cloud coverage was long gone by now and the visibility was perfect.

The view of the Smoky Mountains was spectacular. Looking down on the mountains Redjina said "it looks like Haiti". In response to her comment my mind began to race. I had never thought about what the girls might think Tennessee would look like. The first thing you see flying into Haiti or into east Tennessee is a vast array of mountains. For years the Smoky Mountains have called me. I have hiked many trails. It is an escape to peace and tranquility. Out the window I could see Mt. LeConte which I have hiked to 12 times over the years. I have always been drawn to LeConte because it is extremely difficult to hike to but at its height the views are spectacular. My thoughts quickly moved to the mountains of Haiti. The Chaine de la Selle is the highest mountain range in Haiti and therein lays the girls' orphanage and the villages in which I have served many times. Images of the most demanding and beautiful village hike flashed through my mind. I saw glimpses of many moments, views, and faces along each of the hikes I have made to Tiapo. The mountains of east Tennessee and the mountains of Haiti are always a place I feel further in tune with God.

As I took one last glimpse of the mountains out the window my mind drifted back to the girls. We circled right over downtown Knoxville, the University of Tennessee campus, Neyland Stadium, and the river. We pointed out several landmarks to the girls that I know meant nothing to them.

As the plane lined up for final approach into the Knoxville airport my thoughts fixated on my other two children. In my mind I could picture Ashley and Matthew anxiously waiting in the airport lobby to see their sisters.

Ashley and Matthew were both so excited about this trip, this day, that their sisters were finally coming home. Like their mother and I, they too must have had times of doubt as to whether or not this moment would ever really happen. And now, after 27 months the moment they had dreamed of was finally coming true.

I really don't remember the plane touching down or taxing into the gate. Everything had become a blur from my mind racing with thoughts between Haiti and home, and the four children. I'm sure the girls' emotions were much different than mine. On the short walk to the exit into the lobby they must have been taking in a new environment, strange faces, and feeling uncertainty. All I could think about was seeing all four of my children together in the same place, the right place. Then just like that, we turned the corner, walked through the automatic rotating glass doors and...

 From the airport we headed home. We were all very excited for the girls to see their new home and their bedrooms. On the ride home they interacted and laughed with Ashley and Matthew. I have no idea what the girls were thinking or expected. They were very interested in looking out the windows. They did so with expressionless faces.

Arriving home...

 Jesula's room...

Redjina's room...

And just like that they were home!

A special thank you to Leah Price for taking part in the girls' homecoming and Blessing us with these wonderful photos. Learn more about Leah at:

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

The Trip to America

The Trip to America was very surreal.
It was hard to believe that after 27 months that
the girls were finally coming home. After so
many issues and delays I honestly would not
allow myself to believe it would really happen
until they actually stepped foot into America!

This is Friday morning 12/14/12,
just inside the Port-au-Prince airport.

We arrived about 2 1/2 hours before our flight.
The check-in area was empty, which was nice.

Checking in with American Airlines.

The American Airlines attendants were very kind.
The girls' passports were swiped and 
everything went smooth.

The Haitian customs officers asked several questions.
They reviewed the girls' Passports, Visas and 
IBESR Exit Letters. They were kind but a little
confused. They weren't sure what to do with
the girls' IBESR Exit Letters until I explained
they were suppose to keep them.

Once through all three security check points we had a
couple of hours before our flight from PAP to Miami.
The girls seemed interested in watching TV.
They were very nervous and didn't say much.

In the boarding area just before boarding.

The girls' boarding passes to Miami ~ America!

The girls were amazed by the sight of the plane.

They let us priority board. 
The girls were fascinated with the plane.
They were very nervous and quiet.
They had no interest in looking out the windows.
The sound and turbulence of take-off seemed scary.
They enjoyed getting juice to drink.
They finally relaxed when the flight was almost over.

Once off the plane in Miami we made our way to the
Passport checking area. From Passports we were escorted
to U.S. Customs. Customs was extremely crowded. We
waited 2 1/2 hours for the girls' files to be reviewed.
Finally they called us and escorted us into a small room.
Both girls were fingerprinted and signed their first name.
The girls' Visas were approved and they were cleared
to enter the United States as U.S. Citizens!!!


From there we checked into the Miami International 
Airport Hotel. The girls loved the comfortable
beds, warm baths, the television, and having
so many channels to flip through.
We got pizza for dinner. They both loved it!

Saturday morning 12/15/12 we were up at 4:30 AM 
to catch a 6:20 AM flight to Dallas-Ft. Worth.
The girls' boarding passes for the flight to DFW.

On this 2nd flight they were much more relaxed.
Jesula wanted the window seat and she giggled
seeing the early morning rain outside.


In the Dallas-Ft. Worth airport both girls' 
loved riding the sky train.

While waiting on the flight home we stopped for an 
American style breakfast. We ordered eggs over easy, 
bacon, sausage, hash-browns, toast, and pancakes.
They didn't care for the pancakes or the eggs. 

The girls' boarding passes for the flight home.

A smaller plane for the flight to Knoxville.
Both girls' wanted a window seat.

Jesula took a nap. After that she looked
out the window the rest of the way home
without saying a word. 

Redjina looked out the window the entire flight.
We talked a lot about Haiti and America.
We flew over cloud coverage as far as you could see.
At one point, referring to the clouds she said,
"Popi, is that the sea?"

Arriving Home coming soon...