Being away from my nephew Noah has been the most difficult part of being in Haiti. The last many many months of his life, before I came to MOH, I spent 2 or 3 days a month with him. Just the two of us building our relationship and bond. It is amazing to chat with people online, to Skype, to email, to text even. Noah's not so into those things though. He will be two in July and I will miss his birthday and that already feels like a roundhouse to my left kidney (I've been doing kickboxing here... which may merit another post).
I can not replace that missed time with Noah but I can at least be distracted by the 5 babies here. I say babies because they're still in the baby group room, but really they are toddlers. And they are amazing and crazy and full of joy and strong opinions and they are starting to have things to say!
It seems like everyone here does a blog post at some point about the babies. I guess it's unavoidable!
Each one has a different story, well, except for the twins - their story is very similar... but I'll get to that.
Pierre is a boy who is maybe 3... we're not sure as he was left here over a year ago. If I am recalling info correctly (as a disclaimer, the following facts are to my best knowledge and with a heart of love for these kids) he was abandoned at the mission following the earthquake. Angelie was also left at our gate after Jan 12/10. Pierre's age is not known as he is very underdeveloped in pretty much every area. We guess that he is 3 or more by the full set of teeth he has. He has cysts in his brain that have prevented brain development and prevented growth. His body is frail, his immune system is very weak, and he has difficulty even holding his head up. When I first came in January Pierre would lay around all day. He was in a crib or in the arms of adults or older children, but he just lay there on his back, waving arms or legs awkwardly. Currently, with the love and attention of dozens of Haitians and North Americans Pierre is longer and stronger. His grip has improved, he can be propped up in a seated position and hold his head up for short amounts of time, he is more responsive to facial expressions and touch, and last week I saw him wave - back! He was laying in church and one of his Mommies was waving at him and Pierre waved back at her. It's now my most favourite game. He will likely never walk, be toilet-trained or have a converstaion. He will likely need to be fed, transported, cared for as an infant for the rest of his life. He is a boy who brings such joy to others, including his siblings in the baby room. They call him Ti Pye (little Pierre) and they love him to bits - like the rest of us.
Angelie, as I mentioned, was also abandoned here after the earthquake. She is probably 2 and is the craziest baby of all. She could not walk when she arrived but had learned to scoot herself around on the floor in a seated position, legs out in front. She started to walk just before I came in January, but, at the time, still preferred the scoot. She now, with her wee bowed legs, runs around with the rest of the babies. She is the biggest, a fact I realized in church when she fell asleep in my arms during worship (Haitian babies sleep through anything). She enjoys singing anything, including Justin Bieber's 'baby, baby, baby, ooooooooh'! and has the best laugh.
Matthew is a boy of maybe 2.5 years. He was brought from another nearby orphanage when some American MOH supporters were touring local ministries. They found him in a corner of the orphanage nearly dead and brought him here. He is now healthy, strong, sometimes bossy, often hilarious with his little jokes, and has the most developed vocabulary. He says my name without missing a beat when we ask him to - and lots of adults struggle to say my name here.
That leaves the twins: Jeremiah and Hannah. These are two more miracle babies. They're the youngest at almost 2 years and have been here almost from birth. Their story is amazing and heart breaking as they were born to a very young mother who refused to care for them and made it difficult for the mission to officially bring them into the orphanage, but they came and were named and are now chubby, joyful, healthy little 'nugs' as my friend Abby calls them.
I could go on about all of these sweet babes, but I'll leave it at that for today and just give you some snaps.
|Hannah and Pierre|
|Clockwise from rear left: Angelie, Jeremiah, Matthew, Hannah|