Confession # 12: I Get a Little Stressed When Going to America
Leaving Haiti to go to America for a few weeks is exciting, but it can also be rather stressful and nerve-racking. Here are the top five reasons why…
My kids aren’t legally my kids. I raise them. I care for them. I provide them with all of their needs. I feed them. I bathe them. I teach them for crying out loud! I am “Mommy”. But because I am still a few years short of the mark, I cannot yet adopt my own children. This means I can’t travel with them either. And that means trips home to the U.S., although much enjoyed, always leave me somewhat empty because I have to leave my little ones behind.
And although I can (and will) cry about this periodically throughout our trip, I am not going to complain about my situation. Reason being? Because I, unlike 99.9% of all adoptive mothers, have the privilege to live with my children before, during, and after the adoption process. Being separated from my kids for a couple weeks out of the year is nothing compared to years of separation, as I have known some mothers to have to experience. I will take my few weeks away from my kids and be thankful that is all I will ever have to endure. Yeah, it sucks I can’t take my kids to America, but at least my home is here with them in Haiti.
I had a slight okay serious addiction to Target when we lived in America. My love affair with Target started in high school and multiplied by 100% in college when it was strategically in route from Lipscomb and the family I was a nanny for after school. By the time I became a “big girl” (meaning I had a real job, paid all my own bills, and a husband to call my own) I hit up Target at least twice a week, minimum. From the super cute clothes, to the cheap, dangly earrings, to the dollar section, to the home décor, to the cards and stationary….heart beating fast….I love it all.
For those of you addicted to coffee, you know the rebound headache you feel the morning you wake up too late to make yourself a cup? I have suffered similar rebound pains from the lack of Target in my life. These pains have been semi cured by randomly grazing through target.com and making pretend shopping carts- knowing full well I would never actually click the “check out” button. It’s a fun game- filling up an endless online Target buggy. Stupid, a mental wasteland, and a potential stumbling block…yes. But for the first months after moving here, filling up my fake online shopping cart was a weekly routine, until one day I finally realized I had better things to do and that perhaps fake-Target was a waste of my time. It’s been over a year since I’ve returned.
Going to America means going to Target. Hunter and I have been collaborating on our shopping list for a while now and I can’t wait to get that cherry-red buggy in my hands! I know it is dangerous territory for me, which is why I will only allow myself to go once, and I will make Hunter go with me. This ensures I can’t ponder, dwell, and return to get the shabby chic picture frame I previously put back on the shelf. Having Hunter there also keeps me in check. He isn’t a shopper and quickly gets a little ADD if in the same store for too long. Hunter is also a tad bit a lot of bit wiser when it comes to wants vs. needs. He is brashly honestly when he sees me flirting with the idea of buying something he knows I don’t need. “You have that skirt in three other colors.” “How many pairs of shoes does Dalencia really need?” or “Does Sadie (our dog) honestly need a pink collar with rhinestones?” In other words, I have to evaluate the purpose and level of need with every purchase I make when shopping with my husband. I realize a man like that is the average woman’s worse nightmare- especially for those of you who like shopping. For me, however, a recovering shopaholic, he is perfect!
Last time we went to America, we didn’t go to Target. That was a pre-planned decision made on purpose. I knew I couldn’t handle it. This time around we are going. And although I think I will do just fine, old habits don’t die hard.
We are coming home to ask people for money- money for Emmaus House, money for our family, and money for our teenagers’ futures. Although we are passionate about all of these needs, standing in front of a group of people and being vulnerable enough to ask for support, especially personal support, can be rather intimidating. Admitting to other Christians that you need financial help, well, it can be rather uncomfortable. And I know it shouldn’t be. Hello 1st century church. They shared their needs all the time. But in the 21st century my needs have become my needs and your needs have become yours. And telling you about my financial needs, and then having the guts to ask you help me with them, is scary.
Being missionaries, we are used to being on the giving end of the support chain. Our daily mission is to support people in Haiti. And a lot of times, that support has something to do with money, if not directly, than indirectly. To us, being the giver feels comfortable. After all, giving is what we do everyday. But when we go to America, we are thrown to the opposite side of the spectrum. Especially on fundraising trips, we have to set our giver selves aside and allow ourselves to be the receiver instead. We have to give up control. We have to rely on God to take us to the right people at the right time. We have to trust that hearts will be open and that God will provide no matter what. We have to learn to have open hands- empty hands.
Pushing all pride aside, being the receiver isn’t easy for us. We are very independent people by nature and learning to be dependent on others (and being okay with that) for the well being of our family has been a lesson we have had to learn…One that we still have yet to master, but one that God is constantly working within us.
We don’t know the songs on the radio or the newest hit TV shows. I still can’t figure out why girls are painting their ring fingers different colors and I have never owned a pair of skinny jeans. Unless we have seen it on Facebook, we don’t really know what’s going on in the world of politics. We are completely out of the loop on all new fashion trends, celebrity gossip, and what is considered “cool” now days. Thank you Facebook and Pinterest for not keeping us completely in the dark.
Overtime, Hunter and I have come to accept our eccentricity with American culture. We by no means want to become “weird” but we are beginning to embrace our countercultureness. (Yes, I did just make that a word.) We are from one culture and living in another- neither of which we quite fit into fully. Living oversees full time, we have become accustomed to the discrepancy between us and the Haitian culture. But when we visit America, the differences between us and our once called “home” can be rough to bear. In Haiti, we are used to not fitting in. But in America, well, we aren’t used to not fitting in in America.
In 2 ½ weeks we will come back to Haiti and something will be broken, some employee will be mad about something, and some kid will have gotten in trouble for who knows what. These things are inevitable. Every time we go to America, we always we return to the combination of all three problems listed above. Let me repeat: EVERY TIME!
I guess when boss-man (Hunter) is gone, things have the potential to kinda fall apart around here. Gerome (Hunter’s right hand man) holds things together as well as he can, but he isn’t “boss”. We delegate responsibilities, assure our staff they will be fine, and give our kids the best warning speech we can muster. And still. EVERY TIME.
It isn’t that we are amazing and hold this place together like glue or anything. But the CHCH, just like any other business/organization/functioning work place/home for children needs a leader- someone to oversee operations, set the standards, implement rules, know the needs of the people, and to be present. When the CHCH lacks that leader, things just slowly start to crumble. We will be gone for 2 ½ weeks, which is long enough for the invertor to shut down, a few staff to get in a fight with each other (causing a division among them all), and possibly enough time for a few kids to break all the hallway light bulbs or stuff rocks down the toilets so that they are out of use (true story). It is always a surprise! Wonder what it will be this time…
Now, despite all these fears, I can’t wait to board the plane today. Boarding the plane means I am hours away from Chick-Fil-A! It means that I get to see my family in a matter of days. It means hot water showers and air conditioning. It means a road trip alone with my husband. It means shopping for my little ones- something I never get to do in Haiti! It means I get to see good friends and relax just a tad. But more than anything, it means that Hunter and I are out to spread the news about Emmaus House. This trip has been covered in prayer for quite sometime and it has been so fun to watch God put all the details together. He is going to provide for Emmaus House. For that I am certain. And this trip to America is just the beginning!
Please keep us in your prayers as we travel. Please pray that we receive all the support we need to open the Emmaus House this summer. And if you get a chance, please pray for my little ones back home in Haiti who don’t quite understand why they can’t come with us. Pray that they will have peace and that God will comfort them in our time of separation.
Thanks for all your prayers and support!