Sunday, January 31, 2010
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Posted by Heather at 3:07 PM
Monday, January 25, 2010
Posted by Heather at 9:14 PM
Friday, January 22, 2010
Posted by Heather at 8:00 PM
- make a tax deductible donation for the Livesay children via World Wide Village. Make sure you state that it is for "The Livesay Children" in the 'notes' section.
- give them a gift card to Target -- these gift cards can be given online -- use this email address to send to oldest sister Britt: email@example.com.
- use PayPal to send money directly -- send it to this PayPal account: firstname.lastname@example.org, and make sure that you clearly state that the money is for the Livesay children.
Posted by Heather at 10:58 AM
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
Monday, January 18, 2010
Every night since 5:00 pm Tuesday, Braydon and I run to watch CNN as soon as we get the three kids in bed. We check Facebook and Twitter incessantly. We give money and try to send support in loving emails and notes and we pray and send out wishes and hopes. We see people we know being interviewed in news reports and featured in articles. We see famous news reporters filmed at Bresma in Port au Prince, the orphanage where Kyle and Owen were first brought as newborns, before they were moved to the orphanage where they'd spend their first eight months of life. We see images of places where we've been that look nothing like they did when we were there. We try to answer the boys' questions while at the same time buffering them from the magnitude of it. We're living a strange fuzzy warped existence right now. Constantly distracted by a deep anxiety seemingly coming from nowhere identifiable. The feelings of our waiting (the year that we waited, during the adoption, for Kyle and Owen) --feelings that we thought we had left way behind-- have bubbled right back up to the surface in a big way. The anxiety, frustration, sense of alienation, isolation -- the feeling that nobody really 'gets it' -- the sense of horrific injustice to the Nth degree -- the scope of it all -- the compulsion to act up against an overwhelmingly complicated structure of inequity -- life hanging in the balance -- innocent lives in shambles -- babies without formula -- children without food -- people without water -- thousands upon thousands without proper shelter from blaring sun and raging hurricanes -- how can this be happening? -- how can the whole world go on as if this doesn't exist?-------- It is all right there, at the surface again, reminding us that we never actually worked through it in the first place... because it is not something one can actually work through.
Friday was a long-planned dentist appointment for the boys. A regular check-up and cleaning. I picked the boys up from school early and they were in great spirits as we drove there. They love the dentist. Suddenly, out of the blue, in a totally normal matter-of-fact tone, Kyle, from the back seat, says, to no one in particular: "We're from Haiti, so that means we're poor." I practically drove off the road, stunned. 'Stay calm, don't over-react, steer straight,' I think to myself. "Why do you say that Kyle?" I ask, as even-keeled and up-beat as possible in my intonation. "Where did you hear that? Who said that?" "Nobody," he said. "Who said that at school?" I ask, pointedly, sure that it must have come from somewhere. "Nobody," he said, "I just thought that in my own mind." I pressed a bit more until I came to believe him-- he had come up with this on his own, piecing things together, inevitably, despite our best efforts. I pulled off and put the car in 'park' on the side of the road. I turned around to face him and his brother. The two of them so precious, so gorgeous, so beaming with life, there in the backseat. "You were born in Haiti, but we are NOT poor," I say firmly, "we are the opposite of poor." "Who is poor Mommy?" Kyle asks, genuinely wanting to know, his huge eyes peering straight into mine. "There are lots of poor people," I say, trying to think fast. "There are poor people here in the United States, and there are poor people in Haiti. Some people are poor. And some people are not." We talked about it a bit before I pulled back onto the road. Driving to the dentist we talked about a homeless man we met while we were in Washington D.C. for Thanksgiving, and about how we had given him money to buy breakfast one morning. The boys talked about wanting to bring food to Haiti -- to "give them food, like we gave Anthony [the homeless man] food." "Mommy, imagine if I was a pilot and I could just fly right to Haiti on a big airplane filled with food!" "What if I could take a huge boat and bring it full of water for everyone in Haiti?!!" "What if I was so strong I could hold up all the houses and even in an earthquake it wouldn't shake?!!!" Yes, what if. Just imagine.
We arrive at the dentist office. We enter the gorgeous, hyper-clean, modern waiting area. A huge flat-screen t.v. on the wall is set to CNN. Horrific images flood the screen-- crumbled buildings, bodies in the street, children's faces peering out of rubble. Dust and smoke and devastation. Immediately I ask at the front desk, as calmly as possible, for them to change the channel. They know Kyle and Owen, are aware that they are Haitian, understood the unspoken, and changed the channel quickly. Nickelodeon. Some crazy neon smiley bouncy "kids show" unlike anything the boys had ever witnessed (they don't see much t.v.). They were enthralled in the gloss of it. I was just glad it wasn't CNN. We watched until we were called in for the check-ups. Perfect teeth. No cavities. And big news, loose teeth for both boys! "Wiggle those baby teeth everyday!" the dentist orders the boys, "So that your big teeth can grow in!" They wiggled diligently all the way home. I let them watch 'Curious George,' and I made them their favorite dinner that night. Creamy pesto pasta. Trying to feed them love. Trying to make myself feel good. It always feels so good to watch them eat so much so eagerly. "Thank you Mama!!!" they squeal, as they devour their dinner.
Soon after I'm tucking them into bed. I turn off the lights and go to kiss them. Owen looks up at me with tears in his eyes. "I'm sad Mama," he says, "I'm really sad because someone I know died." I'm taken aback. We have purposely kept the earthquake on the sidelines this day, trying to protect them from it as the news becomes more intense. "Really?" I ask, skeptical, thinking that he's just trying to delay bedtime. But the watery eyes tell my gut that there is something to this. "Yes," he says, "someone I know died in the earthquake in Haiti, and I'm so sad about it." "Sweetie," I say to him, "all of the people that we know in Haiti are alive." "No," he says, "this is someone you don't know. This is someone I knew when I was a baby in Haiti. You don't know her because you weren't there." "Oh?," I say, "who is it?" "It is Jonie--" he says, pronouncing this name, a name unfamiliar to me, not the name of anyone we've ever known, with a slight accent -- I must admit, a slight French/Creole accent. He continues, "--her name is Jonie." I get slight chills and sit down on the side of his bed. In the glow of the nightlight I watch his face closely. He is completely serious. "I don't know anyone named Jonie in Haiti," I say, "we didn't meet anyone named Jonie when we were in Haiti." "Did you see someone wearing flip flops?" he asks. "Yes," I say. "Brown flip flops?" he asks. "Probably," I say. "Well Jonie wears brown flip flops and I knew her when I was a baby and she died in the earthquake and I'm so sad about it." I have no explanation or understanding or way to know exactly what is going on here. But I hug him and tell him how sorry I am that he is sad. I try to comfort him as best I can. "I hate earthquakes," he says. "Me too," I say.
They ask about buildings falling. Did it hurt when they died? How can we be sure that our house won't crumble in an earthquake? How can we be sure that hotels in which we might stay in the future won't fall down? Why can't we bring food to the people? Why can't we stop them from starving? Is our birthmother o.k.?
Kyle and Owen know that a lot of people died in Cite Soleil, where they were born. They know that a lot of people died in Port au Prince, where their orphanage was. They know that the Hotel Montana, where we stayed for our first week together as a family, was completely demolished. They know that Rock and Patrick, the orphanage directors who saved their lives when they were infants and made it possible for us to be a family, both survived. They know that the children at their orphanage all survived. They know that the Livesays survived. Kyle and Owen know that the need in Haiti is great, and that it has been great their whole lives long and longer.
I know that Haiti was in crisis before this. So, how can we wrap our minds around the state of things now? I'm mourning the loss of a dream--- a dream I had of bringing the boys back to the Hotel Montana sometime soon. We had thought, 'Maybe even this spring, if the boys seem ready enough for it.' The idea was that we'd go there for our first trip back to Haiti. It is (was) a beautiful hotel - an oasis in Port au Prince. We wanted to bring them back there, just for a couple of nights, when they were still very young, so that later in life -- as they learned more about Haiti -- their first actively memorable yet slightly subconscious association with their birthplace would be as positive as possible. I wanted that foundation to build upon. I know we can still find beauty in Haiti. I know we will find beauty. But I am so mournful that we will not be able to revisit the place where we first became a family. Where we gave our babies their first baths. Where we read them their first books. Where we soothed their deep diaper rashes until they weren't bloody, and fed their distended bellies good formula until they couldn't drink anymore, and held them all night long becoming their Mommy and Papi. That place is gone now. It will never be back for us to visit. When will we be able to bring Kyle and Owen to Haiti again? How will this ever be made right?
I rocked Meera to sleep tonight. She's just finished a 10-day round of antibiotics for double ear infections. The prescription cost $95; it is the most powerful antibiotic available. We were happy to pay it. Our insurance covered most of it. She's better-- I can tell-- not tugging at her ears, sleeping well at night, and back to her healthy appetite. I can't help but think it, silently in Meera's bedroom: 'Oh my God, what if I couldn't get her what she needed? What if I had no access to antibiotics? What if I couldn't keep her from dying a senseless death? What if I couldn't mother her the way I need to mother her?' What if? Just imagine. As I held her bundled up in my arms, the humidifier in her room buzzing, my mind wandered. I remember holding Kyle that way when he was 19 months old just like Meera is now. I remember holding Owen that way too. Their hair felt so different than Meera's does, rubbing up against my chin. Their skin felt so different too, pressed against my neck. But they smelled just like her, as I rocked them to sleep. Clean diapers. Warm milk. The fabric softener we use in our laundry. The feelings flood me. I remember so much. It all comes back too quickly and it overtakes me. Bringing them home, helping them get healthy, teaching them to love-- that was all daunting, and the most challenging thing I've ever done with my life. But that was the easy part. The hard part is still before us. Their birth country was, and is now more than ever, in desperate crisis. Unwarranted death. Incomprehensible suffering. Injustice like I've never seen nor heard of. Their homeland, their roots, their people, our people. It is mind-numbing. I can't finish my soup at lunch. I feel sick to my stomach after eating dinner. It is hard to sleep. We put them to bed and kiss them goodnight and thank God they are here with us and plead with anyone who will listen to do something to help Haiti. We put on CNN and we see Port au Prince. How come we never saw Port au Prince on CNN before the earthquake? How come aid wasn't pouring in before the earthquake? How come relief wasn't "on the way" last Monday?
Braydon and I stopped at the grocery store on the way home from work today. We can buy milk and eggs and yogurt and organic all-natural cookies. We are so grateful for that. In the checkout line there is a small poster asking for money for Haitian Earthquake Relief. On the poster is a photo of a Haitian girl, wearing only tattered rags for clothes, her hair a mess, her huge brown eyes staring into the photographer's camera. Now she's staring at us. Her eyes look just like Owen's always have. Her hair looks just like Kyle's did when he first came home. She looks Haitian. Just like my sons. Gorgeous at the core, beautiful at the root, resilient in the soul. You can see it all over her face. The photo draws me in. I am distracted for a minute. That is my boy. No, it is a girl on a poster. And then I remember we have to bag the groceries. And get home to our kids.
Posted by Heather at 10:22 PM
Friday, January 15, 2010
link = http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm
Posted by Heather at 9:26 AM
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
Posted by Heather at 9:08 PM
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
Monday, January 11, 2010
Posted by Heather at 8:03 PM
Sunday, January 10, 2010
In other news, Owen had his appointment with the orthopedic surgeon on Tuesday. The doctor says that his collar bone is healing well and seems to be fusing nicely, etc. It looks like we're in the clear with no need for surgery, re-setting, etc. We will go back in three weeks for a follow-up to check on it. For now, he's favoring it a lot still, and we're trying to keep him from doing anything crazy. He's very good about knowing his limits. But his limits are way above and beyond what anyone would imagine of a kid with a broken collar bone. Trying to keep Owen from being active is like trying to keep a fish from swimming.
Lastly, Mama has a bad cold. And Kyle and Braydon are healthy as can be. So, we've got two standing out of five. Not all that bad. ;)
Posted by Heather at 12:12 PM
Friday, January 08, 2010
Posted by Heather at 8:09 PM
Wednesday, January 06, 2010
Posted by Heather at 9:34 PM
Last year after Christmas, we headed down to Philly, where my sister was living to visit with her and my mom for the day and had a very nice time. Now that my sister is in DC, we decided it was best to stop by my mom's great new place in MA on the way home.
We got there in the morning after having missed a big winter storm the day before and had a chance to go for a nice walk down past the pond to the playground and get out of the car for while. My sister was up from DC and our Aunt Diana swung by for the visit and had a chance to meet and experience the entire family.
After some crazy, yummy gourmet pizzas from a place nearby and some homemade cookies, we got down the business of opening Christmas gifts. The boys enjoyed bringing out the Connectagons and books, while Sabrina told Kyle stories. Meera toodled around looking at the pictures and Sabrina's sculptures while getting picked up and cuddled by my mom. Everyone got some good affection.
The visit was just a couple hours, but we fit in a lot of good chatting, playing and enjoying each other.
Posted by Braydon McCormick at 8:59 PM
Tuesday, January 05, 2010
Posted by Heather at 9:09 PM