Aaron and I took Cayden to Haiti last month.  The last time I had been in Haiti was October 23, 2009 when I brought Story home.  It was a terrible 2 day trip.  I flew down on the 22nd and home on the 23rd.  When I landed in Miami and turned on my phone there was a message telling me that Story was very sick and they didn't know what to do.  I for sure didn't know what to do, because I was still a layover and a plane ride away.

When I landed in Haiti and arrived at the Heartline guesthouse, the car that was bringing me Story was close behind.  When they got there my joy in seeing my baby girl and knowing that the next day I was bringing her home was halted when the lady got out of the car with her and she was hooked to an IV.  This was bad and I was scared.

That night was awful.  I thought it was the worst, but I hadn't experienced the next day yet.  Story didn't sleep much.  She didn't eat much and she seemed miserable.  I wasn't sure if I should get on the plane the next day or have Tara take us to a hospital in PAP.  Both options seemed horrible for her.

The travel day was horrible.  I was certain they wouldn't let me out of the country with a child that looked like she was dying.  She was weak and barely awake.  I was so terrified of being in the air with her and something going wrong.  When I landed in Miami I found where the closest hospital was just in case.  I talked with a nurse friend and she encouraged me to get liquids in her however I could.  I was so scared of the 2.5 hour flight home to Austin.

We landed in Austin to a sea of friends and headed straight to the children's hospital in town.

That was the last time I was in Haiti.  I didn't even see my son on that trip.  I brought my sick daughter home and left my son there.  I still get a lump in my throat when I think about that.

Now I was going back and I was terrified.  The emotions that had been coming up in the past year when I would mention the word Haiti were weird.  I sat in a counselors office last year and cried and cried.  She mentioned something about PTSD.  In layman's terms our adoption journey (the wait and the 2 years after) was stressful for me and I was reliving it.  I had been so deeply hurt through it all and I had no one to blame except for the country of Haiti and the thought of returning to the one that had hurt me was crippling to me.  I didn't think I could do it.

When we landed in PAP and I stepped off the plane the first wave of emotions hit me.  I had not been to this place in so long and all my previous trips were laced with pain and suffering for my children and for us as we waited to bring them home.  I didn't know what it felt like to arrive here without sadness.  I looked around at the mountains, took in the air and felt the heat on my face and my eyes swelled with tears.  I couldn't stop them, and thankfully it didn't turn into the ugly cry.  I had done it.  I had come back to the one that had hurt me and I would show her that I was strong and courageous.

We got to the Livesay's house and there were friends there already celebrating Paige.  As I sat down at a table full of friends that all knew each other we did our introductions and our conversation all turned to the earthquake.  I felt something surreal that night around that table.  Everyone there had their own stories of Haiti and their own ways that they had been hurt that they were dealing with.  I wasn't alone, and these people understood.  They too had unexplained emotions that this country has brought up in them over the years.   We all sat there and our words were understood and they helped my heart begin to heal that night.  I felt understood.  I felt like my feelings were okay to say out loud and I wasn't the weird one for being mad at a country.  When you tell people you are mad at a country, not a person, but a country, they look at you weird.  It's not normal.  These people didn't look at me weird.

Each story that someone shared about their journey moved me closer towards healing.  Talking with people that have been through the same situations as you is a breath of fresh air.    I felt as if I was loosening my grip on my hatred towards Haiti.  One story at a time.


{us with Wonsli, our child we sponsor through Compassion Int, and his grandma – this was precious meeting him and something that Cayden will remember forever}


Jamie Ivey