The first time I went to Haiti had nothing to do with the adoption of our children.  My two kids weren't even on my mind, or in our life plan.  We had two kids, and although I was hopeful there would be more, they weren't in our plans.

The first time I went to Haiti I was terrified.  I had envisioned Haiti as an awful place where men walked around with machete's and were out to kill all white women in the middle of the night.  To this day I have no idea where this visual came from, or why it consumed me, but Satan surely used it to put so much fear in me.  I lost so much sleep that week because of fear.

The first time I went to Haiti I was moved beyond belief at what I saw.  I had never seen the images I was seeing, and God was moving in my heart and life for a country that would forever be a part of my life.  I never saw men walking around with machete's looking to kill someone, instead I saw men working for their families.  I saw children hungry for food and hungry for love.  I saw mothers stare at me with a look in their eyes, that only another mother can interpret.  I saw hope.  I saw misery.  I saw pain.  I saw life.  It was the first time I was surrounded by such complexities of emotions.

The first time I went to Haiti we evangelized in a village and I have never felt dirtier or more filthy with shame in my life.  We walked around the village to tell people about Jesus.  Sounds innocent enough, right?  We had our interpreter, and a few of us would cram ourselves into their homes.  We would probably all stare in disbelief and then begin to share the love of Jesus with them.  After we would tell them about Jesus if they would pray and accept him, then we would give them a few dollars.  I seriously get the taste of throw up in my mouth when I retell this event.  What a sick use of the gospel of Jesus.

The first time I went to Haiti I was changed forever.  God moved my heart towards a country and he did this because he knew that I would be back here and it would be to get my children.  Little did I know, that my son, Amos, was alive on my first trip to Haiti.  He was 1.5 old and already living at Real Hope for Haiti.  I had no idea.

I have visited Haiti a handful of times since then, and most of my trips were laced with joy and sadness.  In fact, I have never once been to Haiti and not experienced sadness and hurt.  That first trip left me feeling sick and gross over our manipulative ways of sharing the gospel.  I left feeling dirty and used.  Each trip after that involved me leaving my children.  On trips to visit our kids, we yearned to get to them quickly and love them, but that was always overshadowed by the hollow feeling in our stomach that at the end of our five days we would leave them again.  Abandon their hearts again.  There might not be a worse feeling I've felt in my lifetime other than those departures.  I have not one time had a trip where I wasn't left feeling worse off then when I arrived.

To say that I have a bad taste in my mouth about going to Haiti is an understatement.  I have been so hurt by those trips.  It's almost like when you get sick right after you eat at a certain restaurant and so forever you associate sickness with that restaurant, even though in reality that restaurant didn't hurt you.  That's my feeling with Haiti.  I've been hurt by her in my mind.  I've been disappointed by her.  I've been let down by her.  I'm absolutely scared to go back to her.

There's a few days on my calendar in May that say “Go to Haiti”.  I look at those dates often and wonder if I really will go to Haiti.  Do I have the strength to go back to the place that I only associate with sadness, hurt and despair.  The last time I walked down that airplane on to Haitian soil was when I went to get Story over 3 years ago.  I wonder if I'll get off that plane in May and allow God to mend places in my heart that are still so hurt from my trips there.