Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Adoption Prayer Request

I talked today with friends of ours who are also adopting from Haiti. When they began their adoption, they were told that there was a birth mother who had given the child up for adoption and that there was no father in the picture. Now they are hearing rumors that the birth father is back in the picture and he is not willing that the little girl should be adopted. To their knowledge the father has had no contact with the girl in years. They are obviously very upset with this news because it could certainly slow or stop their adoption process for a period of time. Their orphanage will continue to work with the lawyer to process their adoption till such a time as these rumors are confirmed or denied and then they will proceed appropriately from there. They are continuing to believe that God will bring to completion the work that He has called their family to. They are asking that many would join with them in praying that God will unite their family soon and that the enemy would not be allowed to interfere with their adoption process. Please join me in praying for Chris and Lisa (mom and dad) and Gigi (their daughter).

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Shriner's Hospital evaluation

We went to Shriner's Hospital today to get Kerwin's initial orthopedic evaluation. He was seen by the nurse, the doctor, had x-rays taken and saw the physical therapist all in one visit. It was so nice because they have everything in-house so they just moved us from one exam to the next really quickly. The x-rays showed that his pelvis and spine were fine. The doctor said that he does not want to jump into any treatment at this point. Instead, he wants us to participate in a month-long home physical therapy program to see what shape we can get the legs into with routine stretching. Then he will see Kerwin again and re-evaluate him to see what progress has been made and what the best course of intervention would be at that point. He did not seem to be leaning toward surgery but instead would consider bracing or casting the legs for a period of time to lengthen his tendons. But the big hit of the day was with the PT. She gave us a loaner walker until we can come back for a full PT assessment and order another one. But the loaner is beautiful. It is brand new and shiny green. Kerwin loves it! He was immediately flying up and down the halls in it. He is a bit reckless. We will be working on control here in the near future. But it will give him so much independence to always have something for balance. Especially since he will be starting school in the near future.

We have an appointment on Friday to get his referral process started to send him to the Kentucky School for the Deaf. I am so anxious for him to have someone else to learn sign language from: someone who is actually fluent in American Sign Language! He will learn so quickly in that environment. After a few days, he will be teaching me. I'm going to have to work hard to keep up.

Tomorrow is the pediatrician and Occupational Therapy evaluation. He did such a great job today and we were there nearly four hours. I hope he is not too burnt out when we get there tomorrow. Hopefully there will be lots of fun new toys like they had at Shriner's.

Kerwin at the pumpkin patch

Grandma and Aunt Rachel took Kerwin to the pumpkin patch Saturday while we went to the UK game. He was upset at first because his daddy was not going with him. (He did not care that I was not going with him). But by the time he got to picking out the little pumpkins he was feeling a bit better. He enjoyed the horses and told me about them later. There were two horses and black and a brown one and he wanted to ride the brown one.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


Here are a few shots from our trip to Keeneland today. Kerwin enjoyed the races but didn't much like the waiting around in between. We watched about three races and then we headed back to Grandma's for dinner. It was a nice day for me because I ran into quite a few old friends today while around town and at Keeneland.

Before we went off to the races, we stopped by Mike's office and met some of his coworkers. Kerwin still doesn't much like all the introductions. If is is one or two people he will usually look at them, smile and wave or shake hands. But when it's a large group he usually turns his head into Mike's neck and hides. He will wave and look briefly but only if we beg him. He had a blast at Grandma and Grandpa's house. He still loves to just run around and explore. I think some of the houses here look like castles to him.


The trip to the audiologist was not all that enlightening. She basically never tried anything that he actually COULD hear. Instead, she just tried a few sounds that he could not hear. Basically, she concluded that he has no functional hearing, which I already knew. This was a fairly preliminary evaluation and he will need a more conclusive test called an ABR (Auditory Brainstem Response). This is done while the child is completely at rest or under sedation and measures brain activity in response to different auditory stimuli. Basically, it tells what a child can hear without the child having to respond accurately to the testing stimuli. We will have an ENT appointment at the end of the month and then schedule the test. What we did find out is that the hearing loss is not due to any kind of physical problem such as scarring or malfunctioning of the ear drum. The integrity of the ear drum has not been compromised. The problem is in the nerves that transmit the sensation of sound to the brain. It is likely that Kerwin has heard at one point or another. His "talking" is a good indication that he may be able to learn to speak with hearing aids or a cochlear implant but the audiologist is not hopeful that hearing aids will benefit him that much. For now we will continue to teach him as much sign language as we can as this is his only means of true communication. It's just such a shame that a child as bright as he is has gone this long without being taught a language. But I am reminded by my wiser friends that the amount of ground that he has made up in the last four months is truly phenomenal. We continue to be proud of him. He was such a good boy at the appointment: just the model patient. He is still thrilled to be at home and he is an absolute joy to us.

After his appointment, we went and visited grandpa down on UK's campus and had to go to BOTH of his offices to see all his coworkers so he could show off his grandson. Then he took us out to eat a really good Cajun restaurant downtown. Then we stopped by grandma's office so she could show Kerwin off to all her friends and then we finally headed home.

I got to rejoin my wonderful, supportive, praying, BELIEVING Bible study group last night and it was such a blessing. So of course I also had to bring Kerwin to show him off. The ladies surrounded us and prayed for us and praised God for the miracles that he has performed in our lives. Thank God for that group of women.

Monday, October 15, 2007

The last few days in pictures

I've always thought Kerwin was such a happy child. Well, he has been about 10 times happier ever since we got home. He is the absolute joy of our family. He loves his grandparentes and aunts and uncles so much. He hasn't stopped smiling and laughing since he got home. He wakes up every morning with a smile on his face. He has now become quite the comedian. He has learned that he can make us laugh with his antics so he will do them over and over again to crack everyone up.

Firsts: McDonalds, boating, fishing, the park, riding in the wagon, Walmart, sleeping in a room alone.

Tomorrow we will go for his audiology appointment. This is the only medical appointment we have this week. I don't think it will be too tough on him. I am excited about getting the ball rolling with his hearing. I hope we are able to have hearing aids made soon.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

The best week of my life

Not only did Kerwin go to his first UK football game today. It just happened to be one of the greatest wins in the school's history. I was so excited just to be at the game today I almost cried. Then to actually knock of the number one team in the country, it was almost too much to take.

We had fun before the game. We played around the house this morning and went by Mike's office to pick up some papers. Kerwin had a great time running around the empty wide hallways in the school. Then we went over to my parents' for a big pre-game lunch. Kerwin enjoyed exploring the grandparents house. He got a fishing pole and hat from my dad and a really cool water gun from Rachel and Tyler (my sister and her husband).

We are off to bed for another big day tomorrow: church in the morning and fishing in the afternoon. We wanted to get out on the boat before it got too cold. It should be another fun day. I am looking forward to the coming week when we don't have quite as many activities planned. All day I just kept marveling at the fact that we are home, we are all together and WE BEAT LSU!!!

Pictures from travleing

Kerwin in the Port-au-Prince airport
looking at his visa
taking a real bath at the hotel
checking out the "big airplanes"

Friday, October 12, 2007

The Happy Haake Home

This is Rebecca. I am officially back on the job of keeping up the blog. Thanks to those who kept it updated while I was traveling. Kerwin has just fallen asleep in his own bed in his own room for the first time ever. Our trip home could not have gone any smoother. Kerwin was a perfect traveler throughout each leg of the journey. He loved the "big airplanes" and had a great time playing in the airports. He especially loved the hotel we stayed in last night. He thought it was really cool that we got to share the bed. As Kerwin fell asleep and I talked to all the members of my family on the phone, I began to feel the weight of 16 months of stress and anxiety lift from my shoulders. Even in Miami, I felt like I was home. From the moment we stepped on the airplane from Port-au-Prince, everyone we met was nothing but warm and kind to us. The flight attendant brought us freshly baked chocolate chip cookies from first class. The immigration workers in Miami kept welcoming Kerwin to America and kept saying, "We've got a new American here!" I have never felt appreciation for our country in such a personal way before. Of course the sights and smells seem so much more wonderful. Everything looks cleaner. I was able to sit and talk with people in the airport and on the plane who understood me as an American. And I am quite sure that I was not ogled once today: woohoo! (Correction: My husband has just informed me that he ogled me today, twice).

Today was fabulous. We had a great welcome waiting for us in Cincinnati. Kerwin was thrilled to see Mike and I was so excited to see my family again that I finally let those pent up tears fall. I had been intentionally saving them up over the last few days. We made a stop off at Mike's parents' to meet his Mike's Grandma Stahl and Aunt Betty. Kerwin had a blast at his grandparent's house. It must have seemed like a castle to him. He went in every room, petted the cats (you don't pet the animals in Haiti), watched the giant flat screen TV, played the drum set, played with the sports equipment, and met the neighbors. He was a little upset when it was time to head to Lexington. He finally got a little fussy when we were driving home on I75 (which coincidentally makes me a little fussy too). He got uncomfortable in his car seat and would not be consoled with toys. He was just extremely tired from three super early mornings in a row with very full and exciting days. He fell asleep just as we made it to Lexington. He slept all the way through town until we made it to our favorite Mexican restaurant which will forever been known as "Rincon" in this family. It is official: Kerwin is our son. He loves chips, salsa, and fajitas! He also ate the rice and beans (almost a Haitian meal). After dinner we headed back to see the house. Kerwin got to meet Max our yellow lab and see his room in person for the first time. He really liked his play kitchen set. He only had time to get into a fraction of his toys. Then we went outside to play with the dog and have a little pickup football game. Kerwin also got to try out his new bike. He loves it but it will be a challenge and good exercise for him to learn to ride. Finally after all the friends and family left we had a quick bath, a short book reading, prayers and off to bed. He was so excited that it took him a little while to settle down enough to go to sleep but he is now snoozing away. I don't think he was the least bit scared to sleep in his room alone. I doubt that he has ever slept in a room by himself. He took to the family like he had known them him whole life. He acted like this had been his house forever. I am more amazed everyday at the ways in which Kerwin, Mike and I fit together so well. I was so proud of the way he handled our travels. He has the same "go with the flow" attitude that Mike and I have. We are so thankful that God has a perfect plan for our family. We are so thankful that he has brought us together in this way and blessed us like he has. We are also so thankful for each of you who have provided such a great source of comfort and encouragement to us in this adoption process. Now we continue the process of building a Christ-centered household and we know that you will be important to us in that process as well. We are so richly blessed. Praise the Lord with us for his goodness, faithfulness, and great love.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Becky and Kerwin are in America!

Update from Mike: Becky and Kerwin have safely arrived in America and are in their hotel room in Miami. Kerwin did great all day and was very excited about flying in the plane and being in their fancy hotel room. They will be leaving very early tomorrow to go to the airport and will be in Cincinnati at 12:20. Anyone who would like to come to the airport and meet them with us is welcome to come.

WE HAVE A VISA!!!!!!!!

This is latest news from Mike: we have the visa! As I write this, Barb is driving over to pick Becky and Kerwin up and take them to the airport to leave for Miami at 4:30 (5:30 American time). The end is finally here!!!! If all goes as planned, they will spend the night in Miami and fly into Cincinnati tomorrow at 12:20. Pray there are no problems from here on out.

I've Hacked into the system!

Hello Everyone. This is Rebecca's sister Rachel. I hope she doesn't mind but I don't know if she will have time today to post lots of updates. Mike just called to let me know that the meeting at the Visa office went well this morning. They were told to come back at 1 o'clock to pick up Kerwin's visa. If all goes well they hope to get on the 4:30 flight from Port au Prince to Miami. They would most likely spend the night in Miami and come home tomorrow after noon.

Please pray that they are able to get their Visa at 1 or sooner and that there are plenty of seats for them on the flight. My family and I so very much appreciate all of the prayers and encouragement that has been offered through this blog. What a blessing it has been to have so many people be excited with us, sad with us, nervous with us, and all the other crazy emotions we have experienced on this roller coaster ride. Hopefully tonight we can all rejoice together!

Rachel Hisel

P.S. Becky, you thought a password could stop me, HA!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007


I heard this afternoon that the document in question has been received. All the other papers are in order. We are scheduled for a visa interview at 7:00 tomorrow. Hopefully tomorrow we will cross the final hurdle. I can't believe the end of this process is almost here. I can't wait to feel the relief, not to be waiting for anything. Hopefully, the next time I get on we will have great news. Until then...

Maybe tomorrow...

We are back to my old theme song again. The paper did not make it up to the Consulate yesterday. In fact, the woman at the USCIS (US immigration) who has the paper did not come to work yesterday. And unlike in the States, here in Haiti, all the documents of importance do not stay at the government offices overnight. Instead, they go home with the person who is responsible for them at the time. So if the person responsible for you document is not at work, your document in inaccessible. Since we were unable to contact the Consulate yesterday because their phone number was not working, we went ahead and went in at 7:00 this morning hoping for the best. But they refused to see us without having that paper. I gave them my best disappointed face without bursting into tears but it didn't make a bit of difference. So later today we will find out if the paper makes it to the office and if they will see us tomorrow. I am greatly disaapointed but am holding it together pretty well. I haven't actually shed a tear yet though they are all lined up ready to go at any time.

I guess we will have another regular day today and pray that the paper makes it to the Consulate and that we get the visa interview tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Saying Goodbye

Today has been a bit of a rough day emotionally. This morning right after breakfast we had to say goodbye to Mike. Kerwin was very upset that he was leaving again and I could not convince him that it was only for a few days this time. So we looked at the calendar and his adoption book and I tried to explain how it was all going to fit in timewise. Then we went swimming for a while because I wanted to enjoy what I hope is my last sunny day by the pool. It's been so overcast here recently, especially in the afternoon, so we swam first and had school in the afternoon today. Kerwin actually did really well with school today. His dad took over with school while he was here and I think it helped to have a different teacher working on slightly different things. His handwriting was the most improved.

Secondly, I've been on edge all day about the visa interview. We found out this morning before Mike left that we were scheduled for the appointment for tomorrow morning but there was a document that did not make it from the US immigration office up to the Consulate. It's always something. So, I waited all day to see if the appointment was going to be cancelled because of that. No call came. When I did talk with Barb she said we are going in there tomorrow no matter what. So, I am now preparing for what could be either an extremely good day, an extremely bad day, or an "okay" day. The extremely good day would include us getting our visa and getting out of the country on one of two flights leaving tomorrow afternoon/evening. Then we would fly the rest of the way home on Thursday. An extremely bad day would include us not getting the visa tomorrow for some unknown reason. A okay day would be us getting the visa but not making it onto a flight tomorrow and having to wait until Thursday to leave the country. So, please pray that we get that visa tomorrow.

This evening we had another nice dinner with the Yoders. The boys said goodbye in case we do not see eachother again tomorrow. I don't think Kerwin quite understood that this could the big goodbye for a while but he was still a little emotional after they left. I think he is kind of spent already and tomorrow will be a big day no matter what.

We are going to prepare to leave tomorrow and I'm going to try to get some sleep. I don't know how successful I will be. We are so close now and I am as nervous as ever. We could be saying goodbye to Haiti for a long time.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Down with Columbus Day!

Since we've personally been so affected by Columbus Day, I've decided to do a little research about this great holiday. In doing so I found out that Columbus Day actually has quite a bit of opposition. In fact, it is not even celebrated in the state of Minnesota. So, I have decided to join the opposition and try to convince as many as possible to join with me. First, the day that Columbus landed in the Americas was actually October 12th. If the government offices were observing the actual Columbus Day, they would not be closed today and we could have received our visa a day earlier and been home before the holiday even occurred. Second, and more importantly, Columbus was nothing more than an imperialist brute who sought to dominate anyone who was not European deeming them "ignorant and cowardly." In fact, here's a little piece of trivia for you. The first European settlement in the Western Hemisphere was actually a colony here on present day Haiti. It was a settlement started after the Santa Maria ran aground on Christmas day of 1492 while the crew slept (lazy, ignorant peasants). They named the settlement La Navidad and 39 crew members were left to man the settlement. At first the native Arawak people were friendly and helpful to the crew. However, once they realized that they crew was simply there to dominate and overtake them, they slaughtered them all and left their carcasses on the beach for Christopher Columbus to find when he came back the following year. So, in Haiti of all places, Columbus day should not be celebrated! I hope you have enjoyed my completely non-biased account of the true Columbus Day events. Ha!

Okay so really we had a great weekend with lots of great food. We had so much fun it went by really quickly. Right before I got here to Haiti four months ago, I had lost about 15 pounds. I really have no way of knowing what I truly weigh now but I think I have probably gained it all back again. So, in the last week or so of my being here, I decided to try to diet as much as possible with the limited foods available to me. I'd been doing pretty well until this weekend. Saturday we went up to the Montana and I had crepes made with pesto, tomato sauce and cheese. And they came with moist chocolate cake with a raspberry drizzle for dessert. It was the best meal I've has since I've been here. It was almost American except it was supposed to come with a salad which we never got (just to remind me it was Haiti). Then that evening, the Yoders came over to our hotel room to watch the Cubs game since they are big Cubs fans. Unfortunately, the Diamondbacks completed their sweep of the Cubs that night but Jackie did make chicken corn soup served with fresh croissants. I had three helpings. Then Sunday after church we came back to the hotel and ate the buffet for lunch. It was very good and fresh. The highlights were the lobster tails in the seafood mix and the flan. Kerwin had a great time with the kids. We have very quickly reached the point where other kids are much more interesting than mom and dad.

Today we will have school and get Mike packed up and ready to leave tomorrow. We have decided that he will go ahead go back on Tuesday as scheduled since we should only be a day or so behind him and it would end up costing us a lot to change his ticket. We are hoping to all be together at home by the end of the week. I am hoping to be there to see the Cats take on the #1 LSU tigers on Saturday.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Recent Pictures

Kerwin turns his plantain into a footbal
Kerwin eating his football
Mike and Kerwin watching the lowlights from he UK-South Carolina Game
My latest knitting creation (I gave them to one of the cleaning ladies here who is expecting)

Christopher Stinkin' Columbus

Well after my little fit this morning, things took yet another disappointing turn for the worse. We found out that because all of our papers did not make it to the Consulate until mid-morning today, there was no way for them to be able to process them in time to give us a next business day appointment. We also found out that Monday is Columbus Day which we typically could not care less about. However, now it means that we will not get a visa appointment until at least Wednesday. So I had a slight pity party this afternoon. But I have now (in the words of my mother) "readjusted my happy cap" and am back to my normal self again. We had dinner tonight with our friends the Yoders and we are planning a really fun day with them tomorrow with lots of good food which can always make me happy. We are going to go to the Montana for lunch and then in the evening we are going to watch a baseball playoff game in our room. Jackie has offered to make soup and bring it over to eat while we watch the game (and you know about me and my soup). Sunday is church and then just a few more days and I'll be home.

I am beginning to plan things for when I get home. I have rescheduled Kerwin's medical appointments. I need a day just to go through mail and put the house back in order. I have a list of about four or five restaurants I am dying to go to. I am also excited about being able to make my own meals again when I feel like it. I just this week really reached the point where nothing at the restaurant here sounds any good to me. And I am really excited about going to my first UK footbal game of the season. Unfortunately they are no longer the undefeated Kentucky Wildcats but I'll be happy to see them none the less. I am really looking forward to getting things packed up here. Then it will seem real. I am planning at this point on trying to hope a plane the same day that we get the passport. I think it's possible. We'll spend the night in Miami and then get home earlier the next day rather than late at night.

Our friends from Scotland left for home today. We are so happy for them. They have been waiting so long. Hopefully we will be in the air soon as well. Wishing everyone a good weekend...

A bad day for the home team

Well in all the frustration of trying to get the broadcast for yesterday's loss to South Carolina (we were having major audio problems), I forgot to write a blog. The news wasn't particularly good either. We do have the passport in hand now, which is a good step but there was a bit of trouble with one of the papers that need need to go with us to the Consulate. Plus, the Consulate is so busy right now, they hadn't even looked at our papers yet and would not give us a interview date. So, we are definitely not going in this week. Hopefully Monday. Barbara is going to deal with the paperwork problem today and then take it over personally to beg for a Monday visa appointment. I have also spoken personally with the lady a the Consulate who is very polite but has not be able to give me an answer about when we can come in.

Wait till you hear what the paperwork problem is. Kerwin was taken in for a physical several months ago but you do not pick up the physical form until you have the passport in hand. Don't ask me why things are done in this order it makes no sense to me. So when she went to pick up the physical form yesterday she sees that somehow they failed to document that Kerwin is handicapped even though she specifically told the doctor this and he said to her, "Yes, I can see that." I was there and heard the whole exchange. However, somewhere between him examining Kerwin and the report being written the fact the he had CP and was deaf was forgotten. So now we have to take in documentation of Kerwin's disabilities so they can fill it in on the "Diagnosis" blank. AAAHHH! The incompetence.

If you don't care to read my diatribe you can just stop here because the news for today is over. But I have yet to really rail on the government or the culture or the way thing are done here but I am about to. I'll probaly go back and delete this later but for those of you who caught it now, here it is. I have a tendency to lose my tolerance and ability to remain focused toward the end of something. I found this to be true when I spent the summer in Russia. By the last two weeks I was already home and my tolerance for that place, what we were doing, and my teammates changed drastically. I feel the same thing happening here. There is one thing I don't think I could ever deal with if I were called to overseas missions. I cannot just take this attitude of, "Well, that's just they way they do things here and you have to just accept it." Well I do not. I do not accept it. It is pitiful. It's not just different, it's worse. If you have seen better you cannot deny it. I'm sorry. I know incompetence and corruption and apathy occur all over, but nowhere is it tolerated and expected like it is here. It's wrong to have to always wonder if every person you talk to is lying to you. It's wrong that people in offices that are supposed to be helping children, the "employees" are sitting around playing computer games, sleeping, laughing it up with their buddies, and just generally passing time. And unfortunately I do not have any great overarching plan for fixing this place. It's not an easy (or even possible) thing to do. I do, however, reserve my right to be disgruntled.

These annoyances not withstanding, we are all happy and generally doing well. It's very nice to have Mike around to give me a few minutes to myself every now and then. Kerwin is definitely enjoying having both Mom and Dad around. We actually told him that we are going to be leaving soon. He is much more excited about getting in the "big airplane" at this point than he is about going home. But he is excited about that too. Hoping for good news this afternoon.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Together again!

Mike arrived without incident. He was actually early and waiting by the road when we drove up. This airport pickup is getting easier and easier each time someone comes down. But I am still glad that this will be the last time we have to do it. Mike and Kerwin had a very sweet (and active) reunion. They played about a half of a football game in the room and then we went up to dinner. Kerwin also got some new clothes, toys, and a backpack to put them in. (See pictures above) I didn't get any posed pictures of the two together because they wouldn't hold still long enough. We had dinner with the Yoders. They have been such great friends to us and we are making plans to stay in touch and try to get together again sometime in the future.

We got good news today but right at the end of the day. The passport is printed but we don't have it in hand yet. Since we didn't find this out till the very end of the day it was too late to get an appointment scheduled for the visa. Barb is sending an email tonight so hopefully it will be addressed first thing tomorrow. It would be wonderful to get the interview by the end of the week but we may have to wait until next week. I am much happier to wait now that we are all together again. Thanks for all the emails and notes. I can't wait to see many of you again soon and for you to get to meet Kerwin.

Oh, by the way, the girls that Kerwin likes to play with here at the hotel now have their passports, visas, and hope to be heading home Friday if all goes well with getting their transit visas to travel through the US on their way to Scottland. We have also enjoyed having them here as the kids have played together and the adults have commiserated together. We are so glad that they are getting to go home soon too!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

The Good and the Bad

Kerwin asked to put on his jacket with the hood today because it rained for a while. We had another rainy afternoon today. Kerwin has been walking on his own a lot more recently. He walked all the way down to the room the afternoon without falling once. Here's are a couple pictures of him walking and make a pipe cleaner creation in his hood.

Today we got bad and good news. The bad was that our passport did not get printed today but Barb is confident that it will happen tomorrow. The good news is better than the bad news is bad. The good news it that all of the business with the US immigration is done (that 3-9 days we were talking about)so as soon as we have the passport tomorrow we can schedule the visa interview. So hopefully, we will be able to come home with Mike. Thanks for joining with us in prayer. Praise God for his faithfulness. And thanks also to those of you who have contacted me to let me know you are reading. What a blessing!