Sunday, January 31, 2010

One week tomorrow....

Too busy to post tomorrow!

Can't believe she has been here one week already!!! Avery is totally out of her shell and tons of fun (and a handful.) But, for the most part she has an easy going personality and enjoys to just be in the company of her family. When she gets excited she is really really over the top with excitment. Sometimes she throws toys or hits and thinks it's funny. And when we tell her know she giggles. I don't think the orphanage staff told these kids no very often...or if they did, she sure didn't listen! And she has a second wind/wild streak in her every night between 5-8pm. It's like the witching hour in a newborn...she just goes crazy during those couple of hours.

She is already looking super healthy and is eating really well. Her favorite foods so far are oatmeal, veggie burgers and yogurt. She doesn't really like meat or cheese.
We did manage to get her blood drawn on Friday which went just about as well as getting her hair done today(SCREAMED the entire time.) She had a small infection on her head that has healed and her cold/cough are gone as well.

All in all she is looking and acting like a totally different little girl than just 1 week ago. Can't wait to see what the next week holds for Avery!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Avery's Journey

The C-17 (or C-5?) that brought the kids over from Haiti.

Landed at 4:30 pm Jan 23, 2010 at the Sanford International Airport.

Close up of the tail of the jet. Already at hour 3 of waiting (plane was late)

Hour 5 of waiting:
First sign it was going to be a long day... we heard not all the kids made it on
the plane, but no one would tell us who. So a news crew had footage of kids
exiting the plane and we were all trying to figure out whose kids made it and
whose did not. So nerve wracking. Avery was taken off the plane in a wheel
chair (to save time) with her head buried under a blanket.
Hour 22:
This is when things turned from worse to ugly. This guy on the right
made the rest of our day a living nightmare. Parents/press asking
what his problem is. He worked for HHS (Health and Human

Hour 23-30: We meet with the jerk in the tie. He was making everything so
difficult it is hard to describe. He was trying to make up things as he went
but nothing he said made sense. And to parent who have been awake for
2 days straight, we were done with his antics. We got the Florida government
to come to our rescue and the result is next!

Hour 31: Finally they let parents back to the holding room to meet
their kids! First photo, Avery in the room where she was cared for
by the Red Cross.
Hour 31: She is happy to see Mommy!

Hour 34:
It's official....we can go back to the room and pick up our kids for good.
Notice I had been crying all day and had no sleep~ and my photo
reflects that! :)
Hour 34-37:
We wait and wait for immigration to get the paperwork in order. Not
sure what took so long...but at that point I was happy to wait.

Next day:
Charlotte airport...Mike's face in the background says it all.

Teddy bear from cousin Cammie!

Outside the aiport waiting to go! Cousins Harper, Campbell and Big Brothers
Preston and Caden

How she is doing so far...

We are amazed at how well Avery is adjusting to life here in NC! I am almost afraid to type it in fear it might take a 360 degree turn after I do. But, we have had really NO major issues so far. She is still beyond terrified of the dog, but did manage to walk by the cat this morning without crying. She is sleeping pretty well and naps during the day. She will eat most anything we put in front of her, except meat. She absolutely loves to play with other kids and loves to play catch with daddy or her brothers.

The only thing we are concerned about right now is her speech, or lack thereof. But, from what I am understanding this is quite normal and will come over time. She will laugh and imitate noises, but we haven't really heard her say any real words for the most part. She was also deathly afraid of the doctor's office...screamed through xrays, etc. Can't imagine how vaccinations are going to get done.
We already turned in our "stool" collection kit (I won't elaborate on how I had to collect the sample) and dropped it off to the doctor. So we are awaiting news of what cooties are living in her belly. The wound or sore on her head is almost all gone already and so is her cold! She hasn't itched at all, so I am assuming she doesn't have scabies right now. She had them when I visitied in Haiti but it was so obvious she scratched herself non-stop.
Avery loves to look at books, comb her babydoll's hair with a plastic spoon (I know, we need to get her a baby brush) and wear sunglasses.
So that's where we are at right now. I am hoping she stays on this course and continues to be the happy little girl we are enjoying so much!
Hoping to post photos this weekend! From what I am hearing, we might actaully have some "Avery in her first snowfall" photos! :)

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


After about a 40 hour wait at the Sanford/Orlando Airport, I was finally united with Avery. It was the WORST (I can not emphasize WORST enough) couple days of my entire life. But it did luckily have a happy ending.

I'll post more about details later, but as you may have heard, some families were not as lucky. Some kids have been kept in Haiti and the border is closed. Some kids are in Refugee Camps in the US, and not home with their adoptive families as they should be. Please continue to not only pray for the return of these kids to their families but call congressmen, the state department, etc. to keep the pressure on to bring these kids home where they belong.

Much of the above problems are directly a result of UNICEF sticking these $0.02 into the situation. UNICEF, if you're not aware, is Anti-Adoption and one of the reasons adoptions from Haiti take so long in the first place. I didn't know this until we got into the process and I was education on UNICEF's views.

We are doing well at home and Avery is adjusting to her new surroundings. Here are a couple photos, until I can get a chance to download more.

Thank you all for your thoughts, prayers and support!!! It really got us through the disasterous weekend we had trying to gain her custody.

Friday, January 22, 2010

No Go for today either

Word was tonight was the night. My senator even saw our orphanage listed on the flight plan for a flight out of PAP to Miami at 6:40p.

Morning started early with me canceling class again, so I could scurry around and get a money order, last minute paperwork notarized and pack a few last minute things. I checked email at least 500 times checking for instructions on whether to fly to Miami or another airport. I was 99% confident I would be on a plane by lunch time.

Around 2p, I grew impatient and thought about flying to Miami to make sure I was there in time to meet Avery at the gate. Glad I didn't.

Received an update around 5p. Said some kids are approved to leave Haiti, others are not. No word as to which group we are in. Also notified the approved kids will fly somewhere (no clue as to where) tonight.

We head to airport, so as soon as we know where the plane is going, we can get on the next flight out....

Got about 5 miles from home, checked my email from phone...receive a message with the subject line: NOT COMING NOW

Didn't even have to read the email to know what that meant. We turned the car around and now I am back home.

When will this chaos end. I know most of this is out of everyone's control, but this is really getting rediculous.

Anyway, it doesn't help that I am stressed out and tired. I said it yesterday (and the day before, and day before that...) Maybe tomorrow???

Thursday, January 21, 2010


A Difficult Day... A Race Against Time
Blocked roads, heat and missing paperwork complicate orphans departure

(Port-au-Prince, Haiti) Because of State Department procedural requirements, on the morning of January 21, 2010, 114 children left the Maison des Enfants de Dieu (Children of the House of God) orphanage for the U.S. Embassy. Of the 114 children, 111 were the orphans eligible for humanitarian parole to the United States and three were orphans who have Canadian/Argentinean adoptive parents and may also qualify for evacuation. Eighty-seven toddlers and children traveled in a bus and twenty-seven infants traveled in a van, accompanied by orphanage staff, representatives from the U.S. ministry, For His Glory Adoption Outreach (FHG), and members of the press. Dead bodies, debris and abandoned vehicles in the roads made movement very difficult. Temperatures inside the vehicles became extreme and began to make the younger children sick. After 2 hours of little progress, the difficult decision was made to return to the orphanage.

After returning the children to the orphanage, staff members returned to the U.S. Embassy and received permission to process the children's paperwork without the children being physically present. Humanitarian paroles for some of the orphans have been completed, however additional documentation was needed for others. The United States Customs and Immigration Service has pledged to work through the night with FHG staff to ensure that all required documentation will be available Friday in sufficient time to allow all 114 orphans to depart Haiti for the United States. Air Transportation from Haiti is being arranged for the evening of January 22, 2010.

Kim Harmon, President of FHG, stated she is "overwhelmed and amazed by the dedication and willingness of individuals within the U.S. Government to assist in meeting Friday's deadline." She continued to call for "everyone to pray, especially for the health of the children."

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Press Release

(Port-au-Prince, Haiti) On January 20, 2010, 133 orphans from the Maison des Enfants de Dieu (Children of the House of God) orphanage will begin the difficult process outlined by the U.S. Department of State for humanitarian parole and onward transportation to the United States. In accordance with instructions received from the State Department, as relayed by the Joint Council on International Children's Services (JCICS) at 8 p.m. today, orphans along with orphanage staff members have been instructed to arrive at the U.S. Embassy as early as possible on Wednesday morning. JCICS warned that no food, water or facilities would be available for the children while processing at the U.S. Embassy Port-au-Prince.

JCICS further relayed that orphanage requests to the U.S. Embassy for security and transportation for the children have been denied by the State Department. The U.S. ministry associated with this orphanage, For His Glory Adoption Outreach (FHG), was also asked to stop requesting security, transportation or even water at the orphanage location. Following discussions with staff and board members in Port-au-Prince, the difficult decision was made that all 133 children, including approximately 60 children under the age of 3, will begin early in the morning of January 20th to walk the over 2 kilometers to the U.S. Embassy Port-au-Prince. This decision was made due to the limited staff available and the increasingly dangerous security situation at the orphanage in Port-au-Prince. The staff will carry as much water, food and baby formula as possible with them for the orphans while processing at the U.S. Embassy. JCICS relayed that once processing is completed, the orphans will travel to the United States on "cargo jets to locations that are not often known until an hour or so before the flight leaves."

Kim Harmon, President of FHG, acknowledged that "this arrangement is far from ideal for the safety and well-being of the children. We are calling to all who care about these precious children to pray earnestly for their safety tomorrow."

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

I am so embarrassed by our Government


It is once again my job to be the barrier of bad news. Another day come and gone and no change. Despite extensive Congressional support and all of your calls to your Members of Congress we have hit roadblock after roadblock. At this point we respectfully ask that you stop contacting your Members of Congress requesting their assistance with obtaining security, transportation, and water for the location. The Department of State has not and apparently will not provide the small assistance that we have requested.

Given the current circumstances, at this point we are recommending that someone from each orphanage escort the children who qualify for humanitarian parole or adoption visas to the U.S. Embassy in Port-A-Prince. We recommend that the orphanage staff arrive with the children and any adoption paperwork that has not been destroyed as early as possible in the morning in order to attempt to obtain visas or parole for the children. Please understand that this option may not be considered safe and that the U.S. Embassy did not allow some orphanages onto the premises today. Additionally, please note that it has been reported that there is no food, water or facilities for the children to use while at the Embassy. As noted during our conference call earlier today, these are our recommendations only and should not be used to replace your or your orphanage director's good judgement.

It is our understanding that any children processed by USCIS in Port-A-Prince are leaving on U.S. cargo jets to locations that are not often know until a hour or so before the flight leaves. At times children have left Haiti without the knowledge of their adoptive parents.

This is currently the worst case scenario for the children's well-being and safety but at the moment there are no other options.

This is really getting rediculous...

This is from the President of our orphanage at 11am Tuesday Jan 19th.

We need you all to act again on behalf of all our children. Currently, we have two families from Argentina and one from Canada adopting. Our governments are not cooperating and working together to get all our kids out, they are dragging their feet. We are going to start losing babies due to dehydration if we do not evacuate these children quickly to the U.S. and then process them here. We do not have time for a one by one assessment of the state of their adoption process and issuance of visas prior to evacuation.
Please, begin contacting your governors and continue to pressure your senators and congressmen to get a plan in place, quickly, to evacuate the children to the U.S. The Argentinean and Canadian Governments could then work with the U.S. to bring their children home from the U.S. Time is of the essence. This is not going to look good for the U.S., the State Department, the other world governments or the United Nations if our children, who survived the earthquake, begin to perish because the governments and agencies would not work together to quickly evacuate all the children in the orphanages.
We have confirmed reports that Governor Ed Rendell form Pennsylvania went to Haiti and has brought back 54 children to Pennsylvania from an orphanage. If this can happen for them, it needs to happen for all the orphans that are suffering in orphanages with little supplies, starting to experience diarrhea and sicknesses due to the conditions.

Thank you,
Kim Harmon,

Still waiting

So the title of our blog is holding true today, unfortunately. We are still waiting for word on when the kids are being evacuated and where they will be flown to. There is a conference call today to explain to families what the Humanitarian Parole means, etc. I am not sure what else the call is about. I am not sure if the US has given official clearance for the kids to come to the US or not. I am confused and it seems a lot of people are as well. I see a few kids being brought to Pittsburgh and Florida on CNN but not sure if they are kids whose families that were farther along in the process than us or not. Avery's orphanage continues to be featured on CNN and Fox News all day but we have yet to catch a glimpse of our little girl.

Maybe I'll know something after the call at 10am. I teach at a University and I keep going back and forth with cancelling and "uncancelling" class since I don't know when anything is going to happen. My students probably think I have lost my mind with all the emails they have received in the past couple in limbo makes it difficult to carry on with every day obligations!

We had the media here again last night, and the newspaper is calling at 9am. This is so exhausting. Woke up with a headache...wonder why!?

Monday, January 18, 2010


Seems like it's a matter of logistics, which is not at all surprising. Can't imagine the task at hand, getting over 100 orphans safely to the airport in a completely destructed city. We had trouble getting around on the roads when I was there last year. Can't even imagine this now...

For more, check out this blog about our Orphanage:

Also, our orphanage will be on CNN again tonight, from 8-10pm.

Update from JSCIS


Things are developing very quickly so please understand that we will get information to you as quickly as possible. It is our understanding that some of the orphanages have sent children to the U.S. Embassy for possible processing of their immigration. You may see reports of this and other activity, such as children leaving Haiti in the press, please remember that this is an extremely fluid situation with little confirmed information available. Please note that hundreds of children outside the U.S. Embassy waiting to be processed could be a very unsafe situation. Throughout last night and into this morning we continue to meet with NGO's in U.S., NGO's on the ground in Haiti, and the U.S. government. All attempts are being made to establish humanitarian parole and to conduct that in a manner with provides safety to the children.


We are SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO close now . The kids got have their visas...just need the final OK from Hilary. Please read the following:

URGENT! The children all have parole visas in hand. However, in addition to the parole visas, the Department of State must give clearance and that has not been done....(202) 647-9572 is the number listed for Hillary Clinton on the State Department's alphabetical phone list at

Today is a holiday so not sure if that is possibly slowing down this final decision, but lets flood her office with calls!!!


Sunday, January 17, 2010

Almost there!

I NEVER would have imagined in my wildest dreams, that Avery would be home by this summer. I knew our paperwork was just chugging along, barely. But, now, in a matter of one maybe two days she will have a family to love her, hold her and care for her. This really feels like a dream because adopting from Haiti, is ALMOST IMPOSSIBLE. Many many people have questioned our decision to adopt from Haiti because of the painful process, to the point where at times I felt foolish for thinking she would ever come home.

But, we were patient. We didn't give up. We continued to have faith in our decision and believe in our hearts that she was meant to be with us.

And, now, in less than maybe 48 hours, I'll be picking up our daughter (not sure from where yet...minor detail we still need figured out) and bringing her home!

Again, our friends and family have been so wonderful we can't tell you what your support has meant to us. Adopting a child is not easy and we are going to need your continued support as Avery adapts to her new family and home.

If you don't believe in miracles, may be you will now...because I honestly can say that Avery coming home from Haiti is a miracle!

Getting ready

Looks like Avery in the orange shirt.

We are gathering paperwork and submitting it to our Agency, as they are forwarding it on to the lawyers in Pittsburgh who will be adovating for our children's visas. It is still unclear how long this will take and when/how the children will be evacuated from Haiti.

Above are some photos from the orphanage. They are living outside for the most part in tents as the building is unsafe. We haven't received many updates since yesterday on whether or not they have been able to find water and more supplies.

Thank you to everyone who has been keeping our family and others in their thoughts and prayers. We all very much appreciate it and we are all hopeful that the children will be in the safety of their adoptive families within the next few days/week.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

The latest...

The latest from our Adoption Agency Director : A Pitsburgh Law Firm has been hired (by who I am not 100% sure) to help get the kids in the Orphanages "Humanitarian Parole" And, they are hopeful this will be the answer to getting them home!

Things continue to change here on an hour to hour basis. I am supposed to leave here in 45 minutes to have dinner at a friends and I am sure when I return things will have changed again!

I can't believe it is possible Avery could be home soon...dare I say days?? weeks?? We have NOTHING ready... I mean NOTHING! Before the earthquake, we were on track to have her home most likely 2011. Not next week!!! But all those things are so unimportant, we just want her here...whether we are at all ready or not!!!

She is 2, we have no 2 year old toys, no crib put together, no 2 year old winter clothes...time to get organized!!!! This is so exciting it doesn't seem real and to be honest, I am trying to assume she won't be here in days so I don't get my heart broken should that not happen.

Continuing to pray for the safety of the orphans.

Life Right now in Haiti

To get just a glimpse of what life is like in Haiti today, visit the Livesay's Family Blog.

JCiCS Update

Just receieved this email.....things are changing by the hour around here.

Humanitarian Parole
It is the position of Joint Council that the U.S. government should immediately grant humanitarian parole to all Haitian children being adopted by a U.S. family. At present, Joint Council is appealing with the U.S. government, specifically the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), to issue humanitarian paroles for any child that has been referred to an American family. If DHS issues humanitarian paroles, the children would not need a visa to enter the U.S. and be united with you. This would minimize the paperwork and possibly eliminate the need to find documents, which have been destroyed in the earthquake. Given the urgent needs of the children and the fact that they have you, we believe that humanitarian parole is the most humane solution. We will continue to work this weekend and into next week to achieve this goal. Again, please remember that at this time, we do not have confirmation from the Department of Homeland Security regarding humanitarian parole, but we are working towards that goal.

From our many, many meetings with Members of Congress, the Department of State and the Department of Homeland Security, we feel that you should know that your government is working very hard to find a solution which will help get your children into the safe, permanent and loving setting of your family.

Another update...Desperation is setting in.

This is from a fellow adoptive parent, who was recently given this message...

The O needs prayers NOW!

Pierre is in DESPERATE NEED of CASH on hand. He cannot access the money through donations since banks are destroyed/closed.

O is either out of (or will be soon) of:

There is a sign out to alert the military helicopters that are flying over that it is an orphanage that needs help. Apparently the 82nd Airborne is not there.

1 nanny has died (we don't know know which one); another nanny has lost her own child (not at the orphanage).

They are working on getting paperwork together to identify each child and where they belong (possibly to whom they belong) in case of evacuation. There is no evacuation plan yet.

Please don't call Kim at this time (this isn't coming from Kim), but she is inundated and is trying to contact who she can.

Please pray!!! Pray for what they have to miraculously multiply supplies like Elisha and the oil!!! Pray God sends SOMEONE who can help!

I think the O is at #32 Delmas 31, Port-au-Prince.

Friday, January 15, 2010

The NEWEST UPDATE...not a rumor!

Some families are getting VISAS for their children as I type this!!!!! Those familes have "Adoption Decrees" for their chidlren which is one of the last steps of Haiti adoptions. That is such great great news!!!! Those adoption decrees were already issued before the earthquake took place.

However, this leaves the majority of us out. After two years in the process, we weren't that far along. So we are still all praying, hoping, pleading for a solution that includes all matched families.

Stay tuned for more updates....


Found out that most the info from my last post was rumors...there was not a State Meeting at 10am today and there have been no visas issued for any Orphanages as of yet.

Makes you wonder who is starting these rumors, ugh.

We did find out that Kiki, who processes the adoption paperwork at our orphanage was found alive. So that was obviously very welcoming news. Everyone was starting to fear for his life after we hadn't heard of his whereabouts in a few days.

If anything new comes about, I am going to be very careful in posting without first verifying its accuracy. Still waiting to hear an update on how Haitian adoptions will be handled. Hopefully we'll know something soon....

Thursday, January 14, 2010

On the brink of a miracle

I have been on email and facebook ALL NIGHT! I can't sleep.

There are so many messages, stories, and signs that a miracle is going to happen for the children of Haiti...some have already started! Every adoptive parent I know has been writing, emailing, getting inviewed on the news, to spread the need for the kids to come home. They'll be safe here and there will be so many more (so unfortunate) orphans that will need a place to stay.

We have gotten word that an ENTIRE orphange has permission to fly their kids to the US, they are just working out the logistics. Not our orphanage, but exciting.

Another family got visas for their four Haitian children and the kids will travel to US tomorrow with a mission group that was already in Haiti. Amazing!

The thought that maybe, just maybe our little girl (and many many others) "might" be home soon is really unbelievable. I am trying not to get my hopes up but it sure is hard not to dream of the possibilities after hear of these two stories tonight!

Can't wait to see what news we hear tomorrow!! We are more than ready (well, we need to buy a few a matress for her bed!) for our little girl to come home!!!! PLEASE!!!!!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

No words

My head is spinning thinking about what the people of Haiti must be going through as I type this. It is night time there now, no power, aftershocks, people screaming, kids crying, hospital collapsed, roads are not passable. No words to describe our concern for the entire situation.

There are several of us scheduled to travel there in 10 days or so. I can't imagine our Avery going through this without parents there to console her. I can't imagine us being there, and what worry that would have caused our children here back in the US.

The only news we have so far is a nanny has been injured and the director sustained an eye injury. The building has been damaged, and I am not sure kids can even get back in their rooms. It has to be pure choas.

Please keep all the millions of people affected by this earthquake in your thoughts and prayers. Thank you.

Monday, January 11, 2010

The Good and the Bad

The Good: Our file has entered Parquet, which I didn't think was possible until AFTER we go to Haiti to sign the notebook. So although it's again, just one small step of many, we are elated to have our file moving forward.

The Bad: I got this off the GLA web site. This will sort of explain why adoptions take so long in Haiti. There are so many steps, I honestly don't even understand them all, and I really don't attempt to try to!

"In IBESR we need 4 signatures before the dossier is finished. In Parquet, we need signatures from different people BEFORE the dossier enters Parquet , a signature from the lawyer in charge of adoptions, and then a stamp after Parquet. In the civil courts, the head judge for adoptions must sign, the greffier must sign, the judge must sign again to legalize the signature of the greffier, and then the Parquet legalization department must sign. Now if the legalization department finds errors in wording, such as MANDATAIRE (Power of Attorney), on the document which was supposed to be removed, they send it back to the court clerk for correction. In Attestation, a clerk must type the form, another clerk must check the signature against the one on file, and then only the director of Archives can sign that the signature is a good one. For MOI, the dossiers must travel through 2 different offices and all of the documents are studied before it is signed. In Immigration, we turn the dossier into the receiving office, from their it goes to many different sections before it is returned to us as a passport! i believe there is 5 different offices that touch the dossier before it is given to us as a passport!

This does not take into consideration the Justice and Foreign Affaires offices that legalize all of the paperwork! We lose more paperwork in the Justice Legalization department than any where else in the system! We then have to ask the judge to remake paperwork that they have lost! When we turn paperwork into Legalization, it is no longer attached to the dossier but has to be taken out and individual papers given to Legalization."

MAKE SENSE???? Didn't think so! :)

Monday, January 4, 2010


We are welcoming 2010 with open arms! Hoping this will be a year full of great things. Will this be the year Avery comes home? Only time will tell! It is very unlikely, but for the first time I truly believe it "could" be a possibility. We'll get a much better idea of that possibility once we see how long we "hang out " in Parquet, where our file is now (I think?)

To help keep the process moving in the right direction we are heading to Haiti in exactly 20 days to sign the notebook before the judge and visit a little with our daughter whom I haven't seen in over a year and Mike has never met. It is an exciting time but I must admit I have mixed feelings knowing how difficult it is to hand her back over to the Orphanage staff once again. I know I'll be shocked at how much she has grown over the past year.

Also, I must say the past couple weeks went by way to fast. Kids are back to school already and we are slowly putting all the Christmas decorations back in the attic. We had a nice Christmas, low-key and relaxed. Granny (Mike's mom) came to visit for a week from NY and the kids had fun keeping her entertained.

We found time to see the movie "Princess and the Frog" which the boys liked (didn't love it...too girly I think.) We also painted pottery at Meg-Art and visited a nearby science museum. Most importantly, we discovered the game of Balderdash. Seriously, it is the most fun I have had in a while. If you haven't played, it's will keep you entertained for hours on end. Says ages 12 and up but Caden (8) played it just fine and loved it! I am amazed this game remained unknown to me for so long!
Here's to a very Happy New Year to everyone!