Thursday, April 28, 2011

More Magdaline

Here's another picture of sweet Magdaline after she was admitted to Children of the Promise. One of the nurses there wrote a great blog about the kids she sees who are malnourished. You can check it out here. That was Magdaline. Too weak to cry. A stomach so empty she used her thumb to comfort her. Allowing a stranger to hold her and not fight it. Just enough energy remaining to protest her bath, before falling into a deep sleep.

Comparing the picture above to the one at the top of the blog on the right warms my heart. The amazing staff at Children of the Promise works 24/7 to save these little lives.

Right now they have an urgent need for rice cereal, size 3 diapers, baby shampoo, baby lotion (imagine the dry skin in that heat!) and baby wipes. With 48 babies, they go through a lot in any day. You can send supplies here:

Bud and Jan Bonnema
Agape Flights CAP--11952
100 Airport Ave
Venice, FL 34285

Many of you have already read this next part, but it's worth mentioning again. The address above is a hangar for an organization called Agape Flights. They take in all sorts of shipments, inventory them, and fly them to missionaries all over the world. When your box arrives in Haiti, Nick - COTP staff - meets the pilot on the runway. They take the supplies off the plane together, and Nick then heads over to customs to see what he needs to pay to bring the supplies into Haiti.

One thing I forgot to mention - Agape Flights emails Nick prior to the delivery so he knows exactly what's coming. Why is this important? It means NOTHING is stolen. You hear so much about supplies not making it to the intended party. That's not the case here. Agape inventories it and Nick picks it up. Everything you send down there makes it to the babies. Everything!

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Since August I've worked to raise money for the babies. Every penny that's come in has gone towards formula, diaper, baby food, blankets, clothing, lightbulbs, medical expenses - you name it. When I first was planning the trip I got a check written out to me for $1,000. The couple told me to use it any way I wanted. That money would have covered my travel expenses completely. I didn't even think twice - I can't keep that money. I have a job and benefits and a savings account. How could I take money away from the babies?

Fast forward to today. You'll notice there's a Chip-In button to the right of the blog now. While I still have a REALLY difficult time accepting money, I have to get over myself and start accepting. We've already spent thousands of dollars in the process of bringing Magdaline home. Two weeks ago we wrote a check for $5,300. We have $5,000 more that will be due soon. In addition, we're going to have over $5,000 in travel expenses coming up. (Two trips to Haiti - one for court, one to bring her home.) The total cost will be over $30,000.

With God, all things are possible. I know that He didn't bring us down this path without an idea of how He's going to provide. It will all work out, and I completely trust that.

If you have any great fundraising ideas, I'd LOVE to hear them!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Joy and Peace

Three weeks ago the kids and I were driving to Jr. Choir at church. All was quiet in the car, which is pretty uncommon. Out of the blue Henry said, "I love you Maggie. You're my best friend." No idea where that came from - but he said it with love and conviction. Whoever this Maggie was, he believes they are best friends.

For weeks we have been speculating who our little girl will be. We look at the babies on the Children of the Promise website every day. Many nights I come home from work and catch Jason on the site. Guessing. Wondering. Patiently waiting.

Last week we got our referral. Laurie at Love Basket, our adoption agency, asked me to call her. After she answered she said, "Karen, Henry was right." I was overcome with emotion. Magdaline.

As I read through the referral paperwork, one section stood out to me. The nannies at Children of the Promise have started to call her Maggie. God is preparing Henry for the arrival of his little sister.

You'll notice two new pictures at the top of the blog. On the left is the little girl I met on August 25th, my last full day in Haiti. This 11 month old little girl had just been admitted. I gave her a bath, got her dressed, and tried to coax her thumb out of her mouth long enough so she would eat. She weighed 9 pounds at the time. Painfully malnourished.

On the right is our daughter. The same little girl. Magdaline. She's now 18 months old and weighs over 20 pounds. Isn't she beautiful?

For those of you who sent supplies, food, clothing, money, toys - look at those two pictures very closely. You are saving lives. You are saving my daughter and the sons and daughters of many others across the US and Canada. I can't thank you enough.

An amazing peace has washed over me. Knowing who she is, and being blessed enough to have met this little girl, has given me a peace that passes all understanding. We still have 4-18 months before she'll be home. Please pray that it's sooner vs. later. I want to hold her again, kiss her cheeks, fall asleep with her, feel her breath on my face.

I can't wait to watch Henry playing with his best friend.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Stress and humor and losing my mind

My dear friend Windie is encouraging me to post this. I realize that many of my posts are intense. My time in Haiti was intense. Hearing about babies dying is intense. Even the adoption process is intense. But there is still joy and laughter in life, and it's usually at the expense of my ego. This past week I've prove to be really human. I guess this post is the naked truth about Karen.

I've been working really hard to finish up our adoption paperwork. Waiting two weeks without my medical letter and lab report, patiently waiting for French translations, depending on others to finish up so we can start the legal process for bringing our daughter home. This past week has been crazy. I needed ONE blood test completed so we could get our referral. It was my fault it was missed. I could not find the paperwork to give to my midwife so she could order the right tests. In my hyper-organization I put the sheet in my purse - which meant I couldn't find it while I was at the clinic. She ordered the bloodwork, and one critical test was missed.

What does this mean? No referral. Until the adoption agency knows I have a clean bill of health, they won't cough up the name of our daughter. I'm frantic. I'm going crazy. And I'm losing my mind.

Here is my week. Actually, this is just one day. One day of being human and having to laugh at myself as I completely lose my mind. This happened on Tuesday.

* * * * * * *

I just called to report my debit card lost. I used it last on Sunday at the bagel shop with the high school kids from church. The gal says, "I see your last transaction as $59.60 today..."

My heart sinks. Someone is using my card!

"At the Nestle employee store..." (Side note - I work for Nestle)

I'm confused. How could I have used my card if I haven't seen it in two days? Then it hits me. Like a ton of bricks. It's in my pants pocket because I don't want to carry my purse into the store.

The very serious, by-the-book call center rep starts laughing at me. I totally deserve it. "Can I help you with anything else?" "Yes, can you help me get my mind back?"

This happened after I got locked in my car. My door wouldn't unlock after I got back from the employee store. Kept trying to get out - lock, unlock - try the door. Lock - unlock - try the door. Finally I see Kevin from Accounting so I figure he can help me out. So I....

roll down my window and call him over. You know, to see if he can open the door for me.

And then I realize...with the window open...I can just try myself. But Kevin is there. And he's looking SUPER confused at me.

Later in the day I meet Kevin in the hallway and he busts out laughing and says, "Karen, there just aren't words."

* * * * * * *

I'm human. And I'm a mom. And I just want to bring my daughter home. In my depending on others to get things done for me, I'm slowly losing my mind - locking myself in my car and losing my debit card in my own pants.

If I could control this all, she would be home faster. And I'm pretty sure I'd be brilliant at all times.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Calling All Prayer Warriors

It's with a new sense of urgency that I ask you all to start praying. I've worried about the babies ever since I got back in August. While the staff there does an amazing job with them, conditions in Haiti are harsh. The hospital is a challenging drive away. Babies that would normally be in the NICU stay on the COTP property and are cared for by the staff. They set up IV's, administer meds, and do everything they can to keep the babies healthy.

Another virus is sweeping over them. Many of the kids are suffering from diarrhea and vomiting. Many are dehydrated. I don't have any further information - beyond what's posted on the COTP blog.

My heart sank as I read about sweet little Marie dying in Nikki's arms. She had adoptive parents who were just 1 week away from bringing her home. She looked so healthy and beautiful.

Please pray. With all of your might, pray. This is exactly why we CANNOT forget these children. They need our prayers and our donations on a constant and regular basis.

It's time for another drive. I'll be collecting powdered Pedialyte, disinfectant wipes, baby wipes, and liquid soap. If you want me to mail them, feel free to drop them off at church or contact me and I'll pick them up. If you want to send them yourself, you can sent them to:

Bud and Jan Bonnema
Agape Flights CAP--11952
100 Airport Ave
Venice, FL 34285

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Learn to do good; seek justice, rescue the oppressed, defend the orphan, plead for the widow. Isaiah 1:17

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Want to save a child?

Eat pizza!!

Pizza Dinner and Silent Auction
benefitting Children of the Promise, Haiti

Date: Saturday, April 9th
Where: Mt. Zion Lutheran
505 13th St S, Hudson, WI
Time: 4:30 - 6:30
Free will donation!
For more information: 651.206.7406 or