Thoughts from an Ordinary Guy

This journey through life is never boring......

Month: July 2014 (page 1 of 3)

Roselaure––The Rest of the Story

Thursday night (around midnight), they arrive in Miami. Cheryl and Roselaure are the first ones off the plane and there is an ambulance waiting to take them to Miami Children’s Hospital with lights and sirens going.

She made it but she’s a very sick little girl.

Friday morning, my alarm goes off at 6:00. My phone rings at 6:05. It’s Cheryl, she’s in tears, hasn’t slept for 24 hours and is very worried about RoseLaure. She is also having a hard time getting in touch with RoseLaure’s parents (who are at Miami International Airport with the rest of the parents waiting for RoseLaure’s brother.) So, I called Johnny Carr from Bethany – who flew from Pennsacola to Miami just to be there “in case anyone needed help.” He found the parents and brought one of them (I believe Mom) to the hospital.

Friday night the surgeons did emergency brain surgery on RoseLaure and she was in critical condition. The initial estimate was that it was a relatively rare strain of bacterial meningitis.

On Monday, the doctors told her parents, “You might as well go back home to Indiana. There is a 99% chance that RoseLaure is going to be in a persistent vegetative state for the rest of her life.”

“Gulp.”

So, they took Stevenson (her brother) and went home. But they kept coming back and praying and hoping.

And healing began and 8 months later, we had a Haitian Adoption Reunion and RoseLaure sat on my lap. (More on that next time)

And she was fine. 100% on target for all of her developmental standards.

God is good, all of the time and God used a fast ride down the mountain and the care of many to give this little miracle a chance at a good life.

Life, Death and a Drive Down the Mountain

So, shortly after Cheryl and I talked on Thursday morning, Dixie told her, “Cheryl, RoseLaure is really sick. I want you and Holly (another nurse) to take her down to the American doctors at General Hospital. I want to make sure she can survive a plane flight. Laurie will drive and Junior will ride shotgun.” In other words, I want to make sure she doesn’t die over international waters.

Normally, the drive from GLA down into Port Au Prince would take anywhere from 1 to 2 hours depending on the traffic (and in this case depending on which roads were blocked because buildings fell on them.) The drive took 31 minutes.

When they would need to merge into traffic, Junior would jump out of the car and bang on other cars until they let them in. Oh and the fact that Junior is big, tall and carries a gun didn’t hurt their willingness to let our team in. He’d then climb back in the car and they’d take off.

They got to the hospital and, well let’s just say that Cheryl won’t tell me details of what they saw at the hospital other than that it was a truly tragic situation. The doctors saw RoseLaure, said that they think she can make it, but they also put things in motion for an ambulance to meet them at the Miami airport so that she could get to a US hospital as soon as possible.

Back in the car they went and dashing off to the airport to meet the rest of the kids. RoseLaure has a chance.

(Stay tuned)……

Evacuation Chaos–Also known as why I didn’t talk to my wife that day……

Wednesday was the day in Haiti where Dixie and the staff took mountains of paperwork down to the government offices in Port Au Prince to make sure that everything was in order so that they could get Humanitarian Parole and actually get the kids out of Haiti and home to their forever families.

So, while there were families scrambling in the US to get ready, there were people scrambling in Haiti to get the paperwork and get the kids ready to go so that when it was ready, all was ready.

Thursday morning, I had a chance to spend a few minutes on IM with my wife. After a couple of minutes, she said, “I’ve got to go help get the kids ready to go. I’ll be online again when the kids are on their way down to the airport.”

“Sounds good – talk to you then.”

And then the day went on with its usual chaos and busyness. The busyness included a trip to the airport to see the families off to Miami who were flying with Northern Air.

Early afternoon came and went and my wife still wasn’t online. Then late afternoon – still nothing.

Early evening – all was quiet from her. I wasn’t concerned because I know how electricity and satellites work in and with Haiti.

Later evening – still no word. I was starting to think that she might have ended up going down to the airport with the kids – little did I know.

About 10:00, I got a text message from one of the adoptive dads who was part of the team that came in to help – “Hey Tom, your wife is on the plane and she’s taking care of a really sick baby!”

30 seconds later, my daughter popped online. She was off at college but following all of the goings on very closely because her heart is in Haiti and her siblings are from Haiti.

“Hey Dad, Mom’s on the plane that is evacuating the kids to the US!”

Me – “She is, but how did you know?”

It turns out, another one of the dads that was helping with the evacuation was sitting on the plane, took a selfie of him and his son and you could just barely see the corner of the shirt a nurse in the next row was wearing. “I know that’s Mom’s shirt, I just helped her pack it on Saturday!”

So, I never got to talk to my wife further that day but I did know she was safe and the kids were getting on the plane.

Little did I know what her day held for her………

But that’s a story for the next chapter.

Amazing Story–It’s Complete!

Next problem – the package that the vaccines will be coming in is too big to go in typical carry on luggage. What to do? Three phone calls later, I got to talk to “Captain Jones” in their command center. He authorized the okay for the vaccines to be stored in the ONLY available storage space inside the plane that isn’t typically used. There was one closet by where the flight attendants work that could fit it.

Oh and the “oversized luggage fees” of $425 – American Airlines voluntarily waived them because the vaccines were ending up in Haiti. I hadn’t even had a chance to ask and he said he’d do that.

So, it’s all in place. Wednesday morning, I get a text message from John, “Picked up the vaccines on the way to the airport.” “Boarding plane, all is well.” In the mean time, I’m talking to our people in Haiti who are talking to Junior in Miami. Junior met the plane and around 11:00 Wednesday night, I got a text message, “Met Junior, handoff complete.”

Junior took the vaccines into Haiti Thursday morning and by the end of the day on Thursday, the vaccines were being distributed to a variety of clinics and hospitals that our staff in Haiti know. Those vaccines, in less than 48 hours, went from San Francisco to saving lives in Haiti.

All because of people who went above and beyond with no reward expected but strictly because it was the right thing to do.

A Front Row Seat to God at Work……………..

Diapers and Artificial Turf–They Made it!

One of the last big projects, actually the last one that I finished up before my time at GLA was eliminated was loading the container worth of diapers and artificial turf that was donated to GLA.    The turf came from Northview High School and Grand Rapids Christian High School.    The diapers were donated by people literally all over the world – from Okotoks Alberta to New York to Grand Haven Michigan and points in between.

Yesterday the container came out of customs and made the trip up the mountain to Ft. Jacques.    Enjoy these pictures and thank you so much for helping this project be a success!

Tom

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