First Three Weeks

Mathieu has experienced a lot of firsts. We have sampled several restaurants with Chick-fil-A being one of his favorites along with Mexican food.

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What has surprised me the most is how he really prefers for me to cook for him. And…he loves to cook, too! He was missing some good Haitian food, so he went to the grocery store with me and found everything he needed to cook a full Haitian meal. We were totally impressed. He did all the chopping, cutting, mixing, frying, everything. We had fried chicken, piklez, fried potatoes, and fried plantains. It was really good, too. Maybe he will have a restaurant one day.

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Mathieu also had his first doctor’s appointment. This was extremely special to us. I literally couldn’t wait because our doctor is the reason we ever went to Haiti in the first place. He met Mathieu in Haiti way back 8 years ago. It was just the coolest thing to finally see him examining Mathieu in the USA! He even said the whole appointment was surreal.

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We also took time for lots of fun. We went to Jumpstreet to jump on the trampolines and Climb Murfreesboro (a rock climbing wall). He has also been able to go to the movies with his cousins and ride their hoverboard.

Once he realized how much we liked his cooking, he decided to start charging for it. He cooked for some friends and earned his first $2 (and already spent it.) He’s gone bike riding with friends down the street and started school. The other students were so excited and welcoming to him. He has made several new friends. He is doing really well in school so far, and he loves it. We are so proud of him. He likes riding the bus and thought it was so cool that the bus comes to his house to pick him up in the mornings. He already had his first field trip to the bowling ally, and he LOVED it.

He’s already gotten his social security number/card. He asked me what it was when it came in the mail. I said, you can pay taxes now! He’s also had his first haircut in America. He wants it to grow out, so we just had it shaped up a little.

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One of the sweetest things is bedtime. We talk about the day, pray, and read to him. We love this time together. The other day we wanted to nap, so he decided to read to us. He was reading a book that was written in English, but he was speaking it in Creole. We have been totally impressed with his language comprehension.

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On top of all the celebrations of Mathieu’s homecoming, he also had his 12th birthday, his first birthday in America! He had so much fun and loved the attention. We had a full Haitian meal, cake, and gifts. He got a bike (and has gotten really good at riding), soccer equipment (he joined the local rec league team), and a guitar (a recent hobby of his. He really wants to learn to play.)

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We have really loved our time together. Even though we have had such good times already, it certainly has not been perfect, and we learn how to live together as a family a little more each day. Mathieu’s pastor in Haiti said at Mathieu’s going home party, that God had always meant for Mathieu to live in America with us, and that Mathieu was brave and had strength and courage to wait. When our pastor here introduced Mathieu to our church, he said the same thing. God meant for Mathieu to be born Haitian and be in our family here in America. It was not Plan B. For us, it is so obvious that Mathieu was meant to be in our family, and we are so thankful for him.

 

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Destination: Smyrna

We have been home over a week now and are starting to figure out our new routine. We are still in disbelief each morning when he is actually here, but yet it seems so normal all at the same time.

Two weeks ago Monday, Mathieu’s US Visa was printed. Peyton and I booked our flights to arrive in Haiti on Thursday and come home on Saturday. Peyton and I were the only ones who could pick the visa up from the US Embassy. We did so on Thursday as soon as we landed in Haiti, of course, not without a few bumps. Security did not want to let us in the Embassy even though we had an appointment. (I printed the email on Wednesday before we left, so he tried to tell me our appointment was for Wednesday.) The credit card machine was not working to take our money for the visa. No worries. I told Peyton to make sure to bring cash in case that very thing happened. Well, they could not take our cash money either because there was a tiny tear in one of the $20 bills. (I received this money straight from a US bank before we left.) Then the credit card machine miraculously started working, Praise the Lord, and we paid and left.

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We then headed over to the children’s home to get Mathieu. They were having a party for him.

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We ate some good Haitian food, and they had him a cake that said Au Revoir “Good Bye”. It was so very nice. The kids were crying and some even stood and said a few nice things about Mathieu. Mathieu said he wanted to say something. He thanked the Pastors, the staff, and all the kids for loving him and taking care of him. It was so very sweet, and Peyton and I were just a mess. The ladies at the home were crying as well. We’re just really going to miss everyone so much. They have been Mathieu’s family for the last 8 years.

I had already sent a message for Mathieu to pack what he wanted to take. He had a great big bag ready. We told him only the things he really wants. He happily picked three things out of the bag and was ready to go.

We arrived at the hotel that evening and just relaxed. Is this really happening? We had everything but one “Exit Letter” from our attorney. She had it in her hand; she sent us a picture of it and was set to bring it to us at the hotel the next day.

The next day our attorney came with the Exit Letter, and we talked for a while. We know she was ready to be finished with our case, too. She describes herself as a Warrior, Fighter, Fixer, and Problem Solver. We are so glad that God made her that way and sent her to us. She said, “I knew it could happen. You just needed to have patience.” We are so forever grateful for her.

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That was it. We had everything we needed to depart the next morning. Our hotel was across the street from the airport, so Mathieu was able to see the planes taking off. He was smiling and so ready. That night, I think he started getting giddy. He was walking around the pool pretending to jump in. We said go! He started to take his shoes off. Peyton said, do you think he’s going to do it? I said, oh no. Definitely not. Then he did it. He jumped in the pool with all his clothes on! It was hilarious.

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Our travel home was flawless, and Mathieu looked as if he had flown many times. We landed in Miami and made it through immigration, and his first food in America was sushi. He wasn’t a huge fan, but he did like the spicy tuna taco. We landed in a very cold Nashville to lots of friends and family waiting to finally be able to welcome him home.

Mathieu just smiled the whole ride home from the airport. It was so surreal to all of us. Our sweet friends had placed Welcome Home signs in the yard and his room. We gave Mathieu a tour of our home, and he loved it all especially our dog Abby. He has been waiting so long to meet and play with Abby. He went out even in the cold to play with her.

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We had pizza for dinner. Peyton introduced him to ranch dressing which he loved. He showered and went to bed. We were still so shocked that he was home. It was so weird seeing him walk around our house. We have longed for this for such a long time. Thank you God for your perfect plans.

All Glory to God

IMG_0478-2Friday we were able to get the blood work dropped off at the Embassy, but it was too late in the afternoon for them to review and print a visa. But…we got it today!!!!!!!!! We give all glory to God for His faithfulness. We are still in disbelief. Mathieu’s actually really coming home!

We will let everyone know of our travel plans as soon as we book our flights. We will most likely be arriving back home in the USA either Friday or Saturday evening. I’ve asked Mathieu multiple times if he wants everyone to come greet him at the airport in Nashville, and he always says yes! He wants everyone to come welcome him, bring signs, and lots of excitement.

We will come home from the airport just the 3 of us and spend time together as a family to bond and figure out what our new normal looks like. We know so many people are excited to meet Mathieu, and we are very excited for you to meet him as well. We will let everyone know when we are ready for visitors.

Thanks for all your prayers and support of getting Mathieu home. God is so very good.

Still Praying for Haiti

Things have calmed a bit in Haiti this week. Businesses have opened, and people are back out on the streets. It is still a very uncertain situation each day. Because of this calm, Mathieu was able to have his blood drawn yesterday. Praise God! He is scheduled to go back on Friday to get the results. We are praying that:

The results are good and no further tests are required. The results can be dropped off with the Embassy on Friday. The visa printed that same day.

That is a lot to happen in one day, but that is our prayer. We are also continuing to pray for Haiti. We appreciate your prayers, too.

Praying for Haiti

A week ago yesterday we received news that the US had approved Mathieu’s adoption, and we could progress into the final visa stage to bring him home. We have had several people ask what is going on now and when will we travel. The short answer is, we just don’t know.

Last Thursday a planned protest/demonstration began by the Haitian people. They are calling for their current president to step down. There are many reasons surrounding this protest, but to summarize the protesters, government corruption and high inflation. The protesters have threatened to continue each day until the president steps down. The demonstrations escalated over the weekend and are continuing even today. There are thousands of protesters in the streets, burning tires, burning barricades, looting, and violence. It is being named “Operation lock down Haiti.” Businesses have closed. Roads are blocked. The US Embassy closed and sent all non-essential employees back to the US.

Even through all the chaos, by the grace of God, we were able to have a successful visa interview. This means that everything looked good in our file and with Mathieu’s visa application. They are only waiting on his final medical results. Mathieu has been able to have most of his medical exam completed but not all of it, and unfortunately, the doctor offices and labs are not open. Even if they were open, it’s not safe for Mathieu to be out on the roads.

So, we wait. We are so close and can see the finish line, but we just can’t get there. We are doing everything we can on this side to push and be able to bring him home. We are also praying for Haiti. Praying for a resolution. For the Haitian people to have a voice and be cared for by their government. And maybe even pray for rain so the protesters go home.

Of course this isn’t the adoption ending we dreamed of or ever imagined would happen, but we trust God is still in control and even this is a part of His divine plan.

Please pray for Haiti.

 

American Approved

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We received the most incredible news today that US immigration approved our adoption file!! Praise God! Now on to the US Visa. The visa appointment is on Tuesday, February 12 which by the way is 8 years to the day when we met Mathieu for the first time. This is a picture from that day.

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Mathieu was so excited when he heard the news today that he couldn’t eat. He sent us a video saying he didn’t know what to say, but thank you. I say thank you to everyone who has prayed us through this process and supported us all the way. We thank you so much. We are still praying for a fast and seamless visa printing and will definitely post when we have travel plans.