Thursday, June 3, 2010

First Thursday

Today is the event known in Fitchburg as First Thursdays.

It is held the first Thursday of each month and it is a day where local businesses in and around downtown Fitchburg come together to provide a day of events and festivities for the public.  There will be everything from live entertainment, to live music, to food, to all sorts sales, to a dunk tank to a movie showing.  All sorts of stuff that is a lot of fun for the whole family.  

And The Total You just so happens to be the headline event of this month!  

At The Total You, Sacha will be giving Mayor Lisa Wong a makeover at 4:30.  At this event The Total You will also be premiering a trio of services that have been packaged together, with a portion of the proceeds going toward the adoption fund.  Guests will have the opportunity to enjoy the festivities, receive a number of mini-services that will be provided on the spot, or schedule future appointments at The Total You.

If you're looking for a way for you and your family or friends to get out and enjoy the summer evening, come and join us in downtown Fitchburg from 3-9pm.  See you there!

More info to follow about the fundraising efforts... 

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Communicating long distance, Paperwork, and Newspaper Articles

So quite a bit has transpired since our last post.  We'll try to go chronological order:


The Letter to the Girls

First of all, Leah and Adam returned with news (and pictures) from Haiti!  Leah, with help from Pastor Riguad, read our letter to the girls aaaaaaaaaaaaand....

They would like to be adopted!

 Maudeline - (letter from my parents) - Guirlene - Pastor Rigaud

They were excited about the idea.  Apparently there was some initial confusion because Leah and Adam were reading the letter so they didn't understand who it was from, but then they figured it all out.  The next day they colored some drawings for each of us with our names on them.  Mom and Dad were especially touched by the drawings that said, of course, "Mom" and "Dad".  Copies of the drawings will be up after I scan them.

                                           Maudeline                                                        Guirlene

It was a really big moment in the process and we were really waiting anxiously to hear their reaction.  It's all very exciting.  But it begins the process of hurry up and wait.  Which brings us toooooooo...


Starting Paperwork in Haiti

Thanks to the fundraisers and donations from the past couple months, my parents have been able to get a large part of the paperwork underway.  Last week Laurae took a trip down to Haiti and brought with her my parents official requests to adopt, as well as the release of power of attorney to Pastor Rigaud.  So that allows Rigaud to work on the Haitian side of the paperwork.  There, of course, is a lot to be done, (as will be the theme for a while it seems), but it's nice to be getting more and more things done.

(On that note:  My parents got their psych evaluations done today.  Apparently they passed!)


Fitchburg Pride Article

And last, but certainly not least, a lovely reporter from the Fitchburg Pride heard about the adoption and called my parents requesting to interview them.  She came over a couple weeks ago and sat down with us.  The article is here.  Appaaaaaaaaaarently it was on the front page!  Really cool and big thanks to Caroline Keras for taking the time to write our story.


That's all for tonight.  Still working on planning our next fundraiser party, which will be at Destare in Fitchburg.  The plans aren't set yet, but of course they will be posted once they are so be checking back in for that.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Party Report

OK, I know this post should've been up a couple days ago.  Forgive me.

First things first.

The party went down Saturday night and was a lot of fun.  We were so blessed by everyone who came out to spend the night with us.  Huge, huge 'Thank You's' to everyone who pitched in to make the party a success.  I can't think of a better way to raise money than to spend time hanging out and dancing with awesome friends and family (although I admit I spent too much time talking instead of dancing).

Speaking of raising money... between tickets, raffles and donations we raised about $1,000!!

Again, thank you all so so much.

That money has already begun being put to use.  My parents have been able to get the ball rolling with the home inspection now, as well as a collection of other paperwork.  If all goes well, we'll be able to have our packet ready to go down to Haiti when Laurae goes down in a couple weeks.  Everything will need to go really well to meet that deadline, but Mom and Dad are well on their way with that stuff now.

My parents still have a lot of expenses ahead of them (approx. $20,000+) and there will be some more fun events coming up in the near future, but for now this is an awesome jump start.


P.S. If you were thinking the girl's names have been spelled different in several different places in this blog, that's because it's true.  We finally got all their official information...

Maudeline  DOB 7.7.96 (13 years old)

Guerlene  DOB 8.31.98 (11 years old) from now on we SHOULD have the correct spelling and such.

(p.p.s. This was written for a couple days before I clicked "post" making it a couple days older than the date it looks like... my baaaaad)

Friday, February 26, 2010

Writing the Girls

Early Friday morning, our dear friends Leah and Adam will be boarding a plane headed for Haiti.  They will be at the orphanage where the girls are at until Wednesday.  We are excited for them to be going down because, aside from the fact that we love Leah and Adam, this trip has a special significance for us right now.  This morning I delivered to Leah an envelope containing a letter to Pastor Rigaud Antoine (who runs the orphanage), and a second letter to the girls that we have asked Rigaud to read to them if he agrees that it is appropriate.  In the letter my parents are expressing to the girls their desire to adopt thee girls and asking them if they would like to be adopted be us!

I couldn't help but be blown away today when thinking about those letters.  I don't know how they will react to it, but potentially, the news they're going to be recieving in the next couple days will be more life altering and impactful than anything I've ever experienced in my entire life.  Ever.

The reality is that the entire letter decision was a big one for us.  The situation is unique because, unlike a lot of the families we have talked to who have adopted younger kids, the girls are old enough to have an opinion on the matter.  While we're confident they will be excited about it, it's also a reality that they will be leaving everything they've ever known behind.  They will be leaving their friends in the orphanage.  Their lives will change in ways that will be so drastic, I can't even begin to relate.  To me, it would be understandable if they did not want to come (shocking, but understandable).  The decision to write them so early in the process was a tough one because of a couple factors.  For one; we want to respect the fact that they are old enough to have an opinion.  We would hate to have a situation where they arrive and are resentful for being "forced to come here".  And secondly, if we do make sure they want to come, they will now be waiting for what could be a very long process.

Ultimately, we clearly decided that since they are older we should respect their opinions in the matter, and also since they are older, they will be able to understand that it will take time.  They have witnessed a lot of the younger kids being adopted and probably have an idea of how it goes (as much as anybody can, which isn't much).  Of course, that is one of our reasons for letting them know.  We want them to know that they are not being "passed over" again for the younger kids.  We want them to know that someone is choosing them and cares about them.  It's for these reasons that this is a really REALLY exciting time for us.  We've asked Leah to be present during the letter reading so she can be our eyes and ears to how they react.  Leah will also be bringing back some pictures of the girls, which is always exciting.  And we will be waiting with baited breath for Adam and Leah to get home.

It will still be difficult.  Waiting is never easy.  There will be a lot of prayer over the next few days about how the girls receive the news and how they handle the waiting.  But we know that God is in control of it all and we're just excited about the entire process.


Don't forget...

Saturday Night at the Dom Polski Club in Lowell.  6-10.  It's goin down.  Should be a great a time.  Hope to see everyone there!

Email me with any questions about the party.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Party Time!

The fund raising has begun!

For starters, my mom is having a "Cash for Gold" party at her salon in Fitchburg this weekend.  It was a little hastily thrown together, but looks like it should actually be a pretty cool event.  For those of you not familiar with "Cash for Gold", like myself, guests can bring any white or yellow gold, whether it be old, broken or whatever, and receive a check for it right there.  Of course 10% will be taken out and donated toward the the girls' adoption process.

That event should be pretty cool and I know my mom and her lady friends are excited about it (admittedly, maybe it's just cause I'm a guy that I'm not getting too excited about jewelry themed party haha).

Howeverrrr... the rest of our family is getting pretty excited about the shin-dig going down the following weekend....

Party Time!

First I just have to say we've been so blessed and blown away by the help and support of friends and family to help pull these events together.  A few shout outs of thanks start with a HUGE shout out to Jenny Reid for being the general genius/driving force behind the whole night.  To the Finch family for helping us with a facility to put the whole thing on.  Of course huge, HUGE thanks to our favorite DJ John Maroudas and his wife Sandra for donating their time to come and keep the party moving.  And to everyone else who is helping out along the way, I know I'm missing a lot of you, but thank you all and we love you so so much.

The whole thing is goin down Saturday night, Feb. 27th at the Dom Polski Club in Lowell and hopes to be the most "fun" fund raiser in the history of histories.  Tickets will be $10 at the door, all proceeds obviously going toward the adoption (obviously).  There will be plenty of food, a cash bar, raffles, and of course, music and dancing (booty shaking... if you will... and I know you will... you should).

It will be really cool to get together with everyone and have a time of celebrating and sharing our excitement with so many of our friends, family and loved ones who will also soon be welcoming the girls into their lives we welcome them into our home.  We truly are blessed by all the love in our lives and to have such a great support system to be bringing the girls into.  I guess if you're reading this, thank you all for being a part of our lives.  It really is a blessing.

And of course, we hope to see everyone come out and party with us next saturday! Whooo!

(If you're interested in coming and partying with us, but need more information, feel free to comment, email me, or better yet, here is the facebook event page.  Anyone looking to have some good clean fun is more than welcome to join us.)

Monday, February 15, 2010


Here are a few pictures of the girls throughout the years. I'm sure there will be more to come.

Micah - Maudline - Gerline


Micah with the two girls heading home from church

Gerline with Melissa Richards

Gerline (far left) with other girls from the orphanage


All the girls piling on Melissa (Maudline - top, Gerline - bottom, throwing gang signs?.. jk)

Our Adoption Story

Post by: Micah

How the girls entered our lives:

Maudline (14 years old) and Gerline (11) are both beautiful, kind hearted, hard working, fun-loving, bright young ladies. They were brought to the orphanage by their mother who was unable to care for them in 2004. They are two of the oldest, longest tenured girls in the orphanage.

I first met Maudline and Gerline in 2004 during a missions trip to Kingdom Kids Orphanage in Port au Prince, Haiti, and instantly connected with each of them separately (not learning until later that they were sisters). As my trip to Haiti went on, I became increasingly captivated by them.

Maudline (8 years old at the time) struck me with her incredible strength and poise. Unlike many of the younger kids in the orphanage, I realized she was old enough to understand where she was and my heart absolutely melted as I saw a girl who desperately desired to be loved, but would not beg for it. I continue to use the word "strength" to describe her because there is no other word to capture her calm maturity and refusal to pity herself, despite a heart that I know had experienced so much pain and heartbreak.

Gerline (5 years old at the time) I first bonded with during our day trip to the beach in which she decided to inexplicably latch onto me for the day. She so thoroughly kept me in arms reach that we joked after about my "Gerline tan" that was the result of having to hold her the whole time I swam. Unlike Maudline, who stayed near me, but refrained from showing dependence or weakness, Gerline was a little more fragile and wasn't shy about forcing her love on you.

As the trip went on I continued to fall in love with these two girls who were so vulnerable and fragile, yet exhibited so much kindness, joy and resolve.

I returned from my time at the orphanage with pictures and stories of these beautiful, strong little girls who had completely captivated my heart. My heart broke for them, as it did for much of what I experienced and witnessed during my time there. I decided then that if I were ever in a position to provide a loving home and family for children in need that I would. And I prayed that God would watch over these girls, as well as the rest of the children in the orphanage at that time.

Some of the difficulties facing the girls:

Being the oldest child in the orphanage, Maudline has been a big sister to not only Gerline, (the two are very close), but also the rest of the over 40 children in the orphanage since her arrival.

She also struggles with an undefined learning disability and is falling behind in school and testing very poorly. She is, of course, unable to get specialized attention to clearly identify her learning struggles and help her overcome them.

In addition, both girls have watched as several children have come into the orphanage and been taken out by families who have chosen to adopt them. Since 16 is the cutoff age for children to be adopted in Haiti, time is running out for them to have the opportunity to be given a home and loving family.

If our adoption were to fall through, it is still very possible that they could find a home. However, it is probable that they would need to be split up for this to happen.

Our family (from my perspective):

My parents had always had a desire to provide a home for orphaned children, going as far as to begin the process of becoming approved as a foster home while my sister and I were younger. That process was ended because of a rule prohibiting foster parents from home schooling foster children. At the time, my sister and I were home-schooled, as my mother was activist for the home schooling movement and for providing special education to children with learning disabilities.

Her passion in this area came about as a result of my older brother (and my sister as well) being highly dyslexic and struggling in conventional school settings. After being told my brother was testing out at below a 2nd grade level and needed to be re-educated before entering the 6th grade, she and my dad decided to take him out of school and get him caught up at home, successfully helping him overcome his previous struggles and test out where he needed to be at the start of 8th grade.

After the experience with my brother, my parents decided to home school my sister and I until high school to ensure that we entered high school with all the tools needed to succeed. I watched my sister struggle with her own dyslexia issues, which made basic things, like reading and comprehension, a severe challenge for her. I also watched her overcome those challenges and go on to become an honor roll student who thoroughly enjoyed and thrived in her high school experience.

Because of my parents desire to continue homeschooling us, they were forced to put their desire to provide a home for children in need on hold.

Our decision to adopt:

I never specifically discussed the idea of adopting the girls with my parents and never really thought about it being a possibility. Then, after the earthquake, my roommates, who had they had been in the process of adopting for about a year and half, were finally able to bring Kemly (as well as 3 other boys who were being adopted into homes in Massachusetts and Vermont) home to finish the remainder of the adoption process here instead of in the orphanage. However, this left 41 children behind in the orphanage in the midst of the worst circumstances the orphanage has been through.

I was discussing the remaining 41 children with my mom and she cut me off by telling me she wants to adopt. Had she asked me about the possibility of adopting, or some specifics of what she could do to help, I would've thought that was cool. But instead she resolutely informed that they would adopt. There was no doubt in her voice. I was basically floored.

My parents then took the next couple days to pray about it and told me they know without a doubt that this is what God is calling them to do and they wanted to begin the process immediately.

Beginning the process:

After getting things rolling we asked Laurae Richards (President of Servants for Haiti) if there were any reasons that it would not be the best thing for the girls to come here. She responded by expressing concerns about Maudline's learning disabilities (which we were previously unaware of) and that since the girls were older and spoke only Creole, it would be a large undertaking to bring them here and provide them the education and resources they would need.

Laurae was also unaware of my parents history with homeschooling as well as the fact that my mother's first language is French (not the same as Creole, but a good foundation to help bridge the language gap).

We quickly realized that, ironically, the issue that prevented my parents from being able to take in children in the past, gave them a parenting experience that almost ideally prepared them for bringing the girls home.

Where we are now:

My parents' passion and sense of urgency to bring them home is at an all time high. We are going through every channel to secure all the pieces necessary to bring them here.

However, the obstacle of finances is a large one. We need to come up with approximately $24,000
in order to get both girls out of Haiti and into our home. A large amount of that money (approx. $12,000) is needed pretty much up front.

We have just begun the fund raising process and are continuing to be prayerful about this. We believe that we serve a mighty, loving God who has orchestrated this entire process and who we know will see it through.

We are so thankful for all the help and support we have received and continue receiving on our journey, financial and otherwise. We have a ways to go, but we are excited to have the opportunity to offer the girls the love and support that they so desperately need.

Thank you for reading and for your prayers.

We will do our best to keep this updated with the status of the process, as well as any fund raisers we put together.