As most of you know a really significant day is coming up for me in a few days, a day filled with so much emotion but one that has impacted my entire LIFE… so I wanted to take a little time to reflect on how in world I got her. A lot has happen in the past 2 years and boy has been quite the journey. Two years ago today I was in full freak out mode! After great prayer, discussion and preparation I was leaving everything I “knew” to embark on an internship. I was taking off a semester of school with only 3 left till graduation to get some hands on field experience in the country I had grown to love. I felt given the opportunity to submerge myself in the daily lives of children like the ones I had hoped to work with, as a social worker was a no brainier. I wanted to spend this time in the orphanage so when I started working in the adoption world I would at least have some first hand experience. I wanted to know what these children went through, where they came from and how they dealt with the LIFE changing process of adoption but oh did God have other plans…
January 4,2010 I got on the plane with Mike and Missy and my LIFE packed in two 50 pound suitcases and a carry-on. I spent a few days with them while they did some paper work for Tia’s adoption and then on Thursday January 8th they dropped me off at the orphanage. Those first 5 days were really hard! Probably the hardest I have ever gone through. I knew NO creole nor did I know ANYONE that lived there. Being an extremely outgoing person and one that talks ALL THE TIME, I had never felt so isolated and alone. It quickly became a time of finding myself; I didn’t have the things or people to fill my day with so I had to find ME, who I was outside of all my ‘stuff.’ I know God allowed me to walk through that time to show me who I was in HIM. Living such a comfortable lifestyle in the States filled with such great family and friends I sometimes turned to them in situations or I would allow a ‘problem’ to consume me instead of surrendering and allowing God to walk me through it. For the first time in my LIFE it was just God and I it was a rough walk but one that was so comforting to find rest in. Tuesday, January 12 came and actually started out as a really GR8 day! It was the first day that I didn’t cry, I have never been much of a crier actually I hate crying, so I was really excited. I was starting to get a feel for how daily LIFE was and slowly started communicating with the staff.
The earthquake was at 4:30ish pm on the 12th. I came home on the 16th to spend a little time getting myself together. Because of the scarcity of food and resources as well as the trauma my family had just gone though I felt it was best to come home for a little bit. Post earthquake there was a huge response from the people in the Nashville area; BGM became a donation spot so their office was inundated with phone calls and frequent visitors donating so I spent most of my time there. I wanted to go back and felt like I needed to but I wasn’t ready yet, I needed a little more time so I focused all my time working for Haiti. In May I felt like I was ready so I came back to finish out the rest of my internship at the crèche. Because the orphanage we were in was damaged we were moved to Dr. Bernard’s (the founder/owner) guesthouse up in the mountains. It was much different at the new crèche. LIFE was much crazier, it was summer so no school and there were teams staying there every week so we constantly had visitors and people around. I was exciting to be back and to see all the kids again but it was a big adjustment, everything that I had come to do in the beginning was completely turned upside down. When the summer was over I came back to the States but I knew me coming back was just a temporary trip. The call was on my LIFE, I knew that Haiti was where God had called me but I didn’t know what that looked like. I knew I was coming back and that it was going to be permanent I just didn’t know any details yet. I spent the fall working at the daycare I had worked prior to my internship. I went on a trip in October with Mike and Missy but I think that just fueled my fire even more to be in Haiti. After coming back I was on the prowl! I was going to use every person, resource, or connection I knew to get the ball rolling on me getting back. Some of family had a hard time with me not going back to school and I went back and forth on if I should but I knew that Haiti was were I was called. I knew finishing would only lengthen the time of me being able to get back as well as put me in more debt which would in turn prolong my ability to be in Haiti, where I didn’t need the degree I would be getting.
Around Thanksgiving I got in contact with a special needs orphanage not to far from where I was in the mountains called Wings of Hope. I started to talking with them and planned a trip to go down there for a month to get a feel for what they did and to see if I could maybe fit into their team somehow. I went to Wings with the hope and intent that this was where I would spend the rest of my LIFE. I wanted to be in Haiti so badly but I just felt like God was bouncing me around all over the place and I was ready to settle down and plant some roots. Wings of Hope was AMAZING! I loved every minute of being there! The children were so inspiring and full of LIFE and the staff was UNBELIEVIBLE! I had never seen a group of Haitians with such compassion and sense of family as the employees at Wings. Knowing the stigmas placed on people with disabilities I was floored to see these people who cared so much about these kids. They see the kids for their potential not their limits and they strived daily to push them to those. A few weeks in to my 6-week stay at Wings several things became very clear to me. One, that the Haitian people had to ability to give just as good of special needs care as any American despite what I had seen in other areas and two that Wings was an important part of my journey but not my final destination. I have to be honest I was slightly bummed by this; I wanted to find HOME and be there! The more I prayed through my time at Wings the more God began to reveal to me HIS big plan. That when it all started to come together, in those few days and the months to follow God began to connect so many what I call LIFE puzzle pieces. I started sharing where God had me with Mike and Missy and I have to be honest it was a little creepy how we all got on the same page at the same time. I came back to the States to fundraise and during my stay was when my world got super crazy.
I will never forget sitting on Mike and Missy’s bed about two days after I got back and we had one of the CRAZIEST/BEST conversations ever! It was a conversation where we just dreamed together and it was all little things that God had shown us on our own but for the first time we were all together and we were just word vomiting all the things God was revealing. As we began to share with some close friends and family the reality of how BIG myLIFEspeaks could be became a reality. I was ELATED, EXCITED, SCARED, NERVOUS all at the same time but for the first time in my LIFE I had a purpose. God had shown me a glimps of his plan and I was taking it all in. It took me a little bit to swallow the idea of me, a single 23-year old college drop, running an orphanage but I knew that it was only Satan way of attack me and my insecurities. While I may not have the educational background God has given me so much real life experiences in the past 7 years that equipped me just as much as a degree would have.
I went back to Wings the summer of 2011 to spend time to just learn. Like I said Wings is an amazingly well ran family and I knew that I could learn so much from them! So I marinated in their LIVES through the joys of accomplishments and the pains of death, it was a time I will never forget and one I am so thankful for. I came back at the end of September and we were in full myLIFEspeaks mode. We continued to meet with people and started to unpack the movement God had placed on the lives of my family and I.
On November 1, 2011 I moved into the myLIFEspeaks house and here I am today!!!! Now 8 days away from the launch of the myLIFEspeaks organization. I am here beginning to plan and prepare this house for the children that will one-day call us family and this HOME! It blows my mind to think of the rollercoaster journey I have been on the past two years. I never thought I would be where I am today! Actually a friend once said to me we should start on orphanage in Haiti, and I will never forget my response. “You can, I will never start an orphanage I couldn’t do something like that.” Well I guess God takes those kind of limits we put on ourselves and say ‘Watch, you cant by yourself, but I can use you to do something that BIG.’ I am so excited and honored to be apart of such a great team that really is going to make this happen. I believe in my heart that one day we will see a changed Haiti. This country has so much potential; they just need a little love and a lot of Jesus. myLIFEspeaks is here in Haiti to speak up for those who can speak for themselves while being apart of something much BIGGER them ourselves!!!!
Love you all, thanks for walking though this with me!
Katie <3(Momma Kiki)