This has been one of the toughest decisions I have ever had to make, and although I know in my heart that I am making the right one, it does not hurt my heart any less. As most of you know, Ryan and I are expecting a baby this March. This was not something either of us had imagined was in our near future, however, it is now, and we are excited about this new adventure. Haiti has been home to the both of us for many years, and we’ve created a home here together. We love Haiti. We love the people. We love the culture. But what we don’t love right now are all the risks that have come into play with being pregnant in Haiti. Especially currently, as I am in a great deal of pain with Kidney Stones & a Kidney Infection which has caused me to have early contractions. There are risks all the way from health care, eating properly, to political and civil unrest, and just the normal challenges that arise on a daily basis here. The un-pregnant me found these things somewhat exciting as each day was a new whole new adventure with the unexpected. I could handle all of these things and I would never complain. I accepted all of these challenges with a full heart and confidence that this was where I was meant to be. This was the life that I chose. But now, what I am realizing is that this is not the life that our baby chose. All of these risks have left me feeling anxious, worried, and stressed, and as we all know, none of these things are positive things to be feeling during a pregnancy when your baby is developing.
We still have a lot of figuring out to do, but for right now, we have decided to move back to my hometown until our baby boy is born. I will continue running the Children’s Home from Canada as we have good Haitian staff in place to care for the children and to keep things going, as well as some friends that will be stopping in and making sure everything is running smoothly. Missing the kids, my staff (who have become family) is going to be unbelievably hard on me and they will be on my mind every minute of every day. I know our love for each other is strong enough to reach across the ocean and border lines and I know Skype and FaceTime will not fill the void of not being here physically, but at least I will get to see their faces and be in communication with them. This does not change the love that I have for them or the responsibility I feel to care for them, provide for them, and to help them succeed in whatever they choose to do in life.
So this is our hiatus from Haiti. However, this is not goodbye, but see you soon. We don’t have definite plans in site as neither of us can foresee what the future holds. We know we love Haiti. We know that a part of our life is here. But right now, we know we need to be with our families and friends. Having your first child is scary enough with all of the changes to come, but it is much more terrifying in a country such as Haiti when your mind is occupied worrying about when the next protest is going to break out, how you are going to get to the hospital quickly if you need to, or if the food you eat is going to make you sick and where we don’t have family members to help us through or even many friends to talk to. We need some us time and some time to focus on creating our new family. I will keep you all posted as our adventure continues to unfold. But for now I will leave you with this:
There are countless stories that I could recount for your entertainment, some unbelievably funny, some horribly sad during my time in Haiti. There are occurrences I could recall which would infuriate people, and others that would reinforce the natural goodness of humankind. But an account of everything that has taken place thus far during my time here would only be appropriate for a book of novel-length magnitude. To end the blog leading up to this hiatus, I can only encourage the value of exploration. Explore what is in your heart, your dreams, your fears, and your ideas. That desire to explore led me to Haiti and the chance to feel born again and a place that captured me completely- mind, body, and soul. It also lead me to meet Ryan, who has changed my life and who has taken me on a whole new adventure. And while I’ve been fortunate to give bits of myself to those who truly needed me in here in Haiti, I took away valuable lessons too. I have learned that each person, no matter his or her circumstances is much braver and stronger than ever imagined. I have learned that as global citizens, it is our duty to encourage and support one another. I have learned that this world is an outstandingly beautiful place, and I have learned to love every moment that I have been granted; whether that be driving my car down a jam-packed but smoothly paved American highway, or walking on a dusty path under the ripe mango trees of Haiti. I have loved, and I have lost. But each experience has allowed me to become a better person and to truly discover who I am. So to all of you out there who have been waiting for the "opportunity" to explore our world, your opportunity is now. Stop waiting and get moving. Life happens quickly, things can change in an instant, so be sure to make the most of every minute you are granted. Meet new people, explore new cultures, indulge in new foods, and partake in a new way of living. You will leave with a heightened level of gratitude and a whole new understanding and perspective of our world. I am grateful for all that Haiti has given to me and I am thankful that this will always be a place that I can call home.