Tomorrow our little Dalencia turns 3! So in celebration, today’s blog is dedicated to her.
If you have visited the CHCH recently or have taken a look through our pictures on our individual Facebook pages, it doesn’t take long to notice that Hunter and I have fallen head over heels for little Dalencia.
When we first moved to the orphanage in January, Dalencia was very unhealthy, unresponsive, and poorly cared for to put in nicely. We observed her walking around the orphanage alone, without shoes, and with a sagging pair of dirty underwear for hours a day while the kids were at school. She had ear infections, skin infections, sinus infections, stomach worms, and countless patches of ringworm all over her body. Her belly was bloated and she had constant diarrhea. She never smiled, never laughed, and typically didn’t even respond to her name.
I still remember the day Hunter found her outside near our broken down playground throwing rocks in ever which direction one early morning. He picked her up, brought her into our house, and said, “Jillian, we need to take care of her.” No more discussion was needed. We took her in and cared for her. Although we had no idea what we were doing, we tried our best to give her the love, attention, and nourishment she needed. We fed her, gave her vitamins, played with her, taught her, and bathed her. We gave her naps, diapers, and medicine…all the things she should have been receiving but wasn’t outside of our house. And slowly but surely, Dalencia begin healing, smiling, talking, and laughing.
Watching Dalencia turn from a sick little baby into a healthy and spirited two year old was incredible. We were so blessed to be able to sit back and watch her true personality unfold. Although we had to play catch up for a while she quickly began meeting developmental milestones. And the more we got to know her, the more we fell in love.
I can’t fully describe the love we now have for Dalencia. All I can tell you is that it came from God. We love all of our kids, but it didn’t take long to realize that our love for her was different. And after a few months of caring for her, we knew that we were called to be her parents.
Now if you know anything about adoption laws in Haiti, you know that Hunter and I currently don’t meet the legal requirements. We are few years too young and have been married a few too many years. But with the wisdom of our friends and family, we knew that if God gave us this love for her and put her in our care, than He would also provide us with means to adopt her. So we contacted everyone we knew who facilitated Haitien adoptions. Unfortunately, nobody shared in our optimism and we were shot down by every adoption agency we knew. Needless to say, I had many tearful nights. I can’t even count the times I laid in my bed crying, praying, and talking to my mom about Dalencia. I knew without a doubt I was supposed to be her mother, but I needed help and I didn’t know where to get it.
But even in the midst of our uncertainty, we continued to love and watch after Dalencia. We began to see her as our own child and when she occasionally slipped the words “mommy” and “daddy” we were overfilled with joy.
And then a light of hope arrived. Haiti was in the process of potentially changing their adoption laws. And although we still currently wouldn’t qualify, we would be very close and if a few years we would be eligible. So after much prayer, all of our anxious fears subsided and God reminded us that He had our little family under His wings. We became at peace with the fact that it would be a while before we could legally start the adoption process, but we also realized that we didn’t need to be in a rush. After all, we are living in Haiti now and we are raising her now. Legally making her ours, although wonderful, could wait. God has blessed us to be living with her now and we knew not to take advantage of that gift.
So for my birthday present on June 15 we moved Dalencia into our house. We moved our office downstairs and made a room for her upstairs. We officially became her mom and dad and dedicated our lives to caring for her.
I wish I could say that things have been all peaches and crème since moving her in close to two months ago, but I can’t. Although it has mostly been wonderful, it has presented us with more difficulties than we could have expected. Even though we were taking care of her during the day, raising her full time has been drastically different. We are now having to bond with her on a completely different level. She is having to build trust in us to put her to sleep and to provide her with all of her needs. She is having to learn a form of structure and disciple that is completely foreign not only to this orphanage but also to this county. And she is having to do all of this while still living the same environment that once neglected her.
All that to say, she is dealing with confusion on all levels. She prefers our house and our care, but she is having difficulty separating her previous life with her new one. It isn’t like we just adopted her, took her to America, and gave her a new life in a new place. In our circumstance, we are having to give her a new life in her old place. And that is a challenge I fear we will never fully overcome as long as we live here.
Even still, we are up for challenge. She is more than worth our tears, sleepless nights, deteriorating bank account, and sanity. She is our daughter and we truly love her unconditionally.
Although Dalencia has been in our lives and in our home for a while now, Hunter and I were somewhat reserved about blogging about her just yet. But for some reason, I woke up this morning thinking that today was the today.
Please pray for Dalencia and her new life with us. Although she is young, she had a hard first few years if life. And even though she may not realize it, we are daily working to overcome her past. Please pray that she continues to develop trust in us and that she feels safe within our home. Please pray that she remains healthy and nourished. And please pray that she sees the love of God through our love for her. And please pray for the adoption laws in Haiti to favor us in the near the future.
Every night as I rock her sleep I pray for her. I have given her over to God. She is His child first. I pray that Hunter and I will be mere instruments in her life to teach her about God and to prepare her for a ministry that only God could design. Please join us in pray for Dalencia and pray that Hunter and I will receive wisdom from God on how to raise her under His will.
Below are some pictures in chronological order. We frequently like to look through them and remember where she started from to where she is now. Enjoy!