“You have listened to fears, child,” said Aslan. “Come, let me breathe on you. Forget them. Are you brave again?” ~ C.S. Lewis “Prince Caspian”.
I sighed with contentment as I poured myself a second cup of tea. It was a luxury for which I had been longing for more than a week. It was Monday morning and my older two children had just boarded the bus for school and Jeremiah was playing quietly.
As I poured the cup of tea, I felt profoundly thankful. I was thankful to be home. I was thankful for my family. I was simply thankful for the comfort of a cup of tea, and yet…..the night before, I had cried myself to sleep because I missed my daughters in Haiti.
This duality of heart and mind marked my first few days at home. Thankfulness and longing. Joy and sorrow. Peace and fear. Throughout each day I whispered prayer upon prayer for my Haitian daughters. I prayed for their safety and provision. I fervently asked God to keep alive the fragile bond I had labored to forge.
As the days after my return home passed, I began to be haunted by anxious thoughts, both for my daughter’s safety as well as the status of the passports. When I last saw the orphanage director we smiled and said, “See you in two weeks!” but after arriving home, I began to doubt that hope would come to fruition. I had been disappointed too many times to believe anything would go according to plan.
And of course, it did not.
Even now, it is still difficult for me to believe there was only a month between the time I came home from Haiti and the time we returned to bring the girls home. It seemed infinitely longer. Perhaps it was the uncertainty of those weeks. Each message we received, it seemed, was fraught with delay and doom. One persistent issue had to do with the way the girls birth certificates were filed.
My understanding (which very well might have been flawed) was that when a child is born outside of Port-Au-Prince, as my girls were, the birth certificate must be filed in Port-Au-Prince, a process which is done by hand. Somehow, when their birth certificates were filed, the person hand copying it made a spelling error. It was this type-o that stood between us and the passports. We were told they would need to request a copy of the registry from the village where the girls were born. The e-mails following this revelation were frightening. One stated that when the orphanage requested the registry, the village would not send it because they only did so only once a year. Another e-mail indicated that when they finally received the registry from the village where the girls were born, they were only able to retrieve the registry listing Claudine’s birth because the registry listing Roseline’s was missing. The e-mail went on to say that the orphanage staff submitted this registry to the archive office where it would be recorded and then pulled again for possibly the third time but they “did not know what they were going to do about Roseline.”
Fear paralyzed me as I envisioned another open ended wait for my baby girl to come home.
During those tumultuous days, I clung desperately to Christ. He was an ever present friend. He was a resting place and a refuge throughout the week, but on Sundays, I drug my battle weary soul into church and there, I lay my burden down. Worship led me into the Throne Room and I found rest for my soul. Time and again as my Pastor began deliver the Word of God, it seemed to me as if everyone else faded away and he was God’s instrument of sustenance and comfort to me alone.
The way was dark, but my Shepherd remained close.
And time marched on. Thanksgiving was only a few days away.