Gotcha Day!

Today we finally picked up our sweet daughter, Rose Naicha Hubbell, to join our family forever. I don’t actually love the term “gotcha day” but that’s what it feels like right now. It was a very special day.

We flew to Haiti last night and were met by a family coordinator from our agency, America World. It was so great to finally meet someone from the awesome organization that walked us through the whole 2.5 year process. We rode to the guesthouse in the back of a tap-tap, an open air pick up truck common in Haiti! It was dusty and crazy hot and humid. We were so happy to relax there and dine with English speakers.


So then after the America World staff all prayed over us we headed up the mountain to Kenscoff, where Chances for Children is located. We stopped at the grocery store to buy cakes for a goodbye party tomorrow. Once again I got suuuuper car sick on their roads. Had to shut my eyes, which stinks because I want to memorize everything for Rose’s sake, and still almost puked.

We were earlier than they expected so we waited a few minutes while a nanny got Rose dressed up for us, and then she walked out and I scooped her up. No smiles, no familiarity, just silent scared shock…which stands out when every other kid is smiling, acting goofy and begging to be held.


We walked around talking and getting comfortable. At least she wasn’t terrified of Mike this time. Wary, yes, but she didn’t cry when he held her or I left the room. Eventually she fell asleep on my lap in the rocking chair.


We were fortuate enough to meet Corrigan Clay, of the Apparent Project, and Zach Lee, of Alliance For Children, during this trip. Kathi Juntunen is in town too, which is great. C4C just opened an awesome medical clinic.

After awhile we left for the guesthouse, with Rose clinging to me for dear life. Driving through the public market in Fermathe is a sight to behold. Its a sea of bodies that barely move out of the way, only inches from the car.

Some snacks, a new dolly and especially a new outfit really perked Rose up. Her first real smiles and giggles came as I changed her diaper…she loves that! I practiced my Creole with her and understood a few words when she finally started talking. She ate a ton of chicken, rice and beans, and fried plantains for dinner. She is thrilled with her new sippy cup and sucks down as much water as she can.

Then it began to get dark and she seemed punchy, like silly tired. I put her in her pajamas and decided to try putting her in a kids bed with a rail next to the queen bed. She was laughing and playing and began to test the boundaries a bit. I tried laying down with her but that made it worse, she thought it was a game. So I walked out and left her with Papa in the room. She immediately crashed without another peep. Hooray!

Tomorrow is a big day of saying goodbye to all her friends and family at the orphanage. We have a party planned. We also hope our visa is ready so we can leave as scheduled on Wednesday! We are so grateful for all of your prayers and support thus far, and we can feel the Lord’s presence with us.

Grief, Peace, and Alzheimer’s Disease

The last few weeks have been eventful, to say the least. You may recall this post about my grandfather’s health deteriorating to the point he needed a hospital stay. They didn’t find anything acute but insisted he be discharged to a skilled nursing facility for rehab. I did my best in choosing the best one around, but things went from bad to worse once he got there. The doc there prescribed him with a steroid for pain in his foot and then three days later he literally lost his marbles, in an ugly way. gracecare2

He turned overnight from being the kindest, most loving and pleasant man you’d ever meet to being agitated, negative, depressed, throwing things, swearing and soliciting the other female patients. A total psychosis. It was a nightmare, and thankfully I was there and could advocate for him. Eventually I convinced them to stop the steroid and prescribe some antidepressants, but that took days. In the meantime he decided to stop eating and drinking entirely. It seemed very purposeful, that he was hastening his own death. After a week or so of this, with him growing weaker and sleepier all the time, the facility tried to intervene with a feeding tube and IV fluids. I refused both…well he really refused the IV fluids himself and I told them that was ok. He is 94, his outlook and quality of life right now were terrible, and if he wanted to be done suffering that was his choice. He was very clear to me previously and in his written health directive about prolonging his life.

I think the steroid finally left his system and the second type of depression meds kicked in, because he got nicer and started eating and doing PT again. But by this time he was so weak and not talking much. I talked to lots of nurses and other folks about hospice care and made the decision to move him into the memory care center where my grandmother is staying.

In the meantime, my grandmother is confused as can be and anxious about being in a new, unfamiliar place without her husband. But the folks at Autumn Leaves have been awesome and they keep her engaged in activities and happy in the moment most of the time. My friend Rhonda, who teaches my boys Sunday school at church, works at Autumn Leaves and has talked me through this whole process. She is fabulous with my grandmother.


So now they are at least in the same place with loving, capable staff and a more homelike environment. Far less institutional. Gladys gets her hair and nails done there weekly and someone has obviously been helping her put her makeup on in the morning because she always looks gorgeous! The have separate rooms because Stan said he would feel better that way with a bit of space from her dementia related badgering. I’m sure she hates that, but at least they are together all day. She is visibly worried about his condition, not understanding why he is suddenly so weak and tired and irritable. But she’s content to sit and hold his hand as long as he’ll let her. He is fidgety with his hands, always has been.

Right now I have some sense of peace that they are where they should be to live out their days. I still feel anxious and guilty that I need to visit them often because I have a hard time fielding my grandmother’s incessant questions about why they are there. But it’s the right thing for sure. I have certainly been grieving the loss of my grandfather, even though he’s not gone yet. He is a wonderful, brilliant man. Among the most generous you’ll ever meet. I owe so much to him.