Monday, September 24, 2007

We are HOME!!!

...and we couldn't be more happy!

We left Haiti on Thursday, Sept. 20 and stayed the night in Miami. On Friday we flew to Dallas then to S.L.C. arriving to the airport around noon. This picture is of Katiana arriving in S.L.C. sitting in the pilots seat with his hat on. She is an adventursome young lady. Her face changed from wonder to smiles all the way home as she experienced her first plane ride, escalator, moving sidewalk, chicken nuggets, cookies and cream ice cream cone, hot water shower, airport train (without a driver! - that one evoked lots of question marks in her eyes!) m&m's and freeways with lots of cars driving fast!

She was greeted by friends and family all week-end long! Including a quick visit from Grandma and Grandpa Parkin who stayed a couple of nights. Saturday we braved the mall so she would have some shoes to wear to church with her pretty pink dress.....of course, it turned cold here in Utah so she needed a sweater too! And a trip to the mall isn't complete without some pretty new jewelry to finish off the outfit!

Sunday she looked so pretty in her new outfit and she made it through church without wearing out her smile! After church, the kids came in and ransacked the lunch was kind of a free for all! She talked Mark into making spaghetti....but couldn't find the "jambon" in the fridge to add in. I don't think she was too impressed with our traditional style italian spaghetti.

Sometime around two o'clock she discovered the bicycles and scooters in the garage.... so Mark spent the next two hours running along side her teaching her how to ride a bike! First time ever on a bike! She is so excited to learn and try new things! rest for the weary (Mark and I). Mark was so cute and patient with her! All the kids have welcomed her and have had so much fun teaching her all "their tricks".

She spent some time on Friday with all her "new friends". AND again, on Saturday she hung out with her teenage sister for "night games" at a friends house! She is up for just about anything -- although, I had to talk her into trying dinner last night.....which she ended up liking!

Today (Monday) she said good-bye to her grandparents with kisses for both as they left to go home to California, she visited the Doctor....who I promised was "tres gentile" and after the visit she agreed - he was "very nice". AND...she had her first Mexican food! She wasn't too excited about bean and cheese burritos.....but liked the cheese enchilada and beef taco....and of course, the rice and coca cola!

Our trip to Haiti had a little more drama than we bargained for! First - the earliest visa appointment we could get was Friday morning 4 hours before our flights......because of a problem our friend *Gassant* created......we didn't get her visa! Yeah, the "irrevocably and unconditionally" wording problem was now OUR problem....even though CLEARLY her father desired to relinquish his rights and didn't care too much about HOW it was worded! From what I hear.....this problem has a resolution now. Our timing has been impecable with every step of our adoption! At the last minute....Mark and I decided I should stay with Katiana until she could get her visa! I was so ready to go home I had to really change my mind set and accept that I was staying, knowing nothing would happen until at least Monday.

We enjoyed our week-end UNTIL...... SUNDAY night-- when the most evil man I have ever met decided to show-off his power and make our kids cry! Of course, he got us all a bit worked up as he threatened to have us arrested and take our kids away from us because we didn't have papers "proving our relationship" with them. He went a bit too far when he spoke of the problems of child trafiking -- in an effort to justify his horrible conduct! What a CREEP! all I have to say about him for the time being! Oh.....and for the record his name is *Gassant*. AND he is NO friend to the children of Haiti even though he hides behind the platform of trafiking children! WHAT A CREEP!
Sunday night was without sleep for me because I thought this guy was sick enough to really take Katiana away from me.......Monday came and he was gone and I went to the Embassy - partly because this guy scared me (mostly because he is crazy!) and to inform them of what happened! Apparently, the eejit has a reputation because they knew him and, although shocked - not too surprised. Tuesday came and went without a visa.....Wednesday a.m. I got the best phone call from Mr. Duffy saying I had a visa!!! Yeah! I was so grateful because I really did NOT want to spend another week-end in Haiti after the last one!

Thursday a.m. I signed papers at the USCIS office in Haiti so *HOPEFULLY* I can avoid all of this when it is time to bring MV and R home!

Thanks to ALL OF YOU who prayed for us.......and called... and called... and called... the Visa office and the Children's Issues office in Washington D.C. on our behalf! Really, I can't thank you enough......I know the phone calls made a difference! AND the prayers made the biggest difference as Sunday night we (Katiana and I and the other Holt family with their two little ones) were protected from the evil of one man who thinks he can treat people anyway he wants! What a creep!!! .....did I mention that already?

As for today, all is well, we are home and Katiana is anxious to learn! She has a bright spirit and she is full of spunk! We are so blessed to have her home... FINALLY!

Thursday, September 20, 2007


It won't be long now...I just spoke with Natasha...her and Katiana are in the airport and they are about to begin boarding the plane for Miami !!! Finally !!! I also spoke with Katiana and she is sooooo excited. I can't imagine what she must be thinking. I felt I should post on behalf of Natasha and let you all know as many of you have been so concerned for us and want to know what is going on. The waiting was killing me too !!! So, thank you all for the words of encouragement and for your prayers. I'm sure that Natasha will have another great post for you all tomorrow evening...this time from HOME!!! Thanks again for everything! Mark

Wednesday, September 19, 2007


Finally! We have Katiana's visa!!! I just found out the news and Mark is working on getting us plane tickets! We hope to be home late Thursday night or sometime Friday! I can't describe how happy I am right now - we are both so ready to be home!

Thank you to everyone who helped us by making phone calls and praying for us! We love all of you very much!

Au Revoir!
Natasha and Katiana!!!

Monday, September 17, 2007

The Big Bad Wolf...

Sunday night was a nightmare! We encountered the big bad wolf at dinner. We, K, me, and the other Holt family adopting two little ones were threatend by a "man" who wouldn't identify himself, to take our children from us and have us arrested for not having papers to prove our relationship with "these" children.

I will post the scary yet ridiculous story AFTER I come home!


Oh....and the man showed us his ID and he is a Haitian Gov't official! Never in my wildest dreams did I think I had to worry about the gov't officials threatening me.....I thought the travel warning was for all the thugs involved with kidnappings!.....hmmmmmm

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Something positive to post...

While reading my back log of e-mails....I came across a wonderful e-mail from Foyer de Sion telling us our files for Marie-Vierge and Roberto made it OUT of the Civil Court in Haiti!!!

This means we are now recognized as their parents by the Haitian Government.

Your guess is as good as mine when they will come home....but, at least we are making progress!

Melting in Haiti...

p.s. while typing this blog I had two cute girls ...Katiana and her friend "R" fixing my hair! AND.....if you are reading...Deb L and Tom....."R" is a "knock-out" so you better dig out the shotgun so you can be polishing it when the boys come around!!!

Kati*na and I are still in Haiti.....

....thanks to red tape and a battle of words. Friday at 7:00 a.m. we had our visa appointment. That was the best appointment we could get because USCIS did not send our file and approval over to the Consulate until Wednesday, Sept. 12 (Even though our appt. with them was on Sept 6!!). Knowing this, we made several phone calls on Wednesday trying to arrange our appointment for Thursday.

We arrived at the Consulate at 6:00 a.m. on Friday morning and waited outside the gate until 7:00 a.m. THEN, we waited inside the Embassy until 8:45 a.m. before the Officer at the Consulate talked with us, all the while, sweating bullets because our flight was at 11:05 a.m.

Basically, the court document that Katiana's father and mother signed in January of 2005 had the words "irrevocably and unconditionally" in the margin and the officer was uncertain of the date that those words were added. The Haitian court did approve the document and they also affixed their seal in three places on this document, one of which was just below this text in the margin. Later, the attorney did confirm to us this is why the court stamped their seal on the document in this place. But the officer at the consulate said he was uncertain of the dates the words were added and he wasn't sure the birth parents understood they were "irrevocably AND unconditionally" relinquishing their rights (as opposed to just simply...."unconditionally" relinquishing their rights) Ok....I just deleted my next thought because it isn't very nice......but give me a break!

We are trapped in the cross-fire of "people" arguing if her father really meant to relinquish his rights. The most simple fix would have been for us to leave right then, pick up her father, bring him to the consulate and have the officer ASK HIM! Because, CLEARLY, HE understands and the words the *powers to be* want to use don't matter to HIM! AND CLEARLY, I have developed a heated attitude about the process of adoption in Haiti! AND even more.....I'm ticked that we made it through a very long process.....made an effort to make it a special homecoming and a special week by bringing Steven and Marisa with us.....and right up to the last minute we had anxiety about the very thing that DID HAPPEN!

Some would say we have the worst of luck! I say, we are stronger and we all experienced this difficult process TOGETHER which will give us all a common bond in the future. And while it may appear that Satan is "stirring the pot" I AM MEAN ENOUGH to take his crap and the LORD knows me....and what motivates me... AND....I will do my best to raise hell about this process for others adopting from Haiti! I can not change Haiti and the hardships that add to the slow process......but I SHOULD have a voice in my own country and I'm spitting mad at the lack of cooperation USCIS and the VISA Office have with each other. WHY? And....what can one person do about it? God willing, ONE person CAN make a change....but many can make a quicker change - so for those of you enduring this same process - start writing your Senators and Congressmen/women!!! The system in Haiti is broken but the system in the U.S. shouldn't be!

Ok.....Hopefully, the resolution to this problem will be sent in a memo on Monday and we will get her visa and come home. In my frustration, I contacted everyone I knew who could shake things up and try to help us. I do hope we have an answer tomorrow! AND....thank you to all of you who lit up the phones on our behalf!

Most of all, thank you for your prayers....

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Quick update... time for a fun picture. We could use everyones prayers! We don't have an official appointment tomorrow for Katiana's visa yet and it is Wednesday night 7:20 p.m.

We have been in contact with them and we are hopeful they will work us in to their schedule tomorrow...but they just rec'd approval from DHS today and they have not yet reviewed our file.

I have Senator Bennett's office contacting them as well as Holt in Eugene.

We will be leaving the Kaliko at 6:00 a.m. so we can arrive early at the consulate!

Pray we can all come home as a family as planned on Friday!

Love you all!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


I'm typing fast because I lost one post already...I know I won't be able to properly express what I witnessed on Saturday morning when we opened the donations. First we turned the Village into a *musical village* when we handed out plastic recorders to all the children! Mark kept apologizing to Monsour and all the caretakers for that. It WAS pretty "musical"! But one at a time a few of the plastic instruments bit the dust because the kids used them to beat on the concrete walls too! They had fun and that is what counts!

Then we (most of the house moms, Monsour, Mark, Marisa, Katiana and me with children running in and out) all packed into the small office with our 7 large pieces of luggage and went through them! Wow, I had the camera in hand and the noise level turned to excitement by all the caregivers when they realized there was new clothing and shoes for them too! It was amazing to see their excitement! I think they really loved getting the new items for the children BUT I THINK....they were SURPRISED to find new things for them too! It really was a very sweet moment. THANK YOU ALL who helped with money or items or prayers! We really made a difference!

Monday adventure...

Monday morning Monsour called us to tell us we needed to leave right away for Port-au-Prince because Katiana had to have her medical exam completed. The message I received from Mark was we needed to get there before noon because they would need to draw blood and it would take three days before the results would be ready! It was already 9:45 a.m. and it would take us at least an hour and a half to get to Pap from the Kaliko.

So my nature to worry about "details" like test results getting to the consulate by we could have her interview and actually ALL get on the plane on Friday began to kick in.

ADD......the drive into Pap. Not exactly like merging on the 405 freeway...instead, take the blue Ford Explorer designed to seat 5 and put 3 extra people in the back (Steven, Marisa and Katiana) and drive at freeway speed on a road barely wide enough for two vehicles... and of course, don't forget all the pot holes we must come to a screaching halt for (OR just swerve around them at freeway speeds while passing all the slower trucks, busses, cars and motorbikes) AND...seeing overloaded busses that are doing the same thing (**PICTURE THIS...a top heavy bus - because it has a roof loaded with burlap sacks full of *who knows what* and THEN on top of the sacks PEOPLE! YES, PEOPLE on top of the busses which drive at freeway speeds COMING AT YOU and swerving around pot holes! It is a scene my brain is still trying to process! I had the middle seat on the back bench and a great view of everything coming at us! Well, making the drive between the Kaliko and Pap ALWAYS sends my brain into a place of trying to understand the differences in the laws that govern *my world* and those that rule here in Haiti.

We made it to the clinic at noon! Monsour did a little sweet talking to get her in quicker and then he explained to me that we would still have the required papers by Thursday for our appointment. He then asked me (nervously - because he didn't tell me to bring them when he called) if I had our tax forms (which I did! To Mark's surprise I AM organized). He was so happy because he needed our documents so he could submit our file to the consulate. Of course as I write is now Tuesday afternoon and the DHS office still has not sent our dossier over to the consulate!!! I'm steaming about that because the consulate needs our dossier before they can set our appointment! So WE NEED our appointment to be on THURSDAY and that is only two days away! back to worrying about those *little* details! NO this isn't much of a vacation! Although, we are all thoroughly enjoing our beautiful new daughter! She is a gem!

OH... back to the car....NO AIR CONDITIONING! Ha, ha, ha.....Marisa, Steven and Katiana were all covered in black soot by the end of our round trip adventure to Pap and back! The windows were all down and the back window was lifted to keep the air flowing! OF COURSE, the air was filled with black diesel fumes and smoke from the burning trash along the way. Our breathing became shallow and we (Mark and I) were on the verge of *tossing our cookies* (that was for you dad! because I know you just read that and grimaced because of my choice of words! :) ...we didn't loose anything but maybe a pound or two because our lunch was cheese crackers and we returned just in time to see the Kaliko cleaning up after the lunch crowd! SO...we had to wait until 7:30 for dinner! OH....and Marisa had a black face as she sat closest to the open window in the back and Mark had *wings* from the wind and soot in his hair! We all laughed that we probably just lost at least 6 months off our lives because of our road trip and the fumes we inhaled! I guess we could've been on a tap we are grateful for the little blue Ford Explore and the fact that we didn't get a flat tire or CRASH along the way!

The picture of the Ford explore was actually taken when we were giving Katiana's father and sister their gifts.

The Kaliko...

...has a beautiful beach! Of course, we are spending most of our time in the pool or in the room because it is sooooo hot! Hot has been re-defined for all of us to include a constant state of sticky and the word "stinky" comes to mind too! Saturday we had Katiana with her 5 friends until 6:00 p.m. at the Kaliko with us. We swam in the pool and watch the girls just have fun together.

Sunday we didn't do much of anything! Steven, Marisa and I weren't feeling all that great. So we pretty much napped, read and ate the day away.

We are having a great time with Katiana. She is so anxious to learn. Marisa is doing a great job teaching her already. They both do some funny inspect each bite of food before it goes in their mouth! Marisa has always done this and we noticed Katiana does the same thing! Maybe it is just a teenage girl kind of thing to do?


As promised... is a picture of Steven being a good sport when Katiana and her friends braided his hair! They all laughed at him when they were finished and said he "looked like a girrrl". Too funny! The braids only made it through the night (while in the room). It was back to normal (wild and curly) by breakfast because Steven claimed "it hurt".

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Things are going GREAT so far... I said in our first post....we were successful at the DHS office. I will try to describe the 3 hour experience we will remember as our DHS experience in Haiti. First, the DHS office is staffed with Haitians - we didn't meet a single American in the DHS (U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security) office. Monsour said they contract the work out to the Haitian gov't. Of course, there are Americans overseeing the office but we didn't meet them. In fact, I didn't interview with anyone at all. Mark answered a few questions and they interviewed Katiana and her birth father. SO....we sat most of the time in the waiting room which is similar to the USCIS office in the U.S. with a T.V. blarring the movie Lamumba. Ok, go and do your research and you will see - the movie alone made us feel uncomfortable. AND...we had Katiana's birth father and older sister sitting behind us in the waiting room. I wanted to ask them so many questions but the movie was so obnoxious and basically it was just overwhelming and awkward. We did ask a few questions with Monsour translating but we hoped to have a nicer place to visit.

After the interview was finished we had some gifts to give her father and sister....but I told Monsour I just couldn't do it with the "now playing" Haitian soap opera (totally cheesy) in the stinky little waiting room. Monsour didn't want us to look through our luggage on the street so we drove to his wife's work at the U.S.Aid office. We all had to get out of the car so they could search the car. We drove in thinking Francois would follow us - but they waited outside. We gathered our gifts and drove back out and presented them through the car window. Pictures for her father and earings and lotion for her sister. The experience didn't match the vision I had of this moment.... Oh well - when does that ever happen anyway? One surprise was when we walked out of the DHS office and we took these photos......Katiana's father came and gathered all of us together for a group hug. It was very sweet. It is beyond my ability to understand the world he lives in that makes him happy at this moment.

I will post more later....look forward to a picture of Steven with his hair braided....our first picture on the Kaliko beach ...and some more cute pics of all of us but for NOW.....we need to eat some FINE Haitian Cuisine at the world famous Kaliko Beach Club!

Love you all...
Tash, Mark, Steven, Marisa AND Katiana

oh...actually, Francois just told us they had some food for us here at the Fontana Village....of course we had to look up in the dictionary what he said we were eating....something like Taro root soup bouillion....hmmmmm soup in HAITI??? Maybe they think it is COLD today???

more with the little kids...

We have lots of fun pictures with Marie and Roberto....but downloading the pictures to my blog is painfully slow here in Haiti....

Hopefully the last two pics will publish. We have been waiting for 15 minutes.

Leaving the little ones was sad. Marie and Roberto know when we begin to pack things up....they begin to get quiet again. Hopefully our next trip to Haiti we will pack THEM up with us!

If the pic's make it....they are of Marisa and Roberto and Steven and Marie looking a little sad.

Catching up in Haiti...

We arrived in Haiti on Wednesday, Sept. 5 ON TIME! Everything went well which translates ALL OF OUR LUGGAGE arrived with us! Of course we were all a bit sleepy because we took the red-eye flight from L.A. Marisa and I learned from our last trip so we brought sweatshirts and pillows and slept on the floor in Fort Lauderdale.

We arrived at the El Rancho Hotel and had about 45 minutes before Richard and Charlemagne brought Marie-Vierge and Roberto to us. When they arrived we invited them to stay for lunch. The kids were VERY quiet.

We ate and the guys left and we got right to having some fun....swimming in the pool! Here are a few pictures of all of us together. Marie and Roberto became all smiles very soon.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

We made it!

Yeah! We made it to Haiti! Today was our DHS appointment and they did NOT require DNA testing....YEAH!!! One more step and Katiana will for sure be on the airplane with all of us!

We experienced a new HOT today driving around Port-au-Prince with Steven, Katiana, Me and Marisa all jammed in the back seat made for three! It gives a new meaning to the word "bonding" ....we thought we would all fall out and be stuck at the hip forever!

We will try to post some fun pictures tomorrow. Danielle.....sorry I forgot but is the necklace for Maxilia or Rosemonde?? Please post a comment and let us know. oh...and the shows were a huge hit with Monsour! :)

Cheers everyone! We are having a blast and Katiana is as cute as can be!!! So were Marie and little time with them though.

Love you all....
Tash, Mark, Steven, Marisa AND Katiana