501(c)3 Non-Profit | Empowering Haitian Families

Photographs and Memories

I wish I was a better blogger. I have so many things to say, to share, of my time here in Haiti. And most of all, I wish I would write it all down as a record. I feel like I have lived 4 lifetimes in the last 4 years, and when I look at my children and realize I can’t even remember what they were like as babies anymore, I realize that I should have made a better record.
Jackson and Ember are officially ours. They have had our last name since September and the US Embassy approved our I-600 today (three cheers) and now we are only waiting on a visa appointment. They are ours…(you can go ahead and start sending in those baby shower gifts… 🙂 ) And I don’t even remember what they were like two years ago. Life is different when there are few photographs, seasons, places or events to make memories at. I think of the poor and how they don’t have pictures. They don’t have much to remember the past by. I suppose that is a blessing most of the time. Hard things can vanish into nothing if we don’t remember them. But hard things, although not remembered consciously, I am finding, still tattoo us indelibly.
Jackson has started asking about his mother. Every day he asks me when his adoption is going to be done. He’s heard of things like snow and carpet and his four year old brain is longing for new experiences. He asks me if his mom died. I don’t know. I can’t know. Perhaps this is why I regret not having more pictures. Because I have so little to tell him of his heritage, I wish I had more to tell him of his infancy. I showed him the one picture I have of her. He is the spitting image of her. He tells me I need to go find her. I’ll try baby, I’ll try.
Ember listens to everything silently. Her Haitian father works on building the wall around our house. We tell the kids that it’s her Haitian father. She doesn’t seem to react. The teams that come by one after another ask me how our children came to us. Her mother died in childbirth is the standard reply. It was the reply when she was six months old, and it is the reply as she stands silently by me not saying a word.
And then she goes in the next room and begins to talk and tell a quite elaborate story about her mother dying and bleeding. She understands now. She knows. Something has gone really wrong and she knows now.
My kids are my kids. They are 100% Clay kids. No doubt about it and I am so grateful to God that I have them and that they have me. And that they get the opportunities that we can give them. My heart still aches though, for the lost memories, the stories I can’t tell. The things I will never know about where they came from and who their family is.
For now, I’ll try to snap a few more pictures and write down a few more anecdotes. It will be important some day to them- as it is becoming more important everyday for them to make sense of the void- the unremembered loss that changed everything about who they would be come.

Ps: In lieu of baby gifts (we are unfortunatly not registered at the local banana market), please consider purchasing a piece of Apparent Project jewelry in honor of my kids parents and so that mothers and fathers in our own sphere of influence are not faced with the same heartwrenching decisions that Ember and Jackson’s parents had to make.

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