Saturday, January 30, 2010

The First Week

We made it through our first week home. Everyone's doing great -- better than I expected. Tallie and Valencia get along and have fun together, but are extremely competitive - I need 2 of everything and I'm about to throw away the pink kid dishes because if there's not enough for them both there's trouble in the house :) Valencia is really handling all the changes well - she's very curious about everything and wants to be involved in whatever I'm doing. It's fun to see how new and

Saturday night dinner -- she didn't want to take off her gloves.

Saturday night movie night - the popcorn was a huge hit.

New Sunday dresses -- the one thing I didn't have for Valencia was a dress for church and being an inexperienced adoptive mom (or just a mom with 4 and 5 year old girls) I thought she could just borrow one of Tallie's for the first Sunday, but I quickly learned that the girls need to have their OWN things, so after putting the girls to bed Saturday night I went out frantically shopping for a Sunday dress.

Tuesday -- we took the kids swimming. She had a great time and was very brave in the water and even tried swimming by herself with floaties. Her teeth were chattering the whole time - poor thing, but when I'd ask her if she was cold she said no and when it was time to leave she didn't want to. She's been asking to go swimming since then.

Tuesday night -- Here's a first for mom -- doing Valencia's hair. She came home with corn rows but one of them started falling out so I decided to take them out and attempt to do her hair (!!). It took me 2 hours just to take out the braids. By then it was WAY past bedtime so the next day I washed her hair and tried braiding it. I spent almost 2 hours and did less than half of her head and we were both ready to be done, so since Wednesday she's had a head of half braided hair -- I think I need to find a good salon to take her to!

Wednesday was sunny and warm so I took the kids (by myself!) to see some horses. That ended up not being a good idea. Valencia was TERRIFIED of the horses so we quickly left and went to the beach instead. That was a hit -- she loved running along the waves.

Thursday the girls went to a cooking class. A teacher reads them a story and then they cook a food from the story. I was a little nervous to go by myself with the kids because we're still working through behavior and tantrums, but it was great and everyone had a fun time. She really enjoys getting out of the house and doing things. And it seems to wear her out by the end of the day -- we've been putting the girls to bed at 7pm and she goes right to sleep - I don't think she even moves until morning.

Friday - My two ballerinas. Dance class was a hit. They do ballet and tap -- Valencia was so excited about it and wore her tap shoes all day, and of course Tallie had to as well. A little noisy around the house but we're getting used to it.

Today was Beckett's first birthday, and with everything going on I almost forgot. The last two weeks have been a whirlwind, but luckily I bought his presents a few weeks ago so all I had to do was wrap presents and bake a cake.

Friday, January 22, 2010

We're Home

It was a VERY LONG day for all the kids -- we didn't get to bed until around 11pm last night and were up by 7am to catch our plane home. The first plane ride was exciting and the girls played, colored, giggled, and pretended to throw up in the barf bags (not sure the people around us liked that!). The second plane wasn't as fun -- by then EVERYONE was ready to be home and there were a few tears, but all the kids ended up falling asleep which helped.

Once we made it home we had a great night. Valencia found everything so exciting in the house and Tallie had a great time showing Valencia everything. They played, then we had dinner thanks to one of our friends, the kids all took a bath which Valencia LOVED. She's never been in a bath tub before -- and especially with warm water. Valencia's not so sure about our little dog - she freaks out every time Nala walks by and stomps her feet and yells at her (I'd love to know what she's saying). We got pjs on, read a book and put the girls to bed. Valencia thought it was so funny when we gave her a kiss goodnight. They giggled for awhile but it's quiet now so I think they're all asleep.

Ok, here are the pictures you're waiting for.
Family of four -- waiting to be a family of five

We were in a private area of the airport waiting for the plane with our kids.

Family of five!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Home on Friday

Hi Everyone

We take off in the morning for Florida. The children from the orphanage are supposed to arrive in Florida sometime on Thursday. Things are a bit crazy right now and flights from Haiti cannot be confirmed, but the plan is to return home with Valencia this Friday in Boston at 3:22pm on USAirways. We would love to have a welcome home airport scene for Valencia with signs and balloons. We're inviting any of you who are in the area and able to come to the airport this Friday. I will let you know if the day or time changes.



I woke up to an email this morning saying we should be in Ft. Lauderdale, FL this Thursday morning (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) They have secured 3 planes to get the children out. They'll update us when they know more.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Humanitarian Parole announced

Secretary Napolitano Announces Humanitarian Parole Policy for Certain Haitian Orphans

house is clean, laundry is done, bags are packed, now we're just waiting for the phone call. I hope it comes soon!!

Update from Chances for Children

Earthquake Relief Efforts - UPDATE

In a week filled with devastation, despair, sadness and frustration there were a few hours of hope! Hope – when so many in our community donated so much, hope when friends worked tirelessly on our behalf to help locate air cargo space and RELIEF when today a plane was not only confirmed but donated. Chances for Children is forever grateful to Ray Croghan, a C4C Board Member, who made it all come together with his time and monetary donation. In addition, we are grateful to Robert Sarver, who directed the The Phoenix Suns Charities to make a large donation allowing us to helicopter our supplies directly to Lamerdelle. And finally a HUGE thank you to all of you – if you are receiving this email, you helped to achieve our goal of delivering over 5,000 pounds of supplies to our team in Haiti. We have received so much and we are so grateful.

Here is an update on our Relief Efforts

Early this week a supply of food, water purification tablets and formula will arrive in Haiti to provide enough food and clean drinking water for the next few weeks.

The U.S. Embassy has also distributed water and milk to the village of Lamerdelle.

The week of January 25th Chances for Children will fly 5,000 pounds of supplies destined for Haiti. This food, water, formula, medicine and supplies will last for at least 4 months. Our next step after this will to begin collecting in-kind donations and prepare a container to ship to Haiti once the ports are open.

Finally, as it relates to adoptions in process, there is also some potential good news on the horizon. JCICS is working with the U.S. government to encourage our government to expedite the processing of all adoptions in process. Craig will be flying to Washington DC this week to meet with congress people and to bring this situation to the media’s attention. Let’s all work together to encourage our congress people to focus their efforts on making this happen.

And finally, the grim reality in Haiti - supplies are finally coming into the country, but it’s still a long ways from providing the water, food and medicine that is needed. Our team in Haiti reports that approximately 3 million Haitians have been affected by this tragedy. The situation at the airport is deteriorating and reports state that unloading supplies can be dangerous. Many roads are impassable, there is still no water, power or phone service – although some satellite phones are working. The country is low on fuel and propane so generators that produce power may also stop functioning. At the orphanage in Lamerdelle we have lost generator capacity. Our water source has been contaminated and the only method of cooking for us is now over open flame. And this is just our story – multiply this by 3 million. Buildings are in ruins, debris and bodies still line the streets and there are thousands of people without food, water, shelter or medical treatment. The road to a stable environment is still very steep and littered with obstacles.

We ask that you continue to support our neighbors in Haiti and keep them in your thoughts and prayers. If you know someone who hasn’t yet donated to assist in the relief efforts, encourage them to do so either through our efforts or by donating to one of the other charities providing assistance within the country. As a reminder here is a link to our earthquake relief campaign and our website.

Thank you for all you have done to help the children in Haiti.

Kathi and Craig Juntunen

more updates

Hi everyone -- I just received this email:

We have reason to believe that all children whose adoptions were in process prior to Tuesday will be able to come to the United States as soon as the logistics of the travel can be figured out. In order to receive the appropriate visas we need the following documents sent ELECTRONICALLY to me as soon as possible...

it continues on with what I need to send. Wow. I'm going to start packing bags just in case.

Supplies to head to our orphanage

Here is the latest:

Chances for Children Has the plane!! Actually, we now have 2 large cargo planes reserved- Haiti here we come with 5,000 to 10,000 pounds of supplies. Thank you to everyone who helped find air cargo space - especially the heros- Rob P, Micky B and Ray C!!!

Sunday, January 17, 2010


It has been a busy weekend online. We have received numerous emails about getting Valencia home. She is fortunately at the end of the process and is just awaiting a US Visa. Organizations involved in adoption contacted the secretary of state, asking to allow children in orphanages a visa to enter the United States. The state department has created a website for all of us adopting from Haiti to register with them -- essentially entering in our information, who we're adopting and how to contact the orphanage. They say that once communication lines are back up and running they can start this process. And last night the Haitian Ambassador to the US said that Haiti has released these children to leave -- it is just a matter of the receiving country to allow them to enter.

It is very encouraging news and we are preparing (and hoping) for a phone call that Valencia is on her way to the states. We have seen this happen with a few other children today and yesterday from other orphanages on the news. If this does happen we have no idea how much notice we'll get but I don't think it will be much. I will try to get a post on the blog, but I'm making no promises :)

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Earthquake in Haiti

As many of you have seen there has been a horrible earthquake in Haiti. We've been checking our adoption forum all evening for word on our orphanage. The U.S. side was finally able to get a hold of the orphanage and everyone is ok. Thankfully the orphanage is self-sufficient. They stockpile food and supplies and water. That will help them with the oncoming days of limited to no travel in Haiti. We have been worried all evening so this is great news. Here is what they posted:

So sorry not to post her sooner. It has been hard to connect with Gina and Lucien. But we did manage to exchange emails. Everyone at CEJ/FEJ is safe - that is the best news we could have received. However, there is significant damage to the transit house and some damage at the creche. All the children are fine. It will be some time before we have the actual assesment of the building/road/infrastructure damage. We are all so very saddened by this latest and worst disaster. Personally, I just don’t understand why so many horrible things happen in Haiti. It is very distressing. As most of you know who have been to Haiti - there is no way the shantys and shacks you pass could have survived this magnitude of an earthquake. I can’t even begin to imagine how PAP looks and how difficult it will be for rescue teams to get into areas. Please keep all of Haiti in your prayers.

On another note - we believe Valencia now has her passport, which means we are waiting for the visa appointment. The earthquake will definitely slow things down, but I am happy to wait as long as Valencia is safe.

Friday, January 1, 2010


Here are some pictures from our November -- whew, I'm almost caught up.

Beckett started crawling this month just before Thanksgiving.

We took a trip to the White Mountains in New Hampshire and hiked to a waterfall.

This is how Nala spends her day -- all day every day.

These are pictures from our Thanksgiving in Pennsylvania. It was FREEZING but the kids were able to play out in the leaves one afternoon. They had a great time together.