Thursday, August 5, 2010


I am falling WAY behind on this... I've got to finish the "how I got Bella" story so I can fill you in on all the adorable things she is doing now that you probably don't care about but that I don't want to forget! So, without further ado... let's get to it...

Back to that day at the orphanage... One of the primary reasons we were there was to check on a baby named Isaac. Some friends of ours from Knoxville- Lance and Debbie Robinson had fallen in love with this little guy. Lance had been in Haiti since a few days after the earthquake and had visited Isaac several times, slowly falling in love with him, but also knowing he was quite ill. So, we were there to check on him (and the other sick kids) AND to bring food and water to everyone there. The roads had been so badly damaged that it made it very hard to get any vehicles up to the orphanage which is located in a village in the mountains north or Port au Prince. The kids and workers had been without food and water except for what Norris and the others from ProVision had been taking to them.

I will come back and tell you the story of Isaac some day. A beautiful story of the Father's love for us... and how we are called to lavish that on others. If you have been at Cedar Springs this summer, you may have heard Lance Robinson tell the story already... After I get permission, I will tell the story with pictures and all! Know this, Isaac is now resting in the arms of the Lord and I can't wait to hold him and kiss him again one day.

When I walked in the orphanage to the area where the babies were kept, the VERY FIRST thing I laid eyes on was this:

This is the area where the infants play and sleep... Look a little closer... among the toys... in the yellow onesie. Do you see her? Let me help you...

Martha- a.k.a. "Bella". My baby girl.

As a Nurse Practitioner with Dr. Greg and Dr. Abby, one of the very first things they taught me was to distinguish between "sick baby" and "not-sick baby". When I looked at this baby on the floor, the words that pounded in my mind were "SICK BABY". She could BARELY sit up or hold her head up. She was EMACIATED with a HUGE belly. She was super dehydrated and just clung to you when you picked her up. I did a quick exam on her (between taking care of Isaac) and saw that she was severely dehydrated with pneumonia and double ear infections. I had already asked for an ambulance (which is a joke in Haiti) for Isaac and quickly asked permission to take Martha with us for medical attention. They whisked me, the 2 babies and Renee into a truck and got us down that mountain in record time. Renee and I were feeding the babies Pedialyte with a dropper. Martha was SUCKING it down and begging for more until she passed out and took a BIG ole' nap!

Renee holding Martha (Bella)

Martha (Bella) night owl (note time on iphone)- still the night owl!

This was the first picture Renee and I took of this little one! We made it back to the hospital in the D.R. in record time... While I was consumed with getting Isaac stabilized, Renee got Martha cleaned up and put a clean onesie on her and fed her some more Pedialyte and she started to perk up. We went for a LATE dinner and this girl ATE and ATE and ATE. I fought Renee for her to sleep with ME...

Side-note: my dear twin-at-heart, Ellen, had texted me the morning I left for Haiti that her prayer was that I would just KNOW who my daughter was.... Love at first sight? Not exactly. I mean, she was FILTHY! However, that first night that she curled up into my body and slept against me, I was DONE. SOLD. IN.LOVE.

I had consulted with an immigration attorney before I left the country. I warned her that it was highly likely I would fall in love with a sick baby I would want to bring home to the states for medical care and would be retaining her to help me accomplish this in a split moment. I called her the next morning. Her reply was something like this... "Molly, I didn't mean for you to call me your SECOND day in Haiti with a baby to bring home!" She went right to work and the short of it is we came home on February 5, 2010!!! Our GOTCHA day!!!

Now, don't get me wrong, there is ALOT more to that story. ALOT of stress, sweat, tears, paperwork, and sleepless nights went into getting Bella home. My group left at the end of week one and I FELL APART but KNEW that I was to stay and finish what God had started. When I emailed Greg and Abby (my bosses)- the email I got back from Dr. Greg said "obey God". Wow.

Below are pictures from our time in Haiti... more pictures and less words... it's what you want anyway, right?!

The second night I had "baby girl" in Haiti. These pictures went to the government to prove medical necessity. At this point, we were calling her "baby girl" because she didn't answer to "Martha" and I didn't know if I got to keep her yet, so I hadn't named her!

eating all she wants for the first time in her life!

falling into a full-tummy induced coma

And WE'RE BACK for round 2!!!

Please take note of not 2, but THREE cookies in her hands!
If ANYONE walked by with food in their hands, she IMMEDIATELY SNATCHED it faster than you could say "cookie"! It was unbelievable!

So much more to share from our time in Haiti... Baby Girl changed SO much in just the 2 weeks we were there. She gained weight, started to smile, giggle, sit up, crawl, bear weight on her legs... all those pictures to come! For now, I will post this for you to enjoy! Thanks for following our journey and loving my Baby Girl.

Friday, June 11, 2010

January 12, 2010

Can you even imagine how terrifying it was? One ordinary day you are going about your daily life and suddenly everything around you starts shaking, spinning, crumbling... picture frames are falling off the wall, light fixtures swaying, dishes and glasses busting out of the cabinets and crashing to the ground in a million pieces... The ceiling is folding down on top of you, screams of terror from every direction... Instant fear of not knowing where your loved ones are and if they are okay... Can you see the darkness? Can you hear the deafening noise of the crumbling buildings and terrifying cries and screams of young children and grown men? Can you feel the dust and debris hitting your head and face? Can you imagine the new reality at that moment that nothing will ever be the same again? I wasn't there, but I CANNOT even imagine...

destruction in Haiti
(photo by Greg Blackmon)

demolished home in Port au Prince

Coq Chante orphanage
(photo by Greg Blackmon)

Bella was there that terrifying day. I wish I knew what she was doing at that moment. I wish I could've held her tight and whispered to her that it was all gonna be ok. All I know is that she was in her orphanage, and the caretakers got her outside safely. I thank God she is too little to ever remember... that she isn't scared to be indoors like so many of the Haitian children... that she isn't having nightmares every time she goes to sleep. I PRAISE God for sparing her life that day... for allowing her to get out without a scratch. I PRAISE God that because of that awful earthquake on January 12, He brought the two of us together... AMEN and AMEN! So many lives were lost that day... So many people hurt. Of course, the children captured my heart. Here are a few pictures of some of the injured kids. Bless them.

4 yr old little boy with femur fracture in hospital at Dominican Republic

2 month old baby girl found under rubble 11 days after earthquake- still alive! crush injury to her right leg... she was a fighter!

young boy found by Dr. Greg over a week after the earthquake- took him for surgery and a REAL cast! can you imagine living with a broken leg for over a week?!
(photo by Greg Blackmon)

smiling kids outside their new home made of tarps, sheets and sticks...
what happens when it rains?
(photo by Greg Blackmon)

So, as I shared in my last post... in December, God had started doing some serious stirring in my heart. I had started praying about what it might look like for me to adopt. But, REALLY? Was I SERIOUS? I don't know! I had JUST started thinking and praying about it when the earthquake hit! One of the churches in the community where I work (Whitestone Church) has close ties with Haiti and have been supporting an orphanage there for several years. Dr. Greg and Dr. Abby (the pediatricians I work for) have been to Haiti to serve on medical missions and also LOVE the children in the orphanage there. When the earthquake happened, the church wanted to bring all of their orphans home immediately. I volunteered to take one of the girls. It was a quick and scary decision, but I had never been more sure of anything. I had to fill out all kinds of government paperwork and just about sign my life away... As the process went on, it did not look like the orphans would be coming home any time soon. I was REALLY disappointed. And that kinda surprised me. Why would I be so disappointed if it didn't mean something? So, I just kept praying... And watching the news... looking at those lil' faces. Gosh, I couldn't get those lil' faces out of my dreams...

At this point, Dr. Greg was already gone to Haiti to provide medical relief. I think I texted or facebook messaged him everyday to bring me home a Haiti baby in his backpack! Sort of an inside joke between us... (but I think he knew I was serious!) Little did either of us know the joke would be on us in a couple weeks!

When sharing my heart with one of my dear friends, Carmen Long, she mentioned that a mutual friend of ours- Norris Hill (ProVision Foundation) was over in Haiti at the time. So, what did I do? Yep! Facebook messaged him to bring me home a Haiti baby in HIS backpack! He did better than that... He called me within a couple hours of my message and said, "Guess where I am"? All I could hear (aside from a terrible connection full of static) was a bunch of little voices singing and talking and giggling! I knew he was in Haiti, but I said, "Where? Where?!!!" He said, " I am standing in an orphanage full of adoptable babies- most of them are sick and hungry. Can you get on the next flight here to check on these babies?"

ARE YOU EVEN KIDDING ME GOD?! After a bazillion phone calls and a quick conversation with Dr. Abby who immediately gave me her blessing and prayed over me... I was on a flight 24 hours later with Norris' wife Melissa and Steve and Renee Moldrup- who I worked for at Windy Gap 6 years ago. For real, God? For real? You are SO BIG and SO GOOD! Another 24 hours later, I was standing in that orphanage... These are the faces that met us at that gate!


Terry Guthe (team member) with Haiti orphan toddler girl

me with my instant new best friend- this kid was a SCREAM!

Terry Douglas (ProVision Foundation) with a lovey little girl

Steve Moldrup (college pastor at CSPC) unknowingly with his soon-to-be daughter! don't ya just love God's surprises?!

the funny little booger again!

Well, this post has gotten WAY longer than I ever intended... I just start remembering so many details when I get going! Don't worry... Bella was there that day... just inside and SO sick... the details are coming... I'm exhausted and want to get this posted and will try to finish some of the story tomorrow... You know- like when I first laid eyes on her... and did I KNOW at that moment? Thanks for reading along this journey with me... God sure did write the story because I never could have come up with something as creative! More to come...

Friday, May 7, 2010

It's all their fault!

Well... I am finally MAKING time to get this blog going! I have so many ideas and thoughts in my head that I am DYING to get down on paper (or in writing) so I don't forget them! The past 3 months have been an absolute whirlwind and I honestly don't remember much of it. But, I WANT to remember it. I WANT to remember the very first time I laid eyes on my baby girl. I WANT to remember the journey that got me to Haiti in the first place. I WANT to remember the journey of my heart in the months leading up to that trip... to the decision to want to pursue international adoption. May I never forget the tiny details. May the Lord sear in my mind and heart the most precious memories.

I still get asked at least once a day about how I got Bella. That story will come. For sure. But the story I don't tell often enough is what made me WANT her. That's the story I SHOULD be telling. That's the story I should be shouting from the rooftops. Because it's a story with God's handwriting all over it!

A couple of years ago, my friends, Ben and Amanda Scott started the process of adopting from Ethiopia. This past December, their 2 blessings finally made it home to their forever family. You can read their story at

Waiting for Ellie and Yose to come home was one of the most exciting times in my life! I was SO excited for Ben, Amanda, and John Harvey (and Baby Graeden). I couldn't WAIT for their family to finally be together. I had always told my mom that if I was not married by the time I was 35, I would adopt and be a single mom. Maybe I meant 30? There is so much to say here... but all I know is, something just started stirring in my heart.

About that same time, I saw the movie, The Blind Side. If you have not seen it, it is a MUST SEE. Talk about stepping outside of your comfort zone and living a really bold life! Again, much to say here, but something was stirring deep inside me... I was challenged. To be different. To be bold. To step outside what is comfortable.

Last, but not least I had a very long, sweet conversation over breakfast with an old friend-Steph Shirley. Some BIG changes were about to happen in her life (SO proud of you Steph for stepping outside your comfort zone!) and she was the first person I told about the stirrings of my heart and the thoughts going on inside me. (this is all still way pre-earthquake by the way!). She told me I HAD to read Donald Miller's newest book - A Million Miles In A Thousand Years. I got it that night and read the whole thing in the next two days. Check. Got it. The message from God was LOUD AND CLEAR. "Molly, I don't want you to lead a cookie-cutter life. I am calling you to something BIG. Something different. Something outside your everyday comfort zone. Be ready."

You gotta read the book to get it. But, basically he says no one wants a boring story about their own life. Is the story of your life boring? Have you done anything to make it NOT boring? Are you stepping out? Living BIG? Living BOLD? Doing something DIFFERENT that MAKES you believe in God? At the time, I had NO idea what it meant... I kept having this feeling (and I think I said it a few times) that 2010 was gonna be a BIG year! I told my small group that Kelli and I were training for a half-marathon in honor of my 30th birthday in June. HA! Little did I know I was really training for a DIFFERENT kind of marathon... one of no sleep, lots of filth and heartache, LOTS of poop and drool, but a marathon of an ABUNDANCE of giggles and smiles that fills my heart until it overflows!

So, all that to say... It's all their fault... Them being the Scott's and Steph Shirley... Steph and I joke that we should have breakfast more often... or NOT. We've had enough big change for one year!

Next up- the story of Haiti and "how I got Bella" as everyone asks! Or maybe that will be mixed in with funny stories about the Bee (as my small group girls have nicknamed her!) She is one funny, BUSY little girl.

And for a parting gift, a big grin to put a smile on your face... Is this kid cute or what?!