S: Aliyah's Life Book - The Story of Me
BC: My Lifebook
FC: Aliyah Faith | The Story of Me...
1: "The Lord your God in your midst, The Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.” Zephaniah 3:17
2: December is a wonderful time of year! Everyone is excited about Christmas approaching — a time to celebrate the birth of our Savior, Jesus and a season to spend time together as a family, enjoying each other. People decorate, bake cookies and buy gifts for each other. Something else very special happened on December 18, 2006. Aliyah, can you guess what that is?
3: Someone you know very well was born on this day. You! Aliyah Faith! Your name, Aliyah Faith, means "Ascending Faith."
4: Aliyah, you were born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Your name in Haiti was Lourdemia, a name in Haiti that people consider a beautiful, Creole name. You were born in the morning around 8:00 o'clock.
6: Everyone in the world starts by getting born. You too! Before you were born, you grew in a special place inside another lady's tummy. She helped make you. We call her your "birth mom" or your "Haiti Mommy." Your Haiti Mommy's name is Joudeline Jean. Joudeline has brown skin. She also has brown eyes and brown hair. This is why your skin is brown. Zach and Josh grew inside my tummy, this is why their skin is white like mine. Christéla grew inside a brown birth mommy too. And this is why her skin is brown.
7: Aliyah, it takes two people, a man and a woman, to make a baby. Everyone in the world starts with a birth mother and a birth father. You too. So, not only do you have a Haiti Mommy, but you have a Haiti Daddy as well. Your Haiti Daddy also helped to give you some of how you look — your hair, your skin color, they way your nose and eyes and lips look. Your Haiti Daddy's name is Josue Beaussejour. We don't know very much about Joudeline or Josue. I wonder if they enjoy playing soccer or running. I wonder if they enjoy playing and listening to music. I wonder what their favorite colors are, maybe it's the same as yours!
8: After children are born, they either live with their birth parents, join other families, or enter orphanages. There are many reasons why children don't stay with their birth mothers and fathers. All the reasons have to do with the parents, not the kids. Little babies can't do anything wrong. How can they? They are just little goo goo, ga ga babies!
9: When you were just a baby, you were born in Haiti. Haiti is a small country on the island of Hispaniola not too far from America. To get to Haiti from America, you have to take either an airplane or a big boat. | Aliyah, let's go back to your story.
10: Haiti has some very beautiful countryside with palm trees and the ocean. They have some very colorful cars called "tap-taps" where people ride in the back of a pick-up with rails on it and "tap" on the side when they are ready to get out.
11: Haiti is also a county that has a lot of hard problems. Many families don't have jobs and don't have enough food. Many children who don't have food to eat are given "dirt biscuits" to eat to make their tummies feel full and not hungry. Being poor in Haiti is not the same as being poor in the United States.
12: We don't know your Haitian parents' exact reasons for placing your for adoption, but we can imagine it was a very hard decision. I'll bet your Haiti Mommy and Haiti Daddy thought and thought about what to do. I feel sure that they didn't know if they could afford to give you good food to eat and a chance to go to school in Haiti. I also feel sure that they loved you and wanted good things for you.
14: So, this is what we believe happened: Your Haiti parents decided to place you in the orphanage, "Maison des Enfants de Dieu" (The House of the Children of God) when you were three weeks old. They knew you would be well taken care of there and that the people in the orphanage would work to find the family that God wanted you to have for your forever family. Your Haiti parents didn't know if they could provide for you, but they could make sure that you grew up healthy and happy, and that is exactly what they did.
15: In June 2008, Mommy and Daddy took a trip from America to Haiti to visit the orphanage. While we were there, Mommy and Daddy spent time holding you and getting to know you. You were very sick while we were there that first trip. You had scabies and impetigo and your tummy hurt from medicine you were on to help you get better. As Mommy and Daddy held you and sang to you, the Lord gave us a desire to have you as our daughter.
16: Baby | As much as we wanted to, the governments in Haiti and America wouldn't just let us bring you home. We had to get permission first — and that took a lot of paperwork. As soon as we returned home from the trip, we quickly started all the paperwork and turned it in to Celebrate Children International, the agency that was helping us adopt you.
17: In Haiti, it takes a long time to receive permission to adopt a baby. At the time we were adopting you, it took most people two to three years before they could bring their baby home. While we all waited for the government to say we could bring you home, you continued to grow and be taken care of in the orphanage. The nannies there took good care of you. They fed you good food, gave you baths, gave you medicine, made your hair pretty and put nice, clean clothes on you. Mommy and Daddy and your brothers prayed for you every day and couldn't wait until the government in Haiti said we could bring you home. But, we knew that you were being taken care of well at the orphanage while we all waited.
18: In March, 2009, Mommy and Daddy came to Haiti again to sign some papers for the adoption. You got to come to the hotel, Habitation Hatt, in Haiti and stay with us for a few days. You were just over 2-years-old then. When we first arrived, you were scared to come to either Mommy or Daddy, but over time you started to warm up to us. We were amazed at your beautiful smile and bright eyes. You enjoyed playing with the Easter eggs and baskets we brought down for you and Christéla.
21: After the first night, you really warmed up to us. But, once we also brought Christéla back to the hotel, you wanted nothing to do with Daddy for the rest of the trip... you only wanted to hang out with Mommy.
22: You were such a sweet little girl who liked bing held! We couldn't wait to be told we could bring you home with us forever!
27: After several days, Mommy and Daddy had to go back to America. The government in Haiti hadn't said we could bring you home with us yet, so we had to take you back to your nannies at the orphanage. We cried so hard when we had to leave you there because we couldn't wait for you to come home with us - we loved you so much. But, we had to wait for permission... we prayed for you daily and knew that God was watching over you for us.
28: Front of the orphanage | Front of the orphanage from driveway | Back of the orphanage Laundry hanging to dry | Back courtyard of the orphanage
29: Ladies doing laundry outside by hand | Cooks cook outdoors (This was a special meal for the team, usually they cooked rice and beans.) | Baby Room 1 Cribs were double stacked | Toddler Room Mattresses were stacked during the day to leave room to play.
31: You had lived in three different rooms at the orphanage. First was Baby Room 1, then when you could walk, you were moved to Baby Room 2. Around the time you turned three, you were moved to the Toddler Room, where you stayed until you came home forever to Mommy and Daddy. (Here are more pictures we received of you from others who had been to the orphanage.)
32: In Haiti, it takes a long time for the government to give permission to bring a baby home to their family that lived outside Haiti. In January 2010, we were planning another trip to Haiti to see you, and we thought we would still have to wait another year and a half to bring you home... | EARTHQUAKE
33: But, on January 12, 2010, a very big earthquake struck just outside of Port-au-Prince, Haiti. In this earthquake, many, many people died. Buildings collapsed and fell on those that were inside. But, again, Jesus was watching over you. He protected you during the earthquake and you didn't even get hurt. Jesus was watching over all the children in the orphanage where you lived and you were all okay.
34: The next 11 days were hard ones for you and the nannies at the orphanage. No one knew if you would have enough food and water. Mommy and Daddy were doing everything we could from America to get the government in America to let you come here, and for the government in Haiti to let you go. Many, many people were calling people who could make these decisions and asking them to let you, and all of the other children in Haiti who had mommies and daddies in America to let you come home.... and they did!
35: On January 23, 2010 you were flown on a military airplane (C-130) from Haiti to Orlando, Florida. Then, the next day, you were flown on an airplane with 31 other children from your orphanage to Denver. You and Christéla were then taken by ambulance to Denver Children's Hospital to make sure you were OK. Mommy and Daddy rushed to the hospital and got to hold you as our forever daughter right there in the Emergency Room of the hospital. Daddy, Mommy, Christéla and you all spent our first night as a family together at the hospital where you slept very well!
36: The next evening we brought you home. You met your brothers Zachariah and Joshua for the first time.
37: On October 20, 2010 we went to the courthouse in Denver where Judge Sylvester agreed with what God had already said — you were now our daughter in the eyes of the State of Colorado as well as in God's eyes.