Friday, January 6, 2012


When Cowen arrived at KKO in October 2010, he was placed in the care of Tina, a 19 year old American girl who had moved to KKO so she could serve in Haiti and learn all that she could. She wanted to know how she could help in Haiti after the earthquake. She'd been there since the summer and wanted a child to take care of.

Cowen came in and she was excited to have her own little charge. Then night time came and she wondered if she'd made a horrible mistake! He screamed and cried from fear and was unconsolable. He refused to sleep. There was nothing she could do! But she loved him.

Tina and Cowen have a great bond. It is thanks to her that he adjusted so well to life at KKO. He became a social butterfly, was able to run and stretch his legs, to play with other kids. And he formed that trust that Tina would be there to meet his needs. 

The nights were pretty rough for quite a while. If Tina left and Cowen had to sleep in another room or with another care taker, he had such a hard time. One caretaker told her "he sleeps ugly." 

Poor Tina existed without sleep for quite some time. She was often awakened in the night to a nasty diaper that had leaked out all over her bed, or to a little boy having nightmares. 
When I visited in December that first time, Cowen came right to me, calling me mommy, I'm sure because Tina had told him I was coming and shown him photos. He was very open to me. Then, night time came. We spent that first night, all 3 of us, in Tina's bed. The second night we made it about halfway through before Tina came to offer comfort. You could her him screaming for her all over KKO. 

I swayed and held and rocked and sang (yes sang!) and paced the floor and cried. I held him tight, telling him in  a nice sweet voice that he was stubborn but had met his match. This was a battle I would win. Unlike Tina, I am not 19 and can not survive without sleep! This was the battle I choose to win.

I'm proud to say that he slept, he took naps for hours in the afternoon. Even after I left his nights were easier and a lot less ugly. When I visited in April, and again in November, nighttime and nap time are no longer scary fights. Praise God! 

Tina did have to leave KKO in July of 2011. She came back to the US, but not before marrying her best friend in Haiti. She had to come home and take care of some things, visit family, but was soon reunited with Marc and is now working in Haiti, teaching at a school and helping to teach life skills to other women. She is a strong, devoted follower of Christ and I am so proud of her! Cowen had a hard time when she left, but he does get to see her at church, which is great. He knows she didn't just disappear and leave him.

In his room here is a framed photo of the three of us from that December. We will always love Aunt Tina, and I will always be grateful and thankful for her! I speak for all the parents of kids at KKO when I say THANK YOU, TINA!! When she was there she would skype us with our kids, she would upload photos, and I always knew that if Cowen was sick, he was comforted. She gave us all such peace of mind being there with the kids. Always patient and kind, Tina is a hero to us! I look forward to a day when she can visit us here, in Columbus! 

Friday, December 30, 2011

Introducing COWEN

I'm going to try to give you a quick introduction, timeline, and update, all in one! 

I first met Cowen in August 2010 while on a short-term mission trip to Haiti. Cowen had been abandoned at Grace Children’s Hospital in the fall of 2009, had survived the devastating earthquake and was approximately a year  & a half old when I met him. I immediately had a mother’s love for him. I had felt called to adopt for many years and meeting Cowen was an answer to prayer. I laid in bed that night and prayed, asking God, "do I have what it takes to bring my child out of Haiti?" 

Cowen, August 2010, freshly powdered from a bath. Me, not so much... 

As soon as I returned to Ohio I began researching Haitian adoption requirements and orphanages. The hospital was home to him, yet not able to complete an adoption, so I had to find a licensed creche. The orphanage I was lead to is called KKO: Kingdom Kids Orphanage (in English.) Creche Wayom Timoun in Creole. While in Haiti in August, we were eating at a fast food place, and my friend recognized another woman there from her Facebook page! Ellie was adopting from KKO. These two had never met in person before, and met in Port-au-Prince at Epidor. I did briefly visit another orphanage while there, but after talking to Ellie multiple times, getting info via email from the Pastor/Director of the orphanage, chose KKO. I was also getting started on my homestudy, taking the required parenting classes, and compiling documents for my dossier. 

I should also tell you, his given name was not Cowen. It is Coraly Pierre. (The "r" is silent and it is pronounced "co-ha-lee".  Pierre is a very common surname in Haiti.) I was standing there in the inpatient ward and I knew I would call him Cowen. (pronounced like "coen" but spelled like "Owen" with a "C". It is NOT "cow-an".)

Cowen was transferred at the end of October. I was finally able to visit in December 2010, and spend Christmas with him at his new home. He is a very vibrant, loving, happy little boy. He captures the heart of everyone that meets him with his fun-loving, outgoing personality and has blossomed socially at KKO.

    December 2010

My good friend, Amy, made this shirt for him for Christmas, with the first photo we had taken together. (Thanks Aunt Amy! :)

I visited in again in April and handed over my completed dossier on April 1, 2010.

April, 2010

On June 1, I got my number! This means that Cowen’s adoption case was officially in process by Haitian Social Services (IBESR). Things were progressing very quickly, praise God!

More good news came on the morning of Nov 4. I had a court date and needed to get to Haiti the following Monday. On Nov 8, I went before the judge in Haiti and she approved my case! 

Captain Underpants! (November)

From my understanding, now I will wait for some paperwork to be processed in Haiti, I will get copies and apply for the I600. On the Haitian side, they will need to apply for his visa and passport. There are a lot more steps to be completed on the Haitian side, and many more months of waiting, but I've made huge strides. He's one day closer to home. 

By all accounts, the Haitian adoption process is grueling. Not just the actual process itself, which is very complicated and expensive, but also the waiting. Haitian adoptions average 24 – 36 months and waiting and worrying about your child, often without regular updates or contact, is agonizing - especially as a single parent. My main focus and passion since August 2010 is bringing my precious son home. (This has not always made me the easiest person to be with...)

I can tell you that I love Cowen with everything that a mother has within her. Many people don't understand that; don't understand adoption in general. But he is my dream come true. He represents a lot more years of waiting than just the 2+ it may take to bring him home. Having been pregnant twice before, I know that feeling of deeply connected love. Being a mom is the one constant thing I've always wanted in my life. The minute you know, or even think you know, that you are expecting, every hope and dream is coming true. Your heart is full and your mind exploding with the possibilities of what they will become. I can tell you, it is no different with Cowen and I. We may have come together through tragedy; I am not his first intended mommy, but none the less, we are a pair and the love runs deep. I once had an outside observer tell me that of all the parent/children matchings, he could see that Cowen & I had this amazing bond that was somehow different. 

I do believe that his Haitian family loved him very much. He had a mother who loved him enough to get him to Grace Children's Hospital, where she knew he would be cared for. This past Mother's Day, I lit a candle in her honor and in gratitude to her for her choice. I hope to continue the tradition with Cowen someday lighting her candle. 

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The story so far


I'm just not sure how far back to go... I'll try to be brief. I will pull out some highlights and explain things in more detail in future posts. And I will try to blog and not just post once or twice... 

I grew up near Columbus with my intact family. Three olders brothers and then me, the blessing. I went to college, got married at the young age of 20, ready to take make babies and be a wife! Little did I know... To make a long story short, I was divorced at 30 after having 2 miscarriages and lots of fertility testing. I'm sure more of that will come later, but that is it in a very quick nutshell. Six years later and I'm on my own, starting the adoption process from Haiti. This is when it really gets good!

During 2010 I had started to pray during lent for ways to build my leadership and be used in service. You know what they say about "be careful what you ask for". I was asked to co-lead a trip to Mexico, which I did. Then I was asked to speak at our Annual Conference, about missions, to 3,000 people. I tackled it, a huge step outside of my comfort zone. For years I've hidden behind the fact that "public speaking is not my forte." It terrifies me. But it went OK and people seemed to respond well.

Shortly after, I was asked to go to Africa, a dream come true. Then, the possibility of leading a team to Haiti, with my friend (one of my best friends) Rachel. This trip would be a leadership opportunity that I had been hoping for, and would also be funded. I couldn't do both Africa and Haiti. I received the itinery for the Africa trip. A lot of meetings. Hmmm. I envisioned a lot of community work, helping and encouraging. Lots of time with the kids. This trip didn't feel like my trip. Maybe it wasn't my time for going to Africa. I prayed. I talked to my mom. Finally I made the decision. I chose Haiti instead of Africa.

This was the first return trip for a team to Haiti for this organization (International Child Care, or ICC) since the devastating earthquake, I had not really been back to Port-au-Prince since 2002, with my same friend, Rachel. I felt I needed to be there, to be with her on her first return after the earthquake. She lost dear friends and I knew it would be hard to see the devastation of the country she loved so much. I also needed to see for myself, to do something. This was a leadership training trip. We were training other leaders so that they could return with their own teams. During our week we would explore the established partnerships and determine where we could most help in a post-quake Haiti, and of course spend time with the kids at the hospital. We did so much and visited so many of ICC's partners in ministry! (You can learn more about ICC and their work at:

We even spent time on the roof of Grace Children's Hospital, shoveling rock. It was hot, the marriage proposals were coming in, and we had about all we could handle after about and hour. We practically ran back to the inpatient ward to spend more time with the kids there. After all, my son was there and I wanted to get back to him...