Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Is she really 3?!?!

Ok so I haven't had that much time to post and I realize I still have more stuff to catch up on from Vacation but I had to put this blurb in for my baby Maddie...She is 3! We came home from vacation on the 17th only to turn around last Friday to head out camping for Maddies birthday. She has been begging for MONTHS "can we go camping for my birthday? Can we go Camping for my birthday?" So of COURSE we took her camping over at Clifty Falls. We had a nice site way in the back away from all the madness of various groups there for the weekend. We arrived on Friday, unpacked (which thankfully with the camper does NOT take long!) and fired up We had some super yummy grilled chicken and corn on the cob...all of it grilled.....smores to follow LOL. The next day (Saturday) was Maddies birthday party. We had family and friends show up around 4 and we cooked hot dogs, sausages, baked beans, and we also had plenty of chips, watermelon, and of course cake and ice cream! The whole family played with water balloons and bubbles. We had a great time! After all that was done and everyone left I took the girls to get washed off for Church the next morning. We came back and they were begging for more smores. I was like are you kidding me??? You should be stuffed LOL.

On a side note...both Sanite AND Noah now can ride bikes without training wheels!!!!! How awesome is that???? All morning on Saturday we were calling Noah "George."......"Hey Noah, watch out for that tree" ( feel free to replace tree with camper, picnic table, dumpster, tent, car as they were all used lol). Sanite had been riding a while without her training wheels but she would always "coast" instead of peddling and never had a good grip on the stopping part lol. I was able to get her on the road at the campsite (our road at home is in the country but still to busy to ride on) and I let her go. I had to show her she wasn't supposed to coast and she got it! Then it was time for the brakes. She was easy....I showed her once how to use the brakes and yep she got it. Noah on the other hand.....I thought he was going to rub his toes off by putting his feet on the ground to stop every time lol. It is amazing how fast they both "got it." In fact we hadn't even thought about taking his wheels off....he as begging at the campsite! Now they both chase each other on our yard like they have been doing it for years. So guess what they want for Christmas???? bikes......and Now Maddie is saying she wants a REAL bike like what Noah and sissy have...not her tricycle....UG! There was a little girl at the park riding a Cinderella should have heard Maddie squeal every time she went by!

Monday, June 25, 2007

Long time no Blog eh?

Wow has the past month been a total and complete BLUR! We had a FABULOUS time on vacation! On that 1st day we took the kids to The World of Coca Cola in Atlanta. Wow was it cool! It had been YEARS since I had been there and even then it was TOTALLY different. The only thing that remained was where you could taste all the cokes from around the world (and yes for all of you who are wondering.....Beverly is still there!). We saw a movie in 4-d (KEWL!) and see all the Coke paraphernalia that has been around since like....well...forever..... We saw movies about coke, and even saw one movie that was coke "through the years." We got to hear all the coke jingles that we grew up with (and many many many that were before our time!) It was awesome. Kyle and I were sitting back going..."Oh yeah!!! I remember that commercial!" it was truly funny. The kids loved it..the best part was watching their faces as they drank some of the coke products from around the world. Of course I gave everyone a cup of Beverly Just to see their faces lol. I thought poor Noah was going to be sick. That night we headed to The Varsity for Dinner (What'll ya have...what'll ya have...........) you can't visit Atlanta without visiting The Varsity!

The following day we went to visit both my parents graves and then off to my friend Allison's house for dinner that night. It was so great to meet your family! Call us next time you get up to Louisville!!!!!

The following day was a trip to the science museum where my kids stood in the middle of Hurricane can't really tell in the picture but the kids are standing in the middle of 80mph wind gusts!

We met up with Lori and Spike that afternoon (after eating at Alessi's bakery!) and headed on over to Titusville to watch the space shuttle launch! How awesome!

It was great! More on Vacation tomorrow!

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

the final thought............

So on June 6, 2003 we wake up VERY early to get ready. I get Sanite ready first. Since I knew her shoe size now, I had gone out and bought her a new pair of tennis shoes. Mind you this was probably only her 2nd pair of shoes and her very 1st pair of "new" shoes. She looked at those shoes, and looked at those shoes, and played with those shoes, and showed them to me over and over and over again. It still amazes me how every little thing to her was just an "awe causing" moment. The 2 children and I arrive at the airport to meet with a broken hearted birthmom. She had spent the night at the village just so she could come say good bye to the kids. She had a tear streaked/stained face but was so glad they had a home. It was heart breaking. She loved these children so much, I am not sure they will even begin to understand how much she loves them until they are much older. We flew through the immigration and such and boarded our plane. We flew from Port-Au-Prince to Miami, We got off the plane in Miami and walked calmly to immigration (if you have ever been through immigration in Miami you realize this is not the norm!). When we arrived there were several other adoptive families there and so they opened a line just for us! We were in and out of immigration within 15 minutes LOL. That NEVER happens!With 2 kids in tow we had a 4 hour layover. Sanite is amazed with the Barbie and horse we had bought her and Noah...well...every pic we have of him he is eating something LOL. I took them for their first "American meal" at Burger King. Sanite had to inspect her food first and Noah...well....he just wasnt ready to eat until he had his foot on the table LOL. He raised that big (little) foot on the table and grabbed hold of that chicken nugget. I am not even sure he smelled it LOL. Sanite on the other hand decided it was edible and ate the entire thing before I had turned back around!The rest of our flights were pretty uneventful. I had to take a little girl who spoke NO English all around the airport and wheel Noah around making sure I had PLENTY of snacks lol. In fact, I had this little pink "leash" that went around her wrist that I called her "bracelet." She HATED that thing but it sure came in useful as the little stinker tried to make several escape attempts! Late that night.....I brought 2 tired kids through the CVG airport where we had Papa, Grandma, Grandpa, Lori, Spike, Boo, and Kiara waiting on us. We had a small trip to steak and shake, then off for home. By the time we arrived home both kids had just plain tuckered out. When they woke up the next morning they woke up in rooms they had never seen before, in a whole new country, and couldn't even understand those who were trying to comfort them. We have come such a long way. Thinking about this journey brings amazing tears to my eyes, for both the joy and the pain. I brought home a stubborn hard headed girl who is STILL stubborn and hard headed, but I believe that is more from her environment :) God has taken her personality and molded it His way...She is still stubborn and hard headed, but she is also the most giving, and obedient little girl. She is hardly ever in trouble and she wants to please everyone all the time. She is as smart as a whip and amazez me everyday. I can't believe how time has flown with her. It seemed just like yesterday she was coming home and now I can see the woman God has destined her to be. Noah is still my eater and my little man. He no longer has to eat with his foot on the table, but his feet are always doing something else. He is my little athlete. He is a lover of football and wrestling, and more than that...he loves Jesus. I always get a kick out of him telling everyone at church to "sit down" because "he" is about ready to start his he steps up to the podium it always goes like this" You see...there was this guy...Jesus.." LOL and the story continues to change. God is going to do such great things for him! I pray that our lives lead them into a life of servantry to God, doing His will. I pray they find christian spouses who will raise christian children. I pray that my whole family will grow up to become part of the Lords church. WE LOVE YOU BUBBA AND SISSY!!!!!!!

As the Saga continues.............

So last I wrote....4 years ago yesterday I was staying the night in Chicago. 4 years ago today I was getting up and heading to the airport to fly from Chicago to Miami and Miami to Port-Au-Prince. I arrived in Port-Au-Prince in the early afternoon. Barbara and Kendra had other appointments so I walked out of the airport alone (that can be pretty scary!) and I had to wait for about 1 hour for Barb to come get me. A little while into it an older gentleman came up to me and said "You wait for Baaaa-ba-wa???? Lady in Blue dress?" I said yes and then recognized him. It was a man that Barbara called Papa. He at one point had taken care of Noah for a while. So he waited with me until Barbara and Kendra arrived. They arrived around 3:00 and we headed off immediately to the consulate. Barbara dropped off Kendra and myself but I was the only one allowed in. I was able to go in, meet with Katharine Sharp, and quickly sign all my papers. I came out with ALL my paperwork in hand.....ready to see the kids! We ended up having to stand around a while waiting for Barbara to come back. The was NO ONE on the street where we were and we kept hearing a cat. We kept looking around and looking around and exchanging confused looks lol. Suddenly a woman walks by holding a "sack" and the sack was.....well....meowing and moving lol. We looked at each other and exchanged comments like "Cat...the other white meat" and "I know whats for supper tonight!" lol Barbara came and picked us up and immediately headed to the orphanage (it was around 5 by now). I was VERY nervous as the 2 weeks we had spent with the kids had NOT gone well with Sanite. She was/is very stubborn and very independent. The thought of calling us mama and papa and actually "succumbing" to those titles was just overwhelming for her. So here we had spent 2 weeks with her and then turned around and left her just like anyone else in her life. I was terrified that I was REALLY going to PAY for leaving her. I walked in to see a sea of 26 faces all eating dinner and I hear someone yelling MAMA! MAMA! It was my darling daughter! She was standing up in her seat pointing at me with her fork. She was so excited to see me it melted my heart .....and still does to this day. Noah was busy eating (so what else is new) and he didn't really care if I was there or not LOL. He ended up getting quite attached to the Orphanage director and I literally had to PEEL him off of her. The 3 of us headed back to the guest house where I bedded them down for the night and up VERY early the following morning to leave for Home Sweet Home....The good 'ol USA.............

Monday, June 04, 2007

Where were YOU 4 years ago today?

Thinking back at where we were at this time 4 years ago brings back so many feelings...happiness and excitement, depression and sadness, joy and pain. On April 11, 2003 we had called an made an appt at the immigration office in Haiti. We were to be there in the afternoon of April 15, 2003. The only thing left to do was to pick up our papers from Immigration (they were already signed) and take them to the consulate for our visa. The process should of taken about 2 days. When we arrived in Haiti we discovered that in just those few days, the immigration officer had been replaced and the new one would not honor our appointment. We were supposed to leave Haiti just 3 days later. We ended up exhausting all of our resources to try and stay and extra week. Kyle used all his vacation time at work, we had dwindled our savings, and worst of all, we had been expecting to bring thje kids home and it was looking more and more like we were going to leave them there. The immigration officer was so cruel and unkind. He did not know what he was doing and egan to request all sorts of documents that were not required, interviews that were not required (he had Christiana in the office in TEARS several times). Upon returning to the states after handing my children back over to Haitians (if you have never been through this you need to know that out of everything I had been through in my life this was and still is the most painful memory as I didnt even know when I would see my children again) We contacted our Senator Evan Bayh. Here is a copy of the letter we sent:

Dear Senator Bayh,

We are Kyle and Angela Caswell and we are in the process of adopting two chidlren from Haiti. We ahev completed the Haitian adoption process (been through the courts system and have had the children legally declared as "ours")> We have also completed our part of the INS process. We filed the I600 and received our approval, and we also filed the I600 on each one of the children (Sanite and Geno Pierre) and received the approval. All we needed was for the INS office in Port-Au-Prince, Haiti to hand over our forms so we could get the children's visas and bring them home. the total time for the process to bring them home should have taken less than 24 hours. I was notified on Friday April 11 the the INS office in Haiti did not have a copy of our approval forms. I called the INS office here in the states, the National Visa Registry, AND the office in Haiti. ALL three informed me that as long as I had the originals of my approvals we would be fine. When I spoke with the INS office in Haiti I explained to them that we had already made arrangements to arrive in Haiti to pick up our children on Tuesday April 15. The woman on the other end said "No problem! Bring your approval to the office as soon as you arrive and everything will be taken care of right there." Our flight arrived in Haiti at approx 10:30am. We called the INS office while we were waiting to pick up our luggage. When we called the INS office we were informed that the INS officer had left for Mexico and he would not return until Monday the 21st. No one in the office was able to hand over our papers because it had to be done by an official INS officer. We were supposed to leave Haiti on the 18Th; but instead we had to postpone our flight out of the country. We went back to the INS office on Monday the 21st only to find out that there was a new INS officer in office and he was refusing to do any work on adoptions that week. After this the INS officer decided that the approvals we had bee given before were not sufficient and decided to do his own investigation on our case. he asked to see the death certificate for our children's birth father. We brought in the death certificate and that was not good enough. We had to return to the region where the father had died and obtain a letter from the Judge stating that "yes he lived here and yes he died." When we returned to the office on Tuesday (as we had been instructed) an armed guard met us at the door and would not let us pass. We were instructed that we had to wait until the following Monday (the 28Th). So patiently we waiting until Monday the 28Th. ON the 28Th we were the 1st people there at 8:30 in the morning. The sign on the door says they begin at 9:00am. The doors however did not open until 11:00am when he decided to arrive. The place where we sat was a room about 10X10 (and there were about 30 people in this room), no fans, no water, and no restroom. When he finally did start allowing people in, we sat there until every single other person had been seen before us. When he called us back we were informed that the judges letter (on top of the death certificate) was not good enough to prove that the children's father was deceased. he said he then wanted to interview the birth mother again. It just so happened that the birth mother knew we were going to be at the office that day and was coming by to visit with the children. We took her in immediately for and interview (which by the way was her 3rd interview by the INS and only 2 are necessary). After the interview he said he needed to "think about it for a while" and to call back on Wednesday. Well sir, we were unable to stay any longer. By this time we had already been there 12 days longer than we had planned and the cost for us to stay was $100 per day. Finances no longer allowed for us to stay with our children, We left on that Wednesday only to find out later that he now wanted 3 friends of the deceased father to come in and interview and another interview with the birth mother. On Friday May 2ND, the birth mother was taken in for her 4Th interview. They waited in that small sweaty room from 8am until 2pm. During this time the birth mother was interviewed only to come out in tears. She was not interviewed, she was interrogated. At 2:00 they went to retrieve the "rejection notice." When asked why the notice took so long to prepare the Haitian secretary replied, "We had to wait for him to come into the office." Come to find out he was not even there when the birth mothers interview was conducted! The birth mother was interviewed and denied by the Haitian secretary. If I am correct the ONLY person qualified to make these decisions is the INS officer himself and NOT his secretary. From my understanding, what happened in that office was illegal and the secretary should be reprimanded for what she did!

The 3 friends of the birth father were brought in on Wednesday May 7Th. They then sat there all day not to be seen. They were told to return on Friday. The same thing happened. As it turns out the reason they were not seen was because the officer was not even IN. This seemed to happen ALOT while we were down there. They were told to return on Monday May 12Th and he promised to see the 3 men. They all returned on Monday only to be told he was once again not in the office.

Barbara Walker (our facilitator) once again went to the INS office on Wednesday the 14Th. This time however she was only able to bring down one of the men who just so happened to be the judge from the area the birth mother was from. Once again they were turned away. The secretary said she would not interview just him so he could turn around and tell the other 2 men what he said. She told Barbara to call back to following day.

Barbara Called on Thursday and the secretary said "Barbara I told you that I need a 3rd party birth certificate for the father!" Barbara replied with "I have brought it with me everyday!"

On Friday Barbara goes to the INS office AGAIN. She brings in the 3rd party birth certificate for the birth father and a new birth certificate for Geno that lists the name of the father. The secretary took the papers from Barbara, but then proceeded to tell her "just because I have the papers does not mean I will do the work." Barbara was told to came back ON the 28Th and the Haitian secretary would let her know what she has decided. This Haitian secretary has been in charge to run the INS office as she pleases. I doubt the INS officer had even seen our file but he is never there so we can't even ask.

Sir, we have been put through the wringer with this office. We were told to to their office on Tuesday April 15Th by THEIR office. We met our children, we had them with us from the time we arrived until the time we left. Sir the hardest thing I have ever had to do in my life is to hand over my children and leave them in there in that country. Sir if there is anything you can do to help us, I beg of you. We miss our children dearly and they miss us too. They are now living in an orphanage when they should be home with us. While we were in Haiti we spoke with Katherine Sharp and the US consulate so if you need to speak with anyone that witnessed us there with the children she may be the one you want to speak with. I have enclosed copies of all of our approvals from the United States INS office. If there is anything else you would like a copy of please let us now and we will see what we can do about faxing it to you.

Thank you and God Bless,

Kyle and Angela Caswell

WOW! There is so much about that whole process that I had back to the question.....where were you 4 years ago today? I can answer that....4 years ago today I was in Indianapolis with Lori praying for a little Haitian girl who was getting ready to go in for surgery. While at the hospital Lori contacted Katharine Sharp at the US consulate in Haiti who said she would love to get me in for an apt for our visa the following day! I FLEW home from Indy, made flight arrangements, and left the Greater Cincinnati airport that night around 6:00pm. .....I flew from CVG to Chicago and stayed the night there.............anxiously awaiting the following day where I would wake up...and be reunited with my children..................

oh yes and..........


Sunday, June 03, 2007

My daughter the Diva...........

Yesterday was Sanites dance recital and she was SUCH the Diva! The theme was "Viva Las Vegas!" and the whole event just turned out cute! I can tell SUCH a big difference from when she started 2 years back....she was just cute and it didn't really matter what she did as they would just be cute....this year she could actually remember the dances (for the most part) and was able to "get into it" a bit. At one point Kyle and I were just laughing. During her tap dance she thought that she was Sammy Davis Jr and started flipping her feet where ever they would go lol. You could tell it was on purpose as the rest of the group was doing one thing and then she just BUSTS OUT with this little toe tapping dance LOL.

She did great and had a wonderful time. Every year after recital she gets to pick where we go/what we eat. This year she chose to just go and home and grill out hot dogs/chili dogs! Only Sanite :) She is an absolute blessing and I can't imagine what life would be like without her! WE LOVE YOU SISSY!

also on a side note..............


Friday, June 01, 2007


Can you believe it???? 5 days from now we leave....We are all so excited we just can't stand it! The kids are already packed and we have started to pack the car. We already have the golf bags packed, the stroller (UG! Michele I forgot to see if I could borrow E's!!!!), the kids regular bags, the toy bags/beach gear etc. The only thins we have left are:

1. Mine and Kyles suitcases-of course everyone else has enough clothes to go around but us LOL

2. The coolers/snacks- we already have most of this it just needs to be thrown together. I got to the co-op on Monday to pick up my pineapple and granola bits for my snack. Yep its in a HUGE 5 gallon bucket...think we will have enough? LOL

We are really really really going to try and be good this time....we are going to "try" and limit ourselves to eating out once a day...the more we can save, the more we can pay down, and the sooner Kyle can be out of Meese and on his own.

Last year we went with our best friends the Sheplers and had a FABULOUS time! We are soooooooo looking forward to going again. Last year I think one of the highlights of our trip was where we went to the Dixie should of SEEN Noah and Kiaras faces when they put that whole Cornish hen on their plate LOL Noahs eyes bout popped out of his head....he thought he had died and gone to Heaven LOL If you all wouldn't mind...say a prayer for the rest of Fl as they don't even realize what kind of invasion they have coming next week LOL