Monthly Archives: April 2009

Two and a half weeks until Haiti…

I was so very excited to see my children… very excited… and I wouldn’t really have been nervous about this plane trip this time at all, but now we have this Swine Flu outbreak.  What if one of us parent’s going down to visit Haiti picks it up and brings it with us, what if one of the missionaries brings it down with them?  Haiti is not a country in a position to protect it’s citizens from the flu; I’ve been told that a simple stomach bug has the potential (and has) killed many children in Haiti and it’s orphanages…

And what if we pick it up on a plane and bring it back to our children here in the states…

Suddenly, I’m given a whole new reason to worry…  just what I need….

News from our Attorney today..

To adopt in Haiti one spouse must be 35 years of age, and if you one isn’t 35 years of age, you must have been married for 10 or more years.  You must have no biological children, and you must be 19 years older than the child you are adopting.

Herein lies our problem.

 

  • Even though we’ve been married for over ten years, I am 31, Amanda is 29 – strike 1.
  • Even though the oldest child we are wanting to adopt is 5, so Amanda is 24 and I am almost 26 years older respectively, we have 3 biological children – strike 2.

 

Our attorney said that with both of these issues going against us, he would highly recommend us waiting until I reach 35 (4 more years) before we begin to adopt from Haiti, as the probability of our adoption taking an ‘indefinite amount of time’ is very high; and the possibility of being denied is very strong.

When looking at our adoption process, we have already spent months of dedicated time in preparing our family and our home and our paperwork for our adoption of our two Haitian children, and have invested unmentionable amounts of money just to get to the point of submitting our paperwork to the Haitian government. 

We have invested time, emotion and love into our someday-to-be-children, felt the heartache of watching these two little children through the video screen of a computer, and wanting nothing more than to hold them in our arms, to give them the love and comforts that their biological parents could not give them.  We’ve shed many, many tears thinking about how long it would be before they were safe at home with us, and how much hurt (especially our older girl) has gone through in loosing both her parents to death, and wanting to be there to comfort that pain and fill that emptiness.

We knew it was going to be tough, and yet, no one has actually quantified how tough it really was going to be for us to walk this road.  The pain of possibility of year after year just waiting, and hoping; the possibility that even after all this we might be rejected.  The fact that our little children will be sitting and waiting without parents to tuck them in at night during this whole time we fight for their future.

So now we’re supposed to walk away?  I’m left numb, and disillusioned and saddened.  Why would God send us here, just to find a dead-end road. 

Surely we will take His hand and allow Him to lead us, and open doors in His time, in His time.  He has brought us here, He will make a way!

As Antoine De Saint-Exupéry states:  You risk much weeping if you allow yourself to be tamed. :~(

Today’s conversation with our babies…

Christella was a little more communicative today.  She nodded to us a few times, and she waved to Bella when we were looking the other way.  She still doesn’t say much of anything and seems more interested in what all the other children are doing during our time together, but I have to keep reminding myself that she is 5 years old after all – how much fun can she have with a bunch of old people on the t.v. screen…

Little Jedidiah has grown SO MUCH!  It’s incredible, he looks like a completely different baby.  Amanda had to ask Hal if he was sure he brought us the right baby for the call! 🙂

He kept looking at Hal to get kisses on the head over and over again – it was so adorable.  I am very excited to go and see them again; and at this point, I’m almost not dreading the plane right anymore.  Whatever happens will happen, and if I get to see my babies again, I’ll be a happy man!

I’ll steal some of Amanda’s snapshots from her blog, so I don’t have to take any on my own 🙂

 

 

 

The existential question of matmatics…

In our Discrete Mathematics University course, there was a discussion on the Knapsack problem (as it is called).

The problem goes like this:

A U.S. shuttle is to be sent to a space station in orbit around the earth, and 700 kilograms of its payload are allotted to experiments designed by scientists. Researchers from around the country apply for the inclusion of their experiments. They must specify the weight of the equipment they want taken into orbit. A panel of reviewers then decides which proposals are reasonable. These proposals are then rated from 1 (the lowest score) to 10 (the highest) on their potential importance to science… It is decided to choose experiments so that the total of all their ratings is as large as possible (Otto, Spence, Eynden, & Dossey, 2006).

After this outline, we’re asked to examine algorithmic variations that would allow us to postulate the most efficient experiments out of the 4096 possible variations that come about from the 12 possible experiments.

Isn’t it interesting how a mathematical question can become an existential question? While theoretically, one could evaluate the knapsack equation from a logical perspective, and get the ‘biggest bang for the buck’, one also has to wonder (if this were a real scenario) who assigned the rating values for these experiments, and what type of objective/subjective approach did they take?

For example: what if we had two experiments, one that would give us more information about cancer and one that gave us better insights to obesity. Most people might be inclined to include the research on cancer, as the rate of death directly attributed to cancer in the world is typically thought to be much higher than those attributed to obesity. However, what if the probable outcome of the research on cancer might move us a few years ahead in our research, but the research on obesity has a probable end goal of realizing the end of obesity within just a few years. What about all of the secondary causes of death that are indirectly linked to obesity. How does one decide the rating mathematically?

This seems to show that even while our capabilities of solving complex algorithmic variations using state machines can increase the efficiency of mathematical computation; the answer to Alan Turing’s fundamental question of whether or not a computer can ever make ‘human’ decisions seems to lie outside of the realm of algorithmic efficiencies!

References

Otto, A. D., Spence, L. E., Eynden, C. V., & Dossey, J. A. (2006). Discrete Matmatics – Fifth Edition. Boston: Greg Tobin.

Praise the Lord!

 

It’s amazing how the Lord uses unsuspecting people to help Him accomplish His purpose!

A little story for those that aren’t aware: When we went down to Haiti in Feb, we had just had the little girl we were about to start the adoption process with (Julia) taken home by her mother; we knew we wanted to adopt two children (we were adopting Christella too), but we were unsure of who else…

A little girl Fabienne had caught my eye on the sponsorship page from the very beginning and we knew we were going to sponsor her… Chris had told us a little about her and her story was very sad… her parents were both dead, and she had been waiting for almost two years for a grandfather who had said he was going to adopt her, but had then never followed through.

We spent the week with Fabienne and Christella. You’ve already probably heard how much we fell in love with our daughter Christella, so I won’t go into those details here. Fabienne was a lovely, precious little girl, friendly and rambunctious… but as much as we felt love for her, the Lord seemed to be whispering into Amanda’s heart "she is not your little girl"… and it tore us apart, to have to make the decision, but it just didn’t seem right… but we had faith that God had someone out there for her.

In the mean time Chris had already let Fabienne’s grandmother and Aunt know that someone was interested in possibly adopting her, and either way, it was time to make a decision as she could not sit in limbo for the rest of her life.

The family weekend came and went and Fabienne’s grandmother never showed up to make the decision, and we were very sad and frustrated for her.

In the mean time, Amanda called Chris and asked her about Fabienne’s grandmothers response, and also about little David, because she had taken pictures of David, and wanted to give them to his adoptive family. We saw the website which said that David already had an adoptive family. Chris said that David still didn’t have an adoptive family, and the silent little whisper that had been going on, filtered out by the background noise of life sprang to a pounding heart beat… almost immediately it became obvious that He was our second child!

And then, talking to Chris today about her trip to the states for Ronald, Amanda found out what God had been doing all along with Fabienne. Fabienne’s grandmother showed up this morning with the other family members and took her home to live with them!!!

It is amazing how God works and moves! Apparently our heart-beat for Fabienne was just a tool of His to give her grandmother a little push. He put the love in our hearts, and then softly spoke to Amanda and said "she is not your baby"; and then used that opportunity of our interest to show her grandmother how much she wanted her to come home. It’s funny sometimes to see how things are being directed…

We have no idea how things will turn out in the end, but it’s reassuring to sometimes get those small little glimpse of the plan that God has that He works out for the good of "all those who love him"…

Amen!