I remember Sarah's phone call like it was yesterday, when she told me that there had just been a baby boy abandoned at the clinic. Later, when he was plopped into my arms for his first night at Mission of Hope, I was at a complete loss for the questions that flooded my mind. He was so helpless, so weak, so fragile. As Sarah and I attempted to care for his small frame, I wondered how his journey would unfold. Little did I know how significant he would become, or how much I needed him.
In the weeks and months that followed, Pierre grew in strength and spirit. His soft murmurs gradually turned to contagious laughs that rippled across this campus and beyond. His hollow eyes were lit with new life that twinkled like stars and shone to those around him. To this day, his magnetic personality draws in friends both new and old, regardless of age, gender or nationality.
And does he make friends... Just about every North American visitor and staff member knows him by name and can't get enough of his zest for life. Whenever someone passes by, he is the first to strike up a conversation or offer a classic 'Hi!', regardless of whether they are strolling uphill from school or flying downhill on an ATV. Pierre's dynamic enthusiasm for those around him despite his physical setbacks causes us all to be captured and in awe of God's amazing presence in his life.
Music is his joy. Every Sunday morning when the worship band starts their set, Pierre's grin stretches to the farthest sides of his cheeks and he claps and shouts along with the lyrics. Other days when I visit, we sing 'Jesus loves me' (his favourite) over and over again, until the generator comes on and his head naturally starts to bob up, down and around to the blaring Haitian radio.
Lately, Pierre has also developed quite a growing vocabulary. As soon as he has someone's undivided attention, he doesn't miss a moment calling out requests, telling them where he wants to go, what he wants to touch, and how to get him there. His chattery dialogues with the mommies are my favourite.
Here are more highlights in picture form:
|Pierre and Sarah waking up on day one|
|Hope House sister love|
|Jolly Jumping with Julien|
|Building those neck muscles!|
|Broc turns Pierre's wheelchair into a race car|
|Birthday songs with Rocky and Lily|
|That toothy smile.|
Somehow over the past 2 and a half years, Pierre has filled a part of my heart that I didn't know I had. There have been countless evenings where I've felt an inner restlessness, and I have found myself sitting off on the hillside with him in my lap. He has listened to my discouragements and vents, heard me cry desperate prayers for strength, and has let me tell him my wildest dreams about the future, all the while never losing interest. His head on my shoulder and little arm around my neck has comforted me and blessed me more than I could ever express. And every time I reach the foot of his doorstep, he calls me by name and welcomes me back in.
Early last winter, Rocky and Lily Evans visited MOH to meet Pierre in order to begin paperwork for his adoption. As you can imagine, I was pretty guarded about the whole idea. Knowing Pierre's setbacks, I understood the importance of him receiving medical care and therapy from the states, but it was hard to picture life at MOH without him. However, the more I witnessed their perseverance and ever-growing love for Pierre, the more I knew that the Lord had His hand in such a wonderful new chapter of his life. This past fall, when they visited him again for his birthday, I found myself praying along with their family and friends that Pierre would be released into their capable hands.
This morning, our prayers were answered. Pierre was granted a medical visa so that he may travel to his new home in Indiana. There he will begin receiving treatments and therapies that he so desperately needs, not to mention receive the beautiful love of a mom and dad, and 2 brothers to call his very own. I stand amazed at the Lord's provision in his little life, and can't wait to see and hear about the impact he will have on the people around him in his new northern home.
And so in these final days, we hold him longer. We let him smudge those greasy fingerprints all over our phones and cameras. We take extra long walks just to feel those little arms wrapped around us. We cuddle him closer. We kiss him because we can.
And then, we let him go. We acknowledge that he has given us far more than we could ever give him. But even so, we send him off with cuddles and kisses full of gratitude for the joy he shared with us, for the lessons he taught us, and for the fresh love he sparked in our hearts. And knowing that he is held in the Everlasting Arms, we entrust him into new hands, believing that they need him just like we did. Our tearful smiles beam as we remember our time with 'Ti Pierre'. We will never forget these days.