being called mama…

by Kayla Raymond

The bathroom always smells like pee. Toys lay scattered around the house and yard. Dirty clothes, belonging to two toddlers, cover the floor. Hitting my feet, waking me up each morning, my two kids have tipped my world upside down.

There is never a quiet moment in our house. Lovenson’s first words in the morning are “Bonjour mama” (good morning mama), sweet at first but then quickly followed by him informing me he either has to use the restroom or he is hungry. Jeffte rises awhile after the little one, but is always the first to get into trouble.

I have been called “mama” by these two little lives for exactly 80 days and I never thought being called that would mean so much. I think of where they came from, both having incredible stories of their own, and I find it amazing how they have somehow ended up as mine.

Jeffte was more or less handpicked by God for Webert and I. A story of a terribly run orphanage, severe sickness and a complicated story that ends with Webert and I beginning a new relationship together and agreeing to adopt our first child. We have recently received Jeffte’s birth certificate and have in writing that Webert is the legal guardian of Jeffte. He is quite the handful, doesn’t really know how to sit still, and will probably be sucking his darn thumb until he is 10, but he is mine and his big brown eyes make my heart melt every day.

Then there is Lovenson. We’ve all been told where babies come from: the stork of course. I always thought that was a bluff, but now I believe it after receiving Lovenson. Only having been in Haiti for 24 hours, Lovenson was just dropped into my life. My dad, Esther and I were part of an orphanage crash and Tytoo Gardens received 23 kids, I’m sure you remember me telling this story in the very beginning.

I took on Lovenson and one other little boy in the beginning to help with the transition. Lovenson and I became quickly attached and his little life brings me more joy than anything else. He is seriously the happiest human being I have ever met. He wakes up smiling and goes to sleep laughing. He has a belly laugh that is worth a million dollars and a sense of humor that might make him a million dollars someday. We all believe he has a future in stand up comedy!

Some days I stare in awe at this life, I have no idea where he came from, what type of family he was born into, or even how old he is. When he first came we were told he was 7, but since he was wearing 24 month clothes I said no way! But his imagination, vocabulary, and memory makes me believe he is older than Jeffte most days, who will be 5-years-old in November. For the sake of future sex talks, I will just continue to believe that Lovenson was dropped off by the stork!

Today, the three of us just hung out all day. It is crazy how much fun I can have with them. We started our day by chasing Arthur the donkey down the road, watched a movie, ate Macaroni and Cheese for lunch, played in the outside shower with our water guns and had a dance party on my bed. (Don’t worry I did get some work done, started making Touch of Hope sponsorship cards!) We just finished throwing rocks into the ocean and now I hear them running outside playing with their water guns again, looks like we will be having our third bath of the day in a little bit!

Next week Wednesday I will be leaving them to go home to the United States for 2 weeks; I’m beginning to have separation anxiety. The past 80 days in Haiti have been nothing short of amazing for many reasons, but these two little lives are what make it the best. Although it has been amazing, I am also in need of a break, more or less an emotional break.

As I travel home for two weeks, I will be doing a lot of work for Touch of Hope, making over 230 new sponsorship cards and updating the whole system with all of the new kids. We have over 520 kids registered for next year, so there is lots of work to do! I also hope to have some time to relax with family and friends and also have an emotional break from everything, too.

Being apart from them, and of course Webert, will be the hardest part. I know it will only be 14 short days, but I’m quite attached. I will miss the simple things we do together each day. The “bonjour mama”, the sweet kisses, their laughs, our prayers before supper and our nighttime love you’s.

These simple things lead me to thank God for life. For waking us up, letting us laugh and play, and for the simple things in life of course. I thank him for children. For the two little special ones in my life, for the 500+ kids who will be in our school, for the children in Tytoo Gardens orphanage, for my village kids and for every other life that crosses my path.





Love from Haiti.