Every time I start an update, I always think about starting with something like, “wow, we’ve been busy.” I am trying to think of something more original to say, but the first thing that always pops into my head is how busy we’ve been. And it’s always true!
Before I get into things in earnest today, I wanted to mention a few quick things that I don’t want to forget! First, I wanted to make sure you all knew that while I do official updates twice a month (or, gulp, once a month—sorry—the Dec 1 update kind of got away from me!) I update our family blog- www.mangine.org almost daily. That is a great place to go to hear more of the day-to-day things happening in our family and about our kids. Additionally both Nick and I are on facebook and regularly update our friends there with photos and stories of our kids. If you’re on facebook, join us over there too!
One other housekeeping item:
The end of the year is coming! Many people have asked us about donation receipts for tax purposes. In January 2010 our administrative offices will send out donation receipts for all donations made in the 2009. If you’d like to make a year-end donation to be credited towards the 2009 year, it needs to be postmarked by December 31, 2009 if sent via the postal service OR you can donate online up until December 31 as well.
With that out of the way, let’s get to the REAL reason I am updating you today. Our family! It is getting HUGE these days. We moved into our new house on December 1 and since our last update have added 2 children and 2 full-time, live-in staff.
Jean Louis came home to us at the end of November. This kid is a riot. He NEVER, EVER, EVER stops talking. He’s constantly joking around and he’s got a very distinctive way of speaking that’s INCREDIBLY difficult for Nick and I to understand. We’re not really sure exactly where he’s from in Haiti, but his accent would suggest somewhere north of here. He’s a real joker, and many times, doesn’t understand that he’s taken a joke too far. That’s been our biggest struggle with him. Even when we’re correcting him, he’s smiling and laughing—which is frustrating at times. While he is outgoing and loud, at other times he shows us that he’s just a scared little boy. We’re trying to love him well and teach him that his attitude is an example for the younger children and so he needs to respect us.
Jerry came to us on December 5th. It’s been a LONG week with him. He’s a sweet boy. I can tell he does love us and he likes being in our family, but he has so much going on in his little head that he just doesn’t know what he wants sometimes. He has LENGTHLY tantrums. VERY lengthy. Hours at a time. But even so, we love him. He’s very affectionate (when he’s not trying to bite, kick, or hit us.) He loves to be cuddled and comes up to kiss me several times each hour.
It’s interesting. All of our kids are very much in need of positive physical touch. They all like to be held and hugged and kissed. They fight over who gets to sit next to us or on our laps during a movie or car ride. And while in theory, we want to shower them with this, because they SO need to have it, both Nick and I at times find ourselves exhausted from constantly having children hanging all over us every waking moment. (And sometimes during sleep too if someone’s sick or having a tantrum.) That being said, we’re happy they want to attach to us in this way, and we are trying to discourage them from showing too much physical affection to others during this time of attachment—especially visiting teams, as it only exacerbates the feelings of loss as people so frequently come in and out of their lives.
The other two additions to our family are our old friend, Hugues and our new friend, Anndavid. Both are excellent additions and are helping us tremendously.
From a child protection standpoint, we were hesitant to hire a male employee to live with us. But when we found out Hugues was interested in a job, we jumped on the opportunity. We’ve known and loved him for years and he was hired to help with various things around the house—cleaning, yardwork, washing the car, toting water, general maintenance, keeping the electricity running, pumping water, filling the generator with gas, etc. He’s very servant-hearted, reliable, a very good example for the children and an incredibly hard worker.
Anndavid is from St. Marc and she was referred to us by Nahomie’s father, who is a pastor there. Anndavid is a nanny and she helps with the cleaning, cooking, washing, ironing, etc. She is a graceful woman who has an incredibly sweet spirit. She’s a hard worker and she has a beautiful singing voice. She’s very good with the children—firm but loving. She’s a hard worker and does things joyfully without complaining. Her personality is a perfect fit for our family. We love having her here.
We’re all settled into our new house and WE LOVE IT! I cannot imagine loving a house more. I am at the point where I am actually a tiny bit sad about the prospect of moving when God blesses us with the funds to build on our land in Raymond. (I willl get over that I am sure!) I am thankful that God has given us far more than contentment with where we live, he’s given us all an overwhelming sense of joy to live here.
We’re looking forward to the holidays. Nick’s parents are coming in to celebrate with us. We can’t wait to see them and share the joy of Christmas with them as they experience Haiti, this place we love, for the first time. Pray for a safe and happy time together!
As you gather together, whether in person or just spirit, know that our hearts are with you. Know that we’re praying for you and that we’re grateful for your support. We love our lives. We love being this busy. We love what we get to do. We love what God is doing through YOUR faithfulness in supporting our family. Thank you!
With very grateful hearts.
Gwenn for the entire Mangine 14
Nia, Nico, Josiah
Fritzie, Prisca, Wildarne, Jerry, Jean Louis
Nahomie, Esther, Hugues, Anndavid
Jerry with Nick the day we picked him up!
Phone in Haiti: 011-509-3878-2886
Facebook names: Gwenn Goodale Mangine, Nick Mangine
Gwenn's blog: www.mangine.org
Nick's blog: i-jat.blogspot.com