It was a mystery surrounding his mother's death when the little Haitian boy was just two years old. She was either murdered or she was sick, but no matter the cause, Watson found himself abandoned at age 4 or maybe it was 5. It is hard to remember when you are malnourished and beaten regularly by your alcoholic father. Christian missionaries found Watson and his beloved sister CeCe in a dilapidated hut nearly dead from starvation and they were placed in separate orphanages.
Watson was independent, defiant and angry and always getting into trouble. He spent nine months in the orphanage hating every minute of it. He hated having to compete with the other kids for attention and didn’t feel a sense of significance.Meanwhile at the orphanage where his sister lived, a 35 year-old-man was on a church mission trip. He had the inexplicable desire to get out of his comfort zone and the mission trip to Haiti was the first step. CeCe was drawn to him. She leaped into his arms and would not let go. By the end of the mission trip, CeCe had won his heart and he asked if she was adoptable. He learned from the missionary who was hosting the group trip, Bettie Snyder, CeCe had an older brother, Watson. He visited Watson at his orphanage and brought the two together at CeCe’s orphanage. He planned to adopt them both.
The man was Charlie George. Charlie and his wife Dee were childless and God had it all arranged. Imagine Dee’s surprise when her husband called home from Haiti to tell her he had fallen in love. Within six months of meeting six-year-old Watson and five-year-old CeCe, they were on a plane bound for the state of Washington with adoption papers in hand.
…a girl named Madisyn
Fifteen miles from Troufonban where Watson grew up, a sweet girl named Madisyn was born the same year as Watson, in 1993. She too lost her mother under suspicious circumstances. Her father was absent. By age 11, her father had fathered 27 children. She did not have a relationship with him and she had little interaction with the other siblings as they lived in another town. Her sister Loudnie lived with her and her mom along with two half-brothers. Madisyn's mother could not take care of her children due to her mysterious illness. A Haitian missionary group offered to care for Madisyn and promised to send her to school and provide food for her. It broke the heart of Madisyn's mom to give her children away but she thought she was giving them a better life.
There was no school, there was no care. Madisyn became a child slave to these locals. She walked miles every day for water. She had to carry wood and charcoal for cooking. She looked after the children and did laundry by hand in the stream. She has no idea how many years she was there as it is hard to remember when you are slave labor and starving.
With the help of a Christian missionary, Elicia Betor of Real Hope for Haiti, Madisyn was reunited with her mother in 2004. “It was the happiest day of my life” said Madisyn. She cared for her mother for two years until her mother died in 2006 when Madisyn was 11. Missionary Elicia worked diligently to get Madisyn and her sister sponsored for food and education and often she paid the sponsorship from her own meager funds. It was not easy and sponsorship was vital to their existence. Prior to missionary Betor’s assistance, Madisyn and her sister often fended for themselves huddled in a mud hut, eating leaves and mango rinds that others had thrown away. Elicia Betor’s family were Christian missionaries who grew up in Pendleton and Anderson, Indiana and were friends with Madisyn’s adopted parents. The Christian missionaries took pictures of all the children and sent the pictures along with stories to America to get sponsorship for the children.
God was orchestrating a master plan…
Watson was adopted at age 6 by the George Family and he was raised along with his beloved sister CeCe in Bellingham, Washington. Watson was angry, he spoke no English for quite some time. His parents were devout Christians. They kept loving on Watson, taking him to church and they demonstrated what a servant leader looked like.
It took some time, but Watson experienced the love of God and became a Christian after accepting Jesus into his heart. Watson asked God for wisdom and it was then he was transformed. With a more positive attitude and a sense of purpose, he began to do better in school and excelled academically. Watson loved sports and in second grade he began playing soccer. He moved on to playing basketball, football and baseball for youth clubs and travel leagues.
He wanted to be a Navy Seal in Special Ops. He enrolled in The Police Explorers, a program for youth to learn more about law enforcement. Watson went on ride-alongs and did practice drills with the SWAT team. He was developing his sense of fighting for justice and standing up for what was right.
A box of pictures of Haitian children arrived in Pendleton, Indiana. With each picture there was a story. All the children were eventually sponsored except one. The only picture remaining in the box was Madisyn. The family with the box of pictures Sharel and Ralph, had dinner with Madisyn's adoptive parents (but of course they had not met Madisyn yet.)? Over dinner they looked at the remaining picture and wondered why that child was not selected.She was a pretty girl and the story indicated she had cared for her mother during a long illness.
Wayne Goen is Madisyn’s adoptive dad. Wayne’s daughter Lori adopted four children from Haiti. Lori brought the photo of Madisyn to her dad’s house and talked about the children who needed sponsors. Madisyn's (about to be) adoptive Dad, Wayne asked if he could have the picture of Madisyn. This was very strange.He had never showed interest in the Haitian kids before. He was about to retire from Ford Motor Company and he and his wife Georgi were planning to be snowbirds, living six months in Florida and six months in Indiana.
Wayne put the picture of Madisyn on the refrigerator and he looked at it every day. One day he took the picture to the couple who had the box of pictures and said ?is she adoptable?? Everyone looked at him like he had lost his mind. He said ?God told me to adopt her.
Is She Adoptable?
A phone call was made to Haiti and they learned she was adoptable if Madisyn's biological father would sign off on the adoption. The family discussed how to go about bonding with Madisyn. Georgi Goen, Madisyn's (about to be) adoptive Mom said she thought both she and her husband should go to Haiti to bond with her, however they could not both afford to go. Madisyn's (about to be) adoptive Mom had never worked outside the home, had never traveled out of the country and was a very finicky eater.
Wayne and Georgi had this discussion at 5:45 pm. At 6 pm the phone rang and it was Haiti calling. It was Barbara Walker, the same missionary who had handled Watson's adoption 8 years before! She explained there was a little Haitian boy who was dying. He needed one-on-one nurturing. The missionary said they would pay for the plane ticket and all expenses if Madisyn's (about to be) adoptive mom would come and care for the boy while she bonded with Madisyn during the adoption process.
Madisyn's (about to be) adoptive Mom packed her own foods to take on the trip. The little boy she was sent to nurture was just bones and not expected to survive. She fed him her food. Within two weeks the little boy gained strength, gained 10 pounds and could walk. It was a miracle. He was eventually adopted and is in Arizona thriving.
Madisyn explained to her (about to be) adoptive Mother that she had a younger sister and she would not come to the United States unless her sister could be adopted too. Her sister was seven years younger. It was already ridiculous that Madisyn's (about to be) adoptive parents were retirement age and adopting a 14-year-old teenager. It was out of the question to adopt a 7- year-old. Madisyn's (about to be) adoptive Mother called home asking Sharel and Ralph, (the family with the box of pictures) “why don’t you adopt Madisyn's little sister Loudnie?”? They prayed on it and agreed saying, ?God has talked to us.
And that is how Madisyn arrived in Pendleton Indiana on February 4, 2008. Madisyn knew no English and she went directly to high school in America. She was too old for middle school and teachers had no idea what she knew because she could not speak English.
They paired Madisyn with Maningbe Kourouma (a best friend to this day) who spoke six languages and French was the language Madisyn and Maningbe used to communicate. In no time, Madisyn learned English and she made A’s and B’s throughout high school.
Madisyn’s sister Loudnie came a month after Madisyn. Like her sister, Loudnie is excelling in her studies and she is an athlete playing every sport even football where she is the only girl on the team. She has reconnected with family in Haiti and she has already made several mission trips to Dominican Republic.
The Path From Haiti to Indiana via Washington
Meanwhile Watson was sending his application to a number of colleges offering a criminal justice degree. The last school on the list was Anderson University in Anderson, Indiana. It was his very last choice. It was however, the best school with the best credentials. Begrudgingly Watson enrolled at Anderson, Indiana (around the corner from Pendleton.)
Haiti Needed Watson
The earthquake of 2010 decimated Haiti.? Watson's adopted family told him Haiti needed him. Watson prepared for the trip along with a number of high school friends who were also adopted from Haiti. In 2012, eleven members of the team went to help Haiti. Watson reconnected with his biological family and he also amazingly reconnected with Bettie Snyder, the missionary who helped him get adopted.
Watson knew he had to help his people. He could see the dependence upon handouts was not solving the problems of the Haitian people. Watson started formulating a plan. He would figure out a way to give people a tangible experience with his native land’s culture through its food and travel experiences. This launched his desire to create Beyond Me Initiative (BMI), a non-profit organization that educates and equips entrepreneurs to start businesses and create jobs for their families and communities.https://www.livebeyondyou.org/
God started talking to Watson during the many hours Watson spent continually working on his plan for BMI. God knew Watson needed someone who was also passionate about Haiti. God told Watson there was a girl, a woman who would complete his destiny and be his helpmate, but first Watson was to help her visit her biological family in Haiti. He just did not know her name.
Haiti Calling Madisyn
Madisyn had finally graduated from high school. She was working every possible moment at several jobs trying to live on her own and go to college. She heard from her grandmother in Haiti who asked if Madisyn was going to let her die without ever seeing her again. Madisyn had to return to Haiti, but how?
For a year Madisyn's roommate Brandi Foggo from Bermuda (who was a student at Anderson University) kept telling Madisyn about this Haitian boy and encouraged them to meet. Madisyn had no time or interest. She was working multiple jobs and was too busy and exhausted to even consider it.
When the call came from Madisyn's grandmother, she knew she had to go to Haiti, but how could a poor college student get the funds for such a trip? Her roommate informed Madisyn there was this young Haitian boy named Watson who had founded an organization to help his people in Haiti and she encouraged Madisyn to connect with Watson to see if he could help her return to Haiti.
When the Moon and the Stars and the Planets Align
This is when Madisyn realized she had been friends with Watson for the last year on Facebook but did not really even know it. She sent him a message asking if he would help her return to Haiti. Watson knew she was the girl God had been telling him about. He knew before they met, Madisyn would complete his destiny. On September 30, 2014 Madisyn and Watson met face to face in front of Park Place Church of God (it is the same church where they were married two years later.)
Watson helped Madisyn raise the funds to visit her grandmother. He was so successful at fundraising that her best friend Moriah could go with her. Madisyn's employer at Hoosier Park Casino gave her a grant which allowed her to buy her plane ticket. The trip was a dream come true for Madisyn's grandmother who had unknowingly set a master plan in motion when she asked Madisyn to return to Haiti one last time before she died. God orchestrated the meeting of Watson and Madisyn and the rest is history.
They both cared deeply for their native Haiti and they realized they both cared deeply for each other. They were married June 26, 2016 at the same church where they first met. These are the two hearts behind the Beyond Me Initiative (BMI).
Praise God for the Goen family and the George family who were willing to give selflessly to bring a better life to Madisyn and Watson. At age 24, these two young people have started a non-profit, have made several trips to Haiti to set the Beyond Me Initiative in place, have established a successful catering business to share Haitian cuisine with the proceeds to fund BMI initiatives. They are working toward the purchase of a restaurant in Indiana. They have created a line of clothing to generate income and they have recorded an album with all the proceeds from all these efforts going to Beyond Me Initiative (BMI), a non-profit organization that educates and equips entrepreneurs to create jobs for their families and communities. ? ? ?https://www.livebeyondyou.org
Stay tuned for Part 2 …it is being written.
This video will give a preview of what is to come.
Polly Riddell writing as G. Polly Jordan is The Story Teller. A freelance journalist writing business spotlight promotional stories and positively in love with telling the God stories. TheStoryTeller.net
Author’s Commentary – I simply LOVE these two young people. I sat for over three hours spellbound as they told their early story. God’s hand was everywhere. They are immensely talented and amazing in every way. I am literally in tears every time I look at the wedding photo of the selfless families who were willing to adopt four children from Haiti to give them a better life and how that life became one when Madisyn and Watson found each other. The love of these parents like the love of God is no ordinary love. Praise God for the Christian missionaries who rescued these children and were divinely instrumental in getting them adopted in the United States.