Friday, December 23, 2011

Peace on Earth (and in my heart)

So we continue to wait on our I-600 approval. There is nothing more we can do at this time to further our adoption and now I have to find peace in the situation. Christmas is here, it's time to celebrate Christ. God is stretching me, molding me, comforting me and revealing Himself in the most amazing ways. I reflect on all the miracles of our journey and I can only say that He is good.

Today, as the time neared that we knew no more e-mails would be sent, Eric and I let out a huge sigh. We can stop the "let's check our inbox one more time" madness. Not because we don't love our children or want them home desperately. But because that behavior is all consuming and not honoring this journey. We have a few days to be thankful and continue to trust the path we are on.

Have a Merry Christmas and a Blessed New Year.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Day 60

The I-600 application that Eric filed in Ghana, is said to take 30-60 days to process. Today it has been 60 days since it was filed. Without any communication from the Emb@ssy, I can only conclude they are still processing it. Or not. Who knows.

I walk around with a knot in my stomach despite the joy that comes from the Christmas season. I have a lump in my throat that I keep from turning into tears by focusing on work, holiday preparations, staying off the computer (which I am NOT good at) and prayer. There is nothing in the adoption training courses that prepares for these emotions. You just have to live through it to know it. And now we know.

My sweet little ones, I know you will have a family (again) soon, but right now that day seems like a distant dream. To have something this monumental so out of our control feels cruel and impossible. God's timing is perfect and according to His plan. I can't wait to get on African soil again and tell you that we are a family:)

Monday, December 19, 2011

Ghana in our home

The painting Eric and I chose on our first trip and the beautiful masks he brought home from trip #2.
I have many reminders of Ghana scattered around my home. Some are little reminders, such as tiny little dresses that are waiting for Agyeiwaa in her closet. Or the red dirt that I just can't wash off my flip flops because it is from the streets my children walk every day. It feels like a small connection to them as I wait to see them again. Others are items purchased while in Ghana that we have finally began to display in various spots. At times, it is just the quiet anticipation of four little feet that will soon run around this home. Either way, Ghana is near our hearts.
Cross made of recycled glass and coffee bean ornament made by an adoptive momma.

Carved nativity that is displayed on our coffee table. Jake rearranges this daily and tells me what each person or animal is doing or thinking.

The Baby Jesus from the carved nativity. Something about this rendition cracks me up:)


My favorite painting. Vibrant colors just make me happy.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Jesse Tree: our advent journey



This year, we are doing a Jesse Tree to observe the advent and prepare our hearts for the birth of Jesus. In the past, we decided to celebrate advent Sundays, which has been a wonderful tradition that I grew up with (one of the only religious memories of my childhood). Each day, we read a passage and hang an ornament on our tree. Each day, the devotional takes us closer to the birth of our Savior and connects the dots in the Old Testament. We learn about the people that are the most unlikely candidates to become the lineage to Jesus. God uses the outcast, the rejected and the "least of these" to accomplish His mission. We find tremendous comfort in this.

There are many books, kits and ways to do the Jesse Tree journey. We chose the FREE option, since we are on "adoption budget" right now. I simply printed the symbols for each day, glued them onto construction paper and found a simple way to hang them onto our tree. Some people use a separate tree to hang the symbols, but I actually like the fact that the Jesse tree is a part of our family tree. The symbols are scattered around the ornaments from our family trips and even my Santa ornaments. Yes, we are crazy like that ;)

We chose our devotionals to be appropriate for kids, but also have enough substance for us grown ups. Today we read about God's provisions and it spoke to me deeply. Great conversations spin off our devotionals. And more than anything, it is a time to quiet down, pray together and focus on the real reason we celebrate Christmas.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

When God grants Peace

Lately, I have felt so different than any other time during my adoption journey. I have felt peace in my heart that God has this all figured out. Really, He has. I don't have to be anxious, worried, angry, jealous or mad. I have been all those things many times in the past year. I don't have to make deals with Him about bringing my children here, I don't have to worry how He will provide. I don't have to pray "please God, let tomorrow be the day that....happens", because His timing is perfect. I don't want to make something happen myself, because His timing will hold bigger blessings. I just need to wait for Him to show me when to go, and how it will be provided for. There are doors that are opening that will hopefully be the right ones to provide for the last leg of our journey. Just last night and unexpected phone call holds so much promise. He has been faithful, why would He stop now?

I would be lying if I said I didn't miss my children. I would be lying if I said it's ok they are not here for Christmas (or any other day between now and when they get here). I miss them, I miss Ghana, I miss so many things. But these two feelings can coexist in me at this moment. Peace covers all of it. His Peace.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Ghana Trip #2 Memories

The Ocean

Eric was trying to find things to do with our children and the playground was closed that morning. His driver Patrick suggested going to the beach for a little bit. Our children grew up in a small village several hours north of Accra, so they had never seen the ocean. Our first trip didn't allow for a beach trip with them, so Eric thought this was a good idea.


Ready to see the beach


Walking up to the beach, Kofi was very excited, but I am sure he didn't know what to expect. Agyeiwaa was just along for the ride, she is such a sweet girl and a good traveler. They walked in between two buildings to see the ocean, and but the time they saw it, it was very close.



All of a sudden Kofi froze, he didn't want to get any closer. Patrick told Eric "he is afraid" and Eric offered to hold his hand. Slowly, they made their way to see the massive water. Eric asked Patric to explain that " on the other side of the water, was America". The look of amazement on his face was priceless. Thank you honey was videotaping this memory....it is such a sweet moment.

"So just on the other side of that water is America?"

And then....an airplane flew over, which for our children stops anything, and they always point to the sky and chant "aeroplane, aeroplane"
 And my husband's sens of humor: he saw this guy walking on the beach and asked to take his picture. At home he told me: "no matter where you go, you always find someone from Ohio"

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Adoption, sponsorship and a special girl

There is a girl that I think about often. She is wise beyond her years, has a smile that lights up the room and like so many children in Ghana, she has suffered loss in her life. Eric and I met her in May when she jumped out of the car when we first met our children. She was along for the ride as a helper when our children made the 3+ hour journey to meet us. We were asked if she could stay with us for a little while and we had no problem with this. She was extremely helpful in those first moments when we were getting to know our children and learning a common language.


For a brief moment, Eric was absolutely convinced that she was the reason we were approved to adopt 3 children in our home study. My husband, who I thought was more "rational" out of two of us asked me to pray about being her "forever family". He wanted this treasure to have a chance at education as she is smart and can become anything she sets her mind to. We could tell she was loving and enjoyed spending time with us, but I never had total peace about inquiring more about her. Somehow, we would find a way to be a part of her life, but it didn't have to include adoption.


She asked if I had any clothes her size when she saw Kofi and Agyeiwaa receive new clothes. I opened the donation bins we had brought, and there were many dresses Emmi had packed that no longer fit her. They were all her size!! She picked out a cream colored dress and white shoes. She must have hugged us a million times. when I found a purse for her, we were officially "Mommy and Daddy".





As it turns out, international adoption is not in this girl's future. She can stay with biological family and receive an education through sponsorship. She has a sponsor that is giving her a chance at education and a future(someone else stepped in before we could get it arranged, which is wonderful). I pray that she will find stability in her current situation and love in her family unit. Through her journey, she is teaching us about the complexities of international adoption, family preservation and many people coming together to be her family. This girl has so many people that love her, pray for her and want her to have a bright future. Including our family.

We have sent her care packages and letters since May. We pray for her and we are committed to love her from a distance. Eric didn't have a chance to see her in October, but our POA and Eric discussed her current situation. We sent another care package with our POA to her. Emmi picked out a dress for her during one of our shopping trips and included a blue headband with a flower on it. We knew she would love it.

Then one day I came home and found my husband with the biggest grin on his face. He said for me to open my email. Our POA send us a picture of her and a letter that made me cry like a baby. Thank you God!!! She looks healthy and so beautiful! I hope her world is a little brighter because of our family.


 The letter says:

Hello Eric and Jenni,
I am very proud of you and miss you.
I know you are missing me too but I assure you that I will never forget you.
I once again thank you for everything you have done for me.
If God willing one day we shall meet again, good bye
J
And if you ask Eric, he is still hopeful that she might have an opportunity to come to the US as an exchange student or a college student. Our door is ALWAYS open for this young lady:)

Friday, December 2, 2011

6 months of waiting

Today, it has been 6 months since I last saw my children and told them I would return soon. While I am so glad Eric visited them in October, my heart aches. 6 months is an eternity to be separated from the ones we love.

Ghana Trip #2 More memories

Skype

Eric and I set a skype date with the kids each morning. I got up at 6am so that they could start exploring the city as early as possible. Containing two energetic kids in a hotel room by himself was tough, I'm sure... Anyway, my favorite skype memory was when Kofi and Agyeiwaa skyped with Emmi and Jake for the first time.
Waiting in hotel room


To set the scene...Kofi has seen plenty of pictures of his new siblings and he knows them by name. As soon as the video came on, he saw both kids waving at him. My precious son's face lit up and he began to say "my family, my family" over and over again. It then hit me that yes, we are a family. For the first time all 4 of my children were connected and able to talk to each other. Of course it made tears stream down my face....Yes boy, this IS your family!!!!

He then began to ask to come to America. If I had the powers, I would have reached right through the computer and brought him to America.

Some of the sweet things I heard from Agyeiwaa (age 3) were: "good morning Mommy", "I love you Mommy", "my phone"( which cracks me up, because she didn't repeat the words, she actually knows what this means) and hearing her sing songs in the background. All this is of course said with the most adorable Ghanaian accent.

Just typing this up makes me miss them soooo much.....

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Ghana Trip #2 Part 1

Instead of writing a day by day account of Eric's trip to Ghana, I will write some special memories instead. Since I didn't travel, these are "second hand stories" so I will consult my husband for any missed details.

Meeting the Children

When Eric met the children, they had been in the car for 3-4 hours from Kwahu. They likely slept the entire trip since it was still morning when they arrived. Our POA brought the children to the hotel and the children instantly knew him. There was a little bit of time before the Embassy appointment and Eric changed the kids clothes and gave them a few treats. Our POA took a few pictures and helped to get the kids ready. They were both pretty shy and quiet, but this didn't last long.

 All dressed up for the US Embassy

Next was the trip to the US Embassy. We visited the Embassy last trip and witnessed two families visa appointments. The families weren't there themselves, but their children and bio families were there and we saw all that happens there on a daily basis. Eric went in with the children and filed our I-600 application. He said it was "quick and painless" and he returned to the hotel with the children.

 Movie Time: Cars or Veggie Tales?

One of the favorite memories for Eric was to watch movies with the children after their bath in the evenings. Kofi loves "Cars" and they must have watched it a 100 times. This started the first night and continued every night during the trip.


Sunday, November 27, 2011

Lately...

Lately, I have been suffering from "writer's block" of sorts. Too many thoughts swirling in my brain and I have felt the need to sort some of them out first. After Eric came back from Ghana, God has been speaking to us about our future and how Ghana will fit into it. Our intention has never been to just "go get our kids" and then live our lives like nothing happened. There has been discussions about helping those children who are not going to be adopted and supporting individuals or organizations involved in these types of programs. Also, Eric spent a precious day with our children's first mother and we have so much compassion for women in Ghana who have no other options available to them than placing their children for adoption. So family preservation efforts are also close to our hearts. We are in prayer for the right direction and I hope we will have some things figured out soon.

I have also been in prayer during this time of waiting, that I could trust God FULLY that His timing is perfect. I am by nature a control freak and the anxious type. I have felt a marvelous shift in this tendency and God is leading me through the waiting with less anxiety and less worry. Thank you God!!! I am not perfect, but it's great to know that God doesn't think I'm beyond help, LOL!!!

So we are still waiting on our I-600 approval and we might be waiting a while longer. The last step after that is the visa processing and then we can travel to Ghana to bring our children home!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

And we wait...

All of our papers are now submitted for our I-600 application. We received our "corrected" birth certificate and the Embassy is now continuing the process. Once again, we received a different age for our son, they range from 4 to 7 on various reports. One report states ages 4 AND 7 on the same page.... TIA!!! I know he is not 4 and I doubt that he is 7. Either way, he is our precious boy and we can't wait to have him and his sister here.

Eric has gone through many emotions since his return home from Ghana. His exhaustion has now turned into processing all that he saw and experienced. We are preparing ourselves for the holidays without two of our children and it is hard. It seems that I-600 applications are once again taking a long time to process so we set our sights on early next year for our next trip to Ghana. I do better when I can do something to help the process along like during our home study process. But this is the phase when we just wait...and wait...and wait.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Ghana trip #2



Eric is home safe and sound. He came home absolutely exhausted after keeping up with two energetic children and taking care of adoption business at the US Embassy. We are missing one piece of paper from our I-600 application so our application will not move along until that comes. Once again, I rely on God's timing in this. Not an easy thing to do for me, but God is smoothing out a lot of my rough edges with this journey.

I have spent the last few days looking at pictures of his adventures and watching videos. He was so thoughtful to take all the video for me as he knew I would enjoy them. He also braved the markets, with two children and his new friend/taxi driver as his guide. The high pressure sales can be intimidating at times, but he got some great deals!!!

Highlights of this wonderful trip included:

Our children saw the Atlantic Ocean for the first time



He witnessed how our daughter's English has improved since our last trip. She has the cutest accent as she would loudly declare "Good Morning" as she woke up.
video


We learned more about our children's past and their circumstances that lead them to the orphanage and international adoption. Not only am I absolutely convinced that adoption was the only choice for them, we can also prepare specifically how to help them process these past hurts. I have read and heard so much about ethical adoptions as some countries struggle with their international adoption programs. Some agencies even now limit the contact you have with birth family. Personally, these meetings have been the reassurance that we need to proceed with our adoption and we can tell our children that the option of staying in Ghana, staying with family just was not possible.





These children are so resilient so sweet despite all that they have been through. I will share more about Eric's trip soon as it had left him changed forever.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Goodbyes part 2

Right now, as I am typing this, Eric is saying his goodbyes to our children. I know that he is ready to come home, but he would rather arrive with our children in his arms, than to return them to their orphanage. It has been a week or extreme highs and lows. It's been a week of natural disasters and an opportunity to bless people he didn't know just a few days ago. God orchestrated events that will forever be in our hearts. Saying goodbye for the second time is hard. No, it's impossible. He has a tough task ahead of him and I know he will be devastated.

After a week of blurry iPhone pictures and skype calls in a dark hotel room, I am ready to hold my husband and have him tell me about his adventures. I also can't wait to speak in full sentences with him, as the skype connection worked best if we spoke just a few words at a time.Not complaining though, as I heard and saw our children every day and the day I heard "Mommy I love you" from both of them, I decided that the person who invented skype was my new best friend:)

As I spoke with Eric late last night Ghana time when he returned from the Christ Outreach Orphanage, I could tell that his love for Ghana and its people has deepened. It's easy to ignore the orphan, the poor and the outcast when they are just statistics. Now they have names, faces and families. I can't wait to see what God has in store for him. For us.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Flooded Orphanage

Two nights ago in Ghana, rain and flooding caused damage to roads, buildings and bridges. One of the places damaged by flooding is Christ Outreach Orphanage. All children are said to be safe, but all their belongings are destroyed. The little bit they owned, plus all of their school supplies and furniture on the lower level is gone. We personally know families who have children at this orphanage and I can only imagine the worry and heartache as they wait for news on where their children are and how they are coping with another tragedy in their lives.

Eric is in Ghana right now, and he witnessed the flooded roads and the devastation. Water on the roads make the already challenging traffic impossible. He visited a hospital yesterday that was flooded and telecommunication is challenging due to power outages. Tomorrow he will go and visit the Christ Outreach Orphanage and take food, water and needed supplies. He will also have the privilege of visiting sweet children whose parents await news on their condition. I thank God that he can bring some comfort to these children.

To help Christ Outreach Orphanage you can make a donation at:
Compassionate Journeys

And choose Christ Outreach Orphanage in the pull down menu. These children have been through so much already, let's help them recover some sense of normalcy.

Also, find Compassionate Journeys on facebook to see pictures of the flooding.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Daddy and his kids

Today, when I came home I had this picture waiting in my inbox. My husband is a rock star!! My bathed, cocoa buttered babies in their jammies sound asleep. So I didn't get to skype with them tonight, but tomorrow morning, Emmi and Jake get to talk and see their siblings for the first time!!!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Sweet Reunion





WHAT? My Daddy is coming to see me??? 


Did you bring me a swimsuit?

It's going to be fun!!



We are praying that he will see this precious girl again, to send love from so many people that want to be a part of her future:)


Tonight, Eric will fly to Ghana so that he can be there to file our I-600 on Monday. Please pray with us that all the paperwork is in order so there are no further delays. He will see our children on Monday morning and hopefully spend the entire week with them. 

We have tested skype gazillion times in hope that I can see and hear my children. It has been almost 5 months since I heard their giggles and heard them say "Mommy". I am sad not to be a part of this trip, but I have to save my time off for the next one.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Ghana bound!!!

Eric got the most wonderful e-mail today: an appointment to file our I-600 at the US Embassy in Ghana!! I thought it might take a while to get a response and when we did, it might be a while longer until they could accommodate us. Only 3 business days from sending the email we had an answer, and now we are packing to get him ready!!

We got the ticket I mentioned in the last post at the exact same price! Woohoo!!! Instead of focusing on the fact that I can't go, I am excitedly packing little dresses and toys cars and snacks for our little ones. I have lists made for Eric of all the things he should remember. Not because I am a nag, but at his request, I should add:) We are excited to take over donations and care packages that the children will undoubtedly appreciate.

I am so bummed that our friends will leave Ghana the day before Eric gets there. I am sure he would have enjoyed the company, but we are not sure how much time he will spend in Accra vs.Kwahu. Either way, Eric is glad to be back in Ghana, learn more about our children's culture and life. And of course spend time with our son and daughter.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

$1245



I praise God for so many wonderful things that have happened this week. We are still waiting to hear back from the Embassy when Eric can go and file our I-600 form. Of course we are stalking flights and for some reason (probably time of year) all flights are the same price for us: $1245.

As I have learned over my relatively short Christian walk, God provides and often He has the same sense of humor about it as I do.

So yesterday morning, as Eric and I woke up to celebrate 16 years of marriage, I went to check our bank account as we both get paid on Fridays. At first glance, there seemed to be extra money there, more than I had budgeted for. A nice surprise!!! Then I panicked: did someone over pay us, we have to know so we don't spend someone else's money....

Eric found out his company owed him a referral bonus (which we didn't think they would actually pay...) and it was added to his check out of the blue. We had actually forgotten about this, since the payment should have happened a long time ago and it didn't. Also, no one mentioned this to him, so finding extra money in the bank account was a bit weird. In a good way. God was all over this decision, as we were not sure if flying to Ghana was the best financial decision, but our hearts felt like it was. Our children are old enough that they know it's been a while. We miss them. Eric also hopes to spend more time with their bio family and visit our sponsored child. Our next trip will be to bring them here, so the opportunity to do all those things just isn't there.


As I looked at his pay stub, after taxes the amount of the bonus was: $1245. Not only did God provide, there was no room for mistaking it as a lucky coincidence. He HAS provided, He WILL provide and He cares about every little detail of our lives.

So Daddy can now go and hug this little girl:




And tell this wonderful son, that we have missed him every single day since June




And some day we can tell them story after story about how God provides!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

When do you pick them up?

That is the question I get asked bazillion times a day. My usual answer has been "praying before Christmas" and honestly, that is what I pray every day. And then I end "your timing is perfect God, but I still want them with us for Christmas". Emmi decided she wants our Christmas tree up as long as it takes for them to join us. So either way, they will celebrate Christmas with us, LOL!!!

So the latest: after passing court, the next step is filing our I-600 form with the USCIS. This can be done either here or we can do it in Ghana. Doing it here sometimes takes a bit longer, but that is not our reason for wanting to file in Ghana. We miss them terribly and they have seen many friends joined with their forever families. They ask about us and someone should go and tell them we have not forgotten them. Since our May/June trip, they have received a few care packages from us, but lately no one has gone that we know personally.

Eric requested an appointment with the embassy in Ghana, and he will fly out as soon as we hear back. He will stay a week or so taking care of business and loving our kids. Since we don't know how soon he will go, we are in trip mode, getting necessary items and donations together:)

I wish I could go, but this time it will be just Daddy....

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Rejoice!!!

12 Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, 
as though something strange were happening to you. 
13 But rejoice insofar as you share Christ's sufferings,
that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.....

19 Therefore let those who suffer according to God's will entrust 
their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good. (1 Peter 4:12-13, 19)


I have meditated on this passage since I read it a few weeks ago. Not because I am going through a "fiery trial" like many Christians are around the world. Compared to many, I have it easy. My problems are "1st world problems", my anxiety is often self inflicted. I make commitments out of guilt and I break them out of guilt.

I have thought about the notion many of us have, that becoming a Christian is a guarantee of an easy life, God's constant protection over every aspect of our lives. And when trouble comes in the form of a job layoff, illness, death or even a slow down in our adoption journey, we take it as a sign that we have not prayed hard enough, tithed enough or some other way neglected to fulfill our Christian duties. How many times have we heard of Christians going through overwhelming circumstances and quietly thought "I'm glad God didn't call me to do that". In America, our life is all about being comfortable and having it easy. We want our children to have a comfortable life and we take care of our own needs before helping others. I know I am guilty of this...

This passage clearly tells us to expect trials, expect hardships as God allows these to enter our lives. Our limited understanding of Him would rather bypass suffering, but God is in control even in the midst of tragedy.

God tells us to rejoice in our sufferings so we may also rejoice when His glory is revealed. Instead of responding with anxiety, worry, anger, sadness when I am faced with suffering, I should rejoice? Wow, it seems so contradictory.

So today, in the midst of my anxiety, I will rejoice.



Monday, October 3, 2011

Grace "the sequel"

*The original post Grace was just a beginning of this story. I wanted to post it again, but with an update on how God is working in my life*

 
Source: weheartit.com

Responding with grace is hard, but lately that is what I have felt in my heart. I was reading an adoption blog, and there was a small sentence about extending grace to people around us. That stuck in my mind as I thought about some difficult conversations I have had with a family member. She does not understand our adoption and is rather vocal about it in family situations. My instant reaction was to defend my position, defend my family and argue my way through the conversation. I have tried to have private conversations explaining our journey, all the way God has provided and orchestrated every single detail. I thought, if I just explained it eloquently enough, she would see that something beautiful is transpiring and she would join in our excitement. Well, that didn't happen no matter what my strategy was.

Then, I decided to respond with grace. When a hurtful comment was made, instead of feeling righteous, I responded with grace and kindness. When she did not ask questions about the status of our adoption, instead of feeling hurt, I enjoyed her company as it was. When a funny story from our trip to Ghana came to mind, instead of forcing her to listen to it, I shared it with someone else. Grace. Grace. Grace. I can't say that it was easy. My lip was bloody from all the times I bit it to prevent my mouth from responding in anger and hatred. I practiced deep breathing to lower my blood pressure as it began to rise.It was a constant effort to overcome my own sin in the responses I gave.

As the dynamic of our relationship began to shift, I realized that responding with grace was just as much for me as it was for her. Slowly, the tension began to melt, my guard came down and I relaxed again in her company. Trust was being built and conversations have honesty behind them. True reasons for this hesitancy to support us became clearer and progress was made. Once I was able to extend grace, she responded with honesty. This would have not happened with my typical response.

A few weeks ago, we realized that in order to afford the final part of our adoption, we would need to raise funds. As we were praying about our options, this same family member called and offered to help. She is now fervently advocating on our children's behalf and I can see that God is using this situation to foster healing.

The only reason I share something this personal is that I know there are other struggling with a friend or a family member who is less than enthusiastic about something in our lives.  It could be because of adoption or any life situation that God calls us to that is "out of the comfort zone" for people. What is the response that I should have? What yields the desired result? For me, it has been grace. Over and over and over again.

Source: weheartit.com

Sunday, October 2, 2011

It's hard to ask for help...

I have felt incredibly blessed to say that God has provided amazingly throughout this adoption journey. We started with modest savings, but with working overtime (mostly Eric) and living extremely frugally, we have written every check as it became due. We don't take credit for this, it's all God. Then someone stepped in to bless us in an amazing way. Once again, thank you God.

But the other side of this type of provision is, that I am uncomfortable asking for help, to raise funds or to admit that I can't do it all on my own. It's pride, and I readily admit it.

Right now, we are unable to work any extra as our jobs are slow for the rest of the year. Our savings are depleted. We need to be ready at a moments notice to make travel arrangements to pick up our children in Ghana when all their paperwork is processed. More than likely this will be right around the holiday season, the most expensive time of the year to travel. 2 round trip tickets and 2 one way tickets = more money than we have.

So I am setting my pride aside and asking for help. We are in the process of finalizing some fund raising opportunities, but in the mean time I would like to ask that you would pray for our family. I don't want to act out of anxiety or fear, but find a way for those who have asked "how can I help?" along the way to be a part of our journey.



Lastly, I was just going through my summer photos, and I found this one:






Notice how Emmi's hair is all wet? This picture was taken just moments after she was baptized. In the midst of a long summer of waiting, God gave us wonderful memories to cherish.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

I have a son AND a daughter...



Finally, it's beginning to sink in. I have a son and a daughter! After meeting them in May, saying our sad goodbyes and coming home, I knew we would be waiting for a court date that would make them legally our children. I settled into a busy summer, organized our bedrooms and spent time preparing for when they would become a part of our family. Waiting has not been easy, but I have learned quite a bit about myself in the process.


I am so glad to call this sweet little boy my son. He is such a wonderful child, his smile lights up a room. I miss his tight hugs, the way he says "Mommy" and his giggles.





This little girl can be shy at first, but she is bubbly once she is comfortable in a situation. She will be a wonderful little sister and I know everyone will be wrapped around her little finger:) I miss her cuddles, the way she rubs her ears as she gets tired and the way she says "Mommy".

Eric is planning a trip to Ghana to file our I-600 form. It is hard to say how soon we will travel back to pick them up, so our focus is on the next step only.  I am jealous that he gets to see them and hug them while in Ghana, but I am happy that one of us is able to go and spend time with them.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

We passed court!!!

I was not expecting this good news today, which made it all the more special:) I came home from work this afternoon to find a message that we passed court today!!!!

We are excited to be a family of 6 officially!!!

Although we are still months away from K and A joining our family, this is a HUGE step for us.

Thanks you for all your prayers and encouragement while we were waiting to go to court.

God is good!!!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

While I'm Waiting


I have a special place in my heart for the song "While I'm Waiting" by John Waller. I can't think of another time this song has described my heart than today.


I have prayed like I have never prayed before, during our adoption journey. I know this is where God wants our family to be, but the journey is heartbreaking nonetheless. I am madly in love with the two little cuties that I hope to call my son and daughter soon.


Since I have felt God's blessing on this journey every step of the way, I thought this gave me the right to figure out a time line for our adoption. I had an imaginary timeline in my mind that was neither from God or from our agency. I know I have issues with control. And then things slowed down. I "patiently" waited through the slow process made even slower. I made a good effort to "go with the flow". But as soon as I found out that there was a chance we could go to court, I made up my mind that this was it. That we would pass. That we would be a family of six. That the babies I held more than three months ago would be my son and daughter forever. I prayed, I cried, I threw the biggest adult temper tantrum known to man ;) surely God appreciated my passion...right?


But God didn't answer. Not yet. He whispered "Wait on My perfect timing". "Trust Me, that I have orchestrated every circumstance according to My will". "You are not forgotten, or loved less because you wait". Wow, powerful words God. In my weakest moment, He is revealing more than I deserve.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Is she your baby girl?




Although my blog isn't huge, I want to do my part in advocating for this precious baby girl in Ghana. If you read this, would you please just share this link on your blog for others to see?

Baby Girl

There is a sweet baby girl with unknown (at this time) special needs that needs a family to love her as she is. I have worked with precious little ones just like her for years and I know the blessing they can be to their parents. Because of her special needs, her adoption can be a quicker process as Anita explains on her blog. Please pray for her and advocate for her.

Is she your baby girl?

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Meeting "birth" mom

This day is one that I want to remember well. Not for my benefit, but for our children when they will ask me about their first mother. The term "birth" mom is really not accurate since "H" has cared for her children up until last January when circumstances forced her to make the hardest decision imaginable. I know she loves these children dearly and didn't just give birth to them. Thus the name "first mother".

In the morning, we enjoyed breakfast at our hotel and then headed for a quick swim (see the Swimming Pool post for details). After that wonderful experience, we got into a van with Ken, Michelle, Ryan and Kristen and all of our children (6 children between the ages of 3 and 6). Our first stop was the Kwahu foster home where the other families met their children's first mothers but "H" was not there. I was sad because I was worried we would not get to meet her and she wouldn't have that opportunity to meet us.



We went on a short ride to the site of the new orphanage that our children would live in until our adoption is finalized. It was absolutely peaceful and beautiful there. I was so impressed by all  the work that has happened there. It will be a refuge for so many children for years to come.



Once we returned to the current foster home, I saw Eric go inside and I stayed outside with our daughter "A". He came outside to tell me our first mom "H" was here! My heart began to race as I tried to gather my thoughts and clear my mind. I went from disappointed to excited in a nanosecond and I wanted to remember every single detail.




As we embraced, our girl climbed from my arms to "H"s back (in a true Ghanaian style) and began to play with the zipper in the back of her mothers dress. Since "H" didn't speak English, we smiled and embraced each other for a moment and found someone to translate. We learned a few key things we wanted to know. We learned about our daughters name and tried to remember all the details. As we were together, I wanted to be sure that this meeting was not for ME or about ME. This was for our children as they are old enough to hopefully recall this day. They were able to see their mothers and father all together in a loving setting. I don't know what I expected, but this was not at all the way I anticipated the meeting to go. I have such respect for "H" as she is a woman with such grace and kindness.

Someone had music playing outside the foster home and our son rushed over there to show off his awesome dance moves. An impromptu dance party ensued and I joined holding "A". As I was making a fool of myself (after all, my white girl moves are pretty bad next to Ghanaian dance moves), I saw "H" looking from the side with the biggest grin on her face. Not sure what she thought of us or our dance moves, but I glanced back and smiled. Adoption is messy, sad, hard in so many ways. I am glad our children will have this day when their mothers were together and they were able to show affection to both.


Eric at the hotel with "A" and "K"

Monday, September 5, 2011

Weekend with Friends

One of the greatest blessings of adoption are the friendships that are formed along the journey. One of those special friends is Christy. Her family is also in the process of adopting a boy/girl siblings from Ghana and our process seems to progress at a similar pace. When I have "one of those" days, she is there to encourage with words that come only from another adoptive Momma's heart. We celebrate the small victories along the way, share pictures and pray for one another.

Once we figured out that we live only a few hours from each other, we began to plan a get together for our families. This weekend, we had a fun filled time in Pittsburgh where our families finally met.





Our weekend included swimming




A trip to the Science Center





And fun playing games (I dominated at Farkle!!!)





And this was when I knew our families would get along just fine....




It was a wonderful weekend and we are so blessed to have found another Ghana adoptive family so close to us.

Christy makes fabulous bows at her Etsy Shop Ghana Go Curly to help raise funds for their adoption. I hope to be her #1 client once our little girl joins our family as I happen to know she loves headbands and bows!!!