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


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


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*


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.


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.