Monday, December 31, 2007
Saturday, December 29, 2007
Today we went to a Southern Fried Chicken (picked by Edward) which has KFC type fast food but also pizza, curry, Ghanaian dishes, etc. I, of course, had a Ghanaian dish as I want to try it all. So I had beans and red sauce on top of fish (red snapper) and fried plantains. All the meals here are huge though... I have yet to finish one I bought. Last night I had Tilapia and Banku at the little place next to the guest house. They were very nice and thought the pepper would be too much but it wasn't, although I just could not finish it all (so a little banku got left behind).
I asked Edward how hard it was to go out of Accra and he said that he could take me to the Central Region, about 2-4 hours away (which means longer). So you probably won't hear from me tomorrow because I'll be overnight in a village. This means I get to present the chief with a bottle of gin (which seemed to surprise Edward I knew we'd need this - thank you Anthony Bordaine). I'm not sure which village we are going to but I asked Edward how much I'd need to bring and he said 20 cedi should be enough for a bottle of gin and an overnight stay. What a cool adventure. I'll be sure to get pictures there!! We will be leaving very early Monday and will be back in Accra by mid-morning so it should not disrupt Embassy affairs.
I got to meet Rose today (Z’s co-worker’s mother-in-law), who was thrilled to get her icy hot pads and cameras. She actually is only about a quarter mile down the road so I can probably walk there and get the cameras on Wednesday next week. She smiled and said, “oh Angie” in a funny way so she seemed tickled by it all. I still need to grab hats for Kali but I'll take care of that next week when I'm back here.
I have not gone to the orphanage yet today but I figured I'd do that later because I had a headache when I got back (from the market) and thought I'd go to get some cooler water and relax in the shade before getting all sweaty picking up kids. I feel bad since Jim went there to give the things we bought today but I didn't want to have a headache and not be much fun so I figured I'd sit in the shade and write this e-mail and go send it first. I actually am feeling much better now... I just needed to relax a bit from all the heat and bustle of the market place.
I'll get to see them tomorrow too when they go to Church so they don't miss a day of seeing me, yippee! After Church is when we'll be traveling so I'm going to wash up my laundry tonight. I'm definitely excited about this extra trip. I think I'll add what I can extra for the drivers when I leave because they are definitely doing more than what was expected. Speaking of expected, I'd have to say that other people that travel may want a book or some form of the Ga language written down for both reference in talking here and when the kids come home. The kids all speak Ga, English, toddler and something in between all of them; sometimes all at once. The caretakers speak a lot of Ga and most people here converse in Ga or Twi probably 80-90% of the time. I think I'll ask for Ga words while riding in the car tomorrow.
I'll update when I can!
Friday, December 28, 2007
I know that Z appreciates having Jim around...he is soaking up lots of parenting advice from Jim's experience! Thanks, Jim!
We went to the orphanage this morning while they were in class. It was fun to see them in the classroom environment. Our boys are prone to cry when they want something, rather than ask which I'm sure results in the quickest response, but it’s another thing we’ll have to work on. I also think that T is left handed. The other day they were eating and were using knives and forks...T would usually just use his knife (held in his left hand) and eat with that. When corrected, he'd change but had a lot of trouble and would just switch back when not being watched.
E cried a lot when challenged to write his ABC's (only to D). I've noticed both boys will cry when something is difficult or they don't get what they want. It's basically like they are half their age and I think it'll be challenging (maybe I should do the same thing as they do… sniffle...) but exciting to watch their progress as they learn our boundaries.
I've photographed the school schedule, the orphanage schedule, the school rules (which are a great guideline they'll recognize) so we can follow a lot of that and not change patterns. They do ask to go to the bathroom now so we may not have to worry as much about that front. Also, as for sizes, they are both about Dante’s size (shout out to Z’s sister and nephew!), T is a bit heavier though. I'd say E’s weight is in the low 30s and T might be in the low 40s after a meal. I've picked them up plenty, and usually that is their reward and punishment... funny how it is different. When they are good they sit up on my lap or want to be lifted high; when they are bad they go to the floor crying when confronted and kick off their shoes and scream bloody murder when picked up.
Edited to add:
Z also says that the boys seem to be getting more and more comfortable with him coming and going from the orphanange. For the first couple of days E would cry and try to follow him as he left...Z would have to pick him up and bring him to the nannies so he could leave without E following him. But, the last day or so have been better. The boys will watch him leave, but they aren't crying anymore. It is good that they are learning that he will continue to come back after he leaves.
Z said that he is also getting to know all of the kids at the orphanage a little better. He said that Amara is "cute as a button" and can do a really great funky dance. Little S is a cutie who needs some reassurance...he always seems like he is on the verge of tears. And the older girls love to play with his hair.
The I-600 has been filed, but there is no word on how long processing will take. We are praying for quick processing so that the boys can come home with Z. We had hoped we would know some sort of timeline by now, but it looks like we just won't know until its done. Once the I-600 is approved, they will begin work on the boys' visas so they can all come home!
We appreciate continued prayers for safe travels, good health, and for fast paperwork processing. We would also appreciate prayers that Z and the boys will form good bonds with each other so that when the time to travel comes the boys will trust Z and follow him obediently (easing travel for Z, the boys, and everyone else on the airplane!).
Wednesday, December 26, 2007
The boys in their brand new traditional outfits! Aren't they just the most handsome little boys? I can't wait to get them home! The guy standing in the background is Z....I now have photographic evidence that he is there!
Thanks to Anita for posting the photos for everyone....Being able to hear about the boys' Christmas and seeing pictures is the next-best thing to having them home for the holidays. All of the kids look so beautiful in their new traditional outfits! What a great looking bunch...I can't wait for them all to come home to their families!
Tuesday, December 25, 2007
Saturday, December 22, 2007
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
Last night we were going through the list of paperwork that our adoption coordinator put together for us and for some reason I couldn't wrap my mind around how long it was. What? We need that? We didn't need to provide that much detail before; why do they need more now? Isn't it a little late in the game for that? Bank statements, W2s, birth certificates, employment letters, receipt letters, 171-H, I-864, I-864A, DS-230, I-600, ugh, ugh, ugh. I looked at the list and I cried.
And then I started to hyperventilate.
And then I ran away from my computer to go upstairs to bed and cry some more.
And then Z came upstairs to talk some sense in to me, assure me that we could get it all done, and encourage me to come back downstairs and get to work.
I felt stupid for getting so upset. But, the truth is, I looked at that list of paperwork and I got overwhelmed. This was another list of paperwork that I could screw up. I could make a mistake, send it with Z and then not be able to fix it in Ghana. Messed up paperwork means the boys are delayed and they don't come home with Z.
It wasn't that we couldn't do it. It wasn't that I didn't WANT to do it. It was that I finally reached that point where I was just TIRED. I'm tired of waiting...I'm tired of discovering more "steps" that need to be done (of course, I knew all along that these steps were there)....I'm tired of paperwork....I'm tired of having "one more" obstacle in front of me before we can bring our boys home. I knew that these steps were always there; I knew that I had to do them, but that doesn't change the fact that I'm just tired.
I won't be with any of "my boys" for Christmas. I won't be with any of "my boys" to ring in the New Year. I'm feeling a little "grinch-y"...and lately I'm feeling a little cranky, too.
Luckily, I have a husband who is understanding; who coached me on how to breathe last night and who took on the mound of paperwork like a trooper. What would I do without him?
Friday, December 14, 2007
Thursday, December 13, 2007
Throughout the process of adoption, we have waited and waited and waited, passed over hurdles we were waiting for and waited some more. Those of you who are in the process (or completed it) know exactly what I'm talking about.
Ever since my trip to Tanzania in college, I felt that adopting from Africa was a part of the plan for my life....but I knew I had to wait until the time was right. I went on to graduate school, met and fell in love with Z, got married, and was set to finish up my degree. I was blessed to find Z...a man who loved the idea of adoption as much as I did; a man who wanted to be a dad but didn't care whether or not his kids looked like him, shared his genetics, or were born on the same continent. He didn't even care whether or not they were babies when they joined our family.
We waited with our plan until we felt it was the right time....I can't explain how we knew it was the right time to move on this plan, but we knew...and all the doors opened for us. I spent several months researching agencies and trying to determine the right fit for us. We set a date that we would send in our application and we waited until the date came. Soon after, we heard from the agency that we were accepted and because we were requesting "older" kids we were told we could go ahead and start our homestudy. We found a fantastic social worker to do our homestudy, got all the paperwork ready and waited some more. Soon we found out that the agency was starting a new program so we asked to be a part of a pilot program in Ghana. We waited for the decision. When we got the go-ahead, we put together our dossier, sent it off and waited some more.
I have heard some people say that the wait from sending the dossier to referral is the hardest wait. I've heard other people say that the wait from referral to court date is hardest. And I've heard other people say that the wait from referral to travel is hardest. There's no doubt that they are all difficult waits....but I feel differently about them now than I did when all the waiting started.
After sending off the dossier we waited and waited to hear who our children would be. When we saw pictures of our two boys we were so excited! There they are! Those are OUR boys! Suddenly that wait between dossier and referral didn't seem so bad.
After the referral, we waited and waited for a court date. Since we are in a pilot program, we didn't know how long to expect that wait to be. It turns out that wait was a little over 4 months long. We had court re-scheduling and cancellations to deal with, but we finally had a court date and were granted an adoption order! They really ARE OUR boys! Suddenly that wait between referral and court date didn't seem so bad.
Now we are in the midst of the wait between court date and bringing our boys home. I can say without question that, for me, THIS wait has been the hardest. Those boys really are MY boys. Z and I are legally their parents and we are so anxious to get to know them. But, we still can't be with them.
Adoption in Ghana is new. That means everyone who needs to do something in order for us to bring the boys home needs to learn HOW to do it. Jobs that can be (and are) done in just a matter of a few hours or a day or two in other countries sometimes take much, much longer in Ghana. We passed court on Nov. 2nd, but we are still waiting for the documents to be released from the court so we can submit our I-600 and begin processessing of the boys' visas. Once we file the I-600, we don't know how long we can expect to wait for approval (though we have some hope that it will be processed quickly, based on this post from another family in Ghana right now).
Right now we are in "wait-mode"...we're getting used to it ;) But, we are praying that we are out of it soon. Z is heading to Ghana on the 23rd to spend Christmas with his sons and file the I-600. We are praying that the I-600 is approved quickly, that he can apply for the boys' visas and get them quickly, and bring the boys home with him. What an amazing start to 2008 that would be! We would certainly appreciate any prayers you feel compelled to pray on our behalf.
I will wait and wait and wait for these little boys if I have to. But to be honest....I'm just ready to have them home.
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
We spent yesterday morning at the doctor's office getting our vaccines for travel. I've been to Africa before and had all the basics taken care of. Z was in Iraq with the military, so they made sure he had all the basics, too. We knew we would each need probably one vaccine, we'd get prescriptions for an antibiotic and anti-malarial medication, and be on our way. But, what should have taken just a half-hour or so turned into a 2 hour ordeal. First, we were about 10 minutes late because we had to spend a bunch of time scraping ice off of the vehicle...then we waited in the waiting room for over a half-hour to get in...then we waited in the room for the doctor to come in....we chatted with him, he wrote the prescriptions...and then we waited some more for the nurse to come in and give us the shots we needed. It turns out that we both each got two shots (but I don't count one of mine because it was the flu shot). By the end of all the waiting Z was pretty annoyed...his face was even turning red! Poor guy...when he scheduled our appointment he asked how much time he should allow and they told him an hour, so that's all he scheduled for work. Luckily work was kind of a slow day for him anyway because of the weather, so it all turned out ok.
The boys' room is an absolute mess! Its been the go-to room for all the "stuff" that we accumulate and don't have any other place for. So right now, their beds are covered with things that need to find a new home, and the rest of their room is filled with Christmas presents that need to be wrapped up and sent off to their recipients, two laundry baskets full of laundry that need to be put away, and luggage that I pulled out to start getting Z packed for his trip. Not to mention the piles of orphanage donations that I am hoping to fit into his luggage somewhere and the boys' stuff that I am trying to organize! At this point, my goal for the room is just to not lose anything important, get Z packed up and off, and then I'll work on the room while he is gone. I'll need a big project to keep me busy during that time anyway.
Believe it or not, I am having a rough time remembering that it is Christmas time. We haven't put up a tree, lights, stockings, or decorations and we haven't even really done much with presents. We got Z's family's presents all wrapped up so that we could send them with his parents when they visited last weekend, but that was a quick "hurry up and get it done" kind of job. Z will be gone for Christmas...I'm not going home for Christmas....so in a lot of ways it feels like we'll just bypass Christmas all together this year.
I am thinking if Z returns without the boys he and I will celebrate Christmas (and our anniversary and New Year's) together when he gets home. But, if he returns with the boys (which we are hoping and praying will happen) then perhaps we'll just completely bypass the celebration. The boys will have enough to adjust to without the confusion of Christmas trees and lights and stockings. All of this adds up to me just not feeling very Christmas-y this year. Don't get me wrong...I love Christmas....and I am so looking forward to next Christmas when we'll have the boys with us and we can witness them experiencing Christmas in America for the first time. When we started the adoption process we thought for sure this Christmas was going to be the Christmas they'd be here. It is close to the time they will be coming home (we hope), but they will still miss Christmas, and that is sometimes hard for me. When two members of your family are missing, it just doesn't feel like Christmas.
Z will have an unforgettable Christmas this year...if all goes well, Christmas morning he will meet his sons for the first time. I am so excited for him, and so nervous for him, and so jealous all at the same time. I want to be there, too! But, I know that we made the decision to have Z travel first for a good reason, and I have peace about that. I am just looking forward to hearing all about it from Z!
Wednesday, December 5, 2007
Thursday, November 29, 2007
Monday, November 26, 2007
Monday, November 19, 2007
The blurb from my post that Anita responded to was the following:
"I will never think that our boys were "meant to be with us"; to do so would mean that I would have to believe that they were "meant" to lose their birth family, that they were "meant" to leave Ghana and everything they know."
While I totally back up that statement (hey, I wrote it), I feel like maybe I should explain what I mean just a little bit. I have heard many adoptive parents say that their child was "meant to be in their family", that they "were meant to be their child all along", or some variation of those things. I don't think that there is inherently anything wrong with any of those statements. I just don't feel like they are the right statements that I want to use to describe my relationship with our boys.
I may someday feel like our boys were "meant to be with us", but I never want to SAY that. Ever. So writing it in my blog is my way of reminding myself that I never want to use that language to describe my feelings. To me, saying that the boys are "meant to be" in our family means that they were "meant" to lose all they ever knew in Ghana (including their birth family). I always want my boys to know that I recognize the grief that they experienced - the grief that is inevitable in an international adoption. I would never want to minimize their grief by saying that they were "meant to be" in my family.
I never really thought that my little post would generate a discussion on "God's Plan" for these kids and for adoption. In fact, I never even thought about that at all when I posted my ramblings. But, the discussion is valid, and certainly worth thinking about. Do I think it is God's plan that our boys lose their birth family and birth culture? No, I don't. Do I think that it is God's plan that we found our way to adoption and eventually to these two boys? Absolutely.
I think that God has lots of contigency plans. If His original plan isn't carried out, He doesn't abandon us. We are given an infinite number of "do-overs" in our lives where we are given the opportunity to make things right (or as close to right as we can get). I think that Z and I are a part of God's contingency plans for the boys.
I have heard in several places that there are no "accidental adoptions". I absolutely believe that is true. This process is a tough one, but I believe that God has His hand in every little detail (even if it wasn't His original plan for Jellybean and Peanut).
I know, clear as mud, right?
Saturday, November 17, 2007
The whole idea of adoption is difficult to wrap my head around sometimes; and if its difficult for me, I know that its difficult for friends and family members watching us go through it to understand. Z and I do NOT think that the boys are "lucky" to be adopted and come live with us. If anything, it is quite the opposite. We are the ones who feel blessed to be chosen to raise these two precious boys. We have been granted the biggest gift anyone could ever bestow on us, the gift of not one, but two lives. And with this gift comes great responsibility; Z and I want to raise the boys in a way that will make our families proud, in a way that honors their birth family, and in a way that honors Ghana.
I will never think that our boys were "meant to be with us"; to do so would mean that I would have to believe that they were "meant" to lose their birth family, that they were "meant" to leave Ghana and everything they know. The world is a harsh place sometimes; it isn't fair and balanced. The best case scenario for our boys would be that they could continue to live in Ghana with birth family members who love them and can afford to take care of them. They would receive an education, they would receive proper medical care, they would grow up to become men who can offer something to their communities, and they would never know that we existed. But the truth is, our world does not operate on "best case scenario", or any of the next few "next to best case scenarios" on the list. Instead, due to circumstances outside their control and outside our control, our boys ended up in an orphanage in Accra. Even the very best orphanages in the world are no substitute for a family.
I wish we could change the world. I wish that we could find ways to put safety nets into place so that families falling through the cracks could be caught and kept together long before orphans are created. I wish orphanages weren't necessary. I wish that domestic adoption programs were in place all over the world and that children could be placed into loving families in their country of birth. But the truth is, the orphan crisis is simply too big for many countries. Families in many countries in Africa are already over-extended. They have already taken in all that they can; and there are still children becoming orphans every day. Somehow, the problem needs to be fixed at the source. International adoption at the end of the process is not a fix.
Ending the HIV/AIDS epidemic, ridding the world of malaria, building communities up to end poverty, and building diplomatic relationships around the world to end and avoid wars are fixes and that's where we NEED to make a difference.
Z and I are adopting two beautiful little boys. Someone please tell me there is hope for the other 999,998 orphans in Ghana. Someone please tell me what will happen to the MILLIONS of orphans all over our world who currently have no hope of finding a new family. Those of us who live comfortable lives in safe places need to understand that there are others who are suffering. And we should not be comfortable with that.
Friday, November 16, 2007
We have officially begun the transition from a 2-person partnership to a 4-person family. Last night Z sold his little truck, saying goodbye to the days of throwing fishing rods, the inflatable boat, or kayaks in the back and heading off to the lake. Now if we want to do those things, we have to be a little more careful to get them into the back of the van (which means whatever we throw back there has to be at least a little clean and dry).
But now both Z and I have vehicles that the boys can ride in safely. And we have a mini-van, which will be great for long road trips to Grandma and Grandpa's house!
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Driving from Iowa to Texas (and back) makes for a lot of time sitting in the car. Perhaps this was training for our LONG flight to Ghana to pick up our boys?!?! I will say, though, that our drive was filled with lots of good conversation (Z and I got more chatting in than we usually have time to do) and we listened to two interesting audio books. What did people do before audio books??
I will leave you with some photos of the wedding...
YAY! Kiss the bride!
Z's family...What a good looking bunch!
Me and my hunny...
Groom's Cake...check out the cute strawberries!
Tuesday, November 6, 2007
It is getting close to the Holiday season again, and that means that its time to make that Holiday shopping list and get to work! Soon we'll be shopping for that perfect "it" toy for the kids, or finding the perfect sweater, or the perfect tie, or the perfect jewelry box for our loved ones. It is a season of pulling your family close and realizing how blessed we all are.
But...all over the world there are people who are less fortunate than we are. And this should be a time of year that we remember them, too. There are kids all over tho world who will not receive special gifts, special meals, or special clothing. The holiday season will pass for them without tangible evidence that it existed.
For those of you who are wondering what you can do to make sure that a child gets something special for the holiday season, I urge you to visit the website for Adoption Advocates International. AAI is the agency that we are using to bring our boys home and they are also an agency that is known for working hard to make a difference in the countries they work in. They are in the midst of their annual holiday donation drive and they (and we) would appreciate your help. For $20 you will provide a gift and new traditional outfit for a child in either Eban House (Ghana) or Layla House (Ethiopia). The money will also be used to fund a holiday party for the kids and to make sure that the orphanage staff in Ghana and Ethiopia also receive a gift.
Please take the time to visit Adoption Advocates International Donation Page to make a donation. If you would rather send a check, it can be sent to Adoption Advocates International, 709 S. Peabody Street, Port Angeles, WA 98362. If you do not have an extra $20, that's ok, too. Feel free to donate whatever amount you are comfortable with.
Friday, November 2, 2007
Their two boys and our two boys are very close and it absolutely warms my heart that they all officially entered their new families on the same day!
The Happy Dance continues!
Stop by Steppin' Heavenward to give a big congrats to Renee and family - they have a lot to celebrate today! Today is a glorious day in our two households!
Not long after our last court date was cancelled, I talked to Anita and we decided that she wouldn't tell me when our next court date was until it was all over. But, it turns out that Anita can't keep a secret so I knew ahead of time! ;)
So, I've been keeping a secret these last couple of days. We've had a court date scheduled for TODAY!!
Z and I are parents to two adorable little boys!! Now we just need to work on getting them home!!
More info to come - I have phone calls to make and emails to send!
...Resume Happy Dance...
Thursday, November 1, 2007
Check out our boys' adorable faces! (I did a little editing to protect the innocent...but I left their first names so that if you were curious about what Jellybean and Peanut's first names are, you can find out!) Remember, you can click on the picture to make it bigger.
Sunday, October 28, 2007
I've been trying lately to distract myself from the lack of news from Ghana by getting absorbed in some good books. This time of year is my very favorite time of year. Its fall, the leaves are turning (or turned and fallen off in some cases), the weather is cooler, the air is crisper, and coffee shops now sell pumpkin flavored coffee drinks (yum!). Another reason I love this time of year is because for some reason I LOVE to watch Halloween specials on TV (ones geared for kids - not the really creepy, scary kind), and I love to read books with fantastical/mystical themes (faeries, vampires, etc). Over the past couple of weeks I discovered The Twilight Series of books and gobbled all three books right up in 5 days. I've slowed down a bit since then, but now I am almost finished with The Spiderwick Chronicles.
This weekend we moved up into the world of people who now drive minivans. Yep, that's right, we bought a minivan (mind you, its a sensible pre-owned flex-fuel minivan)! Now we officially have room in our vehicle for two kids and two dogs (and all of our luggage for when we go visit the grandparents). When Z brought it home, we took it out for a quick drive and let the dogs go for a ride. Ollie was afraid of it to begin with, but they both warmed up pretty quickly.
Z and I both have a pretty busy week ahead of us (actually we have a busy 2-3 week stretch and then we'll soon move into that busy holiday season - yikes!)...but, I will be certain to post when we have news from Ghana!
Thursday, October 25, 2007
Saturday, October 20, 2007
There is a volunteer traveling to Ghana at the end of this month and she is planning a trip to Eban House. She very graciously offered to carry over a couple of letters for our boys and hopefully she will get some good pictures while she is there. New pictures are always exciting!
Today in a fit of insanity, I decided to rearrange the living room (again). Mind you, our living room is not the biggest room, and there is a VERY limited number of ways we can arrange the furniture in here. But, I really needed a change of some sort. So, I switched a couple of pieces of furniture with some furniture we had in the basement office so that we could finally have our DVD collection on the same floor as the TV and DVD player. Minor conveniences, you know? However, I decided to do this while Z was out enjoying the outdoors (hunting) so I was going at it alone. And I was too impatient to remove the DVDs from the cabinet before carrying it up the stairs. But, with lots of pushing and pulling and straining I managed to make it up the stairs all on my own. Perhaps next time I decide to rearrange on a whim I will convince Z to help out, too.
Thursday, October 11, 2007
Not to say that we aren't totally bummin' tonight - because we are.
At this point we have no idea when our case will go to court...but hopefully it won't be too much longer.
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
Friday, October 5, 2007
This week I had my first punch-me-in-the-gut realization that our boys may not be here for Christmas. It was so very painful for me to realize this as Christmas has been in my mind as our deadline since we started the process in January. I hate that I have reached this point, but at the same time I needed to. I need to prepare myself emotionally for spending this Christmas without them. If I don't and they are not here, then I will just make myself (and those around me) miserable. I don't want to do that. On the other hand, if I make myself prepared for them not to be here and by some miracle we manage to get our case to court and we get the Ghanaian government and the US government (immigration) all on the same page in time for them to be home for Christmas, then it will be a joyful one indeed!
This week we also realized that we have known about our boys for 6 months now. Our referral has been official for a little more than 3 months, but it has been 6 months since we learned about the boys and first saw their faces. No wonder I am so ready to have them home! They've been living in my heart for half a year already!
I spend most of my time on this blog blabbing away about MY experience with adoption. After all, MY experience is the only one that I am really familiar with. Its the only perspective that I have. However, I've been thinking a lot about our boys' experiences, too. I have no idea how well they will adjust to leaving Ghana and coming home with us. I don't know if they will accept us willingly, or if they will leave kicking and screaming. These two little boys have already been through so much in their lives. When we received the backround information on the boys my heart broke for them. Every orphan has a sad story...they all have lived through things that no kid should have to experience. But this story was my boys' story. Suddenly this background information took on a whole new meaning.
Everytime I think about it I want to hop on a plane and run to them to tell them "Its going to be ok. You have a mommy and a daddy now. And we love you. You have nice soft beds at home to sleep in. There is a lot of food in our pantry and in our fridge; you won't have to go hungry again. You will have lots of toys to play with and books to read; you don't need to take care of yourself anymore - you have us." But, I can't. I have to wait and hope that they are beginning to understand that those pictures we sent to them are pictures of real people who love them and miss them fiercely.
Its true...we miss them. These two little boys that we've never met.
But, its that dreaded Friday again and this week our update came earlier, so I know that it is unlikely we'll hear anything at all today. We did, however get a few pictures earlier this week, one of which is the photo here. It's my adorable Peanut, sleeping peacefully.
Tuesday, October 2, 2007
Ugh....crocs?? Really? I have nothing against crocs, mind you. In theory they are perfect for traveling. You can slip them off and on easily, if they get dirty you just rinse them off and you have clean shoes again, they are relatively comfortable, and you can wear them without socks so when you are traveling in Africa your feet don't get too hot. But, personally, I think crocs are just ugly. Sure, they come in lots of fun colors, but unless you are hanging out at the beach or working at the pediatric ward in the hospital, bright orange shoes just don't seem appropriate (for an adult).
I had a pair of crocs at one point. Navy blue ones...they didn't fit right...and they shrunk when I left them out in the sun. There went the crocs.
But, since EVERYONE seems to be traveling with crocs, I decided to give the line one more look. Maybe they have something new. Maybe they have a pair of shoes that is cute and that isn't made entirely of some weird plastic polymer.
Look what I found! Of course, they are the most expensive shoes they had in their current inventory (just my luck). But, they are cute, they are not made entirely of that plastic "stuff", and they should work great for traveling. I can still rinse them off when they get dirty, they are comfortable, and they slip on and off easily. And, if I really wanted to, I could wear them with socks.
Well...I have my travelin' shoes. Now, when do we leave???
Saturday, September 29, 2007
Our adoption coordinator, Anita, has been absolutely fabulous! She has been so sweet to email me the last couple of Fridays to let us know how things are going. She's been through this before and knows how difficult those Fridays can be. She is working so hard to get everything squared away in Ghana. Not only is our agency (AAI) facilitating adoptions in Ghana, but they are also establishing an orphanage in Ghana. New regulations mean that setting up the orphanage is keeping everyone extra busy.
I am trying so hard to be patient and to wait for news from Anita. These past couple of weeks I have had to keep reminding myself that I don't need to call her or email her to "remind" her about our case! As if she could forget! After all, I know that she will be nearly as excited as we are to receive news of positive court outcome!
Our case is getting closer and closer to court. One more piece of paperwork needs to be completed before submission and then we are ready. We are hoping for some good news at the end of this next week. For those of you who are of the praying persuasion, please pray that I will have peace in my heart about this wait...that I will keep my fingers off of the phone to call Anita and my cursor off of the "send" button. And, if you could pray that we get some good news about court in the next couple of weeks, I would appreciate that, too! :)
Thursday, September 27, 2007
We have word that our boys' case could be heading to court "soon". Of course, we are working in Africa, so "soon" could mean any number of things. But, I am praying that it means that we could pass court within a couple of weeks. Once we pass through court, we wait for the boys to be issued passports and then we wait for U.S. Immigration approval before we can travel.
I am finding myself in that "tough" place in the wait. I know that this wait is necessary and that things are happening in Ghana to make it possible for us to bring the boys home, but I am ready for the boys to be home yesterday. Some days I just want to know when the end point will be; I just want a target date in mind so that I know how much longer things will take.
But, I know that this too shall pass...eventually.
Friday, September 21, 2007
In the adoption world, Friday is the last day of the week that the agency office is open. Its the last day of the week that things can happen in your adoption process. Its the last day of the week that the agency can update you on your case's progress.
We are at that stage in our adoption process where we are waiting for information. We're expecting news soon, but we don't know when for sure. So if we don't hear anything on Friday, then we go another long weekend with no information.
I've been swamped at work today, but I've also been keeping my eye on the clock. With every passing hour it is less and less likely we will hear anything new today. Bummer.
Silver Lining: It's Friday, afterall. I get to hang out with Z, maybe watch a movie or two, drink a glass of wine, and sleep in tomorrow. Can't complain too much about that.
Thursday, September 20, 2007
One of the things that I have noticed while following this story during the past couple of weeks is something that troubles me tremendously. I have heard/seen interviews with several different people from Jena who adamantly state that the media is portraying Jena to be something that it is not. That racism isn't pervasive in their town. That they are not racist people. That black people are treated no differently than the white people. Every single one of those people has been white. Every one. But, when I've seen black people from Jena interviewed they all said that racism in their town is real, that it happens. Just like it happens all over our country. Only now the spotlight is on Jena, LA.
The truth is, discrimination can be obvious, but it can also be subtle. Its dirty looks. Its when you cross the street to avoid walking next to someone who looks different from you, or who you think looks dangerous or scary (for any number of reasons). Its when you judge someone's ability to do a good job based on the color of their skin. Its when women or people of color get paid less for the same work. Its when we jump to conclusions or make blanket judgements based on someone's skin color, sex, sexual orientation, weight/body type, or religious affiliation. Discrimination is everywhere.
Do those in the majority notice the discrimination? Do they realize that its happening? There is something wrong with our country and there needs to be a real and honest discussion about it. The majority may not notice what is happening, but those who are at the receiving end of it can tell you that discrimination is real.
Jena, LA is 85% white and about 12% black. The 85% might not notice that there is a problem, but when the 12% says something is wrong, perhaps it needs to be checked out. And perhaps it should have been discussed and diffused before the beating happened in the first place. Perhaps this discussion should have started when white students hung nooses in the tree in the high school courtyard.
I am, however, not saying that Jena is any worse than any other town/city in our country. And I'm not saying that the 6 young black students are innocent of all crimes. Afterall, they did beat a white student. The question for me is whether or not things could have been diffused long before things got so bad. If people had opened their eyes to see what was happening, could this whole situation have been avoided? Right now the spotlight is on Jena, and that is unfortunate for Jena. I am sure that it is difficult for the people of Jena to hear negative things about their town on the national media. But perhaps this will start a dialog in Jena and around our country. Maybe good will come out of this afterall.
I pray that my generation is the generation that says "Enough!" I pray that we are the generation that stands up and says that bigotry and racism will not be tolerated in our society. I pray that we can all spend more time noticing our similarities than pointing out our differences. I pray that we can make a difference in the world so that it is a better place for our children, for my children.
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
Their album was released in stores yesterday (Sept. 18th, 2007). Yes, I know…I meant to have this up yesterday for the album release, but time somehow got away from me.
I was one of the lucky few who received a free copy of the CD about a while ago. WooHoo for me! A free CD - before everyone else gets to hear it!!! I had been reading BooMama's reviews of the album and I had high expectations based on what she wrote. I can honestly say I am not disappointed.
I am one of those people who truly believes that everyone has a soundtrack to their lives. Music fills our lives; it is everywhere. When we hear an old familiar song, it brings back feelings of where we were when we first heard it, or last heard it, or where we were when the song had the most meaning in our lives. We could hear a song a hundred times and it could have no impact. But, the 101st time could affect you in a profound way. It is all about where you are in your life at the moment you hear the song. The soundtrack to my life is very diverse and eclectic (perhaps a bit like I am). There are times in my life when I long to hear songs of worship and praise; when I surround myself with rich, uplifting tunes that fill my soul with hope and the Holy Spirit. Then, there are other times of my life when that is the last kind of music I want to listen to. There are times when I want nothing more than to listen to mindless Pop-y tunes, or heavy bass-y tunes, or something a little more like “angry” music. I listen to everything (well, most everything).
To be truthful, lately I have not been much in the mood for listening to Christian music. Not because I don’t enjoy it. Not because there isn’t a great variety of it available. I just haven’t felt like it. In fact, lately I haven’t been all that interested in listening to lots of music like I used to. My soundtrack has been a bit void lately. I think part of it is just that songs have been doing to me what they are supposed to. They are making me think; they are bringing up emotions. But, if you’ve been around me lately you know that the last thing I need is MORE emotion! So, I’ve sort of purposely avoided music that I know will well up an emotional response.
When I got the new Monk & Neagle CD in the mail, I popped it into the CD player in my laptop and listened while I worked. Yup – it brought upon an emotional response – especially when I got to the song “What Soldiers Do”. So, I didn’t listen to it for a couple more weeks. But I went back to it, and I’m loving it. I’m skipping a song or two here and there (see below), but I love it. I’m finding that the songs are sung with heart – real heart. There’s passion in their voices and its REAL. The lyrics are real and at times they are raw. The sound is reminiscent of John Mayer (for those of you who are familiar with the ever-present John Mayer tunes on pop stations). Sounds similar to those of John Mayer...with more substance.
After listening a time or two, I feel like this new Monk & Neagle CD is re-charging my soul just a bit. And that is priceless. Who couldn’t use a bit of a re-charge once in a while (or every day)? After several spins in my CD player, I am finding myself drawn to 4 songs in particular. The followings songs are getting a lot of play "Beautiful You", "The Twenty-First Time", "Wonderful Angel", and "Yours Forever".
I have listed the songs below, and for some of them I’ve added just a little description.
The CD is in stores NOW. Check them out. Their voices are so new to me still, but from the very first listen they sounded like old familiar friends. Click on the name of their album to go to their webpage to check them out and take a listen or two.
Monk & Neagle
The Twenty-First Time
A song very reminiscent of John Mayer; it’s a true love song…to the Lord.
The Twenty-First Time
I think this is my favorite song on the album. It is a song for the “forgotten souls” in our communities.
A true worship song, in every sense. It is sung with passion and intense feeling.
Stars Would Fall
What Soldiers Do
This song is beautiful…and heartfelt…but I could only listen to it once. I skipped over it every other time it started. The pain of missing Z during war and thinking he might have to head off again to war is way too raw in this particular soul. This song was so painful for me to listen to. But, to be honest, anything that explores the emotional aspect of this subject is painful for me still. For those of you who have been through the pain of saying goodbye to a loved one who is heading off to war, you will relate to this song, and it will give you a rush of emotions (which you may or may not need). For those of you who have not experienced this, then perhaps it will help you relate a little bit to your fellow country-men who have to deal with war in a real and tangible way. It is a magnificent song – I just can’t bring myself to listen to it.
A song with a great beat! I could listen to it all day.
More Than That
Another song that reminds me a bit of the sound of John Mayer. With some great symphony back-up.
Another song with a good beat. Uplifting, encouraging, and beautiful; with
some mandolin accompaniment. Gotta love a song with a mandolin!
More John Mayer-y sounds. Another beautiful love song.
A song with a heavier, Pop-ier sound.
What Soldiers Do (Remix)
See “What Soldiers Do” above; but with mandolin…and maybe a bit faster. I
kind of like this version better….
To check out a fantastic interview with the boys of Monk & Neagle on BooMama's blog, click here and here.
Saturday, September 15, 2007
Friday, September 14, 2007
Wednesday, September 5, 2007
When you're in the midst of an adoption process, it is at times overwhelming to think about the need that exists in our world. The numbers of orphans in Africa alone are staggering and the numbers of children needing assistance of some sort (whether it be through food, shelter, education, etc.) is absolutely unfathomable.
Sometimes it is so easy to become overwhelmed. I examine my belongings and think about selling it all in order to help "just a few". I look at my house and think "we could fit more in here". Or when we look at houses on the market I think "we could get one with a couple of extra bedrooms". I look in my refridgerator and cupboards and think about how many we could feed, and then I scold myself when I have to throw out uneaten leftovers.
I have to admit that over time, my heart has grown a little less tender in some ways. I have become resigned to the fact that we (meaning my husband and I) cannot help them all. We cannot adopt all the children; we cannot feed them all; we cannot clothe them all; we cannot provide shelter and education for all of the children.
When we started the adoption process, I looked through our agency's Waiting Children list and wondered about each of the children.
"How long will they wait?"
"What is this child's personality like?"
"Does this little girl have a mommy yet?"
I would turn to Z and say "Isn't he/she cute?"
"Maybe we should inquire about this one."
And he would always reply with "C - they are ALL cute."
Of course he was right - all the children on the list are cute. All of the children on the list were/are in need of what we have to offer. Almost any of the children on the list could have been made a part of our family.
When we switched countries to adopt from Ghana, we were no longer given a list of available children. We were now a part of a pilot program and the agency had only 6 kids in their care. When our criteria (siblings ages 2-6) were incorporated into the mix, there was only 1 match. Our boys. It was easy. These were our boys - they fit our criteria - they were the only siblings within the ages of 2 and 6 that our agency had in their care.
The decision was made for us. I didn't have to look at a list or a video and say "no" to dozens of other children in order to say "yes" to our boys. Now, I realize that it is not that simple...if I had chosen my children from a list I would not have been paging through pictures saying "no" to dozens of other children. I would have been looking for "my child". I would have been looking for the child that captured my heart; who grabbed my attention for one reason or another.
Now here is the part that I hate to admit...even to myself sometimes. When we were still a part of our agency's Ethiopia program my heart was completely captured by two very precious little girls. I thought about them...I prayed for them (and still do)....In my head, I knew that they were not meant to be with our family right now, but my heart still wanted to love them. And so it does. My heart continues to love these two beautiful little girls who still wait on the list. Two girls who still don't have a mommy and a daddy.
Loving these girls does not, in any way, take away the love I have for our boys. I am completely smitten with our boys and I cannot wait to make them a part of our family. But those two girls were the first children who caused me to gasp for breath when I saw their picture. They are the first children who's situation made me cry for them. They are the first children who made my heart yearn to be their mother. I don't know who will be the mother of these two girls. Maybe it will be an e-friend of mine who reads my blog or who I chat with in one of the forums (and who can give me updates on how they are doing after they get home). Maybe it will be a complete stranger who has the same reaction to the girls' picture when she sees them. Or maybe it will be me afterall. Perhaps my head just needed time to catch up with my heart. Though, I have to admit that I really do hope that I am not meant to be their mom. I hope that these two girls are not still on the waiting child list when I am at a point where we can make that decision (our agency requires 6 months between adoptions). And I know that Z really hopes that, too.