Thursday, December 29, 2011

Seven Islands Wildlife Refuge

Today we decided to take a drive and get out of the house.  It was a gorgeous day!   We headed out to Seven Islands and took a long walk.  We stopped often to examine animal tracks, scat, and other fun things.  It was nice to just have this quiet downtime to explore as a family.   I hate pictures of myself, but I am trying to get more pictures of me with the kids.  I know I'll regret it later if I don't.   We had some really sweet moments.   Ethan kept trying to take pictures of just Chad and I, but, Luke kept butting in every time.  I didn't think much of it.  But, in the car on the way home, he said, "Mama...can someone who is already married get married again?".   I explained that you can only be married to one person.  He said, "Well...when I grow up and I am GONNA marry you."   MELT. MY. HEART!  He is so sweet and that made me feel so good.  It took me off guard because my boys love their daddy!  And I love that!  I know that they should want to be with him and like him.  But, I sure love knowing that they really love me. :)

Daddy and the boys looking at animal tracks.

Scat that Luke touched and examined before we got to it.

The boys were amazed by these thorns!

I cannot believe it...but, I did not take one single picture on Christmas day!  This Christmas season has been a strange one.  I have struggled to be totally engaged in things here since I returned from Africa.   Things just don't seem right.   Christmas was especially weird.  We skyped with Mom and the kids a couple of times and all of our extended family got to see the kids and tell them "Merry Christmas".  It was good...but, every time we see them, it makes my heart ache more for them to with us.  The boys are feeling it too.  Ethan has periodically let out a frustrated, "UGGGHHH....I just want them to be here!".   It is  a good opportunity for us all to learn to trust God's timing and to be patient.  

Still, the boys and I have had a good time this month.  We made some salt/flour/cinnamon ornaments.  The love making these.   We also made some dried cinnamon oranges.  Our house smelled so good and we made some precious memories. 

On the Sunday before Christmas, we took part in Water Angels' Christmas service.  It's always so neat. The people seem more grateful than usual and more peaceful.  Stephanie, at Water Angels, pours her whole heart out into these people.   The kids all received arms full of toys, a good meal, and they had the Gospel shared with them.   Everyone also received a new pair of shoes.

Some shared their testimonies.  

This little girl stole my heart and made me think.  Can you imagine your children living on the streets?  Sleeping in a shelter if possible.  Finding food for your kids wherever you can?  I thought about how I'm concerned about what my kids they're dressed and how they look.  I think I may be a little too concerned with that sometimes when there are kids all over feeling the pangs of hunger, wearing clothes that don't fit,  haven't bathed or brushed their teeth, and don't have a bed to sleep in.   Not to mention all of the innocent children that will die today from starvation or water borne illnesses.
Christmas morning we spent downtown giving out a hot breakfast and then hanging out with some of our buddies from there.  Then we spent the rest of the day with family.   Christmas this  year feels strange.  Maybe it's because I just spent two weeks in Africa, getting to know my kids,leaving them, and then coming back to America...where, even our homeless don't starve.   I guess I just miss my kids and I've seen how others live and I'm struggling with how to live my life here.  I don't want to be the same.  I want it to really be about Christ and what He told us to be about.  

I really struggled this year with Christmas.   We tell our kids...and ourselves...that its all about Jesus.   Yet, our kids make out their lists and expect to get everything or a good portion of the stuff.   We have to clean out all of the excess toys to make room for the new excess.  I love to give my kids gifts!  But, as I've tried to make this REALLY, REALLY about HIM....I have felt convicted that He would not want me to waste so much on such unnecessary stuff.  Toys that will be lost, forgotten about, broken in no time.  And then added to the heap before next Christmas to make room for the new.  We've used the excuse....for Jesus' birthday...we give gifts to each other.   I feel so ashamed of saying that now.  It goes so against how Christ lived and what He taught.  Do I really think He cares if my kids get new video games, trucks, movies, etc...when there are kids going without food and water?     

We did not get our kids or each other one single gift this year.   I knew it was what we were supposed to do...but, honestly...I still wanted to go splurge on my kids.  I was a little sad.  But, it's about Him, right?

I want to honor Christ. I don't want our society to be my standard. I want what Christ preached to be what I measure myself up to...otherwise, it's watered down and it's about me.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011


Today we received a HUGE APPROVAL!   When I recently traveled to Ghana I filed our I-600.   We were not expecting an approval for another month and a half or so.   But, after just 23 days...we got our approval!   This means our kids could potentially come home in a month!   I'm still in shock.  When I opened the email I started crying and laughing and had to read it over and over.  Then I had to call my friend and make sure it said what I thought it did!   I kind of lost control screaming and running around.   The boys came running and when I told them the news they started jumping up and down!    We are SO CLOSE!   I know there could still be obstacles...but, I'm thankful God has brought us this huge step closer!   We cannot wait until we're all together at last!  

Monday, December 5, 2011


I see tears streaming down her face and I cannot hold back my own. 
Her wounded one should have to know such pain.  
Her laughter hides deep sorrow.
Her's only hiding great fears.
Trust?  She cannot comprehend the meaning of the word...for she has been betrayed. has hope.
Yet she guards herself, for her hopes have been crushed before.
And now...she has the answer to her prayers but it seems, still, so far away.  
An aching heart...lonely and afraid.
How can one little heart handle so much?
How will these wounds heal?
It is not because of me.
I have held her...and left her.  
But there is one who holds her still.
His great arms of love and compassion are wrapped around her.
He sees her tears.
Her cries do not go unheard.
She is loved...with a deep, endless, indescribable love.
She has a father.
He sees her as precious, beautiful, worthy...a treasure.
She has captured His heart.
I love her deeply.
Yet, this love I feel for cannot compare.  

Psalm 68:5

A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling.

Psalm 56:8
You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

A few weeks ago, we decided that I should go to Ghana to file paperwork for our adoption.  I was so excited!  It was like when you're pregnant and are about to meet your baby for the first time.   The long trip over was so worth it!    At the airport, I was quickly introduced to some of the corruption in Ghana.   One of the customs workers threatened to search my bags if I did not give her my chocolate, toffee, and chewing gum.  Luckily all of the snacks for my mom and the kids were hidden well and I had  pack of gum handy.  I handed it over and my bags were quickly zipped up and I was sent on my way (I didn't have anything to hide!  Just wanted to go see my kids and not have to unpack and pack again!).    I was then greeted by my mom and our POA.  It was great to see her!  We hopped in the taxi and headed to the orphanage.   Ghana was a lot like I had pictured.   It was VERY hot and humid.  THe driving is absolutely insane.   The people are beautiful and friendly for the most part.

On the way, mom told me that she was telling Christy that she was going to the airport to pick me up.  Christy just kept saying, "She's not coming".   Poor thing has to have her guard up so much!

Well, when I opened the gate...before I could take more than 2 steps...she hit my legs and wrapped herself around them!  It was precious. I didn't even see her coming!  Then there was Bernard.   I just hugged them as tight as I could.  It was better than I could have imagined to finally be with them!   There were several times that Christy and I just looked deep into each other's eyes for a long time.   There was such a flood of emotions.  

Then other children started to approach.  It was so exciting to finally meet these children that I felt I already knew!   I started to yell their names and hug them....they just looked at me like I was crazy!   I loved being able to love on them all.  

I sat and held Bernard and he fell asleep in my arms pretty quickly!  One of the highlights of my trip.

The kids all sang and danced for me.  They are beautiful, beautiful children.  Some of them seem hopeless.  Some are full of joy and life.

As I sat and looked at each one of them.  It hit me that not one of them HAD to be there!   I know of enough families in my town alone....that if they would answer the call to adopt....there would be no orphans at this home!   It's unnecessary for one single child there to not know the hope of Christ and the love of a family.   I'm praying for people to rise what is hard and uncomfortable.   A few weeks ago when we were going through a hard time with our adoption...I was thinking how hard it is.  I felt God spoke to my heart to stop whining.  Yes...adoption is far from easy, it's unpredictable, and very expensive.  But, all of these are such lame excuses compared to the lives that so many orphans are condemned to live if we do not adopt!   I feel that we are without excuse!  We think it's hard for us?   It's not about US!   

We headed to our hotel room.  It was like we had always been together.  I was amazed at how quickly we  bonded.  Immediately, Bernard wanted to start sleeping on my chest.   He is cuddly and so sweet.  He has the cutest little giggle and snorts when he laughs!   He's also quite the little stinker.    He's very smart and started repeating everything and said many new words while I was there.

Christy is gorgeous!  She has amazing eyes.  She's HILARIOUS!  She's is stubborn and strong-willed.  She has a beautiful heart and loves to give and share with her friends.   She definitely tested me....and we had several embarrassing moments in public! lol.   She brings such joy.  Even our taxi drivers would make comments like, "she's very clever".   They also had to tell her to be quiet and sit down!    It seemed like everywhere we went people were either laughing at her or scolding her.   I adore her.   I adore them both and cannot wait until they are home.

We had so much fun.  We went swimming, shopping, watched movies, and just hung out.   As the time approached for me to leave, I started to prepare Christy.   She never would accept it...just always said she would go with me.    

My last day there...we hung out at the home for several hours.  Her and Bernard both played with their friends.   Bernard seemed to just forget about me when we were there.  At the hotel I couldn't go in the bathroom without him banging on the door and crying for me.  I thought he wouldn't even notice I was gone now.    I grabbed him and hugged him and kissed him for awhile...but he just wanted to play.  I took Christy in my mom's room and we talked and cried.   She broke my heart.   Her quiet cries spoke so much to me...she's waited too long.   She needs to come home.   When my taxi pulled up and hugged her one last time.  My mom stayed there with her and I heard her cries turn to sobbing.   I picked Bernard up and hugged and kissed him and sat him back down to play.  As I started to get into the taxi he started screaming and ran to me.   I grabbed him and tried to comfort him, but couldn't.  SOmeone had to pull him off of me.   I had to get in a car and leave with my babies crying out for me.  It is more than I can handle.  It feels SO WRONG!   Nothing feels right now.   I am struggling with feelings of guilt.    I miss them so much.    I want to be there for them....but I can't.  I'm half a world away.

Please pray for our kids!   Pray for our adoption to go smoothly and quickly.   Pray for the rest of those children.  Pray about what God would have you do.