Thursday, June 19, 2008

Check out my new little ticker on the right...

That's right, we are goin' to Ghana people!! We have researched, emailed, called, talked and decided. Then we stroked a big fat check... gasp. Now we are heading to Ghana the 4th of July, arriving the 5th of July at 8:20 in the morning, and staying until July 12th. We will get to meet the kids, hang out with them, love them up a little (a lot).

We technically aren't supposed to make travel plans until the official adoption decree has been issued, which it has not yet. You need the decree to file the immigration paperwork. However, we are taking the older 3 kiddos with us, and they have church camp the next week, the week prior our niece Lexi is getting married, so the week of July 4th is, like, totally perfect for us to go. Our 'plan B', if we don't have a decree by the time we are supposed to leave Ghana, is for Steve to come back with the kids, and I'll stay there until I can file our paperwork. Hopefully, we can all come back home together and put together beds, paint, shop, stock pantries and generally go ca-ra-zy!!

While we are in Ghana, Steve's sister and Mom are coming out to stay with the youngest 2. Thank you God for those lovely ladies! So far, everything is falling into place beautifully. It is surreal. I have watched others who have gone before us reach all of the important markers, and wondered what it would be like when it was our turn. I say it is completely unreal. One moment I feel like my heart is bursting from excitement, tears are gushing out, and I'm smiling like a mad woman. The next moment I'm freaking out at all there is to do, worrying that I'm missing something, asking a jillion questions in my mind (will they like me? Will all of the Ghanaians think I'm a weirdo? Will our decree be done in time? Will we have our passports before we need to go back to Ghana? What should I pack? Tennis shoes or sandals? Oh.. sunscreen, don't forget sunscreen. Oh, Little Bean, I'm gonna miss you! You know what, I'm just staying in Ghana until I can bring them home, a Momma doesn't leave). Believe me, the list goes on and on... but literally the next second, I'm in disbelief, seperating myself from all of the emotion, playing Mario Kart Wii like I have nothing else in the world going on. It's a roller coaster ride, for sure. But a ride I'm sure I'll miss when it's my turn to get off. My heart is just so in love with those four kids, I'm thankful that God picked them for us, thankful that I will hold their hand, kiss their boo boo, listen to their giggles, and watch them sleep.

People, we meet our kids in 2 weeks and 2 days. The only thing keeping me from complete euphoria, the only hitch in my get up, the only snake in my boots, the only fly in my soup, is that my good friend is experiencing a little delay right now. We were supposed to go to court together, and meet our kids together. Please head on over and give my friend Fabu some cyber lovin', and tell her Sweets sent ya!


Thousand Words Thursday...

Fun in the sun...

Little Bean and Goofy Girl enjoying a little post pool popcorn

Goofy and Joby hanging

The calm before the Chicken Fight (not all of these children belong to me, but I feed them enough that I claim them on my taxes)

Fun in the Summer sun... gotta love it!!!

Monday, June 16, 2008

So..... what's next?

Well, the kiddos are legally ours, now what? The question we hear twenty-eight times a day is, "so when do they come home?". If only I knew! I can tell you that something just doesn't feel quite right about having 4 children who belong to me in every sense of the word living on another continent without me. So here is the run down of what is next:

1) Wait for the official adoption decree. That usually takes 2-3 weeks to be issued. Three weeks from court is July 4th. Once that is issued we can...

2) Travel to Ghana to file the I600, which is immigration paperwork that the kids need to come to the U.S. and...

3) Meet and smother our children with love and hugs and kisses (#2 and 3 are not necessarily in the right order!)

4) Return home to wait for the I600 approval, which usually takes 3-4 weeks.

5) Wait for the kids passports to be issued, which could happen any day, or a couple months from now (but praying hard for sooner rather than later).

6) Once we have the I600 approval and the passports, the kids Visas will be issued. Those are pretty fast, a couple days to a week.

7) When we have a Visa pick-up day we will travel back to Ghana, have a good-bye party at the Home for the kids, and take permanent custody of them. Oh what a joyous day that will be!!!

So, if everything goes perfectly (don't hold your breath), we could have the children home forever the first part of August. I would love that. But if that is not what God's plan is, I will try to wait joyfully and patiently for His perfect timing and will to come to fruition.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Introducing Our New Children...

Stella, Beatrice, Elias and Ishmael (insert our last name). How cool is that?

Everything went beautifully at court. Our kids in Ghana are out having pizza right now to celebrate. I hope that they are as excited as we are. We are blessed beyond measure...

God sets the lonely in families... Psalm 68:6

Thursday, June 12, 2008

We're Going to Court, We're Going to Court!!!!!

Ok, folks... a big shout out to my Adoption Warrior Princess and our troops on the ground in Ghana!!! We are going to court tomorrow! Woo hoo! Thank you so much for all of your prayers. We love you so much. Doing the Happy Dance.....

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Calling All Prayer Warriors!

I just heard that court may not happen this Friday. There are 3 families that are 'ready' to go, but the attorney likes to take 2 at a time. Our Adoption Warrior Princess (as I like to call her) is doing her best to get us to court Friday as well, but in truth that may not happen. I would like to just humbly ask that you please say a prayer for us, our kids in Ghana, the attorney, the judge and all of the people involved, so that His plan and perfect will are seen and done in this situation.

We rest in The Lord, and know that his ways are not always ours, and he works everything out for the good. We are content in Him. No matter what the outcome. No matter what. Thank you, everybody!

One of my dear friends gave me this encouraging verse:

And Jesus came and said to them, "All authority in Heaven and on Earth has been given to me."

Even in Ghana! :)

Monday, June 9, 2008

New Year's Eve and Court

New Year's Eve 2004 we had just put in our first application for adoption. It was with both excited and fearful hearts that we embarked on that journey. We had no idea what to expect, how long it would take. Would it be a time of God stretching our faith? Would we receive a baby quickly, and have an amazing story to tell? What would our families think? How would Tater, Joby and Lu react? That New Years Eve we sat in our friend Tim's house. Our friends were chatty and partying it up as much as good Baptists are allowed. I, however, was a little mellow. I was contemplating how awesome our God was to allow us to ACTUALLY adopt. I'd been praying for it forever. Would 2005 be the year we got to experience the miracle of adoption? Yes it was. Our Goofy Girl was placed in our homes June 13th. That is this friday. Her GOTCHA day.

Little Bean was given to us fast and furiously. I never had a New Years Eve to contemplate if that year would bring us another child. We decided to do Foster Care in June 2006. She was placed in our arms September 28th. Thankfully that tiny little thing is our baby girl, forever.

New Year's Eve 2006 was a day that I was SURE the next year would not bring us another child. My arms were truly full to overflowing with our five beauties. We were in the middle of praying and fighting to keep Bean. Goofy was not yet 2. We were selling our house, keeping it clean, worrying, and looking for another one. I drove the kids to and from school everyday to keep them in the 'good' school district. I was a little stressy. 2007 would not be a good year for another baby.

Then came New Year's Eve 2007. This past New Year's. It was a day that Steve and I weren't sure what could happen the next year. I honestly could picture us being 'done' with 5 cutie patooties. But I did feel that we still had room for one more. We had room in our hearts, minds, arms and house. So we started out 2008 oblivious to the bountiful blessings that the Lord had in store for us. God had a sweet, sweet secret that we were not yet privy to.

This Friday may well be one of those red letter days, that you remember forever. This Friday we have a court date. This Friday an attorney in Ghana will go to court and ask that S, B, E and I be legally ours forever. This Friday is June 13th. This Friday is Goofy Girl's Gotcha Day. I am praying that this friday is truly momentous in our family. We ask that you join us in praying these sweet babies home. Court in Ghana can be delayed numerous times. This is our first shot. We could easily pass this time. Or next time. Or the next. Whenever God allows it, we will pass court, and those little children I've never met but love unconditionally will have our last name. And be our children.

Regardless if it is this Friday, or a month from now, it will still be this year. 2008. A year that will go down in our families history as the glorious year that four beautiful Ghanaian children became our four beautiful Ghanaian children. I for one, am glad that we don't always know what is around the corner. I am glad that God keeps secrets and surprises from us until just the right moment. I am glad that this year I will be the Momma to 9 babies.

Thank you for praying for court this Friday, I'll let you know as soon as I know (which should be pretty early, as we are 4 hours ahead of Ghana). Love you guys!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Thousand words Thursday...

This is Little I. Some day soon he will climb up in my lap and fall asleep. Oh for it to be soon.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Opening the pool...

We took the cover off of the pool, laid it out and scrubbed it down, and hosed it off. Then we had a problem. Where should we let it dry out? It was very windy and hot. We didn't want to kill off the grass, so that was out. We tried hanging it over the trampoline, but it blew off. Steve and I decided to shake it dry, flapping it up and down like a parachute. Well, that turned into way too much fun to be called work!

Clean, dry pool cover, happy kids.... mission accomplished.

Monday, June 2, 2008

40 Perfect Toes!

If you think these tootsies are cute, you should see the rest of them!

We are moving to Ghana...

Ummm... make that I wish we were moving to Ghana. There is a marvelous Momma of a beautiful little girl in Ghana right now. She has blessed us beyond measure. She has taken some gorgeous pictures of S, B, E and I. Another Momma just returned home after visiting her 2 little girls. She took video of the kids singing and dancing. It is surreal to actually see them move. They are real! Their little arms and legs hug, and wave and are *beautiful*!! The pictures of the kids are so good! She took them outside. We have pictures of them leaning on each other, playing on the swing set together, close-ups of their little feet and hands. I miss them.. and I love them.

The kids received Welcome Bags from us recently. These bags let the kids know that they are being adopted. We put albums of ourselves, our house, the school, our church in there. We also added some stickers, necklaces and bracelets for S and B. For E and I we put in stickers and some Hot Wheels. Each of them also got a t-shirt with our family picture on it. It said We Love S*****, we love I******* etc. I can't imagine what goes on in their little heads, seeing a picture of their new Mommy and Daddy for the first time. Knowing that they get a second chance at having a family to call their own.

So, our hearts belong to those amazing kids in Ghana. Their hearts are becoming hopeful that they actually have a family in America to call their own. Somewhere out in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean our hearts have met and are being knit together in a way that can only be called a miracle. Half of my children get to live with me, we get to snuggle, play games, jump on the trampoline, sing songs, tuck in for the night. I kiss their boo boos, check their homework, make them dinner, and love on them all day long (as much as they will allow!). The other half of my children do not live with me. Our Ghanaian children are being loved and cared for by a loving staff, they are being fed well, and taught well, and play well. But not by me, not by a Momma who thinks they hung the moon. Not by a Momma whose heart swells listening to them laugh, not by a Momma who misses them while they are at school. Not by THEIR Momma.

That is why we are moving to Ghana.