Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Some Progress...

Our I600 has been approved! That is the immigration paperwork for our kids that we filed while in Ghana. I started calling the American Embassy (em-BAH-see as they say in Ghana) last week. The first few times they said it was under review. Thursday afternoon they told me to call in the morning for an update. Hmmm, is that bad? Is there a problem? Turns out that means it was probably approved on Friday, but they didn't care to answer my calls again until I woke up at 5:00 am this morning to call them when they opened this morning!

What does that mean, you ask? Normally that means that our main man in Ghana files for the kids visa on a Monday and we can jet on over to Ghana to pick them up on Friday. The problem is that two of our kids are still passportless. So no jetting to Ghana for us quite yet. I'm praying hard for the passports to be issued this Friday (it seems they are all issued on Fridays), then Percy can file for our visas on Monday, and we can pick the kiddos up anytime after Friday the 8th (travel maybe the 6th through the 10th). That is best case scenario. The passports are not being issued in a timely manner, however. There is a family adopting from Ghana with a different agency that has been waiting 2 months, I believe, for theirs. So we are trusting the Lord to bring those passports at His appointed time. Meanwhile, we are keeping busy building a privacy fence, painting rooms, and buying school supplies.

Keep checking back for progress on OPERATION PASSPORT.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Sad News (a little late)

We have had a rough week here at our house. Eban House, the children's home where our Ghana kids are living, was broken into last Sunday night. I really don't have the heart to go into it yet. We would really appreciate your prayers, though, so wanted to let you know about it. All of you have been so very supportive and loving, and we knew that you'd want the bad with the good. The story has been told by some of my friends who have/had children living at Eban House, so I'll let them tell you the story. If you think about it, please pray for Auntie Esther, the rest of the staff, our brave Stella, and all of the other children at Eban House. Please read about it here and here. Thank you so much for praying with us during this time.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Video of our cutie pies!!

This a video of our babies singing some songs. It was taken by a visiting Momma (who is awesome, by the way), before we went to Ghana. Just thought you might want to see and hear them in action!!!

Sears Children from AAIGhana on Vimeo.
We miss them so much. So, so much.

(Don't worry, we'll get back to our Ghana diary)

Monday, July 14, 2008

Ghana Trip- Day 1

We arrived in Accra, Ghana at 8:30 a.m. I was a little nervous about the whole being in a new culture thing. I was very conscientious about how I was talking, who I was looking at, and for how long. We first stood in a rather long immigration line. I'm not sure what they do there besides check your passports and yellow fever vaccine cards, because they wouldn't let the rest of us beyond the red line. After that, we detoured to exchange some money, that went smoothly. Then we went into the bathroom. Joby found an empty stall and went right in. I went to the last stall. I looked in, and there was a hole in the ground with porcelain foot treads on either side. I thought, ok, Joby obviously did it with no hesitation, so can I. So I squatted with all the dexterity that a white woman carrying 2 carry ons could muster. When I was done, I went out and started explaining to Lu Lu how to do it. She looked at me funny, and said she wasn't gonna go in that one, she was waiting for Joby's. What? Turns out all the rest were normal. Oh well, when in Rome.Then we went to get our luggage. I was surprised how fast we got it all. We then went to customs. All the guy did was ask why we were there. I had a sudden moment of panic. Where we supposed to say travel? Holiday? Vacation? Adopting? To admire your Ghanaian culture? When Steve blurted out that we were adopting 4 children here.... the guy smiled and said "You are welcome!" Thank goodness. We then walked the world's most unruly luggage cart down a long ramp and immediately our driver, Edward, came up and introduced himself. Hello? Was it that obvious who we were? I guess there weren't many white couples with 3 children traveling to Ghana that day. We then followed him outside, IN GHANA, ohmagosh, we are there. Our AAI contact, Percy, was outside waiting. We all piled into Eban Houses's van, and we were off!

I will take a moment here, to tell you, try to tell you, about driving in Ghana. First off, there are no speed limits. No seat belts. No center lines. No stop signs. No stop light. When you want to merge in, you just go, cuz the guy behind you surely has brakes. Don't worry, you honk a couple times to let them know you are coming. It's not a mean honk, just a beep beep to say "hey, friend! I'm about to barrel into you, like it or not, you better slow down for me... thank you, friend. Also, the roads are pot hole heaven. You bounce around like popcorn kernels in a hot pan. Then you swerve to miss the big ones, you then stay in the other 'lane' until the very last possible moment, before swerving back to your original spot. All this with goats, bicycles, and women carrying large items for sale on their heads, literally inches away from your car.

We made it to Maa Oye Guesthouse, our home away from home. We had requested 2 adjoining rooms, but they weren't available. So Steve and Tater share one room with a bathroom. The girls and I shared another with a bathroom. No hot water, no air conditioning, but they were clean and fine. Auntie Janet from Eban House come to walk us down to Eban House, to meet our children for the first time. We walked down the dirt road (loose term there), goats, dogs, chickens, potholes, puddles, children everywhere. We got to the gate. I was thinking, wow we are here, finally here. The gate starts to open and... we were literally mobbed by 35 smiling, laughing children. They were all over us, hugging jumping, talking. But where were ours? I scanned the faces. Little ishmael was walking around, oblivious that his parents were standing right there. I picked up that little warm body and he snuggled up.... aah. Like a shot, Stella burst through the doors and came straight for me, well straight for (wish I could say me) Tater, Lu and Joby. That was sweet. Steve had Beatrice and Elias.We all took turns hugging on all of them. It was very, very fun. We spent the rest of the morning just hanging out at Eban house with them, trying to start some attachments, while simultaneously loving on 31 others. It was alot to take in. It was surreal. It was cool. That night, when the kids had dinner, we left to go back to Maa Oye, exhausted. After a dinner of fried rice and chicken (good), we took cold showers and fell down into bed. All three of us girls. The room was nice and comfortable, not too hot. It just took some getting used to all of the noise RIGHT outside of our window. Apparently the church across the street has services every day, all day. And the house outside the window is abuzz with activity, and yelling from sunup until late into the night. I fell asleep thinking about the events of the day, smiling to myself, because our children that we prayed for all this time, were right down the street. We were here. In GHANA!!!!!!!

Friday, July 11, 2008


Hey Everybody!

I know I said I would post more often...but electricity is iffy, and internet even more so!!! The first couple of days there was no internet, so we are going with the better late than never motto!

So... we have met and loved on our kiddos! They are so amazing and cool! Saturday morning, first thing we walked down the alley to Eban House,opened up the gate, and was mobbed by 30 plus happy smiling children. It took a moment to find our own, but they were thereed to hug us. It was really surreal. It was everything you have been waiting and praying for, actually coming true. Add in some sleep deprivation, and intense nerves, and it was unreal!!!

When I get home, I will blog about each days events, and give you a window into the personalities of each child. For now, here is a quick rundown...

Day 1- Met the kids and just hung out.

Day 2- Church and the beach

Day 3- Filed our I600 at the Embassy, and went to the Art Market.

Day 4- Hung out at Eban House, Steve painted, (I went with Ishmael to the Hospital, he has malaria.. don't worry, he's doing much better now!!)

Day 5- Hung out, painted.

Day 6- Went to the pool at La Palm resort (as nice as being in Hawaii!), ate at Frankie's (American Food and AIR CONDITIOINED) The best day ever!!!

Day 7- Today.. so we'll see!!!

So this is what I think of each child so far...

Stella- My little fearless one. She has never been in the water before, and by the end of the day could swim!!! She is the fearless leader, my warrioress!!

Beatrice- She is a shy little flower tht blooms a little every day. When she comes to stand by you,it is an honor!!

Elias- My happy smiling little man!! So content, and pleasant. Always with a smile, and a laugh! He is the only one to say that he loves me, so far. Great little guy.

Ishmael- Oh my, will he and Little Bean ever have to duke it out! He seems to be a little bit of a Momma's boy, which I LOVE!! He is happy and content, and a little charmer.

I will write loads more upon my return, we get back midnight Saturday night. Thank you everyone for all of your prayers!! We love everybody!! I have so much to say, so much to share, can't wait to get back to where interntet is not paid for by the minute!!

Heather, Steve and the kids

Friday, July 4, 2008

Here Today Ghana Tomorrow!!

Hey Everybody,

Well, it's midnight, and we are leaving tomorrow. I should be asleep. But alas, I am not. My living room is filled with suitcases and carry ons. My brain is even more filled with... everything.

When I've watched others get to this point, I've envied them there excitement and joy. Now, here we are. It is our turn. While I do have excitement and joy (when I have 2 seconds to think about it), my primary emotion is stress. Now, I'm not sure that stress is an emotion. But I'm sure feeling it. I just can't believe that everything is going to work out, that we are REALLY going to meet them. So my mind worries about all of the details, the packing, what to wear, how to carry it, did we bring enough, too much, and the paperwork. Whoa Nelly, the paperwork. Putting that together was way worse than the Dossier. Lots more riding on this puppy!
But, we are 95% ready to go. We have our I600 paperwork ready, we have our I864 paperwork ready. We have the donations ready, we have passports and visas ready, we have money, we have Edward picking us up, and a place to stay. The rest is all details. Because people, we will be touching down in Ghana, the birthplace of our children, breathing the same air, smelling the same smells, seeing the same sky as our 4 blessings... in 28 hours. How amazing is that? How remarkably blessed are we all, that God has allowed us to play a part in this miracle? It is humbling and simply awe inspiring. For truly:

No eye has seen,
No ear has heard,
No mind can conceive,
What God has planned,
for those that love Him.

We surely could not have imagined the path our lives would take. So very cool. So. very. cool.

Thank you everybody for all of your support, love, and well wishes. We couldn't have done this without you!!!

Going To Ghana!!!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

We are home!!

Yes, we are home! We got back into town last night at about 10 pm. I stayed up until 3 am stressing about adoption paperwork. I've done adoption paperwork all day today. Now it is 11:30 pm, and I must hit the hay, and put an end to my stressy day!

I have lots to tell about our super fun trip to IA/IL. And lots to tell about Ghana trip preparations. It will wait until tomorrow.

I've really missed everyone. Did you know that there are people in Iowa that don't have internet? I'm not talking about Old Granny's either. Very cool, trendy people. Personally, I was in withdrawals. I'm back now, and will meet and hold my new children in about 81 hours. It's down to hours now. How cool is that?