Sunday, March 29, 2009

Another time, another place

Adoption.
Interesting how this word can have some many positive and negative connotations. So much joy and so much sorrow.

These girls from Ghana, my girls from Ghana. They must have so much sadness in the loss of their first family, their birth family. How tragic that the circumstances of time and place did not allow for this family to meet the girls' basic needs.

A bit of a tangent here, but I have had a couple of people mention their "willingness" to adopt, but not feeling as though they could afford the long-term costs such as college, and marriage, etc. I may not be able to pay for all my children's' college education, by my parents didn't pay for mine either. I don't think college is a "basic need" for a child. Yes, important - very important. Food, shelter, clothing, love and safety - those are basic needs. I am not judging anyone else for their choice in how they believe is best to raise their children. In many ways this mind set of providing all you can for your children is, of course, commendable. But for me, rather than provide EVERYTHING for two, I would rather meet the basic needs of more and teach them all about the value of love, family, and humanity.

Recently I took a trip to Mexico. I struggle with the fact that I can reach a destination so meager as Mexico where I stay in the finest resort, with an abundance of food and comfort. I am taken care of in the most amazing ways, just for my luxury. While just outside this "#1 travel destination" there are families whose basic needs are either not met, or just barely met. I won't go too deep into this because I do understand a little about macro-economic and the economics of tourism. It's just about my thoughts at a personal level, it's about the guilt of privilege. I just want to acknowledge it for what I felt.

Back to the concept of adoption for two little girls in Ghana. How complicated to understand, as a child or as an adult, that somehow there is an inability to meet the basic needs of a child. I learned a lot from our Ethiopian adoption. But, I can't say I understand the complexity of a time and place where a mother is forced to find another family to care for her children, because she cannot. I don't even have the ability to think of it.


to be continued...

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Sweet Child

The title of this blog comes from a portion of a song.

She's got a smile that it seems to me
Reminds me of childhood memories
Where everything
Was as fresh as the bright blue sky
Now and then when I see her face
She takes me away to that special place
And if I'd stare too long
I'd probably break down and cry

I did name this blog before we started anything with this adoption. At the time all I knew was that Trent and I wanted to add another girl to our family.

The lyrics to the song seems somehow to speak to what I was about to experience. As I saw the girls' photos the first time... the baby (yes she's 4, I call her the baby) has the most amazing smile. In every picture her smile reminds me of the smile only a young child can use to communicate the amazing joy they are experiencing (you'll see what I mean when I can post pictures). And the beauty (the big sister) - you see the whole world when you look into her eyes. The beauty of this child cannot be explained.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Faith isn't faith until...

Faith. Faith is something that makes life easy while you are waiting for life to happen. It's a bit of a relaxant. Have faith that something, or someone, or some way what ever it is WILL happen.

I thinks it's interesting that having faith requires faith at its core. I have to believe that faith can be, or is, or will be. Faith. I don't think having faith is hard. It's just a decision. Either I have faith that it will be, or I decide that I must make it happen. Either "I will control" or "it will be".

So like a light switch, I have flipped on faith for this adoption. I have to admit I take pause in the fact that I am a total control freak, and I some how just decided that this adoption will be as it will be. Don't get me wrong, there is a lot of due diligence taking place, but no worry or anxiety - only peace. I do keep looking at myself to see if there are any bulging seems on the bag of control that might be trying to seep out. So far, the bag is not bulging. It seems contained quite nicely. Actually, I do have faith that it will stay that way. But, I might check in on it once in a while. That's hazardous waste and you can't just let that stuff blow up!

I have to wonder if this is making sense to anyone other than me?
I guess I don't really care. If you want it or need it to make sense to you it will, if not, no worries.

Faith isn't faith until it's all you're holding on to.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Am I in a groove or in a rut?

What it is about this blog that feels so hard to get in the groove?

It's feels different to be bringing home these girls as they are a little older and have had more experience with life than I might be able to anticipate. I love them already. I dearly love them. It's amazing the peace and comfort that comes to me when I look at their pictures.

There is something special about finding a loved one in a crowd. Not searching in loss or panic, just at a meet-up or a check-in at a crowded event. A whole sea of people, and the ability to gravitate to the person you are looking for. You really don't see anyone else. It's like my brain says, "nope, not that one, no, no, no, not that one either..." Then "check, that one, there he is!" There is the person I am looking for. It's a peace and a calm, "Oh good, I can stop searching now, I've found you." Then my body feels at ease. I guess I feel a little like that with this adoption. At some level searching through a sea of children, photos, descriptions, countries, agencies... no, nope, not that one... then yes. Yep, right there. And now I have just felt at peace.

I guess it might be important to explain that there are a variety of ways adoption can work. I have the example from Ethiopia where we completed our paperwork and then waited for the agency to "match" us with our child. With this Ghana adoption, we found these children waiting. They were already in care and the agency had not yet located a family for them. There are many reasons children wait, commonly age and health issues. Having a sibling group or large sibling group. Perceived health issues, perceived social issues... many things. Sometimes it has nothing to do with the child, just that the agencies do not have families waiting for that age, gender, sibling group. So we decided to take a look at those children who were already waiting. We thought we would still end up on the long, very long wait for children from Ethiopia. The current wait time is 12-18 months. But, I was just curious, who are these waiting children (any or all of them - not just these two girls). But then I happened upon them, these two. And it all just started falling into place.

I think I've posted about it here once already. But nothing is "for sure" in international adoption. So until we have the girls on US soil, there are no guarantees. So we are following the path as we feel led, I have hope and peace that this path will bring these girls home to us. And so that is the journey I am on.

The path as it lays before me appears trodden under my feet. Ahead though, many trees and plants that hide the path ahead of me. I have no fear because the light at my feet shows me those steps I must take first. So, I do not care of the steps in my path that are not yet lit. It is a journey of rejuvenation.

I think I might be in a groove!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Words for thought

I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you. Matthew 17:20 (NIV)



And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. 2 Corinthians 9:8 (NIV)

Fortune Cookie Fairy

Isn't it great to be validated. When you know or feel something, but someone else takes the time to acknowledge it. Like when I put on my Sunday best and my 3 & 6 year old boys tell me how beautiful I am. Or, when you get a new hair cut that you love and everyone else tells you how great it looks. Or, when you've been working hard to wear a smile and someone notes how happy you look. Those things are great! I love it when that happens.

So yesterday I had lunch at a place where a fortune cookie comes with the meal. For some reason I didn't get my cookie... so my lunch date (hey Shellie) pointed it out to her cashier. The cashier exclaimed that I should get a double fortune, and handed over two fortune cookies.

Fortune #1 - Your mind is always active and gathering information from many sources.
Fortune #2 - You have a great deal of energy and self-reliance.

I don't care that they were not actual fortunes... I see them as a validation from the universe. It's the attempt of the universe to let me know it sees my diligence. - Maybe it is God speaking to me, but I'd rather not "risk" saying God speaks through fortune cookies. I know anything is possible, but I'm going to choose to believe it's a validation from the universe about the vibes I put out there :-)

Thanks to the fortune cookie fairy for making my day!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

I wanna be a rockstar!

So, two more children. That will make me a mother of five. I like to call them my gaggle (versus herd, or flock, or pack). Even now as a mother of three I say, "I have to get going and round up my gaggle for dinner." I think I might start calling them my "band". I think gorillas are a band... not that I am referring to my family as gorillas, I just like the double meaning of calling them my band. That would make me a bit of a rockstar. I wanna be a rockstar momma. Meet my "band"!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Time Warp

As of today Trent and I have done everything we can do for this phase of the adoption. Now we wait for Ghana to process our paperwork and the US government to send us an approval notice.

I am working on a small donation drive for the orphanage (let me know if you want to participate). I'll be collecting some medical type supplies as well as some basic kid care items. We will take them to Ghana when we travel. Picking up the girls will require two trips to Ghana, so we should be able to take a good amount of donations.

I do have a strong desire to start "nesting", but since we do have to make two trips I know that we will have time in between. I'd like to schedule my nesting during that wait. The current status on our timeline is, what took us 6 months with our Ethiopian adoption has taken us 4 weeks with this adoption. From here I don't think that ratio can continue, so if lightening timing continues, we may be able to bring them home in July. Otherwise, more realistically, we are looking at this fall. And of course there is the big looming unknown in international adoption, anything could happen, nothing is for sure. This is where faith plays in. I have faith that it will all work out and we will bring them home, soon.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Live and learn

Faith is the daring of the soul to go farther than it can see. ~William Newton Clark~

As your faith is strengthened you will find that there is no longer the need to have a sense of control, that things will flow as they will, and that you will flow with them, to your great delight and benefit. ~Emmanuel~

Every human being is born without faith. Faith comes only through the process of making decisions to change before we can be sure it's the right move. ~Dr. Robert H. Schuller~

My last adoption taught me a lot about patience. Patience is waiting contentedly. I learned a lot about that. This adoption will be a bit of a test to see if I can apply it! Yesterday I noted to some fellow adopters, 'now that my paperwork is in, I can sit back and enjoy the wait'. I am not going to say more about that, only that I hope I have learned my lesson about patience, and I hope I can prove it well to myself in this adoption.

This adoption appears to be teaching me about faith. I am trying to settle into that. I am not sure how to frame it up to write about it. The fine folks at Dictonary.com define faith in many ways, but the these three resonate with me the most:

1. confidence or trust in a person or thing: faith in another's ability
2. belief that is not based on proof
3. belief in God or in the doctrines or teachings of religion


(order listed as stated at dictonary.com, not in order of importance :-)

I am going to ponder these definitions for a while.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Say it ain't so!

Paperwork has a weird quality in adoption. Every time you feel a relief of being done, there is more. So I feel like most days I could be saying "Whew! Done with that round." The problem is that there is another round that was being tackled right behind it.

So the dossier has arrived in the hands of our agency. I missed a step, so they are waiting for one more sheet of paper. Then the papers can all head over to Ghana!! On Monday Trent has to go to the USCIS office to KO another round of paperwork. Between Monday and our travel to Ghana, I think we only have one more document we will have to deal with.

Besides paperwork there are a few other tasks.
Shots again! No, no, don't say it. Not another needle! How can this be?
I will need a Yellow Fever Vaccination. I guess that's advice I'd give an adopting parent... just get it all, you might decide to adopt again. I skipped the Yellow Fever because it's not required for Ethiopia, but it is required for Ghana.

See this post from my old blog about how well I do with needles!
http://beforeiknewyou.blogspot.com/2008/05/stop-poking-me.html

I have to rest now, just think about a shot makes me need to lie down.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

What was lost, is found.

Today I put the dossier in the mail... Trent did a lot of hard work getting all this paper work together! I was just the mail carrier today (See facebook for my plug for FedEx).

As I understand it, the girls will find out anytime now, until our "stuff" arrives in Ghana, that their "America Mommy and Daddy have been found!" I wonder what they will think. I wonder what they will tell their friends.

I am preparing a welcome bag for them. We are able to send them a few small items, some pictures and a letter. One of the items that we are asked to send it a T-shirt. When they get the items they will put on the T-shirt and their friends will know that their "American Family" has been found.

I Love that they say it that way, "Your America family has been found." It's as if they have always been looking for us and we have always been waiting for them, just that finally we will be brought together. I feel the same way it sounds.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

To all the blogging sisters out there...

Please take a minute to click on a couple of the blogs on the right side of the page.

So many amazing children and amazing families.

I have only interacted with two or three of the authors of these blogs, but I look forward to learning more about all of them! Most of them are in the process of or have brought children home from Ghana.

Many amazing women taking the time to document the stories of their families to share with all of us. Thanks blogging sisters!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Let's get this party started!

Quoted directly from my good friend Anita with our adoption agency, "Let's get this party started!" (I am not going to claim it as her original quote, but that's where I got it for this post).

Alright here we go.

For those of you who are observant you will note the the right hand side of the pages indicates that we already have received and accepted a referral. This means we have been "matched".

Our match: two (not one but t-w-o) beautiful sisters from Ghana, ages 8 and 4.

For those of you who have lost count, that will make us a family of 7.

These girls are beautiful, they are healthy, and they have their own fan club developing back here in the U.S. of people who have met them while traveling to Ghana. (Hey, I'm a proud momma!). We hear that they are as beautiful on the inside as they are on the outside.

More to come...

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Holding out

The struggle with a public blog is that when you want "everyone" to know something, you post it on the blog and then the people who thought they should know first get offended. I know, I'd be offended too. However, the intent of the blog is to keep everyone up-to-date, while making my life a little easier. I love you all, and would love to share my excitement first hand with each of you. Thanks for understanding that this blog helps me to get my own thoughts and feelings about the adoption down for my family and me to reflect on later. In addition, the blog is for my children's record and a method of communication to all of you who want to join us on our journey. If you read something here first, it's not because we didn't think you were important enough to tell first. This is our best method of communication.

Our Ethiopian adoption was fast, very fast, in comparison to other international adoptions we have heard of. Currently the Ethiopia program expects a wait of 12-18 months from completion of paperwork to referral. In non-adoption speak... from the time you turn in all the required paperwork until you are "matched" with a child, about 12-18 months will pass. Add onto that the weeks or months required to prepare the paperwork and then the weeks or months required to wait for more "legal stuff" before you ever get to travel and actually meet your child. With our Ethiopian adoption we waited 6 weeks. For Ethiopia, for the agency we used, 6 months would have been fast, but we waited not months, but weeks. We began our wait for our Ethiopian adoption on 4/22/08. I looked this morning and there is a family waiting for a 3 year old who started waiting on 5/22/08, and they still are without a referral. So why did we get our match so quickly? The only answer I have, God. If you have another idea, I'd be open to hearing it... I just don't think anyone has a more accurate answer than that.

So, I tell you all of that, to tell you this. Our Ghana adoption is going even faster! If you want to stay up-to-date on the adoption, you'll have to visit this blog frequently :-)

In my effort to respect the process, I am holding out on some information we have. I am not ready to post as many of the details as I have in hand, because we are hoping to see more of this in stone in a few days. Come back soon.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

So, why Ghana then?

So, Why Ghana then?
Because God chose us too.

I'd like to just leave it at that and not confuse the mystery of it. "God chose us", what more is there to say?
Don't worry; I have plenty of supporting evidence.

Let's pick up where the last adoption sort of left off (http://www.beforeiknewyou.blogspot.com/).

There had been a couple flickers of conversation about adopting again. A lot of conversation about visiting Ethiopia again. We loved Ethiopia - we loved her and her people, we had to go back. So, a little conversation about adoption combined with a lot of conversation about travel resulted in wondering what it might look like to adopt again. Anyone who knows me knows how much I love to gather information. So it was nothing in my day to start finding out what it would look like to start the process again. I gathered the information I needed and did a review of the information. Discouraging at best. It would be one year before we could even apply again, and then at least a 12-18 month wait to bring another child home. The process could easily his 2 1/2 to 3 years. Angelisa would be nearing her teen years, it certainly didn't seem impossible, but I felt there had to be a better way.

I worked with the agency to help them understand that their own policies (oh yes I did!) which indicated that this was an unusually long wait between adoptions, and that they should support us in at least getting on the waiting list sooner than one year. And so we were approved to start the process as soon as our previous adoption was complete. As we were completing our last adoption, finalizing, going to court... we thought more about the fact that we would be able to start our next adoption soon. We were told we could start in March. So, in late February, I started looking at some websites that contain information about children that are waiting to be adopted. I signed up to get emails about children that were being added to the lists. I was getting a lot of emails. I had even considered turning it off, so that I could cut down on the number of emails I was getting. And emotionally it is hard to know that "delete" to me means a lost family to a child. So I ignored the emails for a few days. They were building up. Emotionally I couldn't delete them, nor could I open them. Eventually I realized I would need to stop these from coming - there were too many (this is a sad statement in itself). So before I would delete them and before I would stop more from coming, I would click on one. Just one, just to see, just because. Divine intervention in a click. For another post I'll tell you this is not the first time I have encountered divine intervention in a click. I'm going to tell you now that God can speak to you through Google (maybe a book that needs to be written).

So just a click. And there, on my screen, the most beautiful child I could have imagined. Well, that’s not so odd, many children are beautiful, but I am drawn to this child. Now I need to find out more about her. Wait – she has a sister! A sister? Hmmm, that must be the issue, the sibling, some times I have seen children waiting because they have an ill sibling, more than some families can handle. So, now my heart slows to a normal rate, ahhh, I can’t be drawn to this child, the situation is more complex. So I “click” on the sister. Wait a minute, what is going on here? Two beautiful children, waiting, waiting for a family, but why? Why would two perfectly healthy, absolutely beautiful children be waiting for a family? There should be a line a mile long for these girls.

Now, there are a couple of other points to note. Trent was dead set on another adoption from Ethiopia. He was not having it any other way. I sent him a pic of a cute, healthy little girl from the Caribbean, he agreed, cute, healthy, but not from Ethiopia. I sent him another picture of an Ethiopian child here in the US waiting for a family. Nope, just not the right feel. Yes, “picking” children is a very very complicated and complex issue. But what we were looking for were children that we felt would be a good fit for our family. I wasn’t set on these kids either; I was just testing the waters to see if Trent was going to be open to any other countries. No, he wasn’t.

2/19 at 5:26 I sent Trent an email. That email, the one I clicked on. And he called. No, not an email... a phone call. He said, “Are these our girls?” I replied that indeed I thought they were. That same night we received more information about the girls!

The story isn’t that easy either. After gathering more information about these children, we were concerned that the older child might be older than our “maximum” age. We were willing to bring in a child age 8 or younger. But a few more pictures showed that the older sibling might be more like 12 or possibly 13. So maybe it wasn’t mean to be. Just a line of coincidental items that appeared to be leading somewhere.

By this time (only about 1-2 days later), I already know that this is a great agency, they do have an Ethiopia program, and we weren’t sure about going with the same agency we used for the last adoption. Well, I am here now… what should I do? So I asked if there were other children in their waiting program for Ghana or Ethiopia. We gathered information about their wait and their policies. We checked with other families that had used the agency. We felt God was leading us to use this agency. Trent emailed me on 2/24 “Keep me posted on the Ethiopian program. I know that God is in charge, and so if he wants us to adopt any one particular family/sibling group, he will open the doors that need to be open, irregardless of the country.” There was another sibling group waiting in Ghana. We received their info along with access to numerous pictures of the waiting children in Ghana. I am searching for this new sibling group, but everywhere I look, there are those two beautiful sisters. Hmmm, that older one sure looks a lot younger in these pictures… more like 8. So I forward the pictures onto Trent… I didn’t add any comments. But he emailed me with questions about how to access the pictures so I knew he was looking at them. Then he called me. I knew it “You’re in love with those girls aren’t you!?” He said I should call back and get more information.

On 2/25 we gathered more information and decided to pursue these girls.

From 2/25 to 3/10 we managed to engage the adoption agency, a home study agency and get started on the process. On 3/12 an email indicates that we are just days away from receiving this referral. So still today, nothing is for sure. That’s the nature of international adoption; until your plane lands on US soil… nothing is for sure.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Why Ghana?

I am paricipating in an online group of fellow adopters from Ghana. I have mostly been lurking around and seeing what they talk about. On line groups have a culture and some unwritten rules and it's good to know what they are before you jump in with comments or questions. The craziest things can offend people. And the purpose of the board is to share and gather information, as well as for support, so I want to get it right.

So today there was a lot of activity around a the question "Why Ghana?", as in, why did you choose to adopt from Ghana?

The following stories are from the online group discussing the question “Why Ghana?”
The only editing is to protect identity, and some are excerpts to shorten the length of this post.

******
So fast forward, a few months, a lot of research, discussion and contemplation. Combine this with perfect timing and what has to be divine intervention and you have our Ghana adoption.
From that night, I knew I wanted to find a way to adopt from Africa. My great uncle was a Catholic Order Priest in Ghana, Africa. He was in Ghana for over 53 years. He loved Ghana.
As I looked into adopting from Africa, I thought about my great uncle and about the people of Ghana. Memories of his words that I have heard since I was a young girl came back to me. How religious, joyful and good the people of Ghana were despite the conditions that many of them lived in. I thought for sure there would not be a way to adopt from Ghana but started looking into it.

My husband and I have had much dialog about adopting from Africa and we decided this is what we want to do. Of course, I was ready to adopt first and encouraged my husband to look into it. I thought he would take a long time to make his decision but a short time later, he told me out of the blue that evening that he wanted to adopt from Africa, from Ghana if possible. Not only did he want to adopt one child but he wanted to adopt two!!

So, prior to my husband saying he wanted to adopt, I found someone on another group and through her blog. Right about the time we decided to adopt from Africa, she shared that she had been hired by an agency to coordinate a pilot program they were starting in Ghana. This agency is located in Washington and I happened to be going there that week- yes, me who has never gone on a trip alone was going to WA for a meeting for a home business that I do.
I called and spoke to the Director of the agency, in hopes of being able to set up a time to meet with her when I traveled to Washington. After a brief discussion, in which I shared our desire to adopt from Ghana and our reasons why, she invited us to be a part of the Ghana program!

The fact that I found these people and this agency and they happened to be starting a Ghana program right when we were ready to adopt and that we were allowed to be a part of the program when we were so early in the process has been an example of everything falling into place when so many times along the way, we could have hit a bump. We believe that all these together are not coincidences but instead is God and Father hitting us on the head along the way, letting us know we are headed in the right direction!

Initially, it really bothered me that I did not talk to my uncle about adopting from Ghana. We were not ready to start our research at that time he was here as we were still considering if we wanted more children and whether we would adopt or give birth again. I have since been praying about what is right for us to do and what he would have said to us if we asked him. After much thought and prayer, I decided that he would have said this…“If you want to adopt from Ghana and bring children home, that is fine but it is not enough. You have to understand that while America is rich, Ghana is richer and better in many ways so don’t think that you are saving them from a bad place because you are not. Always tell them how wonderful Ghana is and that they are special because they are from Ghana. Take them back to Ghana if you can. Most importantly, while taking a child or two will help those children to have a family, remember the other children left behind and help them because they are your children’s friends and relatives and by doing that, you are honoring your children and where they come from.”-
My uncle was such an amazing human being. When he visited us last in Fall of 2006, we knew that it might be his last visit. He wish was to die in Ghana and be buried with the people he loved so deeply. The trip was getting harder for him to make. He returned to Ghana and died five days later. I miss you Father, rest in peace.

*************
I know sometimes the "religious experience" conversation freaks people out.
If it freaks you out, don't read this :)
Why Ghana?
Because the spirit spoke to us in such a loud, clear, sure voice that there was no doubt that this was what we were supposed to do.
We weren’t even planning on adopting at all. It had never been something we discussed.
We had 6 children already.
We went to my father in laws house to hear about their trip to Ghana. They said they had
pictures of the orphanage, children, etc....
We went thinking "Oh, we'll donate some money and that'll be that".
We got there, heard about their experiences and then went around the room to look at the pictures.

I'm looking at the pictures and get to one that has a beautiful girl, her mother and her friend.
I can't even explain it.....it was like someone reached into my chest and grabbed and I just knew.
It freaked me out at first, because this wasn't part of OUR family plan. So I thought "maybe I'm going crazy". I stood there for a bit to see if the feeling wouldn't go away.
I asked my husband to come over and I said “Look at her".

He knew.....the spirit spoke to both of our hearts in such a way that there were no doubts, and we were on the same page.
There's more to the story, but that's how it all started, and that's why we (through the guidance of the spirit) chose Ghana.
I feel like God chose Ghana for us.

The people in Ghana are very faithful, prayerful people. They have to rely on God for all things.
We should all be that way.
Thanks for asking! I think it's good for me to remember why this all came about.
God's hand is in all things.

***********************
Thanks for writing! I can totally relate to your story as it is similar in many respects to ours. We didn't chose Ghana....Ghana was chosen for us too because that's where this amazing boy lived that I met on the internet. My husband and I initially hadn't been looking to adopt, but when I met this sweet boy we had an instant connection. I mentioned him to a friend at work who is a world traveler and she happily told me that of all the people she has met in her travels the people of Ghana and Togo were her favorites based on their hospitality, genuine friendliness and faith. While everyone around me was doubting the genuineness of this boy, my husband and I just KNEW in our hearts he was brought to us for a reason....he needed us and we needed him (though we didn't even know it). We are now happily counting down the days until we bring him home! He has already enriched our lives so much and has touched everyone he has come in contact with through this process. We all believe we were Divinely guided to find each other.

That was truly beautiful, made my eyes water... I too found our daughter in a similar way and also in a picture. ALL of the children pull at your heart strings! Sometimes though you get really lucky and are just lead to them spiritually and magically!! You just know!

Adopting a 6 yr. old angel from Ghana

************************
We feel like Ghana chose us! We were also not thinking about adopting, and then all of a sudden, John’s parents were caring for Martha who had just been orphaned. We were already headed there to visit just weeks after they took her in. We felt that this was God's master plan in action! I can see why adoptive parents would choose Ghana, as well.

I can see how that can happen with you seeing pictures and falling in love with a particular child. That was how it was when I saw the child we are adopting. I saw his eyes and they just spoke to me. I almost talked myself out of it because he is so close in age to my daughter and I did not know how that would work out but things ended up in such a way that when all was said and done, he was the child available for us. We did not have to choose between children, we were left and he was left and we are so thrilled and relieved it worked out that way. He was not the most handsome of the kids I saw, he was not the best age, but he was the one that I instantly felt a connection with. There was something about him...

Now that he has been in our adoption center for months, he is bigger, healthier and looks happier. He is truly blossoming and we are so excited to meet him and bring him home to us.I just can't say enough about how wonderful the children in Ghana are. I got to see many children, not just children in our adoption center but children in three other orphanages, children at the markets that I spoke to and groups of children that I met up with and spoke to as I walked along the beach at Cape Coast. I loved them all. They are their parents’ children and the faith, prayer and reliance on God is carried on to their children. It is a miracle how these beautiful children in spite of their poverty and tragedy in their lives are so strong and resilient. Samantha is our perfect example of that and she is an inspiration to the rest of the family. She has blessed us and our lives far more than we could ever do for her.

To be able to adopt a child from Ghana is a blessing. I feel like we are the fortunate ones that the government in Ghana is trusting us to raise their children. I only pray that I can raise her in a way to make them proud and not ever regret their decision to allow her to come to America. I am so glad that you and your husband listened to the spirit. So many others may have dismissed it and said, "we have six kids, there is enough on our plate, we can't add more." I am so glad every thing has worked out for you and you have your children home! Thank you for sharing your story...

"Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin." Mother Teresa

******************************
Warning ... More God Stories Ahead ... :)
We, too, did not pick Ghana (or Africa), God picked us for Ghana.

After we had 10 bio. kids, my husband and I both thought we were "done" ... our family was "complete". Then, a few years later, my heart started stirring. Over the course of 6 months, not only was I convinced that we were to adopt, but that we were to adopt a large sibling group (3-5 kids) and that they were going to be black. I perused many U.S. adoption websites, looking at pictures, and was ALWAYS, ONLY drawn to the pictures of black children that were a part of a sibling group of 3-5. NOTHING else interest ed me in the least.

Next problem ... my husband was NOT at all convinced that we were suppose to have ANY more children, much less 3-5 more children. He wouldn't even discuss it.

On a Friday night in June '07, we were at a party and I was discussing my heart pull with a friend (who is an adoptive mom) when Jim walked by and said, "NO! We are NOT adopting any children." End of discussion.

The very next day, I was out of town for the day when Jim decided to check my email. He NEVER checks our family email account. But, this day, there was an email ... with pictures of 3 beautiful children. The moment he saw the picture, he felt God telling him, "Those are your children." By the time I got home, he had printed off the picture, put it up on the refrigerator, and introduced the new brother and sisters to all of the children that were at home. Done deal!

We brought the children home in March '08, when they were 6, 9, 12. And, it "just so happens" that our 3 youngest bio. children were 6, 8, 11.

Oh yes ... the email was from a lady that was attending our church. I had met her a couple of times, and she knew that I was praying about adoption. She was in Ghana to bring home 2 little girls, met these 3 precious children, and God kept putting our name on her heart. So, she contacted a mutual friend to get my email address, sent off the pictures with an "I don't know if you're interested ..." note, and the rest ... is history.

God is AMAZING!

***************************
Well even though we are not adopting from Ghana at the moment, we had planned to, and Liberia is just a ways off.......
I grew up with missionary friends who grew up in West Africa, mostly Mali, what was Upper Volta, Guinea, Ghana, Cote D'Ivore, but I loved West Africa from the photos of the people and the country I'd grown up with, as well as the stories from my MK (missionary kid) friends and their parents. From the time I was a very young child I felt God calling me to adopt from around the world, but especially SE Asia and West Africa. I'll admit I didn't know much about Liberia, not nearly as much as I did about its neighbors. (I had MK friend s from India, Mongolia, Philippines, many from Vietnam and Cambodia and other places, but my heart was not drawn to most of those places, so it was not "just what I had been exposed to"....With WEST AFRICA in general in my heart, we examined which countries had or didn't have adoption programs, and as most of you know with the recent frown upon large families and the start of interim adoption orders by the government, we sensed this being a closing door for us to Ghana itself, even as God led us to Liberia.

I had planned a trip to Ghana in April of 2007...so sure was I that I'd meet the children of my dreams, and start a process...................but God closed that door very surely. Our youngest daughter got sick suddenly, like, after I'd gotten my malaria vaccine, AND my expedited multi-entry visa. Naomi got pneumonia in both lungs and one lung collapsed. My sweet sick 5 year old was in the hospital for a week: "my Ghana" week, so I had a hint of closed Ghana doors even then, but the strong desire for West Africa never abated. IT was so deeply in my heart. And my daughter is absolutely fine now . She didn't even have a cold when that came on: it was very unexpected. She had a high fever for 4 days with no other symptoms. (??!!)

In all that I saw God leading us toward Liberia, as I'd been talking to an agency with a Liberia program. Within 48 hours of sensing that Ghana was not the West African country God had for us, the agency director of the Liberia program made us aware of a 6 year old girl and 9 year old boy who had just become completely totally PAPER READY if we wanted to pray over an d consider them for our children. In the two years of praying and seeking, and thinking about our next children, no one knew of a sib pair with this gender/age arrangement and this was who we felt would be the best blend for the children at home and the to- be -adopted as well as with the bedroom spacing.

I believe that God put the call to Africa in my heart decades before the opportunity and THE children ever manifested, and has guided us ever since. Our children are waiting for us in Liberia, and not Ghana. We didn't really "pick" either country, but God picked us, for West Africa.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

In the beginning

Without paying much attention I realize I wrote two blogs stating mostly the same information about 2 months apart. I even gave them the same name... well at least my thinking is consistent.

We had the first of our home study interviews today. It went well. We like our social worker a lot. A great woman. We look forward to working with her through out the process. A person can grow pretty attached to these social workers. They are an excellent source of support in the adoption process.

As we start this adoption we realize things are going differently than last time. We are using a new agency and possibly planning to work with a different country.

Though I do have some additional information that I am not able to share at this time, hang with me, there will be more info soon. I just want to respect the process.

What I can tell you today:
We are working with an agency in Washington.
At this time we are planning to go through their Ghana program.
Based on the title of the blog... we are planning for a girl.

We are looking forward to taking this journey again!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Starting all over again

Trent and I are starting another adoption.

This week we will have our home study.

I have a lot to update you all on! Right now we are taking it one day at a time, and what I can tell you is that our home study should be complete by the end of the month. Once that is done I have a lot more information that I can share.

Thanks for joining us on another adoption journey!