Friday, September 9, 2011

The start of our new journey

I might post on here from time to time with adoption related thoughts, but for the most part, everything I post from here on out will be about our family so, I'll post it to our family blog. Feel free to follow along ;)

The Roberts House

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Home

We're home and everything has been amazing so far! I'll post more when/if my 2 wild little men take a nap!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

In HIS time

Carter was born on Christmas Eve, but Kwasi seems to be our real holiday baby.

I first met him on MY BIRTHDAY
We passed court on ST. PATRICK'S DAY
Chris met him on the 4TH OF JULY
and as we got closer and closer, I just KNEW our pick-up trip would be over LABOR DAY.

I knew it so much that I bought our tickets so, I was happy, but depressed when I was told that his visa would be ready September 9th. It struck me that it just wasn't right. It honestly did not make sense to me. I had planned that it would be this holiday weekend I know things "happen for a reason" but it just hit this mama hard that this was.not.right.

Reluctantly, I changed our tickets. Paid the $250 change fee for mine (got lucky on Chris') and that was that. My labor pains started as I waited for the 8th to come for us to fly to Ghana.

Then today... EEEEEEEEEEEEEEKKK!!! I got an email from the embassy saying that his visa has been printed and it can be picked up THIS FRIDAY!!!! I grabbed a hold of my crazed self and started texting with Chris to see if we could go sooner. I was a madwoman looking at Delta flights and calling family members to watch Carter and Esinam while trying to get a hold of our POA to see about him picking up the visa. And then (dramatic pause) everything fell into place.

We are leaving Saturday morning to bring our son home! We will be back on Wednesday afternoon. That is a whole day before we would have even left! This will allow Chris to spend a whole week with us before going on his business trip.

Thank you, GOD! Lessoned learned. You are driving this bus and I shouldn't try to knock you out of the driver's seat even if you gave me the heads up that it would be this weekend. I should have patiently waited knowing you would get me where I needed to go and I could have saved $500 in change fees.

Whatever. We're going to get our son! Our holiday baby!

We're arriving Wednesday, September 7 on Delta flight 1194 at 3:55. Everyone is welcome to come meet Kwasi!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Big changes coming

Duh. Of course big changes are coming. We know what changes are coming and are excited/freaked out. Kwasi however, doesn't know. At nineteen months, he likely doesn't even know that he is being adopted, that soon he will leave his home and come live with us.

Having Esinam with us the past two weeks has made us realize even more, just how much will be changing around him.

Example: Today Esinam saw a baseball mitt and asked what it was. A baseball mitt. At 17 she did not know what a baseball mitt is. Everything she sees and touches is new for her. It's exciting for a young girl experiencing the world, but for an almost 2 year old... how can it be anything other than terrifying? Everywhere he looks, he will see something that his young eyes have never seen before. Even the floor that he will walk on will be foreign to him - he has never seen hardwood flooring, an electric stove, a garage. Can you imagine hearing a vacuum for the first time in your life - or mommy using the hair dryer - the clothes dryer?!

Just a week and a half until we go get our son and bring him home forever. I hope that we are able to provide the comfort and safe feeling that he will need during this transition.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

It's real

I did it. I booked our tickets. We are going to pick up our son and bring him home. It's crazy.

We leave in less than 2 weeks - September 8th at the crack of dawn. We will barely be there since we arrive the 9th at noon and leave again on the 11th at 10pm, but that's how it worked out with airline prices and our family schedule.

We'll arrive home Monday at 11 am. Chris leaves us Wednesday at 8am for a business trip returning Sunday night!! Esinam leaves us Thursday and Friday for a field trip-thing.

Not an ideal first week for Kwasi to get adjusted, but it will have to do. At least Carter and I will be with him 24/7 to start to bond. After the craziness of the 1st week home, things should get on track with our "new normal".

Since it will be a bit crazy the first week, we are going to keep to ourselves without visitors to lessen the confusion for Kwasi. We don't want a lot of coming and goings to get him wondering who is permanent and who isn't. If you are just DYING to meet him (you know you are), you are welcome to meet us at the airport when we arrive and welcome him as we wait for our bags and chit chat a bit. Details to follow.

I can't believe I'm going to have him here to hugs and squeeze any time I want forever (or at least 17 years).

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

What is IN these suitcases?!

***Pics to come
I had a great lunch today with some awesome people! In addition to the monetary donations that some very generous friends and family made, Christina and Sommer went out of their way to purchase a TON of school supplies AND bags for me to take them to Ghana in!!!!! After dropping Esinam at soccer try-outs, Carter and I got to work counting and sorting supplies and packing them up for easy distribution once in Ghana.

Here is what is in the bags so far:

Flip flops: 47 pair
Spiral notebooks: 130
Pens: 330
Pencils: 220
Erasers: 4
Erasers for the tops of pencils: 470
Rulers: 46
Colored pencils: 23 packs of 10 and 2 packs of 72
Scissors: 12
Glue sticks: 26
Rubberbands: 10 packages
Folders: 20
composition notebooks: 16
Loose-leaf lined paper: 10 packs
pencil sharpeners: 14
Manuscript tablets: 5
and some colorful learning tools to hang up on walls

Whew! That took a while to type out. The bags are heavy, but we managed to sort so that each of the 4 bags weighs just barely less than then 50 lb limit. We also have some clothes that will be going over, but I haven't sorted yet and of course, I'll have to weigh the bags again once they are added.

Thank you to everyone who has helped us to gather these donations or has provided funding. I cannot wait to be able to deliver these to the orphanages on your behalf!

It's happening

I can't believe it is really happening. Our POA was told today at the embassy that Kwasi's visa will be granted and will be printed soon. I really just can't believe it.

This has seemed like such a long journey and yet, I know, start to finish it will have been less than 13 months. That is INCREDIBLY short for international adoption. I think the reason is seems extra long is that we have known about Kwasi, seen his face, since January 25th. So, of the 13 months, almost 8 months of them have been spent thinking of him and not an unknown child. Each month has passed and we have missed watching him grow. During this time, we have received photos from two traveling friends and we took some ourselves during our trip in July. That is a long time to know who your son is without being able to be with him and receiving almost no photos or video. In many other countries, the wait for a referral is longer, but you only have to wait 3-4 months to bring them home.

At any rate, it's almost over. We'll be brining him home within the next few weeks and he'll be ours forever.

I still can't believe it.

Monday, August 22, 2011

At the Roberts house...

I'm excited/nervous for tomorrow when our POA will go back to the embassy with the requested photos of us WITH Kwasi and a new POA document that includes his date of birth. I'm so hoping they say "looks good, tell the parents to head on over!".

In other news...

Esinam is adjusting surprisingly well to everything! The amount of new stuff that has been thrown at this girl is incredible. I've studied abroad twice myself, but can't compare anything to what she is doing here. I mean, EVERY LITTLE THING is new and she doesn't bat an eye. I'm so impressed!

Carter... well, he is a mess. OK. It's not THAT bad, but I usually have a pretty perfect 2 year old. He almost never has fits or meltdowns, takes naps no problem, goes to bed no problem, etc. Since Esinam arrived, we have had multiple fits every day and nap/nighttime are a wreck filled with crying and fits. He has also gotten a little snotty with her a few times when she has tried to help him in our place.

I realize this is his way of getting attention that used to be only his and now he shares with Esinam. We have given him extra comfort and patience (with the exception of how he treats Esinam as he is expected to be nice to everyone) this past week as he learns to adjust, but I think this week we have to go back to our normal parenting. We normally don't put up with any tantrums. As frustrating as it has been, I'm so glad that we have Esinam as "practice" for when Kwasi comes home. He is learning to share mommy and daddy and EVERYONE else before Kwasi gets here. I'm sure we will have a reaction from Carter when Kwasi arrives, but I feel good knowing that we are easing him into it a bit. Yes, Esinam needs our attention, but not half as much as Kwasi will.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Updates

The paperwork arrived safely in Ghana today!

I also updated our family blog about Esinam's transition.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

4:57 a.m.

I won't keep you in suspense. The interview went.. well, okay, fine, overall good.

I kept waking up all night for brief moments and would think to myself "oh no, he hasn't call yet. Is that bad?"

Then, at 4:57 a.m. He called! He said he had good news and that the interview went very well! However, he needs me to FedEx him a new Power of Attorney document that includes Kwasi's date of birth (he has never needed this included before so, he had our POA without the date of birth) and photos of us WITH Kwasi. If I can get it all to him, he will be granted another appointment next Tuesday.

To some this may seem... not good. The thing is, this could have gone 100 different ways. The fact that they are asking for specific items, items that are very easy to get and make sense (the photos will prove that we have met him and are fully aware of the child we are adopting), to me, is a very good sign. Hopefully, they will grant the visa next Tuesday when they receive these items.

Of course, I've been up since 4:57. I've ordered the photos, created the new POA and am now just waiting for the rest of Washington to get up and out of bed so that I can pick the photos up and get the POA notarized ;)

Monday, August 15, 2011

2 1/2 hours

Only 2 1/2 hours until the big embassy appointment. I'm a nervous wreck! We've been praying hard and I know many of you have as well. Thank you! I really hope I have the most amazing wake up call in the middle of the night or early morning. We could use one step of this adoption going smoothly!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Another possible delay

My heart broke in two today when I read that another family was told that it will be 1-2 months from their appointment until their visa is printed. It has been fairly consistent that it takes 1-3 weeks. Please keep praying that everything is "normal" for our process. Kwasi has been ours according to the Ghana government since March 17th. I can't believe that our government is the one responsible for so much waiting.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

1 week

In 1 week (actually less than that if you consider that it is 9 pm right now), Kwasi has his visa interview appointment. I can't believe it is almost here. I'm so nervous about it. They will either ask for his passport to print his visa or ask for more information/documentation. If they take his visa, I will breathe my first sigh of relief in one year. We will then be able to figure out when we get to go get him and start to plan our trip!

I got word today that his passport was picked up and his medical was done. The passport has actually been ready since July 20th, but why pick it up before you need it, right ;)

Monday, August 1, 2011

Ghana bound

115 notebooks, 45 pair of flip flops and $300 left to spend on donations. Not a bad start. Not bad at all! Special thanks to CeAnne, the Westlunds, my mom, Christina and Sommer for all the help!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Waiting for Kwasi

We finally have some sun in the Pacific NW so we went for a walk at a park tonight. Some subtle reminders that we are waiting for Kwasi to get home:


Me: Carter, look at the clouds! Aren't they pretty?
Carter: Yeah. Kiki put them for me.
Me: Kiki put the clouds there for you?
Carter: Yeah. Kiki put them up high a me ("a" is used in place of "for" or "the" often")

****************************
Chris: Carter, look! There are two bunnies! Do you see them?
Carter: Yeah! Carter and Kiki!
Chris: The bunnies are Carter and Kiki?
Carter: Yeah!

****************************

Oh, Kwasi! You are so loved already!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Counting our blessings

There have been many twists and turns to our adoption. We started with an agency working in Ethiopia. The agency was great and we got connected with other parents that were in-process. One of these mothers and I got to talking quite a bit via email as we were RIGHT at the same point in the process. We were neck and neck wondering who would get their dossier done first and get on the wait list ahead of the other.

God had other plans for us and before we completed our paperwork a few twists took us to Ghana. It was a scary leap at that time. There weren't many people adopting from Ghana and everyone said you had to be a "pioneer" to do it. I still have no idea why we did it other than to say it had to have been a "God thing". Just a couple weeks after our decision, things got rocky for adoptions in Ethiopia. Adoptions continued and actually, I was just thinking the other day of those families who received their referrals after us, but because they are in Ethiopia, might bring their kids home at the same time we bring Kwasi home.

Today, I am really counting our blessings. Yes, it has been a long process to bring Kwasi home, but I feel like we are near the end. Today, my heart hurts for the other family that we were in-process with. When they received their referral for a sweet baby boy recently, it had me thinking.. that MIGHT have been our son had we stayed with the program. If we had gotten our paperwork in just day before them, he would have been our referral. Then again, they might have been 1st and received his referral and we would be getting our referral shortly after and likely traveling with this family. Today.. oh, there just aren't words to say how I hurt for them.

The Ethiopian governments just closed 15 orphanages. Depending on where the children were in the process, families can either proceed or the child has been taken from the home and their future is uncertain other than that they will not be moving forward with their current adoption plans. This family is one that was not far enough along. After waiting for their referral and falling in love with his photos, they have been told that they will not be bringing him home and will go back on the wait list.

So, today, I'm counting my blessing. I don't know why God steered us the way he did, but I know more than ever that Kwasi has been part of His plan all along. There is nothing random or coincidental about the process. There is no "what could have been" as it simply never could have been. We have been spared the enormous pain that these families are going through right now and for that I'm grateful. Please keep these families and children in your prayers.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Kwasi FAQ



I know, I know. I haven't shared too many details since we got home. It just seems like we have been so busy! So, here is a very brief briefing for those of you I have spoken to yet.

We were very blessed to be able to have Kwasi and his foster mother stay with us during our entire stay. Legally, he is our son and we could have just taken him for those days, but we didn't want to disrupt his life completely or traumatize him unnecessarily so, we rented a 2 bedroom house (for cheaper than a single hotel room FYI) and had him stay with his foster mother. It worked out great! Yes, his foster mother speaks English so, we did not have a translator.

Our most commonly asked questions:

Q: Kwasi? Coen? What WILL you call him?
A: We spent 4 1/2 days calling him Kwasi and it is the name that he has used for a year and a half even though it has always been his middle name so, we'll likely continue to call him Kwasi when he gets here. Then again, maybe we'll call him Coen Kwasi and slowly lose the Kwasi... So, I guess feel free to call him either one until we figure out what he thinks about it all.

Q: Does he speak English?
A: He doesn't "speak" much of anything since he's 18 months, but he actually says more than Carter did at 18 months. While we were there he waved and said "bye-bye" and also copied us on a few other words. Just randomly he would repeat something someone said.

Q: How did he interact with you?
A: The first 24 hours we can to watch him from across the room, but then he slowly got used to us and by the 2nd to last day, he was walking into our room in the morning to say hello and letting us pick him up, hold him, tickle him and play with him. He even cried for daddy when we left him to nap while we went to deliver donations to a couple of orphanages.

Carter and Kwasi

Carter:
Smiles ALL the time
Has to sleep in his own bed or he has trouble sleeping
Sleeps all night
Rubs his eyes when he's tired
Tell him "no" and the thought that he has been naughty might bring him to tears
He will go to anyone. Seriously. He would go home with a complete stranger if they just smile at him

Kwasi:
He makes you work for a smile
Pretty sure he would FREAK about a crib, he currently just grabs a blanket and passes out on any floor at nap time.
Gets up around midnight to eat and then wakes in the morning around 4:30 or 5
Scratches his head when he's tired
Tell him "no" and he gives you his best "just watch me" look (He actually sounds a lot like me when I was his age)
He needs a good 24 hours before he is OK letting you sit near him. Until then, you can stay on your side of the room thank-you-very-much!

What they have in common? They both adore daddy and want to do everything that he does!
video

Friday, July 15, 2011

More news...

I'm fully of news today.

You'll have to check out our family blog for this bit since it isn't really adoption related, but definitely Ghana/Kwasi related.

http://therobertshouse.blogspot.com/2011/07/yes-were-little-crazy.html

Waiting to hurry

Now that we are getting closer to the BIG trip, I'm frantically thinking of all the things that I really should have done before becoming a mom of a 1 and 2 year old. The biggest thing on my list is making sure that we are as stress-free when we return as possible. I don't want to come home to an empty refrigerator and find myself taking 2 small children to the grocery while being jet-lagged especially since Kwasi has never been in a grocery store before (talk about traumatic - you first ever experience with Walmart after 24 hours of traveling?!)

So, while I'm still ahead of the game, I'd love to try to gather some recipes from all of you that would be good to make ahead of time and freeze so that all I have to do is pop it in the oven. We just scored a chest freezer for our garage at our neighbors garage sale so I'm TOTALLY ready!

July 15

Back in May I started thinking about July 15th. I can't explain why, it just hit me that today would be a big deal. At first I was hopefully that July 15th would be the day that we would be picking up Kwasi in Ghana. At some point in June and gave up on that thought. When we picked up our packet this week I thought, MAYBE they will respond on Friday with an appointment (realizing that this was completely unrealistic since the last time I emailed it took them a week and a half to respond). We had figured the date would be in September. If we were really lucky, maybe the last week of August.

Then this morning, July 15th came. I picked up my phone like I do every morning and checked my email.

There it was - an email from the US embassy!

We have an interview date. Not only do we have a date, we have a date in August - in the middle of August! August 16th!!!


I can't believe we are finally to this point. What this means: Our POA will go to the interview on the 16th. If everything is in order, and some times -it's not, we should be flying over to get him about 2 weeks later when his visa is ready.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

On our way!

Our visa packet was picked up today at the embassy and I immediately emailed and requested an interview appointment. Cross all your fingers and toes that we get a date set soon!

Monday, July 11, 2011

told ya so...

See, he is tiny! Just look at him next to daddy!





In the top photo, he is wearing a size 12 months shirt and 18 months shorts. He'll be 18 months on the 31st. Actually, he isn't that tiny. He is wearing all of Carter's clothes from last summer so, he is the size Carter was 1 year ago and since they are 13 months apart that makes sense. Carter has always been 80-90% on the charts so, Kwasi is on the bigger side for children his age, but he is by no means, anywhere near Carter's size as someone asked ;)

We left our baby, Carter, home with Grandma and Grandpa. When we returned, he has turned into a big ol' preschooler! It's amazing how spending just a few days with Kwasi made Carter seem so big!

Something to hold you over

I haven't had time to upload all the photos yet as we got back Thursday and then went out of town Friday so, this will have to do for now:


Embassy!!!

We finally got the email from the Embassy saying that we can pick up our visa packet!!! It has to be picked up on a Wednesday AFTER 2 pm. We tried going in for the paperwork last Wednesday and waited about an hour and half to be told that since we had not gotten this very special email, they could not give us the paperwork.

So now, we have our Power of Attorney pick it up (Hopefully he go do it this Wednesday) and then we can send another email requesting an embassy interview!!!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

New photo!!

Thank goodness for other adoptive parents and agency coordinators who travel to Ghana! We just got this photo of our sweet little man from one who cared enough to take the time and snap a picture and send it along. We have been so blessed that they have been able to see and take pictures of Coen since he lives in another village than the other children.

Enjoy!



We showed this photo to Carter and he had a big smile for "kiki". When I closed the window, he said, "kiki piture mommy." So, we looked at it again :) I asked who Kiki's mommy is and Carter half-laughed liked it was a silly question and said, "mommy" and pointed to me. I asked who his daddy is and Carter pointed to Chris and said "kiki daddy." I'm so happy that he gets it. This IS his brother and he is so ready for him to be here.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Sorry for the noise

So sorry if you just heard me screaming from Vancouver, Washington. I got a little bit excited to see this in our mail today:



Whoo hoo! We have our I-600 approval!!! And, I spoke with our coordinator today and he got the birth certificate changed a couple of days ago. So, the steps now: we need to pick up our visa packet and then request a visa interview appointment and get Coen's passport before the interview.

I'm being told that interview dates are set 6-8 weeks out right now - ewww! But at least we should have a better idea of WHEN Little Man #2 will be in our home shortly.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

If you were malaria meds...

I'm losing my mind. When I went to Ghana last, I went ahead and got malaria meds for both Chris and I. Chris didn't end up going the following month so, I carefully placed his malaria meds where they would be sure NOT to be forgotten when we did head to Ghana and out-of-sight for Carter so as not to tempt him.

So, if you were malaria prevention medication, where would you be?

I've looked in the medicine cupboard
I've looked in my other daily supplements cupboard
I've looking in the bags of donations that I had already packed
I've looked in all the drawers in our bedroom
I've looked under the bathroom sink

Seriously! Where are they?

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Carter has been talking about "ki ki" and his coming home for a while now. He gets that Coen is a "baby" but old enough to play with, hence constantly talking about wanting to play golf with him. He knows that Coen is in Africa. He knows that it takes an airplane to get there. He has even offered to go get him "Caca help. Caca go Apica. Kiki home." He's excited. I want to keep his excitement up, but at the same time, I know that Coen's transition will likely be a hard one. What DO you say to your 2 1/2 year old to prepare them?

The past week I've been easing him into understanding that Coen might not be as happy to see Carter as Carter is to see him.

First, Carter and I were talking about Coen and I mentioned "Coen might not be happy when he gets here. He might be a little scared and sad." That was all it took for my extremely sensitive little man. Tears. Instant painful crying. Not whining, but real PAINful crying. It broke my heart. I calmed him down quickly and we talked about how we can make Coen happy if he is sad. Immediate response from Carter: cocoa! I agreed and told him how proud I am that he is going to help his brother be happy - what a good big brother he will be. He was very pleased with himself.

Tonight it came up again. Carter has been asking for 2 babies a LOT lately. Tonight, he randomly looked at me and said "no babies."

What? So I asked, "no babies? Do you not want Kiki either?"
He thought for a second and said "Kiki yes. 1 baby."
I decided to push a little, "Even if he's sad when he comes?"
"Kiki cocoa mom!"

And just like that, his little 2 1/2 year old self solved all the problems of the world. He already loves Coen and Coen doesn't even know that Carter exists. I can't help but think of the future and wonder if Coen will realize how much he was loved by complete strangers before he even left his native country. I pray that his transition will be smooth for him, for us, but mostly for my sensitive little man who will surely feel all of Coen's pain right along with him. I can only hope that Coen will be as attached to Carter as Carter already is to his little brother.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

We're going to Ghana!

I'm thrilled, yes, but I have to be clear - we will NOT be bringing Coen home on this trip. When I was in Ghana in March, I was told it would be 2-3 months until he came home. Chris was supposed to travel in April to apply for the passport and get his chance to meet Coen. With all the delays, the April trip didn't happen. So, here we are in June and Chris still has yet to meet our son.

Enough is enough and we are anxious to spend some time with that little man! Especially since we have not been sent a single photo of him this entire time. The only plans we have are to spend time with him and his foster mom and visit some of the great non-profits we've heard about to give donations and learn more about how we might be able to help.

I cannot WAIT. We leave July 1st!

To do list:
Mail off Chris' visa application
Pick up my new malaria meds (we already had Chris' ready for April)
Get our last will and testament notarized (gloomy thought, I know but we are traveling together and have to think of our boys)
Figure out which organizations we will be visiting and make plans with them
Finalize our accommodations

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

M.I.A.

Sorry to be so MIA. We appreciate all of you wanting to stay updated on our adoption and we have had some *stuff* going on with it lately, but honestly, I've been too depressed to write about it. Like mama says "if you don't have something nice to say, don't say anything at all."

It's not THAT bad, I was just waiting for some really good news to share before I posted. Since it's not coming, I'll share some of what I do have....

I talked with our USCIS caseworker the other day and she says that she has everything she needs. When I asked about a timeline, she just repeated that she has everything so, I'm going to take that to mean that we'll hear something very soon. We can then request an appointment with the embassy for a visa interview.

Our agent has assured us that we will have the passport AND correct birth certificate by the visa interview date (it sounds like interviewed are scheduled about 6 weeks from the request). That said, our agent will be gone to school the entire month of July and into August! That scares the begeezus out of me. It's one thing to have faith in God, it's another to have faith in another human who hasn't necessarily been right on timelines during this process.

We're ready for Coen to be home. Hopefully I'll have some good news to share in the next few days!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Allow me to translate

video

So, it turns out he DOES get it. He isn't completely playing mommy with the "kiki home" thing. He really wants Kiki here and understands that he is a little person that he will play with. Ugh! That makes it that much harder when he cries for him.

How much longer?

This is the most common question I get. The answer: we have no clue!

I actually got the birth certificate yesterday. I'm happy to have it, but was alarmed to see a different name listed as the birth father. Not just a different first or last name, a completely different name and occupation. My heart sank as I immediately starting wondering how long it would take to correct it. When I called our coordinator I was told it was fine and that the birth certificate is the most important. Great, but I still need to know THE name of my son's birthfather. He will need to know it. I've added it to the list of things to figure out on my next trip.

Now the passport. When we talked on Friday I was told he would be getting the application this week. Yesterday, that changed to "As soon as possible, probably next week." So, we've been waiting and waiting for this birth certificate so that we can apply for the passport, but now that we have it, we are not applying immediately because our coordinator has other stuff to do I guess. I'm concerned as I know that there are 3 families headed over there on Friday.

I'm not sure what God has in store for us and why we are hitting every single bump in the road. Not all adoptions are like this. If we didn't need to correct the adoption decree, we would have had it March 30th. Then, if the birth certificate had only taken a week, we would have already applied for the passport long ago.. but like I said, every.single.bump.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

We've got it, I think

I didn't hear anything on Friday so I called our coordinator. Turns out he had good news! The birth certificate people called and told him the certificate is ready! He was out of town so, he'll go and get it on Monday. I'll take it!

Now, on to the passport and I-600

Ouch

I think I'm being played here. This is what Carter has turned to doing when he is upset or when mommy says "no". Boy, does he know where to hit mommy so it hurts.

video

video

video

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Promises promises

Still nothing. I talked to our coordinator yesterday and he was afraid that the office had lost our 2nd application for a birth certificate. The first one, from a month ago.. well, the agent in charge of that one got married and is on her honeymoon. Apparently once it is assigned to an agent, no one else can touch it. Thanks a lot lady.

I got a follow up email yesterday afternoon saying that he was promised (again) that it would be ready Friday. Please use every prayer you have to ask that we receive this birth certificate and are able to apply for Coen's passport.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Another week

Yep, another week. No birth certificate. I'm sick, upset and well.. pissed. I'm furious that I'm continually told I will get it within a few days and then get nothing. I'm even more upset that today I got an email saying that our coordinator was at the birth certificate office and that he would get back to me by the end of the day. Well, it's almost 11 pm in Ghana. Pretty sure that is past the "end of the day".

I cannot believe that people can be so careless when a child is involved. He has officially been our son since March 17th. 2 months we have been waiting to just be able to apply for the passport which I've been told is the longest part of the process.

I'm about ready to get on a plane.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Morning sickness

If you think that a paper pregnancy allows you to by-pass the nausea, thinks again. I'm honestly sick to my stomach.

I was told Friday that again the birth certificate was not available but that our coordinator had been promised Monday. I called today and was told that the only guy working on the birth certificate is out of town until next week so, our coordinator will be applying again tomorrow with a new agent and "hopes" to get it in one week.

What?!

I'm not even sure that this is the case since our coordinator was out of town today (Monday) so, he didn't go to the office where he was promised it would be. How does he know then that it is not available? Maybe he called.. I don't know.

So, a process that should have taken maybe 2 weeks is going into it's 4th.

We then will wait an unspecified period of time for his passport.

I'm just sick.

This is Ghana.

Friday, May 6, 2011

update

Today was a hard one for me. Another Friday has come and gone without a birth certificate. I think what makes this hard is 1)I am continually told that we will have it "by Friday" 2)This isn't supposed to be the long part of the process. So, if this is the fast/short part, what does that mean for the rest of the process?

It seems like we are asked daily when Coen will be home. In the beginning, I was saying 2-3 months as that was what I was told. That would have had him coming home this month. At this point, I think we will be very blessed to have him home in the next 4 months. Passports seem to be taking 2-3 months and visa appointments which used to be scheduled just a week or two out, are now being schedule 1-2 months out.

I know he'll come home when he is *supposed* to, but it doesn't make it any easier to miss these precious months of his life (especially when I just got back from the the hospital where I held a 3 day old baby).

Monday, May 2, 2011

My lil' world traveler

The nursery is officially done! This weekend I went through all of Carter's old clothes and organized Coen's closet to be full of clothes and shoes that *might* fit him. It was fun to see Carter's old clothes, but sad to remember when they were too big for him. Now I'm hoping they aren't too small by the time Coen gets home.

I went with the vintage travel theme after finding this amazing vintage map of Africa. It was only $8. The framing, umm.. more than $8, but I did get to use a 15% off coupon on a day when it was already 50% off. It was so worth it. I love this map and know it will always have a place in our home.



The dresser and laundry bin stayed the same from the previous nursery as did the rocking chair that was passed down to me from my mother. I swapped the little night stand for 3 vintage suitcase which I already had and a cool vintage globe from Goodwill for $3.99. Above the chair, a personal touch - I created this "I love you from here to Ghana" on my computer and then ordered it from CanvasPeople using a gift certificate I got at Christmas (Thanks Auntie Lindsey!). The smaller print is names of different cities in Ghana. Of course, I didn't have the right program on my computer so it had to go to Grandma Cupcake to make it a jpg before CanvasPeople could turn it into this 11x14 canvas for me.



When the canvas arrived, it was waaaayyy too bright so, I used glaze and brown paint to "antique" it a bit. Really the picture doesn't even come close to showing the brightness. I think it's so much better now.





I saved money by using Carter's old crib bedding (the set from our last home that I simply couldn't part with when we moved into our new home and he started using a new set). I then used the cool letters that my mom gave me to spell Coen's name and covered them with a FREE antique map I found.



I loved them alone like this, but next to the bedding, the letters were too bright so, out with the glaze again.





Ahh, much better.

The room is ready for Coen to come home. Unless of course, I come across the perfect chandelier....

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Adoption news

We got our corrected adoption decree the Friday before last and were told it would be a week to get the birth certificate. At the end of the week, we were told that due to Easter, it would be another week. Today, I am told that the birth certificate office is waiting on something from the village and it will be another week.

A week at a time doesn't seem too bad, but when I look at the calendar and realize that it has been 2 months since I saw Coen, and we still haven't even applied for his passport, I get nauseous. We've just missed 2 months of his life.

I asked how long it will take once we apply for the passport and was told 1 month. I'm skeptical. After that, we still have to get a visa appointment which could take another month.

I'm trying to stay optimistic that we'll have him home in July. Funny, July is optimistic. It used to be that May was optimistic.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Living in Ghana continued

This home is located next door to the main foster home. A mother and her 10 children live there. One of her children now lives in the foster home and a very blessed family is welcoming him into their family in the U.S. The sweet baby crying is the woman's granddaughter. All of her children are made welcome in the foster home and spend most of their time there during the day. That's probably why it is hard tell how many children really live in the foster home.

video

You're seeing it correctly. No roof. No floor. No bed. No table. A massive hole in the wall.

Completing the construction of the orphanage will allow for another 16-20 children to have a roof over their heads and a place where children can receive meals. If you feel inclined to help, please visit www.ujimacare.org and indicate that your donation is for the orphanage.

Living in Ghana

Life is settling down a bit so I'm finally adding some video from my Ghana trip. A lot of people want to know what the foster home is like. This is a video of it! This is the main foster home in Kwahu. At the time, there were roughly 10 children living there with the foster mom and a few other women who help with the children.

video

Don't be fooled by the little guy's scowl as I walked in. He was such a cutie and one of the giggliest of the group! It almost killed me to leave him there. When I got home I half-attempted to get Chris to let me adopt him and his little sister along with Coen. We decided 3 would be a bit too many to add all at once. I've been told that he and his little sister have since been referred to a family in the U.S.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Sick baby

I got an email this morning letting us know that Coen had been taken to the hospital and treated for malaria. He is back in his village now with medication and seems to be doing OK. We are so blessed that his foster mother is taking care of him and knew when to call our coordinator and that our coordinator made sure to get him medical attention!

We're also so blessed that another family is over there now and took some pictures and video of him and sent them along (the video will come when they get home). He is looking so much bigger already and it has only been 1 1/2 months since I saw him. He is wearing some of Carter's old clothes (size 18 months) and they are still a little big.

I so wish he was here so I could take care of him. When I told Carter that Coen is sick he said sadly, " Oh, juice!". He thinks juice solves any illness :)


Saturday, April 16, 2011

1/2 prayers

Well, it looks like we only had half the prayers we needed :) The adoption decree is ready, but won't be picked up until Monday. Also, it looks like it will be another week for the birth certificate.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Some news!

I got a message from our coordinator that we should have our corrected adoption decree and the birth certificate on Friday. Pray, pray, pray please!

A baby gift and a project

We got our first baby gift and I'm so excited about it! I had to take a picture of the adorable wrap job:



Inside were the letters needed to spell Coen's name. I cannot wait to "do them up" to match the nursery! Thanks Grandma Cupcake, they're perfect!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Ghana Trip Day 1

I'm finally ready to start sharing about my trip to Ghana. I had waited so that I didn't have to worry about accidentally spilling the beans and then, once everyone knew we are adopting Coen, I was just to busy! So, here is day #1 (FYI: I'm no sparing any details here)


The last 33 hours have been the weirdest of my life. Sure, it has a lot to do with the fact that I did not sleep 1 single hour in that time and that I’m in Ghana, but the weirdest by far.

When I arrived at the airport in Accra, it was just surreal. I couldn’t believe I was actually there. Any moment I was going to see my “son” as Kofi refers to him. I made it through baggage and customs and as I turned the corner I saw Kofi in his lime green and white striped shirt and black pinstriped pants. My eyes immediately shifted to the ground behind him where a tiny little thing was toddling, trying to hold on to the chair of the seat his “mama” was in.

I almost lost it right there, but I just smiled big and gave Kofi a hug before rushing to him and bending down to his level. I honestly can’t remember what I said – something like “hey there. Oh my goodness, oh my goodness”. He in return, immediately shied away from me. I jump up and grabbed the stuffed animal from my backpack and gave it to him. He threw it on the floor. His foster mom beamed at me and tried to encourage him to see his “mama”, but he was not buying it. No biggy. I expected this and I was still overjoyed.

His foster mom picked him and with a huge smile (you could tell she was overcome with joy for me as well) and we headed to the car. The heat was ridiculous. Heat is heat yes, but this is WET heat. The kind you cannot get away from and with the air conditioning barely working, it was honestly like sitting in a sauna. I got used to this and by the end of the day hardly noticed the wetness all over my body as I sat in the car holding a fast asleep baby (not mine). I did notice the wetness on my lap when I moved him, which had me wondering.... but I wasn’t phased one way or another. By about 1 pm I was the filthiest I have ever been from just sitting around that a little baby pee didn’t have any effect.

So, from the airport we picked up foster mom #2 and her 7 months old baby boy and headed to her court date. Court was nothing like I pictured it. The government building didn’t really differ from all other buildings. The entire thing looked like it might just fall down any minute. We sat and sat for I believe about 1 ½ - 2 hours. Finally, Kofi let us know that the lawyer wouldn’t make it today and we should head out.

We piled back into the car with 2 already tired babies and headed to get Kwasi his medical exam. He had barely fallen asleep when we arrived. We quickly exchange my money and went next door to get his blood work done. This was the most painful thing I’ve had to watch. Carter has never reacted the way this little guy did and it just killed me when he looked at me. All I could think was “Great, this is what he will think of when he sees me from now on”.

At this point, the lawyer called and said he ready for court so, we sit in traffic for about ½ hour to go about ½ mile and arrive back at court. ½ hour later, the sweet 7 month old baby legally belonged to someone. Kofi decided that we should try to get my court date scheduled for the following day so, we headed to social welfare and after ½ hour of photocopying my paperwork, we headed up to an office shared by 4 people (3 women) all yelling about something. I have NO CLUE what. Kofi sat patiently and was told that we did not have my home study with us. We then wasted about an hour and half looking for it and trying to get a hold of the lawyer to see if he had it.

So… It’s about 1:30. I’ve had nothing to eat all day. We decide it is time to get the boys home as they have fallen asleep again, but instead, we went to lunch. Luckily, they both slept the entire time tied to the back of their foster mom.

Back in the car again, this time for our 3 ½ hour ride to Kwahu. A few things to note, most roads are dirt road, paved roads are often worse than dirt roads because they have huge pot holes. We dropped Kwasi and his foster mom as well as the other foster mom and her baby near their village for them to take public transportation the rest of the way. Their village was too far out of the way (an additional hour) from where we needed to go and Kofi felt it was getting too late.

The rest of the ride was long, but I enjoyed it. I was able to ask Kofi about anything and everything Ghana, CompAfriCare/UjimaCare and he even shared his life story with me. Wow. What an amazing life he has lived. It started when he was orphaned at just 6 months and today here he is building an orphanage and finding families for children in need. I’ll leave the in-between bits for him to share as it is his story.

So here comes the distributing part of the day, the week, hopefully of my life. Along with the horrible roads, there seem to be no rules concerning driving here. Cars fly by one another and serious speeds and weave in and out of traffic. At the same time, there are people everywhere walking along the edge of the street carrying huge items on their head for sale: bowls full of ice and bottled water, fire wood, you name it. We were sitting at a standstill behind a large bus when out of the corners of our eyes both Kofi and I saw a car FLY by and then heard a sound and saw a large spray of water. Like, a bucket full of water flying through the air. We both turned to look. I will thank God every day until the day that I die that I was in the passenger seat and unable to see anything and had missed seeing exactly what happened.

Kofi turned and said in a tone that was disgusted mixed with sadness, mixed with horror, “He hit her. He hit her and she is dead.” I almost vomited right then. The crowds started running over and the screaming started. Screams of sheer terror. I sat in my seat paralyzed by the shock and still trying not to throw up. I asked Kofi what we do, what they do here. The bus ahead of us started to move so, he shifted and we started to follow. He said that they will come take the body. That would be that. I could tell he was just as disturbed as I was and as a taxi flew by in the other lane going the wrong direction he added, “there it goes now, we don’t have ambulances.”

We continued on and I passed on the option to stop for dinner. We did however stop by the children’s home which was a good attempt at brightening the moment. The children screamed and ran to car as we pulled up yelling for Kofi and then switching to “Obruni” when they saw me. I’m not sure what it means, but I know it is a common name for us “whities”. We didn’t stay long before heading to my hotel.

My 50 GHC got me a private room and bathroom. The bed had no liens and when I requested some, there was much discussion about what it was that I wanted. They finally brought in a blanket and 2 towels. There was a TV and air conditioning, but the electricity was out most of the time I was there. When there was water for a shower, it was ICE COLD. I learned the 2nd day that this was much better than absolutely no running water. I just had to remember to keep my mouth shut no matter how cold it was!

To be continued….

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Not too much to report

Our coordinator decided that we do in fact need to correct the birthdate on the adoption decree and said that it will "take a while." I'm not sure what that really means except that it will hold things up a bit. We can't file our I600 until we have the adoption decree. I'm trying to be positive and tell myself that we are so blessed that the adoption has moved as quickly as it has so far. Also, we were lucky to get our adoption decree just 2 weeks after court (most families seem to get their's a month out).

So.. we're blessed, we're blessed, we're blessed. I just have to keep saying it.

I got more paperwork today to help fill out the I600 and it turned my stomach all sorts of ways.. On way page, it lists his "post adoption name" incorrectly. I don't think this will matter as long as the adoption decree is correct. On another page, social welfare had recommended a 2 year interim adoption which would mean that in 2 years, we have to go back to Ghana and hopefully readopt Coen. Luckily, the adoption decree said nothing about it being an interim adoption so, I think this means that the judge ignored that recommendation.

I called a lawyer today anyway. We'll need to readopt him when he gets home so, I was going to contact a lawyer regardless, but with all these typos and such, I think I'll rest a little easier if I talk to one now.

While we wait, I have plans to redo the nursery! I found an amazing antique map of Africa that looks amazing framed and I think it will help Carter to let-go of his old room. He sleeps every night in his big boy room, but he has a fit if I don't let him sleep in the "baby bed" for his naps.

I also have lots of reading left to prepare for my little man to come home. We are excited to have him here, but we are also realistic. His transition may be difficult and we need get ourselves educated so we can be the best parents possible.

Julie explains it well. Check out her blog here.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

So is the process in Ghana

We got our adoption decree today! Yeah!

Turns out not so "yeah"..

As I read through it, it stated a birthdate in April. April?! I was told January 31st. Could he really be that young? No.

I checked the calendar. The new date was a Tuesday. Kwasi means "born on a Sunday".

One call to our coordinator cleared it up. It was a clerical error. He MAY be able to fix it. He might not. So, our son's date of birth is january 31st, but all of his legal documents might say an April date. Ugh! At least it won't effect things like school registration.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

An original name

I know that there is no such thing as an original idea, but we really thought that Coen was fairly unique. When we've told people that our son's name is Coen, they seem as if they haven't heard the name and ask how it will be spelled. Some say, "oh, like the Coen brothers!" but otherwise, not much recognition.

We kind of got the same response with Carter's name. About 2 weeks after he was born however, we were out and saw a mother yell to her 4 year old "Carter, time to go!". Hmpf. Not too unique. Since then even more Carters have popped up.

So, today at church, we were looking around the Sunday school room which is also a preschool and we're pretty bummed when we saw "Koen" on a cubby. I wonder how many Koen, Coen, Cohen, Cowan, Cowens, we'll come across.

Out of curiosity, I googled "Coen Roberts". I only found one, he's in the Netherlands. With a last name like Roberts, I don't know why I thought any name we choose wouldn't already belong to someone else. You can imagine how many Heather Roberts there are.. In fact, in kindergarden, I had a friend named Heather Roberts.

Hmm.. How about using his middle name, Kwasi? Can you believe there were more Kwasi Roberts than Coen Roberts?! I found at least 3 on Facebook alone.

At least he will be the only Coen Kwasi Roberts in our household. :)

Friday, March 25, 2011

F.A.Q.: Coen

Inquiring minds want to know so, why not share here?

What's next?
We are working on getting his birth certificate and the adoption decree. Then, we'll apply for our I-600 and his passport. Once we have both, we can get his visa from the embassy and bring him home.

How many more trips will we make?
Just 1 to bring him home!

When will he be home?
Hopefully soon! Realistically, we are thinking 3 months or so.

Who is that woman in all the photos with him?
His amazing foster mom. She is taking such good care of him and he adores her. He has been with her since the beginning of February.

Where was he before?
We'll be keeping all of his social history private for now. We want him to hear it all from us in an appropriate manner. Thank you for understanding.

Is he in an orphanage?
Nope. He is living with a foster mom who is dedicated just to him, no other children. We are so blessed to have this set up by our coordinator.

What is the age difference between him and Carter?
Carter is just 13 months older.

How is Carter doing with all the exciting news?
He seems pretty excited for being barely over 2 years old. He calls his brother "ki ki" for Kwasi. When I suggested he call him Coen, he called him "coco". Any time he sees and African child, he points and says "ki ki" including the UjimaCare logo :) so, he's not completely getting it, but he does know that "ki ki" is his brother and he has an idea what he looks like.

We've also talked about where he will sleep. On most days, Carter points to the nursery when asked where his brother will sleep and says something like "ki ki baby night-night". On other days, he insists that his brother will sleep in the big boy room and he will sleep in the crib "Ca ca baby".

He really does seem excited and will randomly call out to "ki ki" so, I had to tell him that he is not here yet, he's in Africa. This resulted in a pretty sad sounding, "oh" including a pouty lip. Now, when I ask where his brother is, he tells me "Apica". It is so stinkin' cute.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Exhausted!

We started our weekend with a pretty big party at our place, followed it by driving 1.5 hours to Chris' parents' to throw another party and driving home. Yesterday, Carter and I made the drive again so that I could give a presentation to the local Rotary Club about UjimaCare. Every bit of it was fun and exciting, but I'm exhausted! So exhausted in fact that I'm just going to link to my mom's blog post about the party we threw.

Check it out here.

and here

We are fortunate that we don't need anything (besides one more car seat) to be ready to bring Coen home, but a shower is a fun part of any baby's anticipated arrival. So, this was a fun way to keep the excitement of a new baby and raise money for a good cause. We raised about $1200!

If anyone else is adopting and would be interested in throwing a "shower" to support UjimaCare, I would be more than happy to supply you with all the templates to recreate the party. Just shoot me an email! Heather_Roberts@ujimacare.org

Monday, March 21, 2011

Introducing...

We can finally share all the details about our little man, Coen Kwasi Roberts. He just turned 1 on January 31st.

You can see photos and video of him from my recent trip below!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Oh the joys of adoption

So we passed court, AWESOME news! News that can only be tainted by Wells Fargo employees. Since we passed court, it is time to wire over our 2nd payment so that our agent is able to pay for all the rest of the fees from here on out.

We have 2 bank accounts: 1 at Chase and 1 at Wells Fargo.

Chase is closer to our house so, I wanted to go there, BUT Wells Fargo did the last transfer and it went flawlessly so, I figured I would just take in the exact form that they used, they could copy it letter by letter and this transfer would go smoothly as well. So, I drove the extra bit to get to Wells Fargo.

I met with a banker immediate and gave her the form explaining that I needed the EXACT same transfer, but in a different amount. After about 10 minutes she starts asking for a different address to input into her system for Ghana. I explained AGAIN that this is how they did it last time and it worked so could she please copy it EXACTLY as she sees it.

Nope. No can do. She has decided that she needs a physical address on the form and the one we used last time was a P.O.Box.

Even my 2 year-old was getting frustrated now. We left, drove to the other Wells Fargo bank and they copied it exactly and we were out of there in about 15 minutes. Although, they did charge $10 more than last time... By this point I didn't care.

Why do some people insist on adding to the frustration of an already difficult process? I really don't think I could have made it any easier on this woman. All I asked her to do was copy a form.

Chase, looks like you are in the lead for my least hated bank now.

We have officially grown!

Our family is officially larger today. That's right, your prayers worked, we passed court!

Next steps:

Get birth certificate, apply for our I-600, apply for a passport, once we have everything, fly over and attend a visa interview and bring our ******* home!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Some thoughts..

I'm part of quite a few different "adoption groups". Groups that provide information and "support" to other adoptive families. These groups are where I have found answers to many questions about the process we are going through and where I have connected with other moms who share the same feelings and emotions I'm going through. They have been great. Mostly..

These groups also come with some members who are very opinionated. I'm usually all for everyone having their own opinion, but there is one that I have a very hard time understanding. It is the idea that it is always best for a child to stay in their native country regardless of any other factor.

Case in point: A woman gives birth to a child and makes the decision to have it adopted. She decides that she wants her child adopted by an American family.

This came up in a group and I was very surprised at the response. It was basically that the woman should not give her child for adoption unless there is absolutely NO way she can keep the child. So, as long as she can skimp by on 1GHC per day, she should not have the child adopted. 2nd, if she does have the child adopted, it should only be to a family in Ghana.

Here are my thoughts:

When a 16 year old gets knocked up in the states, we praise her for making a selfless decision if she chooses adoption giving her child a better life than she can provide. But, if a women in Ghana decides that she wants better for her newborn, Americans should not participate in this by adopting the child. How does this make sense? American women should have the freedom to make this choice, but a Ghanaian women shouldn't?

Understand, I'm not referring to a woman who would keep the child if she had a steady income. I'm referring to a women who, even if given assistance, would prefer for her child to be adopted. This could be because the child is a result of rape or prostitution. Perhaps, she simply cannot fathom having what it takes to be a mother to a 5th child. Whatever the case, I'm referring to a woman making a choice when she potentially could make it work if she wanted to raise her child.

If she does go through with the adoption, she should be forced to give her child to someone in Ghana. This might be fine, but for some reason (true or not) some Ghanaians have the perception that children adopted in Ghana will be treated as 2nd rate and not really part of the family. Not to mention, they have the idea that a child in the US will receive a superior education. Whether or not there is any sort of truth to this, I don't understand why she can't make the decision for herself: Ghana, Spain, UK, US, wherever.

I cannot imagine making the decision to give my child to someone else to raise. If I had to do this, I would pray that I had some say in who would raise him. I feel fortunate to live in the US and would be fine with my child living here if I could not raise him, but would I be OK if I was told that he would be taken to a 3rd world country where medical care is scare, access to clean water scarce as well, and malaria is a constant concern? Honestly, probably not.

So, I can understand a woman's thoughts if she lives in a country like this and is considering the choice of international adoption.

All of this said, I think it is extremely important for an internationally adopted child to understand their native culture and know their country. Chris and I plan to do the best we can in this area. We feel blessed knowing that we are becoming part of a larger family, a Ghanaian family. One that trusts us with their most precious gift. And, in the end, no one else's opinion on the matter matters.

So, I'm turning the comments off on this post.

UjimaCare Foundation Orphanage

UjimaCare Foundation Orphanage

New photos in the updates version of my orphanage video :)

Thank you

A big shout out to all of you who prayed for electricity! The report was printed, the lawyer contacted so... there is no reason that court should not happen tomorrow. Of course, this is Ghana so... I'm sure there are plenty of reasons that it might get delayed so... more prayers requested.

Thanks!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Pray for electricity

Apparently we are waiting on a report from Social Welfare that is ready, but still needs to be printed. The problem is, the electricity is out over there again. PLEASE pray that the electricity is on tomorrow so that they can print the document and we can go to court on Thursday!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

UjimaCare Foundation Orphanage

UjimaCare Foundation Orphanage

Such amazing process in just the couple of days that I was at the construction site. This will be an amazing home for a number of children. If you would like to help, you can click "donate" on the right side of this page to donate directly to the construction of the orphanage in Kwahu, Ghana.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

No court...

I'm so bummed today. 2 weeks ago I was in Ghana and was told that for sure, our case would go to court by today.

Today has come and gone in Ghana. No court. I asked about the delay and was told it was Social Welfare. I asked if it will then take place next week, Tuesday or Thursday..

I was told that we should HOPE it will take place Thursday.

Prayers are appreciated. We need to get past this step so we can move on to the next one!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Orphanage update

Court...

Tomorrow Kofi is supposed to be representing us in court in Ghana. If you have some extra prayers, please direct them our way. There is so much that could delay the process that having court go smoothly tomorrow would truly be a blessing!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

It's A God Thing

This entire journey has been a lesson in patience. Every step of the way, there is waiting. It can be frustrating and yet, I know that every unexpected turn has been a "God Thing." Do you know what I mean? One of those things that when it happens you wondering WHY? WHY? WHY? and then, later, you completely understand the why.

I can't share all of these occurrences with you yet, but I'll give you my latest example.

I was supposed to leave Ghana Tuesday morning at 9:50. My airport shuttle ran late and I arrived at 8 am. Surely, this would still be plenty of time to board the plane (it is in the U.S. anyway). Nope. In Ghana, they do not let you check-in less than 2 hours before the flight. Even if you are in line waiting. 2 hours before the flight, they shut down and have no problem telling you to rebook for 2 days later.

As you can imagine, I was devastated by this. I was so ready to go home. There were about 15 of us in this position which was enough to cause quite a scene. One of the 15 was a soft spoken sweet natured woman named Agnes. Amist the yelling, Anges asked if I was alone in Ghana. Kofi had already moved on so, yes, I was very much alone. She then offered to let me stay at her house in Ghana. She explained that her husband was from Ghana, but he was back in the U.S. so, I was welcome to stay.

Now, in the U.S. this would have been weird and I would have likely declined. But, for some reason, it didn't even occur to me that this might not be a good idea. God Thing #1. I took her up on her offer and we were off. Her private driver took us back to her "House"...

When we arrived, I honestly asked if it was one house or many apartments.

"No, sweetie. This is one house." She sweetly replied.

She gave me the tour of what i think was a 7 bedroom mansion, all with their own bathrooms, large kitchen, dining room, living room and formal dining room with a baby grand piano. This was definitely a different side of Ghana than I had seen all week.

We kept each other company and got to know each other extremely well as we swapped stories about our travels and lives. It turns out that she lives in Ohio very near where the President of UjimaCare lives. God Thing #2. And, she is very passionate about helping the orphans in Ghana, but has only been able to do medical missions with her husband previously. God thing #3.

We determined within the first hour that we were meant to miss that flight and meet one another. I can only imagine where our friendship will take us, but I do know that had either one of us made that flight, we would not have met.

Thank you Agnes for your generosity in taking in a stray. I can't wait to see what God has planned next.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Who wore it better?

The dresses provided by Little Dresses for Africa were a huge success! So many little girls benefited in the foster home, but also in remote villages.

I think we'll have to call this one a tie between Annabell and Nadia sporting their red dresses. These two are even cuter in-person!


Sorry Carter. I think Nadia may have you beat sweetie.


Monday, February 21, 2011

A short break..

I need to take a minute away from packing and hopefully, when I go back to the pile of items that I desperately want to take to Ghana, they will magically all fit into the 2 bags that Delta will allow.

So, my break consisted of reading other adoptive mom's blogs. One of my favorites is this one. She has such a a way with words and I especially wanted to share her post from today.

We are so excited to be part of this process, but we also understand the sadness that others in the process have had to endure. When you're pregnant, everyone involved is happy. When you're adopting, no one is 100% happy. My heart has already been through so much ache during this process as I try to understand what our little(s) have been going through and are going through. I want to be there to give a hug, but I'm just another stranger right now. I pray that God will help our transition and encourage our little(s) to feel safe and loved in our family.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Don't judge me

So I have all these amazing dresses ready to go to Ghana. If I can't take them all on this trip, I want to take the sizes that will benefit the most girls. Each bag of dresses has any where from 12-20 dresses and the size is listed right on the bag. So nice, but what does a size 2 mean?

hmm.....


Thank goodness I have a willing (OK, not so willing - in fact he ran from me screaming- but he'll do anything for a cup of cocoa) model.






So.. this is what a size 2 looks like. Good to know.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Little Dresses for Africa




Today I received 3 boxes FULL of dresses and "britches" for the children in Africa. If you haven't done so already, you need to check out this organization. I don't even know how many I received yet - I'll find out when I pack them for the trip in air-tight bags to give more space. I do know that I have over 60 pounds of them!

This is a bit of a problem because I only get 2 free checked bags. My bag and clothes for my special little one(s) is just my carry-on. I then have 2 bags worth to fit all the donations... I'm thinking I need a minimum of 3 bags to make this work, but Delta wants to charge $200 for the 3rd bag. Can you believe it?!

I'm going to make some calls tomorrow to see what can be done. Worst case: I have to take some of these donations on our next trip when Chris will be with me and we'll get to take 4 bags of donations and maybe even 1 carry-on of donations!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Busy, busy, busy

Sorry for not posting. Things have been a bit hectic around here as I prepare to go to Ghana and Chris prepares for his business trip in Mexico. I'm excited about all the stuff I'm taking to donate to the children and will post some more photos as the remaining items arrive. I was able to get a case of Pedialyte for FREE from Americares and 4 boxes of little dresses and shorts from Little Dresses for Africa. This is a great organization for those of you who love to sew for a good cause.


Thank you for all the concern that has been expressed about my trip. Just remember, I've been to far more dangerous places at a far younger age. I'll be with our adoption agency the entire time and I've done so much research I could write my own book about Ghana :)

I'm barely sleeping these days. I'm just too excited!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Ready for this?

Really, are you ready for this? I'm hardly ready for this. I'm going to Ghana. Wow. I typed it. Does that make it more real or what?!


Backing it up a bit...

We've been matched, yes!

This is not an adoption trip. Not really anyway.

We were matched back on January 25th and have been sooooo hesitant to share the news. if you know our history I'm sure you'll forgive us. So, we were told we'd be heading to Ghana for our court date within a month. Whoo hoo! We ran out and got vaccinations, I started buying bug spray and sunscreen, etc. Then, on Sunday, we got some not-so-good-news. We can't even request a court date for 3 months due to the specific region where our adoption will take place.

This just about killed me.

So much so that I've been coming up with ridiculous reasons to go to Ghana before our court date.

Ujima Care really needs a child sponsorship program. I need to just go over there and help them get everything in order to get it going.

We really need some good photos for marketing and other fundraisers for Ujima Care.

I'd love to get the children to draw pictures and then create greeting cards out of them for another fundraiser. I'll have to go there and get that all set up.

Yes, these things COULD be done during our court trip, but with that being at least 3 months away, all sorts of fundraising efforts and child sponsorship will be at a standstill. Now I ask you, how fair is that to the poor children in Africa?

I knew you would agree and since I have an AMAZING husband, he agreed as well (after some convincing). So, I'm off to Ghana on my birthday no less! I'm not even staying a whole week. Just long enough to achieve what I want to achieve and and hopefully smother some little(s) with hugs and kisses and clothes and those recordable storybooks and ... the list goes on.

I know, I know. You are wondering what the heck is wrong with me. When am I finally going to give you the juicy details about our adoption? 1 or 2? Girl or boy? How old? I'm afraid to say that I'm going to leave you hanging. We'll be hosting a party shortly after I return to tell you all about the trip and show photos.

So much to do and now.. so little time!