Tuesday, December 30, 2008

We Broke the Record!

Well, we did it! We broke the traveling record for us. It took us 13.5 hours to get home from Colorado. Whoo-Hoo! It was a much shorter trip this time. ;)

I do have to say that the children did an amazing job traveling there and back. They didn't argue or complain. They were really great! Jarett and I were ready for it to be a much longer trip with the children, but they actually were the best part of it. :)

Well, 2008 is coming to an end! I sure am excited for the next year. I have plans and a new moto for 2009. I am not going to share my moto just yet. It will come on January 1. I am still in the planning mode. What I usually do is create a moto for that year and make a plan for it to happen. I usually can keep to my goal throughout the year, but this year is a little different. Anyway, more to come in a couple of days.

I hope everyone has a FUN New Years Eve! Stay safe and enjoy your family at this time!


Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas in Colorado

It ONLY took us 22 hours to get to Colorado Springs. :) I bet there are a lot of places you could get to in 22 hours?! I know it only takes about 18 hours to get to Texas. So why did a 13 hour trip take us 22 hours. Well there is a story behind this journey and it all began Dec. 23.......

I am naturally a procrastinator! So on Dec. 23 I started laundry around 4:30 in the afternoon. I was actually thinking I could get everything washed and packed by 10:00. What was I thinking????? Not to much on that day!

So, by the time I got everything washed and put out, it was 1:00 am. We were planning on getting up at 4:00 to do our own family Christmas morning things. We called TT to call Santa and ask if he could come to our house a day early and he was more than excited to do that for us. So after our 3 hour nap, we woke the kids up and had our family Christmas. We cleaned up and I finished packing.

Around 7 am, we left to go take our new puppy to my parent's house to be babysat while we were gone. (puppy is a whole new different story for later). Anyway, We got onto the road around 8:00 am and 10 minutes later, Karleigh began to throw up. She didn't have a fever, so we kept going. We thought it was began she was tired and the motion of the car just got to her. About an hour later, she threw up again. I checked for a fever and still nothing, so we kept going.

and going....and going....and going.....and going.....and going.....

We went all the way to a little city that was almost on the boarder of New Mexico. We thought the city looked very different, so we got out our handing map and found us very south! If you don't know, we needed to be very NORTH, not SOUTH! :)

We laughed and found a highway that looked like we would go straight up to the 60, again using our handy map. Well, on this highway was no straight road. It was climbing up, down and around snowy mountains. Even though, the scenery was beautiful, it was a very slow drive. It took us 4 hours just to drive 90 miles to the next major town. I did forget to mention that on the drive of this beautiful trip of the mountains, one by one, the children let us know how they were not feeling so well. The windy road was giving them all motion sickness.

We did finally make it out of there and stopped at McDonald's in Springerville. We are not McDonald's people, but it was food and we were hungry. We ate and were feeling good, so we got back in the car and about 25 minutes later, we entered New Mexico. Boy, did we cheer about seeing the sign "Welcome to New Mexico". We felt like we were finally on the road to success of this trip, when all of about 10 minutes into this state, a police officer pulled us over. Yep, that's right we got a speeding ticket and a ticket for having 1 brake light out. The road we were on was a highway and the speed limit was 65. We thought for some reason the speed limit was 75. It must have been that nap we took! :) I do have to say that the police officer was not my friend. I got so frustrated at his attitude with us. Not to even mention this was Christmas Eve and he must have been upset that he was working or he was just a rookie! Oh Well! He was kind enough to let us know that we still had 150 miles to go to get to the Interstate 25, for which we were looking for.

To make this part of the story shorter, this highway went right through four different towns, at which the speed limit went all the way down to 35. It was a stretch of a drive that I thought would never end. I was at my wits-end. We wanted to turn around so badly, but we decided to keep going!

The rest of the way into Colorado was much better. We made it to my mother-in-laws house at 3:30 on Christmas morning!

We made it and safely too!

The children have had such a great time playing with their cousins in the snow. It has been a really fun and relaxing trip.

Tomorrow we leave for home and we are pretty sure this trip home will only take us 13 hours! We feel a little more experienced and we are ready (no procrastinating here)! :)

I hope everyone had a Blessed Christmas with family and friends!

Chalene :)

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Oh My Gosh!

It is so cute to listen to Rita say her new words. This is her favorite saying now. She says this at least 2 times during a very small conversation. :)

I looked back at the last time I posted and I can't believe it has been three weeks. Like Rita would say, "Oh my gosh!".

The last couple of weeks have been extremely busy! My dad got out of the hospital. He had double phenomena. He is still on oxygen, but at least he is out of the hospital. Every day is a small improvement and he is getting better.

All the kiddos started their basketball season last week. This means once a week practices until January, then we add Saturday games until the end of February. It is so great to see them get involved. They love it. I have Rita and Karson on one team and Racheal and Kaiden on another. Karleigh is my assistant coach, but did express interest in being on her own team. :)

So far everyone is healthy. We have been very lucky that we have only had minor colds come and go. "Oh my Gosh!"

Yesterday I was thinking about how time has gone by really fast. I do have to say that it has been challenging, but now that I look at where our family is and what we are doing, is so incredible! The girls have come into our home and accepted it as their home and their family. Attachments have gone really good. Racheal seemed to attached really easy, while Rita needed more time. Rita is definitely completely and clearly attached now. Our bio children are attached to Rita and Racheal. It's funny to think about our bio needing time to attach also. You can look back and see the times when they weren't attached and now how they are.

Someone asked me the other day if I would do this again or knowing what I know now, would I do this again. That is a pretty tough question to answer. As I thought about it for a while. The thought came to mind, "Would God allow us to do this again?". I am all for it, but I am at the point of my faith with God that I pray more before making decisions. So I can't say I would do this again, because it is completely up to God and His plan. Is it in His plan for us? Are Rita and Racheal the only ones we would adopt? Such tough questions! I really don't think about it much. I assume that if God wants it to happen again, then He will let us know.

I do have to say that I love the experience of adopting older children. I have had such a good experience with it. Yes, times can be tough, but manageable. Jarett and I have become much closer as a couple and more towards God. I would have to say that I would never regret adopting older children. If I had a bigger house, more money and God's "yes" to it, then I would adopt more. I have my eyes and heart on one sibling set at Eban House. I pray that God finds them a home. This little girl and boy were new when I went to take custody of Rita and Racheal. They stole my heart then and I pray they find a forever family.


Saturday, November 22, 2008


Last night was so amazing! We took the kids up to Williams where they have the Polar Express. We got pictures taken with Santa and also got to meet with Mrs. Claus. The kids wrote letters to Santa to make sure he knew what they were wishing for. Then the BIG excitement began when we got onto to the train and went to the North Pole. Everyone drank hot chocolate and ate a cookie. Once we got to the North Pole, Santa took a minute out of his busy night to come onto the train to hand each child a bell. The bells that Santa gave were huge, not the little ones. He talked to each child.

When we left the North Pole, we sang Christmas songs as the elf and one of the cooks danced down the aisle.

The children told me "Mommy, I believe. Look I can hear the bell".

What an amazing way to begin the Christmas season!


Thursday, November 13, 2008

Seriously, When Will it END

When we began the adoption process, I just knew we may run into problems. The problems I felt we would run across were ones from Satan. We strongly feel we were called to adopt the girls. We had 3 children already, we didn't need more. God changed our hearts and we obeyed Him. For that, I feel like Satan is big time working on our family dynamics.

Since the girls have been home, it has literally been one thing after another. Every aspect of life has been changed at least once to twice. I am getting tired of it and I am also getting mad.

Seriously, when is it going to END?

The newest one is that my father is in the hospital with pneumonia. Boy, is that a scary thing. You hear so many times, a person going into the hospital with it and not coming out. When it is your parent, it just scares you even more. I am not ready to lose one of my parents and I hope God isn't ready to take one of them Home just yet. :( Sometimes, this is part that is so hard to be human. My faith should be stronger - is something that someone may say. But, I just haven't had the time to sit and reflect and pray. I need the time, but when and how do I get it now?
I am very thankful that he is improving slowly. He is still on oxygen, but he is gaining some strength back.

I know there are people who are hurting worse than I am and I should be thankful for the good. I really am thankful, but at the same time I need time to digest this situation. This is one of many that have occurred in the last 5 months that the girls have been home. I really need time to think, reflect, and pray.

My prayer for tonight:

Dear Heavenly Father, I ask that you stay in the center of our lives. Lord, give us strength to face these bumps in the road. Help us to make the right decisions with the Blessings you are going to give us. Lord, thank you for everyone who shows love towards us and help us to continue to show love towards them. I ask you Lord to help my dad with his recovery. Lord, give him and my mom strength to fight this infection. I also ask you Lord, to keep Leigh Ann safe as she travels home tomorrow from Ghana. Lord, wrap your arms around Akwesi for his comfort as he says goodbye to Leigh Ann. Continue to show him that You planned his life and how special he is to be a part of our family. Lord, I love you and pray these prayers in your name, Amen.


Wednesday, November 5, 2008

What a Day!

Last night as I sat and watched the election, a deep sadness filled our house. Both Jarett and I really believed and wanted McCain to win the election. He stands for so many things that we believe. Do we completely agree with every word he said? No. But his values are the same as ours.

We just believe that values are there for a reason. They aren't there to bend! I think because I have been the classroom for 14 + years, I have seen children grow up and become adults. I have seen a difference with the homes of children that have values that are black and white and homes of children where values are bent. Big Difference!

This has been such a great election. Jarett and I have learned so much and really got involved. We even got emotionally involved. This was our first true election that we knew exactly why we chose who we chose. We believe our choice was a good one and we don't have one regret except, our man didn't get picked. :) I knew deep down that Obama would win. He reminded me so much of Clinton and how he ran his campaign. I have to say that I do like what Clinton did in office (except the you know what. I hope that Obama will go into office on January 20 and do what he has promised so many people.

I do see some good in Elect President Obama. I am glad that he is the first African American to be in such a high office. He gave an awesome speech and I hope he means every word he says because he is holding such a high position to go back on his word. I don't trust him, but I do trust God. I trust that God will lead and protect all of us.

****Thank you John McCain for giving such a good fight for office. Thank you for your love of our country and for trying to pass on your dream onto us Americans! You ended this journey with grace and integrity. Thank you for showing others how to loose a battle and still come out with your head held high. You worked hard and I hope you don't stop working for us.

True American Lover,

Thank you in advance for commenting respectfully if needed! :)

Saturday, November 1, 2008


We had such great time last night witht all the kids and going trick-o-treating! It has become a tradition for my brother and his family along with my mom and dad come over. We eat pizza and go trick-o-treating. It has been so fun to do this each year!

This year we did something different. In the past, we used to go to a store and buy all the costumes for the children. This year we told the children that we were going to make all the costumes instead of buying them (We used to do this when we were young). It was amazing! The children thought for a while what they could be. This new method opened the door to creativity. All the children chose things that you really can't buy and they were very creative. We did have to buy some little things but everything else was made or reused. Here is what everyone was starting from the oldes:

Karleigh was Victoria Stilwef. She is a dog trainer that Karleigh watches on TV.

Kaiden was a Raptor Dinosaur. He loves dinosaurs.

Rita was a PENCIL. She honestly chose this.

Racheal was Hannah Montana. Yes, you can buy her costume but the only thing we had to buy was the wig.

Karson was Shadow from Sonic. He loves this game.

Cousin Connor was a cowboy. He looked so cute as his belt kept falling off. :)

The really awesome thing about this is that the children are still playing with their costume. Usually, they throw them away and are done with them. Racheal really loves the wig and won't take it off. I actually thought she was going to sleep with it on, but she did decide to take it off to sleep last night. Jarett made every costume! He did such an amazing job! After almost 15 years of marriage, he can still blow me away with his creativity!


Saturday, October 25, 2008

Here I was Thinking

The last couple of days I have been experiencing some behaviors with Rita. She is usually the one that is very happy and flexible. She is the girl who is very easy going and usually listens very well.


The last couple of days, we have experienced a complete opposite Rita. She has been more defiante and throwing a little more tantrums. She has shown that she definitely needs more affection because she is sitting or laying on me everytime I sit down.

Well, last night (Friday) we went to the movies to see High School Musical 3. We did a girl's night out with all the Baxter girls. Rita had a hard night. She threw a tantrum in the theatre and acted very needy. I am not complaining about her, but trying to show how she is never like this.

I was thinking the whole time......this must be adoption related behaviors.

Well, today Rita ended up with a very bad headache and soon to follow a very high fever. It's the type of fever you know it's a virus. So, here I was thinking her behavior was adoption related and really it's virus related. All my kids are like this. As something is coming on, they have a really hard couple of days, and then BOOM - a fever or vomitting.

It's hard to sometimes decide if the girls behavior is adoption related, just plain being a child, or getting sick. I just do my best by listening to them and then try to decide and go with it.

So now that Rita has a fever, we will be watching for all the children and their fever that I am sure is coming. I do have 4 hours of sick leave built up. It has been 3 months that I have had minus sick hours, so of course as I get 4 then someone is sure to get sick. Oh well, that's what it is there for. :)


Friday, October 17, 2008

Parenting Tips

One of my dearest friend, Jennine, is doing a parenting tip post on her blog. She has some other fabulous moms participating by giving 3 parenting tips. You can go to her blog to see other parenting tips.

I have thought a lot of my 3 parenting tips that I could give and it was difficult but here are the 3 that I have chosen to share:

#1 Parenting NEVER stops!
It doesn't matter the age of your child, parenting advice, love, and encouragement never goes away. It's the same with God. It doesn't matter how old you are, God will always be there for you to listen to you, to give you advice, and to give encouragement by opening doors for you.

#2 Always end a difficult time with a child by reassuring your love for that child!
No matter how angry you get at your child for making the wrong decision, being defiante,or being disrespectful; always let your child know you love him/her.

#3 Be Involved with your child. . . .No matter what age!
I believe with always being involved with your child and his/her life. Adult life can get out of hand if you allow it. I have made that mistake often, but I do my best with always reminding myself about being involved with my children. I spend time talking to them, dancing with them, singing with them, swimming with them, etc.

#4 You are never to old for a kiss from MOM!
I just had to add this one because I think it is so important. I don't ever want my children to feel like they are to old to recieve a kiss from me. That is Mom's job to always kiss her children! :) I love the fact that Karleigh who is in the 6th grade, will still expect graciously a kiss from daily and nightly. I love that she doesn't feel like she is to old for one. :0)

Parenting is so hard and it is a daily committment to the children you care for. I am not the best parent, but I sure do try my hardest to be. The one goal I hope my children remember about me is how I was a good mom who cared for my children by loving them!


Tuesday, October 14, 2008

"Ghana" Pick our Pumpkins

Sunday after church, we went to Schnefp's Farm. This has been a tradition where we go and pick our pumpkins each year. We started about 5 years ago. This year we went with our good friends: the Davidison family and my brother's family.

This farm has all kinds of fun things for the children to do:

1. We got our faces painted.

2. We rode the Merry-Go-Round!

Even Selina rode it with Mom and big brother!

3. Roller coaster - here we come!

***It's really exciting that I now have some children that LOVE riding the roller coaster. They rode it 5-6 times that day. I can't wait for Disneyland! :)

4. The big swings really got the workout! Most of the children rode this ride until we left. It seemed to be the most popular with our kiddos.

5. Finally, we made our way to the pumpkins. Each child got to pick out their own pumpkin. This was a challenge to take a picture. It was so dark, so I didn't know what was going to show up on the camera. :) We are going to decorate them a couple of days before Halloween.

Rita is the one who picked the biggest pumpkin of all! She hasn't even seen the movie "It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown"!

This was a really fun but exhausting day. We all got home around 7:30 pm and ate dinner. Right after dinner, all the children went into their room and were out like a light within 10 minutes. I was shocked because in the call they all seemed to be wide awake.


Thursday, October 9, 2008

My Apology

As I look back at the last couple of months, I am very ashamed and embarrassed at how I have acted in some situations. I am not quite sure why I have treated the people I have treated badly or why I have been so out spoken when I shouldn't have. It's not like me at all!

I do have a strong emotional personality, but I have learned to tame it and be more loving and encouraging to people through God's help, of course.

I sit and think about:
What would make me say something to someone to hurt their feelings?
Why I am being so straight to the point?
What is going on for me to feel like I can treat people this way?

I think of "excuses" like PMS, overloaded at work, exhausted, etc. I do think those are contributors, but I don't want to except those as excuses to my behavior.

About a month ago, I had a friend ask me, "When are you going to be back to yourself?". I was shocked at that question. At the time, I didn't know what he was talking about. So after school one day, I asked him what he meant by that comment. He told me that I used to be happy and always smiling and now I don't smile and always seem to be tired. Yes, tired I am, that's for sure. So lately I have been really thinking about this and how I am now.

I usually am a strong person, but as I think back in the last couple of months, I am not sure where my strength has gone. I do have to say that with this fall break, I feel like I have gain some of it back. I have quite drinking Starbucks (which is huge for me), I have gone to the gym the last 2 weeks, I have become a better mom (in my eyes), I have become a better wife (again in my eyes).

Side note on Starbucks: I absolutely love drinking their frozen coffee drinks daily, but for me I would get a good booster of energy in the morning but at lunch time, I would fall flat on my feet. So then I would have to get a diet coke or something with caffine. So during my Fall Break, I stopped altogher with drinking Starbucks. I went through the headaches and tireness, but I can honestly say I feel so much more awake and clear headed since I stopped drinking it.

Back on topic. My friend, Jennine, wrote a post of forgiveness from the Oprah show the other day. I took time tonight to fully read it (go to Going Ghana Gone on my side bar for her blog). What sticks out to me from her post is the aggressiveness that you show someone/people when you haven't forgiven a person. She listed behaviors and ways to forgive. I am not sure who I need to forgive. Maybe I have a underlining person that I need to forgive. Maybe it's things from my childhood that I need to forgive. I don't know, but it is something I need to dive into more to see what and why I have acting in this manner.

As for now, I do want to apologize to you if I have offended you, hurt your feelings, not been respectful towards you, not been loving towards you, and/or been negative by my words or actions. Again, it is something that I am very ashamed and embarrassed about, but hopefuly I can make things right again.

Our pastor spoke last week on Holliness. The one thing he said that I have been really thinking about is being right with God and laying the burdens on him, so I can have light instead of darkness. When I tuck my children in at night and give them a kiss, I want to know I am in the light, not the dark.

My prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father, please take this darkness out of my life. Help me to live the way you want and have planned for me to live. Lord, I ask for your forgiveness and Bless the ones that have forgiven me. Please help me to make things right with people I haven't treated well. Lord, I need your guidance and strength to get out of this dark part of the world, for some reason I am in, and show me the light that comes from only You. I love and adore you Lord. In Your name, Amen.


Last REAL Day of Fall Break

Today was my REAL last day of our Fall Break. I am taking a class that is tomorrow and Friday. The class is all day long. So today was it, my last day of Fall Break!

It was a good day to end the break. I went to one of my friend's college class and spoke to her class about teaching. Came home and ate lunch with the children. Then I went to social security to get the girls their ss card. After that, I went to my grandmother's house to pick her up for a dinner date. We went and ate Mexican food. I just love my grandmother. We ate and laughed so much. It was such a great dinner. Finally, I went shopping at Lakeshore (teaching store) all by myself. I spent an hour just looking at everything. I bought the kids somethings to do with writing and a sight word center for Rita and Racheal.

As I reflect back on this Fall Break, I really feel pretty good. I didn't get my house cleaned. I didn't get my house organized as well as I would like to have. I didn't begin a house project.

But.......I did play with the children!

Everyday I made it a point to go somewhere and do something as a family. We played at different parks, swam at a different pool, saw a movie, decorated our house for Halloween, BOO'ed people, bought my favorite lotion, participated in a hamster race at Petco, and played with our guinea pigs! It was so fun and relaxing! I loved every minute of it. I feel like I really connected with the children again. For some reason, I feel like I wasn't as connected as I wanted to be due to coming home from Africa exhausted and going back to work pretty quickly.

So I feel like I was a good MOM this time and I feel like I accomplished a lot with my children even though, if you were to come into my house, you would see a mess. :)At this point, I don't care as much because my kids and husband are happy because they had ALL of me!

Now, the tricky part of this is keeping it up with going back to work next week. I have been really thinking about how to jungle all this and my thoughts are I have to have discipline with the amount of time I spend at school. I need to set a time to leave work and actually do it! I will let you know at the end of next week, how that plan is going. If you have any suggestions that you would like to share, I would love to hear them. I want to stay a good MOM and not let my job to consume me. I am praying about it and I feel at peace about it. I feel like I am ready to go and tackle the field of being a full time teacher and a MOM! :)


Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Being a Christian in this World (a little whiny)

This is something that I have struggled with since I started my career in public education, which happens to be the same time I began my walk with God. I didn't really understand how the world sees God until I took the jump of faith. There are so many different faiths and beliefs. I have always respected the different faiths, but usually tried to stay around people and families that have the same faith as I do. What I mean by that is hanging around people who do believe in God, one way or another. I have a very difficult time being around people who don't believe in God. The people I know who don't believe are lost and go with the flow of this world (right or wrong). I also have a difficult time with people who say they are Christians but their actions and words show different. I am definitely not perfect at my walk with God. I slip off once in a while. That's why I struggle with this world.

I do my absolute best at trying to always think "What would Jesus say or do?". I honestly don't think He would want me to discount Him. In public education, they ask that you don't talk about God and share your faith with the students. On a level I can understand why, but when a child asks me what I believe I do feel compeled to share what I believe by answering their questions. I owe that to God to share what I believe. On another side, I do have that right because it is in the Constitution. I just get irritated when people ask for you (me) to not mention God because it may make someone feel uncomfortable. As I have grown in my faith, I have become to believe stronger and stronger that I am not going to tip toe around people because I may say something to make someone (who doesn't believe in God) feel uncomfortable or offend them.

I am done with this!

Rita and Racheal absolutely LOVE God! You see it in their eyes, you hear it in their words, and you feel it from their affection. I would never tell them to stop loving God and to be careful with what you say about Him because someone may be offended. I love that they LOVE God! They have brought that into our house and I have seen my bio children change and talk more about God in such a loving way. Jarett and I do talk a lot about God and what we believe, but sometimes I think our bio children think it's just "parent words". Now, that Rita and Racheal have been home, the talks and discussions are going on and they are awesome. It is so amazing to hear them talk.....and I love it!

Our life is all about God and we are doing our best to live that way. We will no longer hold back. If I offend someone by saying I will pray for you, or encourage someone by using God's words, than I am sorry for that person/people. But I won't change my faith or how I talk. At our house and in our world....Merry Christmas is Christmas not....Happy Holidays! :)

****This is something that has really bothered me for a long time, but even as early as last week, being asked to watch what is said about God because someone may be offended. I just can't do it any more. My faith is who I am! :)


Sunday, October 5, 2008


About 5 years ago, we have started a "BOO!" tradition in our family involving our neighbors and the staff at my school.

What you do is fill up 4-5 bags of candy, attach the directions, a Boo! sign. Then you decide who you are going to BOO!. Once the decision is made, you run up to your neighbor's door, place the bag of treats by the door, ring the door bell and run to hide. It is so much fun!

This year was the first time for Rita and Racheal. They had a blast! They want to do more, but now we have to wait until we get BOO'ed to do it again. We usually start it with our street and I carry it over to my school. It is fun to watch everyone get involved.

Now, we teach our kids that Halloween is an American holiday. We teach them that some people believe it is Satan's holiday. We do it opposite and say it is a day that we get to dress up and be anything we want to be (not dead though)and also spread the love of Jesus. We do give candy out but also things that remind people that God loves them.

Below is a video that show the kids in action with BOOing 1 of the homes.

Booing house #1 from Chalene Jarett on Vimeo.

Tonight was a fun night to introduce a tradition to Rita and Racheal.


Thursday, October 2, 2008

Fall Break

Our district is on a modified school year, which means we get 2 weeks off in between quarters. Well this has been our first week off and boy, has it been so much fun. I usually am very tired the first couple of days of break. I think because I am so used to going and going. When my body figures out that I am not going so much, I have a let down. Anyways, we have kept it calm. Each day we have gone to a different park or swimming park.

Below are pictures or videos of what we have done so far.

Our cute boys!

Here are short clips of the kiddos jumping and skating.

Fall Break at Grandparents from Chalene Jarett on Vimeo.

Park ride 1 from Chalene Jarett on Vimeo.

This next video is of the girls being singers and dancers. It is so cute!

My Divas from Chalene Jarett on Vimeo.

It has been a very restful and calm start to our fall here in Arizona. Now our temperatures are still in the low 100's but next week we will be in the high 90's. I can't wait! :)

Saturday, September 20, 2008

My Nephew. . . .Akwasei

Below is a picture of my new nephew.

He is good looking and very smart. I had a blast with him while we were in Ghana on the second trip. He is a true Blessing to our family. His story is totally God driven.


He was in another orphanage before going to Eban House. The director of our Ghana program, Anita, visited his orphanage at one time. As she was leaving, he cried because he wasn't "chosen" to go to the Eban House. A while later, he was chosen and brought to the Eban House back in March (I think). When Leigh Ann and I came for the first trip to Ghana, he immediately would sit by her. He really didn't talk much to her, but just sit there. After a while, she would go outside and kick the ball around. I know what he was thinking, "Wow, this white lady can kick". He really brightened right up. He began to talk to her and follow her all around. On one of our last days there, he went up to her and said, "I want you to be my mother!". He kept telling her, he was going to follow her to America, so she could be his mother.

Well, this hit home with Leigh Ann because he is just the kind of boy she would cherish. He is sneaky, energetic, smart, athletic, and loves her. She finds the good in children and helps them to thrive on their talent. His talent is definitely sports - all kinds of sports!

Back to the story:
Leigh Ann went home and thought long and hard about seriously adopting Akwasei. She decided she wanted to and had already made a connection with him. So, she began the process with getting her home study done. At first, she was told that the Ghanian law wouldn't allow a single foreigner to adopt a child from Ghana. So, on our second trip (to bring the girls home), we had an appointment to meet with social welfare to discuss the request of adopting Akwasei. We took Akwasei with us and long story short: everyone cried and Akwasei is a Murphy now. The social warefell really want their children to be taken good care of and loved. Leigh Ann and Akwasei showed her that they can do this. Like I mentioned before, this is all God driven.

Akwasei, I just want to say I can't wait until you come home. We love you and miss you! Rita and Racheal ask about you all the time!

Love your Aunt Chalene

Monday, September 8, 2008

Looking UP!

Just a quick update on how things are going - Looking Up!

Things are doing so much better now. Jarett and I literally spent the whole three day weekend (Labor Day weekend) getting things put away and organized. I can say that our house is so much more functional.

Even being functional and organized (as best as can be for now), we are feeling the pinch of the size of our house. It is tooooooooo small. With seven people in - it gets busy all the time, especially when a friend or two come over - Ouch! Jarett and I have decided that we are going to focus on paying off all the debt that has occurred with this adoption and then spend another year getting the house ready to sell. So we are probably looking at 1 1/2 years to 2 years left in this house.
We love our neighborhood and area, so I am not sure if we will stay around here or move towards the school that I work at and the kids attend.

We have our office, so to speak, in our bedroom. This really makes it cramped (and not very romantic), but it works for now. I don't know how we are going to sell this house with as much furniture as we have. It is furniture that we want to keep, for when we move, but it's to much for now.

I think during our October break, we are going to rearrange our garages. This will open up a garage to use as a storing place. I can put the furniture in there for the time being.

Next week, I will gain some sick hours from work. Right now I am -12 hours and by next week I will only be -4 hours. This is tough and I hope that no one gets sick because I can't take off. Jarett is low on his hours as well. I am just excited that I will be able to get to gain some hours. Winter is coming and who knows what is coming our way. :)


Wednesday, September 3, 2008


Flash is a Ghanian word that has been adopted into our daily family communication. This is a word that the twins have brought to our family since they have arrived. They say it is a word in their known language, Ghan.

It can be used by adding an "ing" to the ending to make the word "Flashing".
It can also be used in a pasted tense by adding "ed" to make the word "Flashed".
It can be used as a present word, like in the question, "Did you flash?".
It is an action word done only by mammals.

The word "flash" has brought comfort to the girls and they now feel comfortable in using it daily with us. Actually, I should say that every family member uses the word comfortably.

Our family has so much fun using this word, we feel like true Ghanians when it comes out our lips. This word "flash" brings laughter out in us all the time! :)

Here is a question for you. . . . Have you flashed today?

Sitting back with smiles of laugher!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

My Whiny Section

I usually don't whine but tonight I feel the need to!

I am struggling now with everything that is on our plate. I am struggling with what God wants with me now and what is in our plan, except going crazy :). I feel like I am being pulled in every which direction and have no clue where to go:

* My job (which I really do love) is about 50-60 hours a week of my family's life (that is before the children are in bed)

* The girls are doing really well, but as soon as I really believe that, a curve ball will come my way. I had a set back this past week with Rita. I put so much effort into them, then my biological children also need me. This is all common when you adopt ....or is it?

* I haven't even mentioned my husband needing attention. Date? What is that?

* I feel like...when is it my time to give myself my own attention. The only alone time I have gotten is sleeping when I was sick. Even then, children would come in to ask questions. I locked the door at one time, and then the knocking started.

* Jarett's family members still haven't met the girls. When are they going to make the move to come and see them? It is hard to watch Jarett be disappointed again from them.

* Serving - when would I be able to go back and serve in our church.

* My weight! I really want to loose 25-30 pounds. I really want to exercise, but how do I do that?

* Cleaning the house? what is that? Everybody helps out, but it's not enough for 7 people living here.

Is balance the correct word for this? How can you be balanced with all of this? Something has to give, but what?

In my perfect world: we would win the lottery, all of our bills (including house) would be paid off, I would be a stay at home mom and have a clean / organized house. I would be able to make a snack for the children when they came home, by me picking them up from school, I would have up to date clothes and shoes, I would have plenty of jewelry to wear (not a lot, but some nice things), I would have my wedding ring redone (the diamond fell out), I would give the gift of a life time, and I wouldn't have circles under my eyes everyday.

I am definitely not wanting anyone to feel sorry for me, but this is a place I feel I can vent - it's my blog, so why not. I do have many things to be thankful for, but at the same time, I have many things I need to work out with God and how He wants me to live today, tomorrow, and the next day.

My prayer:

Lord, I ask of you to give me strength and clarity on how you want our family to be shaped. Everything you give us is definitely a Blessing, but sometimes it's hard to know how you want us to take your Blessings. What can I or we learn from you to make the most of this awesome opportunity. Lord, help me to live each day you have planned for me. Help me to see the things you want me to see. Help me to have compassion with people who continue to disappoint me (us). Help me to continue to have You be in the center of my life. In Jesus's name.....Amen

That's my whiny post. I do feel better! :)

Thursday, August 14, 2008


I am sorry it has been a long time since I have posted. I can actually said I have been busy! I have been busy beyond all belief. I never thought that having 5 children could make the clock go FASTER. It would seem that the clock should SLOW down - since we need it to.

We begin homework at 5:00 pm. As I am doing homework, Jarett cooks the dinner. After I work with one child, he/she will then go take their shower. Then I start with the next. By the time I am on the third child, dinner is ready. So we eat dinner and then start back up. By 7:45 we are usually finished with every child. Well, you would think it is done for the night......OH NO! Then the sleeping time routine begins. Each child (sometimes 2 at once) go to brush their teeth. By the time, the two of them wrestle, play around, go to the restroom, it is 8:15. That's just 2 out of 5 children. So by 8:45-9:00 we can officially say they are all in bed. I am exhausted just writing that! So you think it stops there.....OH NO!....Now the "Stop talking" routine begins. Each set of girls are talking, then each set of boys are talking. So by 9:20 - I usually can say they are done for the night. So, see how the clock moves faster than we do. If you are considered a large family and/or you have any suggestions for our routine to make it shorter and more functional, we would love to hear it. :)


Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Happy Birthday!

Our little lady guinea pig gave birth to 3 healthy babies today. We were so excited to hear the awesome news from Jarett. We kept thinking she would have them during the night, but she surprised us to do this while we were all at school.

We don't know the sex of each one because we are going to give momma and babies a week before we hold them. They are so funny to see.

Last night while Sweety (the mom) was laying down, you could see the babies going to town. Now we can literally see them. They came out furry as can be and eyes wide open.

Sweety is such a good mom. She nurses them and talks to them. I can hear as I am typing right now, their little conversation going on. Anyway, please welcome these 3 babies into our world.


Thursday, July 31, 2008

Ghana go to School

Well, this was the week of everyone going back to school. I was really prepared for Rita and Racheal to be nervous going to school. Actually, I thought Racheal would be the one who would go kicking and screaming. Nothing....Nothing....happened! All of the kids just went on their marry way. I am sure everyone was a little nervous. We all are, even teachers.

School for Rita and Racheal is completely different than what they are used to. Here are somethings that are different for them:

* School is 6.5 hours long compared to 3 hours
* They eat lunch at school
* No naps (except Rita tried on Tuesday)
* Lots of friends (not only in your classroom)
* Man as a teacher
* No caning
* Lots of fun
* They have their own desk
* Cold in the classroom
* They get to see Mommy throughout the day
* Auntie Mary is their Librarian

I went back to work the week before this past week. The girls had a hard time with it, but did do better by the end of the week. Jennine called me and offered her hair assistance. She took a hair class on Saturday and learned how to do the flat and double twist. This was something that I really wanted to learn. I was unable to go to the class with her, but she brought the class to me. She came over and we worked on the girls' hair for 4 hours. Well, I kept going with Rita's hair and ended 5 hours. Karleigh joined in and learned how to do with me. She was so awesome! She sat and helped me finish Racheal's hair. She did a fabulous job! It was really cute, when she asked me to do her hair. Karleigh NEVER asks me to do her hair, so when the question came up, I jumped on it!

Karleigh sometimes gets frustrated being the older sister because Rita and Racheal just adore her. But, Karleigh sure does step in right away to help them. Below is a "girl's night with Hannah Montana". Karleigh introduced the girls to Hannah Montana. Now, they are in love with her. I got them each a poster of Miss Hannah and they love it. Below is a picture of them watching the show with their 3D glasses.

I love the girls' teacher....Mr. Gray. He is the type of teacher that laughs with and at the children. Rita and Racheal can make you laugh so hard that you will be rolling on the floor. Mr. Gray shared with me how they drew a picture of our whole family. That really means a lot to me because sometimes I think they don't quite understand what has occured in their life. I pray as they get older, God will give them peace about being apart of our family. They are our daughters and not vacationers. They will forever be ours! It is going to have to come from him, to help them understand what major change has happened in their life. They are lucky that they remember where they came from, who they came from, and what they left behind. I know other adoptees don't have that understanding or memory. So I am thankful that they have it to hold on to. Well, that was off topic....back on.

Karleigh looks so much older to me. I see her with her sixth grade teacher, Mrs. Evans, and she looks so much taller and older. I get really sad that she is growing up so fast. I feel like sometimes, I am missing out. I think I just miss her. I miss her little curls, playing with Barbies, and her sitting in my arms drinking her bottle. Now, she cooks, plays her viola, and paints her nails. Oh, how time flies!

The boys are adjusting to school and life really well. Kaiden has Miss Gonnerman. This is the year that he will be excepting more responsiblity. He is so funny and I absolutely love his humor. I can't wait to see him continue to grow. Karson has Mrs. Potts for 2nd grade. He is doing really well. She has more structure, which is great for him. He is very successful in that type of enviroment. I want him to continue to succeed. He has grown the most out of everyone. He is so tall. He reminds me everyday of my Grandpa Murphy. I don't know exactly what it is, but I see my grandfather in him.

Other news in our house.....

Our Sweety (guniea pig) is pregnant. She is literally due any day now. She is so incredibly huge. She looks like she is so uncomfortable. Everyday, we wake up hoping for 2-3 surprises. We counted the days but still nothing so far. Our thought is she can't hold them in forever, so it has to be soon.

Ending our first Week of School and our first month together as a family of 7!

Friday, July 25, 2008

My Heart Full of Sadness

This past Monday, we recieved some really horrible and sad news about the home that our girls live in for 9 months ......Eban House. I have thought about how to share the news, but there really isn't away to share to make it seem not so terrible. Here it goes:

Last Sunday night, the Eban House was robbed. There were 4 men that got into the house through the back door. There were armed. There were three aunties that stay over night with the children. One of the Aunties (Ester) was sleeping in one of the rooms where the babies sleep. The men pulled her out and raped her multiple times - until she told them where the valueables were hidden. She was so amazing to stay quiet during this punishment. The children slept through it, except 4 girls. They were brave themselves for not yelling or screaming. They prayed for the men to leave and asked God for forgivness.

Ester, who tried to save the valuables and the children is now still being punished. In the Ghanian culture, the husband will leave and divorce the wife if something like this happens to her. I can't imagine not having support (especially from your spouse)to deal with this situation. She has two children of her own.

I don't only pray for Ester, the children, and the staff, but I have also been praying for Ester's husband. He needs to be a man who loves his wife no matter what and will fight the cultural expectations to stay with his wife. She needs him so desperately.

If you could add Ester, her husband, the children at Eban House, and the staff to your prayer list, I would greatly appreciate it.

I have thought so much about all of them this week. It has taken a while for me to process this horrible event that happened to such a loving home and person.

I do have to count my Blessings that our girls are home with us. There are so many families that their children are there and had / have to deal with this situation. No child or woman should have to deal with this, but it happens. I strongly believe that Satan comes in to stir things up, especially when God is in the center of it.

If you would like to give to Ester, there is a fund set up for her. She needs time off work to heal (physcially and emotionally). If her husband (which she hasn't been in contact with) ends up filing for divorce, she very well could go into a lower poverty level. You can go to www.adoptionadvocates.org and click on the "donate now" button to find the special designation for Eban House and "Esther's Fund."

Sitting with some mush sadness!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Swimming with Selina

I have a very close friend that has adopted from the same home in Ghana. She adopted a two year old girl named, Selina. Now, this girl came into the home not being able to walk and you should see her now. She has blossomed into such a beautiful and happy little girl.

It is so awesome that Rita and Racheal know her and adore her. So our families get together so the girls can play or at least see each other. This will be even more awesome when my sister adopts a little boy. Then there will be 4 Ghanian children from the same House living in Gilbert, Arizona.

Here is a video of the girls when they just learned how to jump in the water. This video was taken in Ghana at the La Palm Hotel. You can tell Racheal is still a little more scared but Rita takes right over.

First swimming from Chalene Jarett on Vimeo.