Friday, May 30, 2008

Our First Meeting

This is a picture of our first time we met each other. We had just gotten off the airplane and we were very tired. The girls were asleep so the aunties went and woke up the girls so we could meet each other. I thought I would be nervous and I wondered what I would say. This moment was a moment I dreamed of for a long time. The moment came and I was very calm and at peace. I got the feeling of confirmation that these two beautiful girls are really suppose to be ours. Thank you Lord for trusting us to take care of and love your children.


Thursday, May 29, 2008

Bumps in the Road

I strongly believe that "bumps in the road" to anything you are trying to accomplish in life is a chance to grow spiritually. We have had some of these bumps happen during this adoption process that has definitely strengthen us spiritually. I believe that Satan is not happy with us because we are serving God by loving 2 beautiful girls that He has given us. Rita and Richeal! I was thinking how amazing God is to allow us to LOVE these girls unconditionally, just as if they were our biological daughters. I was so overwhelmed with high emotions and anxiety the last day I was in Ghana. I knew the day would come that I would have to say good-bye for now and that seemed to be the hardest thing I had to do as a mother. I tried so hard to keep it together but I lost it several times. How do you keep it together saying good-bye to your daughters who want so badly to come home with you and you wanting them to come home just as badly? It was hard but it was something that now I see has strengthen me more. I know the next time I see and hug them then it's for real that they will leave with me to join our family.

Gettting back to the bumps in the road - we got the phone call today that God has answered our prayer last night with our agency getting the death certificate for our daughter's biological father. This is the document we needed to finish our file for our I-600 approval. I really didn't worry about it, but every night I talk to God and I just happened to ask if He would continue to be in the center of this process. Well, He did it! This of course strengthened me more today.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Tuck in on the Last Night

Well, we have no 3 inch roach story to tell. I am very disappointed because that was one thing I was looking forward to. We do have other stories and memories. It was really neat when Rita and Richeal talked to me about remembering when we did the computer web cam. That is neat because that is their first memory of us talking to them, so that is pretty cool.

Last night I got to have the girls talk to their daddy, 2 brothers, and grandpa. Their sister was out shopping with grandma, so she didn't get to talk to them. They really like their sister, so that was a little disappointing for them. I got to tuck the girls in for my last night. It was really cute because I was leaning down and talking to Rita. I hugged Rita and told her I loved her and we gave good night kisses. Then I stepped over Selina and Ishamel (they were sleeping on the floor) and went to Richeal. I did the same thing. I notice the room was very quiet and after our good night kisses, I turned around and everyone was starring and laughing. Especially Elizabeth! So as she was climbing up to bed, I grabbed her and gave her a kiss on the cheek. She laughed so hard. Well, then it spiraled with the other girls. They were laughing and trying to get me to do the same with them. Little Victoria was on the bottom bunk and she grabbed my leg and laughed so hard. It was so cute how the girls were responding to this. They will need lots of kisses. I don't know if kissing is a big deal in their culture or maybe it's just not done at the home. I am not sure. I am thinking it's just not part of their culture? Anyways, they seem to like it and laugh like it tickles. In my family, we are very affectionate. That was one thing as a mother I promised myself I would do with my children. I wanted them to grow up and be affectionate people. Rita and Richeal have really responded to it well.

Last night was the first night that the girls watched TV and didn't require to sit on us. It seems like they are getting more settled with us - which is awesome. We talked last night about today being my last day with them. I am really hoping I won't cry or show a tear when I give my last kiss. We talked a lot about it and talked about what will happen when we come back. They seem like they understand, so this departure will help for them to build more trust and love between us.

This has been such a relaxing but wonderful trip. I feel like I know all the children and especially know Rita and Richeal. I am sure as I get home and get back into the routine I will remember more about the children. We have basically lived at the Eban House. We haven't even really spend much money because we have been there most of the time. That was my goal though. I wanted every minute I could have to get to know the routines and the children's personalities. I asked the staff if I could watch the bath routine and they were happy for me to do that. I watch Rita and Richeal give themselves baths and watched how they picked out their cloths (clothes). The children don't seem to have favorites of anything. They seem to love everything. If you ask them what is your favorite color, they will respond " I like la color blue" but if you show them the color green, they will say "I like la color green". They do love to ride bikes. We brought the bikes out and that started a little bit of argueing between the children. We showed them a little path they could ride and then they give the bike to the next person in line. That seemed to help keep the calmness down. :0) They do need more bikes and especially trikes. Maybe that is a project that I could begin. I just don't know where they will keep them though if they get more. The absolutely love to ride them and they are very good with it.

Yesterday Percy showed up to take Leigh Ann and I out to the market. It was fun bargaining with the gentlemen. They weren't as pushing as what I expericenced in Malawai. They seemed to give up more. Leigh Ann got some really cool drums and other things. I didn't get the drums this time but next time. I got maracas and some hand ball thing. It will all make music though when we do our "Music Night" that we will be adding to our family tradition (thanks to Anita for the idea).

Well I will post when I get home and get the final report cards finished. :0)


Saturday, May 24, 2008

I Want to Be Your Friend

We have met a lot of people being on our own and venturing out. Some people say |"I want to be your friend". So we have many friends here. We have a taxi driver that gave us his phone number so we could call him to take us places. He was single, so I asked Muna if she would like a "friend". She laughed at me and said "No". I take that as she doesn't want us to set her up. We know many friends, so if she wants one then I told her to let me know and I will help her get one. We laughed a lot. The resturant we have gone to twice - we have many friends there. The waitress will greet us and say "Welcome my friend". Lots of friends here in Ghana!

Today we went to the African Market. We bought some really neat things there. I saw a carved chair with a giraffe and I Love it. I want to go back to get it. I don't know if I will but for sure the second trip. Leigh Ann and I ate our first FULL fish. The head and everything was on our plate. It tasted very good though. We got it fried. The sight of the fish was a little different than we are used to, but at least we tried and ate about half of it. :0)

Richeal and I had our first "Little" disagreement. It felt good! She wanted me to bring her a watch tomorrow so she could wear it to church. I told her "No, I will bring a watch for you on our next visit, so you could wear it all the time". I explained to her that the house mothers wouldn't let her wear it very long and I want her watch to be a special gift that she can put on once and keep it. She got a little moody with me and did the attitude I know all so well. She went and sat off by herself. I asked her to come join us and she just ignored me. I went off and played with the other children and eventually she came back to play. I told her I love her but in America we don't get to have everything we want. Sometimes, things are special that we have to wait for. She understood - I think. She was back to her old self. It felt good to have that for the first time. I feel she is seeing me as a parent.

I can tell that Rita is going to be a mommy's girl. She loves to come to me and stays with most of the time. Richeal seems like she will be a daddy's girl. She seems to be more tomboyish and loves to learn everything. I can tell with her personality she will go far in this life. Rita is much more easy going. At this point I feel Rita, Karleigh, and Kaiden will pair up and Richeal and Karson will pair up. Karson and Richeal have the personality that seems to be stronger but in a postitive direction. I see both of them playing the video games that challenge their minds.

The left hand topic came up today! Richeal told me, "T.T. needs a new hand to eat with". I laughed so hard. TT said she knew Richeal would say something at sometime. When we went out to eat the other day, she gave TT a weird look as she was eating. We will explain to her that in America, you can eat with whichever hand you want to use. Karleigh is left handed also, so we will definitely have to have this conversation.

I am so impressed with the routine that the Eban House has with the children. They know exactly what to do. It is such an awesome feeling to know while you are waiting for your paperwork to clear, your children are being loved.

I brought bracelets for the children to make. I am hoping that Monday we can do that. Ruth didn't want to do it this weekend. I think she wants to get Muna's approval, so we will wait. Monday is packed with lots of things.

I hope my family understands that I will probably not be smelling very nice when I get off the airplane. We are going to try to take a shower before we leave for the airport, but with this heat and humidity, it might be a wasteful shower. Oh Well, it's the smell my family will have to love until I take a shower. My children want to go to Peter Piper Pizza right after the airport, so it may be a while before I can take another shower. YUM!


Friday, May 23, 2008

Life's First Lesson

Percy explained some of the Ghanian culture to Leigh Ann and I. The first life lesson of a child is "No means No and Yes means Yes". He explained it so well. I actually got to say "No" for the first time with the girls. As smart as Richeal is with my camera, I have come to the conclusion that I need to keep the camera with me. She loves to push the buttons and she does a great job with it. She got into my bag and took the camera out. I told her "No" and that "Just Mommy uses this camera". One day as she gets older, we can get her, her own camera. She responded very well.

Today we went to the market and bought rice, 25 big bags of little bags of water, flour and oil. We took this donation to the Kasos Orphanage. They were so grateful. They gave us a bag of water. We told them we were ok with our own water, but the Elder explained it was custom, so we gratefully excepted. They took us around the orphanage. It was a little depressing. The bedrooms only had about half of the beds with mattresses, which smelled of urine. The smell was very strong! We saw the kitchen, dining room, school rooms, and the bathroom. They asked us to take pictures of it. The really sad part of this trip was when we brought the water bags, as we left, the children were fighting over getting them first. This is an orphanage that definitely needs help.

We got back around 3:00. We were running late because Muna had a meeting with her staff at 2:00. Needless to say, we haven't eatten lunch yet. We played with the kids while they were meeting. I got the chance to trace one foot and one hand of each child, except Selina. She wanted no part in this. Richeal tried to help while Rita held Selina, but she still refused. We made paper airplanes, but they didn't fly very well. Jarett should be here, because he can make great airplanes. We also drew cats and dogs. Richeal says, "I want to kiss Cookie when I come to America". Leigh Ann and I tease her about this. We tell her that Cookie may beat her to the kiss.

I did get my first kiss from Richeal today. Yesterday she kissed my arm, but today she actually gave me a kiss. I asked Rita for a kiss and she did it, but was a little shy. After the mommy kiss, she smiled.

One of the little boys that begins with a W and ends with a S - was very cute today. He talked a lot more to me. He says he likes blue and purple. I was told by "Isa" that I have plenty of hair. That's nice to know since I am having a very difficult time with my hair being here. The four muskeers are just as wonderful. They are really coming around and talking more. They like cats and dogs.

Well I am hungry and want to eat my chicken and rice dinner. Update later. :0)


Thursday, May 22, 2008

Humidity VS My Hair

Hands down - humidity wins! My hair is so wild here in Ghana. We are really close to the ocean. You can smell the salt in the breeze and feel nice and wet all day. I have worn my hair in a braid and pulled up. No way do I want to scare the girls or the other children with wild hair.

Today was a fun but relaxing day. My sister and I went to the Eban House around 9:30or so. The children were in school. We said Hi and went off to decorate the walls. We had such a good time with the staff. By the schedule wall, we put up "Staff" using vinyle. Above the bulletin board, we put "Eban" and under it we put "Established 2007". I brought the word "Home" with me and it's the wrong word. So when I come back, we will add the word "House" to the Eban. Under the bulletin board, we put "Home Forever". It looks really nice. We took pictures of the staff memebers with the polaroid camera. Muna was the first one. We took about 4 different pictures of her. The light was so bright in the house that the pictures weren't turning out to be as nice. We also took a picture of each of the children. It was cute to see the staff brushing their hair, getting them all ready to go. That tells you how much they care about the children. They are an amazing group of people. They care so much for the children.

Leigh Ann and I took Rita and Richeal out to lunch at a resturant. It was really good food. We ordered chicken and rice (what else). The girls got Fantas (2 of them). They downed those babies. They acted so well. They were very polite and ate it all! I have come to the conclusion that Richeal is very good with buttons and technology. Karson better watch out - I think she is as good as he is. She figured out how to work my camera (she is very good) and how to play back the pictures. Both of the girls were taking pictures of everything including leaves, trees, chair name it! Richeal told me she wants to be a doctor when she grows up. Rita says she wants to be a kitchen lady when she grows up. I am thinking I have the best of both worlds. I will have a doctor and a cook in the family. :)

It is really funny to walk into the house and all the children call me "Mommy". I thought at first they don't understand about Mommys, but one of the children said "That's Rita and Richeal's Mommy", so then I knew.

It was really cute, Rita and Richeal were talking about their muscles and how strong they are. Then Richeal said "My daddy has really big muscles, see..." That was so cute! She just loves her daddy. She keeps asking to see him. Both of the girls seem like they are ready to come to America. They want to go on "Friday" to American. It has been hard telling them that this was a visit and the next time I come, they get to go home.

Tomorrow we are going to the Kasos Orphanage to deliver food. I am excited to visit there and see everything. Well my eyes are getting heavy so I better close my eyes!


Wednesday, May 21, 2008

I'm Here!

God is so amazing! That was my first thought being on the airplane, going to my hotel, and meeting my daughters for the first time! I anticipated the first meeting to be very slow to and warming up to me. It was not like that at all. They walked through the door (after being woken up) and came to me right away. I hugged and kissed them. They told me they were so happy to see me. It was as if I have known them all their life. WOW - it was amazing!

Today I got to see them and all the children in the Eban House. All the children were in school. It was fun to watch them color and write their names. The childre were so sweet and excited to share their pictures with us. Their teacher is so wonderful with them. I also went to the Embassy to file the I-600. It went very smoothly. There is one piece of document that is possibly needed for my file. I am praying that they will except what I brought them. Please pray that God with the papers and let the I-600 to be approved. The twins want to come home so bad. Richeal is the one that keeps telling me that she wants to come to our house. She actually said after dinner and then she changed her mind to coming home on Friday. LOL She really needs to come home and be us as a family. She is so excited and goes around telling everyone she has 2 dogs and 3 cats. They are learning the names of their brothers and sister. They call Leigh Ann - TT (just like everyone else). They really like her also.

It is so neat to see Leigh Ann be out of her comfort zone. All the kiddos in the home sit on her lap, want her to hold them, play with her hair, touch her skin, and sit next to her. She looks and acts very natural with all the children. They just love her.

We gave out 10 welcome bags to the children that have families here in America. It was so exciting to watch them get so excited to see pictures of their families. They went around and show everyone their pictures. They are such a great group of kiddos in this home. They are so respectful and loving. Every family did so good with excepting their newest memebers. I will try to post tomorrow. We are playing on putting the vinyle sayings on the walls and taking pictures of everyone to tape to the wall. They are excited. I am going to go to bed now since we get woken up by a wonderful voice telling us that breakfast is ready. I thought at first we were going to rough it, but the staff at this hotel is so wonderful. I will definitely use them again. :0)

On Cloud Nine!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Why Haven't I Packed Yet?

Well, it's one full day left to pack to meet our daughters for the first time. It's such an important event to get ready for. Why haven't I packed yet? I have been doing everything else BUT packing. I am teacher to third graders. I love my class this year. The students have worked so hard, which is great because I have really pushed them to their limits. I want to make sure everything is perfect for them to end the year. I want them to know that even though I am not there physically, I am there for them. I had to plan their last full week and boy was that a job. I had to finish their report cards. I had to clean the classroom. The "I had to..." list keeps going. So, today is the day I had to take a nap, play with my children, love my animals, and just plain rest.

Tomorrow I will pack! :0)


Friday, May 9, 2008

In About a Week

In about a week, I will be in Ghana. It is so fast. It's a good thing, except I have so much to do without sacraficing my family time. I need to grade all the papers, do report cards, close down my classroom, finish all the end of the year paper work, go grocery shopping, make lists and reminders of special events of the children, pack, and so much more. No wonder my eyes are so red. I could use prayer in this area. There is some very special paper work that needs to be done for a special cause before I leave. I have to call around to get certain medical records and boy, it is so hard to do those types of things when I am working. God has actually given me much larger blocks of time next week and that is #1 on my list.

We got our adoption decree today. It was so amazing to see the girls name typed in an offical document with our last name. I showed the children what it is going to look. It is really special. Now, it will be very special to see them face to face. I can't wait! I am sure I haven't said that enough. :0)


Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Love can Hurt

This past weekend was very emotional for our family. We got news that is very disturbing and sad of one of our extended family members. It's so hard to love someone that doesn't want to be loved by family members. How do you help someone that doesn't want to be helped? It's hard and painful. I pray that God will open this person's heart and let family members in to help him get help.

It is difficult when you know Satan is in the middle of the whole thing. I believe the closer that Jarett and I get to bringing the girls home, the more Satan is going to try to step in and distract us. We are praying for God to stay in the middle of our lives and this process. We pray that He will step right in front of Satan and guide us to the right place with a happy heart.

On a Happier Note:

I bought my plane ticket so May 19 I will be leaving and heading out to Accra, Ghana. I can not wait to meet my little ones face to face. I am so excited. I haven't been able to sleep for the last couple of days. I got my visa paperwork done and mailed off. I really need prayers that I did the paper work correctly and the visa comes next week. :)