Wednesday, December 24, 2008

***Insert*** "Joy To Everyone This Christmas"

Merry Christmas to Everyone!!!
May this seaason bring you peace and joy from.

From our Family to Yours!!

video

PS. To download this song or video go here.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Chapter Thirty-One: All Is Quiet....

A friend the other day commented, "It sure has been quiet on the blogs lately."
And it has been.
There just has been no news from the eastern front and that causes the western front to wait.
With the director of the orphanage out of the country (he was asked to speak at an international conference in Kenya, regarding issues for orphans) and elections, and the holidays not much has been moving -thereby not much for anyone to blog about.
I am going to be so relieved that the Ghanaian elections are over (they are happening today) because I think it has really affected the timeline of the process. And this year has been overlypacked with politics (this included our elections here in the states).
I also think I will be relieved when the holidays are over (no I am NOT a Grinch; holidays just cause delays - and I feel like our delays have been long enough.
In addition, I am also relieved to know the director is back at the orphanage (one week later than originally planned). Knowing he is there gives me a sense of peace.At this point there will be hardly any news until we hear of our court date!
We are praying that it will be soon!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Chapter Thirty: Lullaby

Artist: Josh Groban
Album: Awake
Year: 2006
Title: Lullaby

For an actual video performance and explanation to creating the song go here.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Chapter Twenty-Eight: The Fire (National Adoption Month)

I am quickly finding out that adoption is very much like Family History & Genealogy.
Once the fire is lit, it becomes an all consuming presence in your life.
It permeates your life in so many ways, and the desire to spread this love, this passion, is almost unstoppable.
Now that we are adopting it seems everytime I turn around, I see so many children who need families, and so many couples who want children. If only we could bridge the gap. If only our hearts would open up to more possibilities.
Being infertile, I have met and know numerous couples who long to have children. Who would do just about anything to bring children into their lives. However, most see this vision in the form of a young baby - an infant, one who they can watch grow and thrive. I know this longing!
I know this hunger!
I know this desire!
Yet, now that I am involved in adopting - not infants - but young children (a one year old and a 6.6 yr. old) I realized the limits we set for ourselves that can be so confining.
Adopting an older child is something I had NEVER thought I would do at this early stage of our marital life. Previously, I had put a limit on what age I would be open to adopting.
But the Lord softened my heart and I became open to possiblities I never considered.
How grateful I am for that!!!
I was just talking to L.M. the other day and we were marveling at how many of us are adopting children who do not live up to our previously 'idealized' or 'limited' notions. Yet, none of us would change a thing. We quickly realized and know that the children we are adopting are OUR children and that they fit into our lives so well.
Only God could have known.
I was telling her that when we started looking into adopting, I insisted to Pabbi, that we should not adopt children over the age of 2 years old. No budging on that. Soon we felt we should stretch it to 2.5 years old. Then the final and absolute oldest child we would consider was NO older than 4 years old.
Now look at us, we are adopting a 6.5 year old, and I am so glad that my heart was softened and my options were opened. I think we would have missed out on a beautiful and wonderful miracle in our lives. In fact, the Lord knew what we needed. I know He knows what all His children need no matter their age or circumstance.
This month, I have been reading alot about the focus of National Adoption Month "Answering the Call - You don't have to be perfect to be a perfect parent. There are thousands of teens in foster care who would love to put up with you."


This focus has really touched me.
A blog that I often stalk has posted several listings for different organizations that have photolistings of "waiting to be adopted" children, both nationally and internationally. My heart breaks for many of them. Most of these children have special needs (mild to severe) and are much older than most couples would adopt.
Yet, these children still need the same thing an infant does- A family. A place where they can feel secure and grow and thrive. These children have really touched my heart, and I do hope that when Sufi and Kofi are home and we are settled, that we will look again into adopting, and that our hearts will not be limited by age or need.
Of, course this blog posted again recently, a beautiful video set to the music of Steven Curtis Chapman's song "All I Really Want for Christmas."At first I wasn't paying attention to the lyrics, but when I did I had to find them and read through them. I then went and found the original music video. They are so beautiful and poignant, and I would encourage you to read them and watch the video (see below post).

Below are the links to several different adoption websites' photolistings (taken from Instantly Mama) that you might want to pray over.
Take time to look at the children who are waiting - especially with an open mind.
Maybe some of you who are not thinking of adoption, might start thinking about adopting. Maybe some of you who are looking to adopt but are only looking for infants, might change your mind and consider adopting older children -
Maybe your children are waiting for the mom and dad you are!
Please take time and pray for these children to find families
AND
ask God if you are to be involved in anyway!

Children Here in the US:

In Other Countries:
For Basic Information

More great videos to see:

***Insert***: "All I Really Want for Christmas"



Well, I don't know if you remember me or not
I am one of the kids they brought in from the home
I was the red-haired boy in an old, green flannel shirt
You may not have seen me, I was standing alone

I didn't come and talk to you 'cause that's never worked before
And you'll probably never see this letter, anyway
But just in case there's something you can do to help me out
I'll ask you one more time

All I really want for Christmas is someone to tuck me in
A shoulder to cry on if I lose, shoulders to ride on if I win
There's so much I could ask for, but there's just one thing I need
All I really want for Christmas is a family

Well, I guess I should go ahead and tell you now
If it's really true about that list you have
Somehow I always seem to end up in a fight
But I'm really trying hard not to be bad

But maybe if I had a brother or a dad to wrestle with
Maybe they could teach me how to get along
And from everything I've heard, it sounds like the greatest gift on earth
Would be a mom

All I want for Christmas is someone who'll be here
To sing me happy birthday for the next 100 years
And It's okay if they're not perfect or even if they're a little broken
That's alright, 'Cause so am I

Well, I guess I should go, it's almost time for bed
Maybe next time I write you I'll be at home

`Cause all I really want for Christmas is someone to tuck me in
Tell me I'll never be alone, someone whose love will never end
Of all that I could ask for, well, there's just one thing I need
All I really want for Christmas is a family

Lyrics to New, Original Songs on "All I Really Want for Christmas"
by Steven Curtis Chapman (2005 Sparrow Records, EMI CMG)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Chapter Twenty-Seven: Something in the Mail.

Today I decided to walk out to our mailbox instead of wait for Pabbi to bring in the mail.
I just needed a break from working so I thought a few minutes won't hurt.
Guess what I found amidst our collection of mail?
This large envelope from the USCIS.


I could hardly contain myself, so I ran back to our place and ripped it open.

WoHOOOOOOO!!!!!
It was our APPROVAL of the I-600a!!!

The Government says we are approved to adopt two healthy boys up to the age of 7.

Hmmmm, wonder who that might mean!!!!
Just in case you forgot; or if you need to smile!!!
here are their Pictures again! :)


This note is for those wondering about time frames on the turn around for the I-600a (here in Utah).
Getting our approval today means our I-600a took 4 weeks to be processed before receiving our approval. We filed on the 21st of October -so it technically has been 4 weeks and One day.
That was with getting our fingerprints done the same day as filing it.
Another adoptive mother and I had wondered if it would make a difference if you were fingerprinted the same day (like us) or if you waited (like she had to). It seems to not matter. Hers took about 4 weeks. Ours took four weeks.
Hope that helps some of you!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Chapter Twenty-Six: HAPPY FIRST BIRTHDAY

Today was Sufi's FIRST Birthday.
We decided to celebrated it with cake, a ballooon, and even gifts.The cake was a special treat:
Our local grocery store gives a free cake for a 'First' Birthday.
The gifts, he'll recieve when he comes home.
(Can't you see what fun parents we will be - giving a 1yr. old books!) We Love you Sufi and can't wait to celebrate your next birthday together as a family!
video

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Chapter Twenty-Five: The Waiting Period Begins (aka: Sent our Dossier Off!)

We finally have a dossier done and it is on its way to Ghana.
It is such a big sigh of relief.
Now the "Waiting Period" begins.
In Ghana, our dossier will be given to the Social Welfare Officer who will invesitgate to make sure this is the right match. Then he will go to court. The Judge will then finalize that decision by giving an adoption decree (we hope). During this time the boys' will need to get their passports. If the decree is given, and if the boys get their passports, then the ball will be back in our court; namely we will then be ready to go to Ghana to file our I-600 and get visa's in order to bring the boys home.


So until then we are going to wait.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Chapter Twenty-Four: African Children's Choir

A few weeks I came across a post on a blog that I have been stalking of a family who had recently adopted three beautiful Ghanaian children. I have been following their story for the past several months. The mom had posted a video of the African Children's Choir and then commented how she hoped to be able to take her children to a performance in her area.



I watched the video and was quite moved. But the link she had to the choir wasn't working and I didn't have time to track it down and I did not give much more thought to it. A few days later, she posted about the family's experience going to the performance. I think what struck me most was that after the performance, her daughters showed her the moves and steps they did know. This told me that some of the dances performed came from Ghana, which excited me.
I then became determined to know more. She posted the link for the Choir again, which I followed. I also checked out Youtube for more videos. The more I saw, the more I longed to go. Lucky for us, there was a performance on the November 8th in Salt Lake. I was so excited that I talked to Pabbi about it. He then watched the videos and said we HAD to find a way to go.
We notified several others, who are in the Utah area and adopting from same children's home, of the performance coming up. L.M. and daughter wanted to go, and Narda and Steve also said they wanted to go. In fact, Steve and Narda were able to get us discount prices, which was great! (Thanks Narda and Steve). Then my Aunt and Uncle said they would like to go as well. So our group of eight went and we really enjoyed the performance!!!
Not only were these children so very talented...their performances really moved us. This is the 35 choir since they began touring back in 1984. Check out their website for more information on the choir, their purpose, and performance dates in your area.
Near the end of the performance, they sang Africa's anthem as all the flags of the continent were lowered. It was very moving!
We hope, that sometime in the future, we will be able to learn the dances and songs, from Ghana, that they sang, and teach them to our boys.
Very Inspiring!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Chapter Twenty-Three: NATIONAL ADOPTION AWARENESS MONTH

In 1976, Governor Mike Dukakis of Massachusetts proclaimed Adoption Week to bring awareness to the need for adoptive families for children in the foster care system. President Ford followed this proclamation by announcing the first National Adoption Week. In 1990, this one-week was extended to the full month of November. Throughout the Nation, different states and organizations have a plethora of activities, campaigns, and observances. Amidst the month long celebrations there is an actual National Adoption Day (this year it is November 15, 2008).
Each year there is a specific theme and focused promotion of a particular need or topic in adoption. One year it may be a focus on Special Needs adoption, or adopting teenagers, or domestic adoption, or foster parenting, or intercountry adoption, etc.. This year's theme is: "Answering the Call - You don't have to be perfect to be a perfect parent. There are thousands of teens in foster care who would love to put up with you."
This month is a month to get active in educating ourselves and others about adoption and about issues surrounding adoption. It is also a time to get active in advocating and promoting laws that will help adoption (ex: a friendly adoption workplace, etc). It is a month to collect donations, volunteer, sponser children who need to be adopted or support a family who is currently in the process of adopting. It is a time to celebrate multicultural families, develop new traditions, and give thanks for our families. For a month full of activites to celebrate National Adoption Awareness go here.
For more information on the history of this month, activites, resources, and ideas go to adoption.com or google National Adoption Awareness month. I would encourage each of you to be aware of the adoption scene.
There are millions and millions of children - more than 130 million - both domestically and internationally, who need a home, security, and love. All of us can help in some way, some form, some how. Let's give a hand to adoption.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Chapter Twenty-Two: Hit a Wall

It finally happened.
I have hit a wall.

The wall of patience.

I am so done with being patient!
I want my boys home...and RIGHT NOW!!!!!
I can even tell you the moment I hit this wall and I can't seem to figure how to get over it!
I am tired of waiting.
I am tired of worrying.
I just want to move onto the next step already.
I was wondering when this was going to hit me... and hit me hard.
If there is one thing I have learned from dealing with infertility is that I don't have control and I just need to be patient and take one step at a time. I need to focus on that one step ONLY or I can go bonkers. I have been doing a real good job of being able to focus and not look to far ahead. But I am seeing that the closer we get the faster I want to run to the end.
I can't wait to hold my boys in my arms and say "I love you". I can't wait to read books with Kofi, and rock Sufi to sleep. I can't wait to celebrate the holidays with the boys and watch their faces (or incredulous looks). I can't wait to go to the park in the summer or sit at home and drink hot chocolate in the winter with the boys. I can't wait to make new traditions with them. I can't wait to kneel by their sides and pray with them. I can't wait to be there to cool their heads when they are sick all the while worryin about how they are feeling. I can't wait to watch them with their Pabbi play games while I sit by and watch. I can't wait to watch them grow and learn and become all that they can be. I can't wait to be a mother. I can't wait to be a family!
I feel like I have waited so long for all of this as it is! Waiting to conceive was so difficult and fruitless. The waiting and hoping we would have children has felt so overwhelming...and now to know there ARE two little boys that will soon join our family...but it will take more time feels too much. One minute they feel so close and the next I realize these two boys are all the way across the world. I wish I had the money to jump on a plane RIGHT NOW and race to them and stay with them until all of the paperwork and governments have placed things right.
But I can't. I sit and wait. I wait to be approved to be a mother. I wait for a judge to say, "Yes you can be a family". I wait for paperwork to be signed so that we can finally be in the same country. I wait and wait and wait. And hope. And pray. And plead that it will all work out quickly and not drag on for many more months or years.

But I don't feel like I can take one more breath and wait anymore.

I know it is required and my wanting this will not change anything...but these emotions are still happening! I can hardly think for wanting this so much! I want to be a mother in action -not waiting. If I had a set date...would that help? I doubt it.
I know the answer is to pray, have hope and faith the God knows what is needed for me and for those two beautiful boys across the world, not just for now but for eternity. But this moment seems like an eternity to me. I can't wait for the day I can look back and smile at how I feel now, and know it was ALL worth the waiting! I look forward to that day!
But for now, I will have to be content at looking at these faces and know that I love them.

And I will continue to pray:
for them,
for us,
for peace.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Chapter Twenty-One: PRAYING for PASSPORTS

One of the big steps to bringing the boys home will be getting their Ghanaian Passports.
Lately there has been trouble getting passports for anyone in Ghana.
Some say it is due to passports that were stolen a few months back. (Check out this link for the stolen passport story: http://allafrica.com/stories/200808190664.html). We have heard that although they recovered the stolen passports, that until the investigation is finished they won't be issuing anymore passports.
Some wonder if it is not due to upcoming elections and the impact it is having on government offices (slowing things down etc.).
We just know that passports are not being handed out. Only a few are being trickled through and there seems to be little rhyme or reason to it.Whatever the case is, we can't bring the boys home unless they get theirs. We are praying desperately that they will get them soon, and that there will be no hang ups or waiting until the passports come through. Maybe we are getting a little ahead of ourselves on this topic, due to the fact we still have not sent our dossier (we are in the process of putting it together) or even have gone to court. But for some reason this issue has been laying heavily upon our minds.
Your faith and prayers that the boys will get their passports soon would be much appreciated.
We love you boys!!!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Chapter Twenty: YARD SALE The Sequel

Last Week's Yard Sale was such a hit, and we had so much left over, we decided to do another Yard Sale. Several people contacted us to let us know they still wanted to donate more items. During the week we continued to recieve these items and prepare for the next sale. This time we changed locations. Friends of our friends volunteered to host the sale in their front yard. In fact, we want to send out a special thanks to Kay and Kay Long for loaning us their yard! I also want to thank June and Kristin for helping us again with our yard sale.
The morning started out quite chilly. But gradually warmed up.
It ended up being quite a nice day.
The amount of clothing donated was phenomonal!
We hope to send some of the leftovers straight to the orphanage for the children.

More large pieces of furniture were donated later in the day.
These are just a few of the pieces we started with.
It was still quite early when these pictures were taken. But we had hardly started laying out things (at 7:30 am) when we had people already showing up to shop!
This is June (left) and Kay (right). This is my dear friend Kristin.
You may be wondering what we are doing. The glove that Kristin is trying to shove her hand in was donated; the lining of the glove had been pulled out seperately than the outer shell. We were trying to line the fingers of both pieces together. All in all we were able to raise another $595.36.
Again we want to thank everyone who was able to donate items and those who were able to come and purchase items.
We feel truly blessed by the Lord through the hands and hearts of others!

Friday, October 24, 2008

***Insert***: Just a Reminder

Just wanted to post a reminder about our Yard Sale ...Tommorrow!!!!
* We will continue accepting donated items at 652 West 800 North, Provo - until 9 pm tonite. (We need to have time to mark and transport these items for tommorrow)
* The actual Yard Sale info:
Date:
25 Oct. 2008
Time: 9:00 am
Place: 337 North 800 East, Orem
We hope to see you there!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Chapter Nineteen: Homestudy Approval & The I-600A Run Around

We have been pulling our I-600A together for a while now. We had just to wait for our homestudy approval. We finally recieved that on Friday the 17th. Pabbi and I were so thrilled! It came the day before our Yard Sale. By the end of the weekend we felt so elated from our success and from having the homestudy done!
We could now set up an appointment for the I-600A and our fingerprinting.

Our appointment was for 7:40 am Tuesday. We stayed up the night before reviewing all the paperwork and requirments over and over. (Here one can see our neuroticism and perfectionism especially when dealing with Immigration Offices -we have had to in the past and we get such mixed results...we don't leave anything for chance). We felt prepared! We had our paperwork fully done and we set our checkbook with the paper so as to not forget it.

We pulled ourselves out of bed, bright and early to make the 40 minute trek north. We arrived about 30 minutes early (again - neurotic). We waited patiently and we were promptly called to the window at our time. The man who helped seemed like he too had been pulled out of bed early and did not seem to happy about that. He barely glanced at our paperwork and then asked for the money order. In the paperwork it says we could use a moneyorder or a check - we had chosen to go with the check. He looked at us and said "Money Order only." We were dumbfounded. He stamps our appointment paper, hands us back our paperwork, and said "Come back when you have the money order."

We left a bit shocked. It was not even 8:00am and where were we supposed to find a money order that early!?!
Not far was a grocery store...their counter did not open until 10:00am. We looked in the phone book for a Western Union. We found one about 10 minutes away. We drove all the way over there only to be told they don't make money orders from personal checks or Visa's. Only Cash. But there was an ATM across the street we could try.

We ran to the ATM across the street and started pulling money out. It soon denies us from withdrawing (We now know that our bank protection against stolen cards and large ATM cash withdrawels work). We were unsure what to do. We aren't too familiar with the area and unsure where to go. We go back to Western Union ask if they would cash a check. They will cash a personal check - for 5% of it! That was out of the question.

Then an idea! Where is the nearest Wal-mart? Not too far actually. So we ran over there and with no trouble or questions, they use our Visa and make us a money order! (I know some of you readers are anti-Wal-Mart but sometimes they can be quite the lifesaver)!

So we run back to the Office and we wait a few minutes before we are summoned back to the window, and to the same man.

He takes the check and paperwork while we stand silently. Then my eye catches something. Right there on his desk is paperwork with personal checks attached.
WHAT?!?! Others can use personal checks but we had to take over an hour to hunt down a money order. I try to keep a smile on my face...don't want to upset the man who stands between us and our future!

We wait while he keeps typing away at the computer in silence. After a what seemed like forever, he talks to a co-worker about how he can't find Pabbi in the computer. I try not to get to nervous. Finally, he finishes and hands us the paperwork for the fingerprinting...I look at the time and date...November 5th!!
Ugghhh!!!

But before I can say anything he says, "Go to the [fingerprinting office] and tell [so-&-so] that I sent you, and that you should get printed today. Otherwise you would have to wait until November 5th." Such relief flooded through me - I didn't want to have to push too hard for early fingerprinting. I was worried about poking the snake...who turned out to be quite nice..most likely just tired.

We drive over to the office and are fingerprinted in no time at all. I thought it was weird that they set up appointments etc. because they are busy...yet there was NO-ONE there to be printed except us!

After we were printed and climbed into the car, Pabbi looks to me and says, "Do you realize that filing the paperwork and getting printed took less than an hour and yet we spent over an hour just tracking down a money order?"

The irony of that one!

All in all...we are done with this step and are now ready to put together our dossier! I wonder what new adventures this next set of paperwork will present. We will be sure to keep you posted!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Chapter Eighteen: YARD SALE SUCCESS!!!!

We had had the idea to have a yard sale to raise money for our adoption process a couple months ago. But I have to say I thought we were being overly ambitious...as neither one of us have ever held a yard sale...nor did we have that much to sell. We kept mulling the idea over with friends and family who rooted us on. We planned to have it on the 11th of Oct. but were snowed out of that idea. Then we planned for the 18th and we were blessed with incredible weather.
Because we had never done a yard sale we asked a good friend of ours to help. We want to give our thanks to Kristin, and her parents June and Henry, as well as Stacy their grandaughter, for helping pull this together for us. Not only did they collect donations from their area, but they spent all day Friday bringing donated items they collected to our place, and then they sat and helped us price everything! It was tiresome work, and seemed never-ending because the donations kept coming in all day long - which we are ever so grateful for. Then despite a late night of working they showed up super early the next morning to help run the sale!
Without them we would have never been able to manage.
In addition, we would be negligent if we did not add another dear friend who came and ran a refreshment table as well as stayed late to help clean up. Thank you Katie!
We also want to thank two families who volunteered their front yards to us to host this sale.
This is a picture of the carport early Saturday morning.
But the donations did NOT stop coming in.
They kept pouring in all day. I felt that just as we sold things, more things came in and filled up their spot.
If I wasn't so busy I think I might have broken down and wept tears of joy and gratitude.
But donations did not just come in the form of items to sell. I was shocked when we recieved monetary donations on top of items being bought. I want to thank each and everyone of you who not only donated items, but those of you who came and bought items, and those who donated money in addition.
Your generosity has truly been a miracle for us.
At the end of the day (7:30 pm...people just kept coming and coming) we raised twice what I thought would be possible. We were able to raise $2,326.56. I still can't believe such a large amount!!! The Lord has truly blessed us through the hands and generosity of others!
And... IT IS NOT OVER.
The pictures below are items we have left to sell. Not only that, so many have contacted us and told us they still have things they would like to donate.

So in all humility, and with much gratitude, we will be doing an other Yard Sale this coming Saturday (October 25th). A wonderful couple has volunteered their yard in the Orem area where we will be having our next Yard Sale.
YARD SALE

October 25, 2008
@
337 North 800 East
Orem, Utah
starting at 9:00 am.

For those who still have things they would like to donate, we will be receiving items until 9:00pm Friday, the 24th at our place:
652 West 800 North
We thank you for your generosity.

Again, THANK YOU Everyone!!!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Chapter Seventeen: Big Brother

Many of you already know we are adopting another child - a boy.
His name is Kofi and he is 6 years old.
He is such a beautiful and sweet child (according to those who know him.)
We have had the blessing of being able to talk to him on the phone (I of course wept most of that conversation). Just hearing him talk...melted my heart.
Look at this picture..doesn't he melt your heart too? We are both ecstatic to have the option to adopt more than one. We have always wanted a large family..and we hope this is only the beginning. The story of him joining our story is a miracle in and of itself. Much like with Sufi, we just knew that he was suppossed to join our family when we heard about him.
Here are the two brothers together!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Chapter Sixteen: Pictures of Baby Sufi

As was mentioned in a previous post, L.M. went to Ghana in September. While she was there, she was able to meet and play with the children at the orphanage. Of course she was able to spend time with our baby boy Sufi. Here are a few of the pictures she sent us.
Such concentration...
You can't hardly see, but he has two baby teeth on the bottom.
I wonder what he is looking at.
Isn't he so adorable?!?!!!
We were also able to learn when he was born for certain...he is a Scorpio.
With every picture and every step closer to bringing him home, our hearts fill with such an immense joy.
We love you Sufi!