Thursday, July 31, 2008

Chapter Seven: Miracles

It seems every time we turn around another miracle has happened in this process of adopting Sufi.

The first post discussed several of them.
But one I had not written down, I would like to share.
(This story is related as it was told to me secondhand, and as I can remember the details.
So not all details are 100% accurate. But the fact of the timing is.)
One women (Shelley), who just went to Ghana and adopted two beautiful girls: Kekeli and Precious (ages 14 & 9), was key in a major miracle for us in finding Sufi.
In June, Shelley was supposed to fly out with her brother-in-law to Ghana, to adopt their girls from Hohoe Christian Orphans Home in the Volta Region. While she was going to be in Ghana, she planned to go to our orphanage for a day. The Director had been a key in helping her in her adoption process.

However, after the first leg of the trip, Shelley found herself at the New York airport. It was there that Shelley discovered that her visa for Ghana was not multi-entry as she had thought it was. This meant she could not continue on to Ghana. In tears and frustration, she had to say goodbye to her brother-in-law who went on without her to Ghana.

Frantic, Shelley called L.M. who helped her decide what to do next. She wasn't sure if she should return to Utah, to try and fix things, or if she was suppossed to do something else. Shelley was advised to go the the Embassy there in NY and see if they could work her visa issue out.
So she went, and they did. It all worked out for her to continue on to Ghana, just a day behind schedule. It was this day delay that allowed us to get our first glimpse of our son.

See, if Shelley had gone on the day she had originally planned (the day before this photo was taken), there would be no photos of Sufi. He had arrived just that morning of the day this photo was taken. That is why even the director did not know who this baby was, at first, or what the situation was. I consider this an incredible miracle.
Her delay and sorrow turned into our joy and blessing!
Shelley at the orphanage.
Thank you Shelley!
Thanks for the sacrifice you made and the photos you sent.
We thank God, for creating such miracles to bring families together. I am still amazed at how so many blessings come in such unexpected ways. We just know that there will be many more to bring our family together.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Chapter Six: The Diagnosis

The diagnosis for Sufi's illness is Malaria.
We kind of expected that diagnosis, but now that we know for certainty it makes it even harder not to be with him.

I know malaria is pretty serious, but I have to admit, I did not know that much about the disease, nor what effects it has. So I did some research. I was a bit shocked to know how bad it was, and to know that there really is not an immunization for this disease. I also was shocked at how prevalent this disease is, even in our current times.
I stand educated!
is a serious, infectious disease spread by certain mosquitoes. It is most common in tropical climates. It is characterized by recurrent symptoms of chills,fever, and an enlarged spleen. The disease can be treated with medication, but it often recurs. Malaria is endemic (occurs frequently in a particular locality) in many third world countries. Isolated, small outbreaks sometimes occur within the boundaries of the United States.
Malaria is caused by a parasite that is transmitted from one human to another by the bite of infected Anopheles mosquitoes. In humans, the parasites (called sporozoites) migrate to the liver where they mature and release another form, the merozoites. These enter the bloodstream and infect the red blood cells.after red blood cells rupture.

Malaria Life Cycle

The parasites multiply inside the red blood cells, which then rupture within 48 to 72 hours, infecting more red blood cells. The first symptoms usually occur 10 days to 4 weeks after infection, though they can appear as early as 8 days or as long as a year later. Then the symptoms occur in cycles of 48 to 72 hours.
The majority of symptoms are caused by the massive release of merozoites into the bloodstream, the anemia resulting from the destruction of the red blood cells, & the problems caused by large amounts of free hemoglobin released into the circulation
Malaria can be cured with prescription drugs.
The type of drugs and length of treatment depend on the type of malaria, where the person was infected, their age, whether they are pregnant, and how sick they are at the start of treatment.

World View
Malaria is not a serious problem in the United States.The picture is far more bleak outside the territorial boundaries of the United States. Malaria infects between 300 and 500 million people every year in Africa, India, southeast Asia, the Middle East, Oceania, and Central and South America. About 2 million of the infected die each year. Most of the cases and almost all of the deaths occur in sub-Saharan Africa. At the present time, malaria kills about twice as many people as does AIDS. As many as half a billion people worldwide are left with chronic anemia due to malaria infection. In some parts of Africa, people battle up to 40 or more separate episodes of malaria in their lifetimes. The spread of malaria is becoming even more serious as the parasites that cause malaria develop resistance to the drugs used to treat the condition.

According to the World Health Organization, each year nearly 500 million people become infected with malaria, and nearly three million, mostly children, die from it. Areas around the world facing the greatest risk, shown reddish brown, harbor some of the world's most impoverished people.
Sites to check out and learn more:

and more.
Now I know this sounds bleak, and horrible, but we are not despairing. He was given medication and is already doing so much better! Out of this we learned a little more about Sufi's personality. Apparently as sick as he was, he was quiet, amiable, did not complain at all, and not in the least bit colicky. They could hardly tell he was sick, except for the coughing and fever. The director said he is quite the hardy boy!

We are still praying for him, and hoping he will recover quickly and completely. We will continue to pray that he does not relapse, nor contract it again (anyone can get it over and over again).

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Chapter Five: In Hospital

Thursday, we recieved a message from teh orphanage director,
that we should call him. So we called him.

The director let us know that little Sufi is in the hospital with a cough and fever.
He is not sure what he has, but he wanted to let us know as soon as possible. He said he would be visiting Sufi, Friday evening or Saturday at the hospital.

He then was going to get ahold of us in the next few days to let us know what Sufi had, and what needs to be done.

It was amazing how our parental instincts kicked in. We wished we could be near him, and hold him until he was better. We both are hoping it is nothing too serious, and merely a cold/flu that most children get. It is hard enough to not be there, but to know he is not up and about playing with the other children, is beyond words. We just know we are being challenged to have faith that the Lord is wathcing over our baby boy. We, just have to trust in that.

We are praying that he will soon be well and happy. We ask those of you watching this blog to please pray for Sufi, and that he will recover quickly.
Sufi, get better soon! We love you!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Chapter Four: What's in a name?

We have often heard the adage written by Shakespeare in Romeo and Juliet :
"What's in a name?That which we call a rose
by any other name would smell as sweet."
Yet, many believe a name is highly important; and that if named something different, we would eminate different personalities and characteristics.
In the scriptures
we see the importance of a name.
Many prophets names were changed to represent important concepts, ideas, and teachings. Many reliogious people name their children after thse in the scriptures in hope that their children become good and righteous.
As a genealogist,
it is interesting to watch the name patterns,
because the names meant something important
and connects the past and the future for most families.

Some believe our names are the cornerstones of our personality
and that they tell alot about who we are and who we will become.
Social science research has found that the names we are given a birth carry substantial pyschological weight;
and that we define our very selves by these names.
Even different cultures and countries have patterns and traditios in naming their children.
Russians are usually named after saints.
Everyday of the year is named after a particular saint: if you are born that day, you usually inherit that name.
In Iceland they have a specific
national registrary of names that you can name your children. If a name does not show up, then you can't name your children.
This is to preserve the "Icelandic" names.
(Currently, Pabbi's name is not on the registrar,
so no one can be named that.)
In Ghana, they name children according to the day of the week,
and they are also given a English name.
(I took the following info from a fellow adoptive mom)
"The Ghanaian Day Name is the name assigned to the child born on a specific day of the week which also includes characteristics of the child born on the specific day of the week. This day name also, called the Kradin name, is carried on throughout the life of the child, and amazingly accurate as horoscopes in the western world."

Day of Birth
Adwoa, Adzo, Ajoba, Ejo (female)
Bobo, Jojo, Kobie, Kojo, Kwodwo (male)
Abena, Abla, Araba (female)
Ebo, Kobena, Kwabina (Male)
Aku, Akuba, Ekua, Ekuwa, Kuukuwa (female)
Kuuku, Kwaku, Kweku (male)
Aba, Yaa, Yaaba, Yaayaa (female)
Ekow, Yao, Yaw, Yokow (male)
Afi, Afua, Efie, Efua (female)
Fifi, Kofi, Yoofi (male)
Ama, Awo (female)
Ato, Atoapem, Kwame, Kwamena (male)
Akosua, Esi, Kisi (female)
Akwasi, Kwesi, Siisi (male)
Day of Birth
Calm, tranquil, and cool (like icewater), skillful and adept under pressing conditions
Warm, gentle, eloquent and compassionate
Mischievous, vicarious, vigilant and daring
Eager for battle, a big rock in one's pocket, skillful in dealing with people
The wanderer, adventurous, wisdom and tenacity
Possesses the medicine for snake bites, able to reverse crisis, thorough and painstakingly scrupulous, Saturday is also God's Day
Tail of the Animal, protection from flies and danger, very protective of others and patient
(What day were you born on? Which Ghanaian name would you choose?)

I feel a person named particularly can live up to the meaning of their name;
or at the very least feel that it holds great importance and values that s/he may posses.
Our names do impact us.
We love the name *Sufi and truly think it is no coincedence that he is named as such.

God has heard our prayers and blessed us with him.
We do hope as we learn more about him, we will find out his Kradin name as well.
We love you Sufi!
*Name has been changed

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Chapter Three:The Orphanage

Like I mentioned before, the first time I called L.M.,
she had just recieved pictures from Shelley.
L.M. immediately popped some of these off to me,
while I was talking to her.
The rest she gradually sent.

But it was these first few pictures
that I just had to know about
the baby boy (Sufi).
He looked so familiar to me.
The rest of the photos
touched a soft spot in my heart.
I just have to share
Look at the conditions they are in,
yet, I have heard this orphanage is
much better off than many others.
Look at all the kids adorable!
In this photo Sufi looked so sad... but when I cropped and enlarged it,
not so sad...
just ever soooo cute!!
What big beautiful eyes.
The buildings look so in disrepair.
Yet, all these kids look so happy!
I wish I could bring them all home with me!
See Sufi in the attentive!
No words can express this picture!!
Wow! What a group of Happy faces!
The schoolroom,
again Sufi's in the back being held.

This school/orphanage caters to so many
children of all different ages!I think this is the director and his wife,
but I could be so wrong about who she is.
Look at the boys in the background!
Such a cute picture.
I don't know anything about it,
it was sent to me in the group of photos;
I couldn't not post it.
Such a beautiful baby.
The kids.
There you have it.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Chapter Two: New Pictures!!!!

L.M. just sent me these pictures of Sufi today.
A couple who volunteers at the orphanage took these pictures and sent them to her.
These pictures are so much more clear.
The other pictures are cut and blown up to size.
I am amazed at how a few weeks makes a difference.
He has so much more hair and looks older.
He has a face of an angel!
He looks a little sad in this one, or maybe upset,
but still so adorable!!!
Although, it will be many months before we have him in our arms,
I feel at peace that he is being well taken care of.
I know the Lord is watching out for him!
We love you Sufi!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Chapter One: The Beginning

We are going to have a son!!!

His name is Sufi
and he is 7 months old.
He is from Ghana.

We hope to have him in our home by the end of the year!
This has been a miracle all the way around.
Pabbi and I had finally given up hope of having children.
IVF was too expensive and the chance of success was slim to none. Adoption was the last thing on our mind.We had investigated adopting from here in the states, but again, it is so expensive and soooo risky. We know many who were going to adopt and the birthparents changed their mind, or the baby never made it through birth, leaving these couples broke, in so many ways. We knew we could not undergo such a strain. We had quickly dismissed the thought of adopting internationally was too way out there, to even consider it in our condition.

We were exhausted.
We had undergone so many failed treatments, and we were emotionally, mentally, physically, and financially ehxausted. We decided to settle on being happy as just the two of us.
But a few months ago, I had been watching movies and reading books set in Africa. All of which discussed and portrayed the plight of the children in many regions of Africa. My heart wept for these children who were abandoned and lived with so little. We had all this love and no one to pour it upon. Pabbi felt much the same as I did, when I told him how I felt. We don't have alot, but we do have each other, and as poor as we are as students, we have so much more than those dear souls in many areas of Africa.
We felt we should at least look into adopting from Africa! We didn't have to respond or act right away. We felt we should just take our time and look at our options and the situation. Pabbi would be done with school in one year and what did we have to lose? We only had to gain!
We heeded these promptings, and started asking around.
One of my friends, Cherish, had been to Kenya a number of times doing humanitarian aid. She had sent me pictures and told stories of her adventures in Africa. I was sure she would know about orphans and who to talk to. I asked her if she knew what the situation was with the orphanages and adoption in Africa. She told me of another friend of mine (Jenn), whom I had not seen in quite some time, but who had just come back from Ghana. She was engaged to a Ghanaian, and while she was there had been to the orphanages.
When I talked with Jenn she told me of her fiancé, Abraham, who was good friends with a man who actually owned and ran an orphanage near the capitol city Accra.

The Director had started the orphanage which was begun in 2001, and serves around 80 children,
plus 300 that come there for school! 
So we contacted this man via email.
We asked a number of questions, as we did not even know how or where to begin the process of adopting. He gave us contact information for a woman named L.M. who was helping other couples in the Utah area with the adoption process. She lives in Heber, a city on the other side of the mountain from Provo.
I called her.
I introduced myself and Pabbi. L.M. had just recently started working full time to help the Director find homes for these children, as well as help couples on this side of the adoption process. In telling her our story we discovered that she was also of Icelandic descent. We do not think this to be coincedence. It seemed the more we looked, the hand of the Lord became more and more clear.
L.M. told me that she and her husband had adopted the director's 4 yr old niece, 10 years ago. She talked of the joy she had found in her daughter. She also emphasized that the Lord has a hand in bringing our children to us in a number of ways. I loved that. I felt very much the same. Up to this point I could not understand why I would be so cruelly denied having children. I had always wanted to raise a very very large family. Pabbi felt the same.
L.M. was quite excited to talk with me!
She told me she had just been going through pictures of the orphanage that morning, from a woman named Shelley. Shelley had just returned from Ghana the night before, after picking up two girls from Ghana. Due to this and my call, L.M. was quite enthusiastic and excited to tell me about the children, and her experiences. It lit a fire within me!
L.M. and I also talked about the process and what would be needed.
She said the cost would be minimal, not including airfare and the home study. This money, however, is going straight to the orphanage and the paperwork/legal fees. None of that money was going into the hands of the director or L.M.’s. This comforted me. I had always disliked the idea of an agency etc., because it made me feel like I was ‘buying’ a child, not adopting. Knowing that the orphanage was getting that money for taking care of the children directly was so wonderful.
L.M. then asked what we were looking for.
I told her we wanted a boy and as young as we could have. She became quite excited about this. She told me she had just been looking through the pictures when she came upon a picture of a young baby boy. She did not know anything about him and would have to call to find out more. The director later told her he didn’t know who she was talking about, but would find out. L.M. sent me the picture(s). This little boy looked exactly like I had imagined. I sent the pictures to Pabbi, and then told L.M. we would wait to hear from her.

When Pabbi came home for the week, from his internship, we became excited and decided to call the orphanage director ourselves and see what we could find out. The director told Pabbi that this little boy was 7 months old, and that his mother was giving him up. The father would not acknowledge this boy as his, and the mother could not afford to raise him. He then said his name was "Sufi*."
I heard Pabbi repeat the name, "Sufi", and I started bawling!
In all these past years of discussing having children, Pabbi and I had only chosen 3 names for our children. Two were boy’s names, and one was a girl’s. One of those names was Sufi.
Hannah, from the bible, has always been a heroine to me. This woman had suffered with infertility but longed for children. After many years of suffering she was blessed with children. I have always held onto the hope I would one day be blessed as well. Due to this favorite bible story of hope and blessings, we named our blog the Book of Samuel, as a reminder that God does remember and the blessing of children comes from Him.

Pabbi talked more with the director about what the situation was.
Pabbi then mentioned to him that I had been thinking of going to Ghana with Jenn, in the end of October. (I was originally going to go be with Jenn, and just scope out the orphanage and the children.)
The director said we might be able to even pick up little Samuel at that point! I was in shock!
We could have our son by the end of October at the earliest! We hope for then, but plan to get him at the end of the year. We have so much to do before he comes; it will all depend on how fast we can get it done. So the rest is left up to us. We need to raise that large amount of money
and we need to pass the home-study;
which we are willing to do.

It will just take time.
So that is the beginning of our story.
We are sure there will be more will follow.

*Most names have been changed on this blog to protect identies.