Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Our month-long week in Ghana

Last Sunday,we said goodbye to Enam Christopher, for now. We flew home Sunday night and arrived Monday morning. I'm so glad we have our lovely boys to come home to, it will make the waiting a little easier. We showed them more pictures and videos of Enam and they are both excited for him to come home.

So here are the details of where we are at in the process now. The judge they usually work with will be on a medical leave for another 3 weeks. The coordinator will stand in for us at court, then we will file with the Embassy in the US for Enam's visa and passport to come home. We agreed that we would rather wait a little longer for a judge that is more likely to give us a favorable decision than risk another judge. So we are thinking it will be between 2 and 3 months  before we go back to bring him home. I really hope we can have him home for Christmas.

It was also good to talk to our in country contacts to ask them about Chrismond, the twin who passed, and about Enam's biological family.  We learned that he has an older brother that lives with the mother and that we will get to meet her our next trip! I am excited to meet her, thank her and encourage her that we will always pray for her and teach him to always remember her with love and gratefulness. Our contacts also assured us that the parents are happy that their children will be adopted and cared for. These parents often do not have work and cannot afford to feed all of their children and sometimes unable to even house them. It is a hard reality, but with a hopeful end.

It was a pretty crazy week. With all the drama of the culture shock, the fresh reminder of true proverty, and the change in adoption plans as well as getting to know our youngest son, it felt more like a month. I am thankful though, I feel like God gave us a lot of peace and rest in his faithfulness and goodness. Last week I studied the book of James. It begins with the encouragement that "the testing of our faith produces perseverence. And let perseverence have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing". It was very encouraging to see God's work in my life giving me rest when I otherwise would be freaking out or falling apart. I also know that those praying for us help hold us up through all of the challenges. So thank you. Another couple there, who were not believers, were more anxious about it all and could not believe how we held it together and were so mature. I got to give God the glory to answer them because I know it is not my inherent self.

Now I'm also holding on to Matthew 6:33. After encouraging us to not be anxious about the details of life, this verse reads,"But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you."

Finally, more pictures!
-The first night we picked him up from the orphanage

-The Cape Coast Castle (mentioned in the previous post)

An amazing artist we bought from (even though it was on the restaurant patio)

Our wonderful group and in country coordinators

Final goodbyes, just for now

Friday, July 27, 2012

We are in Ghana now! I have been to Africa (South Africa) before, but is this is something else. The beach at Cape Coast is beautiful and the weather is great, but the streets are chaotic. They are packed with people, cars, motorcycles, farm animals, vendors, and hustlers. It is a bit stressful to go for a walk, and quieter streets are probably not safe. Even at the beach or the restaurant patio across the street, we get bombarded by hustlers. We did get a few things on our souvenir list and bought from an amazing painter, but you can't sit in peace for very long before someone offers to sell you something you don't want. It doesn't help that you can spot our white skin a mile away. Everyone is friendly, its just intense.

Yesterday, we visited the Cape Coast Castle where slaves were captured and sent to England and the British colonies.  It was difficult to visit the dungeons, especially since the chapel and Governor's mansion sat just above them.  It was really good to see it though, to face the reality and have a fresher compassion for those who died and survived.

But on to the baby, which everyone really wants to hear about. He attached to Jacob pretty early. He will let me hold him and care for him, unless Jacob is nearby. Everyday he is getting more playful and interactive.  We had one bad night, but them I noticed a tooth had popped through. Last night he slept well and has been babbling more. We gave him a bath last night too, which is one of my favorite baby activities.

Court was pushed back from Thursday to Friday, today. We dressed up and drove out to the court. We sat through some other cases, then went back to meet the judge in his chambers for our adoption case. Another couple went first with our lawyer and the social worker. They came out looking stunned. Basically, the judge told them that he hadn't looked at the paperwork and would need to reschedule. The lawyer couldn't meet till next Thursday. Our coordinator has told us that this judge has been trouble in the past and he doesn't trust him to pass our case or not hold things up.

Right now we are waiting for our coordinator to try to find a different lawyer for us and try to meet with a judge that has been more helpful in the past. So we are just waiting to see what will happen next.

Our first morning here I read James 1. Those words are ringing in my ears now. I am thankful to see how God has matured us and am hopeful for because of his goodness. We will let you know how things proceed from here as we learn ourselves.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

So its been over a year since I last posted! Most of you have kept up with us on facebook, but here's a quick recap of the last year.

May 2011 -We sold our house! We made a profit and were able to pay off one of my student loans, put a down payment on our next house, and had a chunk to officially start the adoption process.

July 2011 - We moved into our new home! It has more space, a bigger and more functional yard, and our mortgage payment is cheaper. God blessed us beyond my expectations.

August 2011-My oldest son started school. He had a wonderful Kindergarten year at a great school.  There are so many interracially adopted kids!  Two other boys in his classroom have the same family pattern, 2 biological boys and an adopted child. I love that it is a familiar family type here.
     We also put money down with an adoption agency and completed our homestudy. We decided to pursue adoption in Ghana for several reasons. The Nepali government was going through another threat to its political stability and the US still had a hold on adoptions there.  It was just too risky for us to pursue. Ghana's  profile fit very well for our family in timing, age of child, and cost.

February 2012 - We got an email asking us to consider twin 9month old boys. We thought, discussed, and prayed about it for a couple of weeks and decided to accept them. It was mostly a step of faith, trusting God to guide our steps, even if it suprised us.

March 2012 - We had a big fundraiser with Both Hands foundation. So many gave us their time, energy, and generous donations. It was a huge blessing to our spirits and the financial burden.  We also were able to bless a beautiful widow in our neighborhood.  Check out the foundation in my links to learn more about the great work they do. At the end of the month, we sent off our dossier (big fat application to the Ghanian government)!

May 2012 - The twins had their first birthday, but I wished it had been with us.  The Tuesday after Memorial weekend, we got a call that they had gotten sick and were hospitalized, they think it was malaria.  One of the boys actually passed away that weekend. He had already been buried by the time we were contacted. The other twin was doing well physically,but the details were sparse.  We have grieved and feel peace for the one who passed,but are now very eager to bring the other home, to love and care for this little one who has lost so much.

June 2012- We finally got a court date and booked a flight!  We will be there a couple weeks in July for court and to file paperwork for his visa. He will likely stay with us for much of the trip, but we will have to leave him.  We should be able to travel one more time and bring him home by early September. Oh and we picked a name! Enam, a Ghanian name that means "gift from God."

So now that we are all caught up, I can blog more timely and more in depth. There have been a lot of emotions and lessons learned the past year and I hope to do a better sharing them with you our friends and family.