Tuesday, November 1, 2011

OMGoodness, where do I begin?  Today has been a day that I will never forget as long as I live. 

I have had so many little things happen that I don’t want to forget a bit of it.  We flew out Sunday morning at 6:45.  Grandma and Grandpa Seable picked us up at 4:45 and we were off.  After reweighing all six suitcases and making sure that they were all under 50 lbs, (Full of Brandie’s DonationsJ) we checked them all in and flew to Salt Lake City.  When we told the Airline attendant where we were going and how long our layovers were going to be,she went and made up two bags full of treats to eat at the airport.  It was really nice.   We had a 3 hour layover in SLC and then we were off for the 4 hr flight to JFK airport in New York.   That 2nd leg wasn’t the best part of the trip.  It was a very small cramped plane, and we ended up sitting next to an old grumpy Russion lady that had too many bags and didn’t want to check them so she put them under her feet, and Jenny had to contort herself to even be able to sit down in her own chair.  She was such a trooper and didn’t complain but I venture to say that it was the longest 4 hrs of Jenny’s life. The neat thing is that other than that, everything that happened today was just like out of a fairytale.  We met a lady that sat on the opposite side of the aisle named Cindy Hanks. She is a Delta employee that was flying to Jerusalem.  She started to talk to us.  When we arrived in New York, she invited us to join her at a sports bar and we watched the 2nd half of the Steelers/Patriots football game.  It was nice to talk to someone (and wonderful to see the Patriots get worked!)  She really had some good advice for us as far as our travels were concerned. 

The layover at JFK was 5 hr long.  Jenny and I went to dinner at a nice steak house at the airport knowing that it might be the last meal of the sort that we would have for 2 ½ weeks.  When we went to the gate an hour early, we saw a huge group of Ghanaians waiting there.  Many of them had their Ghanaian clothing on.  I talked to a couple of them and couldn’t believe how special they were.  So nice, and so kind.  I sat next to a man named Prince Ofosu.

 He was 34 year old man from Accra who owns a computer services business.  He was so excited when I told him that we were adopting.  His first thing he said was, “God Bless you.  Thank you so much…”

They have such a reverence for family and spiritual things.  I could feel it when he talked to me.  I asked him about the adapter we would need when we have to plug things into the wall like the computer, cell phone, etc;   he immediately pulled one out of his suitcase and gave it to me.  He also gave me his card and asked me to call him if there was anything we needed at all during our stay.  I just couldn’t believe how giving and loving he was after just 5 minutes of knowing me.  I was just starting to catch a glimpse of why Gordon B. Hinckley had such a love and respect for the Ghanaian people. 

After a much more comfortable flight (nearly 12 hours long) we arrived at the airport in Accra and stood in line for customs for about an hour.  To be totally honest, Jenny and I were so nervous that we didn’t complain too much because it bought us some time to psyche ourselves up to go to the orphanage.  I learned a quick lesson about airport people.  There were a ton of men that came up right when we finished customs and took our luggage.  I asked them if they worked for AAI and they all said yes.  Well needless to say when we got to the car we hooked up with Catherine (Kat) and she was our guide from AAI to the hotel.  When the guys started to put our luggage in the car, everyone asked for $20.  I said no and then one came to me as the spokesman and said “Just give me $100 and I will divide it among my team.”  I wasn’t that dumb but I gave him $25 and told him to take a hike.  Later I found that the going rate for that is about 5 cedis which is about $3.50.  Ok, I won’t let that happen again. 

Ok, so now is where the story of the day gets good.

When we were getting our stuff organized in the Rye Manor, our hotel, Kat gave us some time and she went to run an errand.  The room was very small. One double bed, a good AC, no hot water, no refrigerator, little water pressure, and only about 100 sq feet of floor space in the whole room… (Sounds like I’m complaining but the story with the room gets better in a bit.  Stay tuned…) 

After we showered and changed our cloths we couldn’t wait one more second for Kat so we said a short prayer and I gave Jenny a blessing and we decided to make the ½ mile walk to the orphanage (GMI). 

We walked down an alley way and when we got to the end of it we ran into a little boy (Richard) whom I knew because of conversations with the Oswalds and also from Facebook pictures.    We also talked to him Saturday morning when we Skyped with the kids.  He looked up at me and had a confused look on his face.  I said, “Richard?”  He got the biggest smile on his face because I knew his name.  He ran up to me and jumped as high as he could into my arms and gave me the biggest hug.  It took everything I had not to cry.  I sat him down and he said, “I will be right back” and ran away for a minute.   Wow, I looked at Jenny and said, “Well, there is the gate.”  She took a deep breath and said, “Let me video it while you walk in and that way we will have a memory of it.”  As I walked into the open gate there was only one girl standing there.   I immediately recognized that is was Mahti (Mighty), (Jason and Brandie Oswald’s daughter).  She had a very confused look on her face for about 10 seconds and then realized who we were.  She turned and screamed “Addy, Addy, Addy, (which is what the kids call Delight), 10 seconds later, Delight and about 30 other people come running around the corner. 

She immediately saw me and ran directly for me and jumped into my arms.  I immediately notice how light she was, but also how firm her hug was.  I felt her love come right through, as she squeezed my neck.  My heart was so full, and all I focused on was trying not to cry.  I just stood there in silence and held my little girl and whispered in her ear, “I love you so much.  I am so happy to be with you.”  She answered with her sweet little voice, “I love you too, Daddy, I love you too.”  Just then I noticed from the corner of my eye a little boy came running around the corner as fast as he could.  It was little Courage.  I let go of Delight and said to her, “Now go give your Mommy a hug!” I watched as she ran to Jenny and had an equally memorable, and emotional embrace.  ( I will let Jenny describe how she felt when she writes.)   Then I turned around just as Courage was jumping into my arms.

 This was such a huge moment because we knew how quiet and shy Courage is and the biggest fear that Jenny and I had was that he wouldn’t respond well to us, or at least it would take us a long time to connect with him.  Well, those fears went right out the window.  He was so little and just like Delight, he was very light.  His arms were wrapped around my neck and his legs were wrapped tight around my torso.  He didn’t say a word, but didn’t let go either.  I felt as though time just stopped for a minute to give us time to enjoy this moment.  I had prayed so hard to have a connection with him some time before we went to court.  This connection happened the second I held him for the first time. I finally whispered to him in his ear.  “Courage, I love you.   I am so grateful to Jesus for finding you and bringing you to my family.  I will never leave you, I promise.”  He VERY quietly whispered to me, “I love you Daddy.”  That is all he said, but I had to turn my back to the crowd of people so they couldn’t see the huge crocodile tears that went down each of my cheeks.  Once again, I was reminded that God has handpicked these kids to be with me and my family.  I knew it the instant I met him.  I know this to be true as much as I know of anything I’ve ever known.  I don’t know of a better way to say it then just that.  I came to know that the same way I came to know that Jesus Christ is my Savior and the Redeemer of the world.  It was by and through the Holy Spirit and the feeling it gave to my heart. 

When things started to die down, we went out to the courtyard and sat down in some plastic patio chairs and just talked to the two kids.  They walked us up to their rooms and showed us where they sleep, and then we sat down and gave Courage his “Welcome bag”, with the pictures of the family.

As evening approached, we took the kids and most of the adult leaders to dinner and had a great night. It is 1:30 AM and Jenny wants to write so I need to close it up.  There was just one thing I wanted to add.  When we got back from dinner it was dark.  All the kids, (and I do mean ALL) are sooo love-starved, and crave affection, that they just climb all over you.  Jason told me this and I didn’t think he meant it literally.  I was sitting there across from Jenny and I began to chuckle when I counted and realized that I had 12 kids on my lap, legs and back at the same time.  One was playing with my arm hair, 5 were touching my head (amazed at what the spiky gel-filled short hair felt like) and I had a handful of them standing next to my chair hugging my torso.  I have to admit I didn’t find it the least bit annoying and it was completely a blessing for me.  I have never felt so loved.  I was just soaking it all in.  These are such sweet spirits.  They have so much love to give, and just need someone to open up their heart and home and give them a forever family. 

I have so much more to say but I will add it to tomorrow’s blog.  Jenny wants to go to sleep and I need to get off the computer.

-John 10/31/11

Okay, now it’s my turn…

The last few days have been so far and above separate from any I’ve ever experienced.  So much support from friends and family; countless tender mercies from the Lord.  So many amazing memories have been made; a million and one things to be grateful for in my life.  I know this: I will never be the same from today until forever.  I guess that’s a good thing, isn’t it?

It is approaching 2:00 in the morning here, so I will just add a few things to what John wrote.  The first happened at dinner tonight.  We ordered Courage and Delight their own Orange Fanta sodas.  Courage began guzzling his the moment it was within his reach.  (I venture to say this sweet boy has either never been out to eat, or has never seen/drank an orange Fanta soda before.  The wonder in his eyes as he drank it was captivating to me).  It disappeared in a few swigs and he quietly placed the bottle on the table, satisfied he’d made quick work of his beverage.  Then he realized it was gone…  As we were all laughing about how quickly he’d chug-a-lugged it, Delight took a small sip of hers and then set it down in front of Courage.  I looked at her and asked her if she liked it.  She whispered, “yes,” and then looked down at her lap with a little grin.  Emily noticed what was going on and said, “she’s sharing with Courage.”  Delight’s eyes sparkled and she nodded.  This daughter-to-be of ours has a special spirit (and I am beginning to realize what an understatement that really is).  I was humbled by her sacrifice and began thinking of things (like carmel, pizza toppings, and my desk scissors) that I don’t like to share.  I think I might actually be a selfish person, and will need to learn from her. 

Second, my husband is a Champion!  As he said earlier, our room was not great or spacious when we got here.  We tried to cheerfully make-do with it and considered it “part of the African experience.”  We really thought we were going to be roughing it.  When we got back to the hotel tonight, John went to ask the manager if there was a chance we could upgrade to a different room (one with a tub, a frig and a bigger bed).  The two of them visited awhile down in the office while I was upstairs getting ready for bed.  He was so proud of himself when he came up and told me about how he’d sweet-talked the manager into giving us a new room.  King size bed, AC, frig, tub/shower, two closets, dinette, desk, dressing table and two big chairs.  I was so grateful for my husband, the People Person.  Not only did the manager upgrade the room, but he and John are all buddy-buddy now.  Not bad for your first night in Africa, Johnny!  (and it only cost us an additional 5 Cedis a night…not even 5$).

Finally from me, today I keep singing in my mind the words from a song that Abby and Colt sang this year in Primary at church.  God gave us families, to help us become what He wants us to be.”  I have a stronger testimony of this gospel principle today than I ever have before.  The home Courage and Delight live in now is a special place.  These kids have a bed (although small, hard and primitive); they have food (even if it lacks variety or abundance); they have clothes, shoes and toys (yet nearly nothing to truly call their own).  They have what they need to survive.  But something is missing.  Today, God gave them a FAMILY.  I was surprised by how much I learned today about what really matters in this life.  The size/comfort/trappings of a house mean so little.  You can survive on chicken and rice and not starve.  And “Miss Me” jeans? They are a mystery to these kids who are just grateful for a shirt, a pair of shorts and some flip flops.  But they ache for a family of their own.  You feel it in the way they caress your hand or kiss your cheek.  And you better watch out if they look you in the eye for too long.  You’ll be a goner.  They just want to belong to someone, because they feel in their hearts that being in a family is part of The Plan.  It’s the way it’s supposed to be.

Tonight, my cup is running completely over when I realize that I got to be part of the plan that gave two of His sweet, perfect little ones the family they DESERVE.  I marvel that He thinks I am qualified for the job, but am content in knowing that as I listen to the promptings of the Holy Ghost, live what I believe and love these kids like there’s no tomorrow, it will all work out and this new family of ours will be TOGETHER FOREVER.  God gave us families, to help us become what He wants us to be.”  I love the family He gave me and the family He helped me to find.  And I can’t wait for you to get to love them, too. 


  1. I love it...all of it!! Remember when I told you that the words you write won't be as important as the Spirit that touches the readers? Well, just know that it's exactly as I said - as I read ALL of the emotions and feelings you both had welled up in my soul. I could feel the joy and love - partially because I've been there and know precisely what you're going though - but mostly because the Spirit testifies to what you're doing is ordained from a Higher Power.

    Another suggestion (and John, you'd BETTER LISTEN to this one - not like you ignored me about the airport guys!!) - make sure to take the time, as much as you need, to write down exactly what you're feeling, the thoughts you're having, the things you're smelling, seeing, etc. because believe it or not, you'll start forgetting all of it within days of being home. I wrote a little in my other blog, but I wish I would have sacrificed sleep to write more. Those are feelings I would love to replicate on a daily basis.

    Anyway, soak it all up and love it. Jenny, I'm very proud of you...it sounds like you're conquering your fears!! :-) We love you guys and are LOVING having the three 'white' Seable kids in our home. They're a blessing to us.

  2. What are you trying to do to me? Mom warned me to get some tissue, lots of it, before I start reading the blog. Well, I didn't listen, and I am regretting it now. Thank you for taking the time to fill us in on this amazing experience you are having. It sounds like I have some competition with giving hugs to John. I guess he won't need my hugs anymore. I saw the girls, briefly, at clogging, and they are doing great. You have some great friends looking after them.
    Lots of love to the 2 of you, Amy