Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Ghana: Day 2
DISCLAIMER…sorry these posts are so long.  Our purpose for creating these blog entries is to have a record of this experience for Courage and Delight.  They don’t have baby pictures, never will.  They don’t have baby books, biological family trees or anything to help them know who they are.  For this purpose, we’ve tried to record everything we can about “Our Beginning,” hoping it will be a reference point for them in the future.  As a bonus, we would love for all of you who’ll also be a loving part of their lives to share these experiences with us, just as you would have if these children had been “born into” our family.  Thus, the lengthy blog posts.  We’ve got 11 and almost 9 years to catch up on, and 14 days to do it in.  Here we go…

Ghana: Day 2

After spending the entire day dripping with sweat and panting like rabid dogs, I’m lying here typing and John has vanished into the bathroom.  He is making all of these moaning sounds in there, probably overcome with the sweet ecstacy of showering in cool, refreshing WATER!  This was the most unbearably hot day EVER.  Job, our trusty concierge, escorted us by taxi (santa vaca, that was a crazy ride) to the market in Accra today.  He is a real wheeler-dealer, and wouldn’t let us negotiate with any of the vendors.  It was highly entertaining to watch him work his magic.  John’s new name for Job is “The Closer.”  This guy would’ve been Salesman of the Year if he had worked back in the states at Edmark.  (And speaking of new names, everyone down here now refers to my John as “John White”…John from the orphanage is “John Black.”  Try making that work back home.  That almost screams lawsuit.)

Anyway, the kids were eerily perfect at the market.  Nary a peep out of either of them.  I kept crossing my fingers that some sort of time bomb wasn’t about to go off and one of them would throw something at me I’d not seen before as a parent.  Never happened.  After quite a long time, we realized they were probably starving and panicked at the memory of what happened to Jason and Brandie when their kids got too hungry.  Luckily, I am the keeper of the backpack and had made sure there were plenty of fruit snacks, jerky and goldfish to tide them over until we could get them a proper meal.  That “proper meal” turned out to be PIZZA, but it would have made even Totino’s frozen pizza scoff.  This stuff was dee-scusting!  I choked down one piece and was disappointed that the kids’ first experience with our favorite food was so icky.  They each ate three pieces and Job and John finished off the rest.  Oh, the best part was when we found out that the “pepperoni” is really little circles of fried spam.  Are you kidding me?

After our adventure in Accra, we brought the kids back to the hotel and as soon as they could kick off their flip flops, they fell into the sleep of the dead.  The air conditioning felt so good to them and John had it cranked to 16 degrees C.  I sat in a chair (wrapped in a blanket) reading while the 3 of them slept. I have a picture of it and will upload it as soon as we get an internet connection.  So cute to see them sleep. 

It was a good day, but I am struggling a little tonight.  Maybe a little homesickness for my Emily, Abby and Colt has set in.  I miss them like crazy and every time I think about one of them, I can literally feel the hurt in my heart.  My throat gets a lump and the tears bubble up in my eyes.  Knowing they are being so well cared for by Jason and Brandie (with help and encouragement from Grandpas and Grandmas) is such a blessing to me.  How on earth do we ever properly return the favor or express sufficient gratitude for what these guys are doing for us? 

Courage and Delight are being such good kids, but tonight we actually saw a side to Delight we’ve not seen yet.  I think she is pouting a little because we aren’t bringing her to the hotel to sleep over.  Her friend, Elizabeth, spends every night with her dad in the hotel, but they finished their Court process a month ago, they have their adoption decree and are now just waiting for travel documents.  They are way further in the process than we are, but I don’t know how to explain that to Delight.  Besides sleeping over not being allowed at this time, John and I also need a little time to catch our breath and collect our thoughts. We’ve found that the best time for that is right now when they are sleeping at the home and we can spend a few hours, just the two of us.  It is helpful to talk about the day, share our concerns and basically decompress from the wide-eyed adventures of the day.  John (ever the parenting professional) is going to explain it to her tomorrow.  I know he’ll nip it right in the bud and we can get back to Happy Times in Africa.

Ok, my two cents worth,

Yes, it was another great day with the kids.  Jenny went to sleep a little bit early tonight.  I went out on the balcony to write and collect my thoughts.  It is still extremely warm but there is a very nice breeze blowing.  As I look out over the city, I see the rows of cars driving down the red clay roads.  They are all little four door diesel passenger cars.  We got our fill of them driving to the market today.  Although the driving is crazy down here, we were fortunate to have very good taxi drivers.   It was still very hot and all of us and Job and the taxi driver squeezed into that sardine can on wheels.  I can hear the constant honking of the passing cars warning to any and everyone that they are not yielding to anyone.  If you step out in front of them, “YOU DIE!”    Down the road I can hear someone pounding one of those Ghanaian drums.  I am learning to love the sound of that.  I also hear from several directions music from big speakers.  If I could see out to them, I would see a handful of people out dancing in the streets.  These people love music and even more than that, they love to dance.  We were sitting there eating pizza today and there was some music coming from down the street, and I looked over at Delight and immediately she started to dance right there in her seat.  Man I love that girl.  As we finished eating we had only one more stop and that was to go by and pick up one of those drums I was talking about. Earlier in the day I purchased one and had the guy send out to have a carrying bag made for it.  We had been walking down the street for several hours by this time and the kids were getting very tired. (Me too by the way.)  Jenny was right, the kids never even hinted to complain about anything.  I am starting to get a little friend in Delight.  She is going to be a daddy’s girl.  As we walked, she always wanted to hold my hand and be right by me.  I also learned of a great protective trait she has. (I’m sure life has forced her to be strong and to protect her little brother.)  When we first arrived to the market in the taxi, Job said to me, “Pay him 8 Cedi.” Well the denominations are 10, 5, and 1.  I meant to hand him a five and three ones. I must have accidently given him a ten and three ones. (They looked the same to me other than the numbers in the corner.)  When we got out, Job told me of the mistake I made and that the driver was dishonest with me.  He told me that from now on, when I need to pay I was to give him the money and he will pay for it.  Delight heard all this, and I noticed when I was dealing with the street vendors, she paid very close attention to what I gave the merchants.  I bought a shirt for myself and it cost 45 Cedis.  I had a stack of 5’s and I wanted to use up some so I opened my wallet and started to count out the fives.  I noticed how she was paying very close attention so I asked her to help me.  Very out of character for me. She carefully counted out nine five-cedis, and handed them to the guy. 

I learned a couple things from this.  First of all, she is very bright.  I know that is simple math but she did it all in her head and then applied it to the situation.  She has street smarts.  Also when other vendors were being too pushy and trying to get me to buy their junk, I noticed that if they pushed too hard she would give them a very sharp, almost mean look letting them know they can’t mess with her daddy.  Like I said, she is very protective.  I really like that. 

As we left the pizza place and walked to the drum maker, I noticed that Courage was very tired and his poor little eyes were very droopy.  I asked him if he would like me to carry him.  He, as always, didn’t answer me; he just stopped walking and put his arms up so I could pick him up.  He then rested his head on my shoulder and fell asleep. (At least I thought he did.)  All he really did was want some affection.  I loved it so I didn’t mind.  The neat thing was as we walked, I was just wondering what I could do to get him to talk. Then I started to hear something.  We were walking by a bar that had some loud music playing.  It must have been a song he knew because he started to sing it very softly in my ear.  I didn’t want to scare him into stopping so I didn’t react.  I wanted to at least hear his accent saying something other than, “Yes, No, I feel fine, or one of many one word sentences he has developed.  It was so neat hearing him sing the lyrics to this song.  I wish so badly I could know more of his past life leading up to him being put into the orphanage.  I may never know or maybe never really want to. 

After we returned to Teshi, we stopped by the Hotel to drop off our bags.    The AC felt great, so we invited the kids to take a nap with us and we would return to the home later.  It was wonderful to see the little smiles on both of their faces as they experienced how good it felt to put their face on a soft pillow.  One of the simple pleasures of life we take for granted each and every night when we just climb into bed and turn out the lights.  When it was time to go back to the home, we woke them up and tried to get them to talk to us.  Of course Courage didn’t say anything but Delight finally talked to me.  I asked her about her Cooking.  She cooks often at the orphanage. She explained how she cooks rice over hot charcoal in the fire.  Then she also explained how she makes fried chicken.  It was really neat to hear her talk about it in her own special way.

In closing for today’s entry I wanted to tell a quick story about something that happened last night that I didn’t have time to tell.  Remember I talked about little Richard?  He is a very loving little boy that is still waiting for a forever family.  Last night when all those kids were climbing on me, Richard was one of them that was standing close and hugging my torso.  I turned to him and said, “Hey, your friend Jason Oswald told me to tell you Hi, and that he LOVES you.”   He gave me a little squeeze and didn’t really respond much more than that.  But, an hour later when we were in Emily’s room using the internet, he walked in to see what we were all up to.  He was standing off in the corner of the room watching how I interacted with Courage and watching Jenny snuggling with Delight on the couch and I could see the hurt in his eyes of wanting what they have.  When we were starting to pack things up for the night and go up to tuck the kiddos in, he walked up to the table and said, to no one in particular, “Jason loves me.”  Then, he walked up the stairs to his room.  My heart just broke in two.  There is so much injustice here. There are so many beautiful children here with big hearts that just want someone to tell them they are loved and belong.  I can tell story after story and never even finish what I have seen just today and yesterday.  I saw another little six year old girl’s heart break, as her friend Mama Kit had to leave for the states this afternoon after just 72 days here.  I tucked her in and couldn’t wipe away the tears fast enough from her cheeks. She feels that she has been orphaned once again.  (Her name is Dejanu')

What is the answer to all this?  Why does it have to be like this?  If everyone I know went over here and adopted a child, it would only put a small dent in the problem.  I really don’t know what the answer is.  I just pray that God will have mercy on these kids and make a mansion for them in his kingdom.  They sure don’t deserve the cards they have been dealt in this life.

Well, I need to get to bed so we can have another great day tomorrow.  We are going at 9:00 to take Delight to get her hair done for our court day on Thursday or Friday.  We still haven’t heard exactly which day it is yet.  I sound like it has been sad, but I hope that isn’t the impression I am leaving to whoever is reading this.  It hasn’t been sad; it has been one of the best experiences of my life.  I am just seeing firsthand the reality of the sweet spirits behind all the Facebook pictures I have seen for the past 5 months.  I am learning to love each and every one of them and the 147 million other orphans’ worldwide.  Do me a favor tonight.  Remember to be genuinely grateful for your blessings, take a little longer to tuck your child into bed and make sure that they know how very much you love them.


  1. Tears, and more tears. Thank you for all these "happy" thoughts and teaching me to not take for granted all the wonderful blessings I have been given. Have an awesome day. You don't have to worry about using the air conditioner when you get home because it is very cold here; even a chance of snow tomorrow or Friday. Amy

  2. Thanks for sharing! I can't hold back the tears as I read about the experiences you guys are having! I can't wait to hear more. Have a great day! We love you guys!