Thursday, November 3, 2011

Ghana--Day 3           

Today we met Courage.  His real personality came out, and with a vengeance.  This kid ROCKS!  He is a jokester, plays tricks on you, and loves to give “knuckles.” In fact, that is one of the things we used to try to break through his “thick candy shell.”  And his laugh;  if only you could bottle the feeling you get when you hear him laugh.  I’d sell it and make millions!

We took Delight and Mighty to the “hair lady.”  I hope we can upload a picture of the finished product.  Incredible! 

We had them put in extensions that started with a 2” braid at the root, and then the remaining hair was twisted in this curly-q type contortion.  When they finally took the styling devices out, you should have seen our reactions.  We probably scared them to death with how excited we got over their stylishly quaffed locks.   So adorable!  And they match.  This helped us break the ice a little more with Mighty, too.  She has been very distant and we have been troubled about this.  We have been hopeful that Delight hadn’t said something to her about us being “her” parents.  Sometimes that happens between the girls, and I wanted to make sure it wasn’t happening between Mighty and Delight.  But I think the hair adventure helped the situation a lot.  We got to spend some good time with Mighty tonight in the courtyard and John even helped her be sneaky about something…I’ll let him tell you about it in his entry.

Anyway, back to Courage.  I knew it would just take time for this kid to feel like we are safe.  But today, he did.  We joked around, laughed so much and made such great progress in our relationship.  The best part of my day was when we were eating lunch.  We went to a place called The Ultimate.  Delight had Banku, and Courage had (you guessed it, chicken and fried rice).  As he was eating, I noticed him playing around in his food.  It tugged at my heart because Colton has the silliest thing he does when he eats.  He takes his food and makes creations out of it; he calls it “his business.” Well, Courage started doing the same thing with his chicken and fried rice, and John and I about flipped.  We get such a kick out of it when Colt does it.  Come to find, his brother on the other side of the world does the exact same thing with his food!  He took the skin off of his chicken, laid it flat, rubbed some red sauce on it and topped it with rice.  Then he rolled it up and ate it like a burrito.  We got some awesome video of him saying, “Look! It’s my business.”  Cutest thing you’ll ever see!  The only bad part was when we finished our laughing and picture-taking and got back to our lunch, my heart hurt for missing Colt so much.  Sniff, sniff.

Robert Livingston, another adoptive father of 3, left tonight (after finally getting the Ghanaian Embassy to accept his i-600 paperwork).  His daughter, Elizabeth, was so sad.  Their culture doesn’t encourage them to cry when they are hurting inside, but she couldn’t keep the tears away.  I was almost begging her to let herself cry, but she fought it off.  I couldn’t figure out anything decent or profound to say that would make her feel better.  So I had the bigger boys that were around us come sit together with us under the fig tree.  I asked Richard to go get some toilet paper (to dry her tears and wipe her nose).  He came back with two sheets of notebook paper and a pen.  Um, hello, Buddy…what am I going to do with these?  I suddenly had a thought:  ask these boys to tell you everything good they can think of about Elizabeth.  So they all started telling me things at once.  I had to back up the bus a little and told them that when I pointed to them, it was their turn to talk.  This was tender.  They came up with at least 15 things about her that were so profound and pure.  “She forgives me if I do wrong.”  “Elizabeth is good to me.”  “She always has truth.”  “If she has toffee, she gives some to me.”  “She works hard in school.” “If Auntie asks something of her, she always do it.”  “Elizabeth has a beautiful smile and makes me happy.”  See, what’d I tell you?  These boys are right at the age when saying nice things about girls is icky and will likely cause some sort of fungal infection if done by 8-11 year old boys back home.  They didn’t care; they just wanted to help her feel better.  She still didn’t smile, but when we tucked them into bed tonight, she was still holding the paper with “the list” printed on it.  It was a special time for me and made me absolutely smitten with these boys (Richard, Peter, Mohamed, Emmanuel and a couple more). 

 A couple of last thoughts.  Jason encouraged us to write about our perceptions and some of the sensory stimulation we’ve experienced.  I hesitate to put that in the blog because it will sound like I am being negative.  But in a spirit of full disclosure, here goes…Everywhere stinks (I’m not exaggerating about this either: the hotel smells musty, old and just weird, the orphanage smells like pee and dogs and something burning, the street outside the hotel takes my breath away, it’s so bad, and everywhere you go, you can smell armpits).  Everything is dirty, peeing in public is practically a sanctioned team sport, and emissions testing is mystery to these folks (I was enveloped in a cloud of black smoke as I stood by the side of the road waiting for a cab this afternoon and about had a respiratory episode).  Oh, and speaking of taxis.  This place is insane.  Let me share with you some of the courses offered at the Ghanaian Academy for Cab Driver Excellence:  Stealthy Pedestrian Targeting 101; High-Speed Bobbing and Weaving 201; Fundamentals of Horn Use and Abuse 301; Body Odor Maximization 401; and at the graduate level, you can write your thesis on Effective Cab Fare Extortion of the Obrunie (white dude).  I cringe every time we have to get into one of these sweltering little torture chambers on wheels.

Hopefully that gives you a little glimpse into what it is like here physically.  However, nothing I could type could fully convey to you what will happen to you spiritually when you come to this place and meet these people.  Maybe you’ll be able to feel that when you meet Mighty and Delight, Agbesi and Courage.  They have become such a part of who I am, and I hope the tentacles of their infectious goodness tangle themselves around your heart as completely as they have mine. 

I love you all and am so crazy-grateful to Heavenly Father for blessing me so abundantly (too much for how good I really am).  Until tomorrow…


Ok, my turn.  I was thinking this would be just a quick note today, but as I sat here contemplating the day while waiting for Jenny to make her entry, I remembered how many wonderful things I was able to experience during the day.  I do want to say, if I was going to make a title to this entry, it would be, “Our Perfect Day!”  Everything went absolutely perfectly today.  This morning as Jenny already told, we took the girls to get their hair done.  They both looked like angels.  The more I get to know the hearts of these kids they all begin to look so beautiful to me.  All of them, from the little girls and boys to the adults.  Such pure, innocent people.  Jenny was right about Courage.  He really came out of his shell and we got a peek at what a special kid he really is.  She describe pretty well our lunch with them.  Afterwards we went back to our Hotel for naps.  (We all needed one. J)  I was just giddy about how wonderfully the day was going. The kids were actually talking to us, they were laughing, they were happy, and they were becoming family.  As we laid down on our bed, I covered both kids with a blanket (they don’t appreciate the AC as much as I do. Lol)  I looked at the faces of both kids and just like before, I enjoyed watching the true joy in their smile at what was happening to them.  Then it happened.  Courage was laying there with his back to me facing the wall.  I peeked over him and saw the bigger than life smile and I just laid back and enjoyed the moment.  Then I heard the cutest giggle.  He was so happy he couldn’t do anything but just giggle and smile from ear to ear.  I laughed a little and then heard him do it again.  For about 20 minutes he would sleep and then giggle, sleep and then giggle.  If feels so good to see him happy.  Although I don’t know the details of his past life, I do know that all these kids have been through Hell or they wouldn’t be here.  I love seeing the joy that love can bring into their lives.  I know it will eventually come out.  There is a lot of hurt bottled up inside of both these kids, and it will eventually come out, but when it does I pray that we can be patient and help them through it. 

I feel like I am repeating myself each day with the same type of experiences but they just don’t stop.   I keep seeing these kids do the kindest things.  When we finished lunch, Courage asked for another to-go box and gathered all the scraps from every plate.  I told him, No!  You don’t need to eat that, it is garbage.  He said, No, I want to bring it to the dog at the orphanage.  “She had puppies and needs food.”  So sweet and kind but he thought of it all by himself.  Then I saw Delight gather all the bottles of soda that were 90% empty.  She poured all the remainder of the drinks into an empty plastic water bottle that had a lid on it and I saw her put it into her pink draw string bag Jenny brought her.  I thought that was gross to take it but whatever…

 Then I also noticed that after their nap Jenny handed them each a little bag of fruit snacks.  Courage devoured them even though it must have been hard to chew through that big smile he had painted on.  I saw Delight eat one or two and them put it in her bag.  I assumed she didn’t like them or maybe wanted to save them for later.  Well after we returned to the Orphanage I saw her go up to her friend Ester and hand her the bottle of soda and her bag of fruit snacks and say, “I thought of you and wanted you to have some.”  I can never get enough of this girl.  She truly is an angel sent to us from Heaven.  She is so good.  She is so pure.  She seems to truly be flawless.  I don’t feel worthy to raise her.  I know that if people never take the time to get to truly know her, they will not know what I am talking about. But when people say things like, “wow guys, that is such a good thing you are doing.” Or “you are going to be such a huge blessing to their lives…”  I will have a hard time even hearing that because I know the truth.  She is going to bring more joy into my life than I could ever have imagined.  I know that my three kids at home are going to have their lives made better for being around such a person.  I am also so excited for Colton to be able to be the big brother he has always wanted to be.  Courage is such a fun little guy.  Until today I wouldn’t have put that adjective on that kid.  But that is what he truly is.  A fun kid!!!! 

This evening we went back to the Home and spent time with the kids.  Once again I got my fill of these wonderful kids climbing all over me and twirling my arm hair into baby corn rows.  The little girl I spoke about last night who loved Kit so much is named Dejanu’ (not sure if that is spelled right).  She is such a sweet little girl.  We had that little moment when I tucked her in last night, and I think I made a little friend.  All she would do all day is come up to me and grab my cheeks and kiss my face and say, “I love you daddy,”  over and over again.  I pray that some family with be blessed with her soon.  It is not that she needs them; it is that the world needs little girls like her out in it.  My heart breaks for her. 

Today I gave little Richard the T-shirt that Jason sent for him.  It was very big on him but he loved it.  He tried it on and then asked Emily if she would store it in her room so it can “stay good for him.”  He loved it so much.  Jason told me about this kid and how much he loved him and how he prayed that a family would come get him as soon as possible.  I watched him a lot today and saw that he is also very special.  I saw him play the drums and sing today.  He is so very talented.  I did video him and will try to attach a link to the video in this blog.  When I told Emily, she just said, “If you liked that, you need to just wait until Sunday morning at church when the boys play the drums together.”  I remember Brandie commenting on the same thing.  That is a treat I really can’t wait for. 

I did get a call from Catherine of AAI and she told me that Joha had filed all the paperwork and it came back good and we have our court date on Friday at 11:00.  (5:00 AM, Idaho time.)  Say a little prayer if you are up that early.  That is a huge step in this process.  When we walk out of that courtroom the kids will belong to us.  I can’t wait for that moment.   If I was to put one word to my feelings right now it would simply be, “Grateful”.  God has been so good to us.


  1. Can't wait to meet these kids! Keep up these great descriptions...I keep waking up every few hours and hitting refresh on my tablet, next to my bed, just anxious to read the next post! Good luck tomorrow!


  2. One more thing... I just Googled the name "Kekeli", and apparently, it means "light" in Ewe. You probably already knew that, but I thought it was pretty cool!


  3. Our prayers are with you. Isn't it amazing how you can love people who come from a different culture on the other side of the world! It is another confirmation that we are God's children and share a common heritage. Love you.

  4. My thoughts and prayers are with you. I have been reading your entries to the kids and they giggle at some of the fun things they hear their new cousins doing. Like chug-a-lugging the Fanta soda. Good luck with your court appearance. Before you know it you will be back home with all 5 kiddos by your side.

  5. Wow, ok, it only took me 5 days to catch up with you guys! I kept trying to look at John's old blog page and wondered why there was no updates. Then I remembered about the email you sent giving me the new blog address. So I've spent the last while reading all the posts and I'm so glad things are going so well. What a great experience for you and the children. I will say a prayer for you in the morning that all will go well at court. Keep updating, I love reading them. Love you two!

  6. Wow! Absolutely amazing! So happy for you guys! I love that you are sharing this incredible experience! It has truly touched me in so many ways!! I pray that everything goes well in the morning for you and those adorable kids! I will be thinking of you all! Keep posting...I love reading!!!