Wednesday, March 14, 2012


This is going to be a shorter post than many of the others have been.   We woke up this morning and Delight and I walked up to the Salon Shack and she got her hair done.  We had them put in extensions with tight braids and left them straight without curls. 

It took the ladies about three and a half hours to braid her hair and it cost me $22 Ghana Cedis.  That is only about 15 dollars US.   I did the math and after buying the hair, each girl that helped made only about one Cedi a piece. (Approximately 68cents.)  I thought about that quite a bit today.  Another thing that made me think were all the ladies on the side of the road who sell the little baggies of water.  A case (Actually a big bag containing about 25 smaller bags)   costs one Cedi and fifty pesewes.  Which is about 97 cents.  The ladies sell the individual bags on the side of the road for ten pesewes.   Which is about 6 cents.  I would watch as they run up and down the side of the road at each red light trying to get someone to hold out a dime and ask for some water.  Assuming that they can sell two entire cases in a day, their entire profit would be only about three Cedis, or two dollars.  They would have to really hustle to make that happen. 

This doesn’t really have anything to do with adoption but I was fascinated with how hard these people have to work just to eek out an existence.  True poverty isn’t always due to laziness or a lack of ambition.  It runs much deeper than that.  Sometimes there is no way out of it for many of these people.   

After Delight finished her getting her hair done we went back to the hotel and played games and just kind of relaxed all day until we went out to dinner with John and Irene, and also Anita from AAI.  We went to a new place called the Goose something. (I can’t remember the name) but it was really good.  We enjoyed out meal and also had some really good conversation with some great people.  It was a nice evening.  When we got back to the hotel at 9:40 the kids and I went to the room to start putting our things together so we can pack up in the morning.  The kids were both happy and Delight especially was in a very good mood.  She kept giggling and she wanted to call and talk to Emily or Abby.  She did and caught Abby and they talked and laughed for about twenty minutes.  It was really neat to hear them talk and get along so well.  I am really getting excited to get home and try to return to somewhat of a normal life.  I am sorry that I am rambling, but it is 1:30 am and I can’t really even stay awake so I better close for now.  We fly home tomorrow at 10:15 PM.  Gonna be an adventure. J

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


Where to I begin?  I think today was the most emotionally exhausting day of my life.  It was a good day, now that all is said and done.  We were supposed to get up this morning and have everything ready to be picked up by John at 9:00 to head to the village.  When we walked down to the corner we found that our lady that makes the round bread donut things wasn’t there today.  I knew that we had many hours of driving and no place to stop and get food.  I bought some Kanke for the kids and a pineapple for Dad and I.  My Dad and I watched them eat the Kanke and fish while we ate a very delicious pineapple.  At about 10:30 John called us and told us that he was going to be a little late. (I just laughed and figured it was Ghana time.)  Then at 1:00 we get another call and he was saying that he was out front.  So we got a very late start to our day. (Which now that the day is over I feel that the late start was a blessing.)  We piled into John’s SUV (a KIA something) and drove 3 ½ hours to the village where Delight and Courage are from.  Turning off the Highway and driving down the quiet red clay road was very surreal.

  As we started to see muds huts on the side of the road and once in a while see a line of children carrying buckets of water back to their homes.  I still don’t know how to explain the feeling I had inside of me.  I was sick to my stomach, I keep looking at Delight and she had a sparkle in her eye and was excited to see her friends.  Courage was very serious and didn’t even smile.  I didn’t have any idea what to expect.  Soon we approached the village where there were a dozen or so huts built very close to each other.  We pulled up to the first house in the village.  As I looked around I noticed that everything was very, very tidy, cleanly swept, and very put together. (This is not what I expected).  There was no bad smell that I had smelt in the city.  There were neat piles of wood everywhere.  I could see that most houses had a small neatly built fire burning.  The first person to walk up to the car was a familiar face.  It was Irene (John’s Wife, she came up last Saturday.)  I got out and gave her a big hug.  Following her was a very beautiful woman who introduced herself as Grace.  She was wearing a gorgeous Ghanaian dress with all the yellow, red and orange colors.  Me being my friendly self just gave her a hug and didn’t say anything and watched as she went up to John Black and have him a big hug.  She appeared older to me but talked in a very sweet (Almost whisper) voice. 

 I then noticed Delight running across the way to the next house.  I quietly followed her with my camera.  I felt like everything was moving in slow motion. I almost felt like I was going to pass out any second.  Delight immediately embraced and very cute younger lady who had on nice jeans, and a white ladies golf shirt.  She was very attractive.  She almost looked like someone I would have seen back in America.  As I walked up to them Delight introduced her as Benidicta.  I knew that was her mother’s name.  As I walked up to her I gave her a hug, she was nice and gave me a nice hug back.  That was it, and then she turned around to lead the group to a nice mango tree where she had about ten chairs gathered around into a circle.  I watched her and Delight grab what looked like a wooden couch with pads on it.  They set it in the front and center of the circle of chairs for my father and me to sit at.  She motioned for me and my dad to sit.  We both sat down and after about twenty seconds I heard a crash and I fell right through the thin plywood bottom of the couch.  I was so embarrassed, but it kind of broke the ice.  They grabbed a heavier plastic chair and brought it to me.

John Black came and sat down where I was sitting and sat carefully to miss the gaping hole I made.  John asked me if I had anything I wanted to say to Delight’s mother.  I didn’t know what to say.  I hadn’t rehearsed it.  I don’t even remember what I said but I’m sure it was lame.  I really didn’t feel much of a connection with her because I watched how hard Delight would try to please her and didn’t really get any response back from her.  She was very friendly and polite but didn’t really want to make eye contact with me.  Since I couldn’t think of anything wonderful to say, I grabbed a picture I had printed off before I left the house which was one of Jenny and I with Courage and Delight the day we went to court.  I handed it to Delight and she gave it to Benidicta.  She did look at it and made a nice smile.  Then Delight pulled the locket out of her bag that I brought her to give to her mother.  It was a circle that said, “I am a child of God.”  And when you open it up, on the left side was a small picture of us at court (the same one we just gave her) and on the other side was a great picture of Delight from the last trip.  She looked at it for a few moments and said thank you and then put it into her pocket.  I looked over a John and asked him where Courage’s mother lived.  He pointed to the pretty lady named “Grace” that I had hugged right when I got out of the car.  I knew she was dying of cancer, so that explains why she whispered and sounded so fragile.  I immediately got up and walked back to her.  I watched her the whole way as I walked to her.  She didn’t take her eyes off me either as I walked her way.  When I approached her I said, “Grace?”  She nodded and had tears in her eyes.  I slowly wrapped both arms around her and just held her.  A few seconds later I notice that John Black had followed me over there.  He told her in Ewe that I was Kakeli’s father. She nodded again.  She knew exactly who I was.  With my arms still around her, I pulled back so I could see her and said, “I love your son.” (and John translated it.)  I then said, “God bless you.”  My eyes now were starting to water up.  I looked her right in the eyes very closely and said that I will take good care of him and that I promise her that he will always know Jesus.   John then translated that and she whispered, “me low” which I know means “I love you” in Ewe.  This was a very short conversation but we said much.  We then walked back to the group and she followed us.  I can tell that the pretty dress she had on was put on for this occasion. 

So there we were all sitting and watching each other when Irene walked up with a big wooden platter full of plates, bowls and containers of Pepe (A super hot sauce similar to sirachi made from peppers).  I looked at my Dad and we both knew what was coming.  We both immediately tried to think of what in the world could we say to get out of this, but shortly realized that it was a very special offering so we needed to accept it.  She brought out four balls of Banko, and spooned about a half a cup of Pepe on the corner of the plate and then poured about six pieces of the dried fish we have seen all week on the street from the venders.  I asked Irene who made it for us and she looked back at Benidicta and she smiled back at us.  I told my dad to be hungry and make it count.  As I tried to remember all the Ghanaian manners I have learned about food, I reached a crossed the table to the water bowl and dipped my right hand in.  Washed it around and then reached for the ball of Banko.  I pinched off a little ball and started roll it up like I had seen Delight so many times before.  I dipped it into the Pepe and took a bite.  Surprisingly enough it had a very delicious flavor.  The texture of the Banko was very difficult to take but I just practiced mind over matter.  I looked over at my dad and he was struggling as well but managed to say, Mmmm this is good.  I was very proud of him.  Then we both reached out for a piece of fish.  They were just chopped into two inch pieces, Head, belly and tail.  I knew the head was not what I wanted; and the belly hadn’t been cleaned before cooking, so I thought the tail was the safest bet.  I pinched a little piece with my right hand and a little meat pulled off.  I dipped it into the pepe and put it into my mouth.  It tasted exactly like kippered snacks.  I tried to just imagine that Dad and I were out in the boat fishing and he opened a can of Kippered snacks.  I love those so this wasn’t hard to at all.  I kept taking bites back and forth from the Banko to the fish and back again.  We ate all the fish, and about half the Banko and I could tell she was pleased.  I breathed a sigh of relief.  I dipped my right hand into the water and then reached for the bar of soap they put on the table and then she handed us a clean white towel to dry our hands.  Then I sat back from the meal in my plastic chair and smiled and tried to capture the moment so I could talk about it in years to come to the kids.  Then I noticed about thirty kids all gathered around the tree, most of them shirtless, and in just their underwear.  Some had torn shirts on and one boy had a button down shirt that was about five sizes too big.  They were all staring at me with those big beautiful brown eyes.  It was almost like they were looking right through me.  I was so humbled and felt sick to my stomach again. Not from the food I just ate, but because of the guilt I was feeling about the attitude I had while I ate it.  These kids would have loved to even be able to lick the plate when I finished.  I felt so unappreciative and very unworthy of their generosity.  Wow, that was a blow to my emotions right there.  We quickly finished our conversation. (Which was mostly just smiling a crossed the circle) and John said that we needed to walk over to Mighty and Agbesi’s house.  I have some pictures to deliver them from the Oswalds so John wanted me to get the pictures to them. Because of our late departure, John needed to start back home because of the long drive back that we needed to make. I looked around for Courage and found that he was standing behind me.  I told him to come around and sit on my lap.  He was all of a sudden being very quiet and told me “No!”  I figured out that he had been hiding back there very close to me the whole time.  I told him that it was ok if he stayed behind me.  A few minutes later, I notice he walked around the corner and grabbed a branch.  He was standing there looking at the ground and pulling of the leaved and throwing them on the ground.  I knew that was very difficult for him. I walked over to him and asked him to come back and take a picture with Delight and their Mothers and her Grandmother.  He didn’t want to go but he grabbed my hand and stayed very close to me.  John Black used my camera and took a bunch of pictures of me and the families. 

It was a special time. Delight went into her Grandmother’s hut and I followed her.  We purchased some Gerry (I’m not sure how that is spelled) but it is what Banko is made from.  It is a white powder that you mix with boiling water to make the Banko.  That is what the women do for income is grind this powder and sell it as Gerry. 

I gave her twenty Cedis for the small bag of Gerry and she was grateful.  As we walked to the car, Delight came to me and asked for money for her mother.  It felt awkward but I remembered how I felt after eating the food, so I pulled a fifty cedi out of my wallet and she ran it over to her.  She came back and said that it was nice and she was happy.   As I watched the two kids as we pulled away from the village I could see two different emotions but both were very strong.  Courage was quiet and couldn’t wait to get out of there.  Delight was smiling, and seemed happy but also I could tell that something was bothering her.  Driving home took almost four hours because once we hit Accra there was a lot of traffic and we didn’t get back to the hotel until 9:30 or so.  We were all tired, especially the kids, so I fed them some Kanke and Delight put on her pajamas and slid into bed.  I quickly bathed Courage and then put his pajamas on.  Delight got out of bed and the three of us knelt down at the foot of our bed for our evening family prayer.  I could tell that it wasn’t just that she was tired.  In my prayer I thanked God that he had brought us together as a family.  I asked a blessing over the village so their families could be protected and watched over.  I prayed that Delight and Courage would be able to feel the love their new family has for them and that they would pray and rely on the Lord to help them through this difficult transition.  As I said this, I heard a sniffle from Delight and could tell that she was crying very emotionally.  I finished the prayer, and put my arm around her and asked her why she was crying.  He buried her eyes into the sheet so I couldn’t see her cry.  I told her that it is OK, to feel sad to leave Benidicta.  I told her the story about how; over two years ago God started preparing me for a change in my life.  Little by little he told me that my family was not complete.  I reminded her of the sermon at church yesterday where the pastor talked about how God had a plan for each and every one of them.  I told her that what he said was true.  I continued to tell her that in God’s perfect plan, she and Courage needed to be born here in that village, and that the rest of our family needed to be born in America, but the plan was to bring us together at this time so we could be a forever family.  She was crying so hard at this time, she couldn’t respond but I noticed that Courage had climbed on my back and was lying down and trying to listen very attentively.  I heard him sniffle and I knew that even though he didn’t understand everything I said to her he felt the spirit of what I was saying.  I kissed both of them and tucked them in.  I decided that we didn’t need to talk anymore tonight; these poor kids have been through hell today and have had enough.  I can’t even begin to imagine what they must be feeling.  What I do know is that I believe 100% of what I said to her.  I know without a shadow of a doubt that having them come to our family right now is exactly what God has planned for them and us.  I realize that the next few weeks and months are going to be very difficult but I am grateful for a strong wife that has the capability to handle this.  There is an analogy that we use in business.   The comparison is with the game of basketball.  As a coach you can teach how to dribble, pass, and shoot, but you can’t teach “Tall”.  You are either born with it or you are not.  It is a metaphor of the God given abilities that we have been blessed with.  Jenny as you read this post, I want to tell you that I know God has blessed you as a “Tall” mother. (All 5’2” of you.)  You are very capable, and are ready for the job.  I love you so much and even though I wish you could have been here with me on this trip, I am grateful you decided to stay home and prepare for leg two of this whole transition.  I am very excited to see just what our Heavenly Father has in store for our little family.  (I guess it isn’t that little anymore.) 

Sunday, March 11, 2012


Last night when we finished up at the orphanage, the four of us went back to the hotel.  After the four hour nap none of us felt like sleeping yet so we decided to play some games that Jenny had packed in the kids’ backpack.  We found Old Maid and Go Fish.  We took our little card table that is kept in the corner of the hotel and we put it in the middle of my room.  I had the AC on full blast so it was a little cold for the kids.  I helped him pull on his bottoms and then as I pulled on his Hoodie, he started to do his little cooing sound he makes when he is either really happy or very comfortable. (Same sound he made the first time he laid his head on a real pillow.)  He absolutely loved the feeling of a sweatshirt and especially the way it felt to have the hoodie pulled up.  We stayed up fairly late and played the card games.  They picked them up very quickly and enjoyed themselves very much.  It was a wonderful night. 

This morning we got up and went to the orphanage, and John Black started church promptly at 9:00.  He and a visiting pastor both gave a really great sermon.  It was neat to experience Ghanaian church here with Dad.  Lots of music, lots of dancing, and a wonderful spirit.  I loved every minute of it.  After church we went to the “circle beach” with the kids. (The Ramada Hotel, Pool, and resort)  We only swam for about 30-40 minutes, and then had lunch under one of those little huts/tables.  Dad and I had Red Snapper and fried rice, while the kids had fried Chicken and Chips.  We had a very fun and relaxing time and then returned around 3:00.  I came down to the orphanage to use the computer and to send off this message because our plan for this evening is to just hang out at the hotel and play games, maybe watch a movie on my computer and then leave at 9:00 in the morning to visit the village.  I am getting so excited to go see that. 

The kids are doing very well, and haven’t had a single problem since we have been here.  The closest thing to any emotional problems was that Delight was a little quiet after church and I noticed it carried on a little bit while we went to the pool.  I got her alone on one side of the pool where we could talk, and I asked her why she was being quiet.   She told me that when we were at church and John announced that it was the last Sunday that Delight and Courage would be worshiping with them, it finally started to set in the she would have to say goodbye for real here in about three days.  As much as she is excited and happy to be coming to America, and as much as she wants a family and a better life, she loves the people here at the house and she loved Pastor John and his wife Irene.  It will be very difficult for them to leave.  I am grateful that the Oswalds have Mighty and Agbesi to help ease the pain of leaving Ghana.  I told her that it is ok to feel sad, and it is ok to be nervous, and it is even ok to be a little angry with having to adjust to a new “everything”.  I let her know that whenever she is sad, and feels alone that she always has me or mommy to come and talk to.  And more importantly she always has Heavenly Father that she can go to and pray to and ask for comfort.  Last night when we went to bed she said that she would say the prayer, and I was very impressed at how humble and sincere her prayer was.  She already has a relationship with God.  I thought this would be her best way to adjust to the changes was to turn to him.   As I type this, I am realizing that in my own life, and all of us who read this, “How simple this little truth is!”  We can all do that.  If we are sad, alone, depressed, or even happy, He is the one we should turn to. He is the one who will give us comfort and peace.  I explained that to her and I asked her if she believed that and she said “YES Daddy!”  I love her so much.  I love her faith, I love her courage, and I love her willingness to do the right thing.  We still haven’t gone anywhere to eat where she hasn’t packed up half of her food to bring back to someone here at the orphanage.  She feels guilty to eat so well while there are others here that are truly hungry.  I don’t want her to ever feel guilty about having nice things or being able to eat well, but I do not want her to ever forget the love and true charity she feels in her heart right now.  That is the same feeling of love that our father in heaven has for each and every one of us.  I know I need to have more charity in my life.  I hope that, that is what I can bring back with me and learn to apply it to my everyday life.  I hope that when we get home, that will rub off and we as a family will be able to give a little more, and do a little better. 

Ok, I went off on a tangent there a little, but I feel very blessed today to be a father to these two great kids, and I can’t wait to bring them home and make them, an addition to the wonderful family that I have already been blessed with.  It has been a great day, I am going to head back to the hotel now and play with the kids and Grandpa John.  I am sure I will have plenty to write about tomorrow when we get back from the village. 

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Wow, this has been exactly as I had expected and hoped for.    As wonderful as the entire experience has been for my father and I, there have still been many exciting surprises at every corner that just add to the comedic value.  The only negative thing for all of you is the fact that without Jenny with me on this trip, by the time I retire to the hotel for the evening, I am so exhausted I don’t take the time necessary to collect my thoughts for the day. (Thus no Blog entry last night…) sorry!

I will try to recount the day.   Our flight left Boise at 10:40am and we flew to Denver.  It was awesome because both of us had a seat of our own with an empty one next to us.  So it was soo comfortable on that flight.  After a very short layover, we flew to Washington DC, and that flight was exactly the same.  I was able to sprawl out and enjoy the whole flight.  We had close to a five hour layover there and I was talking to my father about how much I loved these last two flights and that flying like this will make the 12-13 hour leg to Accra seem very nice.  I almost even called our Travel agent from DC to thank her for the perfect seating placement.  When we finally boarded the 757 to Accra, I worked my way to the back of the place and noticed the on the middle (Three seat row) I had the very middle seat.  I also sat right between two very huge and smelly men.    It was soooo tight and I couldn’t even take a deep breath without rubbing next to them. (And that was something that with my OCD about cleanliness would not ever allow.)  So I just dropped a sleeping pill and prayed to the Gods of the friendly skies that I would fall asleep and it would be over quickly and that I could find my own little happy place.  Well thank goodness for small favors; I closed my eyes just long enough to hear the captain announce the descent over the intercom.   I don’t remember a thing about the flight and that is just what I was hoping for.  When we landed in Accra, I looked forward and saw my Dad waiting at the front of the plane.  It was enjoyable and maybe a little entertaining to see the nervousness and apprehension in his eyes that I felt just five short months ago the first time we flew into Africa.    As usual we walked down the ramp and felt the totally encompassing heat and humidity that would usually stifle an American’s breathing and would make them wish for an air conditioner.  I have to admit that for me (at least for a few minutes) it was like a warm hug from my sweet Ghanaian land.  I could almost hear the whisper “AKWAABA” from the coastal breeze.   

Ok, it was still hot and had an unpleasant smell to the air, but knowing the purpose for this trip really outweighed having to deal with the inconveniences of the temperature.   (The end, truly justifies the means.) When we got off the plane I remember the mistakes I made last time that turned out to be a little costly.  We went through immigration without a hitch and then went and picked up our luggage.  I remember how annoying all the guys were that wanted to take my luggage and then expect a sizable tip for the service.  I ran over and grabbed two of the free carts and brought them to the luggage belt.  As our luggage came Off I grabbed them and we headed for Customs.  As we walked up to the very cute and nice Ghanaian customs agent, she asked me the purpose for our travels.  I said that we are picking up two children we adopted from an orphanage.  She asked me from where, and I told her that the name was GMI in Teshie.  She gave me a warm smile and said Welcome to the country and checked us in and didn’t even look in our baggage.  As we walked through the crowd of people wanting to take our baggage we just walked through like we knew what we were doing.  Why not, this is my second time here, I should be an expert by now, right?  As we got out side I realized that I never saw a sign saying AAI or Seables.  I didn’t wait for more than five minutes and I saw some missionaries who lent me their phone.  I called Job and told him that if he knew of anyone coming to tell them we were on our way.  I grabbed a taxi and we headed for our hotel at “First Junction” Teshie.   Within 45 minutes we were at the hotel and found John (Black) and Job there waiting for us. It was great to get out of the cab and get a big hug from two of my Ghanaian friends welcoming us back to their county.  A few minutes later we were in our rooms and the AC was fully cranked.  Wow, what a wonderful feeling.  We quickly put our suitcases in our respective rooms and walked over to see the kids.  This time we were a little better prepared.  I handed my camera to John and he filmed us as we walked in.  It was such a great feeling to walk into the courtyard of the orphanage and see my kids come running up to me and wrap their little arms around my neck and just freeze as they stood there and took in the moment.  I really am unable to put to words all the feelings and emotions I was experiencing as we just stood there and enjoyed the experience.  Delight was so sweet as always and courage was so happy and both just quietly hugged me and told me thank you for coming back.   Then after a short reunion I whispered, do you want to meet Grandpa?  They both looked up at him and went and gave him a huge hug.  It was so great, to see them immediately bond with him and love him unconditionally.  I was reminded about the true, sincere love that these kids had for anyone who can love them back.  The evening went so good.  No drama and no problems. 

The kids were wonderful and were so sweet.  We walked into the orphanage and saw the remainder of the kids.  The first thing I noticed was that there was only a small portion of the kids that were here last visit.  As I saw the ones I did remember it was neat to see the expressions on their face as I called each of them by name.  I looked and saw Little Richard, Believe, Daniel,  Jawphett, Dejaneu, and many others.  It was wonderful to see them.  As we stood in a circle hugging and smiling and laughing, I notice that in a short time Daniel brought us several chairs to sit on and the orphans were sitting on the little concrete curbing that surrounded the Mango tree in the middle of the courtyard.  They were all very pensive, quiet, and a few had teary eyes.  I whispered to Delight and asked her why they were so sad, and she just looked up at me with a look like, “are you really that dense?”  She didn’t need to put it to words.  The kids were showing to me, the longing and hurt they feel when they see a family united.  Even though these kids have nothing, the only thing they want for in life is a mother and a father. (Sisters and brothers would be a close second. Ha ha ha)   we really enjoyed sitting together and talking with the kids but my heart was braking to see the others just sit and watch us. The thought that kept coming to my mind was, “How many times did Courage and Delight have to sit and witness this same thing?”   I did try to call each of them up one at a time and hug them and tell them that I missed them, but that really isn’t what this reunion was all about.   I walked over to John (Black) and gave him a really big hug, and thanked him for his ministry with these kids.  I noted to him, that there were a lot fewer kids here than there were last time.  He just quietly smiled and looked at the remained kids.  I asked him if that truth was both a happy and a sad one.  He once again just smiled.  He loves these kids so much and truly gets what this is all about.  What a great example of Christ.  I love this man!

After a short while I grabbed our friend Richard (Big Richard) and we and the kids went to the “Ultimate restaurant”.  As usual the kids ate Fried chicken and fried rice.  I ordered some fried noodles, vegetables and chicken.  It was very good.  When the waitress brought out courage his Fanta Orange, I made the teasing comment to him not to drink it in one gulp.  Well, I realized that I shouldn’t have said that because half way through dinner I noticed that his bottle was still mostly full.  I had embarrassed him and I feel badly about that.  It was just so cute to see him chuggle-ug that soda last time.  We had a terrific dinner and then returned to the hotel.  It was late and we were very tired so I didn’t write last night and just brushed my teeth and went to bed.


We got up and showered and walked down to the corner and bought some of those good fried Doughnuts that I loved so much the last trip.  We then took a taxi (Devine) to Accra so Dad could see the market.  It was loud and crazy just like I remembered last time.  We bought all the souvenirs last time that I could possibly want so we mostly just walked around and argued with a few of the pushy street venders.  I bought a few trinkets and a bag for jenny and then we headed to the “Next Door” restaurant for lunch.  We even took Devine (our taxi driver and friend).  I of course had the Red-red beans and red snapper and fried plantains.  It was wonderful and I gobbled up every last bite.  I was finally home and loved it to pieces.  This meal was the ribbon and bow on the package.    I do hope that someday I can find a recipe for Red-red so I could make it at home.   We stayed a couple hours there and came back to the hotel.  I dropped the two kids off with Grandpa and Job and I walked to first junction to find a friend of a guy we met on the cruise so we could deliver a gift to him.  He was very nice and appreciative of our gesture.  We walked back to the hotel and when we felt the AC it was like manta from heaven.  We all four just crashed on the bed and feel into a deep REM sleep.  Four hours later, we are now waking up and are planning to walk back to the orphanage to bring some gifts.  I am excited for that.  I will upload the last two posts to the blog and will try to write something each night.

Thursday, March 8, 2012


Well, the past 4 ½ months have passed by faster than I thought they would have.  We haven’t done a very good job at updating the blog to keep everyone informed on the progress.  I guess we used Facebook for that.   It is 12:22 AM (so I guess technically it is 3/8/12).  I have been up packing my bags and do not have a lot of faith that I would sleep even if I went to bed, so I decided to update the blog and keep a record of the pickup trip just like we did on the court trip.  I am getting up at 6:00, and headed to the airport to return to Ghana.  This trip will be a little different than the last.  I will be going with my Father (Grandpa John) instead of Jenny.  Last week Jenny and I returned from a nice cruise in the Caribbean where we went to Jamaica, Grand Cayman, and Mexico.  We loved the trip but felt that to leave the kids with Grandmas and Grandpas another week without any correspondence from Mom and Dad would not be a good idea.  So when we announced that Jenny was going to stay home, I invited my father and was surprised at how he immediately jumped on the idea.  He has spent the last month preparing for the trip.  He, like us, had to go get all his foreign travel immunization shots, get a Visa for Ghana and try to get ready for this experience.  I am very excited for my father to experience what I experienced the last trip.  I still have a deep love and appreciation for the children of GMI. (The orphanage) 

Since we left Ghana last fall, we have taken the opportunity many times to Skype and talk with the children.  Delight is so excited for us to come she can’t even contain herself when we call.  Courage is also very excited for us to get down there and bring him home.  I am so full of emotions, excited, scared, and nervous, all at the same time.  I will try to continue to write each night like we did last trip.  I better finish packing.  I will continue from Ghana…

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Since we last posted…

A lot has happened.  Emily, Colt and Abby earned a nice sum of $ to donate to AAI for the holiday party fund at the orphanage.  They all worked hard at Grandma Jonie’s doing odd jobs and such.  The girls each had some babysitting jobs and contributed part of their wages.  Abby’s teacher, Mrs. Mark, even donated some homemade plum jelly for the PB&J week.  I was proud of all 3 of them for being so focused on helping Courage and Delight have a Merry Christmas.  It was fun to watch them work… 

On December 6th, Courage turned 9.  I was sad all day because we didn’t get to talk to him.  However, I wonder if he even knew it was his birthday.  (They don’t make much of it over there).  We’ll make sure the festivities are exciting and memorable next year.  I think I heard somewhere along the way that Job took him down to First Junction and got him some Obama biscuits.  (Cookies. I hope they didn't leave a bad taste in his mouth. lol)
On December 16th, we overnighted our i-600 application to Homeland Security in Texas.  This approval process typically takes 2-4 weeks, and (minus business days not worked because of the holidays) we are 10 days in.  We don’t anticipate hearing anything back until the latter part of January.  After that, we’ll just need to get the visas for the kids and then wait to be given a pickup date.  My gut feeling is late February, but I’ve learned not to count on anything.  Everything is technically ready for them to be here now, but with each day that goes by, I get one more extra thing done in preparation for their arrival (you know, silly things like: organizing the pantry, magnet walls in the kids’ bedrooms, painting the baseboards throughout the house, and sewing curtains and pillows.  Things I’m sure they’ll be concerned about and relieved are done before they get here…ya right!)

John is a Craig’s List genius and was my hero the night I came home to find a “nearly new” bunk bed/desk assembled and smiling at me when I walked into the boys’ room.  He paid $250 and it included two new mattresses still in the plastic.  Such a blessing!   We also found a bunk bed with a trundle for the girls’. They have reorganized their room and it is now tidy, inviting and ready for Delight to get here and make it her own.  Getting the beds found, purchased, assembled and ready for everyone was one of my biggest worries.  Now it is done and I can move on to other things to worry about (like cleaning the garage…also something I’m sure they’ll be very glad to see is done.)

It’s been nearly 2 months since our court day, and we likely have 2 more months to go.  We’ve been blessed with a calming peace that things are progressing and we’ll be under the same roof soon.  Timing is everything…

We’ll let you know when the i-600 approval is granted.  That will be a big day.  Until then…