Friday, December 28, 2007

Whirlwind Adventures!

First Snow
Merry Christmas!
New Scooter :)
Welcome to Washington Weather!

So I realize that we have not updated our blog for over 8 days! Quite a long stretch after updating daily for 2 weeks! We came home at 3:30 am on Thursday, December 20th and tried to rest (HA) before everyone "started" the day. We were not successful! Thursday we had so many friends and family stop by and greet us... so wonderful! Then Thursday, everyone was in bed at 7:30 pm. By this time, Phil and I had been up for 47 hours!!! Friday we had Christmas at my parents's, Saturday we had more Christmas at my parents's and we went to church, Sunday we had church and Christmas at my grandma's, Monday we had church and Christmas Eve dinner at our house (hooray...home) and Christmas morning we were at home then we were off to Phil's parent's for Christmas afternoon/evening! WHEW! By Wednesday, we were ready to stay home and try out our new scooters :)
The last few days have been WONDERFUL as we are all settling in and getting to know one another. We have had some great times(snow:)and also some not so great times (bedtime), but overall, we are starting to feel like a family and not like "we have guests over" (Lukas' words).

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Home sweet home

We are back. The flights went well though JFK in New York was crazy. We barely made it to our connecting gate before the scheduled departure time only to find out that it was delayed for about 30 min. Customs went smooth and could have been worse had a nice lady not pulled us out of a line that we were standing in and moved us to the front. When we entered the room we were told we had to go through the non US citizen line which was probably 2 hours long. Fortunately we stood out as not belonging there and a nice lady saw that and moved us to the front. The kids did well on the planes. The first flight was around 10 hours and the kids were great until we had to sit for 30-40 minuts at JFK waiting for a place for the plane to park. Isaac did not approve of that so he made sure everyone on the plane could hear his opinion. Both he and Kathryn slept the whole 6 hour flight from NY to Seattle. Amanda and I did not sleep at all from when we got up at 5 in the morning in Ghana until we reached our home at 3 am in Lynden. Overall we were going for about 33 hours. We all slept for a few hours and Kathryn and Isaac got up around 7. Lukas and Evalin woke up around 8:30 and they have all been playing vigoroulsly ever since. They are all getting along well. Amanda and I have been eating many good things. We stopped at Burger King on the way home and when we got home we Orianne (Amanda's sister) had stocked us up with many of our favorite things including a chocolate cake that she baked. We had great pot of coffee this morning and are washing laundry. Kathryn is trying on all of her clothes and Isaac has decided to get make it his goal to play with every toy in the house by lunch time. Kathry looked out the back door this morning and saw the playground at the school and wanted to go. So we opened the door and just as fast as she ran out she ran back in saying how cold it was. We told her that as soon as it was sunny (later today) we would bundle up and go the park. We plan to stay home today and will most likely be home. People are welcome to stop by and say hello if you are in the neighborhood. We are planning to go get a Christams tree tomorrow and then settle in for a great long Christmas weekend. We hope to see everyone soon. We can't wait to go to church on Sunday. Thank you to everyone for your prayers and praise be to our great God for what he has and is doing. We could not have made this journey without the strength that he provided and we give him all of the glory. It is our prayer that more and more families will be lead to taking care of the children in this world who have no one to care for them. Check back soon for pictures and goodies.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Homeward Bound

We went to our visa appointment today and received our visas for Kathryn and Isaac...Hooray! Our flight leaves at 10:30 am, but we have to be there at 6:00 am (Delta suggested 4:00 am, but then after my laughter subsided, they said 6:00am would be acceptable). We have a 2 1/2 hour layover in JFK where we will have to go through customs, meet with an immigration officer and do some paperwork declaring Kathryn and Isaac as immigrants! Should be interesting:)
On a seperate note: Phil and I are much lighter coming home than we were coming. The girls at the orphanage were laughing at us because they said we were "shrinking" HA! Phil lost more weight than me (not fair) even though I was sick longer(and more violently). We are soooo glad to be coming home. I am planning on eating a big salad with safely washed lettuce and fresh vegetables on it! Phil is planning on, well, there are just too many foods to list! Hopefully the next time you hear from us we will either be face to face with you at at your doorstep (if you live in Whatcom County) or you can read about our journey as we type from our home! (Lukas and Evalin...I cannot wait to see you!!!)

Monday, December 17, 2007

Lesson learned!

"The goodness of God is that which disposes Him to be kind, cordial, benevolent, and full of good will toward men. He is tenderhearted and of quick sympathy, and His unfailing attitude toward all moral beings is open, frank, and friendly. By His nature He is inclined to bestow blessedness and He takes holy pleasure in the happiness of His people..." A.W. Tozer

We have learned so much this last week. One thing that I learned (Amanda) is that God is not required to do what I want just because I want it. It is not His job to make me happy, it is His job to make me holy. I finally got it! Total surrender. If God wants me to stay in Africa so that my character is developed, then that is the best. Since God is 100% good, He can only give good to us. He cannot give us bad or evil things. So even if something seems bad to me, I have to have faith that it is actually for my good.

Okay, now what you really want to know...(I had to take the opportunity to "preach" because I knew I had a captive audience) we went to the embassy this morning and almost all of the regular consulars were gone (because it is Christmastime) so they had many, many "temps" who are notorious for going "by the book" We had a darling girl help us and she was so wonderful!!! I explained our situation and she said "Well, normally you would come back Friday, but let me see what I can do" I don't know who she talked to or what she did, but she came back in five minutes with a 4 pm appointment for Tuesday afternoon...yes that is correct! We get our visas on Tuesday and can come home on Wednesday! Enough said!

Sunday, December 16, 2007


So it is now Sunday and we are getting ready to go to church. Yesterday was a little rough. We went to a market in the afternoon to purchase some souveniers and wares. I got a lovely Ghana soccer jersey and Amanda picked up a nicely hand carved nativity set. From there it went down hill. Amanda proceeded to get sick for the rest of the evening. I/We were worried that it might be another kidney infection, but at this point we are thinking it is just some bad food, bad water, heat or a combination of it all. She had some bad cramping and pains. Needless to say we will be eating only 100% guaranteed safe products from here on out. That means a very limited diet of bananas, bread, and bananas. As far as the schedule goes it all depends on Monday. We will se the American Consular office and see if they will issue us a visa by Tuesday. If that happens we are booked on a flight for Wednesday. If this does not happen it will be difficult to get home before Christmas. The flights closer to and on the weekend are quite full. The consular office "normally" issues visas on Fridays. We are going to beg, plead, and ask for an exception which have been made before so it is not impossible. Please pray that they will at least hear our request. We have all of the papers and things that they need so it should be possible. It is once again hot today. We have been bitten by mosquitoes this week and are trusting that God is using the malaria pills that we are taking to keep us safe from that. The kids are doing quite well and are anxious to go home. The only thing we are concerned about is that neither of them like to sit in the car and both of them had a fit when we put the seatbelts on them. Of course they must wear the belts in the plane and stay seated. Another prayer request for the painfully long flight(s). All in all we are in fairly good spirits (I might not have said so last night). We are trusting in God's timing but asking him to make Wednesday his timing. Thanks for reading. We hope to have some news on Monday.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Two to go!

This morning we set out to get the children's medical exam and lab tests. This normally takes 2-3 days so we were prepared for more delays. We got up very early and were at the office at 7:15, (even though it doesn't open until 8:00) because the lines for the medical exams are crazy long. We were the first ones there:) We explained our situation to the receptionist (who I think is an angel) and then saw the doctor right away! He sent us across town to the lab building so that we could get a stool sample from the kids. (I fed them prunes the whole way there!) We again, went right in and saw the nurse. She said she would send the results back as soon as she received them. We asked her when she thought that would be and she said that they should be back later that afternoon. She showed us the heading on the lab paper, which the receptionist had sent with us, and it said "URGENT" (I told you he was an angel) Long story short, we got the medical exam, lab test, lab results, and "official" medical report all by 3:00 pm!!! Praise God. We went to the Embassy, but they said we had to come back on Monday. We still won't be coming home on Monday as planned, but we are praying and hoping that the Embassy officer will have compassion on us and issue the children's visas before Friday (their normal visa day). If not, we will be here through Christmas. So this is our prayer request: that we will align ourselves to God's will and if He has us stay in Africa through Christmas, we will be mature enough to handle it. Also, the desire of our hearts is, of course, to come home for Christmas, so we are also asking for that. Thank you for your prayers today and throughout our time here. We have felt the presence of the Lord yesterday and today. Both Phil and I struggled earlier this week with the feeling that heaven was silent, so we were very grateful for His calming presence and of course, answered (the answer of "yes")prayers.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Oh Happy Day!

We got the passport today! We went in at 2 pm (that is when they told us to come) and we brought with us a Ghanaian missionary who is staying in the same complex as we are. He offered to help us and truly without his help today, we would have left without it again. The kids and I waited in the car while Phil and Dan went to the passport office. 2 1/2 hours, 5 temper tantrums, and 3 people in the car crying later, we had the passport! Tomorrow we are off to get the children's medical exam. It is not humanly possible (notice I say "humanly") to accomplish the medical exam, get the results back and apply for our visa all in one day. However, we are going to do our very best to get as much possible as we can. We are sooooo relieved to have the passport!!! God and I had quite the discussion today in the car...well maybe not discussion, I ranted, He listened! Maybe I should change my account in the car to 6 temper tantrums. God is so good. And He would have been just as good if we hadn't got the passport! We are rejoicing in Africa!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The Results Are In...

Okay, now I know that Phil is everybody's favorite! Something that I had long time suspected, was confirmed. Everyone except Sarah, my friend since Kindergarten, voted against me!!! Even my own mother, sided with Phil! So Phil will be staying in Africa with me and the kids until we leave. (A special thanks to Sarah for sticking with me!:)
We have new accommadations (thank you Lord) with 4 twin beds instead of two. So for the first time in 10 nights, I didn't have to share a bed with anyone! (I had been "sleeping" with Kathryn). Not wanting to take any chances, I took a sleeping pill so that I would enjoy my sleep, in my very OWN bed. Imagine my disappointment when it didn't knock me out! What?! I was imagining "Bye, Bye, George, see you next Thursday" (Father of the Bride) type of sleeping pill, but Phil told me it was just a sleeping aid! What a rip off!!! Anyway, it did help me go to sleep, which has been a problem for me (could be due to the feet in my face, no space in the bed, sleeping with a thrashing 4 year old, etc.). One funny thing, (not funny last night, but really funny this morning) my new bed is so squeaky that even if just move my arm or my head ever so slightly, by bed squeaks...very loudly! I really cannot describe it in a way that does it justice! So after about 2 hours, I got up and put the mattress on the floor (despite my fear that a lizard would come sleep with me or even just come and stare at me during the night). So, all that said, I got a great night sleep! It is much like the first night your baby sleeps through the night after months of waking up in the middle of the night for is that great! Paperwork, delays, traffic...bring it on!

Oh Canada...

Hello. It is Wednesday evening. No passport yet and it is still up in the air on how confident we are in getting it by the end of tomorrow as promissed. We were very disappointed yesterday and this morning was no better. We went to the American Embassy and the guards who escorted us to the waiting area took our appointment letter and asked us to have a seat. After a while Amanda and I started thinking... how would they even know we were here? The letter that they took did not have our name on it and we did not give them any name or identification. So Amanda insisted that they need to take our name. They said that our name would be called and we again attempted to explain that there was no name given to call. Finally, Amanda just went up to one of the windows and asked one of the Americans on the ther side of the glass and they told us what to do. Once we were able to speak with a person they said we must come back with the passport in order to continue the process. Essentially we are no further than we were before though we did get to sit in a well air conditioned waiting room for a few hours. So the rest of the day was much better. We had a Christmas party at the orphanage and it was great. I got to stand in front of the bar-b-que for an hour and play games with the kids. It was good to have some slightly normal food and to just play with kids as well as mingle with the staff. We ave noticed though that Kathryn and Isaac are adjusting well to us and thus adjusting out of the orphanage in a way. They don't want to go there as much and when we get in the taxi to go Kathryn always asks if we are going away now (meaning to see Lukas and Evalin). They want to put on their winter clothes so bad that we had to put them away out of sight. Anyhow, after the party we went back to the GILBT (Ghana Institute of Linguistics, Literacy and Bible Translation) Guest house where the sweet little Canadian lady running it had arranged for us to move into a bigger place. We now have two bedrooms, 4 single beds, and our own kitchen, dining and living area. We are still not overly comfortable but it is a step up. In addition the same ladies husband, who is Ghanaian, went down to the Ghana passport office and is trying to get someone to move on it. He knows people and got an appointment with the director of the office tomorrow morning at 9am (please pray for that). This couple has made our day and we are very greatful for them even if he is not able to make things move any faster. It is amazing that in a place where not many seem willing to help there are a few who go way beyond what we would ever ask for. At this point the kids are asleep, I smell like flamed sausages and chicken, and yes I have not broken my continuous sweating streak. That is unless you count showers where I am still wet and thus feel that counts as well since there is not the scientific aparatuses in Ghana to tell whether I am sweating in the shower or not. We are chosing to trust God a this point because we really can't see where we are going and we don't even know what we are to do some times. Atleast for now we feel we have a place to wait things out. Thank you for your prayers.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Pictures while I can

We are at the orphanage today and will be having a party this afternoon. The internet was working well so I decided to upload some pictures. I will try to get some of the party pictures on this evening before we go back to the guest house. Enjoy

Kids in the school room

Kathryn and Isaac watching a DVD in our guesthouse room.

Playing some ball with the boys.

Jacob took this one of the kids at dinner time.

Cast your votes now.

The passport was not issued today and they didn't even tell us come back tomorrow this time. They said, "come back Thursday." So now the reality has set in that we will not be leaving to come home on Monday as planned. It is hard not to be upset because the only thing holding us here is the passport (or lack of). The Ghanaian passport office knows this, but they don't care. (harshly stated, I know, but true). It was their mistake! And they have had over a month to fix it! Anyway, we will meet with the Embassy tomorrow to see if we can at least submit what we have to get a head start on filing for the visa. We will be asking them some more questions, which I won't post here for the world to see on this blog. You can pray for our sad hearts. My chest actually very disappointed. We also need prayer for wisdom, because I think Phil should return to be with our children at home(for Christmas) and yet Phil doesn't want to leave me here. I can't leave Phil here, because Kathyrn is not ready for that big of a step. We were so hoping not to be in this situation. So Phil has said the decision is now open for votes. So cast your vote now (in the comments). We will tally the results and post our decision:)

Monday, December 10, 2007

Monday, Monday...

It is Monday evening and… no passport. We are not despairing or depressed, because we have faith! Even if we don’t leave “on time” it is okay, because there is a reason. We may never know it, but there is one, none the less.
We found a FABULOUS air-conditioned store/mall today and we had sandwiches and COLD coca cola…so delicious! I am so happy! I have been hungry (just a little bit) almost everyday because we either can’t find something to eat or are scared to eat it! So today was good! My skin is so beautiful and cleansed from the humidity and I have lost quite a bit of weight too (down a whole pant size!) So forget the expensive spas, just come here instead.
Another wonderful thing about Accra is the evidence of God all around us. For example, “My Redeemer Lives Muffler Shop” or “God Never Sleeps Bakery” or my personal favorite, “God Has a Plan for Your Life Beauty Shop” I am trying to convince Phil to rename his business to “God is Our Redeemer, Has a Plan for You and Never Sleeps Plan Design and Consulting” but he thinks it won’t fit on the business card. It is great…I love it!
We continue to get to know our children, and find out just how wonderful they are. Kathryn has come out of her shell and is a talkative, giggly, little jokester who likes to play tricks on us! Isaac just goes 1000 miles an hour all day long, WOW! We are having a great time with them both. We will keep you posted. And please pray that the passport is finished tomorrow.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Pictures & Appreciation

We wanted to let everyone know that we appreciate your comments. They are a refreshing time where we feel closer to home.

I am attaching pictures but they are downloading at a rate of 20-30 min per picture, that is if the page doesn't time out, so I am giving up for a while.

Escaping the waves at the beach.

Goofing around at the hotel room.

Fun at the Cape Coast Beach

Thanksgiving in December

So we are back from our "holiday" and we feel sane and in control of ourselves...finally! This weekend we had a great time with our kids and got to know them even better. They both thought they could swim, and jumped right into the pool and promptly sank like rocks, so we quickly realized that they thought they could swim, but actually had never been in a pool before, so, WOW! God taught us a lot this weekend about thankfulness and being grateful even when it is hard. It is EASY to be grateful in the US - we have everything, but when you don't have everything accessible to you, that is when you see if you really can "be content in all circumstances, whether in plenty or in want." The same goes for faith. It is easy to have faith when we are in control, but when things don't go our way or are out of our control, that is when we see if we really have faith. I realized this week, that my faith is not as strong as I thought (yet ANOTHER pride issue I have to work on!!!), but God also let me know that He knows I am just not there yet and that He still loves me and is actually, not even suprised by my immaturity. Even though I am:) One of lessons of gratitude came from this weekend when we met a man from Canada who is adopting two darling girls. When we asked him how long he was staying, he said he didn't know. As our conversation continued, we found out that he has been in Ghana for 7 months (SEVEN!!!) and has no idea when their adoption will go through. And here I have been crying and whining about 2 weeks! His wife had to return to Canada to work and manage things at home and he stayed with the girls. The girls got malaria and typhoid fever at the same time and one almost died, but here is what he said (talk about gratitude!) "I am so glad we had that time in the hospital, because now my girls know that I am not going anywhere and I am in it for the long-haul" Amazing. So we are ready to face this week, and perhaps another week, because we will choose to be grateful and to exercise our faith. This weekend, I learned that it is a choice and so Phil and I have determined to be not only content, but grateful for all we have, which is so much.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Taking a "Holiday"

So we are closing in on one week of living in Ghana and we are still alive. We are also well other than lack of sleep and a small bout with The Diarrheas (Lukas termed the phrase “I hate the diarrheas”) today. Romana convinced us that we needed a “vacation” so we are spending the weekend in Cape Coast. We got an early start on Friday because all the government offices were closed and we could do nothing regarding the adoption. We got up on Friday and left our place at around 8 and took a taxi to a place where there was supposed to be an air conditioned Ford Bus (van) that would take us to cape coast for a very reasonable rate. On the way there we drove down a 3 or 4 block long market where they sold everything from used mufflers to food. It was not the cleanest space and most of the “buildings” were make shift lean-tos made of whatever they could find. Have we mentioned that the driving here is amazing. Imagine one of those games where you had to get the little red car though traffic where all of the other cars are touching with the exception of one car that can move one space in one direction freeing another car to move one space in one direction and so on except in real life. They do have similar traffic lines to us but they are more of a guide line for keeping the vehicle straight and have no real meaning for lanes. The difference between a dotted center line and a solid one is that you must pass extremely fast on the latter one so as to avoid the semi truck coming around the corner and over the hill. Fortunately all of the cars are equipped with seat belts that no body but us wear. Any how, we missed the bus the first time, because even though we were in line, as soon as the bus pulled up, everyone rushed to the bus, pushing and shoving each other, one man almost fell onto the street. And we stood there in complete shock and missed the bus. Two hours later of standing in the sun and having wares peddled to us we were on the bus. While the rate was reasonable at $14 for the 2 hour ride we actually got on the wrong bus due to the language barrier. For the first 15 minutes of the ride we were blessed by a Ghanian pastor who gave the entire gospel to everyone on the bus. It was one of the most amazing examples of a modern day apostle that I have seen. I was inspired. I wish I had it on tape. He was “on fire”. We encouraged him and gave him some $. He gave as personal blessing and prayer. As for the rest of the ride, we ended up driving past a few signs that said Cape Coast turn here and about 10 minutes after that we asked the driver where we were going. He said some place about 60km past where we were already. He dropped us off at a taxi and we took a 15 minute drive back to our resort. It all worked out though it could have been bad had we not asked the question. The resort is relatively nice and the scenery is beautiful. We have air-conditioning which allowed us to get the best night sleep we’ve had which has helped us regain some strength and composure. The food is ok and we have found a few things that the kids won’t eat. They don’t like raisins, Kathryn does not like green beans or cabbage, and Isaac does not like carrots. Other than that they will eat everything on their plate including Isaac scooping up the french fry ketchup with his hands. We spent most of Saturday hanging out at the pool and beach. The ocean looks so big here. We saw fisher men pulling in nets, Gardeners shimmying up palm trees to harvest coconuts and many fast little lizards that Isaac likes to chase. We bought a bunch of stuff from one of the traveling peddlers who said his name was Philip though Amanda thinks he was just saying that to make us feel more comfortable with him. He liked my “I like Ike” T-shirt and wanted to use it for bartering. The TV is sketchy and gets about 10 chanels of which 5 are fuzzy, two have no sound, and only one has anything that interests any of us. Tomorrow we will try to catch the correct bus and do the whole thing in reverse. Hopefully we will make it back with less misfortune. Monday, we hope to have Kathryn’s passport so that we can continue the process. Without it we can’t do much more. We will be having the kids poop into bags and check for little poop bugs or something. Why this matters I don’t know. If there are bugs we will have the US doctors take care of it. If there are no bugs then who cares. Anyhow, we will post again when we get back tomorrow. Please continue to pray specifically that Kathryn’s passport will be ready early Monday and that the rest of the process will be completed by Friday so that we can come home on the following Monday.

P.S. It may look like marinara or meat sauce but it is really spicy.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

The Graciousness of God

God is so gracious to us that sometimes I am overwhelmed. If you have read my post from yesterday, you would have seen that Phil and I were very discouraged. But God in His great mercy, assured us that He is in control, He hears us, He loves us and He is concerned for us. He did this through an email. Romana had emailed the embassy to see what progress our I600 had made in the approval process. She forwarded us the response she received, which was an automated response saying that the officer handling our paperwork was on vacation until the 17th (crushing!) BUT followed by an email from the officer saying that he had approved our I600 before leaving for vacation and that it was at the appropriate office waiting for us. God is truly with us wherever we go...even to Africa. The harshest realization and the sadess one to us is that, even though we think we are completely sold out to God and not sucked up into this world, this trip has shown us that we are indeed spoiled Americans. I hate the thought of that, but it has broken down our pride and our thinking that we were somehow above all that...we obviously are not. So even though it IS painful, I am grateful that God loves me enough to show me just how much more I need to change to become who I was created to be. God is so full of mercy and kindness that even when I am crying and feeling sorry for myself, He gently disciplines me. He is so good.

Survival Guide 101

It is 4:30 am and I can't sleep so I thought I would write a survival guide for anyone who has decided to visit Ghana after our glowing reports:)

1. When two adult travelers must share a twin bed (not double, twin) it is of utmost importance to decide on one sleeping position and then remain in that position the entire night. This eliminates needless, accidental touching of one another (which results in grouchy responses, instant heat transfer, and more sweat on the sheets and body)
2. Check the bed boards to make sure they are properly in place before going to bed. This will ensure that no bed boards fall out in the middle of the night causing much terror and confusion.
3. Before taking a shower, imagine the waters of the Acrtic, imagine the icy waters, etc. this will cause the water to actually feel warm when you do take the shower (note to readers: this has not worked yet, but the theory is sound).
4. Do not take a shower on an empty stomach. The shock of the cold water on your extremely warm body will result in dry heaves (note to readers: this could also be caused by eating raw plantains, see previous post).
5. When typing at 4:30 am, do not scream at the sight of lizards running by your feet or accross the wall. This results in people awakening before they really should.
6. When buying fruit or any local items, make sure you clarify what it is you are buying and how it should be prepared. This eliminates the possibility of feeding your family raw plantains, for example, which results in stomach aches and possible sadness.
7. When cooking in the kitchen, be kind to the lizards as they, like you, are just trying to survive. (and try not to scream at the sight of them, this causes them to be very scared, which is not very considerate seeing that they were here first).
8. When riding in a taxi in rush hour, make sure you have made peace with God.
9. Leave the make-up at home and instead bring extra deodorant.
10. Kiss and hug your children many more times before you leave, as you will miss their soft skin, smell of their hair, and their little faces.

I hope this helps you. I will write Survival Guide 102 next so that you will have a good grasp on surviving and thriving in Ghana!

Setbacks and Disappointments

The last 24 hours has been very hard to say the least. It started with Romana dropping us off at the side of the road (she was going the other way so it was understandable), getting a taxi, the cab driver assuring us he knew where we were going, but then didn't! A 10 minute ride turned into a 1 hour long ride. In traffic. In the heat. Then after we got back I tried to make dinner with a bag of rice full of bugs and what I thought were black over-ripe bananas, but turned out to be plantains (which apparently you have to cook, but not knowing this or that they were even plantains, fed them to everyone raw resulting in stomach aches for everyone). Then this morning, we went to Beacon House where Emmanuel was supposed to give us Kathryn's passport so we could file the last remaining papers and take her to get ther medical exam. (She and Isaac received their passports weeks ago, but they misspelled her name so we had to get another one). Nothing from this point on can be done without it. We waited all day and were assured by the passport office that they would have it today, because tomorrow is a holiday here and everything is closed. But by 6 pm it was apparent that we did not have it, so we did not file our visa application and did not get the medical appointment (which takes days). So we were dissappointed. I was sick all day (probably from the raw plantains!!!) and Isaac didn't get a nap resulting in a not fun bedtime. The ride back, which usually takes about 15 minutes took 1 1/2 hours. The traffic was horrible and the way they drive here is everyone turns at the same time regardless if there is room or not. (2 lane road has 5 lanes of traffic...seriously!) So cars were scraping one another and bumping into one another, very unsettling. Also, there is no emission control (shocking, I know) and so the entire time, we are literally gagging and choking on fumes. It is very much like putting your face next to a tailpipe for 1 1/2 hours. The drivers actually carry a rag to breathe through and to wipe the sweat, which runs profusely from sitting in a non air-conditioned car for 1 1/2 hours. Anyway, long story short, we cried when we got home. No make that sobbed. I want to go home. I feel guilty for wanting to go home because people here live with this every day of their lives and I can't even handle 3 days. So there you have it, the not so wonderful side of our story. Please pray that Kathryn's passport is done on Monday morning. If it is not, it is unlikely that we can get everything done in time for us to come home on the 17th. That really makes me sad, because I REALLY miss my kids. Okay, now I can't see what I am typing and must go blow my nose.

Kathryn and Isaac

Here is an introduction to our two new children:

Kathryn is very quiet. She is deep in thought quite often (I am sure just processing everything). She loves her new baby doll, named "mom" and wants to take her everywhere we go. She is sad in the morning when she wakes up, but smiles when I tell her she can pick out a dress to wear for the day. She is unsure of Phil and won't really interact with him yet. Her favorite phrase is, "I can do it myself" (she and Evalin should get along great!). She can count to thirty! She has the cutest laugh I have ever heard. She is very polite and always says thank you. She insists on wearing her hair bow that I gave her even though her hair is too short. She tells me, "Madame, my hair is growing" I must put her hair clip in, Phil cannot do it. I put her hair bow in 19 times yesterday. She is very sweet. She likes to tell Isaac what to do and is a very good big sister. That is just a little bit about my little girl.
Isaac loves to be held. He is extremely ticklish! He has a very fat belly, which I kiss and he laughs. He is still learning to talk. He loves Phil and does everything that he does. (He had to put on lotion and deodorant because Phil did). He is fearless...he told Phil to finish his food because Phil didn't eat everything! He is very dark. The pictures I received don't even show how dark he is. He loves his toothbrush that we got for him and carries it around and sleeps with it (I know, it is gross!) He talks to himself in a high pitched voice when no one is looking and then covers his eyes and laughs if he catches you looking at him:) He is very fun. He gets mad and pouts when he doesn't get his way. And he does not like to go to bed.

Both kids are total chow hounds! They can out eat Phil and I. They finish EVERYTHING on their plate and then hold it up and say "I am finished" They don't ever say they are full. (we will have to teach them when to stop eating:) They love their blankets that Grandma Lohrer made them and insist on sleeping with them even though it is soooo hot and humid. They love the headphones for the dvd player; and put them on and dance and sing even though they are not listening to anything! They talk about the plane ride and want to "go now and see Evalin and Luka" We too can't wait for that day!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Love At First Sight

So it is my turn to post now (Amanda) and I get to write the best one so far! We arrived late in Ghana because of airline delays, so we were not able to meet our children until after we had checked into our place, eaten lunch, gone to the Embassy and filed our I600. We arrived at the orphanage at around 3:30 pm and met many children right away. They were all so excited to meet us, but no Kathryn or Isaac. More children came and met us, but still no Kathryn and Isaac. Then finally, I heard the house mother coming down the stairs saying, "Come now, your mom and dad are here" My heart almost stopped (really) as I saw her come down the stairs. I quickly wiped away the tears that came instantly into my eyes. Forever etched in my memory: blue dress, bare feet, hands covering her face. She came down, did not look at us and said "Hello" Phil and I kneeled down at her level and said hello without touching her at all. Then Isaac came into the room. So little, and so black! He said hello while looking us right in the eye! I gave Kathryn her doll and she took it and smiled! Then I gave Isaac his truck and he started racing it around the room. We went outside onto the porch to play with Isaac, but Kathryn stayed inside. Then after we played with the truck (rolling it back and forth to each other) for about 10 minutes, Kathryn came outside. She went to the other side of the porch and gave her baby a bottle. My heart was so sad because she was ignoring us, but I told myself to BE PATIENT. I looked back to play with Isaac, but he was gone. On Phil's lap, smiling up at him (more supressed tears). Isaac came back over and continued our very long game of truck rolling, when Phil said "Look behind you". There was Kathryn, leaning up against me. I told her how pretty her brown eyes were and how the baby had brown eyes just like her. She smiled at me (sigh) and then I asked her what her baby's name was. She said "Mom." Apparently this was very funny because she threw her head back and laughed. And of course, so did I. After that magical moment, she has been all mine! She calls me "Madame" and so does Isaac, but other than that, we get along like we were meant to be together. Because we were.

Is it sinful to shower more than 3 times a day?

So we have finally been blessed with a decent internet connection this evening (8pm local time, 12 noon pst). It isn't that we have not had a connection it has just been a really sucky on and it wasn't even able to download email. We are in Accra right now with Kathryn and Isaac staying in a mission guest house. We have been spending our days at the orphanage when we aren't hounding officials to process paperwork. The flight was ok though after having the first day cancelled we were concerned about the windy weather that came next. We did have a slight delay in NY. And by slight I mean we "taxied" for two hours. The good part was that it was only a 9 hour flight and not 10 as we had thought originally. When we got of the plane the weather was sweaty. It was not just hot or humid it was sweaty and I will continue that sweat until the plane ride home I think. Not much except the American embassy has air conditioning. Most places have ceiling fans that serve as a convection oven that trys to dry the sweat but only actually makes me thirsty. Driving is crazy. People are poor. There are soo many sad stories, beggers, and run down people. We were quite overwhelmed and unprepared for all of it and I really don't think you can prepare. If you come with the heart of Jesus you will be broken. We have cried a lot and have not slept a lot. I must say that Romana has been great. She is busy but has made the time to help us figure every little thing out. All packages arrived safely. The custom officer didn't even open a single bag. That was partly due to the fact that the airport did not have power and the baggage carousel was not working so they handed the bags out one by one. With a completely full 767 that takes a really long time so they were getting us out as fast as possible. I was really impressed though when the airport bus picked us up from the plane to take us to the terminal door which was about 100 feet from where we got on the bus. We have many stories and will try to keep sharing them as we have time and a connection. Amand is going to post a blog about the kids and then I will try to add some pics and video. To all "expectant" parents... Your kids are fabulous. I love everyone of them and they will sit for hours and talk about you and the states. I was talking with Jacob today about the airplane and he had a number of great questions about where the urine and poop go when you use the bathroom on board the plane. He assumed that it was just dumped on people. In Ghana it is quite common to go wherever and whenever so that is understandable. He also asked how extremely large people get on a plane. I tried to avoid the subject but he would not settle for my spined answeres so I told him that sometimes you get two seats. The light bulb went off and he said "so you take one side and place it here and the other side and place it here" all while doing the motions. He is quite a character. Victoria is beutiful and wants to read to me and show me her drawings. They are all excited about meeting us and living together in Lynden. I have quite a few notes and stuff to bring back. Ok so Amanda wants a turn to tell stories. Look back for pics if I can get them downloaded.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

So.....It is now Sunday evening and we are not on an airplane. We are also not at an airport. We are also not on our way to the airport. We are also not miraculously at our destination yet. We are going to sleep approximately 3 or 4 comfortable hours at my parents house in Bellingham before trying again in the early morning. Yes, our flight was cancelled. Though we have been having our own weather event here in Whatcom County this weekend it is the fault of the East Coast that our flight was cancelled today. The good news so far is that we won't miss any of our scheduled appointments in Ghana if our current itenerary holds. The bad news is that we are going from windy, snowy, sleety, 28 degrees to Hot (90+), humid, buggy. I want to wear Ghana appropriate gear for when we get there, but would look like a fool and possibly not warm up until we were in Ghana. Well, hopefully the next post will be from Accra. Pray for us and we will keep posting as we are able. Sorry about the lack of pictures, the cammera was packed and I spent a few hours trying to get our maximum of 4 checked bags and two carry-ons to be a couple of pounds below the limit. SO BACK OFF!!! sorry about that.