30 November 2006

ultrasound report

We heard tonight that Garty is in good spirits despite being sick. It seems like they're used to the routine now, so they caught it before things got out of control. As for the ultrasound, the bad news is that it wasn't a great study, so the radiologist wasn't able to discover as much as hoped. The good news is that there doesn't appear to be anything horrifically wrong. Most of the worst case scenarios would be evident even with a not great ultrasound, and they didn't see any of those things. That leaves several options, all of which will need specialty care when Garty gets home. Most of them are not immediately life threatening as long as Garty's body can continue to fight off each infection that comes his way. Thanks for all your prayers and encouragement. Please don't stop. We're not there yet!

lots of elephants

If you missed the 11/29 post about the WildCam or just ignored it, we have to tell you that we just clicked over there and saw a whole herd of elephants... and one cute baby elephant. I (Becky) am so excited that I can hardly stand it. Peter's enthusiasm is less obvious, but he did admit that it was cool. You really should check it out (or maybe we should really get a life)!

29 November 2006

good news & bad news

The good news is that we just learned that we're legally parents! They will be submitting passport applications for our kids by the weekend. After that, we're just waiting for "the call." It may take 3 weeks or 3 months, but there aren't any other steps in the process. We're just waiting for the phone to ring!
The bad news is that Garty is sick again with the same kidney infection. We figured this would happen eventually since he definitely has some kind of kidney abnormalities, but we were so encouraged by his stretch of good health. He's been on oral antibiotics, but he still got sick again. He'll be getting antibiotics by injection daily for the next week. During his period of wellness, he gained weight and his appetite increased tremendously, so they're hopeful that he'll start feeling better right away and not lose more weight. If they feel he is serious danger and the passport in nowhere near completion, they will probably do what they can to get him to Ghana. Please pray with us that this doesn't become necessary. We are praying for a quick response to the antibiotics and that God would miraculously move our kids' paperwork through this passport office mess at a quick pace. (And feel free to throw in a prayer that we somehow get through this tremendously long list of things we need to accomplish before we get on the plane!)

fun website

From time to time we check out National Geographic's WildCam in Botswana, Africa. It shows live streaming video from a watering hole where all the animals hang out. The best viewing times are 4-8 pm EST (night) and 12-4 am EST (early morning). Right now I'm trying to unwind after a busy evening at work and watching a turtle sun himself on a rock. However, there are often much more interesting animals than just a cute turtle. Check it out!

28 November 2006

new names

We actually both had the evening off last night, so we headed to Barnes & Noble to (a) relax (b) use our gift card to get some yummy drinks and (c) page through baby name books until we settled on middle names for the kids. We're discovering that it's really tough to choose names with significance, especially when they have to sound good with first names they already have. We've narrowed options for Joshua down to 3, and we're still not thrilled with the 6 options we have for Patience. However, we did want to announce for those who haven't heard... (imagine drumroll here)... that Garty's new name is Garty Samuel Bowersox. Samuel means "the Lord hears," and we know that God has heard the prayers of so many of you since Garty got sick in October. If you know the Biblical story of Hannah and Samuel, you know that Samuel's life was a miracle. We believe that this is true for Garty as well. We decided recently not to change his first name as originally planned. One reason is simply that since he's been sick, everyone has gotten used to calling him Garty. Plus, it's a common Liberian name, even if it's unusual here. As far as the get made fun of on the playground factor, the worst thing we've discovered is that Garty rhymes with "farty." (A helpful pronunciation tip for those of you who have been wondering how we pronounce his name.) We're sure the fascination with bodily functions will bring this to the surface, but we've heard much worse. Finally, and most importantly, we recently learned that our kids' mother lived for about 24 hours after Garty was born. That means that she was probably the one who named him, and we want to honor her memory by keeping his name. When he gets old enough to understand, we'll let him decide if he's rather go by Samuel or Sam. We're fine with it either way. Stay tuned for the update on the other 2 names as soon as we figure them out.

25 November 2006

adoption status

We just learned from our yahoo group that our adoption is either done or very nearly done. The office assistant here in the States isn't sure who is done and who has finishing touches to deal with, but it's good news either way. It means that we may already be parents (and it's not as tough as we thought it would be)!

24 November 2006

a happy thanksgiving

We hope you all enjoyed Thanksgiving. We cetainly did. We started the day late. After all, we need to get ahead on sleep while we can! After a yummy brunch of raspberry stuffed French toast, we sat down to read Psalm 136. It has recently become our Thanksgiving tradition to read this together. It's a repetitive but beautiful litany of all the acts God did on behalf of Israel, and each statement is followed by, "His love endures forever." When we finish reading, we add our own reflections on God's care for us over the past year. This year, our additions included such statements as, "To him who provided handyman jobs so we could pay the bills... and who blessed us with wonderful family and friends who love and encourage us... and who sent us 3 beautiful children when we only asked for 2..." Truly God has been so good to us this year, and it was great to kick off Thanksgiving by reflecting on his blessings. By the time we concluded this activity, the cats had joined us on the couch, and we were left with no choice but to curl up and take a quick nap.
The rest of our day included a quick visit at Becky's parents' house followed by dinner with the Bowersox extended family. When we were sufficiently stuffed, we headed back to Peter's mom's to spend the night. However, our good night's sleep was not quite as long as it should have been. Becky stayed up until 3am having a great chat with our 2 sisters-in-law who are in town while Peter enjoyed having access to cable TV and watched parts of quite a few movies. All in all, it was a relaxing and wonderful chance to catch up with those we love... and having 5 adorable nieces and nephews makes everything so much more fun!

passport situation update

We just learned that the Liberian president visited the passport office today because of all the problems and promised that things would be moving along again soon. While there are no guarantees, she is someone we're inclined to believe. She's been doing an amazing job since her inauguration in January, and she knows how to get things done. Please continue to pray with us that our kids' passports will be issued in weeks instead of months. Still no official word that our adoption is finalized though. No news from the radiologist either.

21 November 2006

Liberian passport problems

Some of you have asked if there is a way to speed up the passport process so we can get the kids home. Unfortunately, there isn't. The problem is not one that we can solve through typical US solutions. Putting pressure on them could simply cause them to "lose" our kids' paperwork for a while. Things don't work in Liberia the way they do here. On a positive note, today the problems in the passport office finally hit the local radio station in Liberia. If you want to read the story they aired, you can find it here. It's possible that having the attention of the Liberian public focused on the issue may lead to improvements. Our best course of action at this time is to pray for a miracle. That could be a miracle in getting the passports issued quickly (we have heard a few such stories) or a miracle in Garty's health so he can hang in there for an extra month or two or whatever it takes. It certainly seems that God is sustaining him despite problems in his kidneys.

18 November 2006

the joy of sugar

It appears that Joshua and Patience have learned about candy. Rice with palm oil is no longer the extent of their culinary existence.
Check out how long Patience's hair is getting. I might actually have to learn to style it by the time she gets home.

15 November 2006

ultrasounds are here

Tonight we finally received Garty's ultrasounds. You know how you feel when your friend is pregnant for the first time and has an ultrasound early on? She's so excited, so she shows you the little blob on the black page. You're not sure what you're supposed to see, so you smile and try to be supportive as she talks about the arms and the head... but you just see a blob. That's the way we feel at this point. We know they're pictures of his kidneys because the doctor says they are, but we're anxious to hear from Barbara-Jo and the radiologist so we can confirm that the blobs really are kidneys and find out what that means. We'll send more details when we have them.

13 November 2006

busy days & nights

As you may have assumed, we haven't heard any news about the kids in a week, so we haven't posted any updates. We're assuming this means Garty is still feeling alright. However, the woman who sends us updates hasn't had internet access since hers went down last Thursday, so it could just mean that she hasn't read the news from Liberia to send it on to us. Either way, we're trying to go on with our day to day routines trusting that God has everything under control. We spent some time on Saturday with Barbara-Jo, who is anxious for the kids to get home so she can get her hands on Garty.

Our adoption is supposed to be finalized before Thanksgiving, and then the last hurdle is getting passports for the 3 kids. Please pray with us that things would go smoothly. Although we aren't anxious to have the added stress of celebrating Christmas with 3 kids who just got to America, we are anxious to get Garty the medical care he needs as soon as possible.

Things have been pretty crazy here lately, as Becky went from working 2 days a week in the Worldlink office to also waitressing at Outback Steakhouse 3 nights a week and tutoring a few French and Spanish students before teaching ESL on Wednesday evenings. It's been a big adjustment for us, and we went almost 3 weeks without sitting down to dinner together at home! We're starting to get into a routine now and are learning to steal little bits of time together whenever we can find them. This is only a temporary situation. ESL ends in mid-December, and Outback will end whenever the kids come home. We may try to work it out so tutoring can continue one night a week because the scheduling is totally flexible, it keeps Becky connected to her passion for teaching and language, and it pays pretty well. We'll just see if we think we can handle it once the kids are here.

While Becky is at work, Peter has been getting lots of projects done around the house, so it should be much safer and better looking by the time the kids come home. The kids' room looks great, and we're now putting away their clothes and books and toys.

So if you haven't heard from us in a while, now you know why. The goal is to catch up on email and update the blog more frequently between now and Thanksgiving, although we make no promises.

05 November 2006

news... finally!

After a very quiet and difficult week, we just heard that Garty is still doing well. No ultrasound pictures yet, but at least he's hanging in there. Here's a new picture of him. Feel free to email or call and tell us how cute he is!

03 November 2006

no news is... no news

Some of you are starting to wonder why we haven't updated you on Garty this week. Unfortunately, we have nothing at all to report. The only thing we've learned since last Friday (a week ago!) is that he's back at his foster home. We still don't have the ultrasound pictures or any information about what they may or may not be planning to do next. Needless to say, we're a bit frustrated. We often think that no news is good news, and it probably is good news that they haven't rushed him to the hospital this week. However, the ultrasound definitely showed something wrong with his kidneys, so that needs to be fixed before his body can heal completely. If you want specific things to pray about, we would appreciate prayers regarding the arrival of the ultrasound pictures so they can be read by a radiologist and interpreted by a specialist in addition to prayers that his body will be strong enough to continue to fight this infection.
We did learn this week that the Liberian passport office claims that they will be moving passports more quickly from now on. This is potentially good news, as we know a family that has been waiting for passports for their twins for almost 5 months now!! (It used to take 2-3 weeks. Then it was taking 4-6. Then things got really messed up!) Our adoption should be finalized on or around Nov. 20. It will REALLY be pushing it to get passports before the end of 2006, but please join us in praying for a miracle. In some ways, we would love to wait until January or February to bring the kids home. Then we would have the extra time to get through the holidays (a potentially very stressful time with 3 new overwhelmed kids) and get some things taken care of in the house and financially. On the other hand, we really need to get Garty more extensive medical care. We know God is in control of the situation and He knows best. We also know that He can do a very clear miracle in the passport office if He wants to. We're just leaving it in His hands and asking Him to move. If He chooses not to, we will try to rest in the knowledge that He is infinitely wiser than we are.