31 January 2007

kid update

We have quite a few updates to share, but Peter's head is very unhappy tonight with a cold or allergies and my stomach isn't feeling so good, so we'll just share the most important news and save the rest for tomorrow. Here's all the pertinent information you may or may not want to know from the 2 emails we just received about our kids. Joshua, Patience, and Garty are all doing well. Today we looked at albums together and Patience got very emotional thinking about wanting to go home to her American family! She didn't cry, but we spent some time together going over the pictures and talking about her family. Recently some visitors came, and she quickly got attached to one of the women, calling her mom and fighting off anyone that came near to them. I think she thought that was her mom finally coming for her! When the woman left, she took it OK, though she did cry (but didn't throw a fit or anything). She is just ready to go home to you guys. Garty is doing well, though he hasn't crossed any more developmental milestones. I thought I'd let you know a little more about the kids' names. Joshua is pronounced Jah-swah and is not a very common name. Patience is pronounced Patie (like you're about to say Patience, then don't say the "nce"). Patience is hands down the most common Liberian girls' name. Garty is pronounced Gah-tay (by the Liberians) or Gar-tee (like we say). Garty is an uncommon tribal name. The kids are from the Krahn tribe. I have not been able to talk to any Krahn people recently to ask about the meaning of Garty's name.
In addition to this news, we also got updated sizes. Garty has put on a ton of weight and is up to 18 lbs! He may fit into some of his 6-9 month clothes when he comes home, but he's already wearing some 12 month things. He must have heard about his cousin Ava (who is less than 2 weeks younger), and he's making an effort to outweigh her.

30 January 2007

quite a day

We had a very full day today. This morning we received a detailed update on our kids and then received a $10 parking ticket because we forgot to move our car for street cleaning. Peter went to work and got a lot done. Becky had lunch with our friend Michelle and her sweet little girl and enjoyed talking adoption with a mom who has been there and done that (and is in the middle of doing it for the 3rd time). Becky came home to discover that the front door hadn't latched properly. The cats had gone out, Midge got scared and went back in, Toffee got scared and went to into the neighbor's house when they opened the door. The neighbors didn't know what to do, so they called the cops. They got Toffee back in the house, but the cop couldn't get the door to stay shut. So the front door was open for almost 2 hours, but we were fortunate that no one felt like stealing the computer lying on the coffee table. We met Becky's mom at Costco because her membership is about to expire and purchased mattresses for the bunk beds. We went to Becky's grandparents and cooked them dinner because Becky's grandmother had a heart attack Friday and just came home from the hospital today. We picked up a nice oak work table that we got free through Freecycle and set it up in the study. Now Becky has a big work surface for paying bills, scrapbooking, or whatever else she wants to do. We put the mattresses on the kids' beds and then took a break.We'll post the new information about the kids tomorrow. We don't have energy to do it tonight, and we're waiting for some clarication from the woman who sent it.

29 January 2007

passport report

Evidently the system the passport office established in December for issuing passports wasn't working out for them. Here's the new plan from Donna at the Acres of Hope office... I have checked every day about passports. The normal way they were doing things was to post the list and then issue the passports on that list. Diku [who processes adoptions for us] has since found out that they decided to do it differently. They will post a list of passports, and when you see your name on it you pick them up, as they have been completed. So there were no passports picked up by our staff last week. Patty [Acres of Hope director who just returned to Liberia] said she will be in the passport office Monday to see if she can get more clarification and some answers on passports for parents. So today we'll be praying for good news from Patty.

Last night we went to Barnes and Noble (to escape the cold house since we ran out of oil mid day!) and read up on travel info for our overnight in Belgium. It gave us something extra to look forward to-- especially Becky who long ago left a part of her French- and Spanish-speaking heart in Europe. Peter is also excited, but it's mostly about large quantities of waffles and chocolate.

a reminder

We just discovered "The Waiting Child." It's a great reminder of why we're going through our current misery. Hopefully soon the pain of the wait will be replaced by joyous (not to be confused with happy) sleep deprivation.

The Waiting Child by Debbie Bodie

I saw you meet your child today.
You kissed your baby joyfully.
And as you walked away with her,
I played pretend you'd chosen me.

I'm happy for the baby, yet
inside I'm aching miserably.
I want to plead as you go by,
"Does no one want a child of three?"

I saw you meet your child today
in love with her before you met.
And as I watched you take her out,
I knew it wasn't my turn yet.

I recognize you from last year!
I knew I'd seen your face before!
But you came for a second babe.
Does no one want a child of four?

I saw you meet your child today,
but this time there was something new.
A nurse came in and took MY hand,
and then she gave my hand to you.

Can this be true? I'm almost six!
And there are infants here, you see?
But then you kissed me and I knew
the child you picked this time was me.

28 January 2007

decision on names

As of yesterday afternoon it's finally official. Our soon to be Liberian-Americans will be named Joshua David, Patience Elizabeth, and Garty Samuel. Now we just need to get to Liberia so we can tell them!

25 January 2007

long week

Last week we learned that they weren't issuing any passports until this week. This week we've learned... NOTHING. It's been a long and difficult week for me (Becky) emotionally. The silence is deafening. Two nights ago I walked into the kids' room at 2:30am to put away a few books and burst out crying. Peter is slightly less depressed, but he's miserable thanks to the flu. So we've spent the last few days doing what is necessary and then sitting on the couch. We have lots of social engagements this weekend, so hopefully they will get us both out of this funk.

24 January 2007

check out Oprah

I just learned that Lysa TerKeurst, president of Proverbs 31 Ministries, will be on Oprah on January 29th to share the story of adopting her two sons from war-torn Liberia. We're going to try to remember to record it, but we thought we'd share in case anyone is interested in checking it out.

23 January 2007

keeping busy

Neither of us have been posting much lately because we've been preoccupied with projects around the house. Over the past few days, Garty's crib, high chair, and stroller have been assembled, we (finally!) painted the kitchen, kid gifts have been put away, and Becky has rediscovered an activity called baking. Here are our new kitchen colors...

21 January 2007

frog voting ends

It's been 1 week (and 17 minutes) since we posted our very important boiling a frog question. Clearly many of you didn't find it as important as we did, since we were only able to tally 15 voters (including the missionary speaker who Tom heard use it this week). Sadly for Peter, he lost the vote. 33.3% of respondants were familiar with the illustration of boiling a frog. A significant 66.6% were unfamiliar with it. Peter would like to clarify that he may have lost, but the rest of us are clueless idiots (and he's not at all bitter). Becky appreciates your support.

no longer an Outbacker

Last night was my (Becky's) last day working at Outback Steakhouse. It was a huge blessing to have the extra funds for 3 months, but (surprisingly) the hourly rate just wasn't good enough to make the time I was putting in worthwhile. I will be picking up a few more tutoring hours with the agency I work for which hopefully will make up for some of the loss. We were both certain this was the best decision, but it was surprisingly hard to walk out of the restaurant last night knowing that I'm giving up that source of income. It's amazing how quickly we came to rely on an extra $200-300 per week. Money really is a powerful thing, whether we want it to be or not. I'm excited though to redirect my energy toward some of my church and Worldlink responsibilities that need to be moved along before the kids come home and I become extremely preoccupied for a while. Peter is probably excited to have me back in the kitchen cooking dinner on a regular basis. We're both excited to have more time together until we leave for Africa.

16 January 2007

tonight's passport update

The passport office does not have any passports in their building and most likely will not have any in this week. Apparently once that office makes the next list of people who will get their passports issued they then submit this list to the committee who reviews it. After it has been approved, they are then able to obtain the passports from the bank that holds them, get them to the office, and start signing. They are working on the next list of 1000. 15 of our kids are in that group that we know of right now. These would be families that were submitted in the Sept/Oct group. Keep in mind that sometimes they pull passports randomly and the next group [OUR GROUP] could get some pulled and signed as well. We have no idea why. But for the most part this is how it works. Those families who were on the Sept/Oct group list are looking at passports for their kids by the end of the month or so. [WE] are looking at February... unless God does something surprising. Please keep praying for the kids' health and God's protection over all of us while we wait. Thanks for being patient with us through all of this.

anniversary celebration

February marks Worldlink's 5 year anniversary, and we're having a big celebration on March 17 from 6-8:30pm in King of Prussia. As we were working on plans today, we thought we should let all of you know about it in case you're close enough to join us. It's going to be a great evening. We're having a silent auction with everything from gift baskets to restaurant certificates to cool vacation outings. We're going to have food from around the world, fun activities, and lots of information about world missions. We'll be showing a video that highlights our first 5 years and listening to great music. This will be the first event of its kind for Worldlink, and we're working to make it a wonderful experience for everyone. We'd love to have you join us. If you're a little farther away and need a place to crash overnight, we've got plenty of room at our place!

15 January 2007

god grew tired of us

We're not big moviegoers. The last movie we saw in the theater was the Narnia movie. However, we would both love to see the new documentary God Grew Tired of Us. It's the true story of 3 of the "lost boys" who escaped the Sudanese civil war and came to America in 2001. Check out the trailer. It looks really interesting and significant for us as we consider all the new things our kids will experience when they come to the States. Unfortunately, it's not showing anywhere near us yet, so we're going to have to wait. If you see it, let us know what you think.

still no news from Africa

As of Friday when the passport office closed, there was still no list indicating who will receive the upcoming passports. The passport office is open and issuing passports daily... just not quickly enough for this daddy and mommy whose baby has several teeth and just got his first big boy haircut. We're still hoping for a February voyage to pick up our 3 Liberian-Americans, but we'll have to "see what tomorrow brings" (which suddenly has me reliving my childhood with Peter, Paul, & Mary filling our home). Anyway, we have more than enough to keep us busy if we can just stay focused. That probably means that I (Becky) should get off the couch and actually accomplish something on my day off... now that it's after noon!

14 January 2007

cast your vote

We're having a very important discussion at our house tonight. Peter believes that the phrase, "It's like boiling a frog," is a familiar expression that people understand. Becky had never heard it (and neither had the guy Peter was talking to on the phone), but Peter believes 75% of the people on the street would recognize it. Becky is certain that the number wouldn't be anywhere near that high. So... we would both like you to help us with our survey. Do you recognize the significance of, "It's like boiling a frog?"

11 January 2007

Garty's haircut

We haven't been posting much this week because we haven't had anything to say. It has actually been a very tough week emotionally-- mostly for Becky. But now we want to share the fun update we got tonight about Garty. Here are the pictures of Garty's haircut. It was not his first haircut (in fact, I think his hair was already cut once before he came to us at 2 months old), but it was his first really thorough cut with a buzzer. As can be seen from the pictures, he did NOT like it. But he survived, and now he's proud of himself since he knows he looks good. The pictures are from about 2 weeks ago. In the picture you can see his 2 brand new teeth. Garty is doing really well, though he is still unable to sit or crawl. He's getting SO big though! These won't join the ranks of the cutest baby pictures we have, but they definitely made us smile.

07 January 2007

great joy and tremendous heartbreak

Yesterday a bunch of friends in NJ had a baby shower for us. I (Becky) had a wonderful afternoon and was so blessed by the love, support, and generosity I felt in that group. It is wonderful to know that we really aren't adopting 3 kids on our own. Our kids are loved by so many already, and I know we'll get through the transition with many people behind us to keep us going. It was an exciting and joyful time.

Then last evening, we sat on our couch together and watched a heartbreaking video of kids living on the streets of Africa. If you can handle it, scroll through the videos until you find the one called "Toddlers." We went to bed feeling burdened by the immense need that we can barely fathom. Our kids will escape the terrible fate of so many of their peers, but there are so many left behind. Please pray with us that God would be a father to the many who suffer daily for lack of basic necesities and that our nation would use our great wealth and privilege to make a difference for those who have no hope.

05 January 2007

more good news

It's a very good day for us. We just learned that the first 2 passports for the group that was submitted in Sept/Oct came out today. They're making good progress!

open doors in town

We had an extremely interesting lunch meeting today that could lead to some exciting long term partnerships for our work here in town. The meeting ended with the request that we dream about what we would do if we had the help, so Becky's mind is going crazy now with all kinds of ideas for our Neighborhood Kids Club and beyond. Please pray with us that doors will swing wide open as we seek to serve more effectively in our wonderful but needy neighborhood.

04 January 2007

very, very tentative timeline

Becky got a call from Donna at AOH today. Though they are still guessing, they think we'll be travelling to Liberia in February to bring our kids home. The passport office is currently working on the passports that were submitted with the Sept/Oct group. Ours were part of the Nov/Dec group. The guys in Liberia did mention that the passports aren't always coming out in order, so we could get our passports sooner than expected. That means you can pray that our paperwork gets put in the wrong pile and issued early. However, as long as Garty stays healthy, February will come quickly enough. In fact, our excitement is mixed with a bit of panic as we realize how soon February really is. This adoption has taken so much longer than we imagined, so sometimes it doesn't even feel real. We're getting ready, but sometimes we're not trying that hard because somewhere deep down we're not sure the kids will ever come home. So knowing that things could happen faster or slower than we expect because we're dealing with Africa, we're going to work on last minute details and keep the month of February open on our calendars.

03 January 2007


We're actually daring to think ahead to our trip to Africa. We will be in Brussels overnight on the way. Does anyone know the city and have any suggestions regarding a good hotel where we can stay for about $50 in the off season? Any other suggestions on places to eat or things to do (other than sleep a ton) during our 24 hour visit? Sometime soon we'll head to Barnes & Noble to read travel guides, but personal recommendations are always the best.

02 January 2007

new year's resolution

When we started this blog, we didn't really know if anyone would read it. We figured we'd just post occasional news about the adoption and leave it at that. We didn't enable comments on our blog because (a) we didn't know if anyone would write any, and we didn't want to feel like losers and (b) if people did write them, we didn't want to feel like we had to find time to read and respond to them. However, we've decided that our 2007 blogging resolution is to go crazy and enable comments so that no one has to click a few extra times to send us emails anymore. Please don't feel obligated to comment to boost our self esteem. We've moved beyond that point. You can feel free to comment about how adorable our 3 Liberian babies are. However, we already know they're beautiful, so there's no obligation there either. We just want you to have the chance to post comments if and when you feel like it. We're so grateful for all of you who take the time to keep up on our lives and ministry and pray for our family. It humbles us to know that so many of you care enough to invest your time and energy in our little story.

Christmas at the orphanage

We just learned how Joshua and Patience celebrated Christmas. On Christmas day a special party had been planned for the orphanage. This party included music, dance competitions, the Christmas story, games, and of course food! The most exciting thing was the all-you-can-eat meal lovingly provided as a gift by a friend of AOH. The most amazing thing was the Kool-Aid! The kids could not believe they were allowed to drink as much as they wanted! After the meal some of the kids had to lie down since their stomachs hurt from overeating! The kids had a great day and enjoyed special treats and activities. They are still asking me when the next "pah-tay" (party) will be. While we're not big proponents of Kool-Aid, we're thrilled that our kids were able to enjoy the holiday as much as we did. It will of course be a much more exciting celebration next Christmas when we're together instead of thousands of miles away from each other.

01 January 2007

happy new year

After a week of family festivities, we're now returning to "real life." This weekend we had a taste of our future "real life" as we enjoyed taking care of Paul & Alex (our friends' kids) Friday to Saturday and Jake & Allie (our NC nephew & niece) Sunday to Monday. Here are a few pictures from all the fun.