27 February 2007

February's photo contest winner

...in the category of "we have no idea what's about to happen to us."

26 February 2007

our not so little baby

Tonight we received this new picture of Garty. It was taken earlier this month. We can't believe how big he's getting! He's got quite the belly these days. Garty was only 9 weeks old when we first saw him. He will be 9 months old on Saturday. We're so excited that we'll be with him before he passes the 10 month mark!

23 February 2007

why we love Africa (some days more than others)

We just learned that the minister of passports left for the US and didn't leave anyone else with the authority to release passports. She'll be returning to Liberia next Wednesday, so we definitely won't get passports for the kids before then.
We so admire the way Africans are less time conscious and more relationally oriented, instead of time and task driven like Americans. And as people who have travelled a bit throughout the world, we have learned to really appreciated the differences between cultures. However, today we'd like to fly over to Africa and teach everyone the right way to do things! (Please note that we're joking... or at least 90% joking... when we say that. Well, maybe 80%.)


That's the number of days until we board the plane in New York!!!! Because the kids' passport applications have been signed and we're only waiting on the actual passport booklets, we knew we should travel in March. The problem is that Wordlink's 5th Anniversary Celebration is scheduled for March 17. It's a really big deal, and it was getting harder and harder to plan it without knowing whether we'd be around or not. As this week wore on with no sign of passports for Joshua and Patience, we finally broke down and emailed Donna at the office to see if she knew when we should be travelling. We explained why we really needed to know, and she was very understanding. She told us that we were tentatively scheduled to arrive in Liberia on the 18th. Unfortunately, that would mean leaving the 17th at the latest, and we would miss the big Anniversay Celebration by just a few hours. We debated and decided that we care about Wordlink enough to wait 3 extra days to meet our kids... although it was a tough decision. If if it were any longer than 3 days, we'd probably be out of here party or no party. So we'll be going in Wednesday (instead of Sunday) since flights to war torn African nations are infrequent. We'll be leaving Monday the 19th, arriving in Liberia on the 21st, and meeting our beautiful babies the morning of the 22nd!! Yippee!! Of course, this plan only works if they sign the passport booklets. Please pray that they will be signed soon for the sake of us, our kids, and all the other families who have been waiting so long!

21 February 2007

Ash Wednesday

Lent wasn't a big part of either of our upbringings, but we're trying to observe the church calendar (especially Advent and Lent) in more significant ways these days. This Lenten season we'll be reading through the Anglican daily offices together each day. (That's what 2 years in an Episcopal seminary will do to you.) We also both made a fasting decision this year. Starting today it's no chocolate for Becky (except for her birthday and our night in Belgium) and no pretzels or crackers for Peter until Easter. Already we've both regretted making the commitment, as these are serious loves for us. We found these reflections on Lent helpful and hope our simple sacrifice will remind us daily to walk with Jesus through this important season.

20 February 2007

playing hookey from work

Evidently this is what the passport minister was doing today, so no passports were issued. However, Diku (who works for our agency) feels confident that more passports will be issued tomorrow. We hope he's right. Keep praying!

19 February 2007

19 passports issued

We just learned that our agency got 19 of the 40 or so passports today... even earlier than anticipated! We didn't get a call, so we're assuming they weren't for us. However, they're hoping to get more tomorrow. Whenever you think of us on Tuesday, please say a prayer for good passport news!


Garty now has 5 teeth!

18 February 2007

weekend update

This post will not be as entertaining as the SNL sketch bearing the same title, but we wanted to let you know what's been happening since our big news on Thursday.

We mentioned that the director of our adoption agency (Patty) lost her beautiful daughter Thursday afternoon. Here's a link to a story about Patty's family. If you scroll about halfway down, you can read about Ari, her 14 year old daugther who just died. It sounds like she was an absolutely amazing girl. On top of this tragedy, baby Diamond's heart gave out in Liberia just a few hours later. The Acres of Hope office assistant (Donna) and her husband had recently decided to adopt Diamond. Because his situation was improving during the day Thursday, they stayed up late that evening and discussed his future. They even chose his new name, only to learn an hour after they fell asleep that he had died. Patty had to get up on Friday, bury Diamond, and get on a plane to return home and bury her little girl. Please pray for Patty, Donna, and their families as they mourn the passing of these special children.
Our friend John is with us from Liberia. He arrived on Thursday, will be leaving tomorrow, and might be back later in the week. On March 1st, he'll be returning to Liberia to get ready for us to visit him sometime that month! He gave us this very cool Liberian wallhanging as a gift, and we hung it in the hallway between Peter's study and the bathroom. (We figured that if we didn't find it a home right away, it would end up with all the other wallhangings that have been sitting around on the floor for over a year and a half!)
We've learned a few general things about our kids' tribe and region from John. First, we learned that the Krahn are notoriously stubborn people. That's wonderful news for us. We also learned that they're great hunters, and their county is the place to go for good meat. They even hunt elephants and other wild game in Grand Gedeh county; however, we're guessing that our kids are probably from the smaller group of Krahn people that have moved to the capital of Monrovia, so they may never have seen elephants.

We just mailed gifts for Joshua and Patience to a family that will be travelling to Liberia to get their kids next weekend. We couldn't send anything big or heavy, so we just got them each a pack of stickers. We wrapped them in pretty paper and wrote a card. It's exciting to realize that this may be the first wrapped gift our kids have ever received! We hope they will be excited to get a gift and a reminder that Daddy and Mommy are coming for them SOON! We didn't send a gift for Garty since he would only eat the stickers, and he doesn't know we exist.

Other than that, Peter worked on some house projects this weekend while Becky scrapbooked with friends for 8 hours on Saturday and went to a baby shower for Peter's cousin Kris and her soon-to-be-born twins today. (We had to throw that in now that we know that Kris is bored to death on bedrest and depends on this blog for her daily entertainment. So if you think you're bored, say a prayer for poor Kris!)

16 February 2007

today's BIG news... REALLY BIG

Today Patty (our agency director) went to the passport office AGAIN. We're still not sure how she got away with this, but she got all 40 or so passport applications that we've been waiting on and marched around getting all the necessary signatures! It would have been great to watch the whole process. 2 of the Liberian guys who work for Acres of Hope said it was quite a sight. When she was done, she turned them in and was assured that the actual passports would be ready by next Fri. Of course, there's no guarantee that they'll have them signed by then. After all, why should they start meeting deadlines now? But the BIG, HUGE part of the job got done! Patience and Joshua's applications are no longer mixed in with the other couple thousand applications! The agency should start calling next week to tell us all when we'll be able to travel! We are SOOOOOOOOO excited to be past this last major hurdle. We're guessing that it will still be mid to late March before we're allowed to travel since there are several families who have been waiting much longer than us, but that's OK now that we know that we're really going to travel soon.
On a very sad note, after moving heaven and earth for our kids (or so it seems), Patty found out tonight that her teenage daughter passed away this afternoon in Wisconsin! She had many special needs, and her health was declining. They just didn't have any warning that this would happen right now. We can't imagine being over in Africa and learning that your child died. Patty will leave Liberia Friday and arrive in the States on Saturday. Please pray for Patty, her husband Harold, and their kids as they mourn this terrible loss.

13 February 2007

picture updates

Because mommy has lots of nervous energy tonight, she decided to update the photos in the sidebar on the right. Now you can see our favorite pictures of our kids. We actually have 4 or 5 favorites of Garty simply because we've received so many more pictures of him (mostly cheer up pictures when he was sick), but it just didn't seem fair to post more pictures of him than the other two. Someday they'll see this blog, and we don't want to pay for years of counseling because we played favorites.

today's updates

Thanks to those of you who prayed for little Diamond since we posted last night. He made it through the night, but he's still extremely sick with a terrible case of pneumonia and infection. The doctors aren't optimistic about his chances, but they didn't think he'd make it through the night either. The exciting news is that there is family thinking about adopting him if he pulls through! Please keep praying, and we'll keep you updated.
We've been waiting all day to hear whether passports were issued today and for whom. Unfortunately, we just heard that Patty (our agency director) showed up for her meeting with the passport director only to find that she wasn't there. She then waited several hours, but the woman never showed. The meeting has been rescheduled for tomorrow, and no passports were issued for anyone from our agency today. So... it's another day of waiting and hoping and praying.

12 February 2007

child soldiers

CNN did a disturbing piece today on child soldiers. Read the story and watch some of the video links for yourself when you have a few minutes. The video about children fleeing the horror of militia kidnappers is especially insightful but horrid. We are so thankful that Joshua was born a few years too late to have a similar experience in Liberia, but there are so many children still in harm's way throughout the world.

prayer for Diamond

We appreciate so much those of you who have faithfully prayed us through the past few months. Today we learned that Diamond, a 2 year old boy with cerebral palsy, is in the hospital in Liberia. They don't expect him to make it through the night. Diamond is still waiting for a family, so he doesn't have lots and lots of people praying for him like Garty did when he was so sick. Could you take a minute to pray for Diamond? Pray that God will miraculously sustain his little life and bring him home to a family soon.

forgot to mention

We totally forgot to post details about the picture we posted on 2/3. We learned that Joshua is the boy in white, but Patience is NOT in the picture. Like many of you, we originally thought the one in the center was Patience. However, if you zoom in, you'll see that the hair is too short to be her. It will be so nice to finally meet the kids so we really know what they look like instead of guessing all the time!

09 February 2007


This morning Peter got a call at the office. WE GOT GARTY'S PASSPORT!!!!!! We don't know why or how. They still haven't issued many of the passports from Sept & Oct, but they issued Garty's. We obviously still need 2 more, but we're thrilled with this unexpected turn of events-- especially since it's Garty's. Now if he would get a kidney infection again (which obviously we're hoping he doesn't), we could go get him. It would be terrible to go get him and leave the other 2, but we would do it if we had to. They were told they would get more passports Mon or Tues. No word on whether they would be for our kids or not. We know many of you are praying daily for us already. If you aren't or if you have time to do more, we would feel so honored if you would make the passport situation a special matter of prayer over the next few days. Pray that Joshua and Patience would get passports. Please pray also for the families who were expecting their passports today and received bad news instead. We're obviously elated, but we feel terrible for the families who really should have gotten passports first and didn't. Although I feel like a child using this statement, it's just not fair that they aren't working through the piles in any semblance of order. Thanks for your love and patience with us and this whole process. Stay tuned!!

08 February 2007

riot in Liberia

We just learned that no one was able to get to the passport office for today's meeting because there was a riot of ex-combatants who were upset about back pay. As a result, the road were impassable. You can read the news article if you want details. Ultimately this means nothing except that we have to wait at least one more day before we'll hear any news at all about the passport situation. Daddy is distracting himself with a project in the kitchen, and Mommy will try to get some work done.

amazing grace

I (Becky) finally succumbed to the germs Peter has been spreading around the house for 2 weeks and got a cold. It's not serious, but I'd like to keep it that way. As a result, I left the house today only to enjoy a delicious lunch with Peter's mom and Bob at Twin Bays Cafe. I've spent the rest of the afternoon anxiously clicking around online waiting for news from Patty (director of our adoption agency) about her meeting at the passport office today. In the process, I've discovered an intriguing new movie that opens later in the month. It's the story of William Wilberforce and John Newton (writer of the song "Amazing Grace") and how they impacted the slave trade. Check out the trailer for yourself if you haven't already heard of it. It looks like a powerful film, and it is exciting to see many wonderful organizations supporting it. I find it very easy in my comfortable little world to think that slavery is an issue of the past, but the statistic I've been seeing is that 27 million people live in slavery today. I am equally intrigued by the book Not For Sale: The Return of the Global Slave Trade-- And How We Can Fight It, which reportedly offers practical suggestions for the average person who wants to make a difference. Unfortunately, with a large stack of very important books waiting to be read (in addition to the 3 I've already started!), I think it will go on my wish list for a while. If you read it, please send me a summary!

07 February 2007

one Liberian on his way

Today our friend John is on his way to the States to spend a week sharing with a group of Liberians here. We have been supporting John through Worldlink since 2003, long before we started working for the ministry. Next week he will be coming to stay with us for 5 days or so, which will give sufficient time for us to connect him with supporters who know him and one of the churches who heavily supported the Liberia container project. While it will be nice to see him, it is sad to realize that he got on a plane a few miles from where our babies live, but he couldn't smuggle them out of the country with him. We are going to accost him with questions about the kids' tribe and Liberian customs. We are hoping that we can send him back with gifts for the kids, and more than that... we hope we'll be seeing him again very soon at his house instead of ours.

05 February 2007

more news about the kiddos

We learned today that Garty is finally trying to learn how to sit up, and he's cutting his 3rd tooth! Every day it gets harder to be away from them. We also got the official answer to the question about who is in the picture we posted on Saturday. We're not telling yet, so check it out and tell us what you think.

03 February 2007

8 months old

Garty turned 8 months old today! We're praying that we'll be with him to celebrate 9 months. It was very hard today to realize how close he's getting to his first birthday. When we first learned about him, he was a teeny tiny 2 month old!

another vote

Because we received so many interesting emails and comments regarding the frog vote (after another week of discussion, we discovered that Peter's contingent would have scored much less than 33% of the popular vote), we decided to play a game called, "Can you find our kids in this picture?" We received this picture 2 nights ago. We're just not 100% sure whether Joshua, Patience, or both are in this picture or whether they accidentally sent it to the wrong family. We won't tell you what we think yet. Cast your votes.

We must be terrible parents if we can't identify our own kids!

02 February 2007

passport report

Well, here is the new news from Liberia about passports. The office was closed yesterday, and today they [Acres of Hope staff] have been told that they will have 5 passports by the end of next week. Then they [the passport office folks] have pushed for the Sept/Oct group to have the rest by mid-Feb... They are pushing to get all passports that were submitted in 06 to be completed by the end of Feb... I realize we have had a lot of info come out and it has been discouraging, but all I can do is ask and hope it comes to be. I will let each family know when I hear about their child's passport as I haven't been told who and when. Let's just pray that Feb is the miracle month! While the possibility still exists to receive passports this month, we've been misinformed before. Earlier in the week, our agency's staff heard that they'd have these 5 passports this week, not next week. We know that many of you are already praying for all of us, but please consider making this a special matter of prayer over the next month. The only date we really can't be gone is March 17th because of Worldlink's 5th Anniversary Celebration, and we're starting to fear that this will be when we're finally ready to travel. By our calculations based on the infrequent flights in and out of Liberia, we need to leave here by March 4th in order to do everything we need to do and be back for the 17th. Our concern is that we'll get the passports a day or so too late and then have to wait until the 21st to meet our kids. Obviously, worrying isn't going to fix anything, and we're not in control of the situation. We may get passports in plenty of time or long after. However, telling ourselves these things won't calm our hearts. The other night as we were lying on Patience's bed, Peter asked, "Is it crazy to miss kids you've never met?" It might sound crazy, but it makes all the sense in the world to us right now. Our hearts just desperately want to hold our kids and tell them everything is going to be alright. Please keep praying that (1) our passports will be released sooner rather than later and (2) God would comfort our hearts as well as our kids while we wait (especially Patience who is so anxious to come home).

01 February 2007

adoption financial update

It feels absolutely wonderful to announce that thanks to many of you, Life International, Open Hearts-Open Homes, and many unexpected surprises, we now have every penny that we need to complete our adoptions and bring our kids home!! It truly is a miracle. We went into this process knowing that we could never come up with the funds we needed on our own. However, we also knew that we were supposed to do this. So if you've ever thought that maybe you're supposed to adopt one or more kids, but you didn't think you could ever afford it... think again! Maybe God has some miracles in your future as well if you take some steps of faith.
We're also excited about a creative adoption fundraising effort we just learned about through another Acres of Hope family. Read their cool story and challenge and please consider making a $1 donation to change a family forever. We know as well as anyone that you have tons of people asking for your money, but we all have $1 and a few minutes to take this challenge and see what happens.

big happenings in Liberia

We won't hear anything about passports today because the Chinese president is in Monrovia (the capital), and they've shut most of the streets down for the day. As a result, no one from the orphanage could make it to the passport office. The president of China is negotiating loans and business opportunities with President Ellen. You can read the story if you're interested in keeping up on world news (or pretending you do). President Ellen is one tough lady. It would be cool to meet her!