29 March 2007

bragging for a moment

Did we mention that Joshua and Patience just started learning English at the orphanage when they arrived in August? Well, we learned this week that our 3 1/2 year old cutie already knows her ABCs! She's adorable and smart!

27 March 2007

leaving on a jet plane

We've been listening to Peter, Paul, & Mary's Greatest Hits, and the lyrics seem so apropos. After much debate over 2 not so ideal itineraries, we booked our flights today to pick up our kids! We leave on Good Friday and return on Monday, April 16. We'll be flying in and out of JFK in NY. We're very disappointed that we couldn't arrange a better schedule that would allow us to celebrate Easter with our families, but we're just thankful that we'll be meeting our babies soon. We were expecting to leave 3 days later until the travel agent had trouble finding flight options for us. It's amazing how significant 3 days can seem. You would think that after 14 months of waiting we would be ready, but we're really not. We leave in 10 days!!


Remember when we agreed to adopt a tiny 2 month old baby? Remember when he beat the odds and pulled through several bouts of illness when the doctors were so concerned? Well, that little, sick baby now weighs 21 lbs!! To offer some perspective, Patience weighs in at 25 lbs, and Joshua (who is 5 but the size of a 3 1/2 or 4 year old) weighs 29 lbs. So basically, as soon as Garty figures out how to move his chunky little body, he'll be able to beat up his older siblings. Here are new pictures of the boys to round out the picture of sweet Patience we posted yesterday.

26 March 2007

travel problems

We thought we'd have our tickets today, but we spent a frustrating day waiting for news from the travel agent and receiving none. Evidently they're having trouble getting us on a return flight in the timeline that works best for us. Please pray that this situation resolves quickly, as we have lots to do and don't know how much time we have to do it in. The really frustrating part is that the more urgent things on the to do list depend on knowing our schedule. Ultimately, we're just thankful to know that we'll be with our kids soon, but it's been a very stressful day.

our little girl

We just got this picture of our little girl. It's great to see her smiling. Unfortunately, her smile reminds us that in addition to scheduling doctor visits, we should probably get her to a dentist before too long. Mary Kay (a former dental hygienist) told us a while ago that her teeth could be decaying, but it's also possible that they were damaged from falling or another injury. At any rate, there will be plenty of time for doctor and dentist visits later. For now, it's just so much more fun to stare at pictures of our kids when we know we'll be meeting them soon!

24 March 2007


We got the call! We really have 3 passports and can buy plane tickets to go get our kids! It's weird. We've waited so long for the call, and now that we got it, we almost can't believe it. First, we got a passport for Garty. Weeks later, Patty (aka Superwoman) managed to get our passport applications processed, so it couldn't possibly be much longer (or so everyone thought). Then our travel date came and went with no news. But now, we're really ready to pick up our kids. It's crazy. We were starting to feel like this whole thing was some crazy dream that would never end.

So, it looks like we'll be arriving in Liberia April 11th or 13th. We won't know for certain until the travel agency reopens on Monday. We're thinking of putting their number on speed dial so we can be the first call they receive that morning.

The down side of all of this is that we're going to arrive home 2 weeks before Peter leaves for Uganda and Kenya for 12 days! We're both really stressed about the situation, but the conference he's going to is really important and no one can go in his place. We just need to keep reminding ourselves that God knew how things would work out before we even knew about our kids, so He must have it all figured out. We'll survive... somehow. We recently discovered a beautiful thing called Skype, so Peter will be able to call home on the computer once or twice a day for free (while he's at the conference center). He'll probably have a few days away from internet service when he'll have to pay to make cell phone calls. Either way, he'll stay in close touch so the kids understand that Daddy is away, but he's coming back. And hopefully Mommy will still be sane when it's all over.

anyone out there?

We don't know if anyone will actually read our blog this morning, but we just learned that 7 more passports were issued at the end of the day yesterday. At 10:30am Donna said she'll be calling the families to start making travel plans. That was an hour ago. She just got home from her trip to Liberia last night, so with her 10 kids at home and multiple calls to make, we're not out of the running yet. If you read this soon and are inclined to pray, would you consider saying an extra prayer or two for us this morning? There's no reason why we should expect God to give us passports instead of another family, but we're boldly begging for them anyway. And if we don't post good news by dinner time, please say an extra prayer for our breaking hearts. The silence all week was hard, but being passed over (again) is a different kind of pain.

23 March 2007

bold statement

Tonight we read this quote from Irrestible Revolution by Shane Claiborne:
"As we consider what it means to be 'born again,' as the evangelical jargon goes, we must ask what it means to be born again into a family in which our sisters and brothers are starving to death. Then we begin to see why rebirth and redistribution [of wealth] are inextricably bound up in one another..."
Intrigued? Check out more quotes from the book that Jennifer (another parent of a Liberian beauty) has kindly posted so we can benefit without buying the book. (Peter actually wants to buy it, but I said we have to wait until we read a few more of the books from the already existing pile.) The author makes many bold statements, and he isn't all talk. When I looked on Amazon, I discovered that he founded The Simple Way, an impressive community in Philadelphia that we've been interested in visiting for a while now.

22 March 2007

if we ever go to Liberia

We added a clock to our blog so you can keep track of us if we ever go to pick up our kids. It isn't an attempt to insult your intelligence because we're sure you can do the math, but we thought it would be a quick and easy way for you guess what we're up to and pray appropriately while we're gone. So if you checked our blog right now (2:41am in Liberia), you could realistically imagine that Peter would be snoring away while Becky desperately tries to get comfortable with a 3 year old squishing her. Now that would be a matter for serious prayer!

free food

This morning we discovered that we missed free water ice day at Rita's yesterday! (Thanks, Tom, for bringing this disturbing fact to our attention.) There's something about missing free stuff that's really upsetting. Yesterday was actually a fun day for us, but knowing that we missed free water ice just takes away a bit of the joy. Sure, water ice is cheap, but that's not the point. So now we're resolved to make sure we don't miss Ben & Jerry's free cone day on April 17 (unless we're in Liberia, which would be an acceptable reason to miss free ice cream).

21 March 2007

hilarious and tragic

Both these words, though they seem to contradict each other, accurately describe the powerful film God Grew Tired of Us. If you live in the Philly area, you have just over 24 hours to see it at the Ritz at the Bourse before it leaves. (Sadly, you missed the $6 Wednesday admission.) Wherever you are, we highly recommend seeing this film either in the theater or later on DVD. It's a documentary, but it's far from boring. It does a great job explaining the war in Sudan to those of us who are ignorant of the problems in Africa. It breaks your heart as you imagine what these young boys experienced as they fled the fighting. It makes you laugh deep belly laughs as you watch some of the young men discover butter, escalators, a supermarket, and more. It makes you think deep thoughts as you realize the heavy weight of responsibility felt by the "lost boys" who came to America and lived caught between their desire to return to Africa and the opportunity to help their friends and family by working and being educated in the States. It makes you long for deeper relationships and a stronger sense of community as they observe how individualistic Americans really are and mourn the camaraderie they left behind. It's an excellent film.
In other exciting news, we went to Reading Terminal Market before the movie and bought lots of great cheap produce before indulging in a Termini Bros. cannoli (the vanilla is Becky's favorite). The price is up to $2.50 each, but they are SOOO worth it!

20 March 2007

two more, but none for us

We learned tonight that two more passports were issued for our agency on Friday, but they obviously weren't ours. At this point we think there are 10 or fewer of us still waiting from 2006. It's good things are moving (even if it is at a snail's pace), but it's not really helping our mood much. We're discouraged (both of us), on edge (Becky), and no longer expecting good news (Peter). On the up side, we're taking today and tomorrow off to recuperate from the 80-some hours we worked last week. We slept a lot, took a walk, and are about to watch Hitch. Tomorrow we're headed into the city to see God Grew Tired of Us and wander around a bit.

19 March 2007

report on our kids

Still no news on passports... no updates at all for the past 5 or 6 days. However, we did get this report on the kids tonight. It was both exciting and sad to read lots of details about our kids. We both want so much to hold them tight, and the more we know about them, the more we long to be with them. Our fingerprints expire April 17, and we're currently debating whether we think we'll travel before then or whether we need to get refingerprinted right away (which means a trip to center city and an extra $140). We're hoping for news this week that will help us make our decision.

14 March 2007

we don't know

That's the answer to the important questions about our adoption right now. We don't know when we'll be getting passports for the 2 older kids. We don't know when we'll be travelling. All we know is that more passports were issued Tuesday, but they weren't for us. Today and Thursday are holidays in Liberia, so the office is closed. Friday will be our next shot at good news. There's no chance that we'll be leaving as scheduled next week.

It's getting harder to be patient. Yesterday morning at 7:15am we got a call from Acres of Hope. I (Becky) answered the phone thinking that this would be my best birthday ever until we learned that they were just checking on some paperwork details. Then when we heard that some passports were issued and families would be receiving calls, we could hardly wait to see if we got a message. We did get a bunch of birthday messages (which were appreciated), but none of them was the message we most wanted to hear. My sweet hubby spoiled me and tried to make my evening special, but it was bittersweet.

We're incredibly busy over the next few days getting ready for Worldlink's 5th Anniversary Celebration, so it at least gives us something to do other than sit around being depressed. If you have emailed or called and not received a response, please don't take it personally. We haven't been home before 10 for several nights in a row. You'll definitely hear from us after the weekend though, if not before.

12 March 2007

3 passports leaked out

Saturday our agency received 3 passports, obviously not ours or you would have heard Becky screaming. No word on when they intend to release the other 18 or so that we were promised the last week in February. It's really depressing, but we're trying to stay focused on last minute details for Worldlink's 5 Year Anniversary Celebration on Saturday. By the way, if you're in our area, we'd love to have you join us. It's going to be a fun evening, and we're having a really great silent auction. Check out the list of available items (with a few more to be added soon). If you're interested in coming or at least hearing more details about the event, email us so we can send you a copy of the invitation.

10 March 2007

black Disney princess

Some of you know that last year we both signed a petition requesting that Disney create a Black princess so our beautiful little girl can grow up with a beatiful black princess as part of the Disney princess craze. In addition to all the long established white princesses, they have princesses who are Native American, Middle Eastern, and Asian... but no black princess. This morning one of yahoo's headlines has a sketch of the next Disney princess... and she's black! If you're intrigued, you can read the story. The fact that we're excited about this may seem silly to you, but just consider how significant the princesses have become in the definition of beauty for little girls all across the US. Whether you like Disney or not, you can't avoid seeing the princesses staring at you on little girls' clothing and backpacks and school notebooks and... everywhere. The princesses are beautiful. If none of them look anything like you, what message does that lying voice inside your head tell you? What does that do to a little girl's self esteem? We're so thrilled to know that in 2009, another face will be added to the mix. That's the year that Patience will start kindergarten. Maybe she'll even have a black princess on her little backpack!

09 March 2007

another day without passports

They definitely have some signed passports for our agency, but someone sat all day at the passport office waiting for them... and they never gave them out. Why? Because it's Africa. That's the reason for anything about our adoption that makes absolutely no sense to our American minds. Fortunately, we're having a relaxing visit in Virginia to distract us from the bad news. Marcy and Becky actually escaped for a few hours and had a wonderful girls' day out. Now we're getting ready to cook some crepes!

08 March 2007

the silence is broken

We hadn't heard anything at all from Liberia for 2 days, and we were pretty discouraged. Tonight we learned that several passports were signed today!! We don't know who they are for, but they'll be picking them up tomorrow morning and letting families know during the day. We're selfishly hoping they're for Joshua and Patience, but we're just thrilled that they signed passports... no matter who they are for.
We're headed to Virginia in the morning to spend Friday and Saturday with Arlan, Marcy, and their new addition, Ari. We're looking forward to escaping the current busyness and relaxing with good friends for a short while, but we'll make sure we carve out time to let you know if we hear about passports!

06 March 2007

news from Liberia

Patty and Donna (from Acres of Hope) should have arrived in Liberia on Sunday, but they had plane trouble in Sierra Leone and had to spend the night on the floor of the airport! They arrived safely Monday evening, and we just learned that Patty has a meeting tomorrow at the passport office to find out what's going on with our passports. Please pray that the passport minister will actually show up, the meeting will go well, and passports will be coming out shortly.

05 March 2007

feeling fearful

Once again the passport office has surprised us. Despite the fact that they managed to hand out 19 of 40 or so passports 4 days (including the weekend!) after the applications were processed, we've now waited 2 additional weeks without ANY of the remaining passports being issued. We just learned that one of the mothers who was in Liberia last week to pick up her 8 year old daughter returned home without her because her passport wasn't issued! We can't imagine the heartbreak their family is feeling. Frankly, we're getting scared and wondering what's going on in that office. Have our completed applications been buried under a new pile of stuff? Is it still reasonable to think we'll be leaving here on the 19th? We know in our heads that God has it all figured out, but our hearts are frightened and sad. We're praying for a miracle in time for us to book our tickets and leave as scheduled. In the meantime, we're trying to stay focused on the long list of things that we need to do between now and then.

what do we need?

Many of you are asking what we need now or when the kids come home. We're so thankful to be able to say that we honestly need nothing. God has provided in amazing ways through many of you for our kids' homecoming. We have a list of over 50 thank you notes waiting to be written to prove it! Their room is basically ready to go, we have all the clothes we need, and meals are waiting in the freezer. Peter needs to attach baby gates at the top of our 2 staircases so we don't lose Garty as he discovers a new thing called stairs, and then we'll be ready to go. Thanks to all of you who helped get us ready for this huge change.

Saying that we don't need anything doesn't mean that we expect the transition to be easy. Our dear friends Tom and Theresa, who have given birth to twins and survived several major health issues over the past few years, have encouraged us to be really specific about ways that we would appreciate help as we go into the upcoming months of transition. It's hard to ask for help when you feel that people have done so much already. It's even harder to feel like you're defining how people should help you. But we trust Tom and Theresa, so we sat down and gave the situation some serious thought. If you still want to do something to help us as we transition, here are things that would really bless us.

If you are local and would like to come over for a few hours to help out once Peter goes back to work (hopefully on April 10), we would be very grateful. Depending on what day you're here, we might need someone to do some light cleaning or run a few quick errands or just help mommy regain her sanity by walking up to the park with us and talking in grown up language. Weekdays and Saturdays would be options, although weekdays are definitely a bigger concern. Our ideal would be to have 2 or 3 people spaced out during the week so that when we're running low on bread or starting to have a meltdown, we know that it won't be long until someone comes to rescue us. If you're considering helping, please be forewarned that I (Becky) am a slob even under normal circumstances. We have no idea what the state of our house will be when the kids arrive. If you crave order to the extreme, being in our home may send you to therapy for a long time.

We've heard some almost unbelievable stories recently about how much these kids eat when they first come home. They specifically tend to eat a lot of protein (meat and eggs). We have a bunch of ready to cook meals waiting in the freezer that I have been preparing for stress free dinners over the first week or 2. At first we want to be careful what we feed the kids, since we don't want shock their bodies too quickly by giving them lots of processed American food. Having these meals ready will mean we don't end up resorting to frozen pizza and hot dogs every night. We have lots of rice in the pantry and a very cool rice cooker waiting for a workout, so we're ready to go. Once we get through the first week or so and Peter goes back to work, we're sure getting dinner on the table will be a little more stressful. If you're close by and enjoy cooking, we could let you know what kinds of things the kids are eating as soon as we figure it out. Receiving a meal or 2 during the course of a week would really be wonderful. If you want to spoil us, we would love to have a few gift cards that Peter could use to pick up dinner a few times when we're really desperate or want to splurge without the guilt of the added expense. Panera, Subway, Bertucci's, and LongHorn Steakhouse are right across the street from Worldlink's office. He also passes 2 supermarkets, Giant and Genuardi's, where he could pick up prepared dinners.

Please don't feel that we're expecting these things from anyone. They would be blessings far above and beyond what we expect. We simply wanted to share these things for those who have asked how they can help. When we started the adoption journey back in 2005, we never imagined the overwhelming support and encouragement we have received. Each of you has already blessed us tremendously through your prayers or gifts or encouraging words or hand me down clothes or donations toward our adoption fund. We're certain we'll never be able to fully express how much we appreciate you all. We only hope that some day we will have the opportunity to bless you in return.

01 March 2007

the latest

The passport office was back to work today. (We use the term "work" loosely, since work in the US usually connotates measurable results... and that isn't always the case with the passport office.) They claimed that some passports will be issued tomorrow. We'll be anxiously hoping and praying and jumping every time the phone until we hear something one way or the other. We'll let you know what develops.