Tuesday, December 30, 2008
I have been shopping every day before Christmas and, in a quest to spend Grandma's Christmas money and various gift cards, every day since Christmas. I have had ENOUGH shopping. In a frenzied huff, I headed out to Michael's tonight at 8:30, in a frigid, 30 mph wind for the second wooden human skeleton thingy because the first one couldn't have his or her ribcage finished since it broke and had to be hot glued.
Today we went to Limited 2, Claire's, Barnes and Noble to use a 4 year old gift card, Children's Place, and Michael's, all with 4 kids in tow. Yesterday we went to Walmart, Michael's, Target, TJ Maxx, Penney's, and Icing to have ears re-pierced from a bad job done the day after Christmas. The list continues similarly every other day. Yes, I know that this can't happen unless I let it, but that's beside the point...isn't it?
The shopping continued here at home. Hannah set up a "store" in the hall outside all of the bedrooms. It is directly, and I do mean directly, at the top of the stairs. She had gathered a bunch of junk, I mean stuff, she didn't want anymore and was offering great deals to her brothers and sister. With no takers, she swiftly cut her prices, drastically, and got some interest. Now, I was allowing this as a good exercise in free trade and entrepreneurship. Adam actually got a great deal because he wanted to return his Spore Creatures DS game (from one of those previous trips to Walmart) because it keeps freezing. He was going to buy Diddy Kong Racing instead. Fortunately for him, Hannah was selling her Diddy Kong for $5 so he bought it. He saved $25!
With business being slow, Hannah set up a rental deal. She offered rental of toys and stuffed animals for 25 cents. I thought this wasn't too bad until I realized that that was the same as the cost for some of the stuff. I guess if someone takes you up on a deal like that, you can't really argue that it's a bad idea. I bought a spool of lavender thread for 50 cents and Williams bought a headless person on a horse for a quarter.
She told me tonight that she made $8 something from her sale. I think I'll need to check with the rest of the siblings to make sure no one got "taken" by their merchant sister. I explained to her that it was all a good idea with lots of chances for "learning" something, but emphasized that taking advantage of younger brothers, who shall remain nameless, was not a skill she needed to cultivate. She vigorously denies any wrongdoing.
Never underestimate the drive of a 10 year old on a mission to buy an I-Pod Touch.
School starts again in ONLY 6 days.
P.S. I spelled entrepreneurship correctly, on my own. Just wanted everyone to know.
Sunday, December 14, 2008
We took the whole family on a 5 day cruise over Thanksgiving week. Everyone was excited except Williams who said that he just wanted to stay home. I kept telling him he'd be happy that he'd gone, knowing that he had no idea what he was in for. I'm pretty sure he was imagining the fishing boats in Accra which make up such a big part of the local economy.
Eating, of course, was one of the highlights of our trip. I refused to let anyone order off the kid's menu in the dining room. Grilled cheese sandwiches or chicken nuggets seemed just wrong when there were so many wonderful foods to choose from. Amazingly, one night, every kid (except Williams) tried an escargot. No one gagged or anything! The last 4 months of Williams life has been spent tasting one weird food after another. I didn't push it with him. Our favorite was dessert when almost every night we all had the Chocolate Melting Cake.
The girls both made lots of friends in their respective "kids clubs". They enjoyed the chance to have a little freedom roaming around the ship with friends and without mom and dad. There were days that we really didn't see much of them during the day. (We did usually know where they were!) The boys enjoyed the water. They would have been happy to spend from sun up to sun down in the pool and hot tub.
I have to recommend a cruise as an excellent family vacation option. I think I can honestly say that the kids enjoyed it even more than mom and dad, if that's possible. We didn't have to worry about food costs, which is usually large with a family of 6. There were activities tailored to their age groups which allowed mom and dad to have some time off. There were tons of kids on our ship since it was the Thanksgiving holiday, so we didn't have to worry about making them toe the line with their behavior. Adam and Williams playing catch with the football in the hall didn't receive too many dirty looks. I'm also proud to say that only one golf ball went overboard from the putt-putt course. It could have been so much worse!
Williams and Hannah in "the tub".
You can never have too many pillows!
Scott in the ping pong tournament.
Sunday, November 30, 2008
Time has come for me to recommence, is that a word?, with this blog. The main purpose is to have a record of so many of the experiences we have had and are having. Life has gotten in the way lately, broken feet, broken computers, new MACS that I can't maneuver around in quickly, and, of course, kids.
We had our first snowfall of the winter on the day we returned from a cruise from the Western Caribbean. Williams enjoyed the experience up until about half a second after this picture was snapped. What's Adam doing behind Williams? Well, putting snow down the back of Williams shirt, of course. That's just what any self-respecting big brother would do, right? And Williams, just like any typical little brother, recently arrived from Ghana, near the equator, never having seen snow, reacted with the proper behavior of screaming and crying.
The kids continue to adjust to their new relationships and roles in the family. Williams is adjusting at what seems to me a rapid pace. His English is excellent and it's a rare occasion that he doesn't understand something that's been said. Sadly, his adorable accent seems to already have faded some, and he gains new American slang and jargon daily. He has grown 1 1/4 inches in three months and gained 5 pounds! He's eating more and more foods and becoming more willing to try new things.
Thanksgiving was spent on the cruise ship so we kind of missed the traditional ringing in of the holiday season. Holly and I had fish for thanksgiving dinner, Adam had chicken, and Scott, Hannah, and Williams had turkey. We decided that one of Williams interesting trivial facts about himself when he's an adult can be that he had his first Thanksgiving turkey dinner in Mexico and he was not even an American citizen.
By the way, "recommence" is a word. I just did spellcheck.
Friday, October 24, 2008
About an hour after he left for the airport my doctor called with the results from the MRI I'd had done on my foot the day before. "You've got multiple fractures in your foot. I need you to come over so I can put you in a boot and you need to get back on your crutches. I'll set you up with an appointment with orthopedics next week." You've got to be kidding! This kind of set the tone for the whole 2 weeks. I drove and drove and drove and drove and then drove some more getting everyone where they had to be in the evenings. Kids got sick. We had 2 softball tournaments in KC. I've pretty much put everything else out of my mind. I don't remember anymore of those 2 weeks.
Supposedly things are winding down a little bit now. Baseball's over. Hannah's softball tournaments are over. Holly's got her last tournament this weekend. BUT, basketball's starting! This evening's Halloween party is over, but Halloween is next week and it's HUGE in our neighborhood.
Now I've relieved some guilt by breaking the blog fast. However unintelligible it is, it's done. I promise better next time!
Monday, October 13, 2008
Friday, October 10, 2008
The last week has been challenging, at best. Scott left last week for 2 weeks in China. I had an MRI, found out I had multiple fractures in my injured foot, and am in a moon boot and on crutches for another 4 weeks. We've had crazy schedules all week. A couple of evenings ago I was leaning on the kitchen counter, crutches in arm pits. and was complaining about being tired after driving 4 kids around to everywhere. Hannah said, "I can see why! I'd HATE to be you!" Honesty is obviously one of Hannah's virtues. She's kind of cute too!
Monday, October 6, 2008
I can't remember if Adam was going up or coming down.
Next we have the pond and fishing.
And for the first time, we rode the quads.
Cindy had dibs on giving Williams his first ride.
We have so much fun playing at their house, but really the best part is having great friends. Although Cindy is only one year older than me, their 2 kids are both in college. Amazingly, they still enjoy hanging out with us. That's true friendship!
Saturday, October 4, 2008
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Friday, September 12, 2008
Well, I spent plenty of time worrying how a quiet child would get lost in the noise of our house. Would he become frustrated at never getting to be heard? Will his sisters and brother scare him?
Let me tell you something. Williams will never be at risk for not being heard. He is loud just like everyone else here. He can yell "Mom" at decibels to rival is siblings. He can talk incessantly when he has the notion to. He can screech out the "girl" scream just like Adam's "girl" scream.
There are 2 intensive talk times in our house when everyone has the most important information that Mom must know immediately. The first one is right after everyone gets up in the morning. Everyone has had a dream that needs to be told. Everyone has the piece of information for this day of school that they forgot to tell me yesterday. Everyone has an issue with their clothes. Everyone needs help with something.
The next time is when everyone gets in the car right after school. We literally have to take turns to let each person speak and tell their story of the day, what they need to get for school IMMEDIATELY, who's mad at who in their class, what they drew a picture of today, what they want to eat when they get home, and can "so and so" come over and play. There are days when we are one of the last ones out of the parking lot because I have to sit there and referee the talk times.
Tonight as the boys were going to bed in their bunk beds, I was reading to Adam on the top bunk with a book light as Williams laid (I use this word loosely) on his bottom bunk going to sleep, having already had his book and prayer. Understand, Adam is notoriously loud and can speak for what seems like many minutes without taking a breath. As I was reading, Williams started whispering, "Mom, Mom, Mom" each a little louder than the last. When I finally said, "What?" he told me his pillow had fallen on the floor. I told him to pick it up. (duh!) Adam was flabbergasted saying, "He has to tell you EVERYTHING!" This is the child who almost turns blue trying to give every detail of an imagined battle.
I now sleep well at night, secure in my belief that all is well in the lives of the 4 Johnston children. I know almost every detail that they can remember and it has all been relayed at a volume level that will inform Grandma and Grandpa across town also.
Monday, September 8, 2008
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
For instance, you don't have enough history and experience with this child to know what to expect from him. If he gets mad will he cry, sulk, or run out of the house and down the street? I don't know! How LONG will he cry, sulk, and how FAR will he run down the street? I don't know! Will he stay in his classroom at school or will he think it's ok to wander around the halls? I don't know! Will anyone see him if he leaves? I don't know! Will he be polite to a stranger at the store or will he make an embarrassing face at them? I don't know!
Another example is that I can't really enjoy time away from home by myself when he's home with my husband. Will Scott feed him the right foods? Will he undo all the hard work I've done in "training" Williams with one unfortunate decision? Will he watch him closely enough to make sure he doesn't run out of the house and down the street (see above)? I really do think we're on the same page, but sometimes I just can't help wonder what happens when mom's gone.
I have definitely learned that there are a few more things you CAN'T force a child to do, or not to do, for that matter.
- You cannot make them not spit.
- You cannot make them yell at you in English instead of Twi.
- You cannot make them not run from you if you've already lost your grip on them.
- You can't force them to smile.
Although this list makes it sound like all our times are bad, that certainly is not the case. Most of our times are good and the bad times are getting fewer every day. (Pretty much non-existent today :-) I just really have to keep a sense of humor about the tough times and situations. We already think about how we'll enjoy telling Williams when he's 15 some of the things he did when he first came home. I'm sure he'll be proud of his resourcefulness.
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Monday, August 11, 2008
Thursday, August 7, 2008
Recently my 13 year old niece was eating dinner with us. When I asked her to pass the salt she passed me the salt AND pepper. She said she'd recently taken an etiquette quiz and learned that if someone asks for the salt, it is proper to pass the pepper with it. I did not know that. Interestingly enough, I wasn't familiar with the other couple of things she could remember from the quiz. This probably illustrates why there are some issues that take place at our table that need to be addressed. These are some etiquette tips that need to be followed in my home.
- Do not hit another diner in the face with your plate. This actually happened shortly after the salt and pepper discussion. The perpetrator...my niece, the etiquette expert.
- Do not gesture with your knife when there is a glob of soft butter on it. It WILL fly across the table...and no, it is not funny.
- Do not throw peas or any other food objects.
- URGENT! Do not change your underwear at the table, standing on your chair, with your butt at face level with another diner. (To be fair, Adam is the only one who breaks this rule.)
- Do not walk up to the table at dinnertime and use any of the following expressions: Eeeewww! Yuck! Gross! I hate that!
- If you have to throw up, do not do it on your mother's plate.
- Do not purposely scratch your fork on your plate creating a "fingernails on a chalkboard" screech.
These are all actual incidents that have happened or do happen on a regular basis in our family. And they, the children, actually had the nerve to comment while watching video of Williams, "He chews with his mouth open!"
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
A mom who's there right now had a really, really bad experience with the chop house where I ate almost every meal, so he's going to have to blaze his own trail when it comes to eating. (I can't bear to tell the gross story!) I'm sending him with protein bars and a jar of peanut butter. I could live a long time on just that.
He's going to be paranoid about getting ringworm since I have it all over my left arm. I feel pretty good that that's all I came home with...completely treatable and no big deal. He's started on his anti-malarial medication, and, as I suspected, he never went back to get the Hep. A and B shot that I told him to get.
I packed all of Williams things today and it was one of the most rewarding activities I think I've ever experienced. Why isn't packing Scott's stuff as much fun? Preparing for this trip is a piece of cake compared to the last one where I had to take all the paperwork to file our I600 and possibly the I864. I hope I'm not being too laid back about the packing process. I feel like I should be experiencing a lot more stress than I am. Maybe this is just called "being organized" which doesn't happen to me often.
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
As far as I know, Williams' visa was applied for today by our POA in Ghana and that is absolutely the final piece of paperwork required. Everyone keeps asking, "How long do you have to stay in country to pick Williams up?" The response is, "Not at all. We're done!" Unbelievable! Scott has even joked about having someone just drop Williams off at the airport so that he doesn't have to leave the airport. As you can see, he's not nearly as excited as I was to experience Africa.
The ticket will be purchased tomorrow, but at this moment Scott is scheduled to leave for Ghana on Thursday, Aug. 7 and return home, WITH WILLIAMS, on Wednesday, Aug. 13 at 10:35am, but who's keeping track?
I can't wait to smell his head! Just a little quirk I have. God has blessed me with 4 children with the best smelling heads in the world!
Saturday, July 26, 2008
Edward, my driver from the airport and the guy who booked my room, told me on the way there that a family that was supposed to have checked out, didn't. What that meant to me was that I couldn't get a room with it's own bathroom. Edmund at the guest house (a whole lot of "E" names, there was also and Emmanuel) showed me the bathroom right next door to my room and said that I would just have to share it with another AAI mom who would be arriving in a few days. I thought that sounded great, especially because it had a regular toilet and toilet paper.
As we were shutting down for the night, Heather, the other mom, was in my room and I heard the shower running in "my" bathroom. I said as much and she agreed. We waited for the door to open and she backed into the hall to see who it was, as if we'd know them. She came back and said it was some guy in his underwear. Alrighty, then! A little surprising but I could deal with that.
Heather said goodnight and went to her room. As I was getting my things together to go take a long awaited shower, I was just sure I heard the shower again! I went into the hall and the door to the bathroom wasn't quite shut. I knocked and heard some kind of an answer. I went back to my room and sat on the bed waiting to take a shower in "my" bathroom. When I heard the door scratch open I went into the hall and out came a woman in jeans without a top...I mean nothing. I said "hi". I hope that was the appropriate greeting for when you pass a topless woman in the hall.
Right then and there I thought I was going to sit down in the hall and cry. What a big baby I was! This all was just not clicking with this American's expectations of normal. If it hadn't been for the Americans in close proximity at that moment. I would have found some way to move somewhere else, ANYWHERE else, regardless of the fact that it was probably 11:30pm or midnight.
I managed to make it into the bathroom, LOCK THE DOOR, and take my cold shower. There was no hot water at this guest house. At least I DID expect that. Looking back, I just laugh at myself, because this quickly became the norm and didn't bother me at all. I still have no idea who all the other people who used the bathroom were, but they were there the whole time I was because it was a very busy place. Just to let you know, I did jump at the chance to switch rooms later in the week when my American friends left to go home. I would have continued to share my bathroom with the rest of Ghana though, to have had my friends there for the rest of my trip!
Thursday, July 24, 2008
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
I think I will steal the format that my friend Heather is using and just go through my trip day by day. But, before I go into that, I have to tell of a sad, sad incident that took place at Eban House 5 nights after I left.
Sunday night, four armed men broke into Eban House wanting to know where the valuables were kept. There were 3 house moms (Aunties) on duty. Esther is the one who the men came upon. Esther, in an attempt to keep the men from getting the items and to keep the children safe, would not tell them. The men repeatedly assaulted her. They then proceeded to break into the office, steal the money they found there, laptop computers, and what other valuables they could find. Took make a bad situation worse, 4 of the older girls woke up and witnessed part of the violence, but, thankfully, not the part involving Esther. The girls then prayed during the rest of the ordeal. Can you believe that these girls, the oldest being probably 8, had the spiritual and emotional maturity to instantly begin praying? Not only praying, but praying for the men to leave, praying FOR the attackers, and praying for forgiveness for the men.
This has left me feeling as if it were my own home that was invaded. I am sickened that such an act would happen in a small home full of 30 sleeping children and the 3 women caring for them. The only bright side of the story is that the girls recognized the men as hired men who had been at Eban House the previous week painting. The girls went to the police station and, hopefully, will be able to help with these men being caught.
This whole episode just further erodes my already fragile sense of trust that I have of people in general. On one hand, a part of me wants so badly to believe that most people have good intentions. On the other hand, it just seems a rare occasion that I don't have a part of me that cannot completely trust anyone except for a small handful. It makes you really evaluate how you should function in this world. Unfortunately, it seems that a healthy dose of distrust is the only way to keep yourself, and your family, safe.
My knee-jerk response when I first was told of this horrible crime was to think, "Why Eban House? They have nothing!" Then I started thinking of it from a different perspective. On a regular basis, "rich" Americans walk to and from Eban House. Often times they are carrying large bags of donations, the actual content of which is probably much more valuable in a bystanders imagination. But in reality, there are many things donated, or purchased through donated funds, that are quite valuable, especially in a society so stricken by poverty. It is amazing to me that these children have gone from being mainly the most needy of a society, to now being a worthy target for scumbags of the world.
I can do nothing on this end but pray for God to heal all that needs healed at Eban House. Thankfully, Williams was in no way hurt, nor did he even wake up, as far as anyone knows. I would ask everyone who reads this to please pray for this also, especially for Esther, and the 4 daughters of my 3 different friends who now have yet more trauma in their short little lives to deal with.
Sunday, July 13, 2008
Williams continues to eat a ton. I think I might have misread his intentions earlier about sharing food because now he will not give me a bite of food until he's done. Today for lunch I ordered an adult meal of chicken skewers and rice thinking that we could share it. I'll be darned if he didn't eat 2 1/4 of the 3 skewers, most of the rice and 1 of the 3 little tomatoe wedges! I snarfed down the leftovers while he stood there and said, "Let's go, Mommy!" because he wanted to get in the pool. (We went to La Palm again today. Heather, aren't you jealous!)
Today was a little more challenging with Williams. He get's into this mopey funk and sticks with it for a loooooonnnnnnggggg time... like an hour! Our taxi driver kept telling him, "Little boy, stop crying!" Ghanaians don't like it when kids cry. It wasn't real crying, more of a whine. Very pleasant! It will be something to deal with right away when we get him home. It's usually brought on by not getting something he wants. I thought only American kids had this down to an art!
I have a few hours tomorrow and I haven't told Williams yet that I go home tomorrow. He's not going to like it. I hope the time flies until he comes home!
Friday, July 11, 2008
Next, we went to La Palm. It is wonderful by any standards. We were with the Sears family who are adopting 4 children and brought 3 of their children from Virginia, so we were quite a big group. All the kids loved swimming. Williams was very tentative and didn't realize that he could walk in the water. He didn't want to move. Then when he did, he walked off a step and scared himself. It took him a little while to recover from that, but he did get back in. His favorite was just riding around on my back and going under the waterfalls. We'd go back to the shallow and he'd take my hand and say, "Let's go, mommy!" and wanted to head back out for more pool tours.
Williams is quite attached to me. He always wants to be touching me or me touching him. He's always holding my hand when we're on the move and will let me carry him if I wish. This is quite easy because he's so light. He slept on my lap on the way to Frankies and again on the way home from La Palm. On the way home we took a bush road since the traffic was so bad. I've heard people tell of these, but like so many other things, you can't fully appreciate them until you experience them. Amazingly, at least 4 kids were sleeping as we bounced around. I had such a tight hold on Williams that we were a sweaty mess by the time we got home. That's not so unusual though. It was very HOT yesterday.
Back at Maa Oye, Grace was expecting us for dinner, but not the extra 5 kids. As usual, she was gracious and able to feed our whole herd. After seeing how much Williams ate for lunch I was afraid he would not be full so I ate very little and offered him my plate when his was empty. He said, "No Mommy, I ok!" I could tell he just didn't want to take my food from me so I ate a few bites and said how full I was. I asked then if he would like to have the rest and he ate somemore. Again then he gave me my fork back and said, "I ok, Mommy."
In my room before we ate I really didn't have anything for Williams to do so we laid on the bed and looked through a Family Circle magazine with a flashlight. The light in my room is so dim I can't read without my flashlight. I'm thinking little light is a good thing in this situation. The saying "ignorance is bliss" has served me well on this trip. I had a bag of cookies I had gotten for Williams so I told him we would all have them after dinner. He held them close constantly for about 45 minutes until it was time to eat them. He took one and when I went to pass them around the table he looked at me like I was a traitor but I told him we had to share. He then passed them around. He did take a second when it got back to him. When he went for a third I told him no and he said, "Take the rest back to Daddy". What a sweet pea!
I carried him back up to Eban House and I think he might have thought he was staying with me because he wasn't happy. He does a very good mopey face. I held him until everyone was ready to leave, kissed him, told him I'd be back in the morning, and high-tailed it out of there. I'm afraid this evening part is going to get worse each day.
Another mom, Robin, is coming this evening and the Sears' are leaving early tomorrow morning. I'm really going to miss them. I've loved having their kids here too. They are 13, 11, and 10 and have really helped me not miss mine so bad. The Sears have 2 more little one's at home so with their 4 more they will have 9 kids. If anyone can handle it Steve and Heather can. I'm really looking forward to meeting Robin tonight.
To my babies, all 4 of them, at home. I miss you!!!!! Be glad you live where you live!!!!! I hope you had fun at camp Holly and Hannah. I hope you've had fun at all your friends, Adam. Play good this weekend, Hannah. Keep your swing speed up! Tell everyone hi and there's a lot of cute kids here who could use good families. Dad, I hope your recuperating. Mom, thanks for the help with the kids. Hi, Patti. I love you all!!!!!!
Monday, July 7, 2008
I can't be clever right now so I'll talk to you all from Ghana!
Tuesday, July 1, 2008
Thursday, June 26, 2008
I spent several hours going through kids clothes at our church today. We have piles and piles of clothes left over from our 2 yard sales we've had and I shopped for the Eban House kids today. One of their needs right now is clothes. They have just had a huge number of kids join the home so there are lots of little bodies to clothe.
I'm hearing the clock ticking down the minutes until I leave for Ghana. Not so much because I'm excited, which I am, but because I feel like there's too much to do with to little time to do it. So what's new, right? I only have until next Thursday to prepare because we'll be leaving for the Lake of the Ozarks on July 3 and wont return until July 6. I leave July 7, ready or not.
Monday, June 23, 2008
Friday, June 20, 2008
This is where my brain is stuck. I think I've come up with a new and improved travel plan. Up until now Scott was planning on taking the first trip to Ghana to file the I600 and spend the week with Williams while I would be the one to return shortly after that to whisk Williams home to the US. The hitch in the plan is that the adoption decree should be to us around July 4. Well, Mr. Scott has a softball tournament with Hannah's team on the weekend of July 11. He's thinking that going the 14th would be great and I find that TOTALLY UNACCEPTABLE!!!! :-) (I give it a smiley face, but it's still UNACCEPTABLE.)
So, anyway, here's the new plan which, by the way, is highly acceptable. :-) (That's a real smiley face.) I will travel to Ghana on July 7 to file the I600. It is perfect because I do not have to be back in the event that I get held up by paperwork. It's also perfect because Holly and Hannah are going to church camp that whole week so I would only have to arrange a schedule for Adam. Oh yeah, and Scott can be at the darned tournament, sheesh!
In early to mid August, when there is no softball, no soccer, no baseball, no basketball, no bobsledding etc, Scott can go to Ghana and bring the Wills home. Another bonus is that this way every dish in the whole house wont be dirty when Williams arrives since I'm the only one who can load a dishwasher or wash a dish, you know.
Excellent plan, I think! If Scott could stay awake when I'm talking to him, I'm sure he would agree!
Monday, June 16, 2008
Martha has made the most selfless, motherly decision a mother could ever make for her child. She has given him up to another mother in order to give him hope, safety, and a life that could not even begin to match anything he could have in Ghana. This is a decision that I don't even think most of us can even begin to fathom. It's like trying to contemplate "infinity". I feel like I start to get a concrete notion of it, and then my mind gets overcome by the vastness of it. My mind is not capable of grasping it.
I can not comprehend being in such a hopeless situation that the only answer is to give up your child. I can not comprehend no other way out. It is not something that my brain has any experience with.
I feel fiercely protective of this woman who has made this decision. When I feel that someone may be thinking she must not be much of a mom if she could give up her child after 5 years. I must turn the tables and suggest that she is like no other mother that I know because she HAS made the decision to give up her child. I fear that in my selfishness I would decide that even if my path was leading no where, or worse, at least we'll be together. I hope and am quite sure I'll never have to find out.
I find myself often struggling with guilt for bringing Williams into our family. I think, "why can't someone just give a little help to Martha so that she can keep her only remaining child?" It really wouldn't take much at all by our standards. One of the problems, I guess, is that there are a million other similar cases like hers. I know also that there may be more to the story than I know, but since I don't know it, I will continue to think of Martha as a hero.
You don't hear stories of mother's like this very often in America. Thank you God that we live in a country where mother's do not have to let their children go in order to give them a future. Thank you God that if Williams can not be with Martha, he can be with me. Thank you God for Martha. I pray that He will give me words to speak to her when we meet this summer.
Friday, June 13, 2008
This is Williams Kofi Nketia Ankomah JOHNSTON, our new son!!!! Our case went to court this morning in Ghana and our adoption was granted. We are now the proud parents of FOUR chillins. I have to keep repeating that to myself because it is so hard to wrap my brain around.
Our adoption coordinator called at 6:40 am to tell me the wonderful news and I've been on cloud nine ever since. Williams was able to celebrate with a couple that is visiting their daughter at Eban House. They took him out for pizza! I'm sure this was a very special trip for him.
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
Friday, June 6, 2008
Unfortunately, it is very common for court dates to be delayed. It is actually our case that is preventing this from happening Friday. Williams mother has changed her story about Williams father being dead. She now says he is not dead, but she does not know where he is. The problem with this is that all the paperwork now needs to be changed from a deceased father to a whereabouts unknown father.
The paperwork itself probably would have been completed, but DHS in Ghana has been without electricity for some time and has been unable to process things. It shows me how I take even having power for granted. Such a thing would never happen here. Thank you God for my never ending supply of electricity!
The good news is that there should be no paperwork delays for next week. Now other delays....who knows. Either way, eventually we WILL have our court date and Williams will legally be Williams Kofi Nketia Ankomah Johnston, our son.
Monday, June 2, 2008
Let the festivities begin. As the school year ends Adam's birthday is the 1st in a long string of birthdays to be celebrated through the summer. 5 birthdays between May 27 and August 31. We are so excited that Williams will celebrate his on February 15.
For the 2nd year, Adam decided he wanted to have his party at Build-A-Bear. I encouraged him to have a home party this year, but he insisted Build-A-Bear was what he wanted to do. There are 2 great things about this. One, no mess at home. Two, we only let him invite 3 friends, so the number of presents is greatly reduced.
This is a boys only party so Holly and Hannah stay at home and Scott and I head to KC with our Suburban full of testosterone. I laid the ground rules before entering the car, potty talk (ie poop, butts, toilets) must be kept to a minimum and no spitting. These were loosely observed on the ride there, but we're 100% ignored on the return trip.
Our plan had been Build-A-Bear first, then dinner at T-Rex. Scott was told by someone at work that T-Rex has a "stuff a dino" at the restaurant that is actually run by Build-A-Bear, so we decided on route that the entire party would be held at T-Rex.
The most fun was had on the way out of the restaurant on a grassy area where they ran around and wrestled while Scott paid the bill.
The drive home was one big dinosaur fight the whole way. Well, it also turned into a box fight, you know those big boxes that come from Build-A-Bear. None of them made it home alive, the boxes that is.
Monday, May 26, 2008
Our I-600a has been approved and we have received the official letter! I guess they accepted my sworn statement of having no criminal history so we're good to go. We have received our travel packet which is tons of great reading. It has so much information in it from how money works, to meeting birth families, to local cultural norms. We await our court date which will not be until at least a week from next Friday. After court we should get our Adoption Decree in about 3 weeks. With that in hand, Scott will be ready to travel to Ghana to file the I-600 at the embassy.
Williams received the bag of goodies from us last Wednesday. This bag, called the Welcome Bag, is a gallon-sized Ziploc bag that announces to the child that they have been matched to a family for adoption. Included in it was a TY monkey, a soccer t-shirt, a photo album of our family and life, a letter, a bag full of Hot Wheels cars, stickers, glasses with big googly eyeballs, and a little notebook. What a strange sensation it is to imagine him looking at pictures of us and reading the letter that I wrote him! We received a picture of him holding all his loot and it makes my heart do flip flops.
I got a call from our Adoption Coordinator this evening to let me know of a unforeseen situation that has arisen with our case. I can tell when she calls, just by her voice, whether it is a happy call or a not so happy call. Flip flops from the stomach again, but not in a good way. Best case scenario, this new situation will not effect us at all or slow down our process. Worst case scenario (very unlikely) everything falls apart. I have to let myself consider each option in order to prepare for anything, but I will not get myself worked up. Now, if I can just get Scott to stop saying, "This sounds really bad!" then maybe I can really not obsess over it. I think a good synonym for "adoption" would be "obsession". God can handle how he chooses.
Thursday, May 22, 2008
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
The 3 items in my blog title tend to consume our lives. They are the 4 words that can be heard most often coming out of my mouth, but I certainly had to entertain many other words such as "ball game", "no", "Africa", and "adoption". In the end the winners just sounded good together.
Thanks for dropping in. I have to pick up everyone early from school today for an orthodontist appointment. I'm bummed out because I have to wear my black Croc's because I can't find my cute pink and green ones. I'm eager to get back home to check out my friend's blog for a post. She's in Ghana. (See what I mean by my title!)