Welcome! As we step out in faith to adopt from Ghana, we started this blog as a way to share the story of our adoption journey with family and friends. Step by step on this journey we are learning to trust in and rely on God all the more.
If you would like to start reading about our journey from the beginning start with the January 1st post, "How it all Started".

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Introductions Please!

Our children are Solomon Kwame Okai and Vivian Afua Teye. We learned quickly after meeting them that Solomon doesn’t answer to Solomon. He goes by his middle name Kwame which means Saturday born. I was informed that Vivian is pronounced Viv-Yen. And we have loving nicknamed her Vivi. Vivi’s middle name, Afua, means Friday born. The day of the week the child is born is very important in their culture.

They are siblings. Kwame will be 6 on August 12th and Vivi turned 5 on July 8th. They are 11 months apart.

Friday, July 29, 2011

May 31st – Night 1 - We Meet

Our original plan was to arrive at the foster home during the day, spend time with the kids, have them sleep at the foster home that night, and then get them the next day, but the delay threw everything off. You learn quickly that you need to be very flexible.

When we exited the taxi it was dark and we walked down what seemed like an alleyway. We arrived at the foster home around 9:30pm. We were hungry, thirsty, hot, sweaty, jet-lagged, and experiencing culture shock. We expected to see “K” waiting for us, but he was not there. We learned later that he his vehicle had broken down along the way.

We came up to the green gate that we had seen in pictures, and the realization that we were about to meet our children really started to hit. I remember trying to find a place to set my bag down where I could keep and eye on it (I didn’t want it to be mistaken for donations). I vaguely remember the donation bag being given to one of the ladies who we thought might be an Auntie. We weren’t sure if we did it right because there sure seemed to be a free for all with the donations. This was all so new to us and we didn’t know if we were doing things right.

I don’t know if I was overwhelmed, experiencing culture shock, or just beyond tired; maybe I was just trying to process it all, when I heard Ken say, “Michelle, turn around.” When I turned around, there stood our daughter, Vivian, wearing a pink princess Tiana nightgown. It was so surreal. I dropped to my knees and took her into my arms. I held her, told her I was her mommy, and told her that I loved her. She was so cuddly and sweet, not to mention she was obviously tired since it was so late.

I then asked about Solomon and a little boy identified himself as being him. Another little boy was confirming that. I had seen many pictures of my son; he was not it. I told Ken what was happening, I wasn’t sure what to do. I then asked one of the adults where Solomon was and they quickly disappeared and came back with a freshly woken up little boy…our son. I felt so bad that he had been woken up, but I was glad to have him in my arms. No sooner was he in my arms then he was taken away and soon returned with his face and shirt all wet. He had obviously been dunked, or splashed with water, to wake him up; poor little guy.

I don’t know how long we were there, we of course took lots of pictures, but the time there was spent holding and loving on our kids. I know there were other adults and children in the room, but I all could see and focus on were Vivian and Solomon. We switched back and forth with the kids, each getting a moment with each of them. They were very affectionate and comfortable with us. They kept touching our faces and stroking our hair. Vivian eventually fell asleep in my lap.

We receive word that “K” had finally arrived and was ready to take us to our hotel. Unfortunately it was not the hotel we had reserved; they had given away our room due to our delay, ugh! Thankfully “K” had found one that had rooms available that wasn’t too far away. I went to give my sleeping Vivian to one of the girl’s so she could put her to bed and was told, “No, you take.” This was another one of those “flexible” moments we’d experience. So we took the children with us; Vivian in her nightgown and no shoes, and Solomon wearing a blue long sleeved button down shirt, black shorts, and disintegrating pink flip-flops.

The first thing we did when we arrived at the hotel was to buy a large bottle of water. Ah, refreshing. My feet were SO swollen! Ken dug out some beef jerky he had in our luggage and we feasted. They had given us an extra blanket to use as a bed on the floor for one of the kids. We got the kids ready for bed and Kwame climbed on the blanket. After climbing into bed Ken pulled Kwame into bed with us and the huge smile he gave us let us know we made the right choice. I was nervous he would fall out of the bed since we were all crowded into a double bed and he was on the edge. I said to Ken, “Put him in the middle. You’re going to knock him out of the bed.” He assured me he wouldn’t. Guess what, he almost did! I happened to wake up in time to see him starting to fall out of bed. I grabbed his arm and kept him from falling and yelled for Ken to catch him. After moving him to the middle we finally all fell asleep once again. Good night all.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

MAY 31- DAY 1

We walked off the plane onto the tarmac

and boarded a bus to take us to the main terminal.

We were kind of nervous to go through customs but it went good, well almost. We were told on the plane that we only had to fill out one declaration form per family (I think that is what it’s called), but in fact, each person needed to fill one out.  They were gracious about it and I quickly filled it out so we could be on our way.

Since we arrived a day later than planned we weren’t sure who was going to pick us up, or if anyone would be there to get us. It had also been previously arranged for someone from the Fern House to be at the airport to pick up two suitcases that we had brought; we didn’t know if we’d be lugging four suitcases to Kwahu or if they’d be there.

Thankfully we walked out to see a man holding a sign with our last names on it. Then, as we followed him out the door, there was another guy holding The Fern House sign, thank you Lord.

We then went to a nearby hotel were the driver went to check on a family who would be traveling with us to Kwahu. Then it was off to the US Embassy where we would wait for our POA to finish with the appointments he had scheduled for that day. It was a bit un-nerving to have to leave all our electronics and bags (which held all our important documents) at the front desk, but that’s how it’s done.

Our driver then took us in to meet “K”, our POA. We walked into one of the buildings. It was a long narrow room. The room was lined with chairs and every chair was filled with a person, not to mention those standing, waiting for their appointments. “K” was very nice. After introductions he said he’d like to take us to meet the kids. MEET THE KIDS?!?!? Did he mean OUR kids?!?! My, and Kristen’s, heart about stopped. This is not what we had expected. We were led to the courtyard where we met 5 kiddos, representing 2 families, who were there for their visa exit interview. I’m not going to lie and tell you we weren’t a little disappointed, but it will be great to meet our in the morning when we are refreshed and more prepared.

We spent what we think were the next 4+ hours in the Embassy courtyard playing with the kids. While we had fun playing with kids we couldn’t help but wish we were playing with our kids. We wondered what their personalities were like, and how they would react to us.  I will say we were excited to be a part of learning that the interviews had been a success, and these children would soon be with their forever families.

The birth moms were also there. One was busy nursing her twins (at the same time), one seemed shy, and one of them tried to give us a crash course in Twi. She kept laughing as we’d say a word wrong, or would forget one she’d just taught us.

Finally it was time to go. Since we were such a large group we had to take multiple modes of transportation to get to Kwahu. We first split up from Ryan & Kristen and took a taxi to the bus depot; where we would meet up with them again. With us traveled little “A” who we had just spent the afternoon with. The other family rode with our POA, and our luggage, to the foster home.

We had to wait for an hour on the bus while we waited for it to fill up. Full bus equals departure time. With us were 6 kids, yes we gained one more, the four of us and the driver who had picked us up from the airport.

While we waited I had a guy blow me a kiss, through the window, as he tried to get me to buy something from him. There were SO many people selling all kinds of things, most of which were carried on the top of their heads (I wish I had a picture of this). Women even came on the bus with their wares. We weren’t sure if it was safe to buy any of the food, which was tough because we were hungry. We hadn’t eaten, or drank, anything since 6:30 this morning on the plane. Next time we’ll be prepared!

We finally left at about 4:30 in the afternoon. The driving here is crazy. You have a two lane road with about 5 cars going various ways at the same time. Everyone is frequently blowing their horns. There were hardly any stoplights/signs anywhere. I was so surprised we didn’t witness any accidents. It was also interesting when the charter bus would basically go off-roading on tiny roads through tight inhabited areas. Thankfully it was air conditioned and while we couldn’t understand it, they entertained us with Ghanaian movies. Oh, and we were very happy to remember we had a couple Snicker bars in our bag; we were so hungry. Little miss “A” slept on my lap the whole way. If I remember correctly, we stopped about 9 and had to take a taxi the rest of the way to the foster home.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

May 29th - Ghana, Here We Come (Attempt #2)

We woke up this morning, after much needed sleeping in, to find out we made the news. Here are a couple, from multiple hits, we found on Google: Here and here. (Oh, and the answer to their question is yes, one did join us again).

Despite the stress and disappointment of last night we decide to make the best of it. God is good and in control. We were so blessed to have a day with Ryan & Kristen.  After a late breakfast, the four of us hung out by the pool and visited, and and through the conversation we grew our friendship, and trust, which we are sure to need during the guaranteed stresses of our travels. I’m so glad we are going through this together.

We headed to the airport in the afternoon. After we checked our bags and settled down to wait for our flight we made a shocking discovery. The man that Ken had restrained was also sitting waiting for our flight. Needless to say, we were not comfortable with this. I won’t go into the drama that ensued after pointing this out to the head attendant/supervisor. Unbelievable! I will say that we made it on the plane and we were very happy when we landed in Ghana at around 8:30 in the morning of May 31st.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

May 29th - Ghana, Here We Come (Attempt #1)

I can’t believe we are actually flying to Ghana today! I am getting so excited; the butterflies in my stomach are going crazy. Our flight leaves tonight at 10:45 and I can’t wait. Ken & I spent a nice relaxing day together as we waited for the next leg of our journey to begin.

While we were waiting to leave for the airport we were playing around with the iPad we brought with us. We were trying to find movies or games the kids might like; something that might occupy them. Ken decided to see what he could find regarding Twi, the language our children speak. He was able to find an application, the Nkyea Twi Phrasebook, for $2.99. We can’t wait to use it with the kids. With this app you can look up words and phrases in English, you push a button, and you hear it spoken in Twi. You can even record your own voice as you say the word/phrase.

We decided to leave for the airport at 7pm. We are looking forward to meeting Ryan & Kristen in person.  At the airport we were supposed to take the train to the terminal, but it was not working. Instead we rode in a mobile lounge, called a Buddy, which was built in 1962. (One can be seen behind me)

As we walked up to our gate I heard a guy say my name. Yay, Ryan and Kristen are here!!

Thankfully, Ken & I had no problem getting on the flight, there were plenty of seats available (remember we were flying stand-by). We were able to sit in economy plus; it was so nice to have the extra leg room.

Take-off was good and about an hour into the flight the crew started serving drinks, & were getting ready to serve dinner when….(the reason it says Attempt #1 in the title)….a fight broke out on the plane between two guys. All I could think was, “You’ve got to be kidding me!”  They were 5 rows behind us and sitting directly across the isle from Ryan & Kristen. At first we weren’t sure what was happening. Someone yelled out quietly & then a little louder and the next thing we knew fists were flying. The crew in our area started yelling at them to stop, but the idiots didn’t. Well, I take that back, they stopped for like 3 seconds…UGH! Then a stewardess ran past, tapped Ken on the shoulder and said she needed some strong men. My amazing husband got up and ended up putting one of the offenders in an arm lock. He got the guy to calm down and the men were then separated.

 After more drama ensued, it was announced that we would be returning to Dulles, remove the guys from the plane, refuel (they had to dump the fuel so we would be light enough to land), and resume our flight. Well, we did not resume our flight. Attempt #2 will occur at 6pm tomorrow, or I should say today. It is 3:30am; it is time to sleep.