Tuesday, March 30, 2010


......has anybody read a parenting book called "Wild Things: The Art of Nurturing Boys" ?

I have a feeling that I'll soon be able to write the sequel.....

My graphic artist buddy, Sara, over at A Life Less Ordinary-- lukecommasara.blogspot.com
highly recommends it and is even giving a copy away today. Check out her blog to enter for the giveaway AND check out her website www.less-ordinary-designs.com to see Sara's work. She creates beautiful printed cards, stationary, invitations and other great stuff.

Sara did Calvary's prom invitation and will be doing our adoption announcements for sure.....just as soon as I can get the new guys to be still long enough for pictures.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Home, sweet home

I'm happy to report, that after 26 deliriously-long hours of travel, the new guys and I arrived at the Greensboro airport a little ahead of schedule last night where we were met by a happy bunch of friends and family. We made such a racket and hung around so long, the airport security guards asked us to keep it down (twice) and then actually called in one of Greensboro's Finest who----can you believe the nerve?---asked us to take it elsewhere.

Maybe we were being a tad noisy.....twenty kids and two red balloons can be that way......but we were hardly a TSA security incident waiting to happen.

My mom was waiting for us here at the house when we got in and had a huge supper ready---ham, fried chicken, rice, green beans, deviled eggs, banana pudding and coconut cake. Clearly doing her southern best to feed and love Amos and Kalee. My sister, Kari, her husband, Jim, and their daughter, Sophie, were all here for the celebration, too.

I slept like a rock for about 8 hours then got up to be with Brant, Will and Babe before they left for school. So much happened while I was gone the last two weeks. Exams were taken....report cards issued....B took the SAT......Drew and the boys traveled to Hilton Head for spring break......Little League and Calvary baseball have begun their seasons now.......Babe is almost back from his rotator cuff injury.

Amos and Kalee slept until about 8:30 (yay, box fan!) and after a big breakfast of muffins and peanuts (what else?) Drew took over and I went back to bed for a few hours.

The boys spent today exploring every thing they could get their hands on. Imagine the curiosity and mentality of two, 2-year olds, but in bigger, stronger, more dexterous kids' bodies. They are fascinated by the washing machine, running water, telephones, the tv remotes, Kit's retractable leash......and their new remote-control cars. These guys love to push buttons and turn things on and off. They've removed batteries from things I didn't even know had batteries.

When they started chasing the cats, Drew took them on a big walk to burn off a little energy. That helped. For a while.

Still, all in all, I'd describe this as a very successful first day. I know it's early to make any calls, and there are bound to be huge challenges ahead---all sure to be exacerbated by my being old and impatient---but Amos and Kalee seem happy to finally be here. They have especially loved being reunited with their big brothers.

And they have started calling me, Mom, and Drew, Dad. That makes my heart soar.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Headed home....

The boys and I will be on a 9p flight out of Monrovia later this evening. I'll have multiple copies of the clearance letter ready to pass out and if any airport officials give me a hard time, I have the cell number of the official who signed it. The airport/Immigration folks are welcome to call this Ministry of Justice official to discuss, if they like......

After flying all night, we'll arrive in Brussels first thing in the morning. We lay over there about 4 hours and then will be headed to Atlanta.

The ATL connection is a little close; I only have about an hour and forty minutes to navigate Customs and make the flight to Greensboro, but hopefully I'll have enough time.

If all goes well, I should be in GSO around 5:30p Thursday night.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


Yesterday was a long, difficult day spent being bounced around between various Liberian government offices and officials....first told one thing and then another. Waiting here. Waiting there.

I'll spare you all the drama, but just know that first thing this morning, I was given the clearance letter for which I've waited a week. According to the official that signed it, it is every thing I will need to pass through all the inspection points at the airport with the boys.

I've got this woman's phone number just in case!

First flight out of here is Wednesday night at 7p (Liberia is 4 hours ahead of EST). Drew is working with the travel agent on my itinerary, but the boys and I should get to Greensboro sometime Thursday evening.

Thanks to all of you for your prayers, emails, comments and posts. They've been a huge encouragement to me. Drew and I may never know what God had in mind with all the delays, waiting, shutdowns and holds......but I'm excited to see how His plan for Amos and Kalee and the rest of our family plays out over the next years.

As my friend Cheryl is probably saying about now, "Go, God!"

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Taking it easy....

With very limited options, the boys and I are just hanging out this weekend.

We are staying in a one-room apartment that I rented from one of the ELWA dentists. It's "ocean-view" and is working out just fine. We all have a bed and there's a small kitchen area with a hot plate, toaster oven and dorm-sized refrigerator.

Saturday morning, the guys and I spent some time on the beach together and I was able to get some good pictures of them both. Amos met up with a fisherman and was given some little fish that this guy was using for bait. When we got back home later and I was getting changed in the bathroom, Amos decided he was going to try to cook up those guppies for lunch---directly on the hot plate burner. The smell was awful....... and that burner still has scales stuck to it.

After lunch yesterday, about 15 of the older Addy's kids came down to enjoy the beach. They stayed about two hours with their teacher then went on to spend the night with a local pastor who had invited them to sing and dance at worship this morning.

Amos started running a fever right after dinner last night---it came on so quickly that at first I actually thought he might be faking the shaking and moaning and that he got in bed for attention. I took his temperature and when I realized it was 103, I knew the chills, shakes and confusion were for real. Fortunately, his temperature came down with Motrin and as long as he has it in him, he seems to feel okay.

Because of Amos being sick, we didn't go to church services this morning and so, didn't get to see the Addy's kids' program. I hate that, but decided I better keep an eye on whatever it is Amos's got.

The boys have been teaching me lots of the praise songs they know, so we are worshipping in our own way. I can sing along and keep up with the words, but not the clapping, drumming, foot stomping....and...uh....tongue clicking.

Yep. WAY too white for that.

I think God heard me anyway.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Close, but no cigar.

The clearance letter I needed wasn't issued today.

Too many twists and turns to even describe....multiple trips to the Ministry....unsatisfactory conversations with the the US Embassy, dozens of calls to and from those advocating for me.

When it was all said and done, I got NOTHING.
(Except consolation from my driver, Kla, whom I thought might just cry with me.)

Thursday, March 18, 2010

It's gonna be close....

Embassy staff did not, in fact, have the boys' visa packets ready at 8a when I arrived at their office this morning. Essentially told me I was just plain out of luck and that they'd see me at 3p. I resisted the urge to give 'em some Dixon, but barely....

Went immediately over to the Ministry of Justice and left copies of all necessary documents, exluding the visas, in hopes that someone could review every thing and get started on the clearance letter.

Picked up the visa packets at 3p....then went again to the MOJ where I learned that the decision maker had been called out of the office all day by the President and had only just arrived at her desk.

I ratcheted down my expectations....and then got the official word that the letter would not be forthcoming today.

No promises for tomorrow either, if you want to know the truth.

But I'll be back over there first thing.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

No news....

Didn't get a reply from the Embassy today on whether or not the visa packet will be ready in the morning or not.

So. Incredibly. Frustrating.

I think my best strategy is to be there with Amos and Kalee when the Embassy doors open at 8a........and just camp out in the Consular Affairs office until it IS ready.

I'll let you know how that works out for me.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

It's gonna be a nail biter....

Things are going fine here in Liberia, but just as I have worried, it's going to come down to the wire on whether I can get the clearance letter I need to travel by the end of the day Friday when I am booked on a flight out with the boys.

Turns out the Embassy wanted a full 5 days to print the visas and prepare a packet to take to the Ministry of Justice for clearance. Drew and I understood our email from the vice-consul to read that I should plan to be on the ground here 5 days......total. For every thing.

After hearing all this at the Embassy today, I had to rebound quickly. I mustered all the southern charm I could to talk the man down to 2 days. He told me every thing would be ready Thursday at 3p.

I was feeling pretty proud of myself until I went over to the Ministry of Justice where I was told that unless I have the visa packet to them by 10a Thursday, I won't be able to get the letter that day. And if I don't get it Thursday.....dealing with it on Friday will be incredibly stressful since we are to fly out at 7p.

I got Drew on the horn and in turn, Drew got the Consular at the Embassy on the horn, to strongly "suggest" that they expedite our packet so I can leave on Friday. He got a "we'll-see -what-we-can-do" response. No promises.

I know this will all work out. God has it all under control.....and really, the worst-case scenario would be that the boys and I would just stay into next week until we can pick up the clearance letter.

Still......I know I've got some absolute prayer warriors out there. Anybody willing to kick it into high gear??

It might be just about that time....

Monday, March 15, 2010

I'm here!

I survived my flights to Monrovia and arrived here last night (Sunday) at about 8p Liberian time. Friends, Rusty and Jamie, met me and a couple other folks at the airport and we went straight over to the orphanage to retrieve Amos and Kalee.

I met up with Scott Bolitho in Brussels and it was great to finally meet him face to face . He and his wife Carolee, my cyber-bestfriend for the past two years, are also adopting from Addy's Hope and Scott is here to pick up their daughter Mary.

It is a holiday here today. In celebration of Liberia's first presidents's birthday, every thing is closed and no one is working. The boys and I are taking it easy this morning and hope to get out to the orphanage to visit with the other kids later today.

Kalee and I spent some time looking at alphabet flash cards and I'm glad to see that he knows all his letters and nearly all his colors. (Green tricks him up for some reason.) It's kind of funny to hear Kalee call out the pictures on the cards--his teacher has obviously taught with some similar cards or maybe a poster or picture book. Kalee recognizes lots of things he has no first-hand knowledge of like quilts, queens, igloos and oranges.

I'm not sure yet, but I think Amos might be able to read some. He can definitely pick out some names and other words as I type and he can read some commands on the computer screen. I'll do a little more research and get back to you.

I'm having trouble downloading pictures so far but I'll keep working on that. My laptop does things differently from the Mac at home and I can't figure out how to get everything to sync up. Makes me miss the guys in my IT department, for sure.

Tomorrow I plan to be at the Embassy first thing when it opens at 8a to meet with the vice-consular for the boys' exit visas. This is the last step on the US side then my next challenge will be to get that clearance letter from the Liberian Minister of Justice. The letter will give me permission to leave the country with the boys. Ideally, I will have that by Friday and can leave as scheduled, but I am preparing myself that I might need to stay on a few more days to get it. But I hope not.....

Thank you so much for all your blog comments, emails and Facebook comments. I'll keep updating as long as my internet connection stays up.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

This is it!

Bags packed and heading out--next stop ATL, then Brussels....and on to Monrovia!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Flight Plan

Whew! It took most of the last two days, but I finally got flight arrangements for my trip to Liberia worked out today.

I leave Greensboro this Saturday around noon. And return with the new guys next Saturday the 20th at 5:30pm.

Better get my act together, huh?

Friday, March 5, 2010

All systems are GO!

Drew spoke with Embassy officials in Monrovia this morning and got the long-awaited and positively great news that our adoption has been approved and our case is a "go!"

I can't even believe that I am writing those words after more than two, full years of being in process!

Since I last posted....
the boys' physical reports came back just fine.
the biological mother's death certificate was turned in.
the boys' birth certificates were re-printed for the fourth time---this time to correct our nationality.

I am to make my travel plans and then let the vice-consular know so he can reserve time for our exit visa appointment.

Once I'm there, and have the visas, the Liberian Minister of Justice will write a clearance letter for me to leave the country with the boys. We don't anticipate any problems in getting approval to do that, but since the letter can't be written until the visas are actually issued by the US Embassy, I'll just need to allow several days on the ground for the processing.

Can you feel me beaming through cyberspace???

I've got a call into the travel agent.....I'll keep you posted!