Wednesday, June 30, 2010

WHY I don't have time to blog much these days................



Children, grandchildren, putting up a pool, treating leech bites, and fixing a broken vacuum cleaner with a 9 month old assistant, these are things that keep a lady's life full of  LIFE!!


Daniel is the REAL  helper here but it was a fun project with Charlie

 The Daniel update is that there is no update. All week last week I played phone tag with two doctor's offices only to discover that  since Doc #1  had filed our  insurance with a company we do not have our insurance with instead of the company whose card I  gave the receptionist, we were slowed down by denial of claims AND by the receptionist "not knowing " that we had Ins Co U  instead of Ins Co A. and that Ins Co U  requires a "pre-qualification" for any and all specialty tests, such as the MRI the neuro-surgeon wants  before he will see Daniel in person.  (a "pre-q" takes 72 hours ) MAYBE with no glitches we will have that "pre-q" tomorrow and maybe then  I can call and GET  an apointment for the MRI next week and MAYBE we will see the neuro-surgeon the week after that..........................My cynical and critical nature would call this a form of "medical abuse and or  neglect" but since I truly do understand that insurance has nothing to do with procuring health care, but everything to do with the doctors who agree to see me/us  being assured of pay, I can sit back and wait (and call to ask every day if the "pre-q" was authorized) I also do not forget that   insurance companies or not, these people whom I've called are working for ME, and will be providing a service for MY CHILD. I am not "privileged " that they will see Daniel, I am hiring them. That I have had to make so many calls to  hire someone is not the high point of my week, but Daniel is home with us and we will be getting care. I am feeding him fruits and veggies as opposed to just cereal and formula, he is on meds to help reduce the reflux and related acid damage to throat and teeth. I got him a wonderful rocking chair with gift money from a friend and he seems to like his chair  quite well., as you might see in his photos. It has a waist buckle system to hold him in place, it's a metal frame and fabric, so it's soft on his head, it reclines back at about 45 degrees so that his head doesn't flop forward and it will fit him for a long time to come. He is not real fond of getting his teeth brushed  but I think he likes how his mouth feels when we are done. Having his gums massaged with the brush seems to appeal to him; having his hair combed : NOT SO MUCH!  I am learning his many personality traits, sometimes at his expense, but we're getting better. Even with good conditioner and wide toothed comb, his head is so tender that even the tiniest tangle causes him to really protest. On my agenda for the weekend  is getting Daniel a  good haircut. Personally I'd love to do twists with his hair but he doesn't like that either............sigh! He loves to be held and cuddled in a close-up almost nursing position and he will coo till he falls asleep when I hold him that way. His big brothers and sisters are getting much nore relaxed about doing things with him. They understand his seizures, Jael is very good about helping him do body stretches and with giving hin water with his syringe;everyone is so helpful when he refluxes (which is still pretty frequent even with meds) and have all gotten to be  pros with the car seat buckles and catches.
Mornings are a bit hectic with Charlie arriving at 7 or so, Daniel waking up and both boys needing diaper changes and feeding, usually about when Jael needs to be taken  to work, but we  are working it out.
My favorite scriptures for this week are Matthew 11 : 28-30   "Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”  and from the end of Zephaniah 3... “ Do not fear; Zion, let not your hands be weak. 17 The LORD your God in your midst, The Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love,
He will rejoice over you with singing.”   God gave me a strong clear word for our local body on Sunday during praise and worship.The passage from Matthew along with 1 John 1:9 was a big part of it. We had sung   "Holy is the Lord God  Almighty","Let Everything  that Has Breath Praise the Lord" "Shout to the North and the South" but God had shown me that while we need to praise and worship Him, some of our people could not join in the praise  in "spirit and in truth" because they  were heavy laden, they were dry, and  needed to be led into a season of prayer for that  weariness,  unconfessed sin, for restoration and for  personal revival. As I  then led in singing "Breathe on Us Again" I sensed  God was  indeed dealing with hearts during the singing and the prayer time He had me open up. I love how God directs the music as I allow Him to guide  me during my preparation time . Sometimes I look at my list of songs and their lyrics and think, "God what is the message here? How do these connect? " and He ALWAYS brings the music and His message together. Almost every week something that one of our elders or pastor have to share directly overlap what God has  given to me, and we have almost never discussed the particulars of what we are going to be doing ahead of time. I love how God prepares His people  (not just  me, but, yes HALLELUJAH : me!) for what HE intends to manifest! I love being reminded that I CAN come  to my Heavenly Father when I am weary and feeling heavy laden too,  that He  will quiet ME with His love, and I love to remind myself that HE delights over me with singing, HE is faithful and just to forgive ME when I confess MY SIN, and cleanse ME  from ALL MY  unrighteousness!  Just those reminders help to chase the weariness right away!




Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Monday, June 14, 2010

Photos and more photos

                              Last Monday night ....was it REALLY   a WEEK ago already?????
My sweet kiddos prepared a wonderful "Welcome Home" for Daniel and me

with posters and balloons, and they waited up till after midnight to shout " HI MOMMY! HI  DANIEL!"


 Big sister Rachel getting to know her new baby brother
later that morning



Big sister  Esther with Daniel too. They love him already!

Home with our new baby boy!! Daniel and me

 Mamma/Grammy and her boys   DAY 1

Hi Daniel!!!!!!!!!!!!

 Baby Charlie invites Daniel to come play!


and backtracking just a bit................... to Daniel's first bath with his new Mommy. It was a hit
The ALL IMPORTANT adoption decree, birth certificate, "clearance letter", passport, and Visa packet
Close up of  the   Birth Certficate for SECRET SMITH
My new friend Kim, with her son Moses (in black) , hopefully next to come home,  and his best pal
PRAY FOR THIS ONE..........I think God may just be "up to something  really cool"!
This was taken at the guest house where we were all staying. Run by missionaries Mark and Nancy Shephard, this was a cozy comfortable place of rest, fellowship, great home cooked meals,  and getting to know our new children. Mark and Nancy are the parents of of our Acres Of Hope in country director Melodie.
If you are EVER  in Liberia for any reason, I thoroughly recommend that you stay with the Shephards!!!!

*****

The "other highlight" of my trip...seeing Junior and Diamoh! OH MY HEART came very close to the bursting point when I saw our other two children. How I have missed those smiles and wanted to know that there WERE smiles. How beautiful are these faces!!!


Serious talk about some hard,  serious stuff, but a sweet time of prayer together too. Lots of tears, but a concrete time of communicating and assuring understanding!

Thanks to Nancy's help, I had wonderful gifts to bring to my children: nearly new Nike athletic shoes and new socks for Junior and  for Diamoh: a lovely soft bodied black baby doll and several changes  of clothing. 

Playing with the new baby doll whom Diamoh named "Teacher" after their beloved teacher Pedelia. I thought it was a great choice and a sweeet tribute!
We had a precious sweet, all-too-short of a time together, but unforgetable and very important. There are no more words necessary except to ask that if you've read this post, seen my photos, please pray for all of the children in Liberia who are "stuck" in  a suspension on adoptions for which there seems no solution and no (light at the end of the tunnel) ending. There are many children who have American families who love them, many who know and love their American families too, but who are all being kept apart for lack of ethical practices and protective laws....................................How I praise God that HE  knew our children first , loved them first,  and then allowed us to love them too! Children of our hearts and yet not of our home, how we love you Junior and Diamoh!!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

HOME!

And life is very full and very busy!! It was pretty easy to play with my computer while caring for Daniel last week even with the paper chasing in Liberia. Daniel was "all" I had to do. Back now  to home base and Calico Acres Farm, dear husband and 7 other kiddos and all that was life before sweet Daniel came home.  Computer time has been way down the list of things to do and if you've been checking in to see how we are doing, I'm sorry there has been nothing for you to read.
We arrived back in Stillwater at about 11:00 Monday night and got home about 1 after a late Sonic run for FOOD!!! The plane schedule all day and the layovers during which Daniel slept on a bench and I was unable to go get anything to eat left me really hungry.  Back step to our final days in Liberia.......
Friday we got the release letter we needed, but at a price........................
Saturday at 4  PM we were notified that we needed AND YET  ANOTHER LETTER! "OH we didn't tell you Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday   that you needed another  letter and now its Saturday afternoon and the office is closed where you can get  that letter?  Oh sorry...you can still have it but since it IS  the weekend  it will cost $XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX>   Like that.
My political opinion here:  as long as there are  enough people who can still keep doing this sort of thing successfully ( who is going to stop them?) Liberia is doomed to stay a backward developing nation with no hope of getting ahead as a nation. It will stay a nation of a few powerful corrupt people justifying their greed  while ignoring and overlooking the needs of their  own nation.
HOWEVER.................miracles keep happening, Pigs  DO fly and when it came time to go to the airport, God provided a helper for me with my bags and with Daniel. A man named Craig had been working in Liberia on some mission  projects , needed a ride to the airport too and we picked him up from the mission compound guest house where he'd been staying. He hauled my bags while I tended to Daniel who was none too happy to be in a front pack.  At the airport we  had almost no problems and sailed thought immigration and into the waiting area for our  plane to start out journey home! Craig helped me into the plane, off the plane and into the Brussels airport where a group of young people from Arkansaas who I'd met the week before on their way to Cote D'Ivoire for missionary work   were coming back as well. They were so gracious to Daniel and me and helped with bags too.  The airline people were so helpful to Daniel and  me!!! We got bulkhead seating from Monrovia to Brussels and Daniel was able to sleep in a bassinette which hooks to the bulkhead wall. WONDERFUL!!!   There was no bassinette from Brussels to Chicago but the American Airlines staff in Brussels reworked the seating in a row right behind bulkhead and Daniel and I had  the center three-seat row all to ourselves. HE could lay down and sleep, and I could stretch out too. What a blessing!
Customs and Immigration in Chiacgo was so smooth and easy. I met several other adoptive families , including the family who was several rows behind me : a dad and his new Liberian 3 sib group on their way to Kansas and a couple with their Nepalese daughter. Daniel was pretty frazzled from the front pack and being too warm and he really tugged at the heart strings of customs who let us pass without a dismantling of my bags at all!!! Super easy to recheck them on to  Tulsa from there. The layover was long, but manageable...have phone and computer  and sleeping baby: it was good. PANIC MOMENT came when I sat down in front of the schedule board to plug in my computer to read and post for a while.... NO  COMPUTER!!!! I'd left it in the security bin when they were hand scanning Daniel and me  apparently! My hip was pretty sore from being so lopsided with Daniel and rollling bags but a very helpful security guard helped me retreive my little red Acer! Thank you Lord for all the helpful  people we  encountered!
Good seats from Chicago to Tulsa and AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH, there was Charlie waiting for us. Such a precious wonderful sight he was !!! Dear  friends welcoming family in from China were also at the airport and it was precious to be able to introduce them to Daniel that night. Vic and Charlotte are as close to family as friends can be, and Vic is one of our pastor/ elders at church too. Special times.
Daniel has done well with us so far. He is definitely VERY special needs but the kids are all bonding with him and spending time with him. I am especially blessed by Jael and Gideon's tenderness to him. I knew Naomi would love him instantly and she has and does. The other kids are sweet to Daniel too. it blesses my heart so to see them all minister to his needs and check on him during the day.
His doctor appointment on Tueday was a total disaster  which crescendoed with the very out -of -his league and unsympathetic pediatrician taking it upon himself to set me up with another pedi two hours away and making arrangements with that doctor to direct admit Daniel THAT NIGHT to a hospital and my telling him that on our first day home from Africa this could not happen and we needed to work out something else. He exploded at me that he has spent an hour  of HIS TIME  (isn't that what my insurance company and I are paying hm for???) trying to help me and " I thought you wanted to get started right away ".  I asked him what benefit could possibly be gained from our going to the hospital that night.  I told him that with our appointment with him at 4 not starting till 5 and it being 6 right then, it would be 9 before we could even GET to OKC, and no doctor was going to evaluate Daniel  that late at night in a non-emergency situation  and was certainly not going to order any test s on him that night OR  do any procedures on him that night or possibly  even the  whole next day. HE idn't answer me. I asked why he thought that the OUT PATIENT tests which would be ordered for Daniel needed to be done as in-patient. He again refused to answer me.  I told him that we really needed to do things differently and at that  point he exploded and told me that I should go right ahead and do it myself. He threw the chart down on the table and shouted "Forget the evaluation. Forget the chart" I said "That is fine. I will pay my copay and we will make other arrangements then."  He shouted " Forget the copay. Forget the whole visit. You need to go take care of this yourself. I am though." With that he stormed out of the room.  He NEVER really examined Daniel other that to ask me if he could look at him (EXCUSE ME???????????????????????) and he listened to his lungs. PERIOD. In a very condescending tone which felt like "why did you even bring that baby in?" he asked me "What DO you want us to do with him?" 
So much for starting the evaluaiton tests for Daniel.  NONE of that should have happened if he had just been honest and said " I have no idea what to do for a child with all those issues." If he had ASKED  me before making plans to shuffle us 100 miles away less than 24 hours after landing in Oklahoma, it would have been different, but he didn't .  He was angry because when he asked me 4 times about when I was going to get Daniel's shots started, I told him that frankly that was the very least of my concerns at the moment.  He is a big  Pro-shots  guy so I guess I got on his bad side right off the bat. He is not our regular doctor. Our doc was on vacation and I really was jsut hoping to start the MRI/CT scan. EEG stuff. Those  ARE  all out paient tests, even on a small child. I reminded this man that my son had survived two years in Liberia with no meds or treatments and he was not at the moment in a life-threatening situation. He didn't like that either I'm guessing.
We have an appointment with our regular doc on Tuesday. I will call the Pedi neurologist tomorrow and see what I can glean on my own from her.
Daniel has way more siezures than I was told were happeneing. I've shown the kids (older kiddos) how to help hold him if he seizes when they  are with him and  explained to everyone why he does it and not to be freaked out. They are very matter of fact about it all. Feeding him is a very random experience. Some meals he is able to eat without incident and other times its as if his throat has no idea what it is supposed to do with food or liquid...if stores in the back of his throat for crazy long periods or he just lets it fall out. We have discovered that he hates bananas, likes carrots and apple blended baby food, likes anything sweet,  and water poured into his mouth with a formula scoop is the best way to deliver  water...slow, but  best.
He  really likes his car seat. I think it supports his back and his head really well and makes him feel very comfortable. He seems to like his stroller too. On his first outing to Walmart , a number of people saw him in his cat seat and ouhed and ahhhed over how cute he was. He IS a cute little boy. He has wonderfully proportioned ,  handsome features , aside from his sweet great big forehead and skull.  His skin is a beautiful rich color...he is not as dark-dark as many Liberians, but he is lovely! When he laughs and smiles he can light up a room. When I say "Hiiiiiiiiiiii Daniel" he tries very hard to reply with a sound that can be interpretted as "hiiiiiiiiiii" and when I say it back to him again it is sure to get more talk from him and more smiles. He sleeps well, and is content to be near by where he can hear us talk if we are not holding him, and he loves to be snuggled close in a nursing sort of position. THAT is his favorite.
Our wonderful church family folks  have brought dinner over the past two nights which has been such a blessing after our days of adjusting to adding Daniel to our routine.  Lots of changes here, with Malachi gone and adding Daniel but  I think we are doing well so far. I know that many people are praying for us as we start this new part of our journey and we are grateful!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Walking and leaping and praising God!

Yesterday we were denied the clearance letter we have to have to leave Liberia. It was not what we wanted to hear, but Melodie and  I recreated the whole ("missing" ) file to re-present this morning and she took it back to the official who needed to examine the documents and sign a final approval "release letter"  so that the officers at the airport will know we are totally clear and approved for departure. Our new file was accepted and we will pick up the letter this afternoon!**AFTERNOON UPDATE Praise God for this next good news: WE HAVE THE LETTER!!) I have contacted my travel agent to book our tickets and trustfully we will arrive home  late Monday night!***9PM update : WE HAVE TICKETS and we have a three-plane flight into Tulsa and not the original 4 plane flight with too many long layovers! God has been SO GOOD to us all week!!***
I have to share this  coz it is so cool!! There is a group of evangelists here at the guest house and they are from Nigeria, preaching  all week at a church here in Monrovia. On fire for the Lord and gifted anointed preachers all, they invited Kim (the other waiting mom ) and I to go to service with them last night. They also asked if we would speak ( Kim declined) and sing. I never turn down an opportunity to bless the Lord  or sing , so share a bit of encouragement I did and lead in singing  "I'm Trading My Sorrows'. WHAT A BLESSING THAT WAS FOR ME!!! The theme of that meeting last night was "no more sorrows"  so that song fit perfectly and the pastors were so excited that God gave me that one to share.  The key board player started to play and even though we had no "rehearsal" or run through, we were in the SAME KEY when I started to hum my notes and he started to play his chords. They didn't  know the bridge to the  song so that part they listened and really enjoyed the words...'Pressed but not crushed persecuted not abandoned, ...I am blesed  beyond the curse for His  promise will endure that His joy is gonna be my strength! tho the sorrow may last for the night His JOY comes in the morning!!"
It was beyond wonderful to worship with my African sisters and brothers in their style of worship and in the American way too. We all knew Great is Thy Faithfulness when Kim led it and that too was beautiful. The message was loud and powerful and while I didn't understand all the words becasue of dialect and accent and the mike system, the SPIRIT of the Lord spoke to me through the whole message. Our prayer time was incredible. The Bishop had everyone join hands with one or two  other people to pray as he directed for various topics. He had us to raise our hands several tmes as we prayed for HOLY SPIRIT FIRE       (wow that was powerful!!)  and to pray  "GRACE GRACE GRACE"
I know like any church there are poeple who come becuse its a place to go  or parents make the kids, or they go but are "cultural Chrisitans" rather than relationship with JESUS  Christians and I know that just like any church there are people who are going to fall asleep even in the most animated moments but God led me to reallypray that each person in that place would be drawn by the Holy Spirit into a true and living  growing relationship with God ,  that through His kindness they would be drawn to repentance , desiring real change in their lives. As America slowly denies her national pride and heritage, Liberia  is celebrating theirs. Signs  and billboards all over Monrovia proclaim African pride and liberian freedom and pride. Saturday is the church's day of prayer for Liberia and it was so exciting to see the people clamoring to the front to buy a Liberian flag to help commemorate the occasion. I am probably going to see other missionary friends later today so won't go back to church tonight but it was a night of fellowship I will never forget!
I'm ready to come home, ready to bring our new son home  but this has been a fantastic week of trusting God and seeing His hand at work!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

When Pigs Fly...miracles DO happen!!

LOOK at  the cloud formation I saw out my window shortly before we landed in Monrovia! Even Kim, my traveling companion recognized the form as a pig with wings   in profile! Knowing my love for winged pigs, my dear friend Jenny found a new dinner bell for our back porch the very day we recieved the news of Daniel's adoption decree being completed  and when she brought it to me she  said  "Because miracles  DO happen" The expression "when pigs fly" means  "yah right...that is NOT gonna happen" but God has used that fun little phrase in my life to show over and over again that He is absolutely in the "its gonna happen' business!
As soon as I find the file my computer put my photos in (this little comput3r is wonderful but does some independent actions that I am still trying to bring into submission!) I will share more  photos.   This afternoon wewill go to the office of the Ad Hoc adoption committee for our  "Release letter"  which is the final approval document before we can go home! I am also waiting for airline tickets!  The two available seats somehow sharank to one and the re-routing plan is not so good right now...I'm praying that God send some more pigs flying over these tickets!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

We have in hand..........................

Daniel's passport with his USA VISA attached inside...his IR 3  visa. Because Charlie and I both saw Daniel before his adoption took place, he is entitled to IR 3 status which means that he becomes an American citizen as soon as we step foot into the airpot in the USA. I wish  I couled tell you that this is Chiacgo but it may be  JFK in New York City  and THEn on to OKC. I am praying that our wonderful travel agent will be able to find a better booking, as in 2 people canceling  their Belgium to Chicago flights tomorrow so that we may book them for Daniel and  me!
Lots of things to share but aftera lo9ng day and then a night of visitng frineds in several parts of  Monrovia, I mm too tired now. In the morning trustfully  when I'm rested I'll have the time to start shaing how amazing this week  has been!