One In a Million Blessings

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Update Time

Well I guess it's safe to say that no one should expect to get frequent updates from me. I apologize for being a sub-par blogger. I think about blogging a lot, but that's usually as far as I get. 

So, here I sit, attempting to catch you up on what's been happening on our end for the past three months...because it has been THAT LONG since I posted!

Last time we chatted, Elijah was being fitted for his prosthetic. At that time he was just starting to figure out how the whole crawling thing worked. My oh my, how life has changed since then!!

Within days of having his new leg Elijah was crawling all over the place, as if he'd been doing it for forever; within weeks he was regularly bearing weight in the standing position (something he had never experienced until October); about a month ago he began pulling himself up to a stand, and he is now cruising all over our house, using tables, chairs, and anything else he can reach to help steady himself.

{I have been trying, for the last hour, to insert a video here of him walking across our living room pushing my laundry basket, but my technological brilliance has once again gotten the better of me. So, use your imagination. It's a super cute video.}

Our little guy is amazing us every single day.

So, what now, you ask? Now we move on to his hands.

As a quick recap, Elijah was born with Amniotic Band Syndrome (ABS). Not only did this cause congenital amputation of his lower left leg, but it also caused malformation of his fingers. (Fancy-schmancy lingo to basically state that he was born without his lower left leg, and his three middle fingers on each hand are shortened and fused together.)

As you can see, Elijah has both thumbs, a full pinky on the left hand, and the majority of his pinky on the right. It's a little hard to tell from this picture, but the left hand has three defined fingers that are shortened (due to a band) and fused together; the right hand is more like a large lump of skin in the middle of the thumb and pinky. While he is extremely functional with his hands, we couldn't help but think that having five separate digits would increase his functionality.  

So this past week we traveled to St. Louis and met with a team of surgeons and therapists who just so happen to specialize in cases such as this. Up to this point we had no clue of the bone structure in Elijah's hands, which meant we had no idea what options, if any, were available for him.

After lots of x-rays and testing from many different specialists, the team was able to determine that Elijah's left hand is the perfect candidate for a finger separation surgery that should result in five functional fingers. We won't know for sure until surgery, but it appears that Eli's index finger has the lower two joints, which means he will have all but the tip of this finger, while the middle and ring finger will most likely be a bit shorter than that.

Surgery has been scheduled for later this spring. I assure you that we did not come to this decision lightly or quickly. We are very much aware that there are risks involved. We have talked about, prayed about, and researched this for months. I have talked with adults and teenagers born with ABS, as well as parents of children who have had the same or very similar surgeries. 

We are convinced that this is the best possible option for Elijah. We covet your prayers and support as we take off on our newest adventure. 

Eli is a tough little man, and I have no doubt in my mind that he will continue to defy the odds. 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


Hey there. Remember me? If not, I'll remind you.
I used to blog.
But then I became a mom of two instead of one.
I had always heard that two is WAY more than one plus one, but apparently I hadn't really absorbed that notion to the fullest.
It's mind-boggling. And exhausting. And amazing. And perfect.

I mean, come on. It doesn't get more perfect than that, people.

So let me just start by telling you that our little man is the bravest of all brave little people out there. He has been through so much in the {almost} two months that he's been home:
Shots, blood draws, ear infections
Physical evaluations, developmental evaluations
Physical therapy, occupational therapy, play therapy
Not to mention adjusting to a new family, new home, new foods, new smells, new sounds, etc.

And he has handled it all with such bravery. (Three cheers for a fantastic big sister, who has been an amazing cheerleader and teacher, helping him to bond and figure all the craziness out!!)

But this week has been the biggest of all. This week is the (drum roll please) PROSTHETIC WEEK!
The kids and I are spending the week in Oklahoma City, where we have spent every day with Elijah's prosthetician, Kyle. (Tobin is attempting to juggle working and driving back and forth between Joplin and OKC...bless his heart. He is EXHAUSTED.)

It's a fascinating process, this thing they call prosthetics. It's a true art, and we are blessed beyond belief to be working with world renowned specialists.

On Monday Kyle took a cast mold of Eli's leg, and used it to build the 'socket' that will hold the prosthetic portion of the leg onto his actual leg. While he wasn't thrilled about this, he never let one tear slip out of his sweet little eyes. He definitely stuck out a pouty bottom lip a time or two, though, just to make sure we knew he wasn't loving it.

But as soon as we were done, he was all smiles again.

Tuesday they built the leg around the socket. We spent a lot of time playing with the new leg in order to get Eli comfortable with it. He was very curious. Here's a picture of him playing ball with the 'rough draft' of his leg.

Once they knew the fit was perfect, they took measurements of his right leg, matched color, shape and size and adjusted the new left leg until it was nearly the spitting image of his right. Seriously, when I saw the finished product, I was shocked. Once they put it on him I could hardly tell which was his real leg and which was the prosthetic. Even the 'skin' has the look/texture of real skin.

I'm telling you, these guys are ARTISTS!!

Wednesday was spent trying on the leg, and letting Eli get used to the weight, length, and feel of it. Our prosthetician told me to imagine having a size 20 shoe on my foot...that's how Eli is feeling right now with his new leg.

It will take him time to get used to it. He was a pro at getting around the house with only one leg, so for a while this is going to be a huge inconvenience to him. He has to figure out how to crawl with this ridiculous THING dragging behind him now. But something tells me he's ready to take on the challenge :)

They told me to expect him to fight the new leg at first. But so far he has been absolutely amazing. So amazing, in fact, that he kept the leg on for over an hour this morning (they told me it usually takes a month or two for babies to tolerate their leg staying on for an hour). Not only that, but he stood by himself against the couch today for the first time. It was so wonderful to see. Of course I didn't have time to snap a picture of it, but here's one of him and Kyle working on standing.

We will go back in tomorrow to work out any kinks that we may have had with the leg over night, and then we're done. Once home, we'll continue to put the leg on as much as Elijah will tolerate it. When it's not on we'll encourage him play with it, suck on it, sleep next to it, etc. The goal is for him to get 100% comfortable with the leg and see it as an extension of himself (no pun intended).

I'm thinking the 'bonding process' between Eli and his leg is going well...he kept it close the entire time he napped today :)

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Two Weeks Home

Today marks the two week anniversary of Mr. Elijah and I walking off of the plane in Joplin, and our family of four finally being together at last.  Our dear friend, Keri, was kind enough to meet us at the airport and take pictures of Eli's homecoming. Here are just a few:

We are all settling in nicely and figuring out how to function as a family of four. Each day we get to discover Elijah's personality a little bit more. He is full of laughs and baby babble, and is DEFINITELY ALL BOY!!! His game of choice is to bonk us on the head with his hands or a toy.

He is absolutely in love with Lili, and I am so thrilled to announce that she feels the same way about him.

We are so blessed that Elijah seems to understand (and LIKE) that Tobin, Lili, and I are his 'people'. His eyes light up when any of us walk into the room, and he is most comfortable at home with his family. He still gets quiet and reserved when we go out, or any time someone new is at the house. But each day is getting better as he adjusts to all the newness that has been thrown at him.

Because he has done so well in his bonding with us, we feel comfortable enough to begin the prosthetic process. His first appointment is later this month. With any luck we will be getting him fitted for his first prosthetic leg sometime this fall.

He is the perfect addition to our family, and we are forever grateful that God chose us to be his parents.

Friday, August 24, 2012

We're home!

It just occurred to me that I haven't updated my blog since we've been home. So, incase you were wondering....we made it home!

It is absolutely amazing to have our whole family together at last. I will update more later, but for now, just know that we are doing great. Elijah is settling in quite well, and he absolutely ADORES his big sister. 

Lili is in love as well.  This morning she came into my room while he was still sleeping and said, "Mommy, I'll be real quite, but can I just please look at him? I missed him last night".  

My heart is full and my eyes are heavy, so I'm logging off and catching some ZZZZ's while I can. The prayers and well wishes are much appreciated! 

Blessings to all!   

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Day 2 in Ghana

Darn the luck, Elijah finally caught what the other kids have been passing around for the past week at the orphanage. He woke up this morning with a pretty congested cough and some rattling in his lungs. Nonetheless, he's trying to smile through it all.

I found a pharmacy and was able to get him some meds, so hopefully they'll work. He's currently snoring contently on the bed next to me....let's hope this trend continues on the plane!

This morning was pretty emotional. Each of the children, as well as each nanny, said a special prayer for Eli. They put him in the middle of their circle and sang and danced for him, then sang a special goodbye song. There were smiles, tears, questioning looks, and longing looks from those wanting to be the one who gets to be in the center of the prayer circle. Tough stuff to swallow.

We are at the hotel now, and will head to the airport later this afternoon. We are so close to finishing this chapter of our journey, and are ecstatic about starting the next one.

Thank you for the continued prayers as we embark on an almost 24 hour trip back home.

Monday, August 20, 2012

First Day in Ghana

Well I can't believe it, but I am in Ghana and have just spent the most fantastic day with our sweet little angel. The only thing that could've made it better was if the hubs and our other little angel were here with us.

Eli was pretty quiet when I first got there, which I expected, but he warmed up to me very quickly and was laughing and playing with me in no time. He fell asleep on my chest within two hours of me being there, and by this afternoon he would cry if I handed him to someone else.  

Did I mention that it was a fantastic day today? 

This evening was tough. I had to say goodbye Vivian, Eli's nanny. I pray that I was able to convey to her how truly grateful we are for everything she has done. She has devoted this past year to caring for and loving on Elijah while we could not be here.  She loves him so much and has taken such wonderful care of him. My heart hurts for the pain that both she and Eli will feel once they are apart from each other. I wish I could somehow explain it to Elijah, but he won't understand. He will just miss her terribly for a while, and I know she will miss him too. Tonight is her last night to be with him. I have no doubt she is spending some extra time snuggling with him and giving him lots and lots of kisses. 

Tomorrow the children at the orphanage will have a prayer ceremony and goodbye party for Elijah, and then he and I will be on our own. 

We'll go to lunch, do a little shopping, and then try and get a nap in before we head to the airport. Our flight leaves Ghana at 10:10 Tuesday evening. We have a few very short (like almost-scary they're so short) layovers once in the states, so please pray for travel mercies and access to those awesome airport carts {that nearly run me over every time}. 

I was hoping to post some pictures with this blog, but I went off and left the cord to my camera at home (luckily I remembered the camera!). So, all the picture posting will have to be done once we're home and settled in. 

I'll try and post a bit tomorrow, but if not, I'll see ya in the states!!!!!

God bless, and again, thank you for your prayers, support, love, etc. etc. etc. 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Cocooning in the Schultz House

Friends and Family,

In case you were unaware, by nature, I am a people-pleaser.  I rarely say no when someone asks a favor of me and I  feel guilty for weeks when I do say no.  So, please know that the following post is not intended to upset anyone, but rather, to explain how our family is going to function for the next several weeks.

Our homecoming needs to be as low-key as possible. Because we want to protect Eli from any additional shock, we are asking that only family members meet us at the airport when we get home Wednesday. As much as I would love to have a huge crowd welcoming Eli home, we just can't say how he'll react to that, and we don't want to chance it becoming something scary for him. 

We will be laying low for awhile.  Our number one priority is to our son and building a strong bond with him.  It's so important to teach him that we are his parents and that Lili is his sister.  It is critical that this bond happens before he bonds with any other family or friends.  The way we will do this is by staying home for a couple of weeks {or longer} until we feel that Elijah is ready to be introduced to other places.

When you do see us, it is probable that Eli will get overwhelmed.  Places and people will be all new to our baby.  When we do venture out, we will likely not go to places with lots of people and may not stay long.  Please don't be offended if we leave early or quickly {good-byes may need to be implied}. 

We will do some things with Eli that will look more like what we should do with a baby than what we should do with a toddler.  Although Eli is already a year old, his "family age" will begin when I pick him up from the orphanage (what a beautiful day that will be!!!).  We will not potty train as early as we did with Lili.  We will continue to feed him very much like a baby {he still takes bottles and will most likely continue to take them for many months to come}.  We will hold him, carry him and rock him as much as he will tolerate, partly because this is essential to the bonding process and partly because we have missed out on doing that for his entire first year and WE ARE READY FOR ELI SNUGGLES!!!!

Tobin and I will need to meet ALL of Eli's needs. If he needs fed, changed, held, rocked, disciplined, or helped, we will need to do all of that for quite a while.  For those of you who will come to visit, please do not try to meet any of his needs as this is, again, essential to his bonding with us.

Coming to visit us will be different than normal.  We want people to come to visit, but please be aware of the previously mentioned things.  For the first few weeks, if you come to our house, we ask that you please call first.  We do not want more than one family here at a time so as not to overwhelm our little guy.  We also ask that you plan for the visit to be quick.  We will not feel comfortable asking you to leave, so please just do that on your own.  If you come, feel free to bring your kids with you as Lili would love to see her  buddies! :)  Many of you have asked about bringing a meal. This would be a huge blessing to us, but please do not feel obligated to do so. Our friend, Jen Chase, has volunteered to  organize the meals, so please shoot her an email ( if this is something you're interested in doing. 

All of this is essential before we can begin the prosthetic process. Our sweet Eli has been well cared for in his orphanage, but he does not know how to be a part of a family yet.  It is essential for him to have lots of time and opportunity to bond with us and understand that he is a part of our family forever.  Once we have his complete trust, we will be able to begin the prosthetic process. No doubt this will be a very scary time for him, so his unquestioned love and trust in us is an absolute must.   

Thank you for helping us through this process and for your continued prayerful support.  We love you all!

Now, if you 'll excuse me, I've got a plane to catch ;)

Monday, August 13, 2012

One Step Closer

WOW today was a long day! I woke up (yes, I actually DID fall asleep last night...sort of) fully expecting to have an email reporting how the court date went. 
It wasn't there.
I checked after breakfast. Nope. 
Before lunch. Nada.
After lunch. Zilch-o.

Have I mentioned how fantastic I am at waiting?

Finally after I put my sweet girl down for a nap the illusive email appeared, telling me the news that we had been praying for. Visa exit interview went great, and Elijah's Visa will be printed this Friday!!!

So, naturally, I had my plane tickets booked within the hour. I will be ON A PLANE to Ghana this Saturday! Whew, I think I need to say that again. I WILL BE ON A PLANE TO GHANA THIS SATURDAY!!!

I'm going by myself. Between the start of school and football, it just made more sense for Tobin to stay back here with Lili. I'll be gone Saturday - Wednesday. The flight home will be exciting...juggling our sweet baby boy, a back pack, diaper bag, suitcase, and stroller all by myself, but I am SO excited about it! I cannot wait until I step off the plane in Joplin and the four of us are finally together.

The support we have received through the ups and downs has been nothing short of breath taking. We are humbled by the friends and family who have taken this journey with us, and we are beyond grateful to each and every one of you. 

I have one more very important post that I will be sharing with you in the days to come, so please make sure to read that. 

God bless!!
PS - Elijah will be home in NINE DAYS!!! NINE DAYS!!!! :)

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Visa exit interview

Just a quick prayer request. Tonight while we {well, let's be honest, while YOU} are sleeping (2:30 AM CST, 7:30 AM in Ghana), Elijah will be taken to what we pray is his last court appearance. If all goes well, the embassy should have his visa printed by the end of this week, and I will be on a plane heading to Ghana on Saturday.
Please take a second to pray that all goes well in his exit interview, that they have all the documents that are required, and that his visa is printed by the end of this week.
Thank you so much for the prayers, they have been felt! I will update tomorrow once I hear any news.

Friday, August 3, 2012


This morning we got the email that we have been waiting for! A VISA exit interview date has been set for Monday, August 13th. This will take place in Ghana, and our POA will go on our behalf. Once the VISA interview is done, the embassy may ask for more info/docs (which in Eli's case is unlikely but still possible). If they request additional documents the wait continues...

But that won't happen, so let's move forward: The embassy then sets a pickup date for the VISA (this is the final step before Elijah is cleared to come home). This usually happens on a Friday. Sometimes the same week of the interview, and sometimes the Friday of the following week.

**Please join us in praying that no further information or documents are needed, and that we are able to get his VISA printed the same week as the interview. 

The embassy suggests  that plane tickets not be purchased until the VISA/passport has been picked up by our POA. Apparently there have been times that a VISA has not been able to be printed on said date, therefore pushing everything back an additional week.

So, as of this time I do not have an official travel date. If all goes well at the exit interview and they are able to print the VISA that Friday, I will hopefully be traveling to Ghana that very weekend (Aug. 17th-ish). We are praying that this is the case, as we are SO SO SO ready to have our sweet baby boy home and begin the next part of this story!

Tuesday, July 31, 2012


This post comes to you with a little bit better news than the last one did:

We got word last Friday that the document needed in order to file for Eli's passport has been obtained! YAHOO!!! One big step closer!

Our POA (Power of Attorney) was to be picking up his completed passport today or first thing tomorrow.

We have been given the green light to request a VISA exit interview, which will take place in Ghana.  While we will not be traveling to Ghana to be present for the exit interview, once we know the date of it we should have a very good idea of when I will be traveling back to Ghana (hopefully within a week of the interview!!).

So, good news for sure, and hopefully more to come soon!
When we find out the date of our exit interview I will be sure to update the blog.

Words cannot express the gratitude we feel towards all of the support we have been shown. We covet the prayers that are going up on our behalf and we are forever grateful and humbled. Thank you for praying us through this journey!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Happy Birthday Sweet Boy

Tomorrow is Elijah's first birthday. We had hoped and prayed with all our might that we would be with him to celebrate, but we aren't. The past two weeks have been anything but smooth, as we have learned of multiple delays that are currently holding up our process.

Last week the orphanage was anticipating receiving Eli's finished passport. When they arrived to pick it up, it had the wrong name on it. Now, not only do they need to re-file for another passport, but they are required to get a specific document from the courts before they can attempt to re-file. So we've been waiting on that document.

Yesterday, the President of Ghana passed away. No doubt this is a very sad and uneasy time for all Ghanians right now. Out of respect, the government offices in Ghana are closed for the time being. Until they re-open (not sure when this will happen), we aren't able to access any court documents or file for a passport.

There's a world of emotions running through these veins right now, that's for sure. But as I type this, as sad as I am that we aren't with our baby boy right now, I am socked in the gut by the reality of my friend who just celebrated her sweet baby boy's 3rd birthday without him. He is in heaven. He unexpectedly went to be with Jesus shortly after celebrating his 2nd birthday last summer. I honestly cannot imagine that. Her strength and grit are an inspiration to me daily.

So, are we sad? Yes, we are.
Are we frustrated? Yes, we are.
Are we hurting?  Yes, we are.
But we are also thankful, hopeful, joyful, and prayerful. We have a remarkable little man who is waiting for us. Lord willing, we will be blessed to spend the rest of our lives with this little miracle, celebrating every milestone and birthday together from here on out.

So, in honor of our son, Lili and I are baking a cake this afternoon. Tomorrow evening we will have a family birthday celebration for Elijah. We'll sing happy birthday, and we'll let Lili opened a few presents that we'll put in Elijah's room for when he gets home.

No matter where we are in life, the journey can be hard, scary, dark, unpredictable. All we can do is stand firm in who we are, and in whose we are.

I can see the light at the end of this tunnel, and it is GLORIOUS.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Orphanage Needs

So many of you amazing people have asked if there is anything you could donate to the orphanage. Since I am {hopefully} heading back that direction in the near future I would love to have a suitcase full of items to leave with them. If you are interested in donating anything and you live nearby I will happily pick them up from you. If they need to be mailed to us, our address is 2906 Indiana Ave. Joplin, MO 64804.
*If you are mailing anything to us, please let us know prior to mailing it so we can make sure to get it before leaving for Ghana.

-Infant vitamins
-Children's vitamins
-Adult vitamins
-Prenatal vitamins
-Educational Children's DVDs (animals, cultures, christian-based)
-Soccer Cleats for children ranging in age from 5-19 (can be used)

As of now we are still unsure when we will be traveling, but would like to have all of the items collected within the next two weeks.


Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Information, Pictures, and Prayers!!!

Oh my goodness it has been WAY TOO LONG since I've posted on here. We have been so busy and every night I have had intentions of writing, but I am finally sitting down to do it this afternoon. So many of you have called, emailed, sent us face book messages, etc. We have heard, read, and adored each and every one of them, and are attempting to get back with all of you, though at this point we aren't doing such a great job with that!

So, without further ado, allow me to briefly update you on the past few weeks...

First of all, THIS is what was awaiting us when we made it to the orphanage for the first time.  

Our sweet, sleepy angel. He was absolutely precious. Pretty cautious with us at first, but in a great mood none-the-less. After a few hours of playing he was fast asleep on my lap :)

The first few days we spent at the orphanage just loving on and getting to know our little man. By the end of day two he was very giggly and comfortable with us, and when we arrived at the orphanage on the morning of day 3 he was visibly excited to see us (BEST FEELING EVER!!!).

By the end of day 3 our ears were delighting in his belly laughs and baby-babbles. Oh, and did I mention that he said DADA?!??!!? There is definitely a special bond between these two!

The last few days were amazing, as we were able to take him with us on several mini-excursions. This was a fantastic opportunity for us to have him all to ourselves (he's every one's favorite, so we had to share him while we were at the orphanage!). He was such a champ. We took him to a national animal preserve where we got to hang out with baboons and go rock climbing, we went to the coast to catch some waves and listen to a local reggae band (I think that was Eli's favorite part), and we went to one of the rain forests and were able to do a canopy walk high above the monkey-filled trees. Elijah was absolutely amazing everywhere we went.

 The final day was a beautifully tough day. Saying that leaving him was 'difficult' would be the understatement of the year. If it wasn't for our four year old daughter waiting for us on the other side of the world, I'm not certain that we would've felt the need to step onto that west-bound plane.
But there was a peace in doing so...knowing that this part of the journey was a BIG step in getting him home with us, where he belongs.

The purpose of this first trip was to file our I-600 at the US Embassy in Ghana. We were able to do that without a hitch, and we actually received word last week that our I-600 has been approved (this typically takes between 45-60 days, and ours was approved in 9!!). Now we are waiting for his passport to be printed. Once this is done we can file for his VISA. There are 'typical' time lines, but, as I've said before, 'typical' is somewhat of a cuss word in adoption lingo. So, I am choosing to believe that Elijah will be home with us in the VERY near future.

Elijah turns 1 on July 26th. It has always been our prayer that we will be with our sweet boy on his first birthday. It would be pretty miraculous to see that happen, but I believe in miracles, and I believe in the power of prayer (hint hint).

That's all for now. I will post again when we have news.Thank you for following us on our journey.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012


We are here! We landed in Ghana Monday evening after a very eventful day of flying. I'm not gonna lie, there were some tears shed when we realized we were most likely going to miss our connecting flight to Ghana. But, God is awesome, the connection was dealyed, and we were able to catch the flight!

We spent Monday evening eating with a wonderful new friend, Elaine, who has worked with Elijah at the orphanage since he came from the hospital. We are so grateful she took the time to meet us.

We were exhausted by about 8 pm so we decided to hit the sack, excited for our big day on Tuesday (meeting Elijah!!). We both fell asleep right away, and woke up about the same time. We were SURE it was morning and were excited about getting to see Elijah...until we looked at our watches. It was MIDNIGHT! {Picture kids on Christmas morning}

 Poor Tobin had to watch a movie before he fell back asleep. Needless to say, it was a pretty restless night; we were just so excited!

This morning FINALLY got here and we are delighted to say that our son is everything we could've imagined and so much more. He truly is amazing.

When we arrived he was napping, but we were given permission to wake him up. He was pretty groggy for the first hour or so, but was a joy just the same. No tears, though he was definitely cautious and spent lots of time checking us out.

We are SOOOOOO in love!

We go to The Embassy tomorrow, so please pray all goes well there. Then the rest of the trip is ELI TIME!!!! Enjoy the photos below! (The internet here is pretty slow, so uploading takes FOREVER).

Meeting Daddy for the first time.

Meeting Mommy for the first time.

 The three of sleepy boy and two ecstatic parents!

Words cannot express our gratitude we have for you all. You have prayed with us, cried with us, and walked with us through this journey. We would not be here with out you. Thank you so much!

Thursday, June 14, 2012


Elijah was just told that he is officially a 'Schultz'.
Big thumbs up!!

So now we get the beautiful task of scrambling around to get everything ready because, God willing, we will be with our son in LESS THAN A WEEK!!!!! 

 But look at this face. Do you think I'm complaining?!


Wednesday, June 13, 2012




Ok, enough CAPS, I feel like I'm yelling.

Any whoooo, after we pass court we will be notified immediately. (Please pray that we pass court!!) We then email the embassy and ask for a date to file our I-600 (the filing of our I-600 is the portion we do in person in Ghana). We can request the week that we wish to have our appointment, so we will be requesting next week. I've been told that they usually grant those requests, so we are hoping to get an appointment scheduled for, and there for meeting our son...NEXT WEEK!!!

Not sure how quickly we will know, but I promise we will let you know what happens in court and when we get to go hold our sweet baby boy ASAP!

Please pray that:
1. Our court appointment actually happens tomorrow at 11 AM (in Ghana things just don't always roll as smoothly as they do here).
2. We pass court (we've been given every indication that things will go great, but still, prayers are appreciated).
3. We are able to get a hold of the embassy quickly.
4. We are approved for an appointment next week.

Thank you, friends!

Friday, June 1, 2012

It's been a while since I've posted....

In all honesty I was waiting until I had some good news to post.

OK, ANY news to post.

So, I've been waiting. And waiting. And waiting. Have I mentioned how much I dislike waiting?

But, if I just posted when things were going great and according to {my} plan, I wouldn't be painting a very realistic picture of international adoption.

Or life.
When do things EVER go as smoothly as we want them to?

So I've been trying to say all the right things:
'It's all in God's timing.'
'I know Elijah is getting such great care where he is.'
'This will just make it that much sweeter when he DOES come home.'

But inside I'm wanting to scream. I'm wanting to stomp my feet and bang my fists. I'm wanting to cry and throw a fit that could easily rival that of my precious four year old daughter.

I want to know why we can't get a court date already.
I want to know what is happening over there that is SO important that, while 'they' get their stuff organized, my son is sitting half way across the world not having a clue who is mommy and daddy and big sister are.
I want to hold him and love him and play with his freaking awesome fro-hawk.
I want to watch my sweet baby girl hold his hands and 'help teach him how to walk', as she says on a regular basis.

My insides are raging for answers. Dates. SOMETHING that I can put my hope in.

But, that's when I have to remind myself (albeit reluctantly) that answers through email, dates circled on calendars, even purchased plane tickets, won't give me the peace I am wanting.

Only God can do that.

And when I try and figure things out on my own, I end up back at the tantrum throwing stage.
It's not pretty. No one needs to see it.

So I am posting with no news.
And it sucks.
But, it is what it is.

Hopefully we will get word of a court date very soon. And then I MIGHT JUST HAVE TO POST IN ALL CAPS or something to show my excitement.

So in the meantime, if you don't mind, will you please commit to praying for a court date to happen for our sweet angel in the very near future?

I would be ever so grateful.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Cutest guy EVER!

We woke up today to find an email from Mary, our adoption coordinator at Beacon House. No news on a court date yet (we won't hear anything on that until after May 9th), but we did get this absolutely ADORABLE new picture of Elijah. He just got this new walker...I think he approves! 

I mean seriously, do they make them any cuter than this guy?!  

She told us that he is a FABULOUS sleeper, an excellent eater, and is REALLY close to figuring out the whole crawling thing. Go baby go!

That's enough to make any mama happy! Hope everyone has a fantastic weekend!

Friday, April 20, 2012


So I've had numerous people ask me that one penetrating question: "When will you get to bring Elijah home?????" If only we had an actual date that I could put on my calendar and circle it a thousand times with a red marker.

Yeah, not so much.

But, we do have somewhat of an idea of how the next few months should play out. So, without further ado (um, is that a real word?), I present to you a very rough look at a 'typical' timeline when it comes to Ghanaian adoptions. (I say 'typical' because if you know anything about international adoption, you know that NOTHING is typical.)

Once you are 'matched' with a child there is a mandatory three month waiting period. Nothing happens. Everything stands still. You. Literally. Just. Wait. It's awesome.
Our three month wait is over on MAY 9th...YIPPPEEEEE!! (OK, I do have that date circled on our calendar.)

Once May 9th rolls around the Ghanaian Social Welfare will set a court date for us, which should be within 2-4 weeks. We don't travel to Ghana for that court date, but about a week or two after court we will be notified that the papers from court were processed and we'll get our little selves to Ghana ASAP to file our I600A (adoption lingo, just bear with me).

This will be the first of two trips that we'll make to Ghana. We'll probably stay for about a week, and Mr. Eli (praying, praying, praying) should get to hang with us for most of our time there.

But then we have to get back on a plane and come home. Without him. I know, it's just cruel.

So then we get to wait. And wait. And wait some more until the US Embassy and some really important people decide that we're all good and we do, in fact, want to make Elijah part of our family (um, too late; he was part of our family a LOOOOONG time ago).
OK, some other things have to happen too, but basically it'll be another 6-8 weeks before we get THE CALL (or email) telling us to book our tickets because everything is DONE.

Oh happy day!!!

So, if you're still confused, here's the short version: Hoping to be going to Ghana to file our I600A within the next 4-6 weeks. Then about 2 months after that we should be able to fly back and bring our baby home with us!

His first birthday is July 26th. Our prayer (and yours too, right?!) is that we are with him on his birthday, celebrating the first year of his amazing little life.

Thanks for taking this journey with us! Hopefully I'll be back on here with some new pics soon!!!!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Intorducing Elijah Samuel

"For this child I prayed." (1 Samuel 1:27)

About a year ago, Tobin and I started getting the 'urge' to begin the process for a second adoption. After spending much time in prayer, we felt convicted to sell our home and move to more modest accommodations. We believe that we should live debt free and we are committed to my continued ability to stay at home working with our child(ren). 

We sold our home IN ONE DAY (more on that later!)...we definitely felt like that was God confirming our decision to adopt! We knew we would be able to use the money we made from the sell of our house to finance our next adoption.  After visiting with the orphanage in Taiwan, we followed their advice and took the next steps by spending nearly $2,000 to complete a home study and I-600A (international adoption paperwork). 

Shortly after completing the necessary paperwork and sending it to Taiwan, we received a letter stating that the orphanage would no longer be offering second adoptions, as they are choosing to focus solely on childless couples.  This fogged our vision.  We believed ourselves to be working within the framework of God’s plan for our lives and started down the path to another adoption through significant life changes and financial commitments. We were devastated. We prayed together that God would show us the direction He wanted us to take.

The very next day, we received an email about a little baby in Ghana, who at the time was named Samuel. 

At this point I must back-track a bit and tell you a short story. While we were in the process of getting our home study complete (that would put us in November of 2011), I received information about a little baby in Taiwan who was up for adoption, and had been born with Amniotic Band Syndrome. I had never heard of this syndrome before, but felt very strongly that I needed to research it heavily. So, I spent the next month studying this syndrome. I spent hours on the phone with various pediatricians, specialists, physical therapists, occupational therapists, neurosurgeons, ect. until I became somewhat of an expert on ABS. We prayed and prayed about this sweet little baby in Taiwan who was waiting to find his forever family. It is hard to explain, but we just didn't get a peace in our hearts about this baby. It was actually a horrible thing to have to come to terms with...saying 'no' to a sweet baby because you just don't think he's yours. I didn't understand what was happening. I prayed that God would give us a peace about this little guy. The disability didn't phase us a bit, but something just wasn't right. So we continued on with our home study and prayed that God would find a family for the sweet baby that they nicknamed "Rocky". (Side note - two days later he was matched with a family!!)

OK, flash-forward again to the email we received about the baby boy in Ghana (this was about mid-January). Well, guess what...he, too, had Amniotic Band Syndrome!!! I can't even begin to tell you the feelings that rushed over me as I read about this baby. Within minutes it was absolutely evident to us that God had this baby in mind for our family all along, and this was all part of his plan. I didn't have to take time to research this syndrome, I knew exactly what it was and exactly what we would be dealing with. We immediately contacted the orphanage and asked them (ok, begged them) to consider us as his forever family.  The rest is history. We are now adopting him, and have named him Elijah Samuel. Elijah has stolen our hearts, and we so desperately feel that he is part of our family already.

Insert cool info here...remember how I told you that we sold our house in ONE DAY?! Well, that day just so happened to be the day that Elijah was born! HOW COOL IS THAT?! 

The cost to adopt from Ghana is much higher than in Taiwan, and though we planned to have enough money to fund an entire adoption from the sell of our house, we do not have near enough at this point. We will continue to do fundraising, but we must send a large upfront payment within the next few weeks.  If we do not have the money to send we cannot move forward in the adoption process. 

Here's where it gets tricky. We are humbly asking for prayer and financial support to help us make our family complete. We never thought we would be the family asking others for help in bringing their baby home, but it appears that that is where God has led us. We know that Eli is our baby, and we know that our God is a HUGE God, and He is capable of moving mountains. So, we are taking a gigantic leap of faith and asking those who feel led to do so to help us out in any way possible. 

Because Eli was born with Amniotic Band Syndrome, he needs to be home as soon as possible in order to have doctors attend to his medical needs. (He does not have a left foot, and was born without the middle three fingers on each hand.) See attached pic...HE'S BEAUTIFUL!!!

We have set up a paypal link where people can make donations, which is below. We understand and respect that not everyone will feel called to support our adoption financially, but we beg each of you please keep us in your prayers as we continue on this journey. We are excited to see what God has in store for us as a family of four!!!!

Eli & His Beautiful Nanny

Thank you for taking the time to read this! We'd love to keep you updated if you so choose for us to do so. 
God bless!!