Invited to walk on water

Invited to walk on water
sisters and brothers waiting on one more

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

We got internet tonight!!! Here is Mohale!

(Im typing fast and will have to edit later as wifi may disappear at any time..)

The trip here was the craziest, hardest 40 hours!  Joseph screamed and vomited and we didn't sleep.  
Precious Joseph ran out of clothes early in the flight.  This is landing in South Africa!

(The stewardess was extremely kind...WE ARE GRATEFUL)

When we got to the Johannesburg airport, exhausted and disoriented, I felt tears well up- a dream coming true.
Before we were even all off of the airplane, we were approached by a beautiful
African woman who began helping with our multiple carryon bags.
She said "You have a lot of kids.  I will help you.  Follow me"
She led us away from the HUGE crowd that was going through the customs line to ONE man behind a booth.  He checked our passports and we were IN!
She helped load our luggage onto the hotel shuttle.
We were in our hotel within an hour of getting off of the airplane with all 9 of us!  
What an ANGEL!!

The hard days before Monday morning all faded at this moment.....

We drove to Mohale's orphanage at 9am.
Walking into the place where we've had NO CONTACT and only a few pics over the last 21 months felt surreal- like an exceptionally happy stomach flu.
The directors of the orphanage have an incredible reputation.  We were greeted with kindness and so many of the thanked us for not giving up....
(giving up?)
We thanked them for the same thing! 
NO ONE EVER could have dreamed of giving up on Mohale- but the road was long and filled with HUGE OBSTACLES.

We were led into a large room with a few couches facing each other.  A Lesotho government official, 2 social workers and the orphanage directors explained to us that they would be taking our pictures and we sat waiting for Mohale to arrive.

(Ianna will post a video of the moment once we return to the USA.)

But to explain the emotions of watching our long awaited son be led into the room by one familiar and loved to be handed over to us to be loved forever....the emotions are impossible.
He was led to me and placed on my knee.
He stared. 
He was clearly confused.
BUT OH what a beautiful, gentle, sweet soul.
The first day was a mix of emotions...

Our precious, long awaited, miracle boy was clearly traumatized.  This was not a surprise, but just as jumping into an icy pond sounds hard, when you actually do it, the experience takes your breath away.

This gentle natured boy we've loved from afar did not cry.  I still have not heard him cry and it's been 2 days.
He just sat quietly and stared and sucked his lip... For several hours into that first day.  
We just held him- because with grief, sometimes presence is all we can offer.  

By evening he began to smile and we were gifted with the sweetest sound of laughter when his new siblings efforts were finally rewarded.  HIS LAUGH IS PRECIOUS!!!
Arriving at our hotel- No longer fatherless.  Soon he will learn how beloved he is to his daddy.

Joseph and Mohale with Daddy

He knew how to use iPhones:) and they really helped him feel comfortable!
When grieving, sometimes being present is the best we can do.  Adored.


Liam prayed for a little brother from Africa in 2011.  He adores his two little brothers!
Day 2 his laugh began to happen often!
The four "littles" watching workers outside of the beautiful Guest home we are in.

Today Mohale was laughing and running around all loud and happy with all the kids.
He was asking for his needs- food, drink, hold me, even potty!
Mohale especially loves to be held by David and me- and we love to hold him!
We expect a long road...
BUT THIS IS EASY as of today!

A little miracle that is a big deal:
One of our concerns and prayers was for our very pampered Baby Joseph to behave kindly.  That's a big prayer for a 21 month old little boy- especially our very doted on little baby Joseph. 
Our prayers were answered above and beyond with a YES.

Joseph adores Mohale!  As of today, he has shown zero jealousy- only curiosity and affection-
even though we are holding Mohale almost constantly.
(We expect normal sibling/toddler stuff- but this intro has made it unusually easy to get Mohale feeling safe- Joseph makes Mohale laugh and smile.)
Joseph loves to bring him toys and his sippie.  He loves to hug him and play with him.  It's been 2 days and they seem to be establishing a special bond.  Joseph and Mohale are exactly the same size.  They are double amazing together.  This evening they were making each other laugh and squeal and wrestle- LOUD, HAPPY brothers.  SO CUTE!!!!

Here's another answered prayer that I'm doing cartwheels over....
Joseph has NEVER slept an entire night without me and david getting up and holding him sereveral times.  As an infant he was very sick and so we had to hold him most of the night until he was 9 months old.  Since then, he's been much better, but he still struggles and we have slipped into caring to his every whimper all night long.  During this trip we became too exhausted.  So, we let him "cry it out" two nights ago.  He had a fit the first night and tantrum for 1 hour and then another 45 minutes at 2am.  But the second night- last night- he slept the ENTIRE NIGHT!  He woke  up HAPPY!!!! For the first night in 21 months, we all three got a full night of sleep!!
We were all in happy happy happy moods today.


Today we toured some of Lesotho.  Our agency rep took us on a crazy bumpy, risky, out of the box, make me want to hide under the seat of jump out of the window type of dirt road.  It led us to a cave dwelling where three elderly women still live.  The pics don't begin to show such color and beauty.  (it was also a bit awkward coming into their home space- but that's what they do.)
Here are pictures...
Walking to the cave homes
Almost there!

We also walked on this bridge...

What I've noticed about Lesotho is that we LOVE it here.  It's is BEAUTIFUL.  Many of the country homes are made of stone with either grass or metal correlate roofing.  Some are round.  SO PRETTY.  
The people are kind, gentle and friendly.  Rainbows of color surround the clothing they wear- amazing color and patterns.  The children are extra cute.  

That's our first week in a small nutshell.  Once I have more WIFI time, I'll fill what has been left out in this rush to post before internet crashes.

More updates on the Miracle of Mohale coming soon.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

We are off!!!!

6:53 am October 22, 2015

Half of us slept. The alarm went off at 12:00 am but I was in the shower- too excited to sleep anyway. We were at the airport 3 hours before any ticket agents arrived. (We r talking Type A!)
We got there along with the midnight cleaning crew..


(Airport bagel shop)

Then our first round of excitement began...

We almost didn't get on this flight. The ticket agent processed Jaedons ticket wrong. It took forever on the phone with delta. They told me I had to call the agent but she wasn't answering her business phone. Finally the lady on the phone said "I see u r adopting. I'm going to do this for u."  10 minutes later they printed his boarding pass. We started the long line through security with all 9 of us. Alyssa's boarding pass was missing. They kicked us out of line and I had to go all the way back to the check in Dept and interrupt the guy who didn't print her boarding pass. He then did. THEN, we did the security process with all the non smiling security workers. As the chaos continued, a security officer who looked kind hearted approached me and wanted to about adoption because he and his wife can't have bio kids. He took my email!! We got to the gate just in time. Crazy start. We r on airplane waiting for take off from San Diego airport!!

Monday, October 19, 2015

Two days and two friends carried my load...

Is it really almost time???

In just over two days we all board an airplane!

I've been on the computer for hours and hours over the last month making arrangements...

Planning an adoption trip to an unfamiliar place with six kids is a bigger job than I had imagined..
(and I can really imagine.)

Today, two friends came and shouldered my burden.

One came and babysat for hours and hours and hours.
Because of her, tickets are printed, passports copied, more tedious travel arrangements finalized and...
all 9 carry-ons and our 1 suitcase are PACKED.


Another friend took my last minute shopping list and spent hours and miles running errands and shopping FOR US.
She brought clothes, snacks, books, and loads of crafts and toys...
Because of her, hours and miles of errands are DONE
Last minute necessities are ready,
and the children's back packs and diaper bags are abundantly LOADED- far beyond what I'd dared to plan for!!
There are abundant, awesome snacks and activities to last for hours and hours and hours!

A huge sigh of relief tonight and a heart FILLED with GRATITUDE.
(I was so stressed over the weekend at this mountainous task that is now COMPLETE in ONE DAY.)

THANK YOU to each my two friends!
I feel so spoiled and absolutely my heart is melted.


Our bags are packed and this time, we won't be unpacking them.

It's almost time to fly!!

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Countdown! 6 days until we leave!!!

SIX days until we get on an airplane to go and meet precious Mohale!!!!!

I want to post on this journal blog-  Baby J saw Mohale's pic on Leora's cell phone and exclaimed "Hah-lay!!!!"  Baby J rarely talks- but he knows and spoke Mohale's name when he saw Mohale's photograph!
His (and my) favorite video is the one our agency took of Mohale last March.
(Im praying for and expecting a sweet relationship between our two miracle boys.)


Also, I want to share:  Laura designed these shirts for our family. 
The words to the song "Jesus loves the little children of the world" are written on the continents.

Baby J today "modeling" his new shirt!
Laura made one for each of us including Mohale!
Here is a link to her store to view her many awesome designs:

6 days and a few hours until we leave!!!!

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Alyssa's early birthday and she learns that she's a princess. Countdown to Mohale begins!


(Alyssa's birthday was celebrated early so others could join her celebration- because on her actual birthday, attention will be turned towards another miracle in answer to her prayers....) 

Alyssa prayed months ago that we could meet Mohale on her birthday...

Count down!!  We leave in 10 days!  16 days left until we finally meet you, precious treasured, Mohale!!!!!

In September when I was told that Mohale's "gotcha day" had been arranged for October 27, my heart silently skipped a beat...

October 27 is Alyssa's 5th birthday. 

Precious little girl with a sweet little curl...

This mama's heart had been praying that somehow, our jewel, Alyssa, could grasp that the God of the universe lovingly created her with purpose, ADORES her and HEARS her prayers.  

  A day has not passed since that Alyssa hasn't thanked her Daddy in Heaven during bedtime prayers for hearing her...

Every year, Alyssa asks for a new "princess dress" for her birthday.   It's become a tradition.
Her answered prayer has rippled into days that have followed.   My beautiful, beloved, powerhouse, strong-willed, undeterred daughter, become even more beautiful.


This week, after an episode of spice, I found Alyssa sitting on her bed alone. Alyssa, through tears, told me she felt sad for being grouchy.  Holding her close, she listened intently as I explained that every human on this planet including me and daddy and Sunday school teachers, pastors, grandma's and pretty ballet teachers all have grouchy moments and make awful mistakes, but, when we are adopted by God,- when He is our Daddy, He gently cleans our heart and helps us become more and more beautiful by letting us feel bad when we behave icky.  This is one way He helps us change.  It means that just like her ballet teacher is teaching her to do ballet, God, her Biggest Daddy, is lovingly coaching her how to be even more beautiful inside- He's making her into the most beautiful kind of princess- one who is beautiful on the inside-
Princesses who are beautiful on the inside are beautiful forever!
And when we ask him to,  He takes all the icky things we do or say and washes them into something beautiful too!


Her face practically glowed.


"Mom, I really am a real princess!"

Yes, dear, beloved, cherished, treasured daughter, you are.  
You absolutely are. 

And you are incredibly, indescribably loved
on the good days and the bad
when you are sweet and when you are spicy

Oh Alyssa, our precious jewel. Your life is a miracle that shines with power and purpose.  My eyes will always fill with tears of love when I ponder the miracle that you are and the humbling honor it is to love you.   You are barely five years old.  Yet, the inner beauty that you hold- that inner, forever, life changing beauty- is growing in astounding measure and shines from you already-
And Yes, the One who lovingly created you, adores the sound of your voice...


MOHALE already will have a very special day in common with Alyssa-  As SIBLINGS,
they will share a very special day.  

Precious, adored, and longed for, Mohale, we are humbled and honored beyond description that we will soon carry the privilege of being your parents and siblings- in person.

Ten days until we leave....

10 days until we leave!  16 days until we meet.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Airfare covered! Birds and airplanes.

October 11, 2015

Airfare is covered!
This post is to share how the cost of our flight to Africa was beautifully provided.  

Birds and Airplanes.


We figured a cost of over $20,000 for airline tickets for all 9 of us.

In September, we were surprised to purchase round trip airfare that totaled just under $11,000!
As we tried to get a loan for this new, lower amount,
my father in law sold the private little airplane he and david had purchased together years ago.
This weekend he is giving David half of the sell price:
Want to guess what that amount totaled???


The full story in the two posts below...

September 21, 2015

There's something special about little birds.

Baby Gouldian Finch in Liam's hands

Jesus used them to illustrate and encourage us not to worry about provision, because our loving Father provides.

As we began to calculate what the necessary expenses are to travel with all six of our children to be joined with Mohale, or seventh, simple research implied that we would need over
$20,000 for airfare. 

We don't have an extra $20,000 in addition to the other travel expenses we have been saving for.  Therefore, when the loan didn't work out, anxiety came crashing in. 

When in early September that the loan we hoped for would not happen, I called my mom to pray.  From across the USA, we were linked by our smartphones and Mom's prayer began to bolster my faltering faith.

Her faith carried mine.

Mom is extra ADHD so it was hardly noticeable when in the middle of her prayer she stopped suddenly "Hey!  A cute little bird just landed over here on this path we are walking on!  He's darling.  I'm going to text you a picture of him right now!"

And she did:
Isn't he funny?!
Mom finished her prayer and I felt sort of better.

Driving alone that night I complained to God:
"GOD, we believe YOU put it into our hearts to bring ALL of our children to meet Mohale in his country.
God, you have provided all along, and yet I'm stressed over this.  Could you make this loan thing work out?  Or do something else?"

Then I remembered the bird that mom texted as she prayed.  My mind refocused...

Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Matthew 6:26 

Peace returned.

 When I told David that night, he silently mused on what i said.  Mom's little bird triggered a memory in him- the day he and his dad went to buy an airplane together over 20 ago.  As they entered the airport to purchase the Stinson airplane,  my father in law said a quick prayer asking God to encourage them that this was the right airplane to purchase.  At that moment, a little bird landed upon the airport sign they were staring at.  David said the way it happened seemed special and his dad believed that little bird was a reminder to trust that the airplane was the right one. That afternoon, they each paid half and shared ownership.  

Together, David and his dad learned to fly.

Tonight, 20 years later, David's faith is also bolstered as we ponder the timing of two little birds and he tells me that his dad had just called to say he received an offer from someone to purchase the airplane. My father-in-law said he plans to give David half of the total sale to help with our adoption costs.
Guess what that portion is?


Liam and Sierra playing in the cockpit of Grandpa's airplane in 2010.

September 14, 2015

Hidden Provision:

Can you find the baby birds beneath their father in the picture below?
There are three birds in this photo:

Sometimes, provision comes in ways we didn't expect.
Hidden surprises.

We'd anxiously anticipated round trip airfare cost for our entire family of almost 9 to South Africa would be over $20K.

We bought airline tickets today.

 ROUND TRIP airfare for our entire family is less than

That's $9,000 less than we anticipated!

Thank you GOD for "providing"

The people at Adoption Airfare were incredibly helpful.

That is nearly half of what we believed we would need to pay for airfare!

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Ianna's birthday

October 2, 2015
My baby girl grew up...

Ianna is 15!

When we learned we were expecting our first baby- a girl, I had a little secret prayer...

God, could she have a lot of red, curly hair?"

Well, to show that in the midst of all the ups and downs of life, He does hear even our seemingly silly prayers....

David brought this bow home on her birthday...
so funny because he's never seen the animated movie so many compare her to.
I can say though, Ianna is exceptionally
Ianna's name is Gaelic. We chose a garlic name because I really thought she'd have red hair.  However,  the meaning of her name was significant at that time in our life.  

Ianna means "God's grace."  

We were learning a lot back then about 
Grace and Forgiveness and Freedom.
That part of our story will be shared in a vulnerable yet hope-filled post I will write at another time.  
During that season we learned how God's grace is beautiful, powerful, and sets us free.  
The deepest loneliest pain can become a most beautiful treasure. 

Ianna is our oldest.  Her true beauty is from within.  Oh precious women, that inner beauty that you hold- it will never fade.  

Ianna is strong, determined and has a thriving passion for the hurting.  Her passion at this point in our journey has often brought renewed life to mine.   She is the one who started and maintains our Etsy store because her heart, at this point in her life, has purposed to fight for children "like me and my sisters and brothers but who are suffering."  
She (not I) is the one who worked with Laura on the instagram auction.   

My little red headed baby girl has grown up.  She's gone from being a little one to be nurtured and trained to a treasured friend who I have the privilege and honor of coaching through this stage of life.  I'm so amazed at how quickly this happened.  (How often, young moms, do we hear "they grow up fast!, don't rush it!"?  I used to feel grouchy when older mom's told me that.  Part of me didn't want her to grow away and the other part couldn't imagine another hour of a screaming infant or potty training or....) 
Age 4

But, it became true!  Now I'm the older mom!  My first baby is growing up.  She's growing up into a business minded leader. This gift was evident as a little girl. I recall how the chocolate almonds I gave to her and her little sister disappeared. She had little Leora and 18 month old Liam put all their chocolate candy into dirt holes in the flower bed next to their play house. David asked her why they were burrying their chocolate. Determined and confident she replied "So we can grow chocolate trees and have ALOT of chocolate candy!"  

On days lately when I have felt discouraged, her texts have unexpectedly come in the dark of night. She knows when I'm awake.  Her texts are filled with hope, faith and truth.
She and her sister, Leora, delight in helping to lighten my load. 
They daily ask how they can help me.  

All those nights of holding my crying (screaming) infant- those first nine months of cruel infant colic where we'd cry together because we were tired and I couldn't ease her pain...All those times I'd loose my temper with David because I was just frazzled...All those years of watching this sweet little princess, twirl, play, protect, encourage and manipulate her younger siblings...all those hours I treasured and often felt too inadequate to endure....All those years of parenting a sweet and spicy little girl....All that precious time invested...It is coming back on us a million fold though our maturing children.  

Ianna Rose.
You are beautiful forever. 
The English language doesn't have a word for "love" adequate to describe what a mother feels for her children.  
I LOVE you. 

There is not a word to describe how thankful I am for you. 

I am proud of you more than there are words to describe.

But also know that you are loved not because of what you do, but because you are my daughter. 

You are loved always and forever.... On good days and bad, in success and failure, in good choices and poor ones...All the time.   

Life is FILLED with ups and downs, good choices and mistakes.
Know you are loved ALL THE TIME.
You are free.
You are free to explore and to fail and learn and succeed.  

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Instagram! and IMPORTANT, REQUIRED adoption travel hoops...

Follow our road to Mohale on Instagram!  
An instagram button is to the right.

 Laura, owner of Rescued and Redeemed is holding an online auction through our instagram!
Ianna and Leora are working with her (I'm still figuring this instagram thing out:)

Some really awesome, creative, business mom's have donated incredible gifts to our action to help bring Mohale home!!




For those who will be adopting for Lesotho after us.  I would suggest NOT purchasing airplane tickets until AFTER the USCIS in Johannesburg has given you a visa interview date.
(Although It's apparently common to not wait- if you are "type A" like I am, it feels stressful.)

We were instructed to make travel arrangements before the USCIS in Johannesburg gave us a date to arrive at the US Consulate for Mohale's Visa interview.

The visa interview is where we are given final approval to receive a visa for Mohale.  Without a visa, he cannot enter the USA.

SO, it's felt a little extra stressful.  We had airline tickets, hotels and transportation for all of us lined up to place us in Johannesburg for the last week of our trip.  However, the USCIS had not yet granted us a date for Mohale's Visa interview for that week.  However, I got an email this week giving us a date for the visa interview...(huge, big sigh of relief here.)  Time will be really, reeeeally crunched and likely we will need to extend our stay.  Our agency director has made plans to accompany us for this last week to help us out.  Grateful!!


Yesterday we "accidentally" learned that 
All children
biological, already adopted, and recently adopted need BIRTH CERTIFICATES issued within the last 4 months to TRAVEL in or out of South Africa.
Scrambling to get these before we leave in less that three weeks:

Tomorrow, on Ianna's 15th birthday, we will drive to OC and wait in line praying to get the oldest three kids birth certificates!

Fast Birth Certificates:
Vitalchek (Link) is a great way to get Birth Certs fast!
We've used them before and they are fast and affordable!

Isaiah 45:2
I will go before you, and make the crooked places straight

So grateful that we were given a visa interview date for the week we had arranged to be in Johannesburg!  Extremely thankful that we "accidentally" learned that ALL of our children will need birth certificates BEFORE traveling across the planet.  So grateful we didn't end up stuck anywhere or in a situation where we did not have the required papers on our children to enter or leave South Africa.

Although it is a hassle, it is GOOD that more restrictions are being put in place to prevent child trafficking.