Invited to walk on water

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

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Thankful Thanksgiving!! Spectacular timing of this Rainbow. Be encouraged.

Spectacular Rainbow:
Moments ago, just as our Thanksgiving meal ended, look what appeared just outside the window...

Three years ago, on November 9, 2012 (linkjust after the San Diego County Foster Adopt social worker left our home to update our home study to officially begin our wait for TWO children, a rainbow appeared in same spot. I blogged about it then and posted a pic of that rainbow exactly three years ago.  I remember clearly pondering His promise to me that HE is faithful. It felt like He was saying "follow Me and trust Me- no matter what storms come."

Storms came. 

(If you know me, you know I freaked out a lot, fretted often, worried loads and hardly slept.)

He had a more amazing plan to fulfill the desire in our hearts for
Two little boys.
Joseph from the USA and Mohale from Africa.

Two boys
(who we call our "twins")
from two continents.
Redemption came more beautifully than we'd dared to imagine.
And now, a double rainbow appeared on Thanksgiving to wrap up a dream fulfilled.


Mohale is REALLY HOME!!!!

He's finally ours!!!!
It's sinking in. 

Daddy's got you!

Getting to know Buttercup
(Mohale was frightened at first, but Joseph showed him how awesome she is.)

Swinging brothers

More hugs for Buttercup

Helping Daddy bring in firewood

Learning about being gentle with Daisy

Putting up the Christmas Tree!!!
(Double trouble:)

This THANKSGIVING DAY our hearts are FULL of LOVE for 7 children around the table.

It's hard to believe HE'S HOME!!




I thank my God in all my remembrance of you. 

(Really, it did take an army behind us to adopt Mohale.  We are so grateful for each of you.)

Can I encourage you?

As I flip through pictures on our phones from the last five weeks, my heart wants to encourage others.

Is there a desire in your heart?
Perhaps that desire is for a purpose.
Perhaps, God put it there.
seek Him...
does the desire grow or subside?

What desire has God placed into your heart?
(Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart Psalm 37:4)

Bringing ALL of our children with us to AFRICA to bring Mohale home seemed

What is your
heart's desire?

Is there something you DESIRE to reach for that seems daunting?
Do you feel like Leora did as she reached out towards this lion...?

If you jump, likely it will be scary, incredible, HARD, heartbreaking, valuable, illogical, stupid, slow, and something that will build your faith crazy huge.

(Or you can stay safe.)

 (but remember, "Safe" is a myth on this planet)

Yet, if the desire is from Him,
it tends to push you forward and not leave

So, what do we now think about taking our entire brood across the planet to bring Mohale home...?

It was incredible.

It was really REALLY HARD. 

We were warned it would be difficult.

The warnings were on target.

It was one of the MOST DIFFICULT things we've ever done. 

It was also one of the most valuable, precious and fun...

Ianna in South Africa comforting her miracle brother that she'd prayed for and invested her savings towards
three years ago.

When we shared our plan to bring all 6 children with us to bring Mohale home,
some (including ourselves) thought we were being
(another word for stupid?)

Totally Accurate conclusion.
Bonding together with Wonder-Dad and his phone in the Hotel.

But. It was also 
Kids are good for each other during hard times...

Sibling bonds began a month before we got home.

Our six children had 6 additional ways of reaching Mohale's heart.
EACH person is uniquely gifted to uniquely give love in unique ways.
Sierra in Lesotho snuggling the brother she'd prayed for every night for the last year and a half.

The FINANCIAL ramifications of this decision were also 

It's true.  This was
  financially foolish
from a financial planning standpoint.

Traveling this large was far too pricy for rationalization- especially with now seven children
like the price of a really nice new car.

 It was a miracle that we could afford and acquire a loan to bring our entire family with us.

(To see miracles, often we must first
step out where miracles are required.)

Investments of this type cannot be measured in dollars.

The benefits will not fade like the new car would have. 
Unending and growing benefits... 
Bonding of all the siblings with Mohale began a month before we arrived home.

They each will share for a lifetime with Mohale sweet memories in the place that cradled him until we came-
this place that will always be part of who he is will now always be part of who they are too.  
They have a common bond.

Mohale and Ianna in doing homework Lesotho. 

Our children will never be the same.  
Alyssa holding her miracle brother that she prayed to have in her arms on her birthday.

They've witnessed the miracles they prayed for unfold around them.
They've learned about the benefits of risk over staying safe.
They've learned that God hears their prayers- even when it seemed He wasn't listening.

Leora and Mohale modeling "Lesotho hats" given to them by World Vision when we visited our sponsored children. 

All five wanted to stay longer.  
All of our hearts were further broken and ache more than ever to reach children in need of love.

(Already they are asking where we will go next to care for children.)

Our hearts have been broken further and melted by seeing, holding, talking with children "like us" but who may or may not have parents and some with minimal food, water, clothes, shelter or education.

Although going without our children could have been easier, "SAFER" and "wiser"

So much would have been missed.
(It was certainly worth the panic filled sleepless nights that precluded this jump, the exorbitant financial cost, and the wear on my aging body)

Liam in Lesotho with the TWO brothers he prayed for in 2011
Thank you to all who prayed for and encouraged us on this crazy amazing trip.
We will never be the same.

That's a GOOD thing.


And thanking HIM for

We hope that our up-and-down-and-up-again journey encourages you in whatever unique desires you have growing in your heart.




Sunday, November 22, 2015

Angel friends and Dr. Angel


 I read somewhere that "Angel" means God's messenger. With this simple meaning in mind, I can say that we know many angels- Messengers of encouragement and hope.  
So many of you have encouraged us.

I haven't posted on how amazing it is to be home.  But it IS SO AMAZING!  I'm working on a post and Ianna is creating a video to summarize our gratefulness.  

Mohale is a TREASURE!!!!


Angel friends:

We have been bolstered all along this journey.  Even now!  Thursday, when we arrived home, exhausted, our home was filled with signs in every room celebrating the arrival of Mohale...

AND, it 
was already stocked with fresh fruits and vegetables, milk, groceries abundant.  
We had salad the next morning for breakfast!

There's more!
Last night, someone from Valley Center Community Church set up meals to be delivered next week.  

Friends have been emailing and texting and calling with words of celebration and encouragement.

Can I say that this is all huge to us?  
Thank you for every bit of support. 
We are abundantly grateful
Our family has been bolstered throughout this adoption by prayers, encouragement and help- beyond our wildest imaginations.

-It takes a village to adopt a treasure-

Dr. Angel

Yesterday another event happened that I must record here for my own memory.  

I've been sick since our second week in Lesotho.  The "orphanage cough" descended upon our family the first week we had embraced our precious treasure.  He was coughing horribly especially in the nights and it wasn't long before several of us also shared his symptoms over there in beautiful Africa.
Most of us fought it off.

 The visa Dr. in Johannesburg prescribed him an antibiotic and Mohale is totally not coughing at all anymore!

Joseph, Alyssa and I haven't been able to kick it.  We went to Kaiser friday morning, the day after we arrived home.  Today, they are each so much better as their antibiotics are beginning to work for them.  The meds were not doing anything for me and yesterday, this illness was rapidly getting worse.   I've been in bed again since we got home Thursday evening.  We returned to Kaiser last night discouraged because we'd just been there the day prior.  But the antibiotic prescribed was having no effect- It was the same med I'd taken for the food poisoning thingy last week.  Yet, this illness was rapidly getting worse and my body felt horribly weak.  The receptionist rudely took my info and made a harsh remark about not giving it time.  She said I'd be there at Urgent Care waiting for a very long time.  Nice.  I sat fighting back tears in the waiting room and texted David and the kids it was going to be at least 2 hours and to please pray that the Dr on call helps.  I texted my mom, sister and a friend to pray.  I prayed for a Dr. to take me seriously and hoped they'd prescribe some
"Big Guns."

Within a few short minutes my name was called and a sweet nurse led me to an exam room.  I expected to be sitting there an hour.  Two minutes later a knock on the door preceded the entrance of a tall, handsome, grey haired physician who I will call 
"Dr. Angel."  

So friendly was his countenance as he said "Christy!"  as if he knew me.  Doesn't it feel warm when someone uses your name? 
(note to self...use people's names more often.)
 "How are you Christy?   Christy, how can I help you?  I read your chart and saw your story, Christy!"  He used my name at least five times!  I briefly answered a few questions he had.... Then he said, "We are going to help you, Christy.  There are Bad Bugs out there- especially where you have been.   
I am going to prescribe the 

Big Guns!" 

Big Guns

  "Big Guns?"  They very words I'd hoped as I prayed not even 15 minutes prior????

He shook my hand as he left and said he was going to write out a prescription for a powerful Antibiotic.  

I waited for a nurse to return with the new prescription. 

Instead. he came in again and handed me the prescription himself and said "Follow me. Your family must be waiting so I will show you the short way out."  Dr Angel then escorted me out a back way towards the pharmacy. "This is the short cut to save you time.  We've given you the "Big Guns."  You will feel better soon ..."   I thanked him profusely- although I doubt he really could imagine how grateful my heart felt.  Not only did he try hard to help, he was kind.  

Isn't kindness powerful?

  He pointed the way towards the pharmacy building and I went on my way. Amazed. 

Wasn't God kind!!!?  
Last night I was so ill, weak and discouraged.
Today I've started the new "Big Guns" antibiotic.

After getting back into bed last night, I noticed a new pain...a painful, large breast lump. A sore mass that just appeared.   
I'll call monday to schedule a mammogram..... fun.  

Our little treasured Mohale is opening up and blooming.  He laughs and plays and calls out to Mama and Dada and calls his sisters by name.  Pictures coming soon. 


Here's a pic of him eating his first Quesadilla:

Yep, he loved it!!!  And he loves salsa too!

The big girls are taking a lot of pics for me to use:)  From my bed, it is music to hear him laughing.  
There are countless "firsts" and we relish each one...

Learning about cats:

Mohale's sweet voice is music in our home. 

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Last flight!

We are minutes into our last flight home!!!
This morning after an incredible QUIET 16.5 hour flight, we stepped off the airplane into the Atlanta Georgia airport. Both baby boys slept until the last two hours!!!!!  
After a few unnerving run-ins with immigration, Mohale became a US citizen. Hhhhhooooooorrrrrrraaaaaayyyyy!!!!

Next, customs eliminated 8 packages of Biltong (a yummy South African beef jerky) purchased for Christmas gifts. 

Finally, an incredible lunch and several cups of cappuccino later, our parade marched loudly onto Delta flight 2267 bound for San Diego....
See you all soon!!!!!

Coming home!!!!

November18, 2015

Take off. Jet engines roar as momentum presses my body back into this narrow seat which will serve as a bed for 17 hours tonight.  Rapidly soaring, this jet climbs higher-  taking us away from beautiful Africa towards HOME, carrying my soaring heart with it.  Almost in desperatation my fingers text these words- my Phone serves as a distraction and a way to record this long awaited and fervently battled for moment in time. 
Being this high above solid ground for 17 hours is on my list of fears and I've prayed not to have a panic attack in front of the kids.
(Hard to believe skydiving was fun to me during years of naive youth.)
Yet. My heart is full beyond words. Has this dream really come true!!??? Will I awaken again from this beautiful dream? No. This time it's real. THIS time I'll awaken and Mohale will still be our African son. 
As my heart is full, amazement is an even greater emotion tonight. 

Because I don't deserve this kind of gift. 

I'm not strong in faith.
Fear, not faith, seems to characterize my natural tendency. 
But this week we will tuck Mohale into bed at HOME- an honor resulting from multiple miracles over several years- each one happening as my heart fretted. 

God melts my heart. I fear. He is faithful.  I'm weak, unskilled, even naturally insecure and shy- He is faithful.
Does that resonate with anyone?  

Our inadequacy is irrelevant when Love is calling because 
He never leaves us alone. 

The dream materialized far more complex and treasure-filled than anyone could have imagined. As I write, our seven children quietly watch the city lights far below.  Seven children- three biological miracles and now four adopted miracles.   

I'm shaking my head remembering how I'd wanted to visit Africa since age 6. 

Adoption was in my heart since age 8. I desired children of many colors and stories. 

Because He puts desires into our hearts. 

What desires are in your heart? 
What seemingly unimportant or too-far-fetched and even seemingly unimportant desires have you lost behind years of unmet promises, discouragement, failures, shattered dreams and
broken hearts?  

Do fear and discouragement threaten to keep you captive as they do me?  

Can I encourage you?
 We do not have to be slaves to fear.
Brokenness is part of the journey- it brings beauty to dreams yet to materialize.
Don't give up. Keep on knocking.  Pursue Him. Pursue  that which is unique within your heart. 
Because of Him, we are not held captive to fear- we can knock even when the Bully, Fear, attempts to hold us captive. 

Perfect love casts out all fear. 1 John 4:18
To me this has taken on a new meaning. 
Because He loves, I can move forward in spite of my fears.  We may feel fear, but we don't have to be held back by it.
He is faithful. 

So faithful:
Beautiful faithfulness. 

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Visa!! We are coming home!!!!

We got Mohale's visa!!  

Here's the crazy line up of how amazing it was to get Mohale's visa. Thank you for praying:

Before a visa could be processed, the consulate needed the Dr's medical report.  Monday morning (yesterday) I called and they told me it would send at 11am.  I called that afternoon and the consulate had not received it. When I called the dr office they were defensive and insisted it had sent at 11:00am. We called the consulate several more times Monday and were told the report was not yet there. They figured it must be held up in security. This morning (Tuesday) we were on the phone early only to be told the medical report had still not arrived so his visa could not be processed.  Because our flight home is tomorrow and the airline requires any reschedule of flights to be within 24 hours, desperation mounted at the thought of an $11,000 mistake and concern over the costs of more hotels, airline tickets etc...not to mention how tired we are. We called the Consular we had met at the US Embassy in Lesotho last week. He said he'd contact the Johannesburg consulate. Two hours later we were again told they still did not have the medical report. Because we had only hours left to reschedule our flights, stress mounted. The cost of rescheduling 10 flights and finding another hotel with room for 10 etc this last minute knotted my insides-
We drove to the dr office. The office staff said a consulate employee had just left with the report 
 (Meaning it was never sent!) (Perhaps the US Consular in Lesotho had called them!). The US Consulate in Johannesburg closes at 3:00 pm daily. David took Mohale and rushed to the US consulate arriving 2:55. They let him through security and took him back where the visa interview had taken place a few days ago. They told him they had sent someone to the Dr's office an hour earlier and gotten the report!! It never got sent!!!   As David and Mohale shared Doritos and Diet Coke from a vending machine, the employees at the US Consulate in Johannesburg created Mohale's visa. After they had closed for the day, David was handed  Mohale's new visa!!!!  
We are coming home!!!
Our flight leaves tonight. Scheduled arrival is 1:00pm Thursday afternoon. 
We will be home with Mohale for the holidays- 

Monday, November 16, 2015

Hoping we get his visa today. And some sleepy lions:)

We are hoping and to get Mohale's visa today. 

The required medical report is still in security. 
Hoping it gets into the hands of the right visa caseworker this morning and that he gets the visa created and into our hands today.  (We will be on our phones again as soon as offices open.)
With Mohale's U.S. Visa, we can board the plane for home tomorrow evening.  
Without it, we will have to reschedule our return. 

Yesterday we visited a local animal park:


baby giraffe

Sleepy kitty cat

Sleepy Mohale

Sleepy White Lion

Alyssa, the sleepy little tiger.

It's hard to believe Mohale is in our arms. 
It's been a trip beyond our wildest dreams. 
 We've adored Africa.

Our hearts are filled and adoration for this place.

Our passion for orphaned children has been recharged. 

Ready now to get back home to 
with precious Mohale.

Praying we get Mohale's visa today.  

Saturday, November 14, 2015

David's turn:(

Today, David woke up with the same stomach bug the rest of us have had. 
That's 10 out of 10 of us this week.

Praying he's better soon:(

Oh my how we are partying around the potty over here in South Africa.  
Not quite the safari we'd hoped to experience!

Thankful and amazed that David and Mohale were healthy on Friday so David could take him to get the TB test read.  It was Negative!  Now we are just waiting on the Dr to submit the report to the US consulate.  Hoping that is done and that the visa is ready before we travel on Wednesday.

Grateful to be in a Bed and Breakfast with a yard for kids to play while we wait out this illness!

God was at our potty party. Part 2

Thursday, November 12, our visa interview went well!!! 

No camera allowed at the U.S. Consulate, so no pics there. Only Liam and Mohale went with us. We parked at the mall and walked... 
Liam loves to carry Mohale for us. He carried his miracle brother all over that mall until we got to the US consulate.  ( This pic kind of show Liam looking sick.)

We were told at the interview that if they get the medical report by Monday, we should make it to our flight next Wednesday. So, it was CRUCIAL for Mohale to have his TB read read at 10:00am the next morning.

The potty party revs up:

We got back to the Olive Tree by 5pm to take our crew out to dinner- but Liam was vomiting. By nights end, everyone was puking and diarrhea-ing intensely.  Everyone except three- Emma, David and Mohale!!! Because these two were healthy, the next morning David was able to take Mohale to get his TB test read!  Miracle here. If we'd missed that, we could not have visa medical to the US consulate in time for us to leave on nov 18. And EMMA was healthy!! The beautiful one who has helped immensely for one whole month and can't do puke!  Let me tell u, that was the most intense round of puking and pooping- nearly two days (Liam and Sierra are still sick.). 

Emma jumped into it with two hands and feet practically swimming in it while loving on and nurturing our kids back to health. 
We are talking about an angel here. 

The Selfie Angel with miracle boys:

Thursday, November 12, 2015

God was at our potty party. Part 1.

Thursday November 12, 2015. Morning. 

We learned Monday afternoon that we needed to have hotel reservations on Tuesday, November 10 in Johannesburg- a day earlier than we had planned for. And to make it more stressful, because my iPhone and Internet service had not worked consistently in Lesotho, I had not been able to get through to the bed and breakfast we had unconfirmed reservations for- let alone to request we arrive a day early.  To add intensity, the company we hired to take us back to Johannesburg cancelled- they couldn't get a border permit.  I had one day to get transport to Johannesburg and a place to stay in time for his visa medical appointment. So, David drove the rental van with us and luggage for 10 all packed in tight. Because internet and iPhone service have been sketchy, i had not been able to get through and confirm hotel reservations we'd tried to make at a well rated bed and Breakfast- let alone ask for a day early. I was able to get a call through to a Johannesburg hotel one mile from the visa dr that could squeeze us in on the night of October 10 and had availability through the 18 should we need it. Yeah, I did wonder about the conditions.

We arrived late into the parking garage just in time to watch a pimp trade his girls off.... Sick feeling. 
The rooms were safe and secure but dirty. We all loved water pressure! - showers for all!!! 
Timing was awesome in a hard way Emma was sick and hugging the toilet all night- in a room of her own with a toilet that flushed great!  Showers were warm and water plentiful!!  (Earlier that day shed said she can handle anything but puke...ummm- if she'd only known what this week held.)
Monday morning we left Emma to recover and used the gps to go 1 mile to the visa dr. It took 2 hours to find it. Leora got sick. David dropped me off with Mohale and Liam so he could take leora home to join Emma in the potty party. 

Our -adoption agency director met me there!  Of course we missed the dr appointment. They told us they'd do the TB test and then sent us off to get passport pics we did not have. Crazy. 
It took 7 hours total at the mall and medical center to get it his visa physical done. But it got done. David joined me at the end and we managed to get through to the bed and breakfast we had unconfirmed reservations at. She was gracious and kind to squeeze us in.

We all slept awesome last night!!
This bed and breakfast is called the Olive Tree and we highly recommend it.  It's a real vacation experience- not a typical hotel. Gorgeous, artistic, cultural, peaceful atmosphere. 
Here r pics:

To be continued...