Monday, August 31, 2009

Mission Accomplished

I sat down several times yesterday and tried to gather some coherent thoughts to put a blog post together. I arrived home on Sunday morning around 2:00 a.m. after a grueling travel schedule. I think it will be a few days before I am in my groove again.

Thanks to everyone who has prayed for us and encouraged our family in any way during this trip. It was great on many levels, but it was not without its challenges and frustrations.

Mercy is WONDERFUL! On Thursday, August 27th our Ghanaian princess officially became a part of the Salzwedel family. We should get her court decree in a couple of weeks and then we can file our I-600 and wait for it and her visa to be approved. She could potentially be home in 6-8 weeks!

I will post more in the coming days, but for now I will leave you with a few pictures. God is good...all the time!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Ghana Here I Come!

The week has literally flown by. I absolutely cannot believe that I am flying tomorrow to meet Mercy. It seems completely surreal.

I have felt such love and support this past week from friends and family who have called, e-mailed, gave a donation, made amazing things happen in the visa department, and prayed with us and for us. There are so many people I have wanted to call and talk to before I left, but time has gotten away from me. If you have not been personally thanked (YET), please forgive me. If you encouraged us in any way I just want to say a heartfelt thank you. I am feeling very blessed.

It is very, very hard to leave my family here. My heart is divided, but I look forward to the day when we will all be together. If this trip is a means to the end then so be it.

I look forward to seeing my daughter's birth country first hand. I look forward to the people I will meet along the way. I pray that somehow I can be a light for Christ on my travels and pray God will put people in my path that I can share His good news with.

Thank you Lord for the amazing way that you made this trip come together.
I will praise the LORD, who counsels me;
even at night my heart instructs me.
I have set the LORD always before me.
Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.
Psalm 116:7-8

This is the Kind of Daughter I Have

Yesterday Delaney went to the mall in the afternoon with a friend. Just a bit ago she told me she had a going away gift for me and presented me with these:

She is the most thoughtful, loving, caring daughter I could ever ask for. I feel very, VERY blessed that I am her mom.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

So Many Feelings...So Little Time

Worked Up

Still no visa. Please keep praying.

Update: Visa is on it's way. I tracked it one last time before bed and it's in the mail. Thank you JESUS!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Real Life Marches On

In the midst of planning an impromptu trip to Ghana real life has marched on. Delaney was busy last week with dress rehearsals and three shows of "Beauty and the Beast". It was a great performance and I am always amazed at the quality of performance these kids give. Bravo Delaney!

Keaton also started his first year of soccer. He is not a "sports guy" so to speak, but I am proud of him for giving soccer a shot. He had his first game yesterday and we were so very proud of him. He was nervous at first, but settled in quickly. He is generally reserved, but always willing to at least try. He really seemed to enjoy himself once they got going. Way to go Keaton!

Lord willing, I am outta here on Friday! There is just the minor detail of needing my visa/passport returned to me. Saying lots of prayers for that to come through.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

The Whirlwind

The last few days have flown by with a flurry of phone calls, tears, more phone calls, and most importantly being blown away by the way God is moving on our behalf. We are humbled and overwhelmed at the outpouring we received. We continue to move in the right direction and believe that God will provide the rest of the funds we need.

We have a travel plan in place and arrangements have been made for the kids. The surest sign for me is the peace I feel about this trip. I felt all along that I was meant to go to Ghana and the judge requesting my visit confirmed that.

In just one week I will be holding Mercy. What a glorious day that will be! Thank you to everyone who has e-mailed, called, contributed and continues to pray. We are feeling very blessed!
"My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord.
And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.
For just as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so my ways are higher than your ways and
my thoughts higher than your thoughts.
Isaiah 55:8-9

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Consider It Pure Joy

I am sitting here completely stunned tonight after learning that the judge will not award our adoption decree unless I travel to Ghana to appear for court. I am told this ALMOST NEVER happens. Apparently we are just super lucky in the adoption department. I do know it could be worse. Believe me, we've done worse. We are just feeling a bit defeated tonight.

My mind is spinning right now with details of how to get to Ghana next week, what to do with the kids, etc. Last minute tickets are coming in around $2,000 plus in-country expenses. I overnighted my application for an expedited visa tonight.

It's not that I don't want to go and see Mercy. I do. We have been saving for a while now hoping and praying we will have enough money for the pick up trip. We do not have credit cards to fall back on. Our choices are basically to go or walk away. Walking away is not an option so we pretty much need a miracle.

This is not what we were expecting, but thankfully it is not a surprise to God. We are putting our trust in Him to make our path straight. Please pray...

For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.
Jeremiah 29:11-13

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does.
James 1:2-8

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Pray the Date: August 11, 2009

We received information late yesterday that we have been scheduled for court NEXT TUESDAY! There is always a chance it will be delayed, but we are choosing to believe that God will make a way for it to happen. Please join us in praying that court will be held and that our case will be heard.

The last few days I've gotten several reports from someone spending a little time with Miss Mercy. Here are a couple of things she's sent me that make me grin from ear to ear:

I have never seen a kid SOOOO interested in her family picture book. She CONSTANTLY has it in her hands and goes through every picture telling me who is who.

Mercy is beyond wonderful and SO MUCH FUN! Definitely the life of the party! The way she talks is just hilarious! And you can clearly tell just how much she loves you guys! I asked her about her grandmother and she said that she lives around here and her name is .... (I couldn't understand). And then I asked her about her mother and where she lived and she said "She lives in America." When really I was asking about her birth mother:) I think you guys are in for an AMAZING treat with Mercy and she is definitely worth every bit of your struggle to get her home!

Sweet words for this momma's heart indeed!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The State of the Union

When I first heard the phrase "adoption is not for the faint of heart" I could never have imagined the enormity of truth that it contained. The last few days I have been truly struggling - tired, overwhelmed, tears come easily. I have been praying for wisdom. I have been praying for peace. I have been asking God to help me praise Him even when I feel like I can't. I have asked a few close friends to pray specifically for me and I can feel the difference your prayers have made. Today is a new day and thankfully His mercies are new every morning.

Our dossier was fortunate enough to make it to Ghana at a time when the adoption process was beginning to be scrutinized more closely. Of course it is difficult to find fault with that. If I was sending a child off to another country I would want to be sure they were going to be well cared for and loved also.

So where are we at? Waiting for court. Our case cannot go to court until the social welfare report is received and that is not done yet. Another mom I've become friends with is in Ghana right now and had the opportunity to sit in on a meeting with our attorney. He is saying that at this point they are not requiring parents to travel to Ghana for court, but that it couldn't hurt and would most likely be beneficial in the long run. We are praying about when/if I will travel to Ghana and how we will find the resources to do that. We are trying to discern if this is what I am meant to do.

After I started this post I was able to talk with Mercy on Skype. It was such a blessing to hear her bossy little voice (she has no problem saying what's on her mind). She asked when she could come to America and got very sad when it was time to say goodbye. She did have a special request for when I come to Ghana - she wants a pink mesh scrubby for the bath. I think I can handle that one.

Thank you Lord for my praying friends. Thank you Lord for sustaining me during these difficult days of waiting. Thank you Lord for letting me talk to our sweet girl. You are worthy of my praise.
Praise the LORD.
Praise God in his sanctuary;
praise him in his mighty heavens.
Praise him for his acts of power;
praise him for his surpassing greatness.
Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet,
praise him with the harp and lyre,
praise him with tambourine and dancing,
praise him with the strings and flute,
praise him with the clash of cymbals,
praise him with resounding cymbals.
Let everything that has breath praise the LORD.
Praise the LORD.
Psalm 150:1-6

Monday, August 3, 2009

How Do You Spell Efficient? U-S-C-I-S

Back in April I was waiting for USCIS to process our updated country change. I sent them letters. I called them. I e-mailed them week after week after week. No response for WEEKS.

This past weekend I was looking at our updated I-171H for Ghana and noticed the fingerprint expiration date said 10/29/10 instead of the previous 10/29/09. At first I was thrilled at the thought of not having to travel 4 hours to have our fingerprints re-done in October. Reality did set in and trying to avoid any problems down the road I let them know of this potential error via e-mail.

Of course, being the prompt and efficient office that they are I quickly received an e-mail this morning stating: The error in your fingerprint data (10/29/2010 instead of the correct expiration of 10/29/2009) has been amended.

Thanks...I think.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

A Wise & Discerning Heart

I've been having a lot of overwhelming feelings about the adoption, Mercy and going to Ghana. My heart is telling me it's time for me to go there. I struggle because I want any action taken to be God's plan, not mine. My prayer is for a wise and discerning heart. May His will be done.
If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God,
who gives generously to all without finding fault,
and it will be given to him.
But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt,
because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea,
blown and tossed by the wind.
James 1:5-6