Monday, November 22, 2010

Out of the Proverbial Loop

For the past month my brain has been swirling with blog posts; blog posts that didn't happen. There are blogs I adore, but haven't had time to read. School has been busy. Right now I am taking English composition. I am constantly writing: essays, paragraphs, discussion questions, responding to discussion questions, etc. I am learning a lot, but also feel like all of this darn learning is cutting into my fun. I guess responsibility trumps fun (for now).

I remember this time last year I was feeling a lot of anguish because Mercy was not home yet. Oh how I ached for her to be home for Thanksgiving and Christmas, but it wasn't meant to be. The old saying "Hindsight is 20/20" certainly rings true when I think about that. Her coming home over the holidays would have been a complete disaster. Thankfully God knew that and had my back, as usual. I love it when He saves me from myself.

I'm looking forward to enjoying the holidays with my amazing husband and kiddos. The Christmas light are all up, Thanksgiving groceries are purchased, and I've even put a good dent in the Christmas shopping.

Life has settled into a rather predictable routine at our house and most days it all just feels very normal. As normal as it can be with four kids anyway. My days are filled with caring for my family, school work and wondering what plans God has for me next. I am longing to return to Ghana. I miss the way I can focus on what's really important when I'm not stuck in my warm, cozy bubble. I guess I'm just crazy like that.

I hope to get caught up with everyone's happenings soon. Please say hello while you are here (I miss y'all). Wishes for peace, love, and a blessed Thanksgiving to you all!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Perfect Timing

My heart is heavy for many friends currently waiting for their children to come home. I remember very clearly the agony of waiting. The longing and having a hard time understanding why it was taking so long. The end is the close, yet so far away.

Over and over again I heard how God's timing was perfect. It was something I knew without a doubt in my head, but my heart had a bit more trouble digesting that statement. People would say it with the best of intentions, but it stung. I didn't want to hear those words because they echoed with triteness in my ears.

My friends, you WILL get the call. The pain of the wait WILL end and you may very well find yourself wondering why God thought you were competent enough to handle this in the first place. You may even contemplate why it wasn't dragged out a little longer (but I know you can't believe that now).

Take heart, dear ones, as the wait and setbacks are all part of the plan. Cry. Ache. Long for your children. Pray and maybe even beg. It's all good & necessary. God is in control.
"I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in His word I put my hope." - Psalm 130:5

Thursday, October 14, 2010


Mercy Joy Salzwedel turns 7 today and she is certainly FULL of joy! She has hardly skipped a beat since coming home. She loves to draw, play outside & take HOT showers. She almost always has a smile on her face.

We are so blessed that you are home and we can celebrate with you this year instead of from afar. Happy birthday precious are loved!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Six Months

It's been six months since Mercy came home. I'd love to say it seems like just yesterday, but I am happy to report that it feels like a lifetime ago.

I struggled a great deal after she arrived with post-adoption depression. Thankfully it didn't last long, but it was quite miserable nonetheless. No one wants to work hard & sacrifice much to get their child home and then sit around all day crying feeling like you've just made the worst mistake of your life. I am SO thankful it's not that way now. So thankful!

Mercy has adjusted amazingly well. She is confident & bright and almost always has a smile on her face.

I have been so blessed by this process - the people I've met, the way God provided for Mercy to come home, the way my perspective has been changed by the places I've gone and the things I've seen. If I sit down and really try to soak it all in it just blows me away.

I'll conclude with a passage from the devotional "Hope for the Journey An Adoption Companion" from Shaohannah's Hope:
The adoption journey is not easy, but every hour of toil, every obstacle encountered, every tear shed, every sleepless night - all are but a shadow of the price that God paid for us. Jesus came to be a ransom for many, and if God was willing to pay that ransom for us, how much more will He be willing to lead us in ransoming His beloved children from their state as orphans? And it is His love that compels us onward in obedience, whatever the cost, for He who calls us is faithful. Our God who owns the cattle on a thousand hills, who is rich in mercy and grace, who generously provides for all that we need, this God knows the costs we will incur, and promises to be with us and for us every step of the way. This is about faith in action. This is an invitation to experience God in ways we've never experienced Him before.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

He's Come a Long Way Baby

You wouldn't know it by looking at the picture, but the first few times Mr. B spent time with black children in our home he was a bit freaked out. Gasp!

My friend Sally came to visit with her two boys who were born in Ghana and to say he was a bit standoffish would be an understatement.

The truth is that our town is just not that diverse. There is a bit of Asian culture, but predominantly you see people with Hispanic heritage. There just aren't that many African American families here (much to my dismay, but that's a whole 'nother post). So in his defense it was just something he hadn't really had the opportunity to become familiar with. It was different and he didn't know what to make of it.

Fast forward almost six months and it is so beautiful to see him not give a second thought of it. Mercy is his sister...his buddy. I really didn't know how they would get along and thought he would probably be the most disgruntled with her arrival. When she gets dropped off at school in the morning Mercy always hugs him and says, "See you later little buddy". He hugs her back and tells her he will miss her and that makes this momma's heart pretty darn happy.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

How Do You Miss Someone You Don't Know?

I often wondered how I would feel if and when I got the news that my father had died. It was three years ago today when I got the call. I remember reading the funeral home online guest book and feeling like it was the first glimpse I was getting of his life. People sharing kind words to which I could not relate.

I have but one memory of time with my father. I was in my early 20's and visiting family in West Virginia when we met. I was young and immature (even though I didn't think so at the time) and I was meeting my father who was really just a stranger who shared my DNA. I couldn't really take it all in. I was numb for the most part and simply trying to wrap my brain around the encounter with people I was to call father, sister, grandparent, aunt and uncle. I didn't & couldn't understand the significance of the opportunity until many years later.

Honestly, if it weren't for a Facebook status I wouldn't have even remembered it was the anniversary of his death. So today I will mourn just a bit, not for the father I didn't know, but for the possibility of a relationship that never was.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Value of an Education

As you may or may not know, there is another precious girl in Ghana that stole my heart. Her name is Rebecca and she would like very much to go to school.

We have so many options for school here in America - public, private, Christian, home school, alternative schools, etc. We are blessed that if we cannot afford private school that a public education is FREE for everyone. The only way for Rebecca to go to school is to pay for it and I'm hoping you'll join me in making this happen. Her tuition for the year is around $400.

She lives in a wonderful foster home that wants to send her to school. Can you imagine having to decide between sending your child to school or eating?

I am committed to contributing and raising the remaining funds needed for Rebecca to go to school. You could give up just one latte - $5 would make a difference! I hope you will join me and make the dream of an education happen for this precious girl.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

A Great Day to be FIVE!

Mr. B turned 5 today. Oh gosh, I love that kid! You know I love ALL my kids, but he is the BABY and so there is just something special about that right now.

He is moody, demanding, silly, athletic, loving and so much more. He is the tiniest little peanut of a five year old, but thinks he has the strength of a lion and that he can do anything. He has attitude, but loves his mama like no other (and for right now I will just keep lapping that up, thank you very much).

He loves trucks and heavy equipment and will correct me if I call something the wrong name. How dare you call a front end loader an excavator, mom! He loves sports of all kinds. I'll admit he likes older girls in bikinis a little too much for a five year old and I fully expect that may make him a bit of a handful when he is a teenager.

He is Mr. B. He is five. He's my buddy. Happy Birthday precious boy!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Back to School

I would say our first week back to school has been a success. The kids all love their teachers and I have somehow managed to get all four of them to three different locations on time. Mr. B only has school for 3 hours, four morning a week. That has been great so I have quiet time to work on my homework. I think we are on track to have a great school year!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

August, I Barely Knew Ye

August was so jammed packed with "stuff" that we barely had time to think. I envisioned a lazy, relaxing month, but instead felt harried with a nonstop pace. I looked back at my calendar and there was one day that didn't have anything on it. One. stinkin'. day. I'm guessing that day actually had something too, but I probably forgot to enter it.

Delaney had play practice every weeknight for a production of Willy Wonka Jr. Before that ended tennis practice started at the high school every day for a couple of hours.

Mercy and Keaton started soccer on Sunday afternoons. They are both doing great and have really nice coaches this year.

All four kids had open houses and registrations to attend for their respective schools (along with piles of paperwork and forms).

Doctors appointments, car appointments, a wedding, a day at the lake, a day trip to Green Bay, a weekend in Madison. Yada, yada, yada....

Anywho, since I didn't think I had enough on my plate, I decided that it was high time I went to college. I never went after high school and I certainly did OK for myself, but it has always felt like something I should do. When I applied for financial aid it came back that a pell grant would pay for the whole enchilada so it was pretty much a no-brainer. I've taken my placement test and registered for classes that start tomorrow evening. I'm going to give it my best shot and see what happens.

So that was our crazy August. I'm looking at the September calendar and it looks WAY more empty. Thank God. I guess you could say our summer vacation went out with a bang!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Y'all Are About to be Jealous

I interrupt this crazy, busy, blogging-free month of August for some excitement that just can't wait to be shared.

Yesterday we had the opportunity to meet up with some other adoptive families. I just can't tell you how refreshing it is to spend time with other people who have families just like ours. Each time I have met another blogger/adoptive mom the relationship goes from being "cyber" to "in-real-life" seamlessly. It is not at all like meeting strangers, but old friends.

So the amazing and wonderful Sarah hosted a fantastic meal at her home and we were lucky enough to be invited. All the kids played beautifully together while the moms and dads talked and talked and talked. Bliss!

Left to right:
Angie - Blogless & fabulous all the same

Thanks ladies for an incredible day!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Brown is Stinky

I did my own version of an old social experiment recently. While shopping, Mercy was looking at two nearly identical dolls. The only difference was that one was brown and one was white. I asked her very nonchalantly which doll she preferred. She looked them both over and proclaimed that the white one was "so cute" and the brown one was "stinky".

Break. my. heart.

We talk routinely about how we are different on the outside, but the same on the inside. We talk about how even though she is brown and we are white that God brought our family together and made us ALL good. We've read books celebrating a diversity of colors, and yet here is my brown daughter saying that "brown is stinky".

We do talk about race in our house openly. I think it is silly to pretend that we are colorblind. We choose instead to celebrate our differences, than pretend they don't exist. I'll never forget the look on her face when I told Mercy there were a lot of white people who paid good money to get their skin more brown. Clearly, that was the craziest thing she had ever heard.

Mercy has told me that when she was a baby she was white (really?!). She's also said she wished she had a brown mom & dad, not a different mom and dad than us per se, just that she wished that WE were brown. I don't know if she just wants to "fit in" (in her mind) or if she just wants no distinction between her and the rest of our family.

It's tough. I want her to be completely & utterly proud of her beautiful brown skin.

So how do you celebrate diversity or teach your children to be proud of who they are? I'd love to get a good dialogue going on this subject. Respectful comments appreciated!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Lessons from a Waterpark

1) Not everyone is meant to wear a bikini. I never think body shape/size should prohibit people from doing the things they want to do. Everyone should be able to put on a swimming suit and enjoy time at a pool with their family. Alot of people would look really nice in a one piece, but a two piece...not so much.

2) More folks should care about the modesty of their teen girls. I saw many young teenage girls with a whole lot of their "stuff" on display. It makes me a bit sad that this is the norm and readily accepted.

3) It's great (and necessary) to spend time with our older kids alone. Because they are not as "needy" as the littles it's easy to overlook them. We are so blessed to have such great big kids at our house and it's important to remind them just how great they are.

Monday, July 12, 2010


We had an amazing weekend gathering together with other families who have children that were adopted from Ghana. There is something so special about being with other families who look like you do. It's like an instant connection and felt like meeting old friends instead of strangers. No awkwardness, just the common bond of being a multi-racial adoptive family.

above photo from

Our gathering was held in Freeport, IL, and let me tell you this little town has a lot to offer. Friday night we enjoyed a picnic and a game of ball at Little Cubs Field. On Saturday we spent most of the day at Krape Park enjoying Ghanaian songs & games, food, playing, paddle boating & the carousel. In the afternoon we went to Park Hills Church to participate in an African Drumming Circle and in the evening we got together at a local families home to enjoy more food, fun, & fellowship.

Thank you to everyone who planned this special gathering. Many wonderful friends and memories were made!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010


Mercy was reunited today with two of her friends from Ghana. At first they didn't quite know what to make of seeing each other here in America. They very quickly warmed up and had a fun time playing together. Mercy was in the same children's home as the boys for some time. What a blessing to see old friends again in a new place!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

A Nearly Impossible Task

I have determined that it is nearly impossible to take a good group picture with four children. Someone is either sulking, looking the other direction, or making a silly face. If you have four or more children and manage to get some good shots, I officially salute you.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

How She Sees Herself

When Mercy started school on April 23rd they did a portfolio of what she knew. Part of that was drawing a picture of herself. I was amazed to compare the latest self-portrait to the one she did just five weeks prior. I think it is interesting that in the first picture she used only one color and that she didn't draw herself with arms or a mouth. In the second picture she is colorful and all body parts are intact. She really is doing great!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010


From the moment I met her last August I had a special connection with another sweet girl from Ghana. I've been blessed to spend time with quite a few orphaned children in my travels, but never have I been so burdened for a child.

I think about her all the time. I pray for a family for her. I see her potential and her sweetness. I feel her arms around me and hear her begging me not to go because she will be sad. She deserves a chance at something more.

Will you take a moment to pray for precious Rebecca today? I pray God will answer my prayers for her and bring her to a loving home.

'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'
Jeremiah 29:11

Thursday, June 3, 2010

You Can Make a Difference

Update: What a mighty God we serve! He provided $2600 in 24 hours for this family to get to Ghana! Need met...amazing!

Another adoptive family needs to travel to Ghana in the next couple of days to finally pick up the two new additions to their family. They are completely relying on God to provide for the remainder of their needs.

I've been in this position and I quickly found out that God is never early or late...He is right on time. Would you consider a $5 or $10 (or more) donation to bring these children home? You can play an important part in their lives where they will no longer be called "orphan", but son & daughter.

Visit and donate here today (pretty please)!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Why I Feel Weird When People Ask How We're Doing

In a word...pressure. I feel a great amount of pressure when people ask how we are doing.

I would place the "askers" in three categories:
  1. People who didn't think we should have adopted in the first place, are waiting to hear horror stories about how our family has been turned upside down, and can't wait to say, "I told you so". Tisk tisk.
  2. People who want me to say that things are all sunshine and roses and that I must be smiling all the time and skipping joyfully about my day because my dream has come true. To say anything to the contrary of this brings about a look of shock & dismay. Oh my!
  3. People who know us, love us, and have genuine concern for how things are going. These people are perfectly happy to hear both the good and the bad and don't judge us based on the response of that moment.

Askers one and two are HIGH pressure (at least for me). Thankfully the majority of people are in category three. It's really pretty easy to distinguish who's asking for what reason. If you are in category 3, ask anything you like and we are happy to answer. We love that you care and we love that you love us no matter what our response is.

No child, by birth or adoption, is pure joy 100% of the time. Children are complex little buggars who require a lot of work. Add to that my own baggage & issues...aye, aye, aye. Someone recently said to me that parenting kids is the best worst job ever. True that!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Somethings Brewin'

I have a lot of posts brewing in my head. I think of something I want to write about and try to come up with a semi-clever title. When I sit down to write my thoughts I feel uninspired, type a few sentences, and promptly quit.

I've Started Things Like:
Why I Feel Weird When People Ask How We're Doing
I'm Not Colorblind
Please Don't Put Her on a Pedestal
God Will Tell Us When We're Done
We're Not Heroes
Life...Normal, but Not

I think it's mostly because life just feels pretty hectic right now. In addition to adjusting to our new normal, there are just SO MANY activities going on with school wrapping up. Not to mention dentist and doctor appointments up the wazoo. I don't like this fast paced, go, go, go life. I'm not cut out for it and it is showing.

I'm ready for relaxed bedtimes and meals. I'm ready for no homework or packing lunches. I'm ready for life to slow down just a bit. Bring on the summer!

Monday, May 10, 2010


Believe it or not, we had snow Friday night. Huge flakes falling from the sky in MAY! It was fun to see Mercy experience her first (of many) snowfalls. Let's hope the next one doesn't come until November or so.