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Monday, August 4, 2014

Request from USCIS for "more information"


So we received notice back from USCIS for a "request for more information". Fortunately, Mary is working with our amazing and very kind attorney, Hanifa, in Ghana to pull the requested documents.
It's been a week now since the request came in and I am hopeful that any day now they will be sending me the paperwork.
Also, in the meanwhile, Mary is waiting on the boys' passports to come in. 
Whenever I send frantic messages to Joseph or Askia asking them about the passports or if Mary has done this or that, I always get a very calm, reassuring reply from them something like this: "no worries mum. God is in control and it is all in His time.".
Oh how they continue to teach and inspire me. 
We are kind of in a holding pattern until we pass USCIS. From there we will apply for Visa's and will need to travel to Ghana for Visa interviews and to bring the boys home. 
Please keep us in your prayers as we continue this journey. So many changes have occurred since we began and so many devastating losses. We continue to follow God's calling in our lives and appreciate your love and support.
~Andrea

Monday, May 19, 2014

Everyday God Moments ......

Yesterday's message (at HOPE) was about how God called Moses to lead the Israelites out of Egypt into the Promised Land.  Of course Moses thought it a daunting task and I can just imagine he tried to think of a million reasons why he was not up for the task.   Nonetheless the call was too great for him to ignore and he did as God asked.

Nicole shared how long and hard the struggle was for Moses and that he did not always know the answers or the outcome during this time.   BUT the one thing God did promise Moses was that He would never leave him and Moses would always know His presence in that very moment, and every moment of his journey.

It made me think about our adoption journey and how sometimes I feel the task too daunting and just impossible.  But how all along the way we have seen and felt everyday "God Moments" that just reassure us we are on the right path and doing His will.

Last night I (reluctantly) went with Andy to a work reception at the Governor's Mansion.  He knows how much I hate these types of things and rarely go.  It was a small gathering in the garden and was only supposed to be 90 minutes.

I started talking to this very nice couple and when she asked about my children, I shared ALL of them.  I don't always share with people I've just met about our adoption and I'm not sure why I even did last night but it just came out of my mouth.   Darlene seemed very curious and asked me more about it.  I tried to give the condensed version of "it's been a complete God thing and we were not looking to adopt".  In fact we never felt like we were up to the daunting task but that the force was just so strong and the path so clear and "here we are".

She then began to open up to me about how she had always felt like God had called her to be a foster parent but she feared for years she couldn't do it while raising her 3 children and that it may be too distracting or too difficult on them.   She said she had never shared it with anyone until a recent Bible Study with some other women a little over a year ago.  She said she felt so relieved to have just shared it with others and that the "tug on her heart" had been so great it was difficult for her to ignore it.

Well a week later there was a need at her church for a young 17 yr old boy needing a Foster Family.  Darlene said she knew right then that was her sign and what she was supposed to do.   It's been a year now and she says she doesn't have any regrets at all and the blessings far outweighed the struggles.   She had tears in her eyes when she shared what God had been doing in their lives ever since that day when she answered that call and stepped out in Faith.  We both laughed at all the conversation was just another "God moment" where we get reassurances and feel God's "presence" in random situations.

Moses never knew all the answers; yet he knew God was always present and would never leave him.  Well if it was good enough for Moses than it's more than enough for me today!

Have a wonderful Monday everyone!

~Andrea

Friday, May 16, 2014

Thank You!!!

I cannot thank you all enough for not only the donations but for the very kind messages of support. Reaching out for help is a very humbling and vulnerable place to be. And a place most of us don't feel comfortable. 
This message was a reminder that it is NOT about ME but its about two sweet, faithful boys that call me "mum". 
I am so grateful God selected me for this amazing adoption journey.  My Faith has been tested and stretched but through messages like this one, I know we are doing His will. 
Blessings,  
~Andrea

"Andrea, 
I have followed the Salem's blog for quite awhile allowing her heart toward the orphan to teach me God's heart. But it was your boy's comment about how difficult it was to spent such money on orphans that truly broke my heart and my purse open. For which I am thankful. But I will pray continuously that your boys will know the joy of their worth to God. 
I am truly honored to be a small small part of your journey and will continue to follow your blog. 
Thank you for being open in sharing your life. And please do not hesitate to ask for help In your blog you said you hated to ask. Listen closely, dear sister... If you do not ask, I have no opportunity to be blessed. Don't keep God's blessings from me. It is His plan that these children have a large family who love and pray for them always. 
Lovingly, L"

Monday, May 12, 2014

A litte boy's plea ......

"mum some times i think i should cry because i dont know my light and right i dont when i am going to be with u forvere and i cry everyday de one i think about, its a long to see him and i think some times i lose hope God because mission inposible if i will never be to (usa)and i see u and de family my mind tells me that i have found what i want in my life may lord be with u. be with family, take u to highiet level love u mum"

This was my message from Askia yesterday. I hesitated to share it on here but his message has been tugging at my heart ever since I read it. I wanted to share with you why I am so deeply in love with these two boys.

When I explain to him we are working with new attorneys and getting funds together to send to them for a new court date, this is what he says:

"Sorry it not easy spend money on ophance like us"

Oh but you are SO worth it Askia - in God's eyes and in our hearts!! Mum and dad will NOT give up on you sweetie.

~ Andrea


Thursday, May 8, 2014

Praying for guidance and obedience


It's been a little while since I posted any updates. I can hardly believe it's been over a year now that we have been on this adoption journey.

With all the craziness of our everyday lives, I've actually been wondering if God really knew what He was doing when He called Andy and I to be Joseph and Askia's parents 16 months ago. I understand God doesn't make mistakes but seriously I am wondering "HOW God?"

I got a call from Joseph two weeks ago asking me if he could pray with me over the phone. Joseph knew I had been under a lot of stress at work and knew I had been working a lot of long hours. And he just wanted to pray with me. He asked if I minded if he prayed in Twi. "Of course not" I told him. That boy poured out his heart to God and even though I couldn't understand a word he was saying, i heard "mum" several times and I could hear his heart, his plea and his Faith!!

And that's when I realized no matter how doubtful or unprepared I feel I am, it is not all about me and my fears. God is answering Joseph and Askia's prayers. And if He still feels Andy and I are capable of this mission than I have to believe He is going to work out the details. I am still asking for your prayers for our understanding and for our obedience.

Unfortunately, I just found out that the attorney I met with (in Ghana last May) never filed any of the papers with the courts even though we paid him his required fees. Fortunately Andrew (our Ghanaiian Angel living here in Connecticut) has been assisting us and just recently put us in touch with a new law firm in Ghana (that are his friends) and assure us they will file and complete the necessary paperwork to secure a court date and finalize the adoption Yes, all very good news and we are so very fortunate that Andrew entered our lives last November. Ironically, it was exactly a year after the boys had entered our lives through that blog post - that previous November. Huh, I just realized that. I love God moments like that. :-)

As kind and wonderful as this new firm is, we will be required to come up with the required fees again for them to file the necessary paperwork with the courts and Social Welfare in Ghana. We are hopeful that we will be able to get back some of the money we paid the first attorney but the costs are still very high. It's a very difficult time for us personally right now and I would just ask for your continued prayers as we navigate this journey and know just what to do for our family - both here and across the world.

~Andrea

Friday, January 24, 2014

An angel named Andrew

I've been hesitant to share too much about my last couple of phone calls from Nana and her husband because quite honestly I just wasn't sure how serious they were and really how much they could do for us. But I feel like I need to give God the praise in all of this because there is clearly no other reason any of this is happening.

So last week I received an email from Nana asking me to call her as she and her husband "had an update" for me with regards to our adoption. Of course I called but really had no expectations at all. I believed they wanted to help but I really had no idea what they were capable of or what kind of connections they had. So I remained reluctantly optimistic.

Nana answered the phone and quickly suggested I speak with her husband who could explain recent events better than she. Her husband says hello like we're old friends. He apologizes for not calling sooner but says he wanted to wait until there was some real progress to report back to us. He goes on to say that his lawyers have met with the our attorney in Kumasi as well as the Director of Social Services in Kumasi. He tells me his lawyers are petitioning the court on our behalf and that if they don't make any head way in Kumasi, they will go straight to the Court in Accra.

He spoke with such authority and confidence. I was so taken aback at what this 'stranger' was saying to me, I was speechless. All I could say was "How can I ever thank you, re-pay you. I don't even know your name." "First", he said, "my name is Andrew and you don't owe me a thing." "God brought us together. I have the means to help you and that's what I am here to do for you." Of course I am near sobbing at this point. Rarely am I at a loss for words but clearly there are no words in my mind that convey what my head and heart are feeling at this moment. I mean, this man is giving of his time and resources to help a total stranger. Only God makes such a thing like this happen.

I continue to tell him how thankful I am and I have no idea how I can ever re-pay him for his kindness. He reassures me that it is no accident his wife called PoshTots that day and it was no accident I answered the phone. In my heart I know this is the only thing that makes any sense at all. And for a split second, I pictured God up there in Heaven chuckling at the look on my face as Andrew and I put all of this together. "Silly girl", says God, "don't you know I part seas and move mountains". "This is nothing for me, ye of little Faith," "Oh, but I do have Faith," I say. And I know this is all You, God!!!

As I sit here tonight trying to figure out exactly "how, if and when" all of this will work out, I am turning it over and learning to Trust. If not for myself, I will Trust for two amazing boys on the other side of the world who desperately want a family of their own. Joseph and Askia, my loves, I promise I will not give up on you. You have a mother, father, two sisters and a brother who love you so very much and pray daily for you to come home.

~ Andrea

Saturday, December 28, 2013

An un-expected phone call .....

So I have not updated here in a while. Unfortunately we are still just waiting for the Director of Social Welfare to open cases back up again so that we can request a court date in Kumasi.


In the meanwhile, we talk to the boys at least once or twice a week. They are hopeful and happy and continue to ask when we will be coming back to see them.


I have been feeling so helpless lately; not knowing who to turn to for help or even what to ask.
So two weeks ago, I was working, had just received a text from Mary assuring me she was still checking in with Social Services regularly but that there was no change. I literally hit my knees in my office and wept and asked God to please just help in any way. And I asked Him what it was I was supposed to do. I just couldn't believe He had brought me this far for this adoption to fall apart.


This was on Thursday November 12th. Within 15 mins of my text and prayer, I received a phone call from a customer. I was helping with the Customer Service Lines at PoshTots because we were short staffed on that day. I answered the phone to a very polite pregnant woman asking about a cradle. After a couple minutes, I had to ask where she was from because I recognized that beautiful accent. "I'm from Africa", she replied. I asked "where in Africa". Of course my heart sank because I knew what her reply was going to be. "Ghana", she says. I then proceeded to tell her about my connection and visit to Ghana and how much I loved her country, the people and two young boys in particular.


She then asked me what "region" I stayed in when there. I said the Ashanti Region. She then tells me she is from Kumasi and her father still lives there. He is a physician and owns a hospital. I am in tears and she is clearly shaken up too. She tells me she never calls companies and prefers to shop online. She said she had a strong urge to call and talk with someone that day. As I explained I typically don't answer the CS lines, I only answered that day because we were busy. Clearly, God is laughing while the two of us are bantering back and forth and this crazy connection.


Okay, so let's fast forward to today. Nana has since contacted her father, who has contacted two lawyers who have also gone to the orphanage to meet with Mary and see the boys. I just received an email from her yesterday with pictures of the boys and Luvis and Vasty too. You see, because her fathers friends had difficulty getting Mary on the phone, they drove to Offinso to meet Mary in person and discuss our situation with her. I am teary just typing this again. I just cannot believe how incredibly generous this was.


I thanked Nana over and over again for all she and her father had done. She then proceeded to tell me that her father had offered to sign an affidavit of support for the court as he is very well known and respected in Kumasi. I just don't even know what to say other than God is still at work here and I still remain HOPEFUL!!


Below are the pictures that Nana's father emailed me of his visit at the orphanage. It breaks my heart to see the kids so sad and solemn. Also seeing the conditions of the orphanage just make me so sad too. Please continue to keep our family in your prayers!


~ Andrea