Sunday, January 31, 2010

They are....bald!!

:) I spoke with Tanis yesterday...and C and Z on skype. I noticed a difference that they totally were excited to talk to Mama! Especially Z. He's got the shyer voice but he yelled out "HI MAMA" :)

Tanis got their hair cut then came home and did what she has been tempted to do. She totally shaved them with a razor!! hahha. She loves it. I'm sure they look adorable. Honestly..their hair...is kind of impossible. Don't think 'cool afro' think tight, dry, knots on their head. You are supposed to comb it so we did...and they cried. Both times the one Tanis combed, cried :( I kinda smiled.

I received an email from our social worker, Chris as well. He said they have not heard from the head office in Lusaka yet regarding our court date. We are still waiting and praying for early March.

**11 days left to give any amount towards the upcoming costs of our adoption and have your gift DOUBLED by a matching grant from Lifesong! Your gift is tax deductible and you can give it even via paypal. go to www.LifesongForOrphans.org We estimate our expenses needed by March to be a minimum of $7500. **

Thank you to all of you for following our story and most importantly, praying with us.


Saturday, January 30, 2010

"Though the world sees and soon forgets...."

If you've never heard of Kim Walker-Smith, look her up on YouTube. She's a Christian artist with a group called "Jesus Culture". We love her singing. Seriously gifted. Sings heart and soul.

When I left Lusaka, I was tired. Going 2 weeks on very little sleep...now on a 10 hour flight...what else would I do but sleep. Right? Well everytime I closed my eyes...my whole self was singing. Not the oh-so-soothing-singing to ease myself into sleep...but the type of singing where I was crying out for it to stop. Definitely past the point of annoyance. Several hours in, I went to the bathroom just to give myself a shake. I prayed. And cried that God would just let me sleep. Give me sleep. And really....remove this song from my brain. I'm sure there was a message...but I promised to think of it later and link it together. I went back to my seat and it was worse. Have you ever had this happen? Its no longer a "song stuck in your head" its a "Ok God what are you telling me?". I pulled out my iPhone and tried to find the song. I closed my eyes and listened to it.




Where you go I go
What you say I say
What you pray I pray
[Repeat 2x]

Jesus only did, What he saw you do
He would only say, What he heard you speak
He would only move, When he felt you lead
Following your heart, Following your spirit

How could I expect to walk without you
When every move that Jesus made was in surrender
[ Find more Lyrics on http://mp3lyrics.org/kvEF ]
I would not begin to live without you
For you alone are worthy you are always good

You are always good
You are always good
Always good
Always good

[Bridge]
Though the world sees and soon forgets
We will not forget
Who you are and what you've done for us
What you've done for us



I listened to it twice.
Back to back. The line that
had been going through
my head for now hours was
the last one:
"Though the world sees and
soon forgets....We will not
forget who You are and
what You've done for us"
Little did I know how difficult
this would be to really
penetrate my life. Yes I saw
things that were life changing.
Perspective changing. Made
me have heart committments.
How many of us see and soon
forget? We separate the two.
One is Africa. One is America.
They don't mix. We rationalize
it all. What if we let what we
see impact us? Change us? I
was so touched by
Africa. I have been to Mexico
several times. I have seen the
poverty.
I was touched. Moved.
Nothing could prepare me for
Africa. Every day I have been
focussed on remembering.
Many see and soon forget...
can I commit to "I will not forget
who You are and what You've
done for us"...?
Africa--Change me.

Funny enough--after thinking
this through on the plane the
song was gone.
It never came back to mind again.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

13 days left to give and have your gift doubled.

I want to start out with a heartfelt "thank you" to all of you that prayed for me and our family for the last two weeks. It was an emotional journey that even now, I look back on and go "How did I do that?" I know, for sure, God was with me in a very real way every step.

Honestly, your prayer support trumps all. It truly does and I believe that.

There are financial needs and I want to let you know how you and your family can be a huge part in bringing C and Z home to WA. It looks like we will be ready to finalize the adoption and travel back to Zambia early March. Right now, that looks overwhelming $-wise. We need about $7500 to accomplish that. Every little bit helps and especially because whatever you give, will be DOUBLED by Lifesong. When your $10 gift turns into $20...or your $50 gift turns into $100...or your $100 gift turns into $200 ... you can see the huge impact that will have.

We only have 13 days left with our grant. The deadline is February 10. You may recall they are offering us a $3000 MATCHING grant. Many of you have congratulated us on this grant...seemingly thinking it was simply a GRANT...a GIFT. It is not. It is a MATCHING grant. Meaning...all gifts up to a total of $3000 will be matched 100% by Lifesong. No gifts=no grant.

We are humbling ourselves to ask you to help. God has provided in such random ways so far but He has also touched certain individuals' hearts to give. We have been moved in the deepest way to see Him provide each way. My original flight was paid 100% by our fundraiser and a family that were moved to give to us December 26 while reading our blog.

Giving is easy through Lifesong. If you live in the USA it is tax deductible. If you are in Canada it is still the best way to give simply because your gift is doubled. Go to www.LifesongForOrphans.org and make sure your donation specifies "Dean and Janice Walker Adoption".

Not all families are called to adopt. There are ways each of us can support those of us who have been called and be a part of what God is doing in bringing orphans home all over the world.

"I will not leave you as orphans, I will come to you". Will you help?

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Day 12

Day 12 starts with my day in London which I talked about a bit on my "day 11" post.

My flight was at 2:40pm London time. They started boarding at like 1:15. It was the strangest way to board...ever. I guess I've never gone international back to the USA...some serious heightened security!!! So the boarding process was divide into men and women lines. Then with you carry-ons (we had already gone through security) we were hand checked. Our bags dumped. Frisked etc. Then we walked into a tunnel that LOOKED LIKE we were boarding a plane. Not quite. We went downstairs into security again. Then we walked forever til we got outside and we boarded a bus marked Seattle. ....? We were CRAMMED into 3 buses. Going to be a full flight. We drove over to our plane and then boarded. I was on the aisle seat of a row of three. The row of 3 behind us was empty so I asked the girl in the middle seat if she wanted it. She did. Well we found out why these 3 seats were only empty seats on the plane (!!) none of the tv's worked! :) Oh well. the girl didn't mind, she slept!

So in the window seat was a sweet girl from India. Rather terrified looking. She really clung to me. It was her first time on a plane..>EVER and here she was...10 hours from India to London and now 10 hours from London to Seattle...>alone. Nice. When we took off I thought she was going to faint!! She asked me "is it ok is it ok?":) The flight was pretty good. It was strange in that we are leaving at 2:40pm London time and arriving at 4pm Seattle time. So we saw the sky go black then bright day again quickly...meanwhile in the middle of the night for us. I only napped maybe 30-40 minutes. It was a light nap. I read the entire book Tanis gave me (book #5 in what...a week?). I watched a few movies, the selection was poor.

It was interesting to watch our route on our screen. 38,000 feet. Cutting right across Greenland then northern Canada, down to Calgary and then down to Seattle. It was a little rough over Greenland but all in all a smooth flight...

The most dramatic 15 minutes of 20 hours flying time...was the last 15 minutes coming in for a landing. I get shivers thinking about it.

So we are coming in for a landing. Everything is good. Indian girl is delighted. So am I. Finally there. Cloudy day in Seattle. Watching cars, houses. Engine is roaring. Then in a surreal moment the plane takes this SHARP upward thrust...we are just seeing sky!! Your stomach was left somewhere near the runway. There was a "ahhhhhhhhhh" sound throughout the plane...people looked terrified. My heart was pounding violently. WHAT JUST HAPPENED!?!? When do you come down for landing (last I had looked we were under 1000 feet altitude!! ) and then totally take off again...sharply??? Oh. My. Goodness. I know its difficult to give the picture of what happened. We are landing then suddenly going back up through the clouds, fast. Instantly I honestly thought terrorism :(. Was the pilot a joke? about 3 minutes later (lady from India and I are still holding hands!!) the pilot comes on the speaker and says "So sorry about that...there was a tiny plane that came out of no where and cut right in front of us and landed...the control tower did not see it and told me to quick get back up in the sky even though we were on our final approach--we need to circle around for 15 minutes to land again. We are so sorry for the scare!" The lady behind me from Scottland is not doing well. She kept swearing saying "oh my we were going to die" it was pretty traumatic. I had completely blacked out...the lady from India said "I've never seen someone's face go so many shade of color so quickly". I'm sure I had. My heart instantly was thanking God for His protection. Can you imagine...??? I was shaking so bad even when we got off I though I may need to go vomit. Security was insane when we got off. I got all my luggage!!! But it had to go through security TWICE before I could take it out to the car!!! Bryon and Joni were waiting for me. I was so excited to be on American soil.

We did stop at McDonalds on the way because I had not eaten in 12 hours. Coming home was so sweet. The kids had a huge welcome home banner in the living room for me. They were all fresh out of the bath and the smiles, especially Azahria's (who seemed shocked that I actually reappeared in her life!) were priceless.

I finally tried to go to bed at 3am (Africa is 10 hours behind) and it was pretty useless. In the end I got 4 hours sleep and was up bright and early at 7:30 and got Tirzah ready for school. I took all the kids with me as they all wanted to come. Tirzah was excitedly wearing her new African necklace that Mama bought her.

What a trip. What a crazy trip.

Thank you God. From the bottom of my heart. For all you gave. I was completely in Your hands the entire time and thats where my peace came from. "When my world is shaking...Heaven stands. When my heart is breaking...I never leave your hand".


Day 11

My last full day in Africa.

We woke to a beautiful morning at our 'resort'. I was up way too early...what's new? Sleep deprived would be putting it mildly for me this trip. I was happy when I would get 5 hours sleep a night. And it was never uninterrupted. I woke several times throughout the night. At our resort I slept with the boys :) It was a bit risky for a few reasons but one being they have never been in a bed before...so Tanis was pretty sure they would roll off. Not at all. They just rolled towards me :)

We all got ready and headed out to the dining area for breakfast. Some strange things happened....

first of all....we saw some staff walking down the street with a platter of our breakfast. ....? I guess they cooked it at home. Odd. :) Then while I was most enjoying my toast since bread seemed to be non existent at Tanis' house ;) I reached into the napkin folded around our fresh toast for one more slice...only to see a very alive, very big, very black, very moving BUG (beetle like under the toast IN the napkin. I don't think I was breathing well because Tanis kept saying "breathe Janice, breathe..." she had no idea just how controlled my reaction was!!! She is terrified of mice/rats I'm terrified of bugs/spiders/flying things. AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH. So I was quickly 'full' and took the boys to the pool. Again the pool was cloudy because of rain the night before but GORGEOUS@!!! Ok these boys are FISH. Fearless Fish. Yup. Incredible. They love it!! We swam for a while, sometimes cold as the sun would be clouded over but when it came out we fried.

We then packed up and headed on our way. We were happy to see we got a 20% discount b/c it was a weekend ....(??) so including our very nice dinner the night before...and breakfast (minus large black critter in toast)...and our sleep it came to about $50 USD each. beat that!

We headed on our way to Lusaka~! Interesting city. Chingola was much prettier to me...Lusaka seemed so crowded. We went to Tanis' favorite place for lunch, was very nice. Especially my mocha milkshake ;)

We after a few stops, headed to the market. Ok...this was F.A.B.U.L.O.U.S.! After sticking with Tan for a bit seeing how tough she was with bartering, I was ready to go!! I bought several things for our African living room, gifts for the children etc. Tanis suprised me with a GORGEOUS late Christmas gift. I had said how much I loved this huge Giraffe bench...then I see her coming towards me with it. How in the world was I going to get this home...? Hilarious!!! I was so excited about it!

We ate lunch there, it was very nice. It was such a different culture than "in the bush". Very westernized. Couples sitting together,holding hands. Women wearing jeans.

We stayed there several hours til I had finished shopping, pretty much :) We then got pizza and headed to the Flying Missions Guest House where we would be staying for the night. Mary-Anne (the pilot's wife from Chitoloki) was there with her children so it was nice to visit with her. The packing began. And...the serious job of wrapping our gift from Tanis!! We had to get up very early for my flight.

Z was not himself tonight. He cried all through his shower..just cried. He did get a little bump but Tanis said he's tough and rarely cries unless he's very very hurt. She wondered if it was a combo of tiredness and knowing Mama was leaving the next day. He had asked Tanis several questions about my leaving during the day.

I slept relatively well...all things considering.

We were up early and packed the car. Loaded in...only to find...the car had no power. Unbelievable. Absolutely unbelievable. We tried push starting it...yes Tamako and I pushing it...no go. So Tamako ran into the house to wake Mary-Anne and ask for her vehicle. Seriously. Never a dull moment here. We reloaded and were on our way. Z was so extremely touchy and cuddly the whole way to the airport. He was rubbing my arms and snuggled up completely. C kept staring at me like I was going to disappear before his eyes. I was sad. Yet happy. Strangest emotions.

We said good bye at the gate...Z gave me a long, warm hug. He's so much like Zion. Then there's C. Too funny to give a serious hug :) But I watched them look at me for a long time. Especially Z. They both said "I love you" and I was on my way. I told them I'd be back very very soon to bring them home with me.

There you have it! I boarded my plane for London. It was very empty. Lots of space to stretch out. You know I didn't sleep. 10 hours. I napped maybe 45 minutes or so.

It was pretty bumpy and at times I noticed myself quite tense. I'll tell you with these 2 trips to Africa, God is keeping me on my knees. I was very relieved to land in London. I honestly did not enjoy the flight at all :( In London I met up with Melody...a friend from Canada who has been living there the past 5+ years with her family. She had her sweet baby Christopher with her. Oh-important note...long story kept very short...I was wearing a short sleeved shirt with flipflops and no carryon. Yah. London is not exactly Africa. People were looking at me like I was a tad crazy.

We had a nice dinner at Melody's house with her sweet family then off to bed. I again had a difficult time falling to sleep. But once asleep, slept better than I had been.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Day 10

Day 10 in Africa. My second last day. It started with leaving Sharon's
house and getting on the road. Our first stop was Kitwe~where we
stopped for food. We had these grilled chicken and veggie wraps, the
boys had chicken and fries. We ate on the road. Then we went to
Endola...which...is where the boys great aunt was staying for the last
few months at her daughter's house. This has been there main caregiver
for 5 years. I was excited about seeing her. She came out of the house
all smiles and Jacob did smile and go in her arms (Z) but C...not so
much. He wasn't that please when she picked him up anyway. We went
inside the house and were immediately offered Shima.Tan told them we had
just eaten. They said we MUST drink the Coke they had prepared for us.
The daughter's husband works for Coke and gets 86 free bottles a month
:) So we drank our coke, had a little visit, snapped tons of pictures. I
didn't see any bond...she wasn't cuddling the kids nor were they
gravitating towards her. I asked for some pics with me as well as we
left. Their comments while we were there were: we appreciate how much
you care for these boys and how they will now get a good education in
america. She did say that our family and her family have both been
equally responsible for raising the twins and they she hopes they will
always remember their home country, Zambia, and their biological family.
Tanis told her she was glad to hear that because I have said the same
thing. We plan to go back with our whole family in a few years and
definitely keep in contact with their family and never forget their
culture. We are even going to try to keep their language up.

We then got back in the car and headed toward our resort. We've heard
great reviews about this place so Tanis decided to try it. Its a full
house on a quiet street. Well manicured lawns, MASSIVE banana tree in
our back yard. We were disappointed that it was so westernized! We kind
of wanted grass roof...very African. Anyway we had several laughs over
it because its amenities were...lacking. Full cable tv...4 channels. 2
are sports, one is news. Full wireless internet and we had no
connection. One tiny towel per person. We headed out for our dinner
and that was gorgeous!!! Dining was outside, dinner cooked over open
fire. The pool was right in front of us and GORGEOUS!! We are looking
forward to a swim this morning.

We did finally get a weak internet connection and were able to video
Skype home to Dean and the children. The emotions of this trip! I
instantly started to cry when I saw them. Its like as a mom I have this
fear I will forget them. I stare at pictures of them all everyday as if
it could be true. I simply cannot wait to be home.

I decided to sleep with C and Z last night. They have never slept on a
bed. Ever. Tanis didn't think it was a good idea but I thought now was
as good of a time as any :) They were fine. Thrashed around a bit but
nothing I'm not used to with Zion and Azlan ;) They are still sleeping.
Tanis just got up.Its a GORGEOUS morning which we are excited about b/c
often the morning will be rainy. We have to leave at 11:30 or so. We
have a 45 minute drive to Lusaka and we are looking forward to going to
the big market there this afternoon. This is my last day with the twins
and let me say...its been better than I could have imagined. Try
bonding in 2 wks with 5.5 year old boys that speak another language!! I
think they have done well. We all have. They will put my hand on their
arm or I'll notice them rubbing my arm. If I look at them, its over :)
They are boys after all. I have not seen Z (Jacob) smile so much even
on pictures he's always serious. He is laughing constantly. They were
very excited to see Tirzah, Zion, Azlan and Azahria on video lasts
night!! The kids were so cute saying "HI c and z!" :) Its going to be
quite the day when they officially become our children.

I fly out of Lusaka at 8:50 am tomorrow morning. I'm looking forward to
seeing Melody and Simon in London and staying the night with them.

One last day in Africa. Hard to believe.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Day 9

What a great night sleep!! Its been a while and I discovered what made the difference....a fan! Imagine...working power all night!! Yeah, you all get used to that -- but its not a 'given' here! We always sleep with 'noise' at home and here in total silence.. (and add to that the creatures partying above my head all night...shivering at that thought!)...so last night here in Chingola at Sharon's house...it was bliss. It rained most of the night and I woke very early this morning with very loud thunder. Suprisingly it turned out to be a beautiful day!

When we all got up Tanis was already gone to purchase some things she needed for the mission vehicles. She called and said to have everyone ready and that we'd head out to Kitwe right aways. We got on our way pretty quickly...about a 30 minute drive. I actually really like the drives.Always an experience. It amazes me how very quickly outside a modernized city you are back to the grass villages. Children walking the streets. Selling vegetables and goods on the road. There was a family sitting weaving baskets that they use for little dog houses, very cute! Tan said they sell for about $2-3 USD. Crazy. Then we stopped at a stop sign and I was snapping pics out my opened window as children came by selling vegetables...until they all stopped at our window demanding money. Even though the oldest was only 13-14 it was pretty intimidating. Tanis had my window up pretty quickly and all doors locked. 5 of them stood there faces peering into my window for a few minutes. Finally they left. Sad. There really is a strong lack of discipline in the families here in the villages. I would have thought the opposite. Tanis said children are just raised. They are never told no and they have no idea what "obedience" means or the concept of it. She says she has seen young children hit their mother in the face and they do nothing. You steal and lie to survive. Sex is not discouraged. 14 year olds get pregnant often. Its just what you do. Women are treated very poorly. Wow the things we have discussed today its ... unbelievable really. Its a mans world in Zambia it seems. Women work. Hard. They work in the fields all day. They have children. Many. 6 children is considered standard. They start young. You never see the men with the women. The women stick together with babies attached to their backs. The men cheat frequently and Tanis said their wives say "they are men, there is nothing you can do". Obviously there are Christian families that have a whole different standard. I'm talking about the villages. The bush. I'm constantly saying "whats in this for the women?" I have no answer yet.

We were on our way to LifeSong school. We arrived at about 10:45am. I couldn't wait. I walked up and introduced myself to a man who quickly introduced me to a woman. A teacher. I got the formal Zambian greeting and she encouraged everyone else I met to do the same. Lots of kisses. I just smiled and went along with it all. It was recess break for the children. There seemed to be hundreds!! There are over 200 orphan children at this school. Free Christian education and 2 meals a day. Clothing often provided as well. There were two moments of emotion for me. One when I first was introduced to the K5 teacher...all the children thought I was pretty important and so they started coming towards me jumping and waving their arms. They didn't stop until the teacher said to. I just stood taking pictures and smiling at their warm welcome. I was led through the school. Its screamed 'beautiful' to me. I can't explain it. The teachers and staff were beaming. The children were beaming. Everything was neat and clean. The staff in the kitchen were cooking huge pots of thick soup with tons of veggies. Women and men were peeling fresh carrots and potatoes. I walked through many classrooms. Special needs class. Preschool class. A barbor shop where men were shaving little boys' heads (was tempted to send C and Z in there! :). Then the best part was going to the 4th grade class. This is the oldest class as the school is 4 years old and these children were the beginning. Probably 20 students. The teacher led me to the front of the class and said "Say hello to Miss Janice" the class stood. And all of a sudden they literally burst into song. A song well rehearsed "welcome dear visitor to Lifesong..." it must have went on for 2 minutes that I felt time almost stood still. I cried. They were singing in parts, boys with girls. It sounded just like African Childrens Choir. I was speechless. I stood at the end, and said 'thank you, what a warm welcome" they all smiled and got back to work. It was so beautiful. Then we were led through the school's gardens. Eggplant, carrots, potatoes, corn, peppers, pumpkin leaves. It was packed.

We left there and headed to a studio of a photographer that only shoots his photos in Zambia. Kind of cool. Some GORGEOUS shots, Tanis bought one and so did Tamako. We may next trip. :)
Then we went out to my first restaurant this trip. "Mona Lisa's". A real deal Italian restaurant. It was amazing food. We had garlic bread and pizza. It was wonderful!

We came back to Sharon's where the boys and I had a brief nap. We all then got ready to go swimming. Ok...not really. Tanis and C and Z did. Ok...there is a reason. The pool....is .... very...Green. Seriously green. Like opaque green. Like there-may-be-snakes-at-the-bottom-green. Sharon said 'no no...its just the rain water clashing with the chemicals in the pool. So I decided I'd go for it. When I post pics you'll see ... its extremely green. We had a lot of fun swimming with the boys.

We had some visitors for a bit for 'tea' outside. Then we had a very nice supper thanks to Sharon. I will say my pain is significantly better today. Am thankful for that.
Tonight the boys watched a cartoon for a bit. I should be done book #3 tonight. Crazy. Haven't read a novel in years and I've read 3 books now in 4 days! I have one more to go that I may save for the plane. :)

Tomorrow morning we leave for Lusaka. Thats a 5 hour drive. Oh big news... we did laundry tonight!! That was my first load of laundry done...I thankfully packed well and was fine. Oh and our laundry was done with a washer! And dryer!! Yes thats worthy of noting since I've seen Tanis' maid wash clothes by hand last week in the bath tub.

I'm really excited about Lusaka. We are headed to a 'resort' tomorrow night with .... internet service! High speed!! Hopefully we'll get to video chat with Dean and the kids. And ... Sunday. The market . I am really looking forward to that. And Monday. The mixed feelings of Monday. Saying good bye to C and Z and going back to my family. This trip has some strange strange emotions. I think I'm about to experience that at a whole new level come Monday. I have become very attached to the boys. And...at this point, more importantly...them to me.
Good night all.
A special goodnight to the 5 peoples who have my heart...on the other side of the world.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Day 8

What a day! This was THE DAY just so you all know. The day the whole trip was booked around!
Gideon and Charity were simply wonderful. Adorable family with three little girls. Beautiful house in the middle of a ...not so beautiful city. Really it just isn't. Sleep went well except that we forgot to put a pullup on Z...rrrr. Seriously...the child is a pee machine! Anyway...that was lovely to wake to. I slept 'ok'. Honestly I haven't slept well since I left home.

For the last 3 days I've been in pretty severe pain. Today I got concerned despite Tan's complete nonchalance. I don't think she knows me very well b/c for me to voice my pain...it must be pretty intolerable. Well it has started to concern me and just today I got an idea what it may be....a gall bladder attack. Random right...? Well not really seeing when I was 36 wks pg with Tirzah I had a severe attack. I've never had it since but I'm almost hoping thats what this is. Since I have no clue what else. Every time I swallow...something right below my breastbone constricts and then it takes a few second before it relaxes. Diaphragm...somewhere in there. When I eat...its severe. Tonight we had potatoes and Oh. My. Goodness. Tan again thinks "no big deal" but ... she's not me and she's not the one going on a 20 hour flight either. I'm praying I make it home to WA ok with no further issues so I can check it out there. Today I had a Coke and it was the worst its been which made me think gall bladder. Its odd since I'm not someone I'd think would suffer from that. With all the possibilities of parasites etc...I'll take gall bladder issues. I think. Its pretty painful. Speaking of which...Tan thinks its a complete miracle if I don't get ill here. I came here with ZERO vaccinations and not even any malaria meds. I started my malaria meds once I arrived (which is 10 days later than strongly recommended). I also have been totally short of sleep since arriving...yet...totally healthy. Tanis said when she found out I chose to go without vaccinations she was going to say "ok but you cannot go in the hospital in Chit at all" but I spent three days there. I'm blessed with a strong immune system and I'm praying it continues.

Ok so today. We woke to a full hot breakfast--then we went out to town to meet Gideon at his work. Ok this town is just ... not pretty. Solwezi. AIDS capital of Zambia. Tanis said either 1 out of every 3 or every 4 are HIV positive. So sad.
We picked up Gideon and went to the social welfare office. We met Mr. Chris that I've been speaking with on the phone. Has his arm in a sling still from his car accident several months ago. I got a full Zambian greeting from him with the kisses. We went in the office all of us: Tamako, Tanis, Gideon, myself and the twins. He had a number of questions, took pictures of us. Asked each boy who mama was and they passed the test :) We went over several other things--the plan etc. I filled out 5 forms. Talked about fees. Mr. Gideon stayed with them while we waited in the car...there's this Zambian-brother bond and they trust Gideon. Their concern, sadly...not b/c of us just b/c of the risks with international adoption...was if Gideon was sure we would not turn and sell the children. :( Gideon told them he has known Tanis for 14 years and her family and assured them, no such thing. We went to get the money and I was able to withdraw 2 million kwacha (equal to avout $500 USD- for partial payment of the fees. I guess that was my banks limit for the day ...I'll withdraw more tomorrow. Mr. Gideon brought the money back to them and they already had the documents drawn up to deliver to Lusaka. They assured us that a court date in early March will be no problem and we should hear from them soon. Ok. Thats huge!!! The other thing is they do NOT require both of us to come. Just one. They said that a few times. Yes we both want to go.
From there we went home to lunch. Which was a FEAST> Oh my. Corn meal shima (my first) rice, spaghetti, some sort of game meat (ask no questions, know no difference!), fish, pumpkin leaves and a sauce. Ok it was amazing. The shima was very good tasted like corn tortillas to me. I ate it with fork and knife. Yes...I know. However I also refused to pee in the bush and risked bladded explosion to avoid such. The part I hated the most about the shima meal was everyone eating with their fingers!! Ewww! :) The boys LOVED it...they have been asking for shima Tan said, since she hasn't been making it. Z especially.

We finally got on our way after lining their family up for pictures. There are so many people in the streets...have never seen the like!! Seriously Tanis was getting pretty heated ... I was constantly telling her while laughing to take a breath...clearly living in the bush is much less stressful. She didn't hesistate to agree when I asked!! :)

It was just over 2 hours driving today. Oh while in Solwezi we did go to the grocery store Shop Rite. Interesting. Meats and cheeses were extremely expensive! We bought Cadbury chocolate and some Coke...my first since I left London :) I have to say...South African Cadbury is the best. Tried Canada's, England's, but there is something about SA's!!
Our trip was about 2+ hours. Same as yesterday...only very extreme roads. Paved with gigantic potholes!! This drive has given me the full taste of Africa I'm so glad I didn't just fly into a large city and leave thinking I had experienced what Zambia has to offer! The boys were both sleeping on me. They are definitely falling in love with Mama. I told Tanis my first day here that my goal will be accomplished if the twins cry when I leave. That was a long shot, no doubt. Today Tanis said she thinks it just may happen ;)
So we arrived at Chingola this afternoon. What a difference from Solwezi!! Its very beautiful, not crowded, nice buildings. Interesting. And there's not a million people on the roads every way you look!
We are staying with a friend of Tan's: Sharon. Beautiful house. She grew up as a missionary kid here and now owns a successful preschool right here in Chingola. We are staying here 2 nights...she has a nice pool in her backyard that we hope to use tomorrow.

I did get a few minutes tonight to talk to Dean and the kids. Its makes me teary eyed every time. Honestly I had no idea I'd make it this long without breaking down!! I am extremely excited to see my family. I miss you all so much, trust me, you have no idea. I'm doing this all for you. For us. And most off all because we know for sure that God told us to come to Africa and get our little boys, C and Z.
Oh on that note...the boys know their new names :) Its very cute and what we are doing is calling them C___ Meleki and Z____ Jacob. Saying both names. I heard them calling each other their new names tonight :)

Tomorrow we will head to Kitwe looking for Lifesong School for Orphans. The organization that gave us the matching grant of $3000 (reminder**if you have not read about our grant...,please read down til you find it in this blog. We are asking for your help. This organization has given us a matching grant up to $3000 but its no good unless we get gifts to at least $3000! The deadline is Feb 10. If you have any questions email me at thewalkers2000@mac.com). They have a school for orphans in Kitwe and have asked me to visit it so I'm excited about that!

We are ready to head to bed here. What a day! It went better than we thought with Mr. Chris. Very smooth. We are thankful most of all to God for going before us and preparing the way. Our hearts. Their hearts. And we are thankful for all Tanis' help. Mr. Gideon's help.
Dean--to you...for being Mr. Mom for 2 wks. I love you so much.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Day 7

What a day - Day 7 was! So we woke in Chitokoloki and got packed ready
for the trip. I came with three FULL suitcases and am so far leaving
with one half full suitcase :) We are going shopping in Lusaka so we'll
see what I find :) Tan's truck was getting fixed by the mission
mechanic. It looked like everything was a go. Tanis and Tamako sat in
the front and C, Z and myself squished in the back with a million
pillows, snacks etc. We stopped by a few places to say good bye on our
way out. "Going to town" is a once a year trip for most of the
missionaries. Town is the Copper Belt and Lusaka.

The road...was hilarious. The whole time I kept picturing Mom Walker in
97 I think...laughing so hard with tears coming down her face on these
so-called-roads. Mix a Walker driver in there and its pretty funny.
The boys were loving it, I was holding on. Finally we got out of the
bush and on a dirt road which looked great, felt worse. It was so bumpy
that you hurt!! I was like WOAH this is going to feel like a long trip.
Not quite willing to go 'potty' in the bush...the others had no such
issues...I was holding on til Loloma. This is the mission that Tanis
spent her first 8 years in Zambia. We were greeted at Canada House by
Marion and Daisy. The house was absolutely GORGEOUS on the outside, I
loved it. We had lunch with them and then were on our way. So we
thought. The truck would not start...so Daisy, Marion, Tamako and myself
push started it. Made for some laughs. Without turning the truck off we
said hello to Mr. and Mrs Beer and their family that I've heard much
about and a few others. We drove for hours. It was gorgeous. I loved it
all. I read a book for about 20 minutes...I didn't want to miss a
thing. Villages all along side the road and people walking on the road
at almost all times. Goats, pigs, cows, we saw it all. In the middle of
the road. The road suddenly turned into this gorgeous new road, still
unpaved but perfectly smooth. Tanis said China sends their prisoners to
third world countries and works on roads etc and China takes all the
wages. Not bad eh?? We PAY for our prisoners keep, China earns money off
them! So thats who is building these roads. Eventually the road turned
into pavement and that was heaven! Oh I should mention about 30 miles
outside of Loloma...the bumpy roads were difficult...and I had to go to
the bathroom again. I'm like...no we'll stop eventually but I'm NOT
going in the bush. They all were amused at Janice and were wondering at
what point I'd cave. I didn't. At 5:45pm I said my window wouldn't go
up. I was freezing. We knew we were having serious battery issues...and
then we realized we were likely in trouble. I was wrapped in a fleece
blanket with my window down thinking...I have another hour of this??
Then at 6pm Tanis started going "uh oh uh oh" and the car died. That was
it. Tamako and I and a few passer by's got out and pushed to see if she
could push start it but NOTHING. Great. We were not far from a little
village with a little market so we pushed up to the market. Windows
open, 3 white women in a car, broken down. Great. Tan made a few calls
and the man where we were staying with in Solwezi (30 minutes out from
us) said he would try to find a battery and bring it to us. Well it got
dark, gorgeous lightning and we started thinking Great..we are going to
get poured on with no windows!! Remember... in all this it has now been
HOURS since 'yours truly' has had to go the bathroom... Tan decided to
feed the boys tuna snacks on crackers (ahhhhhh the smell!)..and
eventually at 7:30 Gideon came. It was PITCH black at that point. Dean
was being texted to pray for us--we actually had cell service which was
a life saver!. The new battery worked like a charm and we were on our
way! At this point...I'm in pain. 8 out of 10. I'm on like hour 5 of
really really having to go to the bathroom. yah I'm superhuman. LOL.
It was a 25 minute drive that was a little nerve wracking b/c there was
some traffic and its pitch black without knowing the road...the roads
are very very narrow as well. We finally made it.
Wonderful.

The family had a beautiful dinner prepared and we all joined them. Then
we went off our own ways after discussing a few things about tomorrow.
Tan, myself and C and Z are in a guest house. It poured all night and
sounded awesome. Its now 7:30am and we are getting up to go join the
fam inside for breakfast. This family seems to be wealthy, in a gated
house that Tan said is only 2 years old. A bit about Solwezi...Tanis
said its the AIDS capital of Zambia. Ouch. She also said its the Soddom
and Gomorrah of Zambia. Ouch ouch. As soon as you enter the town you
see huge differences..../the women are in jeans. So far we've never seen
a women besides in a long skirt. Its very Americanized and night life
is huge. Mix that with Aids....and yah. Thats where we are. Sad.

This morning we are meeting with the Social workers and Gideon will come
and also go again tomorrow. He has pull and he knows it. He does not
believe he will have a problem getting us an early March court date.
Please pray because we need it.

The shower is honestly not looking very inviting...its definitely a
'sandals necessary' shower and doesn't even have a shower head...but we
are told it has hot water and my last three showers at Tan's house were
cold...so thats worth something.

You know rereading this post it doesn't sound near as dramatic as it was
lol. But really...Tan did not speak their language...some spoke a bit of
English.It was getting dark. Three women in a car with no closed
windows. We were a pretty easy target :)

Ok...Here we go Day #8!! We need some progress today this is our day!!!
This whole trip was for this day and this visit in Solwezi!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Day 6

Starting with last night...Tanis could not believe that even after
taking 2 graval to go to sleep...it did not even make me drowsy! UGH. I
did play my ipod though and that must have helped. There was one point I
got pretty freaked out because I"m sure I heard Tan come into my room so
I grabbed my flashlight..yes its under my pillow... :)...and no one was
there. I called her, no answer. This happened once more and I was left
to simply trust God and give my fears up. I did and went back to sleep.
I woke in time to eat breakfast with C and Z and head them off to
school. I decided to go to the hospital with Tan this morning again
since I'm oh so brave :)

We did the rounds and I was delighted to see our patient in labor, was
still in labor. I was really wanting to see the delivery. We continued
with all our rounds as well as a tour of the kitchen and outside cookery
(pretty wild. Cooking over coals on the ground!). Then we swung by the
theatre (which is the weirdest word for the OR!! But its the British
term) and they were in the middle of surgery. They are all beckoning me
in but I decided to stay in the doorway assuring them they didn't need
to be distracted with scraping my limp body off the floor. To add
details they were showing me the 'tumor' they had taken off the
patient's ovaries. EW. They were all laughing, I snapped a few pics.
Then we were off to tea time. Its quite funny how during the surgery the
Doc is watching the clock as to not miss tea time ;) I got further
details on the tumor over tea...yes while we ate. Eww. These people are
wayyy to medical LOL.

At 10:20am we went and checked on the laboring patient and she was
indeed complete so I opted to hang out with the Zambian nurses and
midwife and watch this delivery. Ok. Not a nice delivery. In the end,
after the lady being complete for over 2 hours ... (Ahhh hah!!) Tanis
did a vacuum delivery and we got that little guy out. They were all
laughing at me b/c I'm tense as all get out...I mean I've been through
this 4 times!!!! The culture is simply super human when it comes to
labor. Not a PEEP out of the lady. No meds. No IV. Nothing. Hardly a
groan. ARE YOU SERIOUS!? And Tan was getting lectured by me and I've
committed that under NO circumstances is she ever allowed present at the
birth of one of our children!! The lady was crazy!!! Telling the poor
girl to move and fix her leg and move down etc. I'm like "TANIS SHE"S
10CM!!" no mercy in Zambia lol.

We are just home from the hospital now at 1:40pm getting lunch ready.
I've been there since 8 am so I'm impressed :) I never ever left Tanis
... oh except for this impossible IV she was doing. Not my thing.

At about 2pm I laid on the couch with a book and C came and snuggled up
with me...about 2 minutes later he was fast asleep on Mama. Tan couldn't
believe it! She said they never willingly nap. And nap they did! C
slept for 4 hours and Z about 2.5 hrs. Yes it might be a late night
here. We are on our way to a Bible Study now at 7pm we'll be home at
8pm. Tamaka from Chevuma is on her way here, she is going to 'town' with
us tomorrow. We hope to leave at 8am and we are on our way!

Ok--we are now back from the BibleStudy. Tamako is here and we are
cooking a late supper it is 9pm. This is my last night in Chitokoloki.
We leave at about 9am to head to Solwezi...we will stop at Loloma just a
few hours into our trip for tea break at the hospital. That is where
Tanis spent the first 8 years. We have heard lots about Loloma and are
looking forward to seeing some familiar faces.

We plan to arrive in Lusaka Saturday night and spend Sunday there going
to supposedly a really fun market before I fly out on Monday. Tan has
been here 14 years and has never been to this market so she is quite
excited. Tirzah has put in her request for something for Mama to bring
home to her :)

C and Z sat down with me and looked at all my pics today b/c I uploaded
them to Tan's computer. They LOVED seeing them play in the pool etc. It
was very cute.

Still asking for you all to pray for our visit with the social workers
in Solwezi. They did tell Tan they were not so pleased to find out I
have been here a total of 2 weeks...they wanted 3 or 4. Tan explained
again that I have a young family at home overseas and it seemed to calm
some troubled waters. Last thing we need is them ticked off thinking we
did not comply. We told them I would only be coming for 2 wks..but they
seem to forget things. That in itself is less than comforting.

XO from Chitokoloki!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Day 5

Of course we ended the night with another BONES. Its just what we do now. :) And I fell asleep watching it...Tan woke me up and sent me to bed and I'm thinking that was the first mistake. AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHh. Several hours of me laying there listing to untold creatures partying above my head. Ewww. I'm actually getting used to it, which is scary in itself. The dogs went wild so I went and woke Tanis up (the most sound sleeper on the planet!!...she has guard dogs and doesn't hear them with they bark for hours on end outside her opened window LOL). She went out ... shut them up...somehow and I was happy. She commented as she passed by that she would never lay in bed for hours waiting to fall asleep and that she had meds to assist me if wanted -- I may take her up on that if it happens again. I finally went and searched the house with flashlight to find a book and her cell. Talking to Dean for a few minutes helped and then I positioned my light under my pillow just sort of shining out so I could read my book but yet not really draw all the mosquitos from the Zambezi River buzzing on my mosquito net! (I got enough of them as it was).
Somewhere in there... I fell to sleep. Tanis came and shut my curtain in the morning and told me to sleep in. I did get up at 8 though.
C and Z ran off to preschool and I was here with Lanni (the housekeeper) Ke Ke and her brother Jacob. Tan was on her way to the hospital but said she'd come back at 9 for me and we'd try rounds again. So I went again this morning and she gave me more of a tour. We went into Maternity hoping to find a woman in labor that I could watch the birth of. There is one but she probably won't deliver til tomorrow so we'll see. Then we went and unpacked a truck from the container. In there was a box of disney cups. Random but made for a fun day for the kids in the hospital. So Tan and I gave them out...was cute. Have some pics of that too. I was FINE!!! Ok.. the scary part is Tan thinks I got used to the smell already.....that is simply terrifying. I said "no it didn't smell today" and she laughed. I know what you are thinking. "it must not be that bad". I'll let Dean give you his opinion when he comes!!! Tanis said lots of medical students from overseas have a horrid first day then second time they don't smell it. How odd is that?!

I got lots of pics of adorable little kids in tattered clothes this morning. Every child is perfectly photogenic b/c they don't smile. They just look at you with these eyes. Those eyes tell a lot. We only know half of it. One of the little girls in hospital today is one of the most beautiful Zambian girls I've ever seen. She had her hair all done and was dressed in burnt orange...you'll see when I get a chance to post pics.

Tanis is just home now we are invited out for lunch today. We heard its "local food" being served and when I asked questions all I get are shrugs and laughs and honestly...thats so not reassuring! What is local food I ask...and everyone says "hard to say". F.A.B.U.L.O.U.S

The twins wanted to match today...so matching they are. I would say much of the clothes I sent back with Tan is small. They are 3T. I bought polos at Old Navy for them in 4T and they fit well but knowing me I'd probably buy 5T so its baggier. Pants could never be more than 4t though. Z is sooooooo skinny. I don't know if pants are made that tiny!! Appetites though...wow. They eat WAY more than our bio kids!! I cannot believe what Tan puts on their plate...and they finish it!!! We had to force a few things in....like peas. Tirzah will be pleased to hear her 'black boys' do NOT like peas. Z doesn't anyway :)

Oh this is funny. They are from a village with no toilet. Sorry. Blunt but no other way to say it. No hole in the ground. Nothing. So yes they simply go squat behind a tree or by the bush. So when Tan brought them here 6 wks ago she is teaching them not only to go but to let her know so she doesn't find random puddles etc around the house. So they will walk up to you and stand there saying PEE. Its quite hilarious. Of course "poo poo poo poo" is much worse. When we finally clue in what they are saying, every time our response is the same "GO RUN" and laughing wondering how we can remove their need to announce publicly what they are fully capable of doing on their own. :)

As I type it is 12:45pm and C is in my room on a chair with his hands folded. Very very strong willed. A quiet strong will but its strong and we're teaching him what it means to obey. I caught him really pushing this boy thats here playing with him so nicely I told C to say "Sorry" No way. Not happening. not yet anyway but it is happening. He just looks at the floor with tears in his eyes. Well that won't work. So we keep putting him on the bed with his hands folded and bringing him back out to try again. This may take awhile. We are even making it exciting in chipper voices saying "say sorry". Its been my battle for the last 10 minutes but now Tan is with me here translating to make sure its clear but she is sure he fully understands me....

side note...I've never thought this on pictures but C (Meleki) has a very very strong resemblence to Tiger Woods. His expressions too. Kinda funny. Ok so think of him as you thought of him 6 months ago!! Looks only, people. He's a good looking guy right? :)

I'll finish this later and hopefully send it tonight. Tan and I bathed Ke ke and Tan put her in an adorable outfit...but its blue and green and is very much boy. So I put a blue and orange head band on her and thats MUCh better. Funny on that topic in maternity this morning there's two new moms side by side in beds and one has a 1 day old baby in a pink floral dress with pink cap on and I'm oogling over her and we look at the chart and see its a boy. So the next bed the baby is completely clad in blue and I said "likely a girl" and it was. Ok...swap outfits already! I can't handle it! :)

This next part was added several hours later:

We took C, Z and keke to the pool. It was very hot-- and the pool wasn't cleaned yet but we didn't care. We all got in, its probably the most I've swam since I got here ... in a dirty pool at that. The boys played tons with me and its super cute. Then Tan, Andrew, Mary Ann and I all played Rook for quite some time. It sucks. I hate Rook. Don't ask me to play. lol. No I'm not a poor loser, I'm just a loser.:)

We came home to power...only to have it very quickly shut off and we're a bit nervous as our generator situation is not that great these last two days. You should know they only have power for 4 hrs a day..and today...so far its lacking. So we do have dim battery lights. And a gas oven. Its definitely a "order-in-pizza" night..Tan and I agree and since thats just downright impossible when you are in the middle of the bush in Zambia...we'll be making it. Which is better than order in anyway. She has black olives. Need I say more?

The boys are now dressed in their fleece outfits Dean and I bought them in Costco just before we came and Oh My Goodness are they cute!!!
There's our power again!!! hmmmm. The boys are running in to watch a movie while it lasts :)
Praying for a good night tonight. I love you Dean. Tirzah, Zion, Azlan and Azahria...I can't wait to smother you all with kisses. Ok Dean...you too. But this IS a public blog...keeping it PG here! ;)

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Day 4

Ok lets start with last night. Tanis and I are into a routine of ending the night with watching BONES. Seriously its not my favorite show and I'm very critical, annoyingly so, but sometimes I do have to really laugh. Last night we were watching it and all of a sudden I realize I'm just about snoring (no I don't snore...!!) So I get up to go to bed. I get in my hot little misquito netted bed and instantly realize I'm maybe overtired. The dogs are FREAKING out right outside my window...and I call Tanis to go yell at them and she is snoring (she swears she does not snore...I disagree ;). Great. I put up with it for 1.5 hours...now I'm seriously wide awake at close to 1am :( Finally somewhere in there I fell asleep.

Tanis wakes me up this morning saying "we really have to get going" ummm I'm not going anywhere without showering!! Seriously the nights are so hot and disgusting here. I shower as she feeds C and Z. This morning there was a baptizm and to my shock ... we were walking!!! :) We take the four wheeler everywhere! It was a long walk...through a buggy path :). The baptism was so neat to watch. For several reasons...one..just because a baptism is awesome when someone openly publicly says to the world they belong to Jesus. Thats just plain cool. Secondly...well this was happening in the Zambezi River...which just happens to be croc infested!! Third...the singing in Lunda was awesome. Loved it. Then we all head back up to the church for a worship meeting. C and Z sat beside Tanis and I and they each had one car and were extremely well behaved. A lot of bonding happened in that 1.5 hours!! They cuddled with me the whole time :)

We came home and made a big pot of something and went out to the village to deliver it to needy families. (there are many. You have no idea). I took lots of pics and especially of one family and their house. A family from MB just sent the money to pay for the house so we want to send them pics. This is a brick house with straw roof and 2 bedrooms. For $750. Can you think of a better way to spend $750 USD?? I don't think I can. Wow.
We came home, Tanis made us a fabulous lunch then we put the boys to bed for a nap since Sunday evenings are a bit long. Tanis and I watched another BONES and then played Scrabble which is never that fun playing with Walkers because they just somehow also kick your butt. BUT today we were neck and neck the entire came!! I was ahead by 2-5 the whole game and in the end Tanis won by 5 pts.

We then headed out to the pilot and his fam's house for singing, testimonies and food. It was very nice.

We are now home, I've witnessed Auntie Tanis give MILITARY STYLE showers to the kids...(I don't have NOTHIN' on her!! :)...and quickly get them to bed. I laughed so hard at her giving the kids a shower.
Our power just went out. so I sit here getting chewed by misquitos under battery light.
Tomorrow the kids have preschool in the morning, Tanis works at the hospital in the morning (I may try again to go without fainting...we'll see)...and go from there.

We leave Wednesday for our trip to Solwezi...so really I only have 2 more days here in Chitokoloki. Crazy. Has gone fast however...I was pretty homesick/ family sick today. I sat down and looked at Tan's photo album and they were many pics of our kids...and especially when they were a bit younger. I cried. sob.
I don't fly out til Monday but it looks like we have some fun days ahead when we leave here for our trip and I'm really looking forward to it. It is one of the strangest feelings EVER to be a world away from your family. Very very odd. I feel naked going to the mall without a stroller or a little hand to hold...this is just out of my zone.
Please pray for our trip to Solwezi as we'll be under watch of the social worker and really want this to go smoothly.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Day 3

I stayed up late last night despite being exhausted at 8pm local time. I
really wanted to adjust asap and not drag this jet leg out! We let
Z and C stay up late and at bed time C was NOT HAPPY. Definitely seeing
some attitude. We'll worry about that later :) I carried him to the
bathroom and insisted he show mama how he brushes his teeth because I
simply have not seen that (from him anyway!). That seemed to distract
him, then it was jammas, and making their mattress on the floor for
bed. Tanis prays with them in Luvale at bed time...I think I need to
record it...they may want to hear that a few times. :)

Then Tan and I cam out to the living room and we had the battery charged
to the laptop and she was quite elated to discover her BONES series
worked on her computer. She thought it wouldn't b/c of the region.
Anyway..we sat down with some chai green tea I had brought her and ...
after a search in her pantry for chocolate (I was in withdrawal!!) I
found a giant bag of Costco peanut M&Ms. Perfect. We watched 1 show and
I was seriously having to hold my eye lids up. I realized I was too far
gone when I was annoyed at someone laughing in my ear...so yes...I had
fallen asleep. I was happy it was after 11pm so I went to bed. A much
better sleep. I slept til 6am. I woke and knew I was up...I was wide
awake so I got up and got ready for the day.

I then heard Tan's phone ringing...couldn't find it...but it was
bellowing out Michael W Smith so eventually I did and it was Dad
Walker. That got Tan up. Then I kept hearing someone knock on the
door...I go check and it was baby Ke Ke!! Ok so I'm getting attached to
my little afro baby girl!! I took her from her sister (maybe 13 yrs...?)
and she was smelling pretty bad. I played with her for a bit but
couldnt' handle the smell much longer. Meanwhile Tan had to go do rounds
at the hospital for a few hours. I went and gave Ke Ke a bath which I
must say she did NOT enjoy LOL :) Then got her a clean cloth diaper and
found her an adorable baby gap terry yoga suit in hot pink for her to
wear :) That along with baby Azahria's crocheted headbands I had
brought...perfect. I put lotion in her hair (thanks Sandi--the renew
did WONDERS for her afro!) and it turned into silk. Looked so cute! I
went and put her in her box. Yes ... Tan has her a box she sleeps in.
She wailed. But Tan wasn't there to save her ;) I let her wail for 5
minutes...with a plan. Picked her up and she fell asleep in my hands
instantly. So I put her back and she has now been sleeping 3 hours and I
hope to get another hour or two before we need to go out.

Meanwhile C and Z woke. C calls me Mama. Its the best :) He wakes with
this huge smiling saying something in Luvale but Mama was in there :) I
got them dressed---ok their bright colors I bought them in Tricities
look so cute on their dark dark skin. Fed them breakfast and then...I
brought them out a package of 5 hot wheels. Wow. That gave them about 30
minutes of playing before there was another knock at the door. This time
it was my suitcase that came home with Mr and Mrs Hannah in the car b/c
there was no room in our small plane for it. I instantly could tell
something was wrong b/c my suitcase was rather empty. :( I was very very
ticked to find my brand new tripod that my sister Jocelyn bought for me
for Christmas was gone. RRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR. Tanis said it would
have happened in London. She said it happens pretty frequently though
she has never had it happen to her. I was really ticked...it was so
perfect for my trip. Other things are missing I can tell by how empty
my suitcase is but honestly I can't remember what else was in there..!!
Tan's powdered milk and fan was there so that was good. As well as a
bunch of baby layette that I had brought. Annndddd...Zion and Azlan
should know that Z and C were in heaven when they opened the hot wheels
semi trucks they bought them!!!! I wish I had it on video but I was the
only one here. Their mouths dropped WIDE open. Z chose the green one
and C the grey. That gave us 2 solid hours of them very quietly playing
trucks and cars. Its very very cute. When Auntie Tanis came home they
were estatic to show her what Mama gave them. They LOVED the canvases
that Tirzah Zion and Azlan painted for them and Tanis said she'll put
them up on the wall :)

We now have power for an hour so the boys are watching Barney as Tanis
just got called into an emergency surgery and Ke Ke is still sleeping.
We'll be having lunch soon and then we are going for a walk in the
villages. I can't wait. Every time we drive through the villages on
the 4 wheeler I say I want to walk through here. Lots of pics to
follow. I should say I have not seen ONE "not cute" Zambian child!!!
They are so beautiful. They all just stand there in their tattered
clothes and bare feet staring as you walk by.


It is extremely hot here today. The plan after our walk is to go the
pool and a couple is providing chili for dinner so it should be a fun
time.

added later: Tan's emerg surgery lasted way longer than planned so no
walk to the village today. So we ended up going right to the pool where
almost everyone met and we had dinner there. was a nice evening.

After watching Bambi C and Z have just been put to bed . C immediately
covered his head and when we pulled the sheet away we could see tears.
He simply does NOT like going to bed. Anyway...no attitude just tears.

Tomorrow morning before church there is a baptism in the river (Zambezi
river).

Happy Saturday to you all!

XO
Janice--with C and Z who are smiling at Mama more every hour :)

Friday, January 15, 2010

Day 2

Today was fantastic. There was quite an improvement in the boys`connecting with me. The drive to Zambezi helped. They took turns sitting on my lap, holding my hand (!!) and even Z laying on my shoulder a bit. I think we may get somewhere. Tanis feels its going great :)
As soon as it gets dark my stomach gets weak as I think about my family a million (12000) miles away...:( I miss you all. XOXO

DAY 1

So I did go back to sleep this morning at 4ìsh or so...til 6ish. When Tanis was gone to the hospital it was quite horrible I must say because the creatures above my ceiling came alive. Ok..You have no idea. It sounds like a RODENT FARM...AHHHHH. Rats...I`m sure they are there. They were loud and chewing and it got so bad I had to put a sheet over my ear and kept crunching it to try to make sounds louder than the above mentioned creatures. I slept with the flash light in hand LOL I`m not sure what that would do but it gave me a good feeling.
We all got up and I got the boys dressed for school. Their school uniforms are HUGE. Seriously don`t know how those pants stayed on this morning, even with a belt :) Breakfast was pancakes and there were 2 extra children...Tanis is like the mission orphanage and I think its awesome!!! Little Ke-Ke and her brother Jacob were here this morning. So we got the boys ready for school and were there on time (impressive for two Walker women!). Said goodbye then we headed to the hospital. I had Ke Ke in a baby sling (was quite at home with that :). We went to do `rounds`starting in the mens wing. Ok. ... how do I say this...nicely....the smell was OVERWHELMING. A warning would have been fabulous. So I instantly decided breathing through my nose in this hospital was simply not an option. But...I was also overwhelmed with the heat (ahhh!) and the sicknesses. Some were really bad. And I began fighting dizziness...finally at the last moment I grabbed Ke Ke out of the sling, gave her to Tan and bolted out of the room...hardly seeing a thing as I went!!

An hour later we decided to complete the rounds on the childrens wing. Baby in sling again and this was wayyyyyyyyy worse for me. It was so hot and soooo sad to see all the little children and it got bad. Some children were deathly ill and I knew my stomach was flipping. Sooo...I waited to long...so much so they had to get me on the bed quickly with my feet in the air...with Ke Ke still strapped to me. sighh...yah...I made it through one year of nursing if you can imagine!!!

After picking the boys up from school and lunch we packed up the truck with us and a family in the back and headed to Zambezi (50 kms away). That ride was one of the best in my life. I laughed so hard...wow. I could NOT beleive this was the road. Seriously. Oh My Goodness. Seatbelts...what is that!! THe boys were sitting in between us and it was quite the day. We were helping this family move to Zambezi.
After we came home we went for a four wheeler ride in the POURing rain...C and Z were having a great time. Went and saw Mr and Mrs Clark at Shawn and Rhonda`s house then came home to dinner. We are now sitting watching C and Z watch Veggie Tales...quite funny.
A fun day. I feel good today..and am not tired so thats fabulous. Oh yah...its hot. Like inside its way worse because the breeze outside is awesome. I`m already sitting here going...wow this could be a long night so hot.

Trip to Africa

At about 4:30 pm (London time) I met up with a couple named Mr and Mrs Clark from Ontario that were heading to visit their daughter and family also in Chitokoloki. That was nice since I was starting to feel a tad lonely and not to mention how completely exhausted I felt. Seriously...I called Dean on a pay phone and I felt like I would faint just standing there...I needed to be sitting. I had not slept the night before and it was catching up to me. Because my entire layover in London I was alone...I also could not sleep b/c I wanted to be watching my stuff at all times. I was trying to look otherwise but I was carrying a significant amount of cash on me as well (having little choice).

I was frustrated in London because after spending 20 pounds at the Apple store in the airport I was still unable to get service on my iphone. Att--you stink!! I had requested the international plan and they hold told me "oh yes in large cities like London and Lusaka you will have good connection!". When we boarded the plane I felt better immediately b/c it was significantly smaller than my previous plane. I was able to switch my seats around and sit across the aisle from Mr. and Mrs. Clark. I looked down at my phone and noticed I had connection!!! So I started texting Dean frantically to see what communication we could get in in the short time I had before take off :)

In London, as Dean strongly suggested, I really sincerely sat down and surrendored my fears to God. I don't know when I had experienced such de-mobilizing fear prior to the Seattle to London flight but it was awful. AWFUL. I experienced sheer panic. ;( So in London I gave it up. Yes my surrendor included losing ALL control and it was really a relief to let it go. I asked God if He would be so kind to really help me out. Perhaps my faith is weak--but I was trusting Him and just asking for some mercy and a relatively smooth flight.
The most interesting part is that flight was way rougher than my first flight. And I never experienced panic. I remember at one point thinking "Janice you haven't even looked away from your movie" and it was just constant. Maybe the plane was older I don't know but it was bumpy the entire way. And I was so calm.
However I did get sick. It was not air sickness it was completely-overtired-can't eat cant sleep-sickness. I got sick. I must have gone to the bathroom 15 times on that flight...my stomach was not doing well. Then dinner was served and in hopes that that would help me I started to dig in. Seriously think if I ate 2 more bites it would have come up 5 minutes later. So no dinner for me. Mrs. Clark was sooo kind and went and got me a cup of gingerale and even put sound blocking headphones on my head. I began to feel better and slept. Funny story is I was sitting on an aisle seat in the middle section (3 seats in our row) and a space between me and then an older gentleman on the end...who honestly I was wanting to wake up because I love talking to older men :) Seriously he was in his 70's and I figured he probably had a good story to tell. I don't know if I dreampt about him or what but I recalled when I woke that I got right in his face and was shaking him and remember him setlling me down and tucking me in. So in the morninng it came back to me and I started talking. He had a slight irish accent and immediately put his hand on mine and said "oh darling its no worry I don't even remember it". :) He told me he has lived in Lusaka for 23 years and is not starting seminary school so he could further help the gospel in Zambia. (seriously probably half of our plane was missionaries...lots of Bible reading in the morning, it was great!!)

All in all I would think I slept 3 hours of the 10 hours. Not too much but I did SLEEP. Maybe 4 hours. Definitely not a full night. In the morning when light came up the emotion I felt was almost overwhelming. I was in Africa. I can't quite explain what that was like. I was not only in Africa but I had trusted God and had peace. I think I sat there for a while just smiling. INside and outside. I began to read my bible and in Psalms (don't have my bible in front of me) I read "Guard my life Oh God because I live for you..." and it was God's still small voice telling me "Janice you WERE safe and you ARE safe" I seriously sat there beaming for a while.
Then up came the sun. Wish I was sitting by the window because it was very beautiful. I immediately turned on my ipod (thank you Dean...haven't listened to my ipod so much EVER)...and turned on Michael W Smith's song "A new hallelujah". I think I had to clench my teeth to keep from singing. "out of Africa comes a new song..." and my heart seriously skipped a beat. You know those moments like when you have your baby and the emotion that you can't put into words just HITS you and you just feel your heart beating wildly inside of your chest....? Thats what this was. This was my moment. I could't believe I wasn't dreaming. I was in Africa.
Our plane landed a few hours later (after me sipping on a quite nasty cup of tea provided by the sweet stewardess to calm my still ill stomach...) and I was beyond thrilled to get off the plane and walk into Zambian air.
We were met up with Mr. and Mrs. Hannah and after a delay we loaded into their truck. It was decided only I would be going on the missionary plane as a doctor from Australia and his wife needed to go as well and had plenty of equipment that needed to be on the plane as well. My first moment of a tad of panic was when they pulled into a remote air strip with a few zambian young men standing around and said "ok Janice you get out here...the pilot should be here shortly we will go get the doctor and his wife" I remember my eyes popping out of my head and trying to find the courage to say "ummm I really am uncomfortable staying here alone..." (Dean I knew you would be proud!!) but seriously...you are going to let this white girl just hang out with not even a cell phone to connect her with anyone?! ummm...not so much. so without much of a warm response one lady said she would stay with me.
The pilot arrived within 15 minutes and wow. Wow. Ok Janice lets see if you REALLY are trusting God that He'll guard your life. I did have to focus and realize the size of the plane was nothing to God. The pilot introduced himself and said "I hope you have flown in a 4 seater before...it will be very very very bumpy is there any meds you can take?" AHHHHHHHHH!!!Bad sign.
Ok so I get in the back of the plane and the pilot...prays before take off. The doctor is flying co pilot and his wife and I in the back. We taxi down the runway with our windows opened and then they get shut and up we go. The first 20 minutes of flight were amazing. We were only at 600-800 feet and you could see women walking down the dirt roads with baskets on their head. I loved it. I was enjoying every moment. One weird sight was graveyards...dragging out forever and you would see a headstone literally in a field by itsself. Kind of like, ok, they died lets bury them right here!
Then we started to go up...it was amazingly smooth. Seriously I have been on plenty 2,4 and 6 seater planes and they are NOT my thing but this was incredible. We flew below clouds for quite a bit. I should say it was a 2hour 40 minute flight. At one point we were in clouds, it POURED in the cloud and you could see nothing but this big grey cloud and the plane was extremely bumpy and I held on to my seat pretty tightly and prayed pretty earnestly ... we broke through the cloud and it was gorgeous the rest of the way!!!! It was an amazing flight and I took it as a gift from God.
We landed on a dirt runway and I could see several locals and one white lady on a four wheeler :) I knew that was Tanis and I think my emotion was used up on this trip already. I was not emotional at all...landing in Lusaka was extremely emotional for me but this it was just "COOL". We got out of the plane and I could see C and Z running around ...Tanis got them to come over and give me a reluctant hug. :) I feel like I know them because I have seen so many pictures. They are absolutely beautiful. Dark dark skin and big white eyes. I don't think I took my eyes off the twins as I was introduced to several of the missionaries. We then loaded up on Tanis' four wheeler (with plenty of warnings that I should ride in the truck lol) and headed over to her house! It was so beautiful. I was not expecting everything so green and lush...we are in rainy season however. (by the way the day was a gorgeous sunny HOT day). The hospital, church and houses were all pointed out to me . Tanis house is really adorable. The only thing I had never known was the cement floor. Maybe in all the pics we have seen I've just never looked at the floor! :) My luggage all arrived safely -- even one entire suitcase of frozen food I had purchased at Costco!! How sweet is that?! $150 worth of cheese,crab, salmon and shrimp in a suitcase all the way from Pasco to Zambia!! Still cold :) Tanis served us spaghetti and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Oh I failed to mention her helper in the kitchen turned around for us to see a tiny baby girl tied to her back. Tanis smiled and said "I wasn't telling you about her..." :) So its a sad story of a lady that is severely mentally handicapped, deaf and blind that has had several children. Very sad. THis is her last child...she is 2 mths old. AND ADORABLE!!!!!! Ke-ke (kay-kay) is her name. Tanis often keeps her during the day and returns her to her great aunt at night.

I opened my suitcase and immediately gave C and Z their giant sticky hands from Tirzah Zion Azlan and Zahria. It was so cute when they realized what they could do. Their laughs were adorable! I got plenty of pictures...in fact my camera was around my neck all day.
Internally I was feeling an emotional struggle. I wasn't feeling what I had hoped to feel. Yes they are beautiful...and they are soon to be our sons. Yet...there is a HUGE language barrier. They just look at me blankly and I do my best. However throughout the day I noticed they were constantly watching me. :) I sat down and showed them the pics of our family and one by one they named the kids in their very timid voices.
They seem to just make themselves happy wherever they are. While Tanis and I were talking they just pushed their trucks around the house. Barney was in a small wagon going for a ride, toy radios were playing. It was extremely similar to an everyday scene in the Walker home. C reminds me SOOOOO much of Azlan. Seriously. He sparkles and he bounces. He has this look that you know he`s laughing on the inside. I think our two pranksters in a few years. You`ll see! Z is quiter and seems like he`s the one that would come give you a hug more like Zion. They are attached to the hip and I love it!

We then went swimming. The twins were hilarious. Seriously. No water wings and crazy. Think Azlan in the pool. Yup thats what it was. Crazy!! Jumping in...doing handstands in the water...etc. Finally we did put water wings on them so they could go in the deep end. They played for HOURS. Tanis and I got in for a bit as well. I`m still feeling a LITTLE OFF as I`ve had little sleep in the last two days.
Last night we came home and I gave the boys a fun bath. Introduced them to their little boats I had bought them that T,Z,A and A love playing with at home and they had tons of fun. Our boys are going to LOVE them.

Got them dressed for bed and then I guess somewhere in there, in complete and utter exhaustion I fell asleep on the coach. We had not eaten yet...Tanis woke me for french onion soup and it was delicious but I was way overtired. I then got situated in bed surrounded by my misquito net. A water bottle beside me and a flash light as well. Its hot. Very hot. and...I have to pretend I`m hearing birds...its bats. I cannot see them thankfully but I hear them. Worse in my room. I woke not long ago and had no idea how dark it would be. I could not find anything...no night stand nothing. So I laid here til Tanis heard me call her. I was disappointed to find out its only 2:30 am...shoot. I got up and am sitting inside my mosquito net on my bed typing this to Dean for him to post on the blog.
Want to know something incredible Tanis came in and said she has been called in to `theatre`(surgery`) as a patient is on her way from Chavuma ... with a ruptured eptopic pregnancy. Can you imagine...3 hours of horrid roads in that kind of pain!! So Tanis will be heading in to the hosptial that is right here on site...in an hour. Praying the lady survives until then ... she will have emergency surgery soon. What was amazing is that C and Z have lived with Tanis for 2 mths now exclusively here...no going back to the village and yet she has NEVER been called in to hosptial in the night yet. She is always on call but has not had to go in yet...which is good because she said she would have to leave the twins here while she went. Yet...here we are...my very first night here...and she gets called in! As Tanis said ``this is such a God thing!``.

Tomorow Tanis is not working and we will be going to Zambezi for a social welfare appointment. Last night in my overtired emotional state I laid in bed crying about my family. I want to be with my family and it got so bad I thought I don`t want to come back here in March and leave the kids again.!! Thankfully it was a very emotional moment and I can blame it on that. However...to my husband and children...while this trip is one of a lifetime...its you I want to be with. I feel a tad empty. Like I have gone back in time and I`m single and childless...its strange and uncomfortable. I love you all. To those of you that agreed to pray. Thank you so much. Seriously..wow...I`m so grateful for all the prayers that have reached God`s ear on my behalf. It truly made a difference.

Keep watching the blog I can email Dean daily so I will be still posting regular updates.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

On my way!!

I'm writing this update from Heathrow airport in London. First time over seas and wow what a flight. Honestly it was smooth. But it was a test, no lie. Middle of the night as everyone snored and I watched I LOVE LUCY...I felt serious panic. I was following that we were over Greenland or somewhere remote and it was dark and I was the only one awake besides a crying baby and mama....and I just felt stranded. :( I got up and walked around and prayed. Like the sincere prayer of God I need to feel you here now. I'm weak so no tests on the flight. Smooth flight and sleep and peace :)

I'm meeting up with a Mr and Mrs Clark from Ontario here in a bit and we'll be on the same flight.

I leave at 6:30 pst and my flight is one of the few not cancelled b/c welll they have a bit of snow :When my companions woke I quickly found out the lady sitting besides me is a WycliffBib le Missionary on her way to France to complete her PhD (in French) and has spent much time in several french speaking African Countries. I loved talking with her and appreciated her praying with me. We also sat next to a Doctor from Seattle Children's ... one that worked with Azlan's surgeon, Dr. Gruss. We had tons of fun for the last 2 hours...if only they were awake all night with me!!!

Seriously I feel weak and sick and just plain overtired and yah...missing my husband and children. Honestly...I'm not looking forward to another 10 hours on the plane tonight :( Pray for me. I have some serious surrendoring to do :( "How close can I get to my surrendor without losing all control...?" Yah thats me. Hate not feeling like I'm in control. Weird part is...I never am in control. He's got it and He's got me covered and if I can absorb that in the next hour or so tonight will be sweet peace.

C and Z I'm coming and I'm estatic about holding each of you!!

Dean--Tirzah, Zion, Azlan, and Azahria (who are still delighted about finding notes, chocolates and toys on their pillow from mama last night ;)...I love you all.