Friday, April 30, 2010

Day 26 *28.

Thursday Day 26.

At midnight the first half of our VERY LONG, VERY non relaxed journey to Washington D.C was over. We landed in Dakar, Senegal. It was pitch black, most of the plane was sleeping (not yours truly) and was strange landing in the dark. We were supposed to be stopped for 1 hour as they refueled, let a few ppl off, gained a few passengers etc. We were stopped for 1hour 40 minutes. Lights on. Its midnight. Nice. Managed to keep C and Z sleeping the whole time. Weird security checks, Had to get our carry on luggage down from overhead and put it in our lap. Nothing like a rude awakening for most of the passengers. :)

I was feeling ok about the flight. It was a little shakey but it was pretty smooth. The new flight crew got on and the pilot announced clear skies with turbulent air currents. He said he hoped we would sleep through it but it looked like some rough air ahead. Fan.Tastic. :(

It was rough.

Somewhere in here I started to talk to the man beside us. About 55 years old. He is a missionary from Sarasota, FL. Absolutely a God send to me. It was just amazing how God was placing people all along the way to comfort me. This man..was a huge gift. Mark (we didn't ask each others names until well into our journey) was letting Z lay partially on his lap while he slept. At one point, I couldn't handle it any more, I was SHAKING. I woke him and said I wasn't doing well. The plane was extremely rough. It felt like I was on a boat in very very very rough waters. It was bumpy, then it would drop so your stomach would drop and I was watching us kind of roll....left to right. For hours. I was praying and praying and begging God to just calm the storm. I kept thinking about Jesus sleeping in the boat...in the storm. I knew He was in the plane with me...and I'm POSITIVE if I could have seen Him...I would have went to sleep. I couldn't and my fears were consuming my faith. It was horrible. I felt like the Israealites who soon forget. Yes my song came to mind...Though the world sees and soon forgets ... and I couldn't even finish it. I started to cry. After all God showed me and did for us...even on this journey in 28 days...I couldn't trust him now. When I woke Mark he immediately turned to me and in an unashamed volume, began to pray. He prayed that the one who gives Peace, not fear, would give that overwhelming peace to us now. That He would protect us, and smooth the path. He said "Amen" and I was still shaking...and literally shaking in a rough flight. I started to feel sick. At one point I looked over at Mark and saw him sitting there praying out loud. That did nothing to ease the tension I was feeling. I was hoping it was only me not at ease. He then turned to me and we just started to talk. I knew what he was doing. He was trying to simply distract me. There was nothing more to do except give it to God...the one who not only holds us in His hand...but also the plane, the storm...He's got it all. We chatted, I was still very uneasy yet silently thanking God for sending a messenger. I truly do not know how I would have stayed conscious on that flight were it not for Mark.

Then a few minutes later...I surrendored. I just completely accepted that maybe this heartwrenching journey was for you all....and not for me. That maybe it was going to end...not as I thought. That maybe this was the day I would go home...not to Pasco but to my final destination: heaven. As I did...I had complete peace. With whatever the outcome.I could hear my Father saying "Janice...I already know the end of the story. Whatever the outcome it won't surprise me. I know the end. It's already visible to me". That brought peace. Then..my mind kept going...I pictured our kids being told that Mommy, Chazano and Zunduka were in Heaven. Then..lmost instantly....I could feel the blood drain out of my face and I started to faint. Mark could see me and immediately got up and got me juice. Want to know something interesting...? From the time he came back with the juice...that flight was smooth as glass. Not another bump or shudder. I don't know what you believe but let me say...from the depths of who I am..I firmly believe He controls the storms. After hours of turbulance...it was not coincidental that the moment I surrendored...the moment emotionally I had all I could take...that same moment...we were "suddenly past the turbulent currents". I laid my head back and thanked my creator for never leaving me. Repented for my weak faith despite all He has shown me. Its sad to realize how much you can grow...yet how weak we really are.

We watched the sun rise...it was absolutely beautiful. Beautiful because I knew...our home...America...was in sight. We were served breakfast which the boys gobbled up. We were almost there. We landed in D.C almost an hour late than estimated at near 7am. This was going to make things difficult for so many with their connecting flights!

So...Thursday morning officially began in EST. We stood in line forever at customs and went through pretty effortlessly. Went to pick up our bags...two trollies...two boys tagging along...one missing suitcase... later...it was all checked back in.

We loved being in the airport. We had about 5 hours. The boys laughed so hard it was hilarious. They each had a hand on my orange carry one and we didnt' pass a single person who didn't stop and google over them. People were asking our story and were teary eyed having heard. This was day 28 away from four young children and a husband...and our family was forever...changed.


Finally it was time to board the plane. The boys, again, were estatic. We weren't seated together and it always amazes me how people can stand and look at a mom and two little children and say "No I'm unwilling to move seats so they can sit together". Nice. Finally the stewardess offered to buy 'drinks' for people if they changed their seats and that got people moving.

Chazano got the window for this take off. He was quite funny. LOVING the speed.
It was a gorgeous day and I was planning on everyone sleeping. I changed seats with Chazano so they were both together. They laid down. Zunduka was sleeping pretty quickly. Chazano wasn't so I brought out his 'motocahs" (Motor cars) :) and is coloring book. They were so good. I slept. For probably 3 hours. It was a 6 hour flight and was amazing. It was clear we could see down and I loved it. It was perfectly smooth. It was rest for a weary soul :)

We were estatic to be landing. The boys kept saying "Tirzah!!!" or "ZION!!!" it was so cute. The stewardesses were in love with the boys and had asked the story. They brought great big chocolate chip cookies...they thought they were pretty special. When they found out I was about to see our four kids and my husband after 28 days in Africa...they were teary eyed. When we got to the top of the escalator (thats another story...haahha....Chazano was TERRIFIED of moving stairs...it was funny)...as we were coming up the escalator I looked to the left to see four little faces pressed to the glass. I think my heart stopped. Completely. I started yelling their names. Azlan was RUNNING towards us. I looked further to the left and could see the stewardesses from my flight were our photographers. They had come up, seen the family with the balloons and asked if that was my family. It was very sweet. I kept seeing them wiping the tears away. Yes I think we blocked the top of the escalator for 10 minutes and we were completely on display. Not one of us cared. We were lost in each other. The hugs and "mama I havent' stopped praying for you" and "We've been waiting for you" and "wow is that Chazano and Zunduka" screams were music. Zunduka RAN to daddy for the most heartwarming hug it was amazing. He just laid on Dean's shoulder! The boy..has never had a daddy. He has known Mamas. Their great aunt was mama to them. Tanis was mama. I'm now mama. But never has their been a Daddy. It was beautiful.

The kids were walking up to C and Z getting full hugs as I was still making my rounds. Everyone knew exactly who this was and what it meant. We have 2 new brothers. There was never even a recognition of color difference. They hugged and held hands.

We all left and loaded the vehicle. We went to McDonalds where...let me tell you...looks were not always pleasant. I think people were hoping, but quickly realizing otherwise, that this was birthday party. But as everyone called me Mama ... the thoughts were soon dismissed :) It was wonderful. The complete ending to a dream. The dream that started in each of us...years ago. The dream that was so painful for 28 days....it was done. We were now a family. All 8 of us.

We had a wonderful drive home where everyone slept and Dean and I could just talk. In silence. I know you don't think that happens much but it does :)

We got home and every slept til about 7am. That's pretty amazing seeing the jet leg! Its a 9 hour time difference but you would never know it last night.

Ahhh. 28 days. They changed my heart. Changed two little boys lives..and likely their 'forevers'....changed our family. Forever. 28 days in Africa.

Though the world sees...and soon forgets...we will NOT forget who You are and what You've done for us!!


PS...as we drove in the driveway and saw a house decorated by our bible study group...we felt so loved. We walked in the house to a gorgeously shining clean house from top to bottom...thank you Amy and Katie!!! What a gift that was! The house was decorated for a full party.

From Pasco...with more appreciation and gratefulness than you can fathom.

XOXO
Janice.

Day 25 **27

Wednesday, Day 25.

We were up and ready pretty early and had the vehicle all packed. Still nervous about the heavy elephant :) We headed to the Embassy and I walked in and it was so nice to see Agrippa and Kate smiling as they handed me the packets. They were sincerely congratulating me and wishing me the best on the rest of our journey.

We headed to Manda Hill and had a coffee and I purchased a few cards.

We went to the airport--and started the process of lugging everything in. The boys were giddy! We said our goodbyes to Tanis and baby Mika and headed thru. I had 2 men help me as we had two completely full trollies of suitcases! In total shock they checked my elephant table in and said "pick it up in D.C!" NO charge!!! It was WELL overweight...it was 37 kilos! Max is 50lbs for free.

We were on our way!!! The boys were so excited to look out the windows at the airplanes taking off. Several Zambians walked up to us and thanked me for helping out orphans from their country. Interesting to see how appreciative most of them are.

It was finally time to board the plane and the boys were squealing in delight!!! I let Zunduka have the window seat. As we were just about to take off the boys yelled YELLED "SPPPPPEEEEEEED!!!!!" it was funny. And a little embarrassing all at the same time :)

They loved the flight! It was almost 2 hours and we were served a FULL hot meal! WoW...a tad different from a domestic flight in North America!! Chazano had a bit of a meltdown on the plane...it was seatbelts ... hmmmm they have NEVER had a seat belt on in their life...so they were TICKED they couldn't be leaning by the window. I was getting HUGE puppy eyes from Zunduka and Chazano just plain wouldn't look at me! Then it came to the meal. NO WAY was CHazano going to eat. He folded his arms and said "YUCKY" before ever tasting it. Not going to happen. Especially when I know how good of eaters they are. He was so mad then started to cry. I let him cry for a while then said it was enough and he needed to stop, sit up and eat. He did. Then we had the 'grouchy' talk and got him smiling. He was great ever since.

When we landed I must say I was a bit annoyed that our layover...was gone. I have no idea where it went...we were supposed to have 2 hours but we ran to our gate!! We did sneak into "Out of Africa" store where the boys each picked a stuffed animal and a baby one. Chazano got a "mama lion and puppy lion" and Zunduka the same in rhinos :)

On our big flight!!!

The plane didn't excite me so I started praying. It was creaking just having us all load on. We were at the back right by the bathrooms...four seats across it was us and another man. The journey began.

It was about 6pm and we were on our way. It was a fairly packed plane. The boys again were excited though a little mad no one was near a window :) We were served our meal pretty quickly. The boys watched a Disney movie and were so excited. I had to keep removing their earphones and telling them not to yell and laugh so loud :) At about 8:30 pm we settled them down for the night on the 2 seats...it wasn't the most comfortable looking bed.

This is end of Wednesday our time.

I'm obviously writing this after the fact...but on Wednesday night it was a good night from somewhere over the heart of Africa. A very very praying Janice.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Day 24. (*26)

Tuesday, Day 24.

This morning started with us going nice and early to the US embassy...under the impression that I was quickly submitting photos, paying, signing and taking off. Everyone stayed in the car as I took about an hour in the Embassy. I submitted everything, paid ($400 USD each child)...and then was told to wait. And wait...I did. Finally I was called into the interview room. Once there I was told the visas were approved and asked again if I was committing all was true in the documents. Then I signed. She then told me "ok we will hope things get done in time, but there are no guarantees that you will have these before your flight...therefore delaying your travel plans". :)

I seriously walked out of there with ZERO concerns. I felt complete peace that if this was the flight for us...then we would have those visas in time.

We went on with our day. Had lunch, kids played in the playground...I found a few gift items for a few good friends, and then had my hair done. I just had it washed, dried and straightened. I kept coaching her on how to do it...I'm sure my hair differs quite a bit from Zambian hair :) Anyway, in the end, after 26 days of disgusting hair, it felt good to just have it down and look decent.

Tanis had to do a few stops so it took us a while to get home, but we were here in time for a very nice dinner. There's only been a few things I have seen Zunduka and Chazano not like eating. One was lentils ... the other night at the doctor's house. I had to force feed. :) The other was tonight...our vegetable was pumpkin. Literally...pumpkin cooked like squash. It was very good but the boys...not really having it. They did eat it all but it was not enjoyed.

Ever since dinner I've been packing. Bathed the boys one final time here...got their bags packed. They have this tiny suitcase...half full :) Half of their clothes I gave back to Tanis to give to needy children in the village. Some of it is very nice, much of which I purchased for them in WA last time...but its too small. A lot of their shirts hit an inch or two above their wrist. So we are passing them on. So they are going home with even less :) I'm sure we will soon have to go shopping for summer clothes for them once home.

The most difficult thing to pack...is our elephant. Last time Tanis bought us a giraffe end table...which was quite the ordeal packing...but we made it. Only to have every person in security laugh at me carrying it in Seattle. It did look quite rediculous. Well.. this time I asked the same seller at the market to make me an elephant one...for the other side of the living room. It cost $350,000 which is about $70. Its quite gorgeous and all hand carved. The problem: its a different kind of wood than he made the giraffe with and its very heavy. Tanis said it was definitely within weight limits..I disagreed. It appears, unfortunately, that I was correct. I have no idea how much they are going to charge me since it is over 50lbs. I called Dean and asked if it was worth it...it may be $100 surcharge! (rediculous since its like 5 lbs overweight). We are going to go for it provided it is around $100. So several boxes and towels and lots of duck tape later...the elephant is ready :)

Ahh. I'm so ready. Its going to be quite the trip.

Our flight leaves Lusaka at 1:40pm to Johannesburg, South Africa. Its a 2 hour flight and we have a 2 hour layover. Then we leave Joburg around 5:45pm or so and its like 17 hours to Washington DC. oh...don't stop praying for me yet :) We do touch down in Daqar (google it to see where in the world it is :)...in the middle of the night for refuel and I hear to let some passengers off. We are not allowed to exit the plane though. Then we continue on through the night. We land in WA D.C at 6am local time. We have a 6hour 4o minute layover there...which I'm told will be well used. We have to do all the customs there which means retrieving 6 checked in suitcases including mister overweight elephant...oh doesn't that sound exciting? :) Nevermind...I will be THRILLED beyond words to be on U.S soil!!! We arrive in Seattle 3:34pm PST on Thursday. The boys have definitely never been on an airplane before and they cannot wait!! Little do they know all that lies ahead.

Tanis suggested wearing a diaper on Zunduka the entire time and it seems like we need to. He basically is telling us he needs to go the bathroom...AS he is going. Then he starts to cry (Tanis says b/c he knows thats not ok)...and we are left trying to deal with the disaster. AHHH. Yes this is for all forms of going to the bathroom. I don't want to go the diaper route...but neither do I wish to deal with what could happen. I know you may be thinking he's been through a lot but really...he's been living a dream for MONTHS being taken from the poverty of the village and into Tanis' home...and it seems were are backtracking a bit. I'll be interested to see what we find out medically.

This morning at the Embassy the Consular opened the medical documents as she wanted me aware of any issues....she said the doctor said Zunduka is severely malnourished and needs medical attention within a month. I think you get used to tiny children here in Zambia because I definitely see the severe malnutrion but Tanis thinks he has a high metabolism. It'll be interesting to see what we find out.

Their new backpacks are packed, coloring books, crayons, cars, toothbrushes :) I have a full extra set of clothes for them so in DC I'll get them dressed a little nicer as tomorrow they'll be wearing sweat suits so they can sleep all night comfortably.

Oh...want some good news?

We got an email tonight...from the Consular. Here is what it says: :)

Dear Janice - your sons' packets and visas are ready for collection.
The number you had provided was unfortunately missing a digit so we were
unable to phone you. You may come to the Embassy today before 16:30 or
tomorrow morning between 8:00 and 10:00 to collect them. Kate



There you go! So we are all set! We'll pick them up in the morning, run to one more store very quickly and then be on our way home to pack the car and head to the airport for 12ish.

Please pray our entire trip home. For a safe trip...for health. About 10-12 days ago I got bitten by misquitos about 6 or 7 bites...and Tanis says Maralia symptoms show up about 10 days after bites. Praying I am exempt.


Tirzah, Zion, Azlan and Azahria Peace....2 more days and we see you. Tomorrow we leave on the big airplane and we are on our way!!

Dean--Two more days. Distance has not made my heart grow fonder. It was 'fond' before I left. It feels so wrong for me to be away from you all so long....yet I know...it is was God wanted. It's what He planned. So it was the right thing. I love you.


Ahhh...so I won't be able to blog (I don't think...) until I'm on U.S soil at least. Will be 29 days gone when I get home Thursday. I am so ready.

One last night from Lusaka!
Janice

Monday, April 26, 2010

Day 23--the details.

Monday - Day 23.

April 26. Sweet Azahria Peace's birthday....what a way to celebrate.

This morning once we got going...we went to Lusaka Trust Hospital to get my Visa Medical File. Hilarious. I spoke to FOUR different docs/nurses who all led me in a different direction. Finally I just went back to the waiting room and the lady that was helping me last week says to me "this is not good...you were supposed to speak to ME after you had your doctor appointment...now the file is not done!" I said "but the doctor said he would have that file ready first thing Monday morning and no one told me to come talk to you". She walks away clucking like hen. She comes back only to disappear into the bathroom for ten minutes. Finally comes out and not even looking at me says "follow me" I do. She sits me in another waiting room ... and says "secretary is sealing the documents. Sit". So funny. So the secretary comes out with my sealed envelope and I'm out of there. I felt bad for Tanis and the kids (and another nurse that was in our car catching a ride to town) since I really thought I'd be like 2 minutes!

We then went to Manda Hill mall...for lunch. Also bought a few gifts for my kids that I've been eyeing up for a while :) By the time we left there ... it was the right time to be heading to US Embassy.

So we go. Security is rediculous. Tanis has this HUGE, NASTY looking comb for African hair in her bag ... definitely could be classified as a weapon...and no problem. Take it through. My lip gloss? What are you thinking?? That has to stay in a bin. By the time I went in, I had an empty bag. :)

We go in and mr Agrippa asks for my documents. I give him all I have and we sit and wait. You know...after having sat and waited at sooooooo many appointments this trip..this was by far the most peaceful one. It was so much so...I thought...I wonder who prayed specifically for peace for me today. They took a very long time...40 minutes or so before anyone spoke to me. Finally the Consular called me into the interview room . We start going over documents. I keep thinking its a good thing that she's filling forms out. First thing she says is "Wow you were so prepared thank you for having all those forms filled out and all the documents with you". Nice to hear. Then we get to the concern. Orphans. If our children qualified. We know that do. Their standards were pretty crazy though. We have birth notifications of children, death notification of mother and father's relinquishment document from court. Orphans right? ahhh.

She was giving me this very direct eye contact that was a little denerving ... even through the glass window. Asking me about stamp dates being corrected. Why my sister in law had signed mother's death certificate etc. But we were prepared. The letter we had sent to us from Chitokoloki Mission hospital went over all of that in great detail. Tanis is the head mission nurse of the hospital...thats why she signed official documents. The letter even gave an apology for stamp dates often needing correcting. Her face when she read the letter (that was backed up by copies of the doctor's passport and medical license) was just awesome. She was like "WOW". "You were prepared". I said "you told me to come prepared". Then the one hang up was the fact that I came with no court documents. Now...I came last week and Kate said "no we don't need court documents, you couldn't have gotten this far without them...so obviously they are fine". Today she changed her mind. I said "I only have 3 documents, everything else has been given to Zambian officials just to get to this point". She said she wanted to see them. So Tanis takes off to meet a missionary half way..after telling him to find a pile of papers on my bed and race to Manda Hill to meet her with them. I was unsure what all was in my pile. Kate (consular) was hoping for some documentation further discussing children's family. As Tanis is running out the door, I'm in this tiny interview room with Z and C and Z says "I has to pee" (yes thats how he says it). I know when he says it...he's probably peeing..as he speaks. Fantastic. I yell at Tan .. they run to her and she takes them. When she sends them back, Zunduka is soaking wet. ahhh. 25 minutes or so later Tanis returns with the doc's. I bring them to Kate who tells me to go wait in waiting room again. She then buzzes me in and says "your documents were PERFECT, they definitely prove the children are orphans so we are a GO!" I'm smiling from ear to ear but I had the peace all along. It was a very cool moment. My first thought...honestly..."this is so awesome...on Azahria's bday. :)". Think of it...even though some of the timing of events would lead the best of us to struggle on this journey...in hindsight...and even right now...the timing is actually smile-worthy. I lose our baby the same day we adopt twins. Though completely in tears about missing our baby's birthday....we get the biggest answer to prayer ON her birthday!

A couple of delays...just to make things exciting :)....
1. Our photos were wrong size. The photo shop gave us Canadian Visa size instead of American. ahhh.
2. The payment office closed at 3:30pm so we need to come back first thing tomorrow (Tuesday) morning to pay and bring visa photos.
3. There is a process called "photo verification" that needs to be done before visas are printed...that can take 24 hours.

.... you know what that means? We may be picking up our visas...at 8 am and heading to the airport at 11am for our 1pm flight :)

So we left there at 5pm...and raced to Manda Hill arriving at 5:30...to get in before 6 closing time to get pics redone. Got it and were out of there. Headed to Dr. Goran's (plastic surgeon from last night) house for dinner. It was a wonderful meal and was especially wonderful after dinner to go through his hundreds of photos of cleft repairs. Very very very interesting. He was given the Humanitarian of the Year award last year in LA for all his work. Incredible. Some of the cases were a bit too much for me ... clefts that went all the way up to the eyes etc. I showed him Azlan's photos and he thinks he looks great. Then he told us how "even in Zambia" (his words) if you kill a child you go to jail. So they do 'silent killings'. They just do not feed the baby and it dies. So sad. So he said "we are on a mission....to show before and after photos so they can see there is hope...these babies are healthy and can look beautiful too". He looked at me and said "you know that". I thought of so many of us moms of cleft babies ... as we sobbed seeing our babies new faces. Interesting contrast. But neither we were thrown out of our homes and families as cursed...because we had our precious babies.

It was late when we left...and headed home. I knew Zunduka was completely overtired.. As I was rubbing cream on his head....oh ... another story...he has ringworm. I'm asking no questions..Tanis keeps saying its no big deal...but the sound of it alone makes me shiver...anyway as I'm rubbing the rx on his head he SOBS. Saying its hurting. This is what he does when he's over tired. Just sobbing. So he went to bed with a very white head as I couldn't rub it in...and I knew it didn't hurt (we've been rubbing it in several times a day)...crying. Joy comes in the morning :) Two more days.

What a perfect ending to a crazy journey. 25 days...on my knees. Not weary...refreshed. Not broken....whole. Is this what He had to do...to get me to this place...? I believe so. To get me to cry on His shoulder...I had to be out of reach of my husband's. To get me find my complete joy in Him...I had to be a world apart from our four children. This is what it took.

Tirzah, Zion, Azlan and Azahria Peace (who is now 2!)...Soon we will be counting down in HOURS to how soon we see you all. We are so excited. Zunduka and Chazano just BEAM when I talk about meeting you!
Dean: Ahhhhhhhh.


From Lusaka~
Thank you. For every step you took with our family. Thank you.

Janice

Day 23....*25--Happy Birthday to my girly.

Azahria Peace. Our beautiful sweet Azahria Peace. Today is the day...what a fun day this was, 2 years ago. You should know... :) Mama drove into the hospital at 2am in Daddy's old worktruck...PRAYING it wouldn't break down...after being in labor for several hours. Yeah, you were #4 so Mama told Daddy to stay in bed :) That doesn't mean we weren't over the moon to welcome you to our family! Daddy arrived just in time to welcome you to the world. We love you baby girl...I cannot believe you are TWO years old today. Someday...I will tell you I missed your birthday. Even though you didn't know...Mama knew. It is breaking my heart to not be there today. What a special way to celebrate all the way from Africa...praying we get Chazano and Zunduka's Visas today so your big brothers can home to America--all on YOUR birthday!!

I love you Azahria Peace. You beautiful beautiful ray of sunshine.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Day 22 (*24...since I left home)

Sunday, day 22.

Today was a fabulous day.

We started with going to church this morning. To the same one we went to last week. 2 hours sitting on wooden pews with random buzzing creatures over my head...:)

This morning we heard prayers in Bemba, Luvale (C and Z's language!) and English :) Everything that is said in English is translated into Bemba. Tanis says its a rule of the Bemba language. Interesting.

It was a cold cloudy day, which I loved. Tanis says April is usually quite miserable with heat and humidity but this entire month its been gorgeous! Loving the breeze even on the hot days.

After church Tanis dropped us off at the Arcades mall (where the huge market is on Sundays) so she could go home with Mika so she could nap for a few hours.

The boys and I ate lunch and as we were eating...
a lady walked by. Well...I looked...and looked and then called her: "Megan!". Yes THE Megan!!! The one that was the 'first gift' on my day of gifts! So fabulous. She sat and we talked for a long time. How cool was that?? She gave me several contact numbers, she even has a few friends that have adopted from Zambia from Seattle! I was hoping they were Luvale children but they are not...would have loved to have Luvale contacts so the children could keep their language.

After our fun meeting we started our shopping. It was tons of fun. I got some really great deals and ended it with going to one lady that seems to be the nicest of them all...she said the most sincere thank you...that I was her first purchase all day. I bought a 'diaper bag' for Tanis...(has to look like a purse though!!) so it was very cute. I then went back and bought her 2 chitanges and a gorgeous pair of sandals. The lady was in tears. I sat down with the boys and God told me to go back and just give her money. So I did. She cried and said "how do I ever thank you..? Truly you must be from God". :) It was a very cool moment...especially after reading (and writing on my blog) what I did last night in Job.

We gave Auntie Tanis the gift as a thank you for all her time spent in Lusaka with us (and she hates the city...likes it for a day or two but says she would hate to live here).

We met Dr. Jovic and his wife for lunch. Who are they? He is the only plastic surgeon in the entire country! Has been here for 18 years. He has always been interested to meet me because of Azlan. He works with Smile Train organization as well. Fantastic people. They took us out for dinner. (Where the waitress clearly forgot Tanis' meal...so it came after we were all done eating and part of her chicken was very raw...! ... some things....only in Zambia!!:). They then invited us to their house tomorrow night for dinner. I said I would bring Tanis' computer so I could show them Azlan's journey in photos (from my Facebook account).

We got home...unloaded all our goods in the dark...kids are playing in the playroom. Time is passing. I say a MINIMUM of 15 minutes (Tanis thinks 10...) and I sit Zunduka down at the table for some cake. Where is Chazano? I search. No sign of him. Go to the car with Tanis as it was all locked and inside...is a SOBBING Chazano :( It was so sad. I have NEVER heard him sob. They cry silently. Even when really hurt. Its so sad. Ahhhh I tried hugging and comforting him but that's not the norm for them, you can tell they have not been comforted when hurt or sad. Thanks to Megan...I am doing "hug therapy" (just keep hugging tightly ... so they can trust it.). I hugged him the whole time while saying over and over how sorry Mama was. Then I sat him down for cake. He took a few mouthfuls and I looked at him and he was silently sobbing. (picture a child sobbing...face in sob motions...yet no sound...that's what they do). It was heartbreaking. He actually turned and laid on my shoulder and cried for 2 minutes or so. I could not believe he let me comfort him. It was really heart wrenching watching his little mind relive the feeling of being left in the dark car by himself for 15 minutes .. not knowing when someone would come get him :(

So even though it's well past bedtime, I did not want my boy going to bed sad...so I turned on a movie for them and he is giggling away. :)

Tomorrow...is the day. Please pray for us. At 2pm our time we will be going to our visa appt at the Embassy. Dr. Jovic brought the letter from the doctor at Chitoloki verifying twins birth and mother's death...so hopefully that helps.

Ahhhh....We will be CELEBRATING tomorrow night ... with Visas in hand!!

Tirzah, Zion, Azlan and Azahria Peace....you are going to love the things we bought for you today!! :)
Dean---2 years ago tonight we were at Olive Garden....getting ready for baby #4's arrival. Ahhhhh. Oh...had a thought...I think the boys would LOVE it if the kids greeted them with some balloons at the airport :)
I love you.


From Lusaka--
Good night.
Janice

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Day 21 (*23)

Day 21 - Saturday.

We had a nice day. We went shopping for a bit at Manda Hill...then Tanis decided she would go for a pedicure...her first one ever in Zambia. I was a little leary...a pedicure. However I went for it. Yes we did it with three kids at our feet. It was very nice and much cheaper than it would be at home. It was a splurge no doubt. It felt a bit weird...to be enjoying something so vacation-like.

I went really looking for backpacks for Chazano and Zunduka for our trip. We finally found them in Game. Unreal the prices, here. $92,000 kwacha each...like $20 each...and they are $8 quality. But they were cute and they were sooooo excited when they realized they were THEIRS. You can tell they've never really received gifts much the way they react. Having no idea what to do with them...it was all giggles when I put them on their back :)

We were almost stolen from at lunch. We ate at a restaurant outside and Tanis was telling me this guy came by looking for our bags. A while later I said "is that him?" and she was like "YES!" we had our bags over our knees under the table. He came over. Sat at a table next to us. Kept staring. It wasn't that comfortable. Then he grabbed his chair and came very very close to Tanis whispering to her. The whole time he was talking I was watching his hand stutter as he stared at her cell phone on the table. I reached over and grabbed it. Don't think he was pleased about that. Tanis started saying "GO AWAY FROM OUR TABLE" and he wasn't moving so she got a bit louder. Crazy how they come up close then grab whatever you have and run. Having all passports (mine included) on me...I was not thrilled about the possibility of losing it!

We actually stopped at a grocery store today at the end of the day because...don't tell anyone...but I'm not sure if I can handle guava AGAIN for the ... what...17th....? ... night in a row for dessert! So I bought a chocolate cake and chocolate ice cream. Hahah. Total splurge. Cannot wait to have it tonight in a bit.

We got home just in time for me to have my Shima making lesson from the cook here Edina. Ok...it was not easy. My arm was hurting and she's standing over me going "no do it stronger, harder....come on...faster!" Hilarious. Finally I did make it. That was pretty exciting because I'm bringing the white corn meal home with me so I can make it for the boys. Zunduka loves it...Chazano is ok with it. I actually love it as well. I guess if you are in Zambia 4 weeks.... :) No we haven't had it that much but I do really like it. They cooked shima and potatoes tonight and I didn't touch the potatoes. Ok ... for those of you that don't know...Shima is the staple here. Kind of like tortillas are to mexicans....shima is to Africans. They make it what a few different things but the best is made with corn meal. The corn here is field corn so its white. Therefore our cornmeal looks different than what you get at home. It is a hot warm...mush. :) Yup that's it. It's pretty tasteless (like corn tortillas) but what they do is serve a big scoop of it...you wash your hands and don't dry them...then come to the table with no utensils and eat. Shima, a veggie (like a cabbage or something) and a meat with a 'relish' or sauce. So you take a piece of shima...ball it up in your hands and start dipping and eating all with your fingers. So....I love it. ... with fork and knife :) It makes me a bit sick seeing the hand eating...lol.

Ok that was our day. It went fast for which... I am thankful.

I really was spoken to today by Job 31.

15. Did not he who made me in the womb...make him?
And did not one fashion us in the womb?

16. If I have withheld anything that the poor desired, or have caused the eye of the widow to fail,

17. Or have eaten my morsel alone, and the fatherless has not eaten of it

18. For from my youth the fatherless grew up with me as with a father and from my mother's womb I guided the widow.

19. If I have seen anyone perish for lack of clothing
or the needy without covering

20. If his body has not blessed meand if he was not warmed with the fleece of my sheep

21. If I have raised my hand against the fatherless
because I saw my help in the gate

22. Then let the shoulder blade fall from my shoulder and let my arm be broken from its socket.

Ok it really hit me. You think God cares about the poor? Widowed? Fatherless? There are so many... so many. In a way it feels so insignificant here to be walking away with two children. There are millions. The masses. The people. People all...going somewhere. We are adopting two little boys that don't know how blessed and chosen they are. Yet there are so many. It's actually a strange feeling to be here and so how many needy there are. I've actually struggled a bit with the "why them?" Not anything against Chazano and Zunduka but a "why did You choose them?" I may never know. I may never know why He chose me either. But He did. I am so glad He did.


Tirzah--Can't wait to see you ... even if it is in your dressup clothes ;)
Zion--guess what?? Mama bought you the coolest shoes today, I think you will love them!
Azlan--Mama is very excited to meet with a doctor tomorrow...that comes and does operations on little boys and girls like you! I will show him your picture! :) (Yes I found your orange safari hat :)
Azahria Peace--we are planning your party from here!!

Dean--4 very counted days left. 5 til I see you. XO

Happy saturday to you all...
From Lusaka.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Day 20 (*22).

Friday - Day 20.

Today we decided to all go together this morning, instead of me staying home with the kids. So Tanis dropped Z, C and I off at Manda Hill. We had a very nice morning. We went to Mr. Price where I actually bought a full outfit for myself. I completely loved it and it was unique.

Then we went to the candy store where I bought the boys each a very silly candy which they were SO excited about. They don't realize just how much yet...because they haven't been in our home. I'm NOT a candy mama...chocolate...no problem. No candy. See...that was growing up having my dad for a dad :) He always reminded us of the probable dental bills when we eyed up candy...and I remember how many hours I did end up sitting in the dentist chair as a child :)

We walked to a few stores. One was very cool...I loved a shirt til I saw it was 400,000 kwacha...which is like $90usd. And that's just plain rediculous.

We went to our fave restaurant where the boys played and I bought a cappuccino. It was quite wonderful. We were to meet Tanis at 1pm. I ordered the boys lunch and was shocked when Tanis came in....kind of in a flurry ... apologizing for being late! she said it was 1:20...I had no idea! We had spent about 3 hours there alone. It was such a nice time. The boys played and were very silly. It was quite bonding...just being alone with them.

So we quickly got loaded up and headed to the doc. Wouldn't have rushed had we known what lay ahead! My appt was at 2pm...we get there. Empty clinic. I say I have an appt and I get blank stares. "today??" ... 'yes today'. "are you sure??" (fabulous.). "yes I'm sure". ... ."ok ... wait here". She comes back with my file and tells me to follow her. Over to the actual waiting room of the hospital. She tells me to wait. The doctor is on lunch. Umm.....really?

Finally a lady comes out and says "come with me". We go. Where she has a note out in front of her saying some day at the end of next week. She said "we have a new appointment for you". I actually did smile. Seriously. No...I tell her I must have this appointment today. I have a US Embassy appt Monday and a flight Wednesday. She assures me that it's easy to switch my flight. .... Smile again. I tell her I really really need this appointment today. She says "we have no record of it". I said....well please call the nurse on my file from yesterday b/c he booked it. ahhhh. She goes out and talks to the doctor on her phone...b/c he's....still on lunch. :) He has 10 patients in the waiting room so he says "sure I'll see her ... after all 10 of my patients". Having no choice, I say "great! thanks.". 2pm. At 5pm...with no end in sight I got up and asked if I was next on the list. Apparently I wasn't but she squeezed me in ... and wouldn't you know it... patients in the waiting room were mad at me!!! I was there all afternoon. ahhhh.

We go in and the slowest writing doctor on the planet greets us. Yes thats significant b/c the Embassy gives him several pages to fill out... on each child. Finally he examines the kids. He quizzed me about Zunduka. At the end (50 minutes or so in his office) I asked him if he thinks the boys are healthy. He said "they are ok but they are severely malnourished". I told him I know but think about how it will help them going to America to be in a loving family. He smiled and said "yes, losing their mother at 5 mths is very very bad for nutrition" since breastfeeding is IT til you are 2 years old here...simply because with such severe poverty...thats how the baby stays alive. He was concerned about Zunduka though. He asked why he is soooo skinny. I said he's been through a lot of trauma in his life and needs some stability. Honestly...I have no idea but I don't have the best of feelings about his severe low weight. He eats adult size portions and Tanis and I disagree on this a bit....she thinks it takes time to gain weight. I don't . He's been living with her since November...eating like a KING. He has not gained ONE ounce and he's soooo tiny. I gave them a bath tonight and Zunduka...is a skeleton. So we'll check him out thoroughly when we get home. She has treated him for worms several times so she's confident its not that.

Finally out of there at 6:05 he tells me to come by Monday morning to pick up the sealed medical envelope for the Embassy.

We were heading for chinese food with Jacob, Fred and a few others of their family. As a thank you for all their help since I've been in Lusaka--it was our treat. We went back to the same place we went with all the missionaries a week ago. I had not eaten one bite all day...nothing except my cappuccino. I was ... hungry. I kid you not....I looked up and in this very fancy restaurant I saw an animal out of the corner of my eye. It is their dog. Tanis said it was a Jack Russel and honestly I don't care what breed it was...it was in the kitchen of the restaurant!! Immediately after the meal my stomach starting flipping...as I thought about eating at a Chinese restaurant that has a pet dog...in the kitchen. He even followed the cook out to our table...unashamedly. G.R.O.S.S. I even have pictures of him standing in the doorway to the kitchen.

:)

It was about 9 before we got on our way from there. It was a nice time and the boys were WOUND. They were so hyper and giggling at everything.

We came home, they got a quick bath, new jammies and were in bed after praying for Daddy and the kids back home.

This is a pretty general blog post...it was kind of uneventful aside from me begging to indeed have this doctor appointment.

You know...there are so many of you that have written me private messages on Facebook...I wish you all could see. "The gift that keeps on giving". Its been a beautiful thing to see how many prayers have been answered in specific ways...of so many of you...during our journey. It has built your faith and made you stronger in your individual walk with God. He is so good.

I think when I really absorbed and believed that He is good....everything changes. He is good...even when I lose my baby (babies...?) the day I arrive in Africa...a million miles away from the support of my family. He is good...even when I'm stuck in Africa for Azahria Peace's 2nd birthday. He is good....even when the specific prayer of a 2 week journey in Zambia was not answered. He is good...always good. This has not been a journey of submitting to 'well whatever will be...will be". Nothing about "whatever is going to happen is already determined". This has been a journey on my knees. To think that a week before I even came to Zambia (didn't even know I was coming back then)...had good news about our baby on the way via ultrasound...yet God stopped me in my tracks with "hold my heart" by Tenth Avenue North. I knew. Absolutely knew...that was for me. "Can the Maker of the stars...hear the sound of my breaking heart.....if You are everything You say You are...won't you...come close...and hold my heart". I had no idea how that would almost become a lifeline to me in such a dark, lonely time.

To each of you that have taken the time to write me a note...God used you. So many of you were the ones to remind me of the light that never ever left my path. So many of you were used to keep my eyes straight ahead and straight up. So many of you pleaded for me...when I was too weak. So many of you...carried me. When I could not walk . I am...eternally grateful.

He is good. He is always good.

This whole journey has been His plan. Our dream was to adopt a baby...with a cleft lip and palate...before surgeries. Here we are...having adopted two healthy 5.5 year old boys. It wasn't our plan. It was His. And He is always good.

Thank you all for walking every step with us. We are not done yet. Please continue praying--especially for Monday's visa appointment.

5 more days.

Tirzah, Zion, Azlan and Azahria Peace...we talk about you every day. I see things through your eyes. Everything orange I smile for Azlan. Every baby on a child's back...I think of Tirzah and how big your eyes would be. Every baby I see...I think of Zahria Peace. Every time the boys squeel at a big truck....I think of my Zion boy..I know you'd love it. You'd love just being with me. And I...you.

Dean--I'm almost out of words. 5 more days.

XOXO
From Lusaka.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Day 19 (*21)

Thursday- Day 19.

To start I'll follow up with yesterday and a verse I posted from Psalm 20

4. May He grant you your heart's desire and fulfill all your plans
5. ... May the Lord fulfill all your petitions.

Today in Psalm 21

2. You have given him his heart's desire and have not withheld the request of his lips".

Today. Was an amazing day.

Tanis went this morning to do Mika's passport...she was gone til almost noon. She called home at some point and said to get the children ready she would be coming by to pick us up.

Two little boys with popped collars and newsboy hats...they were so cute. I had Mika sitting up by herself on the grass when Tanis drove in...she couldn't believe it :)

We went directly to the passport office. I ran in and stood in line for "express pick up" it was about 12:20 or so. I was truly delighted....to see him go grab the passports!! I'm standing there, eyes wide, heart full....praying. Completely thanking God for a miracle. Even Mrs Banda said to come by at 3ish...she said I could try at noon but that was pushing it. Kate from the Consulate told me "passport always makes promises and never comes through". Thank you God. ahhhh.

We went for lunch...where...well they were likely glad to see us leave and we were glad to leave. Chazano spilled his drink...which while cleaning it, Tanis spilled her coke. They had no idea how to clean it up...so with a dry, non absorbant rag, they came by...and that was it. We were stuck at a very sticky table. Flies swarming. Then...no no...there's more....I spilled my Coke. Fantastic.

Pizza came. Two plates. soooo Zunduka and Chazano were eating off a sticky table and one measley napkin b/c that's all they had. ahhhhh.

:)

We then went to the doctors office for visa medicals. No appt I just walked in. The receptionist told me to go to the back nurse's room. There, the same man that sent me away 7 days ago, welcomed me. He checked their passports and then started s-l-o-w-l-y writing notes. Height, weight. He said "there is a problem...we only do visa medicals on Tuesdays...so come back tuesday after I see you today". uh oh. I said "i'm sorry we have Consulate visa appts on Monday and I fly out Wednesday. He said "no ... that won't work. Sorry. This is our schedule". He leaves to go verify. I pray. And pray. He comes back "no problem, the doctor is willing to see you tomorrow at 14 hours. " ahhh. fantastic!

I ask what this 500,000 kwacha appointment entails..he said "just urine checks". Seriously. I ask about HIV and he said US Embassy did away with that in January saying it is not necessary. So there you go!! You get your urine checked, for who knows what, and you are ok to come in. Interesting. I thought they'd check for TB, Typhoid Fever, HIV... nope. So the boys pee'd in a little tube...that was interesting !! Every time I'd put the tube out for Chazano...he's stop peeing. LOL. I'm saying "no baby..pee IN the tube" but clearly that was foreign (thankfully)...finally we got it done. They never laughed, they just looked terrified the whole time. Partly b/c Tanis had told them to be brave b/c she thought they'd be getting blood drawn for HIV testing. Chazano is his most cuddly ever...in the doctor's office.

We left and are coming back "tomorrow" at 2pm to meet with the doctor. We have to bring their immunization records and under 5 cards and visa photos. It should be quick. Then the doc gives us a sealed envelope for the Embassy.

What a perfect day! Answers to petitions and prayers...ahhh. It was so beautiful.

Coming home we stopped at the Arcades Mall and I took the boys into a little store called PEP. They saw jammies so I told them to each pick out a pair...they were DELIGHTED! It was very very sweet. :) We then bought a shirt for Zion and 3....THREE... pairs of shoes for Tirzah!! :) We were searching for Azahria Peace...but couldn't find any so I'll make sure to look at Mr Price. The girls love shoes :)

We are now home...it is 4:30'ish pm. Tanis just told me after discussing with Dr. David from Chitokoloki... our miscarriage...he said it sounds like we lost twins. Gulp. I don't even know what to feel or think about that. I couldn't possibly feel sadder than I do about losing the baby/babies... :( Even though I had 3 ultrasounds I had asked the tech in the first ultrasound if it was possible I was miscarrying a twin and she said "yes, we wouldn't really see that on the ultrasound this early". That's all the details I'll spare...but it appears as if we lost two separate babies. This just made me remember...back a few wks before the first ultrasound I said to Dean one day "I think we are having twins" and that was kind of it...I just had this strong feeling.

We are getting excited here about coming home. The boys are totally understanding it and keep pointing out big airplanes when we see them flying overhead. It's going to be quite a day when we get visas in hand and load that plane!!

Tirzah, Zion, Azlan and Azahria Peace--pass out earplugs at the airport before we arrive...because we are going to be SCREAMING when we see you!!
Dean--I just want to be with you.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Day 18 (*20)

Wednesday, Day 18

Today was sooo different than my normal weekdays in Zambia. See...I'm kind of done and just waiting. So Tanis had several things to do today...so I stayed home with C, Z and Mika. She was gone from about 8:30am to almost 2pm. Everything went well...I even made Mika cry it out for her nap, she still loves me ;) Ok...hard core, I know. But it works and we are all peaceful because of babies that sleep really well, really early :)

When Tanis got home we waited a bit then got Mika and headed into town. We had to do a few things first then headed to Manda Hill. We went for mid afternoon lunch/dinner all in one. It was nice. Chazano, battling his weakness: bad attitude, had to sit on the chair for groaning for being brought to the same playground. I told him we are always thankful, even when we are bored with something. So he was allowed to go play if he would do it with un-slumped shoulders and lack of grunting and... smiles. He was ready so away he went. :) We are big on gratefulness in our house. Even when things are bad we talk about what we are thankful for.

Oh...funny note...I stopped at a drug store to check out mascara. I know, I know...but I'm not in the bush here...and it's a staple. I somehow forgot my very good quality one...so I was willing to settle for lumps and clumps just to have it. However...a very cheap $5 (at home) maybelline was about $22USD!! I'm telling you...the mark up here....is a little intense. I passed. :)

We came home, bathed the boys and put them to bed. I'm having them count down every day to the day we leave...I'm not quite sure if they get it. Chazano...I just don't know what he understands. Tanis says he does and it's his attitude surfacing...he just looks at me, mouth open, stunned look, like "speak my language". Tanis is very sure it's drama. I'm with her. LOL. I tell him to put his jammies on and he stands there completely like a statue. I tell him again. Zunduka, the peace maker, rattles on and on in Luvale--and finally Chazano puts his jammies on. We have some wrinkles to iron out :)

So we are sitting, waiting. Today...I struggled. All of a sudden I was plagued with thoughts I legitimized...and rationalized. What if -- I can't take the boys home with me on Monday? What if my plane crashes on the way home? What if God just keeps testing me....? What if...there really is no happy ending? To say I was worrying, would be the wrong word. I had just succombed to the idea...that things were not going to work out. Maybe He has a different plan. Maybe...I'll never see my family again. Let me encourage you ... if you ever get to this place...no matter what the circumstances are...to talk to someone. I wrote Dean. I was shaking. Faith-wise. You ever listen to someone else's story and see it so clearly...yet they can't? Dean was firm on what I was to do. Take the thoughts captive and literally cast them onto Him. The verses that God brings to mind are Luke 11:11-13: "What Father among you if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; of if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion?

I needed to get my focus back. A sparrow doesn't even fall from the sky without God in Heaven seeing it fall. He knows my every move and "Though the world sees...and soon forgets... we will not forget who you are and what you've done for us!"

So tonight, reading my passage...I actually stopped and read it to everyone in the living room...because Tanis and I had quite a conversation about Monday's appointment. All the 'what ifs' all the unknowns....

I'll write it out:

Psalm 20:

May the Lord answer you in the day of trouble!
May the name of the God of Jacob protect you!

May He send you help from the sanctuary and give you support from Zion!

May He remember all your offerings and regard with favot your burnt sacrifices!

May He grant you your hearts desire and fulfill all your plans!

May we shout for joy over your salvation, and in the name of our God set up our banners!
May the Lord fulfill all your petitions!

Now I know that the Lord saves his anointed;
he will answer him from his holy heaven withthe saving might of his right hand.

Some trust in chariots and some in horses,
but we will trust in the name of the Lord our God.

They collapse and fall,
But we rise and stand upright.

O Lord, save the king!
May he answer us when we call!


You know what? I don't have anything to add to that. I have read that Psalm many, many times. But none like today. His word really is a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our paths. Every verse in the entire Psalm (all is typed above)....was for me. And gave me Peace. Our petitions?? That God would hear our cry, grant us visas for the boys so we may safely travel to WA on Wednesday next week.
The desires of our heart? That all would go seamlessly right to meeting up with our family in Seattle.
What do we trust? Are we going to trust everything we can see (chariots and horses)...? No. None of this journey has been about what we can see. Nothing has been about what we have. It has all been about Him. Trusting in Him. I have had people say to me "you must be doing well....adopting two more" and honestly, they are missing it. This is not about us. This is not about me. We actually said 'no' to God when He started poking us about adoption. We said "yes, just not now. When WE are ready. When WE have the money. When WE have the time. When its OUR plan" but that was not His plan. It was clear from the beginning of this journey...this was all an act of faith. I pray...sincerely...that you have walked away from our story...seeing God. This is not about us. He has used us to save Chazano and Zunduka from a life of being orphans....but its simply not about us. It's Him.

Tirzah-seeing your sweet sweet face tonight....Mama just loves you. I will listen to story after story after story...sweet girl.
Zion-you are sweetness. I will buy you your blue safari hat. Did you find trucks to suprise Chazano and Zunduka?
Azlan--I found your orange hat, my boy. :) Chazano and Zunduka can't wait to meet you!
Azahria Peace...your "yay" today...ahhhhh. I love you sweet Azahria Peace.

Dean--the one who is holding it all together back home...you are amazing. I love you.


From Lusaka--
Please continue to pray with us. First things first...that the passports are ready tomorrow early afternoon.
Janice.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Day 17 (*19*) ~A gift that keeps on giving.

Tuesday - Day 17.

Starting with last night. Sometimes you meet someone ... very beautiful. That would be Michelle. I've spelled her name differently every time I've talked about her :) She is very sweet. And last night when I needed an ear-- she was a good one. I sat down and told her all about my day. There were at least 3 times her eyes filled completely with tears.The best part was when I ended my story of my day of gifts I said "and the best for last...the gift of Grace". I felt very compelled to use the word GRACE and I had to really think about how that was the right word. She looked at me and said "I went to bed last night and prayed specifically that you would receive Grace today". It was very cool to see how God answered her prayer so specifically. While I thought yesterdays gifts were for me...it was very clear last night...they were also for many of you. Michelle left me a note this morning as she flew to SA before I got to say goodbye...and she said "I now think I know why God had me stay one more day" (she thought she was leaving Monday). The gift....that keeps on giving.

I went to bed reading... yes... again... Come Thirsty. I started another Lucado book...but I knew I needed to go back and start Come Thirsty again. I did. This time, slowly. Learning from each page what I missed the first time...because I was so thirsty.

I woke this morning to loud little boys and a squeeling Mika. Was that this morning? I think so. It becomes a bit of a blur. Every morning starts the same way, really. Jacob was here pretty quickly and I was out of here. Said good bye to the boys.

We went right to the passport office. I walked in to the head lady Mrs Banda (that Megan introd us to yesterday). She said "ok take your file up to room #8 and tell her I said to expedite". So we did. Oh..the lady in #8 was NOT having a good morning. She said "where are the boys??" I told her they were with my sister in law. She said " Bring them to me and we will proceed!" I said Mrs Banda did not say that and she was offended. "this is procedure, madam!!!Bring me the boys". She insisted on keeping my file...but I refused. Finally I won. That file contains everything we have done so far, I was not leaving it behind.

I surprised Jacob by going back to Mrs Banda. He's like "what are you doing? We must go get the boys!" I said "no... we are going to Mrs Banda". So I did. She askedwhat was wrong. I told her #8 told us we had to go home and get the boys. That would have wasted well over an hour. She was not happy. Mrs Banda said "WHAT?! that is rediculous and NOT necessary. Ok nevermind, go pay at room #2 and come back to me". So I did. I came back and she said "go stand in line at the interview line, I will tell the man your story". So I did. That took long. Perhaps an hour of standing in a line that for a long time, did not move.

Finally it was my turn. The man was trying to be very tough and official. Finally he signed everything. I went back to Mrs Banda with my receipts. She said " I will go get the file now" so she did. Then she said "ok, Thursday afternoon". I said "Noon?" she said "ahhhh I don't think so" I told her I'm trying to do visa medicals thursday afternoon so she said "no guarantees for noon, but try". :) Oh ... then she said " I called the lady down from #8 and she says you got mad at her and walked out and that she said NO such thing about bringing the children" I looked her in the eye and repeated exactly what #8 had said. MrsBanda looked at Jacob, he was definite. She was mad. She was like "she lied to me". yah. She did.

The gift that keeps on giving. This is all because we met Megan yesterday.

We left and headed straight to the Embassy. No we stopped at a cafe on the way. We both wanted a cappuccino. Oh sorry madam, no take away cups today! Seriously. Ok forget it. We went to the embassy. They wouldnt' let me in today! "no, call and make an appt". I was a little stubborn. They finally let me speak on the phone to Agrippa, the man I spoke with last week. He finally determined I needed to come.

As I was crossing the courtyard the guard freaked out. "MADAM!!!! Get on the sidewalk!!" thankfully I quickly noticed the sidewalk...was currently being well watered with a sprinkler so I quickly said "i'm so sorry sir....the sidewalk ... is....very wet" he quickly apologized and gave me permission to walk on the road. Wow.

The waiting room was packed today. It was Visa day I was told. Agrippa called me to the window and told me to wait for Kate, the Consular.

She came and called me. We spoke for quite some time. The concern is... drum roll.... a big one. Basically Chrissy should NOT have told us that only I was required to come. In order for the children to go home on IR-3 visas (where they are instantly US citizens)...both adoptive parents are required to have seen the children before any legal proceedings. When that is NOT the case...then I sign for both of us with Power of Attorney (something like that). Ok...this was so emphatic by Chrissy and since we knew no better, and God did...He obviously wanted it this way.

Kate said I would need legal documentation from WA stating that Dean could adopt the children in the states. fantastic.

She also expressed concern about the documentation proving the children are indeed orphans. We have the father's relinquishment letter from court which is perfect. But we only have hospital notifications of the children's birth and the mother's death. Instead of official birth and death certificates. This may be a problem I am told.

The Consulate appt is for Monday at 2pm. Oh there is MUCH prayer needed. Much.

Here is the run down of events:
-pick up passports- hopefully--Thursday noon.
-Thursday afternoon go to Visa Medicals.
-Attempt to pick up medicals late friday or first thing Monday morning.
-Monday at 2pm go to consulate appointment and PRAY we get IR-4 visas for children and I600 approval.

Wednesday at 1:40pm we fly to Johannesburg, SA then a 17 hour flight (with 1 hour stop in Daqar (we are not allowed to leave the plane though) and through to WA D.C...then D.C to Seattle.

Everything has to go perfectly for the above list for us all to get on the flights together. Kate was quick to say "you may not be able to take the boys home with you". Ok... I just do not believe God brought us this far, with all He has shown along the way...for us to leave the boys here in the end. We definitely need you to pray.

The good news is Dean was able to contact an adoption attorney in Spokane that quickly wrote us a letter, very professionally, which will suffice for the adoption / readoption of Chazano and Zunduka in the states by Dean. So that is done.

I was home very early...1ish today. The afternoon has been somewhat lazy and actually quite fun.

Tanis and I just finished a game of scrabble .. our first this trip...and we were tight the entire game with her winning by ONE point in the end. :) It is almost midnight..usually we are all in bed by 9 pm around here. Craziness!

I was sad to see today that Bethel's mission trip to Zambia was cancelled due to the European flight issues. So sorry for all that have been planning this trip for months.

Tomorrow is a down day. We are just waiting for Thursday.

We added up our costs of accomodation and we are at about $2000!! There are so many costs that we never counted in our originals....and definitely did not even think of accomodations! Thats more than a mortgage payment...at a guest house!!

To my friend Amy who again is watching our children today....thank you friend. I spoke to the kids this morning and they were excited to be going with you. What I would do to trade places with you.

To my most favorite people in the whole world... I am so blessed to really actually be in this family:
Dean--I. Cannot. Wait.
Tirzah--I can picture your sweet smile that goes up crooked as you just watch me. Mama is longing to hug you my girl.
Zion--Mama is coming to be 'the bear' :) I love when you "just sit" with me because you just want to be close.
Azlan--I keep looking for orange and thinking of you. Mama prays you'll have happy dreams, my boy.
Azahria Peace--you sweet sweet girl. I cannot wait to hear "mama mama mama" in the airport when you see me. I love you.
I'm going to bed...with your names going up to Heaven. I love you all.

8 more days til we are on the plane. 9 more days til we are in WA.
XOXO
From Lusaka.
The countdown is on.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Day 16 (18 since I left home) a day of gifts.

A day of gifts.

Today was an amazing day. Not because of how much got done..you'll see. It was definitely a day of gifts.

We started the day with all of us (Tanis, Mika, boys, Michel) all going to the passport office where we met Jacob. Only Jacob and I went into the office the others waited. Jacob called our friend from birth registry since he knows the big guy in the passport office...we went in and met him. He was none too helpful. He first of all said we needed a letter from the Social Welfare office. No further details "they'll know, go ask them". ahhhhhhhhhhhhh. I cannot fathom going back to Mrs Munga who bid us good bye with glee a week ago.

When we stepped out of the office we looked down stairs and I saw a blond lady (kinda stands out in Zambia) and recognized her from birth registry. She was also waiting for something the first day we were there (forever ago)...she is from South Africa. Anyway she waved and smiled. We were talking to someone else and all of a sudden she's upstairs tapping me on the shoulder "excuse me...I met you a few weeks ago and noticed you are still around...so I found someone that can help you" I thanked her and she was gone. In her place was another blond lady but clearly American. We were introduced. Megan. From Chicago. I never did get her full story except she currently lives in Zambia and has helped facilitate 18 international adoptions so needless to say is very familiar with the process. She explained the letter I need. Then went over my forms and told me what I did right/ wrong etc. Later while Jacob was busy she came up and asked "why zambia" fearless I replied "God picked Zambia, we had nothing to do with it". She looked at me all smiles and simply said "amen". She then proceeded to tell me her family's story. She gave me her business card and said to call her at any time.

We left. I was smiling. I knew God had just given us hope. As we were walking away outside she was a ways behind us on her phone. All of a sudden she calls my name "JANICE!!" and asks me to wait. I do. She says " can I .... just pray with you before you go?". Ummm YES. She did and it was beautiful. Heartfelt. Real. Unrehearsed. She asked God to open doors and help our four children at home. She ended with "Lord most of all...I pray these 2 little boys ... come to know You". I left beaming. I felt I just was touched with sunshine. She hugged me and I looked her in the eye and said "You are a gift, thank you so much".

God...through the masses...sent someone to show he cared. I completely felt overwhelmed. I was a bit speechless. I said little in the car. But much to God.

Jacob and I dropped everyone off at the mall and we headed to social welfare. Mrs Munga is off for the week. The next contact : out of the country. I called Megan...she said let me make some calls. She then tells me "go to mr. mfwanga" and gave us directions. We walked all the way over there. Entered his office. He said "I've never heard of such a letter, what do I write?" I called Megan again. She told me what to write. The man said "ok tomorrow come back I'll see what I can do". I decided to talk instead of Jacob. I said "I understand how busy you are here...please help me. The passport office needs this letter before we can proceed--I have little children at home in america...please help me get home". He said "ok wait". He went and got paper and drafted a letter. My heart was beaming. He said "come back in a bit and she will have it typed up".

We went outside for a bit...made some calls to Embassy etc.

Came back and he said "your letter is ready". He stamped and sealed it. I said "we now need a copy of your ID ..." he looks and says "oh sorry...I actually forgot it at home today...you'll have to come back tomorrow". I said nothing. He said "unless you want to drive me home and I'll get it...?" I said "sure!". He said "ok please wait here in my office".

We did. In our wait--so many people came in pleading for help. If I had it to give...I would have. One lady said "I have 13 orphans I'm caring for ... I need food, clothes and money so I can send them to school" :( It was very said. She was great aunt of them all. There was no money from the office to give her.

Finally the man said "ok its lunch hour... let's go". So we walked to the car. I sat in the back. He told Jacob where to go. It was a very long drive. Then he finally says "turn left" and my mouth dropped. God may have had me stay in Zambia for 16 days for that moment alone. Here was a government official...nice suit, nice shoes, nice glasses. I could not believe where we were going. We drove where... I didn't know any vehicle could go. Trust me ... in North America there would have been a massive sign saying "ATV's ONLY!!!!". It was as 'off road' as it gets. HUGE holes...that all I could think of ... was the children falling in. We were surrounded by complete poverty. Naked children playing in old rusted out abandoned vehicles. I could not possibly describe the sight. For some reason this is the first day Iwent without my camera. But it is embedded on my mind forever. The children coming up to the car waving. My thought: you may be the closest to Jesus...they ever see". I smiled and waved and they just stood staring, smiling. I've seen the poverty of Africa. I've been in the bush. This ... was so different. There were half houses, covered in black plastic bags. The holes...I still have no idea what they were for. Massive massive holes in the ground ... all around the houses. Hazardous holes. Hazardous for adults...deadly to children. Finally after 15 minutes of driving on this insane road...the man said "stop this is my house" he turned around and said "Mrs Janice...welcome to my house". I smiled. My heart stopped. I was not touched. I was overwhelmed. He got his ID and got back in the car and said "ok lets go". The entire way back all I could think was "why would this man do this for us...?" This was all Megan's contact. We would have never met him if it weren't for meeting her. We would have been stuck for a WEEK waiting for the social welfare officers to return....if we had not met her. A day of gifts.

When we returned he smiled and said "Congrats on your twins, Mrs Janice". I gave him 50,000Kwacha for lunch. He did a full Zambian thank you.

I left--completely warmed. More sunshine.

We then went to the passport office and met with an attorney to sign and stamp all the doc's and pics. 100,000Kwacha.

Then went back to the passport office to meet with the head lady who Megan had introduced us to. She looked at my file said it was complete. I smiled. She said everything is closed now come back at 8:30am. I asked how quickly we can get it done. She said "pay for express and 5 business days". I said "madam...I fly out thursday...I will change my flight but I need the passports thursday". She smiled and said "I will do that for you".

This was all because of Megan. We never would have had the contact if it were not for Megan and Megan had intro'd us to her and asked if she would help us and she said yes.

A day of gifts.

As we left I was speechless. Jacob kept saying "you are so quiet" we stopped at Manda Hill and bought a pizza. I only at one piece of mine.

The ultimate gift today was Grace. As I was leaving Manda Hill I was overcome with emotion. Not because it was such a great day...it was the emotion of realization that I knew...I would be here another week. Beyond this week. I started to cry. As I did I looked up. The clouds. The sky. Immediately I said to God "This was your gift....a gift of Grace. The gift of one day at a time". So many have said to me "God won't give you more than you can handle"...oh you are right. But it's not what you are thinking. It's not that He's bringing me home sooner than I thought. It's that He has given me exactly what I can handle: One day at a time. If I had known before I came I would be here for 4 weeks. Sadly...I can tell you I would NOT have come. No. Way. If I had known we would lose our baby in Africa. I can tell you. I would NOT have come. No. Way. But I didn't know. And God didnt' tell me. Guess what He did? He gave me what I could handle. One day at a time. And every day-- I've gotten through it.

Ever experience how He is strong when you are weak? I know we all know it. We teach it. Preach it. Even believe it. But have you ever lived it? You know....its so easy to wait til I get home and write how His grace was so sufficient. It is not easy writing it...here. Still here. I am weak. I've been completely broken hearted, devestated, ripped away from everything I love in my life...my husband and my children...my securities. Only then...did I experience His grace. His strength. He has become my strength. I am weak. I am strong in Him. Yes I'm crying. Yes I want to go home. I'm only here and doing it...because of Him. He has become my strength. I love Him. I have come from a hard week, last week. Today...I was showered with gifts.

To those of you ... near and far...that would normally call on one of our children's birthdays. I have a request, please respect our family's wish at this time. I am asking that you not mention Azahria's birthday. Not to the other children. No one. We are completely celebrating it when we return to Pasco. It is completely tearing me inside to miss her birthday. I do not want the other children to know Mama missed the day. Thank you for understanding.

Dean--I simply love you.
Tirzah, Zion, Azlan and Azahria Peace...keep praying...keep ticking days off the calendar. We are almost there.

XOXOX from Lusaka.
Janice

PS-added later:
Our flights are booked. We are leaving NEXT wednesday...8 more days. We are not flying BA...instead going to JoBurg, SA direct to Washington DC to Seattle. Good news: We are not flying over Iceland. Good news: no 18 hour layovers. ... We are on a very very long flight however but it means making it home on Thursday. We are all so excited. I told Zunduka and Chazano tonight they just grinned :)

The plan tomorrow is to go to Passports at 8:30am then go to US Embassy to talk about some big issues.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Day 15 - ps

Added later...10:45pm Sunday night.

Tonight I got to chat with my family on skype video. I never know when it is going to hit. It didn't take long for me to be completely overwhelmed with emotion. ahhhh. God you know what you are doing. I'm so glad. Sweet Tirzah--showing me the calendar she has done up counting the days for Mama and her 2 new brothers to come home. She wanted to wear her new dress and shoes to church today...it's actually an outfit I bought in Gap a while ago with a semi matching outfit for Azahria. Tirzah asked to wear it this morning so they matched. I'm sure they looked beautiful. She told me she prays every single night that God would bring us home very very soon. You are beautiful. Completely beautiful. You always have been. But now...inside you are beautiful. Your sweet sincere heart and I'm humbled...that God has me a part of your life. I. Love. You. My girl. Always my princess.

Zion was so silly.I think he has gotten 'sillier' since I left ;) He's adorable. Wearing his favorite truck shirt Mama bought him before I left. He had a giant whistle that he was doing random things with. :) I told him Zunduka and Chazano are sooo excited to sleep in their space ship room ... he smiled. He didn't stay still long enough to have a very long conversation with. I love you Zion-boy. You are beautiful and mama misses you SOOOOOO much.

Azlan came on and something about that boy with one ear tilted 40 degrees back and pointed, a top lip that only half moves to form the words he so desperately tries to pronounce...his slow blinks as he talks because he is so conscious to talk his very best....and the reminder of all he has been through in his 3 years...turns my heart to an instant liquid state. He told me about his bad dream last night how there were big dinosaurs and how 2 of them "were biking me" :) Biting. He then either said he 'died' or 'cried' but I addressed both. we talked about their favorite verse...Joshua 1:9. "Be strong and brave because God is with you". What a beautiful boy.

Then Azahria Peace. Instant tears. Why...she's our baby. I have this strange fear that because they are the youngest her and Azlan may actually forget me. Oh...don't reason it out. Are you a mom? Then you may understand. She is beautiful. She gives this shy, head tilted to the side smile and I hear her saying "hi mommy". ahhhh.

I'm waiting. Waiting on you God.

I love you all. My heart is full and yet feeling the void of being separated from the most special people in the world to me...all at the same time. You never realize how you can feel so many things at once until you have children. I'm going to bed with each of your names going up to Heaven with special requests. I am dreaming of the moment we see you for the first time as we get of the plane. I am so blessed. Thank you..thank you Father.

Dean--I love you More.

Day 15

Day 15--Sunday.

This morning we all got ready and drove to somewhere (lol) for church. It was quite a drive. Michel (from edmonton), Tanis, us all went. It was quite long. Part English service. Hot. I kept seeing this huge bug with mega wings come zooming in and I knew I'd make quite a scene if it came close to me :) I prayed at one point God would take it out the window...and he promptly turned around and went out the window :)

The boys were very good in church. They had one car and one book. They looked SOOOOOOOOO cute today. I made them match. Ok don't tell anyone but they are super cute matching. I had them in jeans, white polos that I bought them in Old Navy, flip flops and their new white newsboy hats. Omgoodness...adorable.

After church we met a friend and some of her friends for lunch. It was kind of a classy place and I quite endured my food. It was not good at all. Even the kids didn't seem to enjoy their food.

We then went to the Arcades market for the afternoon. I bought another table for our living room...in an elephant shape instead of giraffe. we'll see if it works I got a very good deal but its quite different than the giraffe. Its carved and studded even. Hmmm. Hope it works. Hope we can get it home!!

I bought a purse at the market too and the most shocking part...is...that ... its ....PURPLE. I know I know. What was I thinking. I hate purple. I still hate purple but I like the bag. Its got a lot of gold on it. I don't know..maybe it'll be regifted lol.

We are home. Its after 6pm and I'm waiting for Dean and kids to get home from church and Zahria napping so I can call him.

My book last night...was so amazing. God really spoke to me about God's love. The verse was the one about how nothing can separate you from the love of God. Max went on to say this "you may be separated from your spouse, your kids...but know this...you have never ever been separated from His love". Hm...that was so for me. So much so. I started crying. The way God speaks to those He loves...its a bit overwhelming. A song. A verse. A book. I was so touched. There was much more too and the bottom line...read the book. Come Thirsty. I can't be the only one that is thirsty... ;)

I ended my day with a very long time praying. Out loud. I find it difficult to pray silently. I often pray in the vehicle at home...out loud. Well last night I lay in bed praying out loud. For a long time. I went to sleep...drenched in my Father's love. What a beautiful thing.

Are you all ready to have another week on your knees...?

Monday morning (tomorrow) we are headed to passport office bright and early at 8am. Praying for passports in hand by end of business day.

Dean, Tirzah, Zion, Azlan, Azahria Peace---I am so blessed. He has given me so much. I can't wait to get home and show you all just how much I love you.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Day 14.It

Saturday. It's been a nice day. Honestly it's a huge struggle for me to have this leisure day off. Not because I don't know how to relax or unwind at all. I'm just not here for a vacation and getting nothing done seems so wasteful to me when I'm on a mission to bring our family home all together. But...it's part of the week...so here it is.

We went to Manda Hill around noon for lunch. Tanis and I even had dessert which was ok. It's just not the same as home but it was dessert :) My coffee was lukewarm at best. ugh.

Then we went out to shop for a bit. I found a fabulous pair of shoes...really they were gorgeous. Bright yellow with a big button on them...stilletto style. 650,000K. No way. That's like $150. And for me...outrageous!

We did go to Mr. Price where I got Chazano and Zunduka ADORABLE newsboy hats. They are white with black pinstripes and a big black scrawled eagle on it. They were so cute...Chazano immediately turned into a rap star. Hilarious. The child totally knows how 'get down' Zambian style. To get it on video...another story :) As I was checking out I went back to the back of the store and got them these very cool shirts. Adorable. Yes I got them matching...I really can't see myself doing the matching-twin thing. I'm not a matchy person at all. If it clashes but goes...I'm in :) Anyway it was very cute and they loved it.

I'm waiting. I'm waiting on You Lord. I'm trying to be patient I realize it's a choice so I'm in control of it.

Many of you are aware of how most of Europe is a 'no fly zone' because of the volcanic cloud over Iceland. This is ... umm...a problem. My flight is currently for Thursday and it will be a MIRACLE..literally...if we are ready to go then. If we have to change our flight it may not be able to rebooked until 1 week to 10 days!! There is a family here at the flight house that was supposed to fly out today and since no flights are going overseas...they earliest they could rebook for was a week from today! Yes...giving you all something else to pray for. Our sweet Azahria Peace's birthday is next Monday. Yes yes I know she doesn't know. But I do. We do. It definitely puts a knot in my stomach to miss her birthday...if we do get the Saturday flight we arrive home Sunday night...so we are home for her 2nd birthday.

We are now sitting in the flighthouse...and I know Dean and the kids are just starting their Saturday back home. He is taking the kids to work with him today...I'll be praying that he gets what he needs to get done. I miss you all. So much.

I love you all. D, T, Z, A, and AP. You are my favorites.

Friday, April 16, 2010

P.S.

A few things I need to mention:

1) We decided a few days ago to cancel Dean's flight. I know a few of you have asked about him coming tonight. See...the reason for the flight was I was not making it. Not--I'm missing my husband. It was-I can't breathe another day in this place alone. But then God stepped in and started working on me...to where I realized I needed to depend on Him. $1850 for a flight will hurt right now so we decided its not a good idea.

2) I'm up and dressed at 7am and just got word that the passport office is closed...somehow we got wrong info about that. So as of right now we will begin that Monday morning.

:)
Janice.
Mama to: Tirzah, Zunduka, Chazano, Zion, Azlan, Azahria Peace. ;)

Day 13.

Day 13. What a day. This is the most celebrated day of this journey so far. Life is funny like that isn't it? You would think the day I passed court would have been THE DAY but I knew that was only the beginning and the tough part...was to come. The US Embassy told me "oh your trying part will be the Zambian dealings, especially birth registry". Yeah. That was just my warning--I had no idea.

Let me start with some background:

A million miles away...in Pasco...a special friend who has recently adopted a sweet girl from Ethiopia was listening to KLOVE and as a song came on ... God whispered to her "this is for Janice". Here it is:

While I'm Waiting - John Waller

I'm waiting
I'm waiting on You, Lord
And I am hopeful
I'm waiting on You, Lord
Though it is painful
But patiently, I will wait

I will move ahead, bold and confident
Taking every step in obedience
While I'm waiting
I will serve You
While I'm waiting
I will worship
While I'm waiting
I will not faint
I'll be running the race
Even while I wait

I'm waiting
I'm waiting on You, Lord
And I am peaceful
I'm waiting on You, Lord
Though it's not easy
But faithfully, I will wait
Yes, I will wait

I will serve You while I'm waiting
I will worship while I'm waiting
I will serve You while I'm waiting
I will worship while I'm waiting
I will serve you while I'm waiting
I will worship while I'm waiting on You, Lord

I absolutely love the song and it's pretty fitting for me right now. This morning as I walked into the office...my instant reaction is to slump my shoulders (spiritually) and gear up for a horrid day. OR...I can make a choice. A choice to stand tall knowing...God is with me. He's on my side. I'm on His. We're together...and I'm waiting on Him. Just last night as I was reading my Max Lucado book "Come Thirsty" this caught my attention:

"Who has time to wait we groan at such a thought. But waiting doesn't mean INactivity...rather inHIMactivity. Waiting means watching for Him. If you are waiting on a bus, you are watching for the bus. If you are waiting on God, you are watching for God, searching for God, hoping in God. Great promises come to those who do. 'But those who wait on the Lord will find new strength. They will fly high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint. Is. 40:31".

Thats what I went to sleep on. That tomorrow...I would wait on Him. Isn't it beautiful how across the miles God gives a friend a song for me...on the same exact topic: waiting on Him. Warms me to the core of my inner being.

Ok--the day started with me being nudged "Janice...its 10 minutes to 8". Honestly. I could do it no other way!! :) Jacob was arriving at 8am :) I was up like lightning and on my way. 8:05 I got called that Jacob was here and I was out in the car! Breakfast? Not today. I did manage to grab an un-bruised plum (quite a treasure here..) and that was it.

I was greeted by Jacob and Fred all smiles ready for the day. The driving was interesting this morning. In fact ... a common line of mine to them today was "OH...this is how you do it in Zambia!" :) They would laugh. Clearly getting more comfortable around me. Some interesting driving. :)

We arrived at the office and were told to wait at office #14. The man switches between #6 and #14. He was in 6 and was on his way to 14. There was a school girl in uniform standing ahead of us that was it. She was sweet. 12th grade...coming for her birth certificate. The wait...outrageous. There is simply ZERO consideration of the rest of us as human beings. If you work there...you rule. All there is to it.

Finally he came in after 1.5 hours...it was so long of a wait that I propped my bag in the hallway and sat down. You just can't stand for that long without getting dizzy in the small smelly hallways. When the man came, Jacob burst ahead of the girl but I made sure she got in the hotseat first. Poor girl. She was quite upset that she was now late for school. The man gets a phone call and goes "sure, I'll be right there" and promptly marches out for 20 minutes! Un. Real.

He comes back and is yelling at the school girl telling her she needs to "go back" and get more signatures. She cried. He said "do you have a problem?!" :( She left and then it was us. Oh wasn't he delighted to see us back. After several minutes of him yelling back and forth with Jacob..."come back in 21 days...what don't you people understand?" he turns to me...who is sitting there full blown wiping tears off my face. He says " can you at least come back in one week?" I shook my head no. He said "you are saying you cannot come back in ONE week???" I shook my head no. Then Jacob pipes in and says "sir...you told us to come back this morning...we trusted your word". The man laughs a mocking laugh. He says "are you ACCUSING me??" . ahhh. Finally he turns to someone else, ignores us and continues working through the people.


By the way... something funny is that everyone in the offices were recognizing me. The General walked by and said "WHAT on earth are you doing here...you've been here everyday for over a week!!" so it was good that people were seeing it wasn't right.

Eventually the man in #14 turns to me and says "I'll call upstairs....ok....go wait down the hall for a bit".

We do. Guess what? He forgets about us.

Jacob tiptoes back in there and I hear him talking to the man. Finally the man says "look I talked to my boss upstairs and he says come back at 15 hours and we'll have it done!!". (3pm). We look at each other...shrug and go.


We texted Tanis and she said they were at Manda Hill mall eating at Galito's we were welcome to join. We gladly jumped on it. We went and by the time we arrived they were done eating...we ordered--Tanis gave Jacob 50,000K and I gave 50,000K and the meal was just right. We were starving. All during the meal I was filling out Passport forms. Then we left to go see where Tanis was ... the kids were playing and I found Mika with Michelle (a teacher here) and the baby was WAILING. Michelle looked a tad frustrated so I said "I'll take her". I had her asleep in about 3 minutes. She looked at me and goes "how did you do that???". I guess I've done it a few times before ;).

We started back for the birth registry office. Once we got there...we could see our man was tied up in #14. He saw me though and said "please head upstairs, my boss has your file" this is the big guy I thought was going to be terrifying.

Brace yourself.

When we walked up a man in a suit met me at the stairs and did a formal Zambian greeting...they kind of do this bow. I'm like 'okkk who is this?" he then digs out his keys and opens the door to the office and welcomes us inside. He introduces himself as the man that makes the decision. Ok. How THIS man runs this horrific office...I have no idea. I'm still not convinced the man wasn't an angel. He was almost unreal. He was a big man, full suit, and a soft face...almost beautiful. He glowed. About 55 years. Smiled often. He sat on the couch beside us and just started chatting. (!!). He said "I really wish you brought the twins with you..." I thought this was another stall so I said "I can bring them back..." he turns to me and says "Yes please, will you? Monday morning?" I'm like ??? He gets up and digs out several files. He shows me before and after photos of children that he has personally signed off on the adoption... he said "I keep in touch with the families that adopt from here...and track their progress...its wonderful". Wow. He was the warmest ray of sunshine I've seen in Zambia so far. I keep thinking of his warm face and how he chatted with us forever. I showed him photos of Dean and I and of our family. He just sat there and smiled. So much so that I got my camera out and showed him pics of the twins and I. What a gift we were given. A horrendous 1.5 weeks in this building and the man running it all...was beautiful. I sat there talking to God saying "really? You knew this was here all along didn't you? This was the beautiful ending to a hard rocky road".
When he opened the file, my heart leapt. It was all done. I could see the documents complete. And then...I saw a problem. On Zunduka's bc his name was spelled Zinduka. Oh no. It wouldn't work. I pointed it out and he quickly went...Oh no problem we'll fix that right away. He called #14 and said "you have an error I need it fixed right away". This was 4pm. The man didn't come. didn't come. didn't come. We sat and chatted. And in that chat...a man came in and pulled up a chair. This man even introduced us all as if we were friends!! When the other man left he told us "that is my good friend. We started working as Police the same day together over 20 years ago!! He is the head of the....drumroll....PASSPORT OFFICE!!!" Ok. God was saving all the best for last! We are like "say that again?" :) He said "here is my number, call me first thing tomorrow morning and I'll get you in to see him".

Long story short...you'll hardly beleive it but we were sent back down to #14...and sat and waited. The boss called him several times while we were there telling him to hurry. No way was he going to hurry. He was cleaning his desk, chatting with his secretary... wow. The office closes at 5. We didn't leave til 6:10. No joke at all. He finally digs out a typewriter and starts retyping it. He does but guess what? We can't find the boss!!! Jacob goes into the parking lot and finds him in his truck with his wife!!! He comes upstairs signs and we all take off. Not without snapping a few pictures to show you sometime. Some of Jacob and I holding the documents and some of the dark dingy hallways so you know what we faced every single day for 1.5 wks.

What. A. Day.

This by the way...was a big big moment. Nothing in the court was official until today. Today made the adoption final. They are ours. We have birth certificates in their new names and Adoption Orders. Oh thank you Father.

We walked out of that office and I said "I hope to never ever be back" and Jacob says "until you come adopt the next one". That's just not even a thought at this point. LOL.

Everyone was going out for dinner tonight so I was late. I joined them all...and handed Jacob and Fred 100,000K (about $22) to go out for dinner tonight on me. As a HUGE thankyou.

I'm almost in shock. As if I doubted God would carry through with His own plan. It's a bit overwhelming and funny how all of a sudden I feel the boys are my children and I have hugged them more tonight than I have so far. Now they are ours. Mine. I am mama of 6 children...3 more in Heaven. God - you are so good.

Adopted. Chosen. Just like He has adopted me. I will not leave you as orphans...I will come to you. We have come Zunduka and Chazano. You have a family. You have a Mama and a daddy and 2 more brothers and 2 sisters. You have no idea what's in store and how absolutely blessed you are ... to be brought to America...and to a christian family. God has seen you from the very beginning and right then...knew He would not leave you as orphans.

The plan tomorrow is to get up early, Jacob is picking me up at 8am...heading to the passport office.

Thank you so much for those of you that almost feel you are in Zambia walking this path with me. You have cried with me, laughed with me, prayed around the clock with and for me, you have interceeded on my behalf you have absolutely helped bear my burdens. You have been amazing friends. From a heart that has come so far....from holding on with everything I had to the securities that I even tried to justify...my husband, my children, my unborn child. To having it all taken away for a time...to walk in the desert...and finally see it is my Father that is my security. He is my all. In all. He gives. He takes away. My heart will 'choose' to say: blessed be the name of the Lord. Blessed be His name.

I'm waiting
I'm waiting on You, Lord
And I am hopeful
I'm waiting on You, Lord
Though it is painful
But patiently, I will wait

I will move ahead, bold and confident
Takeing every step in obedience
While I'm waiting
I will serve You
While I'm waiting
I will worship
While I'm waiting
I will not faint
I'll be running the race
Even while I wait

I'm waiting
I'm waiting on You, Lord
And I am peaceful
I'm waiting on You, Lord
Though it's not easy
But faithfully, I will wait
Yes, I will wait

I will serve You while I'm waiting
I will worship while I'm waiting
I will serve You while I'm waiting
I will worship while I'm waiting
I will serve you while I'm waiting
I will worship while I'm waiting on You, Lord



My precious Tirzah, Zion, Azlan and Azahria Peace. Not a day goes by where my mind doesn't float to you. I see things...often through your eyes. I love you. Deeper than you know. The same God that is with you and has never left your side...is with Mama in Africa. Keep praying.

Dean-Thank you for being mine.