Monday, December 16, 2013

Hot Buttons

Hot Buttons by  Nicole O'Dell
I have downloaded some of the Hot Buttons books to my ipad, but had not looked at them. I am still a great lover of print books. I really hope our world doesn't go totally digital. Recently I was able to grab two Hot Buttons in print. I was eager to get them and see what they are about. The two I have are Image Addition and Bullying. Both of which each of my kids have dealt with on certain levels.

I didn't know much about how the books work. But what I thought was different from what they really are about. I thought I could use them as small discussion guides with my children that we still have at home. But they are really a parents guide.

Each book is filled with insightful information for parents to utilize the teen years. Let's face it, kids are cruel. And hurting people end up hurting people. So any tool parents can get to navigate the teen/high school years, the better off our children will be.

I liked that the books were broken up into small chapters. They are perfect for grabbing a few minutes to read a quick chapter...but yet full of great information. Topics include Self Esteem, eating disorders, tattoos to teasing, cyber bullying and suicide.

There are several Hot Buttons books out there. Grab them up!!!

I received these two books to review for free. I was not paid to submit a review. I did it on my own free will~

Monday, December 2, 2013

NIV Pink Bible

I recently scored a "PINK BIBLE" to review! I was super excited. My dear daughter loves pink. My mother is a breast cancer survivor, so it was the perfect Bible to figure out who I would share it with once I was finished reading it over.
I love the size of the Bible, it is soft cover which is nice for paging quickly threw. It is even adorned with a pink ribbon for those that do care.
I tend to in general not support any of the ribbon causes...after much research, I don't believe that enough of the funds raised with these pink ribbons goes to actually find a cure for cancer. Which is a whole other topic for another post!
But, the pink Bible is what caught my attention. !
The Bible is simply. Red letters for when Jesus is speaking. There is a yearly reading log in the back, an index, and an over view of the each book of the Bible. What I was really hoping for was some encourage mingled in the books for those battling cancer. I think this is an important step in recovering is encouragement that God's word brings. This would be my only complaint...if I had to say one! 

I received this book from Booksneeze.com to review for free. I have not been paid to review this book, and I posted my true feelings! Hope you enjoy this Bible!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

One Year Ago....

One year ago....on November 15th I brought Lauren and some friends down to the football game. My mom and I hung out and had dinner. Picked up the kids and were driving home. During the drive home I received a phone call from a number I didn't recognize, so I didn't answer it until I got home....A phone call I never imagined. The only other worse phone call it could have been was if it involved one of my children or husband....The phone call was about my dear friend Michelle....her husband Jason was on his way down to the hospital. they had flown Michelle down to I don't even know what hospital. What exactly happened was sketchy...but it didn't look good....
After talking with Karen, we decided we wouldn't drive down to the hospital. But to this day...I am unsure if that was a good idea or not.
Michelle leaves behind four precious children. Michelle leaves behind a husband. Many family members. Many pets. And a legacy of laughter over the most mundane events in your life....Give her a story and she runs with it and makes it an event of laughter.
Michelle...I still miss you. There is ONLY ONE MICHELLE~
This was taken the last day that I saw her....

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Peril: By Jordyn Redwood


I had the extreme pleasure of reading Peril. When I ordered Peril to review, I received it in the mail. I was disappointed to see it was the third book in a series...so I just had to order the first two. I am so pleased that I did in fact order the first two. I love a good mystery. Add a little clean romance and you have a great book. 
From what I read these are Jordyn Redwoods' first books. If these are any indication of books to come by Redwood, I am eager to read more. 
My only disappointment would be, character development. I think we could get to know the characters a little more intimately. I feel like I knew them but it was more surface level. I like to get in to really feel the characters, know their thoughts. When I finish a book and I feel like I am leaving friends behind, I know in that moment I have really gotten to know characters.
I did like that this book was part of a series. I love to read more on characters while getting to know new characters. I would much rather read a series than to read a stand alone title. So, I am looking forward to more series from Redwood!
I have read most of B.Collins, D. Henderson, and T. Blackstocks books...and I would put Redwood in this category of must reads!
Go pick it up on Amazon today!
I was not paid for my review of this book. I received my copy to read and post my review of my opinion only. 

Thursday, October 31, 2013

done...finished....waiting...heart hurts

Our paperwork is on it's way to immigration in California...went from Wash. DC, to now in California. but this is our last leg....My prayer is that we are home before thanksgiving! What a lot to be thankful for in that area....

I just had a Facebook conversation from a great guy in Liberia. He checks in with us nearly everyday. He is having either liver or kidney challenges, and his medicine, which seems to be something natural is expensive for him. Liv52. Not sure what it is, but $15.00 is to much for him. So Wayne and I have been talking about what we could do to help him. His symptoms seem to be more kidney related. But doctor said liver...

Anyway, this gentleman, whom some of you have gotten friend requests from...I promise he is harmless. He is one of the few friends we have made over there who has not asked us for money. He was inquiring about Hope Blooms. I told him what we are doing, and that we hope to facilitate adoptions from Liberia in the coming new year. He said he knows of many people that want to place babies for adoption. It is common for the dad's to leave mom's. There was one gal pregnant when we were there, I am guessing she is one of them that he mentioned. But many people were raped during the war and cannot or are having a hard time caring for the children they now have. We have a full orphanage...but no orphanage.

I long to have Shadrack here. I long to help others families find forever love of children. And my heart hurts for those families that are making these selfless decisions...because as a mother, I know this isn't easy for them.

My mind is reeling on where I can get the funds...to have an orphange running well, we would need 2500-3500$ a month.

God can and will provide inside of His perfect will. But I feel like this needs to happen yesterday...so I am having a hard time feeling patient!

I know there are a lot of you who may read this and simply do not understand what it is we are doing. I know many people in our families are unsupportive. I challenge you to dig in your Bibles and see what God commands each and everyone of us to do. This isn't just a Wayne and Shannon thing. This is something we are all called to care about. And I am not saying everyone should adopt. Because not everyone should. But we are all called to help in some way.

I am waiting for our friend to send some pictures of children needing homes.....It will be a process to get this under way. Hope blooms won't even be licensed until January or February. But we can start working on this now~

Shan

Friday, October 11, 2013

BUMPS; SET BACKS; DISAPPOINTMENTS; PRAISE

I sit here and think of this journey. My heart is broken in a million little pieces...not just for a one year old Liberian boy, but for my other children going through their many challenges...growing pains, bad decisions, and the lessons they learn along the way.

Broken pieces from those that say they support you...but when asked to help in one way or another...the answer is no.

Broken for our country in general.

But I am reminded that through this muck, it is growing me. It is helping me to see how to be a better person through these disappointments...
On one of our local radio stations the topic today is to call in and something good in your life! Well...three things popped into my head...amongst so many more...

First, some of our family has been soooo supportive of this journey. They have gone above and beyond the call of duty. Through prayer, finances, listening ear, encouragement. We truly are thankful for YOU~! I couldn't possibly name all of you...because I am sure I would forget. But know that we truly thank you from the bottom of our hearts...

Second, a friend who went above and beyond that calling of a friend...who is like our family! She offered a no interest loan for $5000.00. No questions asked. She offered it knowing where our hearts were/are. And when I don't post an update on here...she always asks....She is a big cheer leader for us and Hope Blooms. She gives without expecting in return. She was actually surprised and disappointed by the last post of FAQ, that people would actually ask those things. If you don't have a friend like this....find one! Everyone needs someone that they can count on....and I don't mean for finances...I mean for the friendship!

third...last week, our attorney received a phone call from the Adjudicator...(immigration). There were three things he was concerned about. Something with our insurance, which we have gotten back. A letter from Liberia...which we are assured it will be emailed today...who knows...ans lastly a co sponsor...To put it simply...because nothing with this process is simple, if something were to happen to Wayne and I, who will take over the care of Shadrack...so just some reassurance on their part. I asked my friend and she didn't even think about it...she knows our hearts. She knows our passions, she knows US! She said yes without even seeing what she had to do. I had nearly all her paperwork the next day. She even dared me to not follow through so she could have Shadrack....There is no chance of that!~!!

So, yes, this is all a mess. It is taking longer than we ever could hope for. We long to head to Liberia and snatch up Shadrack. We are frustrated when we have to email the orphanage several times with the same question and receive NO RESPONSE BACK.....but we are so blessed beyond compare to those of you who are supporting us...no matter what....If only I could live a little more like you. Thanks for being a roll model to us....to our kids. To people who don't believe in what we are doing. We can all learn from you...

So the update....all of our paperwork from two sources is ready to send to our attorney. The third from Liberia, hopefully that will come today. But I am surely not holding my breath. Then we have about a weeks time to wait on the mail....and we are pretty sure we will have a YES we can get the Visa. We will then make an appointment with the US Embassy in Liberia. Then we can book a flight...We are so excited for the day of landing at MSP..and seeing friends and family greet us and Shadrack. I DREAM OF THIS DAY!

Pray our government shutdown doesn't delay us getting Shadrack's Visa. We almost feel like we should get our kids Passports and go camp there until we get the Visa. If only life were that simple!

Shannon...for Wayne too!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

FAQ: but no one is asking!

We have encountered many questions from people...but the questions or for lack of a better word accusations are not asked to us...So we will address them head on! But please, ask us. We would rather give you accurate information, than for you to talk behind our backs.

Adoption is an important call. A call we are all called to do. But NOT EVERYONE IS CALLED TO ADOPT! We are all called to help.

Question one:
Why are they going all the way to Liberia when there are orphans here.
Answer:
We have been pursuing adoption from foster care for several years. We see the huge importance. And there are MANY orphans in our back yard....currently around 400 of them just in MN. If everyone of you that reads this would adopt from foster care in MN, they would all be cared for. What are YOU going to do about that?  We came across Shadrack last April. I tried to find him a home from Minnesota down to Texas. I told Wayne one night..."I've tried to find this blind little guy a home, or someone to help him medically, and I cannot find anyone." His answer, Why are we not doing something? Exactly. So when you ask us why we are not doing something here in Minnesota...I respectfully ask you...Why aren't you? Until I laid eyes on Shadrack, I wasn't quite sure we were doing the right thing. The Sunday before we left, I had all I could do to hold it together at church. I ran into a friend who excited asked me if I was ready to go and how exciting...and I broke down and couldn't even put it into words the emotions I was feeling....I have dreamed of adopting for years...and my dream was coming true...but i was headed to a country that I knew very little about....I was leaving behind my children. And we were NOT LOOKING TO BRING A ONE YEAR OLD INTO OUR HOME! But, things worked out, and God willing we will bring Shadrack here in the next couple of weeks!

Question 2:
They can't afford to adopt/care for another child....
Answer:
God has provided thus far. Through Waynes retirement, through generous family and friends. Through some fundraisers. Everything has worked out. Frankly, we can't afford not to bring Shadrack or possibly other children into our homes. Plus our finances are really none of your business! With all due respect!
Currently the fundraiser last weekend has given us plane tickets and room while we are there...if we can get tickets cheap enough that is! We are confident that it will all work out....

Question 3:
We now have grandchildren, we won't have time for them with a one year old....

Answer:
Shadrack will require care and attention. But he also loves to sit and listen to music. He is really a very easy baby. I stayed home with 5 children, and Wayne worked his butt off with a full time job...I think I can handle 2 one year olds and a 4 year old. And I look forward to it. We obviously love kids...No brainer!

Question 4:
The fundraiser last weekend was a publicity pull for Hope Blooms...

Answer:
All I can say is WOW! Us caring for Shadrack has nothing to do with Hope Blooms. But we are doing what Hope Blooms stands for. We are caring for the worlds orphans...plus some.... We have never profited from Hope Blooms. All donations go back into helping the families that we service...those caring for orphans...Donations last weekend, which is another question we have been asked...behind our back, are going to bring Shadrack to the US for essential medical care. And any funds beyond that will go for medical care while he is here. Simple as that! Weather we  get him here in a couple of weeks, or weather we get him here in a couple of months. If you don't feel like you want to help a boy our with medical care...then don't. Simple as that. We are thankful for those that have helped. And we are excited to share him with those that care.

video
Watch that video...if it doesn't get to you...Then you should come to Liberia with us...see what we saw. Learn what we learned. Orphans are mentioned frequently in the Bible...and it is very clear we are all called to help in some way.

Hope Blooms will soon become licensed to facilitate adoptions through Liberia. That is how passionate we are about this. Wayne is ready to head back to Liberia on trips to check on an orphanage that we partner with...We are living out a call...what will YOU DO?

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Apple Jacks: No Clowning Around

One of the highlights on Sunday was Apply Jack the Clown! I was hoping to get a picture before I posted our thanks...but I do not have one yet! So will update with a picture when I can!

Kids loved following around the mute Clown. He riled the troops and was surely a high light of the day!

thanks Apple Jacks for sharing in the day of Shadrack Support!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Family

 
 
Family:
 
Families come in all shapes and sizes. All different colors, different homes, different beliefs. But, families fight together, and stay together...or they should!
 
Yesterday we had an amazing day of family sharing and showing support! At the risk of forgetting someone....I am going to tell you some amazing family moments!
 
The above song struck Wayne and I as Shadrack was jamming to TobyMac in Africa. We are fighting to get Shadrack here for essential medical care. He is from a different family...and we are waiting to bring him into our home...our family.
 
It amazes me when people come and show support to something that is huge for me. Shadrack and many other orphans are important to me. Something I am called to do. And so many people came to show support.
 
Fire fighters: Kari, Chad K, Chad N, Nikki W. Matt L Janelle N. They came early, stayed until the end. They worked their butts off and didn't blink an eye over any task. They willingly came and helped us fight a good fight. And some other Firefighters came and ate, and shared their support!
 
Karen...she came early and did many back massages....all for Shadrack!
 
Janelle Lloyd and family...they made, bought, gave and helped! They brought so MANY Auction items! I couldn't even begin to count the amount they donated! Plus many encouraging words.
 
Karen N. She celebrated her birthday with us...we didn't know her beforehand. But she came and encouraged many others to come. She donated an acupuncture certificate! Was great to chat with her for a bit!
 
Julie F. She came with bake goods in hand, lots of encouragement. Worked the bake sale like a trooper. Plus her and Lee have supported and cheered on Shadrack above and beyond!
 
Shannon L and her friends at Becker Baptist Church...they donated over 60 items to our bake sale that raised over $500! We don't know them and they don't know us...but all for Shadrack!
 
Barb, our loyal board member. Came and worked, chatted, supported and is always available when we have a need.
 
Our children, they showed up at 9am. Took turns caring for Laila, helped with whatever we needed help with. They may think we are crazing bringing a one year old home! But they are all eager to love on him too~
 
Our families~ Ida, Milo, Gary Diane, Juanita Kaylee, Bob, Connie Grandma and Grandpa F....what you all did hasn't gone un noticed! You guys came and helped with so many things....brought goodies, auction items. You blessed us by blessing Shadrack.
 
So many more of you stayed and ate, purchased auction items, heard us talk Liberia. We appreciate each of you more than you will ever know. WE thank you from the bottom of our hearts!
 
We don't have anymore updates on Shadrack...we hope to by the end of the week. But you will all be the first to know! We are getting excited to bring him here and for ALL OF YOU TO MEET HIM!
 
Wayne and Shannon

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Another Small Nugget~!

We received a letter yesterday asking us for a notarized letter with some specific information on it. I am having a phone meeting with our attorney today at 2, then will see how we should proceed! But our attorney was happy to have gotten this far, this fast. She has NEVER seen something move this fast. So we are confident we are in the right direction. Many thanks to Klobuchars office for expediting!

Hope Lifter

I had the pleasure of reading the HopeLifter by Kathe Wunenberg. Creative Ways to Spread Hope When Life Hurts. I have had my share of hurt over the years, and so I was eager to dive into this book!
Hopelifter is broken up into three sections along with Recipes for Hope Topics.
Hopelifter will help you Discover Hope, Embrace Hope and Give Hope.  There is also a discussion guide at the end. Verses of Hope and Helpful websites. This book is chock full of great things to share hope with others...or discovering hope for yourself. As my blog and a non profit that I started says...Hope Blooms. So this was a fun read for me. I needed to remind myself how to Discover Hope, but I also need to be ready to spread Hope to Adoptive and Foster Families. There are so many golden nuggets in these pages! You will be certain to love this book.
My favorite part is the Recipes of Hope Topics. These are broken down into topics such as: Abortion, Coma, Depression, Seniors, Suicide and more. These are topics that you can look up and read about. Adoption has two posts...ways that people shared hope after adoption and after a long journey back with an adopted child. The books gives you practical ways you can support others in situations they are going through. When you don't know what else to say.

When you are traveling through some rugged times, grab a copy of HopeLifter and share some joy that overflows from YOU!

I received my copy of HopeLifter for Free from Booksneeze to review. I have not been paid for my review. I have enjoyed the book on my own will and posted my thoughts!
Go to www.booksneeze.com to grab your own books to review on your blog!

Friday, August 30, 2013

My heart is overwhelmed!

I love to help others. To help them feel loved. To make a difference. There are so many ways to help others. We can offer a listening ear, offer to carry some of their burdens, or share our resources. I would much rather be able to offer to help someone else...than to be on the receiving end....And right now we are on the receiving end....Or rather, We are the caretakers of the generosity for this little boy....
 This picture was taken on one of the last nights we spent with him in July.  We miss his laugh, his smile, his sense of humor. But we are hopeful that we will hear something soon. Which leads me to my overwhelmed heart!
Our families and some fire fighters are working hard on a fundraiser on Sept. 15th. We feel so blessed that this is simply happening. Shadrack will take medical care that is beyond some of what insurance will cover. But since I first announced this, We have 2 more people willing to make bake goods to sell. Plus one is letting her church know of this need. And out of the blue....another church takes donations on the first Sunday of the month...and this Sunday is for Shadrack! Can you believe this generosity? So yes, my heart is overwhelmed. The prayers that Wayne and I pray are simply that God uses Shadrack to touch each and everyone of you...Because, when you get to know him...he certainly will!
My grandmother...one of my biggest cheer leaders just gave me a card and poem...it was important for her to get it to me before Wayne leaves for work today...
"Heaven's Very Special Child"
"A meeting was held quite far from earth,
It's time again for another birth.
Said the Angels to the Lord above.
this Special child will need much love.
His progress may seem very slow,
Accomplishments he may never show;
And he'll require extra care,
From the folks he meets down there.
He may not run or laugh or play,
His thoughts may seem quite far away.
In many ways he won't adapt,
And he'll be known as handicapped.
So let's be careful where he's sent;
We want his life to be content.
Please Lord, find the parents who
will do a special job for you.
They will not realize right away,
the leading part they're asked to play.
But with this child sent from above,
comes a stronger faith and richer love.
And soon they'll know the privilege given,
In caring for this gift from heaven.
Their precious charge, so meek and mild,
Is heaven's very special child."
   Author unknown...
 
Oh my...tears to my eyes. What strikes me...is I know the blessing that Shadrack is. But YOU don't know. Cannot wait to show you!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

A little Bread Crumb

Just received a phone call from Klobuchars office...always nice to see that number pop up! Seems to be that she is checking in regularly with Immigration and getting updates. Our application is being passed around to the offices that need to see it. So we are thankful that they are currently reviewing it. The sooner Shadrack can get medical care...that better off this little guy will be! Praying for news on Friday!??? But it is not our timing...this whole process has proved that to us.

There has been some negativity over the Fundraiser that is happening on September 15th. I know there are always opinions surrounded anything good.

Our stance is, we are all called to help the orphan. Anyone who is oppressed is an orphan. Those without parents, those in need of clothing, food, shelter. We are all called to help. Some are called to adopt a parentless child, some are called to support those that do. We all have roles in the lives of those that need to see Jesus with skin on.

Wayne and I took care of our first trip through Wayne's retirement fund and through a loan. Plus some pretty generous people that helped us because they simply wanted to help.

Now we have to go back to Liberia. We are thrilled that our families along with some Clear Lake Fire Fighters are helping make this trip possible again. These funds are simply to help Shadrack. We will have medical coverage for him, but there are fees that end up being over and above what insurance covers. So the remainder of the funds will be to cover that. We will make sure Shadrack has clothes....which I have already gotten them, we will feed Shadrack, and get him to his appointments. Plus love on him.

So, for those that are going over and above to help....you are the hands of feet of Jesus. Shadrack will surely feel the love from each and everyone of you. We don't take this lightly, we are humbled by this, we feel uncomfortable about this. But it is simply for Shadrack!

My mom has been looking for someone to help play music on Sept 15th. Do you or do you know someone who would be willing to donate 2-3 hours?
We have a Clown coming! FUN!

My mom or Kari from Clear Lake Fire Department (works at the City of Clear Lake offices) are collecting Silent auction items. We could use some more to help make this more successful.

there is a bake sale going on! So baked goods would be appreciated!

My mom, diane, can be contacted through email at
Diane@hopebloomsmn.org

for those of you that we simply do not know...that call or simply send donations...We appreciate you so so much! I would like for everyone to Meet Shadrack. Praying for September 15th for that to happen! My perfect plan is that we leave September 7th and return Sept 14th...But we are running a little to close right now! Still hoping!

Thanks for all you do....
Shan

Monday, August 19, 2013

Receipt confirmation!

We have a receipt number! YAY!  What this means is that I was able to call Klobuchars office and asked her awesome Immigration department to expedite our case. From what I remember, and I will correct this if I am wrong, we could hear in about 2 weeks a yes or no answer. So we are within a month time frame of Shadrack getting his much needed medical care. We are very excited about this! One more step in the right direction!

For those that want to hear more about the Story, Bill Morgan from the Sherburne County Citizen newspaper did a story this past weekend.  He did a very good job of telling Shadracks story...which seems complicated to tell in a short conversation.

You can find the story here

Please pray for a positive response from USCIS, (Immigration). And that it is speedy in getting here!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

An Update

Well, our paperwork should be in the hands of Immigration as I type. We are simply waiting on the receipt number to then give to Amy Klobuchar's office to expedite our paperwork. We are literally at the hands of the person at immigration that is reviewing our paperwork. So we wait with trust that things will work out. We simply would like to get Shadrack here for medical care that we have all set up for him. It is torture waiting. We are ready to get him here to get him walking, eating, talking and learning to care for himself should he continue to be blind.

We really worked to work with on bonding with him while we spent two weeks with him. We knew he needed to trust us. Well, I got an email from someone in Liberia. Apparently he didn't think to highly of us leaving him in Liberia. He wouldn't eat and the words from our friend...."it was a nightmare". Broke my heart to hear this! I could have done well to not hear this! Yikes!

I cannot say how appreciative that we are for everyone so willing to help with a fundraiser to bring Shadrack to the US! We used up Wayne's 401k to go our first trip. So this will help cover the added expenses, plus the medial bills beyond  the insurance coverings.
The Fundraiser will be held at Jack and Jim's in Duelm MN! Big 'ol Duelm.  12-5.  Our families and Clear Lake Fire Fighters are helping to pull this off!  

I will update again once we have the recipet. For now, just pray over the person getting all of our paperwork. We truly need to get shadrack here for medical care. Most of what he needs, should have been done shortly after birth! And to find out if he will eer be able to see at all!

When you unravel at the seams.....

When life throws ya lemons...do you make lemonade?  when life seems so dark that you cannot find your way out...do you wallow in that darkness?

What are some things, we as women can do to overcome? When you come unglued and are unsure how to even find the bottle of glue that you are sure you had...just a few days ago...? What will you do?

Lysa TerKeurst wrote a book called Unglued..well actually a Bible Study. Then went on to write 60 devotions for just this topic. I follow Lysa's blog here Lysa's Blog.  In her blog, she talks about every day life that people like you and I encounter. Lysa is a true life person, living the Christian life, in an imperfect way...and freely shares her shortcomings. Through this we are able to relate to her, and know that EVERYONE FAILS at some time. If we are all honest, we can surely relate!

So when, I was able to grab a book of Lysa's to reveiw, I snatched it right up. I have to admit I grabbed this book some time ago...so long ago that I had to ask to keep my Booksneeze Account active. With preparing for our adoption, it was hard to focus on much else!

In Lysa's Unglued Devotion book, I was reminded once again of God's grace in my life. And as a wife and mom, God has me and will deliver me from where I need delivering. Unglued showed me again as I turned through each devotion what Lysa communicates in her blog. Through our humanness, we can be a light to others. When you or I make mistakes, when you  and I come unglued, and don't make lemonade....Forgiveness is ours freely.

Run our and grab this book! It will help your perspective of yourself. We have to many things in our lives that do not help us in the least! Everywhere we turn, there is somehting or someone squashing the joy right out of us! Along with your Bible and  Unglued devotions, you can gain a better perspecitve!

I obtained this devotion for the sole purpose of reading and posting a review of my choice! I was not paid or swayed in how I chose to review! www.booksneeze.com....books are contagious!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Who should go?

With Liberia Africa fresh on my mind...the plight of not only orphans, but families...families that are not only working, working, working...working to LIVE life. But families that are taking the time for the Lord on Sunday mornings. A Government that poses fees to business that open on Sunday's, a driver that says with confidence "no, my tires won't go flat (as did the cars ahead of her) My tires are covered in the blood of Jesus" Meaning, she took the time to attend church on said Sunday, whatever is in the road, won't touch her tires...and it didn't.

I got the idea of starting Hope Blooms, from God. Back in the summer of 2008. It has been a journey of twists and turns. Some good things, some bad. But I knew my heart surrounded the orphans...both near and far. I have a heart for helping those in need...and wish I could do more. I don't always do the right thing...but I aim to do the right thing. Hope Blooms went from creating a neighborhood for families to raise children in foster care in safe houses, to helping widows, orphans, caregivers and veterans...to now providing support services to families that have adopted or are providing foster care, along with tinkering on helping orphans in Liberia to find US homes.

In parallel Wayne and I have gone from raising our five children..with just 2 minor children at home, to planing to adopt from Foster care....to now bringing home a blind one year old to have his medical needs assessed, from Liberia...where the medical care is scarce. Our heart bleeds the longer we have to wait to get him here to at the minimum have prostetics put in his eye sockets. Or to see if he can get a transplant....For him to go back to the bush at this point, would be detrimental to his life. But if he can see, to be a witness to bringing him back to his mama for care...back to the very village that didn't want him. This little boy needs to have a chance to show his tribe he is WORTH every penny we spend on him to get here, to host him for a time...to love on him..to teach him to crawl and then walk. Are not all people worth it?

Over this time, we have heard...."why are they not adopting from the US, there are plenty of children in need" "A black child?" "If you bring home a 1 year old special needs boy, you won't have time to babysit your grandchildren" To many other countless unfair statements....statements that are laden with satan's evil scheme. But we know these comments are out of ignorance to what God calls us to be in this life...and we still care for the orphan in our back yard. We believe RED YELLOW BLACK AND WHITE, they are all precious in HIS sight. And we have so much room in our hearts to care for our grandbabies and other children.....There really are no questions....

Well, this morning I had the honor of being one of the first to view a video posted below by Visiting Orphans. They are a well established organization that is helping orphans and FAMILIES all over the world. this video made me think of the direction of Hope Blooms....how to better partner with other organizations....Which is a weird concept....partnering with other organizations....when I started Hope Blooms, I had other well meaning organizations tell me they just don't share information....I may apply for the same grant and get it...and they might not then....I was floored by the close mouthness of local charities! But, I was so refreshed to see Visiting Orphans (VO) talk about partnering with others organizations to get GODS work done....not VO, not HB, not XXXX, but GODS work done....if we work alone, it takes a long time....working together...makes lighter work...and many more people affected by God's love!

I hope you take some time to see what VO is doing. How they are helping in places you may or may not get to....Consider going with them to help families thrive...or helping someone else get there. Not everyone is called to adopt. Not everyone is called on a mission trip abroad or Stateside. But we are ALL called to care.

you can visit VO here....Visiting Orphans

Please watch this video. Then, try to NOT do anything! HA! Doing something will not only change your life...it will change the life of someone...some family....GO. BE. LOVE!
Visiting Orphans You Tube Video

VO

Monday, July 15, 2013

Long weeks ahead

As we sit in the dog days of summer, we are still plugging away on the best way to bring Shadrack here for medical care.

After talking with a great Attorney who works with Immigration, we are choosing to bring him here on Humanitarian Parole. This isn't a sure way, but it will get him here on medical care faster than adopting him. Plus it gives us a chance to find out his needs. Find out if he will be in fact be able to see again. Although it will be hard, if there is a chance he can see again, he is best off with his mom. She obviously loves him. So we feel this is the best route. We are legal guardians, and so hopefully this will be an uneventful process, and we are hoping Klobachars office will still help this process to be decided faster. They can help with immigration to decide in just a couple weeks. So we meet with the attorney on Wednesday, bring all of our documents, and sign our life away!!!

We have great people standing behind behind us! The Clear Lake Fire Department is working on a fundraiser to help us with our immediate needs. Plus people that just out of the blue hand over funds to help. We are truly thankful. Not everyone is called to help in the physical sense with orphans, but we are all called to care in some way. And we THANK each and everyone of you for your support!

We will keep you all updated on getting this little one here as we have more information!

shan

Thursday, July 11, 2013

It all continues...and it isn't easier...

IF, I were to get a tattoo...this is what I would get! I truly feel that I left part of my heart in Africa. I have five beautiful children here, at home, in Minnesota....But, one important piece of my heart is in Liberia Africa. I am a horrible drawer, but you get the gist of what I mean.
 
I hate the place we are in. I am mad, sad, determined...so many struggles!
 
We found out an important part of our journey is a missing Home Study. usually in adoptions you complete a home study. But we were going the guardianship route first, to assess Shadracks needs and then adopt if he couldn't get care in Liberia like the US has to offer. The adoption agency we are using was asked multiple times weather we needed a home study along with the I600 I 600a paperwork. We were told no multiple times....yesterday I got a phone call that once our home study is complete, we can fill out the paperwork with Immigration and get him home....This adds on $2400, plus I think $720, plus another flight to Africa....Expenses we have not been planning on.
 
Currently we are working with an attorney to see if we can get him here faster, then to finish the adoption paperwork. But there are so many unknowns at this moment.
 
I hate struggling with negative emotions. I know it is part of this life. I keep asking why did we plan the trip to Liberia, and why didn't we know about the home study, and, and, and....THIS IS A VERY IMPORTANT PART OF US BRINGING SHADRACK HOME! We cannot help but feel angry over the misleading of this all. Wayne burnt up almost ALL of his PTO to go to Liberia, and stay home for his initial doctors appointments.
 
That all said, we are so thrilled to have met and spent so much quality time with Shadrack. But it makes this time here so much harder.
 
We have had many people step up to the plate to help us. From our families to firefighters, to Wayne's co workers. We thank you all!
 
Our families are planning a fundraiser on September 15th. Wayne just got a message from some fire fighters that they want to help with a fundraiser. God is good amidst the struggles. Shadrack deserves to have some medical answers. He shouldn't still be in the orphanage. With everything we do...I cannot help but think of how we would be experiencing it through his mind's eye. From hearing the birds, to heading to the Little Falls Zoo today. To, the dark barking....

Sunday, July 7, 2013

A few pictures

The first moment I held Shadrack. The starting of our journey.
One of my favorite pictures...even if with my "Africa hair" Natural curly hair is
not very favorable in Africa.

Shadrack loves his tootsies.

The first moment Wayne was holding Shadrack...

The wood carvers...most of our gifts were bought from the 
guys who hand carve these. We found their "wood" shop and watched them. 
We will bring sandpaper, tools and shoe polish back to them when we pick up Shadrack.
The view from our guesthouse. Tonya Doering says it 
looks just like Hawaii...

Another Beach view.

Our Driver Rebecca

Our guest house. Looking at it from the beach.

These women and children clean up the beach every morning, then chase out sand crabs to 
boil and make supper.

Today channel 5 is coming to do a news story on our journey...Thanks to Jen Forner. They say it will air tonight. Will keep you posted!
Help us fundraise! Any donations are Greatly appreciated~
http://givemn.razoo.com/story/Liberian-Adoption?referral_code=share


Saturday, July 6, 2013

We are home....

This two week journey just simply seems so surreal. There are so many layers in all of this. But most importantly, we had to leave Shadrack in Liberia....after much bonding with him. The bottom line, in all of this, he is the one who suffers...we are devastated beyond belief, but he truly is the one suffering here....

So back to Tuesday the 2nd of July.
We were once again denied a Visa for Shadrack. So we knew at that moment...probably 3 pm that we were going to need to leave Shadrack at the orphanage when we left on Wednesday...That evening, Wayne, Nate and I decided to walk the half mile down to the Golden Key Hotel/Restaurant to have dinner...none of us felt like cooking that night....

A moment that I am hanging onto happened at the restaurant. We were at a round table and Nate was on my right, Wayne was on my left. I had Shadrack standing on my lap facing me. I was conversing with the guys.. I looked at Shadrack and started talking to him. He KNEW INSTANTLY when I started talking to him. He got a big smile on his face....and he reached up to gently touch my cheek. ONE precious moment that still brings tears to my eyes.

So, leaving him in Liberia was a hard step we had to face. Getting on the plane I just simply wanted to scream, cry, yell at anyone who cared to listen....We were both devastated and I had to hold it together for the sake of the 200 others on our plane.

Back Stateside, Christina's family and friends started a campaign with some local Politicians. Currently we have Klobachars office helping to expedite a few things for us....for this we are truly grateful!
So bottom line, and the true facts....

1. We shouldn't have applied for the Visa that we applied for. The Embassy simply isn't issuing those at this time. From what few things we have been able to figure out, there has been corrupt things happening with these Visa's and they will not issue them. Plus it would have been nearly impossible 6 months down the road to fully adopt him. The Embassy in reality did us some favors by NOT issuing this type of Visa.

2. We shouldn't have gone the guardianship route. It is messy, and now Shadrack is affected by that. With the Guardianship route, we obtain legal guardianship over him. Which we have. We obtain the Visa, get him medical care and assess the situation after medical care. If he were to remain blind, we would adopt him. If he has a chance to see again, we help him with that, and bring him back to his mom. Which is the best place for him. But given his current situation, he would be sacrificed if he were to stay with his mom in their tribe.

3. We believe Acres of Hope did what they think is best for the boys, but we are unsure if they actually knew how to navigate these waters. Currently they boys are at the AOH orphanage.  The nannies love them. It is clean. The children get fed. That is comforting to us in this moment. If it wasn't so costly, we can fly over there anytime and take the boys out of the orphanage as much as we want. We are their guardians.

4. We are working towards full adoption. Klobachar's office will be working to help us expedite both the home study...possibly 2 weeks. And the I600a with Immigration...possibly another 2 weeks. In reality, if things go well, we could have the boys in a month. But we are expecting longer...that way we are won't have our hopes set on it being 4 weeks. After the homestudy, AOH has about a weeks worth of stuff to finish up, which can be during the timing of the I600. Our prayers are that things can go off without a hitch. And fast!!!

5. Going the adoption route means traveling to Liberia again...We are torn about this. We loved being there. We just were simply not crazy about all the road blocks we had while there. It was a very frustrating process of hurry up and wait. Currently we are looking at
About
$2400 for home study.
$2100 for flight...not sure if one or both of us need to go
$1000 for lodging and food while there.

So it isn't going to be cheap...and our first concern is getting the home study complete. We are completely bummed that we put money into the flight at this point only to not have brought him home. But we wouldn't trade the time spent with Shadrack for the world. We believe God will bless this, we feel like we are his parents and we will get him home!

6. We started Hope Blooms almost five years ago. Through that, we have taken many courses. But we narrowed it down to providing support services to families that have adopted. That is where our passions lie. We also provide fun things for kids to do a few times a year...This journey has awakened in me a passion to check into helping other families adopt in Liberia....helping the process go smoothly. We will be looking into getting Hague certified. And partnering possibly with an organization from Africa. We have started the talk...but need to meet with them first. So we will still provide support services, but also be the American side of adopting from Liberia. Adoptions could open up in the next month...instead of just special needs adoptions. We are excited to start this part also. There are some pretty amazing kids, and Liberians thanked us many times for taking Shadrack to America to help him. They know their health care stinks.

In the guest house we stayed in, there was a house boy who stayed in a small house out back. His name is Chris. When we got back to America, he had sent Wayne a text asking if we made it back ok. And asking if we were ok. He saw how upset we were. That is what Liberia is....caring for others...we got asked for money plenty of times. But they are a friendly bunch. Had no trouble stopping what they were doing and staring at the white people carrying the black babies. We tried to fit in, but the strollers and front carrying packs simply do not fit in.

Liberia is listed as an unsafe country to visit. We never once felt that we were unsafe. In fact, a couple times we left the Golden Key restaurant a little later than planned and were walking in the dark. We felt totally safe...had lots of people praying for us in Liberia and home in America. We learned alot of history about Liberia to share with the boys some day. We cannot wait to do that! But more importantly we cannot wait to bring Shadrack home. James and Shadrack have both been in the same orphanage...for how long we don't know...

I have been dreading writing this post...I simply did not want to be on this side of the journey posting that we do not have Shadrack home with us. But the story will continue....and we hope to have him home in 4-6 weeks....

Shannon

Sunday, June 30, 2013

More updates.....finally

LOVE:  June 22, 2013
We are in LOVE.  Shadrach is amazing. He smiles, laughs, makes funny noises…puts up with Wayne! And then there is a serious side to him as well. He will feel around our faces, necks, hands, arm, clothing. He loves to lick things to feel them.
We have been working on having him reach out a bit when we pick him up. He hasn’t quite caught on yet. He doesn’t scare easily, so we are able to pick him up without startling him, or giving him a warning. I am sure we will learn so many more things to do with him in the coming months.
The whole compound we are staying at is so intrigued by Shadrach. Many are still leery of his blindness. We are choosing to be matter of fact. And let them know in America he will get much care, and love. But some are still scared. The will go up the whole road and tell people there is something wrong with his eyes. Then they really stare when we use the stroller. NOONE uses strollers around here. We finally had the neighbor kids come and ask if they could push Shadrach. And one of the boys was singing to him. Shadrach turned to hear him singing better. I think he loved to hear the African song.
We were a little worried that Shadrach wouldn’t play and would always want to be held. But he loves a good mix. He loves to cuddle, and then will play for a bit.
We are having concerns about getting paperwork done. We just now found out that he doesn’t even have his passport. Apparently it didn’t print right. But to make his Visa appt. we need his passport numbers. So it will take many prayers and and a miracle from GOD that we leave this Wednesday! They are assuring us everything else is in order.  JUST PRAY!
Apparently at home we lost 20 trees the other night in a big thunderstorm. We got out of that clean up…for a beach out our front  door!
We met Pastor Peter last night. HE lives about 20 minutes from us, but apparently it is the BUSH. I think we will get to see his place before we leave. Possibly Monday. This is the same Pastor who was taking care of Daniel who Jessica was trying to get to the US for medical purposes. He swallowed Lye 3 years ago, and it burnt his esophagus. Well….Jessica called this afternoon and said, about 1 am our time, Daniel past away…..so shortly after Pastor Peter left our place, Daniel died. Wayne was suppose to place the NG tube in Daniel on Monday….this little boy literally starved to death….so sad. And unfortunately it is all to common here. Children get into Lye thinking it is water, and end up with eating problems. And the Liberian hospitals cannot do anything for them.  Jessica and her family are heart broken.
We had lots of down time today so we walked the beach. It is so hot, and sticky…our joke has come to be….Shannon: Does my hair look ok? Wayne: NO!  The hot humid weather is not good on my hair. If I am in the compound, I wear a hat. Or outside the compound a scraf….horrible! I told a little girl today that I need the braids she has in her hair done! Then I wouldn’t need to worry for a while!
Yesterday in the grocery store, we walked in and everyone was giving us the stare down. They have isle attendants. When someone grabs something you they would fix the shelf and make it look good. We found out when we were checking out that everyone in the store was telling the next person that Shadrach was blind. So by the time we got up to the register, every worker in the store knew. And Wayne just simply started talking to everyone about it. So many people get such a sober look on their face and say….oh I am sorry. We just say, no need to be. He will be ok. He uses other things to communicate. He is so happy!
Shadrach hates being cold. Doesn’t like water. And I don’t believe he has ever had his feet in the sand or grass. So we are slowly working on those things. He either cries or raises his legs as if to say….no way!
I will try to post pictures….but otherwise when we get back home we will post!

June 23rd, 2013
And the rains came down and the floods came up…..It started raining very early morning and has nearly been raining all morning. It is currently 11:30 am. Church in the ELWA Compound was at 10:30, and beings we forgot our umbrella’s we didn’t go. I wanted to experience an African Church service.
Shadrach hasn’t been feeling the best today. We think he may be trying to get a tooth through. He has been very snuggly. Drooling a little, and chewing on his fingers. So we have just spend the morning taking turns snuggling with him.
He is definitely ready for food. But he simply hates to eat with a spoon. I am thinking once we get home we will try finger foods. We have some funny video of him eating food….he looks as if he has a sour face. The orphanage gave us two bottles. They cut the holes bigger and give him a bottle with formula and cereal. While I hate to do that, he simply needs more than just formula.
Nate from Watertown gets in today. We hear he should come in at either 2:30,3:30 or 4:30. Wayne may try to get to the airport with Rebecca to pick him up.
In our guest house, we are surround by such Godly men. They have all prayed for us. Prayed with us, and we found out yesterday that a Bible study group prayed for us even before we came so that we could get the paperwork done in the week that we are here…..So we are still praying for the miracle!

SUFFERING?: Patience   June 24th, 2013
Well, last night Shadrach and I didn’t sleep well. I think he is trying to feel secure? No matter how good an orphanage is, which his was clean, well run….but it still isn’t the same as when you have two parents loving and caring for you.
I don’t think the orphanage allows the kids to put things in their mouths, or for Shadrach to have felt around. He started in the last day or two putting his fingers in his mouth. And he has felt our faces with mainly his fingertips. Early this morning he felt me with not just one whole palm but with both. A small little bit of him trusting me for his care. So, so awesome…..
I let him sleep for 5 hours yesterday afternoon. So he was very restless last night. I will not be letting him sleep that long today, and will be digging out the melatonin tonight! Four nights with not much sleep is catching up with me.
I spoke with someone different with Acres of Hope yest. He is assuring me we will have our Visa appt on Wednesday. The only thing that will get in the way is if they would like to speak with the birthmom. So our prayer right now is that the US Embassy is ok with the records that Acres of Hope has done. Then we will be on our plane on Wednesday at 6:25 pm.!
Speaking of his birthmom, we did not see her at the orphanage when we picked up Shadrach. But she came to our guest house with her sister last night. She had a very hard time understanding me. So her sister helped her a little. And another house guest Songe, who just arrived and is doing mission work, he lives in South Africa, he came over and was thrilled to witness this whole scenario. He really helped to break the ice. And helped me understand. Shadrach has an older sister. Grace. She is 4. Shadrach’s birthday is JULY 4th….which I think is pretty right on. We will arrive home 1 week from his birthday! His dad Daniel left the home when Shadrach was born. He wanted nothing to do with sweet little Shadrach. I am guessing his mom named him. She almost brought his sister Grace to the orphanage also. But her family talked her out of it. So many amazing stories. His mom Martha has been crying, reading her Bible and worried over who was taking Shadrach, and would he be ok. She went to the orphanage last Thursday or Friday and found out that he was already taken by us. She said the nannies didn’t understand how she felt. So when Queen, the gal who cleans at the guest house, called and said she could come meet us, she felt so relieved. She handed off shadrach to me like she was at peace with this. And when I let her hold him again, she then handed him off to Wayne. She said through Queen that she feels ok with us taking him, and can see we love him. She sent us off with a blessing. Amazing….Songe says he wants to stay in contact with this story…he felt he was witnessing a miracle….I simply happen to agree. God has been painting this masterpiece for a while now….a nice watercolor with a soft glow of His light shining through all the muck…..We truly feel that getting this Visa taken care of on Wednesday is nothing short of GOD working…..
Our day starts with getting Visa paperwork taken care of. Paying the Visa fee. And then possibly tomorrow visiting the bush with Pastor Peter/Teamwork Africa.
Currently Shadrach is listening to music. He loves stuff with a fast beat. So Toby Mac is one of his new favorites. He is also yawning, so maybe he will catch a few zzzz’s soon, and I can take a snooze for bit! No matter how extremely tired I am I cannot help but feel God is sustaining me. And now he is singing! His world is opening up!
Nate arrived last night. Wayne went with Rebecca to pick him up….which Nate said was so reassuring that he was there. A familiar face….we know how that feels! Not knowing what Rebecca looks like! Nate gets to meet James today. He will have him during the day to start out. His hands will be full! He also brought a stroller…so we won’t be the only ones getting weird looks.
I better close while Mr is happy. We are so ready to come home and share Shadrach with everyone….my five kids, and two grandkids are a huge blessing….and Shadrach is a gift. He will touch ALL of your hearts….be prepared. Once you meet him you won’t be able to get enough of him. His sense of humor! When he laughs and smiles you cannot help but smile and laugh with him…..
Kaelyn and McKenna, I have NOT SEEN ANY MONKEYS! I keep looking. I have seen a ton of dogs! Tomorrow if we get to the bush we will probably see a monkey or two. I will have my camera ready!
Post more later!

PEACE: June 29th
We have had quite a few days. From Doctor Appointments that last two days, on a second floor, with loud tv, bench with the wall for a back rest…..has NOT been fun! But, the two boys, James and Shadrack have been cleared to leave and will have a report that it is medically necessary for them to get to America for medical treatment. All by a US Embassy proffered doctor.
And while I was at the doctor, waiting and waiting on Friday, Wayne and Nate were able to tour downtown Monrovia with Rebecca….so not fair! Wayne found a fire station and talked with the guys. He left them his smelly Clear Lake fire shirt. But we are in Africa and they don’t care. Ironically enough they have Brooklyn Park helmets. I guess Brooklyn Park has gear for them, but it is so costly to ship over here. So they fight fires in their street clothes.
Last night, Roosevelt, the gentleman who came over here to get our boys home, took us out to eat. He is quite the character. He has stories to share. We enjoyed the time…although we had to bring Shadrack back to the orphanage. The only peace in that is the kids were so very excited to see him. They have missed him.  There are some boy twins about 6-7 who wanted to hold and carry him. They seem to be a big help at the orphanage. One of them snuck in our picture that we took there. So cute…I said I wanted to bring home Faith and Favor, the twin girls who are around 1. But I have changed my mind. There isn’t one precious little child that I wouldn’t bring home. They all need a mom and dad. So heart breaking.
Shadrack is doing good. He is starting to sleep a little better. He seems to be constipated with the change in formula. So we are working on that. I think he will be even happier once we have that taken care of.
Roosevelt is pretty confident we will be able to get a Visa. I am 90% positive that we can make that both boys will be on the flights to the USA on Wednesday. As of right now, the way things look, Tuesday they will issue the Visa. Wednesday we can use a packing day…again….and we will be home for Shadracks first birthday on JULY 4th…..It seems like forever away. But I am thankful we are here to get him home. He is the sweetest thing. He loves to feel skin. He seems to have started reaching out past his own little bubble. He responds when others talk to him. And when I have been away from him for a bit, he clings to me like I am his lifeline….I just cannot wait to share him with you….Shadrack has a story that we keep unwinding the more people we meet that knows about him. We learned Roosevelt and Patty went up to get him and his sweet mama. They were far up in the bush. If he would have stayed there, the tribe would have sacrificed him. He was witchcraft. CAN YOU IMAGINE….just like Shadrach, Meshach and Abendago…from so long ago, God spared this little boys life. Such an overwhelming thought….He cannot see, but he knew I got out of the car last Wednesday to leave him here to fight for him from the USA….And when I came back he clinged to me the whole ride home. And this little boy should have been sacrificed? I am so glad that GOD is BIGGER than all of this!
James tube site is doing better. I am hoping to put some pictures of both boys up today. Christina has not seen any pictures yet! So, internet willing, I will do that. If you don’t see them, I couldn’t get it to work!
We miss you ALL! And miss our kids more! We found out that Tyler and Kendra will be moving back to the area! YAY! So we will be able to see them and Raiden and Laila more!
Wayne wanted me to note that yest. At the clinic, there was this teen girl who was waiting for a LONG time to see the Doctor also. With Malaria. They say mosquitos are bad here. I get bit more in Minnesota than I have seen mosquitos here! We didn’t bring malaria pills. WE have been drinking water with Lemon essential oil in it. And we have been doing good. We have probably even eaten food that we shouldn’t have and are doing ok with it also. So, the lemon oil is working for us! And so much better for us too!
Everywhere we go and people inquire about 2 white people carrying a very black boy. They hear our story and that he is blind. And they thank us for taking him to America to help him. They know the health care here stinks, and they know it is better in America.
For the economy minded lovers. Talking to Roosevelt last night. The Chinese and Lebonese are taking over Liberia. The Chinese are the only ones coming to to repair roads. They are the only ones putting in bids. And they hire Liberians and pay them minimum wage…..get this….70$ a month. The government won’t do anything about it, because they are in compliance. So our of 2 million bid, the Chinese bring back close to a million back to China and simply don’t help Liberian people become stable. The Lebonese are building businesses all over….restaurants, grocery stores etc. and not paying taxes. They owe something like several hundreds of thousands of dollars, and pay off people in the Liberian Government to get them out of paying taxes. So they pay 10-50,000 to someone in government for a 200,000 dollar bill or more….So sad. So they are not helping the Liberians become self sufficient. There is money to be made, and can be done with empowering the Liberian people. Training them to run your business. Starting to pay fair wages. The people are willing to work. And if one person isn’t, there are others looking for a job. A good wage is 10,000 a year….Crazy!
Also, another interesting tid bit I have seen. When we send clothes, shoes, backpacks etc. over here. The markets are full of those items for sale So they get these clothes for free, and sell them at the market and earn wages. It is a very Americanized country as for clothes. I had a hard time finding African fabric. I paid 17 dollars for the equivalent of 6 skirts.
All of our pastor friends have left or are leaving today and tomorrow. Kind of sad to see them go. So many prayers have been said with and for us over the last week and a half. Some will be following our story still. Facebook is wonderful for this!
Songe helped break the ice with Shadracks birth mom. And he was so thrilled to be a witness to what he called a miracle from Gawd….Love the African accent! He is from South Africa. Hear empowering the local pastors that are here to spread the Good News. He is the only Songe in Facebook, so it will be fun to connect with him!
Better get moving before Shadrack wakes up again. We are meeting with Roosevelt in 3 hours, for the afternoon. Then will have tomorrow off. It will be so very nice to have a day off! MUCH needed!
Have I mentioned you will all love Shadrack?
Until tomorrow!
Shannon

KINDNESS: June 30th
Well, after we waited around for 2 hours past the time Rebecca and Roosevelt were to pick us up yesterday. Liberia time.
We spent the day learning some of the history of Liberia. Seeing things that were damaged during the war. Seeing how it has affected Monrovia. We were able to go to the 8th story of the first 5 star hotel in Monrovia that was taken over by soldiers and is now majorly damaged. They plan to restore it. But probably not by Liberians. So again it may not be the best for Liberian economy. The hotel looks over the ocean, port and fishing village. The fishing village is called West Point. Apparently fisherman came in and settled in a very beautiful area. They won’t move, and will basically escort you out of there when you come in. They have made their own village and know if you do not belong….us especially with white skin.  The hotel also looks over Monrovia. After driving in downtown so many times, it was fun to see it from the 8th floor. We have pictures! And will post them from America.
There was also a big monument by the hotel of the first President, Roberts. Then along the bottom it tells the story of Liberia up until now. We got Shadracks picture by that. Kind of cool.
We also toured a few other places. We have some opinions on the last few days. If you think over the frustrations we have had, you can read between the lines. More when this nightmare is over!
Today, we will GET TO INTERNET! Then to the grocery store. And to visit Waynes and Nates wood carver friends. And walk the beach. We have not had much opportunity to walk the beach the last few days. So I am eager to do that again.
Shadrack is listening to his Toby Mac again. I had my ipod on shuffle and he was content. But when I put just Toby Mac on, he sits and smiles. Guess we need more Toby Mac songs!
With our switch in formula, Shadrack is constipated…maybe TMI for most of you…but pray we can get it cleared up! J  He hasn’t been eating much, and seems to be in pain every once in a while and doesn’t sleep the best. We found orange juice that someone left. So hoping that will help.
Tomorrow we go see Paul again at the US Embassy. Our prayer is that he looks at our supporting documents and says ok, here is your Visa. But it can take until Tuesday or Wednesday to get it. But we do not want to cut it close again. I hope we can have a boring Tuesday and pack Wednesday and be done!!!! So please pray hard and often!!!!
We are off soon after the next rain clears to do our errands…my first Liberian taxi ride! EEEEK! They just pile the people in and charge around 20 cents! Fun stuff!
We get in July 4th at 10:30! We go through customs in JFK. We hear that we have to get our baggage and go through customs, and recheck our baggage again. And we have a baby this time, and 3 hours. So I am sure it will feel harried! But our last little bit of this journey.
More in the next couple of days….

Shannon

Monday, June 24, 2013

Still waiting....

LOVE:  June 22, 2013
We are in LOVE.  Shadrach is amazing. He smiles, laughs, makes funny noises…puts up with Wayne! And then there is a serious side to him as well. He will feel around our faces, necks, hands, arm, clothing. He loves to lick things to feel them.
We have been working on having him reach out a bit when we pick him up. He hasn’t quite caught on yet. He doesn’t scare easily, so we are able to pick him up without startling him, or giving him a warning. I am sure we will learn so many more things to do with him in the coming months.
The whole compound we are staying at is so intrigued by Shadrach. Many are still leery of his blindness. We are choosing to be matter of fact. And let them know in America he will get much care, and love. But some are still scared. The will go up the whole road and tell people there is something wrong with his eyes. Then they really stare when we use the stroller. NOONE uses strollers around here. We finally had the neighbor kids come and ask if they could push Shadrach. And one of the boys was singing to him. Shadrach turned to hear him singing better. I think he loved to hear the African song.
We were a little worried that Shadrach wouldn’t play and would always want to be held. But he loves a good mix. He loves to cuddle, and then will play for a bit.
We are having concerns about getting paperwork done. We just now found out that he doesn’t even have his passport. Apparently it didn’t print right. But to make his Visa appt. we need his passport numbers. So it will take many prayers and and a miracle from GOD that we leave this Wednesday! They are assuring us everything else is in order.  JUST PRAY!
Apparently at home we lost 20 trees the other night in a big thunderstorm. We got out of that clean up…for a beach out our front  door!
We met Pastor Peter last night. HE lives about 20 minutes from us, but apparently it is the BUSH. I think we will get to see his place before we leave. Possibly Monday. This is the same Pastor who was taking care of Daniel who Jessica was trying to get to the US for medical purposes. He swallowed Lye 3 years ago, and it burnt his esophagus. Well….Jessica called this afternoon and said, about 1 am our time, Daniel past away…..so shortly after Pastor Peter left our place, Daniel died. Wayne was suppose to place the NG tube in Daniel on Monday….this little boy literally starved to death….so sad. And unfortunately it is all to common here. Children get into Lye thinking it is water, and end up with eating problems. And the Liberian hospitals cannot do anything for them.  Jessica and her family are heart broken.
We had lots of down time today so we walked the beach. It is so hot, and sticky…our joke has come to be….Shannon: Does my hair look ok? Wayne: NO!  The hot humid weather is not good on my hair. If I am in the compound, I wear a hat. Or outside the compound a scraf….horrible! I told a little girl today that I need the braids she has in her hair done! Then I wouldn’t need to worry for a while!
Yesterday in the grocery store, we walked in and everyone was giving us the stare down. They have isle attendants. When someone grabs something you they would fix the shelf and make it look good. We found out when we were checking out that everyone in the store was telling the next person that Shadrach was blind. So by the time we got up to the register, every worker in the store knew. And Wayne just simply started talking to everyone about it. So many people get such a sober look on their face and say….oh I am sorry. We just say, no need to be. He will be ok. He uses other things to communicate. He is so happy!
Shadrach hates being cold. Doesn’t like water. And I don’t believe he has ever had his feet in the sand or grass. So we are slowly working on those things. He either cries or raises his legs as if to say….no way!
I will try to post pictures….but otherwise when we get back home we will post!

June 23rd, 2013
And the rains came down and the floods came up…..It started raining very early morning and has nearly been raining all morning. It is currently 11:30 am. Church in the ELWA Compound was at 10:30, and beings we forgot our umbrella’s we didn’t go. I wanted to experience an African Church service.
Shadrach hasn’t been feeling the best today. We think he may be trying to get a tooth through. He has been very snuggly. Drooling a little, and chewing on his fingers. So we have just spend the morning taking turns snuggling with him.
He is definitely ready for food. But he simply hates to eat with a spoon. I am thinking once we get home we will try finger foods. We have some funny video of him eating food….he looks as if he has a sour face. The orphanage gave us two bottles. They cut the holes bigger and give him a bottle with formula and cereal. While I hate to do that, he simply needs more than just formula.
Nate from Watertown gets in today. We hear he should come in at either 2:30,3:30 or 4:30. Wayne may try to get to the airport with Rebecca to pick him up.
In our guest house, we are surround by such Godly men. They have all prayed for us. Prayed with us, and we found out yesterday that a Bible study group prayed for us even before we came so that we could get the paperwork done in the week that we are here…..So we are still praying for the miracle!

SUFFERING?: Patience   June 24th, 2013
Well, last night Shadrach and I didn’t sleep well. I think he is trying to feel secure? No matter how good an orphanage is, which his was clean, well run….but it still isn’t the same as when you have two parents loving and caring for you.
I don’t think the orphanage allows the kids to put things in their mouths, or for Shadrach to have felt around. He started in the last day or two putting his fingers in his mouth. And he has felt our faces with mainly his fingertips. Early this morning he felt me with not just one whole palm but with both. A small little bit of him trusting me for his care. So, so awesome…..
I let him sleep for 5 hours yesterday afternoon. So he was very restless last night. I will not be letting him sleep that long today, and will be digging out the melatonin tonight! Four nights with not much sleep is catching up with me.
I spoke with someone different with Acres of Hope yest. He is assuring me we will have our Visa appt on Wednesday. The only thing that will get in the way is if they would like to speak with the birthmom. So our prayer right now is that the US Embassy is ok with the records that Acres of Hope has done. Then we will be on our plane on Wednesday at 6:25 pm.!
Speaking of his birthmom, we did not see her at the orphanage when we picked up Shadrach. But she came to our guest house with her sister last night. She had a very hard time understanding me. So her sister helped her a little. And another house guest Songe, who just arrived and is doing mission work, he lives in South Africa, he came over and was thrilled to witness this whole scenario. He really helped to break the ice. And helped me understand. Shadrach has an older sister. Grace. She is 4. Shadrach’s birthday is JULY 4th….which I think is pretty right on. We will arrive home 1 week from his birthday! His dad Daniel left the home when Shadrach was born. He wanted nothing to do with sweet little Shadrach. I am guessing his mom named him. She almost brought his sister Grace to the orphanage also. But her family talked her out of it. So many amazing stories. His mom Martha has been crying, reading her Bible and worried over who was taking Shadrach, and would he be ok. She went to the orphanage last Thursday or Friday and found out that he was already taken by us. She said the nannies didn’t understand how she felt. So when Queen, the gal who cleans at the guest house, called and said she could come meet us, she felt so relieved. She handed off shadrach to me like she was at peace with this. And when I let her hold him again, she then handed him off to Wayne. She said through Queen that she feels ok with us taking him, and can see we love him. She sent us off with a blessing. Amazing….Songe says he wants to stay in contact with this story…he felt he was witnessing a miracle….I simply happen to agree. God has been painting this masterpiece for a while now….a nice watercolor with a soft glow of His light shining through all the muck…..We truly feel that getting this Visa taken care of on Wednesday is nothing short of GOD working…..
Our day starts with getting Visa paperwork taken care of. Paying the Visa fee. And then possibly tomorrow visiting the bush with Pastor Peter/Teamwork Africa.
Currently Shadrach is listening to music. He loves stuff with a fast beat. So Toby Mac is one of his new favorites. He is also yawning, so maybe he will catch a few zzzz’s soon, and I can take a snooze for bit! No matter how extremely tired I am I cannot help but feel God is sustaining me. And now he is singing! His world is opening up!
Nate arrived last night. Wayne went with Rebecca to pick him up….which Nate said was so reassuring that he was there. A familiar face….we know how that feels! Not knowing what Rebecca looks like! Nate gets to meet James today. He will have him during the day to start out. His hands will be full! He also brought a stroller…so we won’t be the only ones getting weird looks.
I better close while Mr is happy. We are so ready to come home and share Shadrach with everyone….my five kids, and two grandkids are a huge blessing….and Shadrach is a gift. He will touch ALL of your hearts….be prepared. Once you meet him you won’t be able to get enough of him. His sense of humor! When he laughs and smiles you cannot help but smile and laugh with him…..
Kaelyn and McKenna, I have NOT SEEN ANY MONKEYS! I keep looking. I have seen a ton of dogs! Tomorrow if we get to the bush we will probably see a monkey or two. I will have my camera ready!

Post more later!

Friday, June 21, 2013

WE ARE HERE! and on internet

Patience June19th, 2013
After our sermon at church on Sunday using Galatians 5:22-23, we have decided to journal the fruits of the spirit while away. I am wondering if we will be tempted to use Patience more than once!
We are nearing the end of the longest of our plane rides. We are 35 minutes from landing in Accra Ghana. We then have a short layover and cannot exit the plane. Then on to Liberia!
Sleeping was quite hard, and a 10 hour flight is LONG! But we expected to be tired and are ready to be off the plane. We have even tried to imagine how the flight home will go with a 1 year old!
We upgraded to economy comfort, and for this long of a journey, I suggest it to everyone. I cannot imagine traveling this long without it!
We are anxious to find out if we will see Shadrach today or tomorrow. I am a little hesitant to grab him from the orphanage and say….”ok let’s go to bed!” So part of me would be content to wait until tomorrow and get to know him throughout the day and then work on putting him to bed! A day full of “yes” to start gaining his trust.
Please pray for our children at home. They are all in good hands. But it is hard being so far away from them!
Shannon
We are at our guest house, after about a 45 minute journey in the car. IT is clean, and has 24 hour power, running filtered water. Jessica Neal….we are spoiled!
We have already run into a bump in the road. Apparently we were to make the embassy appt. Even after we heard last week that Acres of Hope was making the appt. So we are feeling anxious about this. It was to be done online, and we do not have internet here. So tomorrow Rebecca is to be taking us to the Embassy AFTER we go see Shadrach. So pray for this to happen by Monday or Tuesday. Our plane leaves on Wednesday at 6:25 pm.
On the plane, a former Professional Soccer player from Liberia was sitting in front of us. He was coming back to Liberia to play the Peace games on Sunday. Was fun to chat with him. He has lived in many countries since he left about the time the war started.
I was planning to try to keep on MN time…but here it is 8pm Liberia time, (five hours ahead of MN) and I am ready for bed.
We are missing our kids. We have been able to text a bit, but we are unsure of that cost. So we are trying to keep it at a minimum!
PEACE June 20th ,2013
I think we both slept pretty well. We are in a double bed, but it didn’t seem to matter last night.
The rain started full force during the night, on a tin roof, and has not stopped since then. Coming down in sheets. We did get to go on the beach last night. We walked a bit until we saw little crab’s walking all over. That was enough to get me in!
We heard from the Neal’s that there are dogs running all over. There was one laying in the yard last night. Wayne thought it might be dead. But when we got back from the beach (which is right across from our guest house) the dog had left.
This morning Wayne was out trying to get some video, despite the rain. And he saw a BIG lizard. A huge gecko looking thing.
On our way from the airport, there were little villages. People mulling all over. The streets are filled with adults and children walking all over. When our car past a motorcycle Rebecca would honk to let them know she was passing.
We are leaving to meet Shadrach in about an hour. We are unsure yet if we take him from that time on or not. So many unknowns right now. Plus we are wondering about being able to get on the internet and post things, and let Nate, who leaves on Sat. know what to expect. We are anxious for him to get here too.
Shannon
June 19th….still
We saw Shadrach for the first time about 10:30 this morning…or at the crack of dawn for all you Minnesotans. We walked into the sleeping room of about 10 children, and they ALL started to cry…the white people came! But Shadrach didn’t cry! LOL. I picked him up and he seemed tired, out of it. When we left he slept for about 3 hours. He slept through traffic the US Embassy visit, and much noise. YAY a heavy sleeper in our busy household. When he woke up, Wayne fed him his bottle and he has been a happy, goofy, silly boy ever since. He chats, laughs, smiles and is simply a happy boy. He actually does love his stroller, loves to snuggle, and loves to play with his feet. He is sitting up by himself, although with a little bit of a bottle butt. It won’t take him long to get up on his knees. Which will be interesting having a mobile blind boy. Wayne has affectionately named him our chocolate chunk..he has the BIGGEST CHUNK ever! Jessica sure had that right on!
We need lots of prayers going out for our US Embassy Consular visit. We just learned last night that we needed to request an appt. last week online. So pray that they get our email and we can have that visit take place, to get his medical Visa, so we can leave Wednesday. We let Nate know to get his made. So hopefully things will go smoothly for him. (he is bringing home James who needs an esophagus transplant) Nate arrives Sunday night.
So our lives are full of listening to baby giggle fun right now.
A couple other fun things, we had some boys come and sell us stuff at our Guest house. Which was fun…I probably over paid a bit. But still cheap by American Standards. We talked them down some. But so many things have meaning….We will try to post pictures. But it is something to see. Items made out of mahogany.
Last night I believe I journaled about the crabs that came out on the beach….well during the day, there are little tiny crabs that are out during the day. They match the sand, and you can hardly see them…yuck!!!
So I am leary about the beach. There are VERY hi waves, and people still swim a lot. Which amazes me. Cannot believe how dangerous it might be.
JOY/ amidst some heart ache…. June 21, 2013
I learned a couple of things this morning.
First, when we were at the orphanage to pick up Shadrach, his sweet mama was there. Wayne said we were introduced to her, but with the thick Liberian accent, I didn’t catch that it was his mama. I feel horrible. I did get a picture of her, but it is on my camera and I didn’t bring the computer cord!
Second, we are staying at Trinity guest house. Part of Samaritans purse and SIM International. This was no accident. A Divine intervention….amazing. I would love to tell this story in person, but I cannot wait to share!
Queen is the guest house cleaner. She is the adopted daughter of the Arizona couple who run the ELWA compound….where we are staying. Queen comes every morning to clean, chat and clean some more….Today she told me that she knows Shadrachs aunt and has met his mama! I said….” Please tell me the story!” So here goes…..
Shadrachs mama came down from Nimba when he was 5-6 months old. Her village said he was cursed and they didn’t want him around. So she made the trek down to Monrovia to her brother and sister inlaw’s house. From there they got hooked up with Acres of Hope. If his mama were to bring him back to Nimba, the village people would throw him out and be left to die.
When we were a couple of weeks into the process to adopt Shadrach, we had to write a letter to his mama to let her know we were not going to harm him. That we wanted to love him and care for him. To call him our own. At the same time, here in Liberia, Queen was talking to the aunt. The aunt asked, Queen, should we let him go, or should I raise him. Queen told her “ Let God take care of Shadrach. You cannot help him like some in America can. He has a future there.” She was worried about him being trafficked and that he would be taken advantage of. Queen cannot wait to tell the family that he will be at a good home..with so many people excited for him to get home.
His mama or aunt would come every day to visit him and play with him in the orphanage. She loves him….and she is letting me take him home…to another country, to another part of world….that is so different from her own. My Joy…her sorrow.
Can you believe how God has worked this out for us to care for Shadrach. We knew we were in for some surprises, but I never imagined something as awesome as this. Queen told me the story and kept saying “God works in mysterious ways”
We are currently waiting for Amos to come. He is the social worker. He is now an hour late. Smile….Liberian time. He is suppose to take Shadrach to the doctor. I am not sure what is the ok time frame to wait, or simply go down to the Golden Key so we can get on the internet…..I am anxious to post updates, and get in touch with Christina and Jessica.
To close…..When I heard we were staying at Trinity guest house, I thought….that sounds about perfect. Little did I know, God has us right where he wanted us!
Shannon (Wayne has lots of updates to. I will try to get him to post
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About Me

Minnesota, United States
I am a wife, mother to five children, 2 cats, 3 dogs. Hoping to be a mother to more children someday through adopting waiting children in Minnesota.
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