Monday, December 6, 2010

Guess What?!

We've got a court date!!

February 9th!

We're still waiting to hear if we will travel once at the court date and then again to bring him home or if Anna will be allowed to stay the 6-8 weeks between court and embassy. Apparently there is a meeting tomorrow where this possibility will be discussed. We'd appreciate your prayers - we're really hoping Anna can stay.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

New Details about Lil' Man!

So....we were hoping that our next post would be announcing our court date, but we STILL don't know when that will be. We've been told to expect it to be in mid-February, but we're hoping and praying for something sooner! We can't wait to get our hands on our little man!

We did get some exciting news yesterday, though. A family from Baton Rouge is in Ethiopia right now for their court date. They delivered a gift bag to Eli for us and sent some pics! This made our day since the most recent pics we had were from August. He's grown so much - definitely looking like a little boy and not a baby! Too bad we can't post pictures. He. is. adorable.

Here's the email we got yesterday (with my comments inserted):


Eli is a DOLL (obviously).  A VERY coordinated doll I might add (whew).  Jon will have an athlete on his hands I do believe (Jon hasn't stopped doing his happy dance).  AND he is a LOVE.  He is engaging, warm, and very interactive.

Eli loved the gifts. His absolute favorite was the blue camera which he carried around for the 2 hrs we were there only surrendering it when his hands were too full to balance it all (yep, best parents ever).  S went through the whole 'book' with him (despite the Georgia T-shirt (Go Dawgs!)...Geaux Tigers -- LOL).  WE HAVE VIDEO! (CANNOT.WAIT.)  Actually we have a couple of short videos of him.  They are too difficult to send from here due to the size.  All of the kids were intrigued by the recorded reading.  They gathered/crowded/surrounded us while we gave him your gifts .

I figured this out about him-  He loves balls and interactive toys.  He catches on quickly (hope so - we'll be teaching him his third language! Is your toddler trilingual??) and isn't too reluctant to share (unless it is his new blue camera LOL).  Chu Chu dressed him up in his new SEC duds which fit beautifully.  

Eli has a BELLY on him (yay for weight gain! thanks for your prayers!)!!  He may be able to wear a size up in shirt now so even that much bigger by the time you travel.   This is something I always wanted to know- WHAT SIZE do I BUY?!  

Will fill you in more later.   Ask me any questions and I will answer them the best I can.  He sat in my lap a LOT.  

Eli is going to be a beautiful addition to the Palmer family.  You are blessed.
Yep. We are blessed! Here's a snip-it of our little linebacker!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

That Changes Everything.

For the past year and a half we've been thinking about orphans. Praying for orphans. Reading about orphans. Researching the stats about orphans. Advocating for orphans.

Even though we've known the worldwide orphan crisis is real - it was abstract. The shear numbers were overwhelming. The problem seemed too big. The solution seemed allusive.

Then on Friday, November 5th we were introduced to a little boy. And that changed everything.

The "worldwide orphan crisis" was narrowed down to one little boy.

It is no longer abstract - he is a precious 2 and half year old little guy with curly hair.

The problem of orphan will soon be met with the solution of son. And that changes everything.

We couldn't be more excited to be able to put a name with a face. We're ecstatic and humbled and that God chose us to parent this little guy. Unfortunately we can't post his photo online, but his sweet eyes should give you an idea of how cute he is. We love him already -  and that changes everything.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

24k

Everyday 24,000+ children die from poverty related issues like:

malaria
tuberculosis
unclean drinking water
malnutrition


24,000. Everyday. And we are adopting 1 (2 if we're lucky).


What about all the others? The financial cost of international adoption is significant. There are agency fees and paperwork fees and plane tickets to be bought. It adds up fast. Some argue that the money spent to adopt one child could be used to feed many. And they are right. $30,000 would go a long way in Ethiopia.


But just because a child is fed doesn't mean all his needs are met. Children thrive in families - where they feel loved and secure. A mosquito net may protect from malaria, but it doesn't nurture or teach.


The process may be slow, but we are committed to it. So we wait - not just with a house, health insurance and a pantry full of food, but with arms ready to embrace, words ready to encourage, love ready to give, and basketball drills ready to be taught (seriously).


But, we can't forget about the 24,000.


While we've been saving vigorously for the adoption, we wanted to give to those around the world still in need and we wanted to make sure we didn't forget. God wanted to make sure we didn't forget. And so he gave us rice nights.





One night a week, instead of a full-fledged meal, we eat only rice. It reminds us of the millions around the world who don't have enough to eat. It prompts us to pray for them. And since rice is so inexpensive, we save the money we would have spent on dinner and give it those in need. It's a win - win.

This "journey" has been so much more than we ever bargained for. We're seeing things we've never seen and being challenged in ways we've never before experienced. It's definitely a growing process - complete with growing pains. But it's good.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Explaining "The Wait"



We have officially been "waiting" for 7 months now (that's AFTER our paperwork set on desk in South Georgia for 3 months). My mom called the other day and proclaimed that she couldn't believe this process had "already taken 2 years!"

Yeah. She's not the best at math. But mostly I just think she's just eager to be a grandmother (wow, that makes her sound old). This is the woman who bought a crib 2 weeks after we told her we were adopting.

So, if there are are 4.5 million orphans in Ethiopia alone (and there are, according to UNICEF), what's with the "wait"?

Well, there are several reasons.

Just like we had to spend several months (4, to be exact) collecting paperwork, each child must have correct paperwork, too. It's a pain, but it's necessary. The paperwork documents the child's life up to that point and how he or she became an orphan. Paperwork is important to preventing child-trafficking. (I know, it seems really crazy that child trafficking happens when there are so many children in the world truly in need...) Anyway, for our paperwork - I worked like a mad-woman - drove all over creation to pick up documents (had family members drive all over creation to pick up documents) - and it took 4 long months. Imagine social workers and orphanage directors attempting to gather the proper paperwork for children in their facilities. Internet certainly isn't reliable, multiple languages are involved, children often come from remote areas, etc, etc, etc.

Courts in Ethiopia - the ones that process adoptions - close for 2 months out of the year for rainy season. So NOTHING happens during that time. And, when rainy season has passed, there is a log jam in the courts.

Ethiopia (like any country) has limited resources to put towards intercountry adoption - there are a limited number of workers at the various Ethiopian agencies responsible for processing adoptions and apparently they only have 24 hours in their day, too....bummer.

Also - we're adopting a baby. There are many, many waiting children in Ethiopia. Paperwork is already in order. They are just waiting on a family. We are adopting a baby for various reasons. He will be our first child and we thought it would probably be best to start with an infant who wouldn't know that we don't know what we're doing. Let's be real, a 7 year old would OWN us.

So, that's the deal with "THE WAIT" - hopefully it will end soon!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Break The Cycle

I spent last night hanging out with two 16 year old girls. That's not so unusual for me - the wife of a youth minister. But this was different. We didn't hang out at Starbucks or go to a movie.

We hung out in their prison cell.

It wasn't K's first visit to Rivarde Juvenile Detention Center. She'd been many times before, almost always for fighting. H found herself locked up and awaiting trial as an accessory to murder. She showed us the newspaper clipping that reported the story.

K is the oldest of her mother's children, but the youngest of her father's children. It is a fragmented family. While she's serving her sentence, her 6 month old son is being kept by his father's family. The cycle has already begun to repeat itself.

H lived with her grandmother. She has no idea how long she will be incarcerated. The 17 year old girl who committed the murder has already been tried as an adult - and found guilty.

Both girls have hopes and dreams. They desire a different life. But somewhere, somehow the cycle has to be broken.

That's why First Baptist New Orlean's Rivarde Team goes week in and week out. We know that a relationship with Christ can break the vicious cycle. Christ is the Ultimate Cycle-Breaker. He came because humanity was stuck in a sin-sacrifice-sin-sacrifice cycle. True repentance had been replaced by rote ceremonies and sacrifices. He saved us from such drudgery. And because of Him, we have crossed from death into life. 

God forgives, reconciles, restores and makes all things new. Pray for K and H - that they will allow Christ to break the cycle and make them new. Pray for the Rivarde team who speaks words of life into the lives of incarcerated teenagers each week.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

FBNO - Fire Up the Pastor Search Committee...

Fire up the Pastor Search Committee...Not sure he'll be with us much longer.... video

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Transformation

This was a sign we passed leaving the Songhai neighborhood...I had the taxi drive stop and back up so I could take a picture...Is there a barbershop anywhere else in the world where you can go in looking like a black African man and come out looking like a very white Alisa Milano?
For more about our actual work here check out David's blog at davidecrosby.blogspot.com.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Jet Lag

So...today was our first full day in Ghana - and it was a great one! We went down to the Makola Market to meet and interact with the Songhai people in the area. We walked about three miles through the market stopping to talk and give CDs about Jesus to the Songhai vendors.

Currently, there is no church - Ghanian or American - seeking to reach the Songhai in Accra, Ghana. Many of the them have never heard the gospel.

Jet lag had caught up with some of us at the end of the day... We sat down to eat a delightful dinner at a restaurant - of course, Pastor David's food came first - which he proceeded to gloat about...

But, it meant that he had to wait for all of us to finish eating...and that's when the jet lag bear jumped on  his back.

While he slept, we finished eating, got out of the booth and left the restaurant. We sent the doorman back in with a camera to take a picture - the flash on the didn't wake him up and nor did the entire restaurant laughing at him.

The doorman finally shook him and said "your friends left 10 minutes ago. Why did they leave you?"

Picture for your enjoyment:
For a more informative blog about our day check out David's blog. He woke up to write it for you...

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Fathers to the Fatherless - Video should work now...

Below is a video of adoptive fathers that was shown at our church this morning...


Wednesday, June 16, 2010

He's Ready for Eli!

Jon picked up every little guy under the age of 2 while we were in Ghana. Below are just a few examples!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

An Orphan's Grief

One of the things about our trip to Ghana that I haven't been able to shake was our experience at the orphanage. I've worked with children in schools in Central and South America, Africa and Asia. And, despite all of the reading I've done throughout our adoption process, I wasn't prepared for the difference. 

Orphans, no matter how young, have experienced a traumatic, life changing event - and they know it. The little girl I'm holding in the picture below was in her crib sobbing uncontrollably. Even after I picked her up (which calmed every other baby in that facility) she just sobbed and sobbed and sobbed. (I had to put a heart over part of her face to not break any laws).

My initial thought was that in all of the chaos of getting 43 babies fed, she'd been skipped and didn't get her bottle. She was just hungry.

I approached the head "auntie" and asked for a bottle for her. The auntie's response let me know that it wasn't her tummy that was yearning for something, but her heart.

She had been dropped off at the orphanage only 3 days prior. And she was sad. So sad.

I don't know exactly what tragic circumstance brought her to this orphanage. But unfortunately, her experience is shared by 145 million orphans worldwide.

These children experience intense grief at such young, tender ages. I've not only read about it in adoption books, I've seen it in this little girl's eyes.

Pray for orphans worldwide - that God would heal their broken hearts, mend their little spirits, and put people in their lives to show them love.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Exciting Things in Ghana

One thing we talked about several times throughout the week was that we were engaging a people group, the Songhai in Ghana, who have not been engaged with the message of Christ. We discussed how planting seeds is part of the process and we probably wouldn't see "fruit"....

So, I was really excited when I read the missionaries report that he sent out..here's a portion of it:

Monday of this week the team went to an area in Adabraka near the downtown area of Accra and handed out cd's with the Gospel on them and we gave out some dvd's with the Jesus video on them.  They played one of the Jesus videos while we were there and several were gathered to watch. 
      Now before I go on, I need to introduce you to a fellow named Mustapha Musah (pictured above with his family and our team), he is my friend here who helps me in this ministry.  He is a former Muslim, and his family is Muslim royalty, he was in the line of Chiefs and Kings in his family.  Mustapha accepted Jesus as his Savior just about three years ago and his life has never been the same.  He is a very soft spoken fellow, very family oriented, very easy going and very determined to follow Jesus!!  He has lost much since his becoming a Christian, he was thrown from his house, they tried to take his wife and son away, they have made his life hard, but Mustapha just keeps on praising God and going on with the life God has given him.  He lives now in an area near the guys in Adabraka the team visited. 
      Monday after the team left, Mustapha went home and found his water was not working.  So he went to the public toilets in Adabraka to shower for the evening, while there some of the Songhai we had visited earlier in the day saw him and called him over. "Why did the young white people from America have a video in the language of the Songhai?" they asked, Mustapha told them that the Songhai were the only reason the Americans had come to Accra, that they had come just to share Jesus with them!  They were so happy to hear this news, Mustapha said they could not believe someone from America would spend that much money and come all the way to Africa to share Jesus with them!!  They just could not quit talking about how much this meant to them, so much so they invited us to come to the area they live again one evening to tell them more about this Jesus that Loves them so much He sent a group from America to tell them of His love!  Praise God, He can do all things!!!
Songhai woman and children      
 
 
Men gathered around the tv and immediately put in the DVD we gave them about Jesus in Zarma (Songhai language)
 
Right after Mustapha told me of this and we had a time of prayer and fellowship together over God's working, Mustapha went to pay a bill and while he was out the Albasan guys asked basically the same question, "why did the young Americans come to see them, and why did they give them such wonderful gifts?"  Mustapha again told them that they were from God, to share the Love of Jesus and His Gospel with them.  They all then told him about listening to the cassettes and wanting to know more!!!!  I am so exited by now just typing this I want to Praise God, this is such sweet and such beautiful news to hear them say these things. 
Songhai Albasan (onion) boys...the one on the front in the red has the cassette player and tape we gave him earlier in the week.

Wow.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Your Kids Were The First

 (Photo of our group with Dr. Theophilus and his wife. They run the school we worked in all week)

Gomer, the missionary we worked with on this trip has been in Accra, Ghana since January seeking to develop a ministry to the Songhai people. Many of the Songhai have come to Accra from Niger and Mali looking for work. They are a largely unreached people group and up until Gomer moved to town, there was no work among them in Accra.

Gomer has spent some time networking with churches and ministries in the area and no one in the area knows of any teams or groups that have worked among the Songhai here.

As far as we know, the FBNO youth were the first. I'm still processing this...these teenagers from New Orleans being the first group to try to engage the Songhai people in Accra, Ghana....

We didn't come here and plug into some system or established ministry. These kids hit the streets, striking up conversations with people - learning about the Songhai culture and worldview...sharing their faith...giving CDs with the Gospel message in Zarma (Songhai language)...teaching English to meet a need and build a relationship....

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Orphanage

Today our only "mission" was James 1:27 - to care for orphans and widows in their distress. The orphanage we visited houses between 200 to 250 children on average. We weren't really sure what to expect.....Immediately upon arrival David had a drum line going. These little fellas had rhythm!  
We spent
 the morning helping out in the little baby nursery. There were 5 "aunties" who were responsible for 43 babies. Needless to say the babies loved being held. Our youth were great - they held and loved on the babies despite their soaking wet cloth diapers.
Probably the sweetest thing I saw today was Trey Gibson consoling two little babies who were very upset. He knelt by their crib for probably 20 minutes rubbing their backs and talking to them. At one point I walked by and he was singing "Jesus Loves the Little Children" to them. I almost cried. (hopefully trey won't kill me for blogging this...pretty sure he doesn't read my blog, so don't tell him) Later, I asked the nurse if there was a bottle for those two little ones. She said that they'd already been fed and they were inconsolable because they were brought in only 3 days ago. I'd guess they were between 6 and 9 months old.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Rain, Rain, Go Away!

 So today it pretty much rained all day long. The onion boys weren't out by the road with their onions so we didn't get to spend any time with them.  We were able to return to the school...above, Sophie being greeted by a kiddo and below, Megan helping some kiddos with a craft. After the school, we went again to teach English to some Songhai adults living nearby. Despite the rain it was a good day!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Day 3

Today we spent some more time teaching the Songhai "onion boys" English. They are so eager (read desperate) to learn. We also got to give them walkmans and cassettes about Jesus in their native language. They were really excited about these gifts.
 so when we arrived at the school today there was a little baby there who was crying and kind of fussy...he's much younger than all of the other kiddos. So, Trey, being the kind person that he is, scooped the little guy up into his arms...and, was a little surprised to find the boy was bare-bottomed..
Today we also got a chance to talk to several groups of Songhai adults. We gave away CDs that contained the gospel message in the Zarma language and set up some appointments to show the Jesus film tomorrow. Thanks for your prayers!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Seeking the Songhai

Today was our first full day of work. Early this morning our group divided into two groups and went to teach English to some Songhai teenagers who sell onions on the side of the road. These fellas pictured below migrated from Niger to Accra, Ghana because their traditional homeland is currently suffering a severe drought. Unfortunately, they lack the English skills needed to get a good job in Ghana, an English speaking nation.
Then
we headed to a school to teach Bible stories and love on the kiddos. God has used a great Christian man to plant a school and church right in the middle of a Muslim neighborhood. The tuition for this school affordable for even the people in this poverty stricken neighborhood. Because it is an excellent school and affordable, many Muslim families send their children there.


If you look closely at this sweet little girl you can see that her parents have lined her eyes with black charcoal to ward off evil spirits.








Austin Lemke helping some kiddos with crafts. Today they learned that God created them and loves them!


Tomorrow we will head back to the school and then we have several opportunities to teach English to some Songhai people and show the Jesus film. Pray that our conversations will express the love of Christ.

This group of students is the first (of any denomination) to engage the Songhai in Ghana. Many of the Songhai have never been exposed to the message of Christ.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Ghana - Day 1


Orientation. Songhai School Visit. Jet Lag.

Monday, May 31, 2010

The Story of Baby Ishtu

We can leave our comfy home in New Orleans and get to Ethiopia in less than 24 hours.

Yet our lives are worlds apart from the lives of Ethiopians.

Here, for the most part, babies are welcomed by excited parents while extended family waits anxiously in the nice, clean hospital's waiting room.

Precious newborns are taken home to newly decorated rooms with cribs, changing tables, and rocking chairs. Parents are excited to cater to their every need.

Baby Ishtu's story is not-so-fairy-tale.

She was born to a young single mother in Ethiopia.

There were no excited family and friends waiting to welcome her into the world.

She was born on a jungle trail - not a nice, clean hospital.

She wasn't taken home to her nursery where she could be rocked and nurtured.

Baby Ishtu was left on the jungle path to die.

There are so many factors (cultural, economic, spiritual) that cause these things to happen everyday, all over the world. I can't make sense of them.

But I know this, Ishtu was knit together by her heavenly Father and made in His image. Therefore, her life is precious and her worth immeasurable.

Ishtu was found by a elderly woman gathering sticks and taken to the village police station. There is a family working through the process to adopt her.

Thank God that love and family aren't about genetic code, skin color, or ethnicity.



 Above: Baby Ishtu at Widow's and Orphans home in Ethiopia.

(I found out about Ishtu's story from http://streamsofmercyblog.blogspot.com/2010/05/i-love-babies.html)

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Adoption Update

2 is significant to us for a couple of reasons....

First - we've been "officially" waiting for 2 months! Once all of our paperwork was turned in our agency told us to expect a 3-8 month wait before receiving a referral (being matched with a child)....SO...two months down, 1-6 to go! We're definitely hoping that we receive a referral sooner rather than later, but we think it will be a while. So, we've settled in for the wait, trying to keep ourselves busy with projects around the house and work.

Luckily summer is a super busy time for both us - we'll spend more time in "other" places this summer than we'll spend in New Orleans. We're doing our best to stay focused on what God has for us now and not just to wish the months away....

The #2 is also significant to us because we recently called our adoption agency and told them we would be thrilled to take twins or a sibling set ! AHHHH! Crazy, huh? It's something that God laid on our hearts....obviously twins are fairly rare and our agency informed us that young siblings did not often come into their care, either....SO....we're not sure if we'll actually have two children placed into our family or not, BUT we are resting in God's plan, knowing that we were obedient in notifying our agency that we are open to more than one child. Now it's up to HIM! We'll be thrilled either way!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Functional Orphans & Widows

Tonight I spent a couple of hours at Taylor Playground, a neighborhood park in Central City. For those of you familiar with New Orleans you know Central City is a neighborhood that is plagued with poverty and violence.

Each Wednesday a group from our church goes to the playground to serve food alongside a pastor who is planting a church in the neighborhood. The playground is usually teeming with people.

There are guys playing soccer and basketball...and there are kids EVERYWHERE! Tonight I struck up a conversation with Mia. She's three years old and cute as a button.

Before inviting Mia to trek across the park with me to get a plate of food I told her we needed to tell her mom where she was going. I was taken back by her response.

"I brought my own self over here."

"Ummm...You came to the park by yourself?"

"Yeah. I brought my own self over here."

This precious little girl might have a living parent or parents, but she is functioning in this world as an orphan. She is on her own. Three years old, in one of the roughest neighborhoods in the city and she "brought her own self" to the park tonight.

Although I don't know Mia's background, if she is like many in her neighborhood, her father is not involved in her life and she is being raised by her mother or her grandmother. They are likely functioning as widows with no one to help provide for their children.

America may not have 4.5 million orphans like Ethiopia, but women and children all over our nation are functional widows and orphans.

Maybe God has not spoken to your heart about adding to your family through adoption. But He calls us all to care for widows and orphans in distress. I submit to you that becoming involved in the life of Mia would be living out James 1:27.


(Another cutie pie in Central City...didn't get a pic of Mia....this photo was taken by Joe Fontenot - ahhhitsmyblog.com)


If you don't know a functional widow or orphan, I challenge you to get out of your comfort zone a little more - volunteer at an elementary school, a women's shelter, or another outreach ministry. Of course, if you live in New Orleans, The Care Effect has many opportunities that will put functional widows and orphans in your path.

But it will be up to you to take the next step....because Mia shouldn't have to look out for "her own self."

Saturday, May 8, 2010

A Special Mother

Mother's Day is tomorrow and I can't help but think about the woman who gave birth (or will give birth) to the precious little boy who will become our son.

Based on solely on the fact that she lives in Ethiopia means her life has been anything but easy. All over Africa AIDS and Tuberculosis kill thousands. a. day. Thousands.

In Ethiopia, 1 in 14 women die in childbirth.

Her untimely and unnecessary death may be the cause of her precious baby's orphan status.

Or

If she lives through childbirth, she will give him life a second time by taking him to an orphanage.

She will make a mother's ultimate sacrifice to prevent her child from becoming one of the 24,000 children who die. each. day. due to poverty - unclean drinking water, malnourishment, preventable diseases.

I pray she knows Peace and Hope.

Obviously, adoption will not solve all of Africa's problems.

Ideally there wouldn't be 147 million orphans in the world today.
Ideally mother's could always feed and clothe their children.
Ideally famine and drought wouldn't devastate entire countries.
Ideally fraud and corruption wouldn't wreak havoc on governments and economies.

Ideally her son wouldn't become an orphan. We obviously don't live in an ideal world.

And while we know we can't change the world, we know we can change the world for one.

147 million minus one.
This Mother's Day we thank God for "Eli's" birth mother. We pray she knows Peace and Hope.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Why do "they" make international adoption so difficult?

This is a question we get A LOT. Often, its asked in a tone that alludes to some kind of mysterious conspiracy "they" developed to make sure children remain orphans.

The truth is, most countries want the best for their children. Some countries decide that allowing their children to be adopted by people from another country and culture is acceptable....others are not willing to do that.

Many countries even keep pretty close tabs on children that have been adopted. We will have to write a letter and send photos of our son back to Ethiopia EVERY year until he turns 18.

International adoption is "difficult" (requires much paperwork, parental education, and appropriate controls) because most countries do want their children to be well taken care of.

What could possibly be worse than growing up in an orphanage with no family, you ask. Well, THIS.

Devastating. Not only for this one child, but for many who are in orphanages waiting for families....and families who are waiting for their children.... Russia to U.S. adoptions are now in jeopardy.

This kind of situation is why international adoptions are so "difficult"...."they" are trying to make sure things like this don't happen to children.

It's worth it.

On a random note, check out this fun giveaway on another adoption blog.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

In Ethiopia!!

Our paperwork, that is. This is big news. It means we have "officially" begun "the wait".

So, what exactly are we waiting on?? We're waiting on a referral (adoption speak for being matched with a child). Currently, the wait time for a baby boy is 3-8 months. We're hoping we'll get to see his cute little face in closer to 3 months rather than 8! My sweet Nana says she's already got him pictured in her mind...we see him in every little African face we come across.

After so many paperwork delays it feels good to be "officially" waiting. Hopefully we'll feel the same way a few months from now. 

Please remember to keep "baby Eli" in your prayers. We'll keep you posted on anything exciting that happens during "the wait".

I'll share another pic from Ghana - sweet little girl

Happy Easter!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Is this for real?? (imagine "for real" in a high pitched tone)

So... many of you know that our paperwork was held up in Georgia for quite a while. After talking to our agency today I found out that 3 counties in Georgia had NEVER county certified any docs for Ethiopian adoptions (for real?) - Georgia friends, change this! There are 4.5 million orphans in Ethiopia who need a loving family and a home. Georgia, home to Coca-Cola and Chick-fil-A, is a great place to grow up....

Also, one of the county offices our paperwork got stuck in was delayed even longer because the office didn't have internet access! (for real??)

Now, the good news is that our paperwork has been to Washington, D.C. and back!! It would have headed straight to Ethiopia today, BUT a freak snowstorm kept our case worker in Minnesota. (for real??...snowstorm on the first day of spring delays us one more day?!)

(photo of actual Oklahoma snowstorm that delayed our paperwork, seemed worth documenting - stolen from mycrazyadoption.com)

Are these ridiculous delays for real?? Sometimes, they don't seem like it. But, we know that they are...they are as real as the baby God has chosen to be a Palmer...And His perfect timing is real...

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Breaking the Silence - Big Changes in Adoption Process

Well.... for quite a while now there has really been NO adoption news to report. Our paperwork was hung up for quite a while.... just sitting on someone's desk waiting for a seal and a signature. BUT.... it's moving again! Soon our dossier (huge packet of paperwork) should be on its way to Washington and then to Ethiopia!

There has also been another HUGE development....

Ethiopia is now requiring adoptive families to travel to Ethiopia twice - once for a court appearance before an Ethiopian judge and then again to bring the child home (this will occur 10-12 weeks after court, when the US has issued the child a visa).

At first, all we could see was that this would add an additional $5,000 or so in travel expenses. BUT, there are many pluses... we'll get to meet, hold, and snuggle our baby sooner...(we'll try not to think about the fact that we'll have to leave him), once he steps off the plane and onto U.S. soil he'll be an American citizen (this is a result of us appearing in court in ET... I don't really get why, but it is), and this offers another layer of protection for the orphans of Ethiopia.

This change (and additional expense) has caused several adoptive parents that I've heard of to reconsider their choice to adopt from ET.... we'd go 15 times if we had to.

We've kicked up the our savings efforts and we're selling ceramic coasters as a fundraiser (in addition to the coffee - check it out on the side bar). You can scope out the coasters HERE. Who knows, we may be adding other products soon! 
Oh, and just thought I'd share a pic I took in Ghana of this cutie pie hangin' out with her grandma...this is totally and completely unrelated to our adoption...this sweet baby has a fam!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

An Adoption Miracle

One of the last pieces of paperwork we were waiting on was approval from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration. We were told it could take 60-90 days for them to process the paperwork. We were SO bummed about the 2-3 month delay. But, an adoption miracle happened - the government moved quickly! After only 16 days we were SHOCKED to find the paperwork in the mail! If that's not a miracle, we don't know what is!

Our paperwork is being processed by our adoption agency. Then, it will head to Washington, D.C. to get some important and expensive stamps and seals and then to ETHIOPIA! It finally feels like we're moving along!

Mardi Gras Fun!!

One thing many people outside of New Orleans don't realize is that Mardi Gras can be family friendly. The parade routes stretch for miles and miles and many places along the route are filled with families and little kiddos are the ones who catch the most "throws".

Maggie in her seat that's attached to a ladder -who wouldn't toss some beads to this cutie??


Uncle Jon getting in on the action


Catching beads is hard work - while Maggie was taking a nap someone tossed her a one-armed-bear...only in New Orleans...only at Mardi Gras....



Gma and baby Jack kickin' back watching the parade


Group Pic



Saints Super Bowl Parade - WHO DAT!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Couldn't Have Said It Better...

Click over (it won't take long, I promise) and read this blog...

http://www.catalystspace.com/content/read/everyone_needs_a_family_kay_warren/

I could really see this becoming my blogging habit - just linking you to something else....

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Ghana

Hey folks!

Our trip to Ghana has been great so far. It has been quite an adventure and we've learned a lot. I've been able to meet with a missionary who is interested in working with the Songhai. And, Emily has gotten a lot of work done so that her organization can send medical supplies to a hospital in northwest Ghana this summer.

To learn more about the Songhai, check out this website - http://seekingthesonghai.net/

Sorry I haven't been able to post pictures. Internet here is really slow. But to give you an idea of our travels here's list of the vehicles we've utilized:

taxi - in capital city of Accra
big bus - 13 hours to get from Accra to Wa (town in the northwest)
back of a pickup truck - 2 hours on wooden benches w/ 15 other people!
a dugout canoe - ok, well, that was to see hippos on the Volta River between Ghana and Burkina Faso
15 passenger van - 2 hours, WAY more than 15 passengers and blaring African music

It's been quite an experience. Next time I'm here, I hope you'll join me!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Songhai

The Songhai people live along the Niger River in Niger and Mali. But, conditions in those desert climates make life difficult and many of the Songhai have migrated south to Ghana's capital city, Accra.

With an estimated population of 8,000 - 12,000 in one neighborhood in Accra, the Songhai are still living within their tribal system. The chief and tribal leaders are responsible for the decision making in the neighborhood.

Pray that tribal leaders would be open to groups coming in. Pray that God would show us a practical need we can meet to show the Songhai we care.

Thanks for your prayers! The internet's too slow to upload pics, but this is a beautiful country!


Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Adoption Paperwork


So....a huge part of the adoption process is getting all of the paperwork done. The file of paperwork that will be sent to Ethiopia is called a dossier. We were super pumped to finish ours and get it in the mail on December 21st. When the paperwork goes to Ethiopia and we are matched with a child, they will give him the photo album we put together for him!

The agency has approved all of our paperwork (I really can't believe we did it all right the first time). Now, we are just waiting on the ever-important I-171H - a form from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration that approves us to bring a baby into the U.S.

We can't be put on the waiting list with our adoption agency until we receive this form. So, if you feel so inclined, send up some prayers for the person in New Orleans responsible for processing "orphan petitions". Pray that she'll be quick!

Pumped to send off our dossier! As you can tell in this pic, it made us a little weary!
...join us as we bring baby "Eli" home from Ethiopia and advocate for the 147 million orphans worldwide...