May 31, 2009

May 27, 2009

Doctor Visit

Yesterday we went to Children's Hospital for Comforts first visit. How wonderful they are! I called them from Ghana on Friday while we were waiting for our flight and they scheduled us to come right in on Tuesday morning (Monday being a holiday). The doctors were all excited to see Comfort and really interested in her. The condition that she has is usually diagnosed early in the states and surgically repaired before it progresses to this stage, so it was very interesting for them to see it at such an advanced stage. The defect that she has is an obstruction of the outflow of blood from her heart going to her lungs. Because of this obstruction her heart muscle has to work extra hard to squeeze the blood through the restricted opening, this in turn has thickened and enlarged the heart muscle (think of what lifting weights does for your arm muscles) which causes the obstruction to become more restricted. Without surgery, eventually it would have completely obstructed and she would not have survived, which probably would have been soon from what it looked like. We also found out that because her heart has become so large it has moved her liver 3 inches lower than normal. She really did need to get here to have medical care. The doctors were so surprised at how advanced it was.
The prognosis is good though. The doctor is meeting with the surgical team to plan her surgery and then they will open her chest and fix the obstruction and remove the enlarged tissue from the heart and that will allow her liver to move back into a normal position. We were told that she sould have a completely normal life.
The doctors were so great. They were also very attentive and interested in her case. they kept coming in and talking about her and looking at the monitors. I think they were really excited.
Comfort was so funny. She was really worried that we would be going to a hospital like the one in Ghana and the first thing she said when we left was "Mom, that hospital was really nice". Isn't that funny that she would even process that? Maybe it was the teddy bear, stickers and movie? Oh, and the really cool thing was we met Kristin http://thejagfam.blogspot.com/ and her kids while we were at Children's. How cool!!!
After our taxing day at Children's we took our little princess to lunch. What a contrast. 3 weeks ago she was living in an orphanage struggling to survive in the heat and now here she was sitting in a waterfront restaurant eating calamari and loving every minute of it.
Brian and Josephine are also doing great. Everyone is sleeping well, eating great and seem to be adjusting really well. We are all happy to be together finally. It was a long wait!
Lanae

May 25, 2009

More Pictures

Ryan and Tamarah took all the kids to the beach, they had so much fun!











HOME SWEET HOME

Grandpa with his new grandkids!
Josephine on her first slide

Comfort is happy!!


We are home!!!! The flight went well, the kids did really great even after 25 hours travel time. When we arrived in Seattle we were held up in immigration because the kids medicals were left out of our packets. It was really freaky because the immigration officers would not tell me what was going on they just set my file aside and said there was a problem and they were waiting for a supervisor. We waited almost 3 hours until every other passenger had been helped then, after sneaking into the bathroom with my cell phone to call Mark who was waiting upstairs with my family and lots of friends and asking him to have everyone pray, they finally came to me and told me that the medicals were missing. Thankfully I had the receipt from Akai House Clinic and I assured them that I had given them the medicals and that they would not have issued their visas without them. Truthfully I think it was only the prayer that got us through because they had a total change of heart and treated me completely different after everyone prayed. It was pretty amazing. One more mountain that Our Lord and Saviour moved.



It was so great to get cleared through immigration and head up the escalator to see all of my family and friends cheering!!!



Now we are safely and happily together as a family. I am so happy to see my wonderful husband, to see my amazing kids, to sleep in my really comfy bed, to eat American food, to not be sweating and actually be chilly, to know that medical help is only a phone call away, and the best part is to see my children all together. This is how it is suppose to be.



While I was gone my amazing husband continued to work 10-12 hour days, kept the kids on track with school and chores, and did lots of special things to make the house nice for me when I came home. He even redecorated the bedroom with a beautiful new duvet cover and reading lamp for me. Oh, and did I mention that he painted the house? I really am married to an amazing man.



Everyone is adjusting really well. Brian was so happy to meet his new brothers Ryan, Tyler and Nathan and he and Nathan have been having a great time on the trampoline. The girls were really happy to see sister Kelcey and sister Maggie again and they LOVE Cassidy.



I know there are people who are waiting for details about our last day and how we miraculously got our medicals and visas within 3 1/2 hours, so I will post that next time! It is a moving mountains story!!



Also please be praying for us tomorrow, we will be at Children's Hospital at 9 AM with Comfort.



Glad to be home,



Lanae

May 19, 2009

Funny Pizza update

We were soooo excited to get PIZZA tonight then the funniest thing happened. Laurel and Brian caught a taxi and went to the pizza place and waited in line and when they got up to the counter the power went out so they had to come back with no pizza. What a bummer! Gotta love Ghana. They cut the power all the time, this was the third time in 3 days and it's off for hours at a time.
Hopefully we will not be here to take advantage of next Tuesday's buy one get one free pizzas, I'll gladly eat oatmeal, bread and rice and miss the pizza if it means that I am on a plane headed for home!
Lanae

100 Jetliners crashing each day

Before I left for Africa I picked up a great book titled 'The Hole in Our Gospel' written by the President of World Vision, Richard Stearns. I have been able to read in small intervals so I'm only a couple chapters into the book, but this morning I read a statistic that floored me. Everyday 26,500 children around the world die from preventable causes related to poverty. TWENTY SIX THOUSAND FIVE HUNDRED, EVERY DAY. That staggering amount is equivalent to 100 fully loaded Jetliners crashing and killing all on board............every day. 100 Jetliners today, 100 more tomorrow, and so on and so on. If just one Jetliner crashes it is front page news and on every T.V. station yet the equivalent of 100 Jetliners crashing every day is not.
As I ponder these facts here in Africa I watch small children pass by our hotel. Thin children, poor children, their families have no access to medical care, no escape from Malaria carrying mosquitoes, not enough food, no access to clean water, and I think about my children who God called my family to embrace. It's a very real possibility that they all would have become part of the 26,500 but we know for sure that Comfort would have. Sobering realization. My children have been told over and over by many Ghanaians that they are lucky ones. Actually I feel like the lucky one. The world problems are too huge for me to tackle, but as Mark and I decided early on in this adventure we are going to do what we can do and what God calls us to, and for us this is it. How lucky we are to be part of the bigger picture, part of the plan that God had to save these children from being a statistic.
Now I suppose after that uplifting paragraph I should give an update. I really did not expect to be here this long. Like I said before, the American Embassy has been wonderful, but we are still waiting on Brian's passport. The Ghanaian passport office lost his whole file so today we start over filing for a new one. And for a fee we can have it in 1 or 2 days. Okay, I've heard this before, and we've paid a fee before (these are not small fees we're talking hundreds of dollars) and still no passport. We got a call this morning that they are going to process it, but they want a copy of his report card. WHY????????? Nothing makes sense here. They didn't need one before when they processed it and then lost it. They didn't need one for Josephine or Comfort. What's the deal???? Why not just push it through so we stop bothering them??
We did get Comfort and Josephine's medicals finished and have an appointment tomorrow with the Embassy to file for their Visas. So they will be all finished in 2 days yet we still need Brian's passport. Brian is very worried that we are going to take the girls to America and leave him behind. Every night he prays (I'm talking heartfelt, diligent, cry out to God prayers) that his passport will arrive the next day, and every night I pray that God will hear this little boys prayers and answer them.
Thanks again to all my great friends and family who are praying. I know people are concerned, but I also know that I'm stuck. I can't leave without Brian's passport and I can't get it until they feel like giving it. So I'm here until then, living on bread and groundnuts (peanut butter) and the hotel's free breakfast (oatmeal or toast and eggs, which I don't suggest eating the eggs because they buy them across the street where they are just sitting out in the hot sun all day) and for dinner we split some fried rice. Yep, every day. However, today is buy one pizza for 14 Ghana Cedis -about $10- get one free so Laurel and I are going to splurge and get pizza.
Hope to see everyone soon!
Lanae

May 17, 2009

Brotherly love

So here is a story from the car ride yesterday:
I had noticed that Comfort had really bonded with Brian which is great, but in the car yesterday I heard a little bit about why she is so close to him now.
Brian and Comfort were talking about something in Twi and obviously reminiscing so I asked them what they were talking about and Brian told me that Comfort was remembering when a boy in Brian's class had beat her out on the playfield and Brian had asked her who beat her and then he went to that boy and beat him and told him never to beat his sister again and he said that nobody beat Comfort after that. He was very proud that he had protected his sister and she was obviously very happy that he had.
Just so you know, the word beat can mean hit or spank or can actually mean beat. I'm not sure what it meant this time, but I know that Comfort was the underdog because of her health, so I was really happy to hear that Brian had helped her. I don't agree with beating, but as a big brother he did what he had to do to protect his sister.
Chivalry, alive and well in the Pearson family.
I think we'll hear a lot of interesting stories in the days to come!
Lanae

May 16, 2009

It's my Birthday!!!

Today is my birthday! This morning Daniel, Evans and Kumi were so excited to wish me a Happy Birthday that they called at 6 AM! I am really missing my family and friends on my birthday, but I'm happy to be here getting everything done. The thing I'm really missing is a cake. Cake is actually one of my favorite foods so when I get back maybe I'll get a cake. (If you are part of my family and you are reading this please take note of the last sentence)
Today we are visiting an orphanage a couple hours from Accra. Laurel knows someone from Bellingham who volunteers at this orphanage and she wants to go visit her and see the orphanage. This evening we have been invited to my friend Kafui's house for dinner. She has two little girls and her and her husband lived in Philadelphia and California for 10 years before returning to Ghana.
Yesterday we accomplished a lot, however we still did not receive Brian's passport. We did the girls medicals so they are all finished and ready to get their visas. It was funny to watch the doctor listen to Comfort's heart. He was quite surprised that it sounded so bad. Thankfully we have all the medical papers and the letter from Seattle Children's about her surgery so it wasn't a problem. At first he wanted to do more tests but I assured him they had all been done and that she would get excellent medical care as soon as we get to America.
Please pray that we receive Brian's passport on Monday so we can go to the embassy to our Visa interview. We still have to do Brian's medical once we receive his passport, but that only takes a day or two at the most. We have accomplished so much in such a short time, but it still seems so slow! It's like a roller coaster ride! We accomplish one thing then can't go any further because we don't have a passport so then we're stuck. It can be very frustrating but we see God at work always.
Hope to see everyone soon!
Lanae

May 14, 2009

Update

We have had sporadic Internet so I thought I would do a quick blog to let everyone know what has happened so far:
We arrived Thursday night and picked up Comfort
We filed the I600 at US Embassy and then went to Korle Bu Hospital Friday
We took last important paper to the US Embassy Monday
We drove to Luckyhill to pick up Brian and Josephine Tuesday and on the way we received the call that the I600 was finished and approved!!! We also received Josephines passport while at Luckyhill.
We picked up Comfort's passport today!!! Still waiting for Brian's. We went to the US Embassy and picked up the packet to start the Visa medicals on the girls and will start Brian's as soon as we get his passport. We also went back to Korle Bu today to get the bloodwork results on Comfort but they have no computers or filing system so they couldn't find them.
Tomorrow we do medicals on the girls and hopefully we will pick up Brian's passport and also do his medical.
Once the medicals are done we go back to the Embassy for our Visa appointment.
Oh, the lady at the Visa window in the US Embassy that I've been working with told me today that as a child she had a heart defect!!! Isn't God amazing? She was so concerned about Comfort because she can relate. Wow.
Thanks for your prayers!!
Lanae

May 11, 2009

Shopping Day

The sights, the smells, the sounds, the heat, WOW, what an assault on all your senses.
Once again, check out Laurel's blog for pictures of our shopping day. http://imghanaadopt.blogspot.com/ It's impossible to take pictures while carrying Comfort so Laurel is taking most of the pictures. It's so funny that all the women in the market point and stare because I'm carrying Comfort and she is too old to be carried according to them.
One lady angrily yelled at Daniel 'Who's child is this with this white woman?' and Daniel thought quick and said 'it is my child' and then she said 'this child is enjoying this woman' meaning that Comfort was taking advantage of me and obviously I was not figuring it out and just going along with it and did Daniel really want his child to be so spoiled?
Daniel has been really great, and yes he did ask if we could adopt him and even offered to do all his own paperwork! How funny! He is the same age as my son Ryan and I would actually adopt him into our family if we could. He's a very sweet boy who loves God.
The market was a great experience and I would go back there anytime. I loved it!
Lanae

Monday at the Embassy

Today we met the orphanage director at the embassy and he had the exact paper that we needed so we went right in (which is odd because usually your have to have an appointment but they just opened the doors and let us right in without taking our names or asking why we were there) and gave them the paper. They have been working hard on this and even called the orphanage to get information on the weekend! They are expecting to get things finished very quickly and then we will have our visa appointment.
Now we just need the passports. Josephine's is finished and we were told that Brian and Comfort's were also finished, but they were given to them without a signature so they had to go back to get the signature. If that's true, how long can that take? I can sign something in about 10 seconds............
Tomorrow we go to the orphanage to get Brian and Josephine and then we will start the visa process as soon as we get the ok from the embassy.
Please continue to pray for those passports and a quick turnaround at the embassy.
Interesting side note: Yesterday when I was almost killed in a taxi and had to get a different one, the one that I got into had air conditioning!!! That is a really big deal here and is the first taxi I have ridden in with A/C and for Comfort it is really a necessity. She cannot tolerate the heat. I took his number and he is our official driver now. He was with us for 6 hours today and waited at every stop so we could get right back in the A/C. So God used a blown out tire in a junker taxi to provide what we really needed, a car with A/C. Our God is an awesome God!!
Lanae

May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's day!!

Today for Mother's Day Comfort and I got up and jumped in a taxi and headed off to church. What a funny thing to be with one child out of eight on Mother's Day. I miss my other kids soooo much!! However I did find a couple of wonderful Mother's Day cards tucked into my luggage and I got a text from my family telling me that they love me and miss me. I did hear that they had a party Friday night. They said it was for Nathan's birthday, but I'm wondering if it's because mom's away????
Church was great! The worship was awesome and the word was really good. The Pastor spoke about not trusting in man, but trusting God in your circumstances. Hmmmm. Was that for me? Then after church Daniel caught a taxi for us and when it pulled over I thought what a junker it was then Daniel said "This is not a nice taxi" but off I went and on the way the tire blew out and we went into oncoming traffic and barely escaped a crash. So there I was on the side of the road with a broken taxi. I asked the driver to flag down another taxi and he did and then he started to negotiate a price with him, wanting to make sure he got his fair share (he had asked for 6 Ghana Cedis and wanted to take four and give the other driver two) so I paid him and said not to worry, I would pay the other driver too. Crazy system!
I'm really glad I have people praying for me because it really is dangerous here.
Tomorrow we meet the orphanage director at the embassy to file the last paper and pick up the passports (which are suppose to be finished-pray, pray, pray) and then it's home free (after the visa medicals and visa approvals).
See you soon!!
Oh, if you haven't checked out Laurel's blog you can look at it here. http://imghanaadopt.blogspot.com/ She has pictures of my Mother's Day dinner (which Comfort ate--and loved! I wanted to eat it but I chickened out, I don't like to have tummy problems) and pictures of me and Comfort.
Lanae

May 9, 2009

Yesterday was ...... okay, I can't think of a good word to describe it. There are so many things I could say.
We got here Thursday night at 5:30, came to the hotel and then went right to pick up Comfort. She was very happy to have her mother here. She told me that she thought I wasn't coming back then she told me that she loved me. She is feeling better here at the hotel with air conditioning and I am keepeing her hydrated and well fed. She is a big eater! She finishes hers and then eats what's left on mom's plate.
Friday morning we went to the embassy and had an amazing meeting (without an appointment, on a Friday, totally God!) where I presented all the medical paperwork for Comfort and explained her medical issue and then gave them all the adoption paperwork. After looking at everything they told us they could get it done by the next day. Laurel and I looked at each other and could not believe it. Truly a miracle. We left the meeting feeling like we had just seen God move mountains. Later that day though we received a phone call from them asking for one more paper that the orphanage director must get from the courts. YIKES, not the courts again!! So we are praying that the paper is easy to get and quick (today would be great!) and then we just need the kids passports from the orphanage director and we are on our way home. Doesn't that sound simple? I am really amazed at our US Government. After dealing with the Ghana court system it is so nice to see people actually care about a childs life.
After leaving the embassy we were off to Korle Bu Hospital. What an experience that was. Laurel and I counted at least 6 premie babies that the mothers carried in wrapped in old towels. Little 3 pound babies. In the US those babies never would have left the hospital and here are these moms just walking around the dirty streets of Accra with these tiny frail babies. It gives a better picture of why they are not real concerned with Comfort's health. There were very sick children who were carried in by their parents, lethargic, unable to stand, and the nurses would just go about their business, chit chatting or eating lunch and I'm thinking where's the ER? How about a bed? Maybe an IV? But they have seen it many times before and are so used to it that it doesn't even get a second look.
Comfort was looked at by quite a few people because she had an actual diagnoses backed by an American doctor so they all had to come and poke at her and look at her and listen to her heart and lungs. It was really interesting, I kept thinking I should charge them for using her as a guinea pig. The Doctor was very nice and Comfort was feeling really good that day so he was not able to do anything for her but he did give me his personal cel phone number in case I have a problem with her while I'm here which was really nice. Then they decided to do bloodwork so we walked through this room jam packed with sick lethargic kids on dirty beds all with their families surrounding them. It was really sobering. Most of them probably won't live. We got to the 'lab' which was another dirty room with a dirty bed. Comfort was not to happy about them taking her blood and she screamed soooo loud and kicked the doctor while they tried to hold her down. I was just praying the whole time and I know Laurel was too. I was also making sure that they used a clean needle. The guy that took her blood didn't even have a glove on. I guess he's not worried about AIDS or hepatitis. I just kept thinking I was really glad that I got all those shots and I hope I don't catch anything.
So day one and two in Ghana. Pretty exciting. Please be praying for that paper and the passports so we can head out of here by mid week. Comfort is doing well right now, but I've seen her do well and then not so well very quickly so we are praying we'll get out while she is doing well.
We don't have Brian and Josephine yet, and are hoping to get them on Monday. They would not have enjoyed sitting at the hospital for hours listening to babies cry so I was glad we didn't have them yesterday. We'll see what today brings!
Lanae

May 7, 2009

We made it!!

We're Here! And we have Comfort. Thanks for praying, next we go to the embassy and we're waiting to hear back from the Docotor at Korle Bu Hospital..... I miss my family and tomorrrow is Nathan's birthday!!!! Happy birthday Natie, mommy loves you! 
Lanae

May 5, 2009

NEW PLAN

This morning I received another phone call regarding Comfort's health and have made the decision to leave tomorrow for Ghana. Comfort is still not doing well and is in need of medical care. The orphanage no longer has legal custody of her because the adoption is final, so I need to be there to make decisions and get her the medical care she needs. Hopefully they will be able to stabilize her enough for her to travel.
Please pray for Comfort's health and that the US Embassy will move the papers through quickly (record time would be great!). Also, for mine and Laurel's safety!
I'll keep updating from Ghana!
See you all soon.
Lanae

May 4, 2009

Going back to Ghana................

Here's us at the airport going the first time....................Saturday I'm off to Ghana for the second trip! Mark and the girls are staying home and I am traveling with a great friend who has also adopted 3 kids from Ghana and spent 4 weeks there last year so she has all her shots, is familiar with the culture, the heat, the smells, the dirt and she is excited to go!! It truly is a God thing. She lives north of us by the Canadian border (2 1/2 hour drive) and we ran into each other at a homeschool conference close to my house. Right away she said she would go back to Ghana with me. I had a few awesome friends offer to go (THANK YOU!) but I knew that Laurel was the right person when she offered. She was already prepared and ready to go.
We are praying that our papers will be processed quickly this time and also praying that Comfort will continue to be stable for the trip.
Lanae

Big Sister





Good news!! Our granddaughter Cassidy is going to be a BIG SISTER!!!!! Than means we are going to hear another cute little voice calling us Grandma and Grandpa! We love Cassidy so much and can't wait to meet the next little McIntire!
We are so excited and so happy for Ryan, Tamarah and Cassidy. We are so proud of them and we love them so much. They are such a great family and we know from personal experience that children are a true blessing.
Lanae