Kim's best friend Cari hosted a surprise baby shower for Kim today for Josiah and Gabriella - and trust me, that was no easy task. Kim and Cari have been friends since high school(over 25 years) and her whole extended family are our adopted family. They have become aunt and uncle to our kids and vice versa. Also Cari and her husband adopted a sweet little girl from China, and two of her sisters have adopted from Ethiopia. So not only do we have a great resource for questions, but a wonderful source of encouragement.
So about a month ago, Cari called me on my business cell phone, but I was on another call at the time, so instead of listening to the voice mail, I proceeded to tell Kim "could you call her back and see what she wants, i think she meant to call you". She replied "Cari wouldn't make a mistake like that, perhaps she's planning a surprise birthday for me" because Kim turned the big 4-0 on Oct 13th. So i listen to the voice mail as Cari explains she's planning a surprise shower for Kim and that I can't let Kim know. So here I thought I blew it before it even started.
So I got Cari a list of friends and family and the ball was rolling. She picked today - Oct 27th as the best day that worked for every one. Now the trick was to get Kim to Cari's house. Cari and Kim meet quite often for lunch or go shopping but they typically don't meet at each other's house, because Cari and Kim are 45 minutes apart. And in the past they've gone away over night once a year for a "girls getaway". So Cari thought she could pretend to have a getaway south of her house (because she lives south of us), so that Kim would have to drive to her house on the way there. So the plan was to go shopping just south of the Wisconsin border at Gurnea Mills Shopping Center. Kim said "that sounds great, we are going to be at my mom's that weekend and you can swing by Waukesha and pick me up". On the side, Kim was planning an early Thanksgiving in Waukesha because of some family things going on. So Cari's first attempt was foiled. So she quickly had to devise two plans - one to cancel the fake shopping trip that wasn't going to happen, but also to still get her to her house. So due to some scheduling conflicts that came up in her family, they could only go shopping in Oshkosh (still south of her house). But Kim was still insistent on going to Waukesha early (because the kids were off a school thursday and friday). So we had to arrange for Kim's mom to become suddenly sick with the stomach flu, so that Kim would not be in Waukesha until after the party. Shortly after receiving the "unfortunate news" my mother called to see if Elizabeth could spend the night, so that she could join my mom at the surprise.
So Kim arrived at Cari's house around 1:45 this afternoon. Cari said, "come in I have to get something", and as Kim walked in there was a large group of women in the kitchen that yelled "surprise". There were no cars in the drive way so Kim was trying to figure out what was up before it finally clicked. A lot of time and effort was put into it. Everyone brought a bead for a necklace for Kim. They had a special cake. Cari made a framed african themed collage of our children with an African runner on the table. After they ate there were a couple games they played. 1) 20 questions about Liberia 2)Multitasking - they had to balance a basket of rice on their head while hanging up clothes on a clothes line 3) sculpt Josiah and Gabriella out of play dough. And then the gifts.
We were tremendously blessed by people's generosity and thoughtfulness. Kim and I had given away most of our younger clothes to friends having kids because we knew we were done having our own. That was before God changed our hearts about adoption. So many of the gifts were clothing which were much needed and appreciated. Kim said "now I just wish we had our children to put in them". We also received a double stroller and gifts of money. We plan to purchase a dresser for the clothes with the money. Anyways, Kim had a wonderful day, was completely surprised, and we were humbled by the generosity.
Unfortunately we received the following news today regarding scheduling our kids pre-visa interview at the US Embassy in Liberia. Once this appointment is scheduled, we will most likely travel two weeks later: "This date has been pushed out a little due to some emergency cases (Darling Boy, Johema...) where these children needed to get home due to severe medical conditions. This has bumped everyone's appointments at the Embassy. I know it is hard to keep waiting, but know that waiting a few more weeks to get your child home has saved the lives of other children. You can be sure that you are on the schedule and we will let you know as soon as possible when you can schedule travel."
We would rather wait knowing our children our healthy in order to save and help those who are much needier. If you have a moment, I would encourage you to read the story of Darling Boy at http://internationalmommy.blogspot.com/ - (post from 10/15 The News-Charity is Home)regarding the Alonso's incredible journey. I was deeply touched through their testimony.
Again thanks to all of you who support and encourage us, many of who blessed us today with your generosity. We appreciate it all so much!!!!!!