Monday, February 25, 2008

Another Week In the Life of Our Family

Today I asked Ma if I could go outside and play, so after 3 weeks in America, I finally got to play in that white stuff they call "snow".
I actually enjoyed it - especially when my brother Joshua pulled me in the sled and my sister Elizabeth chased me.
I fight all the time with Olivia. We are both trying to figure out how to share and be nice, but on my own, I turned to her and said "I like you Olivia". And sometimes we can even pose for a nice picture.
I got to go see my Grandma Maly in Waukesha this weekend for the first time. We had a lot of fun, and by the end of the weekend, I was asking her to take me pee pee and poo poo. And I could unroll the whole toilet paper roll faster than she could say "no".
My brothers and I have a fun time playing at night before bedtime. Bedtimes are still quite traumatic for me, so I like to get very active before bed because I don't like for the days to end. I'll do anytihng to not have to go to bed.
This is me and Olivia playing - it's really not as bad and Ma and Pa make it to be.
Me being cool wearing one of papa's caps.
This is Olivia's hand in mine. My skin gets pretty dry over here, but Ma was quite proud when the Doctor's commented how soft my skin is. Ma has a nightly ritual of rubbing me down in Coconut Oil
These are my brothers. I'm not sure what planet they came from.
This is me helping pa work while at Grandmas. When pa's not looking I borrow his ipod. I've adjusted quite nicely to all this technology.
I am so cute - especially when I take a bath
This is ma with her new haircut, no contacts and no make-up. And I think she's beautiful. I love my ma.
The week was filled with more adjustments. Still trying to work through bedtimes, but pajamas and going to sleep are still the most difficult times of the day. On Friday we had an appointment for Josiah at Children's Hospital in Milwaukee at their Adoption Clinic. There were five doctors there that interviewed us on how the transition was going and then they checked him over for a number of different things. But overall they said he is very healthy (and adorable) and if there is anything abnormal from the blood work they will let us know. Otherwise our normal pediatrician will get the results. We'll go through the same test's with Gabriella when she gets home.
Speaking of Gabriella, we have no news still on her situation. We e-mailed AoH, but no word back. We are still waiting for the appointment to draw the DNA. The kit is in Liberia, and the last appointment they had for Gabriella's mother had to be cancelled. So we are trying to be patient, and are thankful for this "alone time" with Josiah, but long to have our baby girl home in our arms.
Thanks to all of you who are hanging with us and continue to ask and encourage us as we wait for this next phase to be completed. We also think of Joyce, Odell and Naomi a lot. Thankfully we are able to keep up on their progress through the Fryes blog. Pray for Joyce and Odell as they have the flu. We also rejoice with the Joyces and Tormey's who we traveled with to Liberia. Their children are absolutely beautiful and give thanks to God for his grace in their regards.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

A Good Week

It was Caleb's 10th birhtday last Saturday, and so mama let us rip down the crepe paper and so i wrapped it around my head - aren't I cute!

This is my papa tossing me around. I like it when he lifts me up high.

This is me listening to my brother's CD player. He's nice and shares with me - plus I really like music.

This is me helping mama with the laundry - i like it when she gives me a ride.

This is me loving my sister Olivia (when we're not fighting :)

This is how I look when I don't get my way (it's kind of a fake cry). But I'm doing this less and less as I trust my mommy and daddy.

This is me singing and dancing to a song "He Loves Me" that I learned in the orphanage.

It's been a very good week! It's been a lot of work, but Josiah and the rest of us are adjusting well, and each day we see small steps in the right direction. I had hoped to post several nights already, but with the new demands of our expanded family and getting back to work after being gone for 2 weeks, it's been quite busy.

Josiah is fitting in very well with our family and it's hard to imagine our life without him. Unfortuntately because our stay in Liberia was so short, we weren't able to talk to his nannies or see the environment he's been in for the last year so we could be more understanding or sensitive to some of his responses, but considering everything, the transition has been incredibly smoothe so far. Josiah is a great eater and great sleeper, very adaptable, very outgoing, and at times very dramatic, but I can see he's growing in that regard - and it really is difficult for us to comprehend the incredible changes he's been through in the last 2 weeks. We purposely had him sleeping in our bed since we brought him home - something Kim and I never did with our bio children. But neither Kim and I have slept very well since then because Josiah's a mover. And he seems to like the middle half of the bed while Kim and I get the outter quarters. The first couple nights he was here, it would take 40 minutes to calm him down to sleep but the last couple nights, he seems to know the routine and has been doing quite well. He still doesn't necessarily like getting his pajamas on, but he's doing better. We rearranged our bedroom last night to have his toddler bed right next to ours. That way Kim could still touch him, and let him know we are close by, and he didn't complain and made it all night in his own bed. We also have a crib in our room as we anxiously await Gabriella's arrival.

Speaking of Gabriella, her mother was scheduled for the DNA draw on Thursday, but we found out there was another new requirement that the birth mom have her birth certificate with her and they weren't sure they could find it in time. But we later found out the consulate cancelled the DNA draw. So we are still waiting on that. Once drawn, it's supposed to take a week to get it to the US and processed. So we are still hoping that within a couple month's we'll be able to bring her home, but nothing definite yet. So please don't forget about her and to pray for all to work out with regards to that.

Other than that, the van rides are less traumatic, putting the coat on is less traumatic. He likes talking on the phone, and wearing jewelry. We bought him a couple pairs of shoes yesterday because it turns out his has a double wide foot. We could tell he had some sores on his feet probably from shoes that didn't quite fit him at the orphanage. He loves water, and despite the cold, he likes shorts and a t-shirt and really doesn't like sweatpants or sweatshirts. He's a good eater and has fallen in love with sugar, so we've had to put up all access to it and make sure our kids aren't leaving it out because he wants too much of it. That was hard with valentines this week. He's taking correction better (just us saying "no") without being traumatized or "fake" crying like the top video. He likes to not use his words, so we are trying to make him talk when he wants something. Not sure if he's learned some of that from Olivia because of her speech problems, but he's getting better. By far that is the toughest relationship. Olivia wants to mother him, and he doesn't want her touching him and in his face all the time. If one sits on a lap, the other one wants to. If one gets a toy, the other one wants that same toy, but that's all normal sibling stuff - so they are learning and adjusting. But thanks for your continued support, and we look forward to show him off to you in person very shortly.

This is me being absolutely adorable - and yes it is cold but I don't seem to mind.

Sunday, February 10, 2008


Elizabeth thinks it's cool that he sucks his
thumb just like her...
Posing for a smile with my sister Olivia
Dinner Time is a fun time. Here I have some
of Olivia's head bands on. It was tough
for her to share them with me.

Welcome to frigid Wisconsin. -8F outside with a windchill of -33F. In Monrovia right now it's 89F at 6pm but feels like 95F. So our poor little Josiah has to adjust to a 128 degree temperature change. We took him out to church this morning and he did very well. Putting the coat on for a ride in the van is always traumatic because we think he thinks we are going to take him somewhere and leave him. But he calms down quicker each day and is always happy to be back home. He's talking more each day, and even sang a song and danced this morning. He really liked the drums and music at church and so music is always a comforting thing. Joshua practiced his violin yesterday, and Josiah enjoyed that as well. I corrected him for the first time yesterday, so that was a little traumatic, and as I mentioned yesterday, anytime we say no can be difficult, but we are able to hold him and love on him, and he's trusting us more each day. So far he is doing really well with food. He's eaten, toast, eggs, pancakes, lots of banannas, dry cereal, lasagna, turkey sandwiches, rice with chicken, rice with tuna, loves all forms of sugar (cake, cookies, suckers, candy) and we've tried just a little dairy (cheese and milk). He has an appointment at Children's Hospital in Milwaukee at their adoption clinic on Jan 22 to test to see what type of parasites he might have as well as any other medical conditions. Then they can direct our pediatrician from there as to any continued treatment. But we thank God for each day, and for the adjustments he's made already. He seems like a good fit for our family. Kim and I are still very tired and know this week will be more difficult as Kim's sister has headed back home and I head to work.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Continued Progress

We are using Cocoa Butter for Josiah's skin, so Olivia decided to try some.

Things have been going amazingly well - better than we expected. He really didn't have any fits where he hit us yesterday, and typically when he does have a "melt-down" he seems to be comforted by us and is calmed down much more quickly. He doesn't like the word "no" (what kid does) and he doesn't like to share at the moment, so those are the things that can typically set him off right now, but we see little improvements everyday and we are pleased with how he is doing. Yesterday we got our first kisses from him, and he actually kissed my parents good-bye, who came to see him for the first time. Even though we are disappointed we couldn't bring Gabriella home, we are thankful for this special time to help Josiah adjust. Also yesterday we realized he is responding to Josiah from the kids, so Kim and I have started addressing him as Josiah rather than Boimah too.

Regarding Gabriella, we checked on the status of her and her mother's DNA test, and they have received the DNA kit in Liberia, and need to set up an appointment to get the swabs done. Then from there, they will be sent to the US for testing, and then will be sent back to Liberia to be read in front of the Consulate. I inquired what would happen should the woman prove to not be the mother of Gabriella, and they would then need to search for the mother. There is a similar case where the father turned out not to be, and so they are pursuing the courts to grant custody to the man as an amendment to the adoption and expect things to go smoothly. Each case is different, but there are options open to us should the results come back unfavorably. Also initially we were leaning more towards having Gabriella escorted back, but realize we would have to re-file some federal forms which could delay the whole process, so most likely just I will travel with a power of attorney for Kim, since we feel it would be less traumatic on Josiah for me to leave rather than for Kim to leave. But we'll make all those decisions later.

The Tormey's and Joyce's are enroute home with their children, and so we rejoice with them as things have gone relatively smooth, after a difficult start. We thank God for working out all things on their behalf, and can't wait to see pictures of their children. We miss Joyce, Noami, and Odell who we escorted back and have been following their progress from the Frye's blog. Until next time.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Adjusting to Our New Life

I've included some pictures from day two in the states and a couple more pictures from our short stay in Liberia with Gabriella. Josiah is warming up to the kids more and played pretty well with all of them. Of course everything is all new and so the kids are all doing pretty well together. We are still in the "honeymoon" phase, so I'm sure that will wear off in due time and they'll be fighting with each other like "normal" brothers and sisters. Josiah had about 5 episodes today where he just hits a wall and for about 15 to 30 seconds will not respond to anything around him. And then he starts crying and wailing and hitting. It's very difficult for the rest of our children to see this, especially when they see him hitting us, but we just hold him tight and rock him or bounce him and sing to him, and eventually he calms down. It's just all part of the attachment process and grieving the losses he's experienced over the past couple days, and the year being in the orphanage. It's so sad to see. Your heart breaks for him, but we don't for a second regret our decision to adopt. It's all worth it and we certainly feel Josiah deserves all the love we can give him.

The news out of Liberia is encouraging. No moratorium has been handed done, and so the Tormey's and Joyce's have been working through their weeks as planned and so far so good. We've been living out the week we missed through them. We continue to pray and trust.

With everything going on, we don't want to forget about Gabriella and the rest of the work we need God to accomplish on our behalf. We are trusting the DNA results will come back and confirm that indeed who we think is Gabriella's mother is. We'll cross any of those other bridges once we get there. But trusting we won't have to go there, we originally thought we would have Gabriella escorted back, because neither of us was too eager to hop back on a plane. But Looks like escorting her would delay so much because of all the re-filing we would need to do to make that happen. So it looks like just one of us will travel, and for Josiah's benefit, that would most likely be me. I would go get a power of attorney for Kim and travel alone. We found out first hand how much bonding takes place on the flight home, and we don't want to miss that opportunity with Gabriella. So we pray on.

Still Praying for the Joyce's and Tormey's

Part of my heart is still back in Liberia with the Joyce's and Tormey's wondering what's going on and what, if anything, has been handed down by the Minister of Justice. So please continue to pray that God's Will Be Done on their behalf, that they would continue to have hope. And that their trust would not be in men, or governments or visas, but in the Living God who is able to do so much more than we ask.

P.S. To Diane Krenz, sister of Mike Joyce, my e-mail is I would very much like you to forward the e-mails you received from Liberia so I know how to pray more specifically.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Some Pictures as Promised

The last pictures are the 3 girls we escorted to the Frye's last night. Today was a day to try to get a little rest, as well as help Josiah through some of the adjustments. He was very quiet most of the day taking everything in. Also it was the first chance to meet his brothers and sisters. Overall he's doing well and started to warm up and play with the kids - running, laughing and giggling. And just like a light switch he had reached his limit and begin to weep and wail and wanted nothing to do with Kim. And so at those times you need to hold him close as he works through the grieving process of all he has lost. But overall a good first day. You can watch a video of Josiah playing our drum below.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Back in the States with Josiah

I can’t even begin to tell you what a whirlwind trip Kim and I have been on the last 5 days. In that time I’ve seen Minnesota, Holland, Norway, Denmark, Belgium, Liberia, Freetown (another city in Africa), Morocco, and are currently in New York. We’ve been in the air more than we’ve been on land.

We landed in Monrovia pretty much on time yesterday. It takes a good hour to an hour and a half to de-plane and go through customs and gather your luggage. The Roberts Int’l Airport in Monrovia is currently under construction, but most of you, unless you’ve been to a 3rd world country have never seen anything like it. First off you are not allowed to take photos or video of any kind, which of course I was doing because I wanted to capture every moment of our trip to share with our kids down the road. So fortunately the flight attendants had me stow it away quickly so it wouldn’t be confiscated. You de-plane in the middle of the runway, board a bus, and proceed to immigrations. There is a large UN presence there, so several men in military uniforms wielding guns. The heat didn’t seem too bad at that point. It was 87 and a slight breeze, because it was approaching dusk. But they herd you like cattle into a tiny room with 3 desks and they check your passport and visa. We were traveling with Tim and Kim Tormey and Mike and Pat Joyce. And as we were preparing for the “airport experience” on our trip over from Brussels, Tim and Kim realized they did not have their WHO (World Health Organization) Yellow Fever vaccination card. Kim is 7 months pregnant so she didn’t have to get one, but all that was required for their Liberian visa, so they didn’t know they needed to bring it with them. And Tim’s in the military, so his military doc wrote a note because he’s already had it from the Marines. So we began to pray for them that there would be no trouble through immigrations, and they got through without a hitch. Then they herd you into another room and there are about 100 of us who were on the flight. And 5 at a time they release you into another room to gather your luggage. Actually they take you outside to a tent where all of the luggage is gathered. Coincidentally every couple that was adopting, were conveniently filtered out to where we were the last people released to get our luggage. Fortunately all of our luggage was there, they verified the luggage tags issued in Brussels, and then they randomly search your bags for something. But once they found out we were with AoH, none of us were searched. It was pretty chaotic out there because there were guys grabbing your bags left and right trying to load them up. Fortunately Richard from AoH was there and he had specific guys helping. There were 6 so I tipped them $6 even though they requested $20. Richard was only expecting 2 couples because we were all told to not travel on Thursday and then on Friday told it was ok to travel again. So Richard really didn’t have enough room for eight and all or luggage. So All our luggage was thrown on top and a guy traveled on top to hold the luggage down, and we proceeded to the main terminal where Buster from AoH was with another AoH vehicle. So they transferred all of the luggage from the top to the other vehicle and we were set to go.

That’s when everything turned upside down. Patty Anglin is in Liberia right now and she called and requested to speak to me. Mind you we are in the parking lot of the airport, we’ve been in Liberia about 2 hours so its 8pm. She begins to inform me that she received inside information Saturday that they are indeed going to put a moratorium on children leaving the country, to be handed down by the Minister of Justice on Monday morning. Boimah was issued his Visa on Friday and she was recommending we get him out of the country immediately. There are three other children (Joyce, Odell, and Naomi (pardon the spelling) to be escorted by Daiku (again pardon the spelling) an AoH worker. She was leaving the choice up to me but she recommended we leave, because even though all the paperwork was finalized for them, she didn’t know what the judgment was going to be come Monday. Perhaps they would have still let them since their paperwork was done and visas issued, but she just wasn’t sure and didn’t want to risk it. As a parent I responded yes, get him out. That is why we came. But at the same time I felt incredibly guilty. In the short time on the plane, we grew very close to the Joyce’s and the Tormey’s because of our common experience and journey. So why us? Patty asked me to keep it to myself but that they had to order tickets quickly and she didn’t want the other parents to panic. So at this point, everyone of course is wondering what is going on. Fortunately Kim and I were sweating in the way back of the Landrover. Kim immediately began to cry because she thought that Boimah had died or was extremely sick or something serious. But I was able to assure her everything was ok and that she needed to trust me. So we begin the trek to the Guest House which is about and an hour to an hour and a half. But on the way, Eric calls Richard and says, “are one of you going home tonight?” Eric needed exact spelling from our passports to order tickets. If any of you ever doubt that AoH is fighting on your behalf. I saw first hand how hard they worked for us, through the night on a long weekend to see that we got Boimah home.
Anyways, because of all the conversations, Patty sat down with us over dinner to explain what transpired over the weekend and what she “thought” was going to happen this week. It was such a very difficult situation to be in. The same conversation was joy for us, but it was tempered with the fear and grief that the other couples were experiencing. Everything we had planned for all of our weeks changed in an instant. Just as I made a decision as a parent to fight for my child, they too were adjusting their week to see what could be done to expedite receiving their visas and such. According to Rachel, no policy change was handed down from the Minister of Justice in Liberia today so as far as we know the Joyce’s and Tormey’s are proceeding as planned. But suffice it to say, they need a lot of prayer to continue to have hope, to be steadfast, and to trust in a God who is in complete control of their circumstances.

Kim requested that she be able to see Gabriella, so they brought Gabriella, Boimah the three Frye girls over to the guest house and we had 3 wonderful hours with Gabriella (We will have to go back later at sometime after the DNA test is completed or will have here escorted) Then around 12:30 we headed to the airport for our 4:20 flight to Morocco and on to New York. All the kids were real troopers. All of them were up all night, and yet they’ve all been very well behaved and pleasant. Probably the funniest experience was their first encounter with an escalator in the Moroccan airport. Other than that they are such a joy to be with and whatever heartache and sacrifice and struggle we’ve experience to this point, it’s been a great joy to be with them. Daiku is staying back in New York and we are continuing to escort the three girls to Minneapolis for their reunion with their Ma and Pa Frye. So I'm sure there will be much excitement in MN in 4 hours.

Lastly, I did find out that my grandmother passed away yesterday at the age of 87. She was a wonderful woman who always made holidays special. When I think of Grandma, I think of food because she was a great cook. She always had your favorites and my mother has continued that tradition. Grandma made the best bread and rolls, and she always had my favorite candy around – Kit Kat’s probably because they were one of my grandpa’s favorites too. I have so many fond memories of going up to her cottage in Crivitz and just being together on holidays and family get togethers. If anyone knew Mabel, she was the ultimate worrier, but I knew it was only because she cared so much. Even in her later years when grandpa was struggling with Alzheimer’s, I enjoyed our Sunday afternoon visits. She always loved the kids coming to visit because they brought her joy. So I’m going to miss my Grandma, but the consolation in all this is that I will be home for the funeral, which means so very much to me.

Well we have more flying to do, but I hope to have another update tomorrow with pictures.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Good Morning from Brussels

Well in a couple hours we'll be airborne. We woke up at 4am this morning. Excited a bit and also hot. But Kim reminded me it will be nothing like the heat we will be trying to sleep in this week. And then we thought of poor Josiah trying to adjust to our climate. We'll be uncomfortable for a week, but he will be for much longer. Anyways, the journey continues. We will try to document everything through pictures, videos and journaling for us to share with the kids when they grow up. Thanks for going with us.

Dinner in Brussels

After a 3-4 hour nap we took the train into Brussels to have dinner. So what do you have when your in Brussels you ask? Italiano. Kim had Lasagna and I had seafood spaghetti. And they gave Kim a complimentary glass of wine and me a Belgian Beer. Any of you that know us, know we don't drink, but when in Belgium, do as the Belgians do. Our main goal in dinner was to get to dessert - so we could have a belgian waffle (pictured above). It was just a nice time to talk and and enjoy each other's company and the quiet. This is the end of romantic getaways for us for a while. But very much looking forward to the future

Time to Rest

Well we are tucked away in the Sheraton across from the Brussels airport. Time to freshen up and rest. It's so good to be together.

I have removed the account I posted on our blog about what happened in Liberia on Thursday because I was informed it was all false. It was true that there were problems issuing visas, but the account of why was false. There will be time when I get back or perhaps when we are in Liberia to sort that out. But the bottom line for Kim and I is that we are heading to pick up our son and are going to enjoy everything about his homecoming, and hopefully in the process God will work a miracle for Gabriella. Thanks to all who continually pray and encourage.

Made it to Brussels

Just wanted to let everyone know we made to Brussels safe and sound. So we'll take the day to recover, refresh and rest. We fly out at noon tomorrow CET (5am CST). In Norway when they announced it was time to board, I could not find my passport. I'm frantically searching and searching and near tears. I was just shaking. But thankfully i found it - just tired. Because I didn't know I was heading to Liberia, I had electronically checked into my flight back to the US on-line yesterday. My flight to the US was going through Amsterdam, but my new flight to Brussels went through Coppenhagen. I asked Dee my associate if I needed to do anything about my other flight and she said "No, you'll just be a no show". So I get up to my gate, and hand my passport over, and as their reviewing it they begin paging me for the flight to Amsterdam. Basten is not a very common name in Norway, especially Dale Basten, so the stewardess hearing the page, took a second look and looked at me with a "that's strange" look and laughed and sent me on.

We'll fill you in later on our day.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Quick Quick Update

Good Morning and Greetings from Norway. It's 4:15am and thankfully the Lord woke me up even though the wake up call from the front desk did not come. I received and e-mail indicating Kim's plane left an hour late but she was still scheduled to arrive 2 hours before me.

Also regarding my previous post, and especially the part about what actually caused the delay, someone I respect informed me to check out the AoH group post regarding it, and unfortunately since the last group closed, i never took the time to set myself up and join the new one. So I appologize for any misinformation from the last post about what actually went on in Liberia yesterday, but please know that I very much care about the truth, and appologize for any misinformation it may represent.

Next post will be from Brussels.

What Just Hit Me

The last 32 hours have been some of the most difficult of my life. I've been tested in many ways and through it I have doubted myself, my decisions, my faith... When you start the journey of adoption, it all seems so simple. There's this child that needs a home. And you have a home and feel you could love this child just like your own. But once you get into it, the simplicity of it fades and you can become overwhelmed with the challenge the process to adopt presents.

Anyways, in 15 minutes Kim leaves on a flight to Brussels to resume our adoption of Josiah. I hop on a plane from Stavanger Norway to Brussels in 7 hours. But hopefully sometime around 11am CET we will be reunited. And on Sunday we'll be on a flight to Liberia with the other couples who have experienced this roller coaster ride.

I'm not sure what happened in Liberia on Thursday, but the bottom line is that AoH felt comfortable enough that we would indeed get our visas that they encouraged us to proceed with our travel. So the same struggles and difficulty i faced making the decision to stop seemed multiplied trying to make the decision to go again. Anyways, that's where we are. We are prepared for the worse and hopeful for a miracle. We believe in the end we will come home with Josiah and feel he is worth everything we've invested in this journey, but are still trusting for a miracle with Gabriella. We are praying for God's favor and protection as we travel and will be available to whatever God will's.

Anyways, please continue to pray as you see fit. Kim and I have been totally drained by the last day and need to rejuvinate in Brussels in order to be ready to serve Josiah, Gabriella and the rest of those God would have us.

Lastly please pray for my mom for peace, and comfort for my grandma. They have removed everything from my grandma and have boosted her pain meds to make her comfortable. My mother had to gather the things from the nursing home and she was placed on hospice and in all likelihood will die during this trip. So my heart grieves.

Thank you all for being so supportive. We could not have done it without you. We love you and can't wait to share our story and children with you once we are home.

Very Quick Update

No news from Liberia yet, but unfortunately Kim's flight to Green Bay was cancelled. So she is stuck in Chicago, but they put her up in a Super8 and hopefully she is still sleeping. She has to check out by 11am and not sure when her flight back home is. But I don't think it comes back until supper time. So I'll keep you posted as soon as I know anything.