Monday, March 5, 2012

Vander Weide Kids Are Home!

A little less than a year ago our friends the Vander Weide’s had a life-changing encounter at the Beacon House Orphanage on one of our Ghana trips. You can read that story here. From there this family stepped out in faith, and a little over one week ago their adoption journey finished out. Our family got to be at the airport to welcome Job, Angela, and Godwin to the USA with smiles and hugs and joy -proclaiming that these three former orphans were now spoken for. I relished these moments as it brought me back to my own memories of our airport scene with Justice. Coming over that escalator was the final exclamation point that seemed to shout – “WE ENDURED the roller coaster of the adoption journey! Let the new chapter of our lives begin!!!!!” I have [not so] patiently been waiting for Dawn to upload the pictures of their homecoming and 1st week to facebook [b/c of course, my camera failed me when I needed it most - as usual - probably not the camera but the operator]. Understandably, the VW’s have been SUPER busy and uploading pics has not been at the top of their to-do list. :) Therefore, you will have to make do with the pictures I caught on my camera and few more that I scrounged up from others that were at the airport.

To start, I have to share the following picture, taken in Ghana when the VW’s went to bring their kids home. One of my favorite things about Ghana adoption is that adoptive families get the opportunity to bond with their kids in their birth-country (for some, a handful of times) before the kids come home. This is a huge advantage both for the adoptive parent and the adopted child(ren). On this homecoming trip Doug and Dawn took their kids to an alligator farm while in Ghana!!!!!!! Yeah, not your every-day experience....

If you know Doug Vander Weide then this picture does NOT surprise you at all. Let’s just say he is the adventurous type! The Vander Weide’s also took a very special visit to Tamale, Ghana to meet the birthfamily of their children. This area of Ghana is over 15 hours by car from the capital city (Accra) that they flew into from the U.S. So they took a little jet plane in-country to reach Tamale. Again, another very special experience to be able to look into the eyes of your children’s birthmother, and to take in the environment that they would have grown up in, or did grow up in for a few years.

And now, here are the homecoming pictures!!!

Anxiously awaiting our first glimpse (those are Doug and Dawn's kids front and center wearing orange).....

There they are!!!!!!!

Emma, Grace and JD welcome their new siblings – the rest of us completely froze still during these first moments.

Grandpa & Grandma Vander Weide have been so supportive of this adoption from day 1. They even sold their house in Tennessee and moved to Des Moines so that they could be closer to help Doug and Dawn now that their family has doubled! You can just see Grandpa VW’s pride – “This is my boy!”

And to experience a grandmother’s love for the first time…wow…

Job got to spend a lot of time with Jake and our other tripsters on the December trip in Asikuma, so he remembered Jake and was glad to see a familiar face in the crowd!

And Job and Justice met for the first time!

Jayla checking out Angela…

Yep, the VW sisters are about to learn what the word ‘busy’ really means!!!

And the whole fam….

Funny thing, on the day that the Vander Weide’s got back from Ghana we had gotten a bunch of snow – almost more than we’ve had at one time all winter! Job was very worried that he was going to freeze to death - literally – he thought he might turn into ice! Welcome to Iowa, Job….

Angela learns the meaning of getting ‘bundled up’!

And home they go!!!!!!!!!

One day later Dawn posted this update:

Yes! Our Ghanaian kids love the snow! They went sledding and had a blast! Hopefully this means Job won't continue his fear of literally freezing in Iowa. I'm talking popsicle. (of course it was only about 50 degrees - so not a true taste of what winter could be)

These kids are all 3 different from our first 3 who are each different from each other. I'm learning so much about who they are and what they need. It is so much fun!

Job is a leader who needs kindness and time and lots of boy fun. Angela is funny and cute, she cares what she wears, and she certainly prefers getting her way :) . She needs patience and consistency as well as a good dose of self-esteem building. Godwin is a stich. He mades us laugh and laugh! All he needs is hugs, kisses, balls of all sorts, lots of sleep and even more food. Grace is working on his left foot soccer skills and shooting!

Once things settle down at their place we are all hoping to get together and connect. I’ll definitely keep you updated on this family’s new chapter. The Vander Weide’s adoption is so inspiring. Their adoption has highlighted a different aspect in my mind of what it means to step out in faith……because…..they have literally started back over in the child rearing years. As I see it, this in itself is a huge sacrifice…..they were just a few years from having all teenagers and soon will be watching their first-born graduate high school. The selflessness of heading back into the early toddler and preschool years to do it all over again is just WOW to me! What an amazing story God is writing in their lives!

1 comment:

Christy said...

Wow. Yes, so amazing and inspiring. TEARS!!! And by the way, I just noticed your new header, and when did JJ grow up!?!?! Can't believe how old he looks!