Saturday, May 26, 2012

Meeting Our Girls - IN PICTURES!

Now that I can post pictures of our girls online – look out! Here comes an OVERLOAD! First, here was their sweet referral photo:

We received that back in February, in God-orchestrated timing as I blogged about here.

And here were some of the pictures of Jennifer taken in her first days at Kwahu foster home…

You can see the vibrance in her personality….these pictures of her smiling totally pulled me in and put such peace in my heart!

Then in late March we took off for our tri-annual trip to Ghana, and got to meet our girls for the first time as I blogged about here. But now I can show you the rest of the story – in pictures! Our Ghana program coordinator, Anita, was in Ghana at the same time we were, so she caught some great pictures of our first moments at Kwahu foster home…..

Talking to Jennifer in the very first moments that we met…..

Can you tell that I was studying her? :) My brain was RACING! I just could not believe how tiny she was. Honestly, although her referral information had her listed at 5 years old, with our previous experience with Justice regarding his estimated age, I had told my heart to be expecting a 7-8 year old. During these first moments she also looked so different to me than her referral photo so I was trying to figure out what it was – and then I realized it was her hair! It was longer and had been relaxed so that was really throwing me off! Trying to hold back the tears…

…at this point my heart had come to the conclusion that Jennifer was absolutely perfect for our family and I was humbled at God’s Sovereignty in leading us to her.

Jenny next to JJ – now you can really see how tiny she is…..

Then there were our first moments with Florence - who wanted nothing to do with us - the crazy obruni’s (that’s the term for ‘white people’ in Ghanaian lingo - and I know she was thinking it)!!!! This was the closest I could get to her as she clung tightly to the house mother – this photo makes me giggle!

I got to spend some sweet moments with Jennifer at the foster home showing her photos of our family and house – as we flipped through these she SQUEALED in excitement with each new picture. :)

Jake did an AMAZING job of inching his way into Flo’s heart and comfort zone.

She really warmed up to him first until she decided to give me a chance right before we went back to the hotel for the night…

Miss Jenny got to spend the night with us the first night, and we had a color-o-thon!

The next morning was the day of the inauguration for Kwahu Orphanage. Getting ready in the morning….Justice showed Jenny how to play some games on the nook….

Waiting for our ride to the inauguration….

Once we got to the inauguration ceremony Flo arrived with a carload of the foster home mothers about 5 minutes after us. This was the day of tremendous progress with Flo…..our day started off like this…..

Miss Flo was most comfortable on the lap of her foster mother so we had to work hard to gently show her that the crazy obruni’s were not going away. :) Hmmmm….

And oh, there she goes, giving Jake a chance right before the ceremony started! :)

Thank goodness for bracelets – she LOVED playing with them and that was the way we were able to keep her mind occupied for at least a few minutes at a time before she would want to go back with the foster mother. After the ceremony they turned up the music and there was a lot of dancing and commotion. This was the first time that we saw some smiles out of Flo….she honestly had been pretty stressed out and on edge with us being introduced into her ‘space’ so it was fun to see her demeanor relax and lighten up a bit. Dancing with sissy…

After the ceremony we headed back to the foster home for the afternoon. Jenny got caught up in more coloring….

….so we had some time to focus on Flo, who was definitely starting to relax and getting used to having us around.

Yes, Jake hogged her the whole time. :) Actually, I have always LOVED how forward Jake’s approach is when he’s in new situations. This honestly was at the top of my list of why he was so attractive to me when we started dating! Although my approach with Flo was more subtle, my bonding time with her was coming! Evening came and we all piled into cars to head to our little meal/party for the orphans of the foster home. By this point I was holding Flo so she rode with me in the car. Once we got to the restaurant, Flo’s house mother positioned herself in a chair perfectly behind a bush so that Flo couldn’t see her, and Jake was off throwing football passes to the boys. It was all me now! Flo checking me out up close….

With the house mother out of sight, Flo pretty much decided that I was all she was going to get, so she relaxed in waves and got much more comfortable with me.

The best part was that I had an awesome opportunity to spoon feed her the meal of chicken and rice. And then we eventually decided to have her stay the night with us since the day had gone so well. You can read about how our night went on the blog post I linked to above from our trip journal. The main goal of the night was to get her to accept this (her bottle of porridge) from me…..

…which she didn’t do during the numerous attempts throughout the night, but finally caved at 6am. :) Shortly after she drank it, she conked out on JJ’s stuffed bear, with porridge still on her face.

Eventually it was time to start the day, and sadly, also time to say our goodbyes and take the girls back to the foster home.

Just missing Jayla, and yep – Flo is still checking me out!

When we dropped the girls off at the foster home I had tremendous peace in my heart. As Jenny waved goodbye from the front gate, and our car pulled away, it hit me right then and there that I have learned to trust God SO much more since Justice’s adoption. I know I have absolutely no control over any of this, which God had to gently remind me of through the ordeal with Yaa and Adjoa. But leaving that foster home, I felt that God had firmly planted Jennifer and Florence as daughters in my heart, and I had such a peace to wait on His timing for the rest of our process to unfold. As our car got out to the main road, we had to stop alongside the curb for Jake to run into a bank and exchange money. As we parked, I looked up and there straight ahead of me was a taxi, proclaiming the perfect summary of what my heart was thinking in those moments…..

YES HE IS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Nicole Nechanicky said...

The pictures of Flo looking at you are just priceless! And it seems that coloring is the same, no matter where you are from or what language you speak. :)

Just wondering, will you be keeping these names for the girls? Or did you name them already? I don't remember if you shared that or not.

Lori said...

I also love those pictures of Flo looking at you. SO sweet!!!

Barb said...

The girls are so precious! Congratulations!

MatthewandJennifer Pitkin said...

This is AWESOME!!! Praise GOD!

Jon & Jennifer said...

This is so great Janel and Jake, I cried through this whole post. Just so moving how you got those girls to trust you and how they are part of your family now. Just amazing!