Monday, December 1, 2008

Are you serious?

Is it really the FIRST of DECEMBER? Has it really been nearly 6 months since I blogged?


How the year has completely gotten away from me. I am going to make an attempt to post regularly! In the mean time, I will start with some recent photos...I hope you have all been healthy and happy.


Thursday, July 10, 2008


I know only a grand total of three people look at this bolg, but I have to share this! Creyton has been going to camp Olympia in Trinity, Texas for 3 years now. Every summer, Term 3, rain or shine, 3 glorious weeks on Lake Livingston. We LOVE this place. It couldn't be more beautiful, more organized, or more fun for the kids!

Philip came home in May, and camp is in July. We figured we would play it by ear. P-man is so cool. He can adapt like a lizard! No hang-ups with that kid. He will eat what ever, sleep where ever, do what ever, you get the picture. So we signed him up! I spoke with the camp director about the cabin assignments and a few other little details and we were off! We drove up to Trinity on Monday. It's a 5 hour drive for us coming from Corpus Christi. Those of you who aren't from Texas are probably thinking that's insane, but seriously, it's not even half the state away.

It's all very ceremonial and traditional. The counselors greet you at the gate whoopin' and hollerin' (more Texas talk for yelling and clapping), one of them actually hops in the car to direct you to your campers cluster. It's a very exciting time, even for me. Philips face just LIT UP when we got to the gate. You couldn't scrub the smile off his face. I was teary eyed just watching his reaction. Creyton was explaining all of the hoopla and telling Philip what would be going on that evening. A rope burn to start out the Olympian Games!

I am so blessed to have not one, but two amazing boys!

I wanted to include the link here for CAMP OLYMPIA. A camp photographer takes hundreds of photos everyday. I look through them all and pick out the ones with Philip or Creyton in them. Even if its a foot, I put it in the folder. It's fun to look through them all though to get a feel for the camp. You can also send notes to the campers via Bunk Notes. It's Free~

Once you are on the main site, click on "Tour our Meida Gallery" link on the left column. The next screen will have a link called Bunk 1 Camp Photos. It's a blue box in the middle column. From there you can enter the username and password. The username is TLively and password is Lively. Check it out! Send 'em a note! I'm sure they'd love to hear from any of you! It's such a big deal to get mail at camp.

When we were walking around camp, Creyton was explaining how great Camp O was to Philip. It went something like this...

Creyton: Philip, camp is totally cool!

Mom: Yes Philip, this place is sooo fun.

Philip: It's like Heaven?

Mom: Yes baby, if heaven was in Texas, I'm sure it would look just like this!


I leave you with a few pics I snapped while dropping them off. Creyton is explaining all the details to Philip...

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Happy Birthday America!

We spent this Independence Day at home with family and friends. We live outside the city limits so we are able to light our own fireworks! Because of the dry conditions, there was a ban on aerial fireworks, but we were able to do plenty on the ground. Philip had a blast! A house full of boys makes me a little nervous sometimes, especially around explosives! They all had fun and not a single injury.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Some New Pictures...

I know this is really why you guys come, to see photos.

It's not to read my complaints, my perspective, my stories or my musings.
I like to pretend to be a famous author.
But I know its just the pictures.

Here you go...

Worth Repeating...

I am feeling so burdened today over some very specific things.

I am on my knees tonight praying for 3 specific families and the heartbreak they are feeling over a single document.

I am thinking of 2 families who are caught in a waiting game.

I prey for a family who recently lost their second referral.

I am covering a friend in prayer as she toils over a difficult decision.

It is my prayer for all of these people that they will be shrouded in patience and lifted from the burden of worry. That they will themselves get on their knees and ask for strength and clarity in the direction of their resolve.

And in the midst of my heartache for these specific people, I ran across this video again. I'm sure you have all seen it, but it brings validity to our common goal and will maybe rally us in again. Maybe it will refocus our thoughts on working together as a team for the greater good. I thought it was worth repeating...


Sunday, June 29, 2008

Red Letters

Red Letters

I found this video on Tom Davis' Blog. I wanted to share it here. I have this same conviction for Africa and have been trying to sort out my own specific direction. Of course I feel like we all feel "how can I make a difference?" If the conviction was laid on my heart, surely the solution will follow. So I wait anxiously...

Friday, June 27, 2008

Mother's Day

This year I spent Mother's Day in Ghana.  I was honored to have Philip be the first to wish me a Happy Mother's Day!  

Because I was gone, my gift waited until I came home.  Actually it waited until last week.  I have been wanting this ring since the first time I went to Ghana (damn you sky mall!).  I was waiting to finalize the adoption before we ordered it.

My girlfriend actually suggested the "family ring" idea.  Originally we ordered it with the boys names and of course I wanted my hubby too.   It was a ring for me to wear with all the men in my life listed with their birthstones.  But I totally love the "family ring" idea,  thanks Lor!

Anyway, here are a few pictures.

I absolutely loove this ring.  It is both white and yellow gold with small birthstones after each name.  It is my favorite thing right now.  Check out John Christian Jewelers!  See for yourself!

Happy Momma!

I'm Back...

I'm back in the blogging world.  Something came over me last night and I decided to try to get caught up.  I was hoping it wasn't a dream, and sure enough, the posts were there this am!  Yeah!  Even a comment! 

      "I'd like to thank all my fans who stood by and waited for dress?"
  "It's Vera Wang, thanks for asking. "  

I see it's not really going in any chronological manner, but it's getting done so I'm just gonna go with it.

I have been looking at some of your blogs this morning and they are so neat and tidy.  Your words are directly under your photos and all of your links, blogs, etc are labeled and organized.

   I aspire to be each of you.  Any suggestions or tips thrown my way would be appreciated.

I leave you with a recent picture of my boy child C.  The night before he was to have a haircut he let me blow dry his hair straight and flat iron it.  What a good sport.  His hair is sooo thick and curly just like his dad.  Funny, eh?

You're a ROCK STAR C!


Thursday, June 26, 2008

Thankful Thursday...

So much to be thankful for in my life right now.  I really don't know where to start.  

Philip being home and happy.
My husband and son loving on Philip.
Our growing church and my role in the ministry.
My job and co-workers.
My friends and family who support me.


Ambassador Bridgewater

One Saturday in May there was a big party at the American Ambassador's House in Accra. Beacon House kids were on the guest list! What an honor to be there and get to attend such the event. There was a cow slaughtered in honor of the day and an awesome meal served. There were games and jumping houses for the kids. There was face painting and treats. A big time was had by all. To top it off, the Beacon House kiddos sang and danced three songs for the guests.

                                                                         P-man after face painting                               

Click here for more information on Ambassador Bridgewater.

Got Death?

Last year in Ghana I drank water from pouches. I bought pineapple from street vendors. I ate in local restaurants. I even picked something off a tree and stuck it right in my mouth! Never got so much as a tummy ache. I took my anti-malarial pills, but all the while was thinking how silly it was cause I never saw any mosquitoes. I thought I was so tough. Too cool for school!

I even remember sharing with Romana about what wimps some of the other bloggers were being. Constant complaining about the heat or their bad stomachs or the bugs or whatever. Man people, it's Africa! Suck it up already.

Well don't you know that those people were having a good laugh at my expense this year. I got sooo sick on this trip, I literally thought I was gonna die. I may have actually been praying for death, I can't remember. The lucidity was coming and going. I'm sure I ate something bad, but I just knew it was ghiardia or schistosomiasis or something even longer and deadlier. The restroom facilities where I was staying has a tiled room with a shower head and toilet kind of all in close proximity. Good thing because while I sat on the toilet losing my guts, I was puking up my brain and other less vital organs. All with cold water running over my body. I think the cold water is what kept me alive. At one point I remember thinking "has Ghana ever Med-Evac'd anyone out?" "Like do they even have a helicopter for such emergencies?" "Would they take me to South Africa or somewhere in Europe?" "I sure hope they know how important I am to me and that my health should really be of national concern.  I am an American,  people!"  I think it was the fever talking cause not one official government personnel ever so much as called to check on me. :)

Funny, I have a whole other post on how arrogant we are as Americans. It must be bred into us. We really should work on that.

Korlebu Teaching Hospital

While in Ghana this time around I was able to visit several hospitals and clinics. I got such a feel for the medical services, how people are treated for various illnesses and how much they can do with so little. They actually do treat, serve and care for the community of ill and needy people in Accra. It may be to different standards than we are used to, but it is kind and humane treatment of the sick. People die. In fact, nearly every time I visited a hospital I witnessed a person die while awaiting treatment.

On one particular night, we were in the pediatric ward. One of the kiddos in my care had been feeling bad through out the day and eventually required a trip to the hospital. We arrived at the hospital around 10pm. We were the only people checking in at that time. Once they got my kiddo weighed and triaged, a man came in carrying a bundle. The nurse instructed him to unwrap the baby so it could be weighed and seen. As the dad unwrapped her, the nurse that was with me (K) tapped me on the shoulder and said "look at that baby, she doesn't look well."

The rest is in slow motion in my brain, but burned there all the same. I remember grabbing the tiny baby and putting her on the baby scale. She was naked except for the red string of beads around her waist and wrist. I pinched her and thumped her feet as I was leaning over her listening for breathing. This baby was not breathing and not responding to any of my stimulation. Without even thinking I tilted her head back and began to give her mouth to mouth. I began chest compressions and kept it going for what seemed like 10 minutes. The Ghanaian nurse stood and watched. I'm sure she knows the outcome all too well. I had the nurse that was with me (K) feel for pulses while I continued CPR. I remember her telling me to stop, it was no use. My brain kept telling me that the baby was warm, keep going. The dad was standing immediately to my right. I could see him, staring, in a trance as this horrible scene unfolded.

When I finally stopped, I looked at him. He said to me "It is no?" "I'm sorry" was all I could come up with. He walked away, his face expressionless. No sign of sadness, anger or confusion. He was blank. I picked up the tiny baby girl and wrapped her back in the blanked she had come in. The nurse instructed me to "put it down over there" and pointed to a stretcher behind a folding screen. In retrospect, I wonder if that was the sole purpose of that particular stretcher. I laid her down on that stretcher and prayed over her lifeless body. I still see her little body and her little face.

I ducked behind another screen and had a little crying spell. I don't know who I was crying for. It just seemed so sad and unnecessary for that 5 day old infant to die. A man saw me and explained to me that I shouldn't cry. This is natures way. I suppose it's the coping mechanism of choice to keep you from going insane in a country where lots of people die. I can't blame him for that. I felt guilty about my sadness. It made me feel pompous. Like where I come from babies don't die, and that we are able to save everyone. I don't is still very surreal and my feelings about it are still fresh.

Then I had a moment of clarity about the very real possibility of contracting some disease thanks to my CPR. I cleaned out my mouth with my antibacterial wipes. I wiped my teeth, lips and gums. I cleaned my hands, face, neck and arms. Finally a doctor came and I explained to him what had happened with the baby. He checked her pupils, removed his gloves, washed his hands and went on with his evening seeing the child I had brought.

30 minutes in time that will stay with me forever.

Man, I may never get caught up.

I just went back to see where I left off. Holy smokes, I last blogged on day 2 in Ghana! I was there for 28 days people! I will hit the high lights and spare you the details. I can assure you, there will be a little bit of whining. I'll try to keep it to a minimum.

So I told you guys about the Embassy and how they wouldn't let me in...these guards and I became quite the friends. When I say friends, I mean I went and was super nice to them and they were moderately nice to me and they STILL wouldn't let me in. I went to the American Embassy no fewer than ten times. They knew me, they knew why I was there. They even knew the expiration date in my passport. I must say, they did their job (security) and they did it very well. Bless you my Ghanaian Security Friends at the Embassy. You guys deserve an award for following all of the rules without fail!

All in all, my American Embassy experiences were pretty good. It was a great place to people watch. One day we waited for about 4 hours. It was the day we were to submit our Visa application. The room is long and skinny and will hold probably 200 people sitting in chairs. This particular day there were likely 280 to 300 people in there. SRO if you know what I mean. P and I finally got chairs as people left. Once we sat, Ghanaian women would come and pick him up and put him on their lap. It didn't seem to bother him. I suppose the chair shouldn't be wasted with only a little boy butt, so they made the best use of it. It's the African way, make the most of what you have!

That same day, I saw a middle aged man waiting. I assumed that we were all there waiting to submit Visa applications, so I tried to imagine each of their stories. Maybe a young business person or a student. Perhaps a wife joining her husband but all on their way to the US. This particular man had obviously never cut his hair. He had it all piled up on top of his head under a knitted cap. The cap was in Ghanaian green, yellow and red and it must have been the size of a basketball. Maybe bigger, honestly. I was afraid that if his head got too far ahead of or behind him, his neck would snap right there. We would all just witness that red green and yellow basketball rolling around on the floor. Scary. I guess after 4 hours I might have been hallucinating a little bit. I wonder if he has made it to the states yet. I hope so....

P was such a trooper. He sat still and never complained through any and all of our endless appointments. We had plenty of them. If it wasn't the Embassy, it was the Medical Lab or the clinic. What good kids they all are.

Where do I start?

I've been gone from blogging so long, I don't know where to start. My trip was so physically and emotionally draining that I opted to take a little break. Now I feel so far behind, I may never catch up. I'm sure gonna give it a try....

Funny that my blog is so neglected. I read several blogs and I am almost offended if the author goes more than a few days without a post. Like how dare you just omit me from your life! I am waiting.....ah thank you. I'm complete now that I have read about your latest encounter with your mini van or the video store clerk. :) How sad!

Anyway, I have alot of writing to do. And you, my one fan, have plenty of reading to do..... so get busy!


Wednesday, May 7, 2008

A few pictures to break up the monotony...

US Embassy

I get up bright and early on Wednesday April 30th. Romana is off to Bible study and I am headed to the airport to pick up K & M! They are arriving by plane from Tamale this am with Bernard. We manage to find them pretty quickly and Emmanuel takes us to the guesthouse where K & M are staying. They stayed at SIM guesthouse in East Legon. It was very nice and K said the staff had been very accomodating. They arranged for George to pick me up and get me to the Embassy by 2pm. I had an appointment on Monday at 2, I changed to Tuesday at 2, and will now finally be arriving Wednesday at 2!

K & M are headed to TK Beads with Evans and I am off to the Embassy. George gets me there promptly at 2. The guards outside reluctantly let me in. Then the guard on the inside says "you had an appointment yesterday, call and make another appointment." I calmly explain to him that I wasn't in the country yesterday and I have no phone to call and make an appointment. A nice Ghanaian man in the waiting area extends his phone to me. I thank him and start to call the lady in DHS and ask her to convince the guard to let me in. I guess you aren't allowed on the phone inside cause the guard them asked me to step outside.

I get the DHS dept. on the phone and explain the entire situation to her. She tells me to hang up and she will call me Arrgh! I don't know the number of the phone I'm calling from, how does she know it? The outside guards are looking at me like I am mad! I just close my eyes and stand still and will the phone to ring. I am clenching my teeth and tensing my entire body trying to make the phone ring. Finally, it rings! "Hello, this is Tanya Lively", I say. The man on the other end says "Martin, I'm looking for Martin." Ethical dilemma...this is not my phone, but I am waiting for a most important call. I make a quick decision to say "Sorry, wrong Number" and hang up. Probably not the right thing, but it's what I did. :/ Now I'm back to clenching. It worked before, it was just the wrong person calling. 3 minutes go by, then 4. Finally the phone rings again. The woman tells me to show my passport to the guards an tell them I have an appointment with DHS.

I am let back inside and return the phone to the nice man. Thanks Martin. Sorry about your missed call. The guards x-ray my bag and explain to me where to go.

I go into the DHS room and sit and wait to be helped. The woman comes in, greets me, accepts my documents and scans them against the originals. She tells me the DHS officer will be in touch with me when my case has been reviewed and is approved. I thanked her and left. 22 minutes to get inside. No more than 7 minutes inside. Done. Now the waiting begins...

Accra At Last!

At about 1900 local time on Tuesday we landed! I was so happy to finally be in Ghana. I would be seeing Philip in less that an hour. K & M had arranged for Evans to pick me up from the airport because they were still in the North. I knew the procedure. Get off the plane quickly so you will be on the first bus to the terminal and walk quickly so you will not have to wait long at Immigration. I'm just blowing through like a local! First one to Immigration, get my luggage cart and claim a prime spot by the luggage belt. And Wait. And wait. I'm seeing bags go by 2 times, 3 times. Finally after about 45 minutes the siren goes off. This tells me there are no more bags coming.

Actually, I half expected this. How could they have managed to get my bags here with me? It would have been impossible. They were already on the flight headed to New York. I convince myself they will be in on the Thursday flight and walk over to the lost bag counter to get a claim number. By the time I get outside, poor Evans has been waiting nearly 2 hours. Sorry Evans! Thanks for waiting.

He immediatly brought me to Beacon House. Romana met me outside and brought me in to where the kids were watching a movie. Mom Shelter and Vivian saw me first and got up to hug me. Philip then turned around and saw me. He jumped up and flew up on to me arms and legs wrapped around me! Finally! This is why I have travelled for 4 days!

We settle in and I meet some new kiddos that weren't here last year. Romana and I went through a few things, paperwork issues and such. We chatted until pretty late. I opened my hand luggage to see what I had. My night clothes, an extra t-shirt and my toiletries. That should get me. I have a shower, put on my night clothes and go to bed. Finally in Ghana.

Verwelkom naar Nederland!

Ahhh! At least I am finally on another continent! Not the one I am headed to, but forward progress all the same.

The flight was pretty uneventful. I slept much of the way. It was about 8 hours. Now I have a 6 hour layover in Amsterdam. To tell you the truth, I didn't really get the whole Holland/Netherlands thing. I'm still not 100%, but I think they refer to Holland and it's language as The Nederlands. Anyway, I realized I was in Holland when I was walking through the airport and saw wooden shoes and tulips for sale in every store. Hmmm... so this is what my neighbor was trying to explain to me on the plane. I couldn't understand him, but apparently you can see tulip fields from the airplane as you land. Rows of blue, red, orange, white. Cool. Too bad it was cloudy, gray and raining and I didn't see anything.

I sat at my gate for about 5 hours before we boarded. As we were boarding I asked the attendant to check on my bags. He typed away in the computer and Yup! my bags were on the flight. Wow! I was impressed, and pleased with myself for making the right decision. I would be in Africa in 6 hours! Yahoo!

I've Left you hanging long enough...

Okay, so the three of you who are actually reading this, thanks! And welcome back! I am sorry to leave you in such suspense, long story. I'll get there.

So Atlanta turns into a disaster! JFK is not accepting flights in due to air traffic. My 1320 departure moves to 1400, then 1430, then 1500. My flight to Ghana leaves JFK at 1705 and the Atlanta to JFK flight is over 2 hours. Can this really be happening? I phone Delta reservations while I am sitting in the terminal and they tell me they have already moved me to the Wednesday flight out of JFK to Ghana. "Oh thanks so much, you have been sooo helpful." "By the way, will you be accomodating my stay whilst in New York?" "Oh no maam, we have no control over air traffic, this is not Delta's fault." So I have already footed my own bill in a Houston hotel for 2 nights with all my bags, have a gimp back and NO SENSE OF HUMOR! Wednesday? WEDNESDAY? I left home on Saturday at 4am. It's now 1400 on Monday and I've only made it to Atlanta! A Wednesday departure from JFK puts me in Ghana on Thursday. In what civilized world does it take 6 days to fly across the Atlantic Ocean?

I suppose she senses I'm just about to go a little nuts in the terminal. She quickly finds me an alternate route out of Atlanta to Amsterdam. During this conversation, we begin to board my now dreadfully late flight to JFK. I begin to accept my fate of two nights in New York and decide I will figure it out when I get there. I tell the reservationist I am now boarding and she says "I have booked you on the KLM flight to Amsterdam, you will arrive in Accra, Ghana on Tuesday evening." I ask her about my bags because I know they are on the plane I have just boarded. She tells me they will be checked through New York and to get off the plane.

So I do.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Monday! Finally, I'm off....or am I?

Monday Morning! Bright and early. I am soo ready to be on my way. I awaken and get ready to go for a 0630 check-in. I have all of my bags neatly stacked on my cart from the airport that has been captive in my hotel room for the past 2 days. Here I to Africa! Whoa, not so fast. The bags on the cart are too wide for the doorway! Are you kidding me? So I start my Monday out struggling too? I manage to unload each of my bags into the hallway, push the cart through and begin to load them up again. Two on, two to go. Picking up the third one I pinched a nerve or something in my back. My kneeds buckled. Hmmm. I try again. No way! I cannot by any means possible get this bag off the ground.

Determined to make it somehow, I buckle the remaining bags together. I push the cart and pull the grounded bags! Again breaking the rules of the airtram to the Delta terminal. Out of the elevator and I am within 50 yard of ridding myself of these bags. At this point, I don't care if I ever see these bags again (note to self: be careful what you wish for). The same nice lady who tried to help me Saturday morning was back at work on Monday. I secretly resented her for being able to spend the weekend with her family whilst I lived like Tom Hanks for the past 48 hours. Anyway, I give her my bags. Each of them at about 52#. I think she thought best not ask me to remove any items. I was prepared to use the excuse that they had "settled" during my time in Houston.

Yee-Haw! Finally I am on an airplane. Did I forget to mention that the flight from Corpus Christi to Houston was so turbulant that I barfed the whole way? Little detail I sometimes leave out, depending on the audience. :) Filled the bag! My first time barfing on a plane. Big Fun. As if I hadn't suffered enough.

I arrived in Atlanta uneventfully. I make my way to my next terminal to wait the 2 hours for the flight to New York.

Again no pictures. I have no sence of humor at this point and pictures were the farthest thing from my mind.

The first leg...

Well the trip started with a bang. Trey and I had decided that we needed to leave the house at 4am to be at the airport for my 0525 flight. He startled me awake at 0401! I was ready in less than 16 minutes and we were out the door! This, however, was a premonition of how my next 4 days were to unravel.

The storm was in the distance on the drive to the airport, but once I got checked in and to the terminal it was right over Corpus Christi. We were grounded due to the lightening for an hour and a half. My layover in Houston was only 2 hours. Sheesh! Now I have missed the only flight into JFK New York that will get me in before 4pm. The International flight to Ghana only flies every other day. The poor lady at the Delta desk in Houston had a very frazzled traveler on her hands. She worked very hard for me but there was no way around the fact I would spend the next 48 hours in a Houston hotel with all of my luggage...

I got the courage to go to the Marriott within the Houston airport. I was nervous because I just knew it would cost a fortune and I would be forced to get a taxi with my four 50# bags. I put all of my bags on an airport cart and went to the lower level where I could catch the airtram to the hotel. Naturally, the airtram didn't allow these carts on board. I waited for an empty car and pushed my cart on board as if the rules only applied to "satisfied travellers". I, of course, was definately NOT satisfied at this point. I'm pretty sure the look on my face kept anyone from questioning me or my actions.

At the Marriott counter I explained to the lady that I unexpectedly needed a room. She asked what airline had delayed me, she checked a list and gave me a rate that was so reasonable I nearly cried. I would not have to take my bags out into the world, I would not have to be fearful in a Houston motel, I would be safe and clean and secure right in the airport! Yahoo! The silver lining in my otherwise rain soaked day.

I felt a bit like Tom Hanks in the movie "The Terminal". I wandered around the airport. Saw people from all over the world, heard every language you can think of. I realized though that you cannot shop or eat at all those places you see in airports cause I was not permitted through security without a boarding pass. My boarding pass was for Monday. It was only Saturday. My hotel room had a coffee pot so I ran hot water through it and managed to eat the instant oatmeal and ramen noodles I had packed. I did eat in the hotel restauraunt once each day. It wasn't completely unreasonable. I paid around $12 for each meal. Probably better thnt the prices within the airport. I watched plenty of TV. Got caught up on some old movies. Jennifer Lopez really kicked some butt in "Enough".

Anyway, I should have taken some photos of the Hotel or the airport or something to mark my time in Marriott IAH. But I didn't. Sorry. More to come...

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Philip to Mom!

Wow! I am so thankful to a family who recently returned with their adopted kiddos. They were able to capture a bit of my P-man on video and send it my way. This came to me back in February, but I haven't opted to share it until now. Thanks B Fam!

Check it out...

Philip is saying "I want you to come soon, and I can't wait to see you. Kiss Creyton for me, and kiss Daddy for me and greet my friends."

I'm coming in 17 days Philip!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

African American v. Black American

A touchy subject, but one that tends to hang around and can't be put to rest. Tell me what you guys think...

*Warning this contains some explicit language*

A request...

This is a post that has priority for me. I am re-posting it just as Maria wrote it as I can't say it any better!

How AMAZING would it be if God's people rallied around this orphanage (this amazing woman and her staff who have sacrificially given their lives to care for God's precious little ones who have no one to defend them and no one to love them and no one to call their own!!! As you can imagine, the orphanage cannot function without a vehicle! Romana and Beacon House are directly intervening in so many precious orphan's lives - giving them hope - placing them with Christian families - making them no longer orphans! This is the e-mail I just received _________________________________________

Beacon House has the use of two cars. The Land Rover is currently running with a few minor repairs needed. Water and oil leak and need to be checked daily, and hoses replaced when needed. This car is used to bring children for medical appointments, run errands (pay water, electric, etc bills, go to post office), go to Social Welfare and Embassy, sort out birth/death certificates, passports, etc. The Toyota Land Cruiser is required for the longer journeys to pick children from the north (Bolgatanga) and get their paperwork … visiting relatives in hard to reach villages, bringing social welfare officers to their homes to do ‘investigations’.

Our main method of transportation when picking children in their villages and visiting relatives is the Land Cruiser. As of now, we have 7 children without proper documentation so they cannot be placed for adoption. I cannot get their documents without a car because – the alternative - going to Bolgatanga by bus and then relying on someone to take me in the back of their motorbike to visit families – is not a reliable way of transportation!! Also, until we have a working vehicle, we will not be able to take in more children that live far from Accra.

We are not able to drive the Land Cruiser at the moment. It requires the following repair.

It is in need of a complete ½ block ------------------GHC 4,335.80

Below is the breakdown of the costs.

*some of the items on the list may be able to be pulled off the car and reused, but until the work is done, the mechanics will not know the total cost.

Timing belt 45.00
Timing Belt Idler 80.50
1 set of Over Hauling Gasket 156.70
1 Head Gasket 70.00
1 Set Main & Connecting Bearing 75.00
1 Set Complete Clutch Kit 350.00
1 Set Valves Seals 65.001 Oil Pump 180.00
1 Water pump 180.00
1 Set Valves Inn let and Out Let 160.00
Set Tappers 140.00
1 Set Heater Plugs 150.00
10 Lts Rabbia S. Oil (Diesel) 42.00
1 Oil Filter 22.00
1 Fuel Filter 20.00
Pramacy Fuel Filter Ele. 17.00
Air-Cleaner Element 35.00
Petrol & Diesel for Washing 20.00
Labor 220.00

TOTAL GHC 6,364.50

(1 complete Engine ---------------------------GHC 8,275.00)

1 GHC = $ 0.93

Please consider helping pay for the cost of the repairs.

The cost of used cars in Ghana start at $30,000. The cost of the repair is better than looking for a new car.

Helping this orphanage with the car repairs truly is HUGE and LIFE CHANGING!!!
The thought of this orphanage not having a vehicle is overwhelming and heart breaking ... what will Romana do the next time she gets a call that there are orphans in undescribable situations who need her to come and get them ... the answer without a vehicle is unbearable ... we CAN ALL help!!!
Please make checks payable to African Mission Evangelism and put Beacon House car on memo line and send to:

Scott Danner
7343 Ridge Road
Lexington, NC 27295

Peace and Grace,

Still learning...

This is one of the videos that I saw before I went to Ghana the first time. It tells the story of one village and of 1000 villages at the same time...

Friday, March 14, 2008

No more procrastinating.

I have been trying to put time aside to chronologically post all of my entries from my first trip to Ghana in October-November. I have put it off for so long, it seems likely none of you are even interested anymore. I guess I will carry on from today and maybe go back to those posts later.

So much good news has come out of Ghana this week. Five children from BH will be home before Monday! Many more had I600's approved and I myself was awarded a full adoption order today! Yahoo! It is so inspiring to see all of the good things happening.

I am far behind on updating my family and friends, so I will probably borrow some posts from others of you to get them all up to speed. : )

I am through my skin happy today, tomorrow is P's 9th birthday. I am thrilled he was able to hear the judge say "granted" today. He is old enough to know Exactly what that means!


Thursday, February 21, 2008

Welcome to NYC

I took what baggage had arrived and I walked right out into New York. It was beautiful, about 64 degrees and the sun was just starting to set. I got on line for a cab just as if I knew exactly what I was doing. My turn comes and i get into a mini van type taxi. The driver was very nice and within a few miles he tells me he is Ghanaian. Crazy! He was so thrilled that I will be visiting his country. He has two children aged 7 and 5 and he very much wants to take them there. He still has family there. He said I will absolutely LOVE Ghana and will want to extend my stay. He says that they will treat me like a queen there. Everyone will be very friendly and gracious. He says the food is amazing and fresh. He made me excited to be going. He said he thought it was a very generous thing to be taking supplies there. He told me that Ghanaian people are the same as all of us, only they suffer from poverty and lack choices and opportunity. We talked and talked so much that we missed the turn. He wasn’t familiar with the area I was going. Once we finally arrived, I asked his name. He told me his name was Emmanuel. God Bless you, Emmanuel and thanks for getting me here safely. I will say hello to your brothers in Ghana.

The flight to New York...

So I made the stand by list! I was on the earlier flight out of DFW bound for JFK! One of the flight attendants was a little too rough while re-arranging the overhead bin and dropped a bag on someone’s head! Now we have an ice-pack, a couple of people in suits and a very pissed off uppity lady with a headache. This single act delays the flight by an hour and fifteen minutes. Sheesh! There were people who were trying to connect for a flight to Rome who were surely gonna miss their connections. I just sat back and watched it all thanking God I didn’t have a connection.
Have you ever wondered why all the coughing and sneezing on a plane? What is the deal with that? None of these people sounded ill while we all sat together in the terminal. Anyway, I’m older and overflowing with phobias, paranoias and psychoses so all this coughing is really starting to get to me. About the time I go into full on panic mode, the considerate passenger in front of me decides to recline his seat and spend the rest of the flight in my lap. Oh yes, thanks buddy. Now I’m not worried about all the coughing and sneezing. I’m worried cause I can’t move my legs! I take a few deep breaths and just close my eyes. What choice do I have? Thanks to passenger 35G, I will opt for the emergency exit row from now on!
We land at JFK (not soon enough) . 35G is fresh as a daisy, stretching and gathering his belongings. Once the blood returns to the lower half of my body, I can do the same. I decide that in addition to the emergency row aisle thing, I also need to lose a bit of weight! As I walk through JFK, I read the sign that says “Welcome to New York” I think, “weird, I’m in New York.”
One of my bags is also in New York. The other one, who knows? I make my way to the Baggage Information area only to be assured that my bag is indeed NOT in New York. Oh, Thanks so much! You’ve been very helpful! I got a phone number and hopefully it will arrive on the later flight. I will absolutely WHIG out if it’s not. I have 90 pounds worth of supplies in that bag! But my legs are still a little numb and I don’t have the energy to whig out now, it can wait til tomorrow.

The first flight

Got to Corpus Christi Int’l this am about 0740. DH, my Dad and C-man all came to see me off. They’re still not happy. C-man is excited, but they looked pretty deflated to see me going. First leg was no problem. I had to pay $200 in poundage overage fees. I sure hope North American Airlines isn’t as much. Managed to get on a stand-by flight out of Corpus at 0930. Pretty uneventful flight. There was a big, friendly, loud man that reminded me of TS chatting with everyone and a small group of “very senior” women on their way to a cruise. Flight time about 1 hour 10 minutes. DFW has it goin on! I arrived at Gate B13 and needed to get to D40. Impossible you say? Nope, turns out you just walk yourself right over to the Sky Tram and you’re there in less than 1 minute! Super Cool! I really should get out more. So here I am at gate D40 wondering if I will make it on this flight stand by. I won’t know until boarding time in about 45 minutes. Stay Tuned!

I'm Back...

This is so terribly pathetic. I have been back for nearly a month and I am just getting around to updating this blog. I have to say that I thought journaling verbally on my ipod was a super idea. Truthfully, it was easier, but it is what has been putting me off updating this. I now have to listen to it and transcribe the entries. I’m certain some of you techies know a program that would do that for me, but I don’t know of it. So here I go. Probably one day at a time. Be patient with me (all two of you who are reading this). First of all, it was a life-changing trip. I’ll start with that...

Some Awesome Choices

I support the older child fund of Layla House, the Ethiopian orphanage run by Adoption Advocates International. You can read more about it on their new web page!

I recently committed to sponsor a child’s schooling for one year in Burkina Faso through this organization. Until All Have Homes. Her name is Samira, she is 8 years old and currently attending grade 2.

The dearest cause to my heart is Beacon House Children's Home in Accra, Ghana. I will dedicate a post to this facility in the future.

Information on Ghana from the World Fact Book

Ghana at a glance.

I decide to visit Ghana

I finally decided (at DH's suggestion) that I should visit Ghana and see first hand the situation there. Is International adoption something that would work for our family? Are there other ways we can support and assist these needy orphans? Will this hunger I feel to aid the people of Africa fade? All of these questions...I was swimming with emotion and turmoil. I arranged for the 5 immunizations I needed, got prescriptions for anti-malarial medication, got a Ghanaian Visa, booked a flight and didn't look back. I spread the word about my trip to my co-workers and in just a weeks time I collected no less than 100 pounds of donated supplies. Thanks to EVERYONE who donated to these kiddos. I can’t wait to see their faces. More about Ghana on my next post...

So much need...where do I start?

Once my research was in full throttle, I ran across a few people and websites that were very helpful in helping me to sort out who I wanted to support in my efforts. There are so many organizations and so many countries and people who are in need of a hand up. It is very easy to get overwhelmed and feel that you could never make a difference if you look at the whole globe and all it’s issues. I really wanted to just focus on a few agencies who support biological orphans in one or two countries. I started by contacting Adoption Advocates International in Washington state. I was interested in their older children, particularly boys, who have been waiting for referrals for an extended amount of time. I learned of their new program in Ghana and was put in touch with Anita the coordinator for that program. (I’m super excited about that Hyperlink I just created, you have nooo idea!)

The beginning...sort of.

So I was watching Blood Diamond in January or February of 2007.  That was the beginning of the end for me.  I was a changed person from that single movie.  I know it sounds so trite and even sort of trendy in this age of Hollywood adoption stories, but I promise you, I see the world as a completely different place.  Since that time, I have tried to educate myself as much as possible about this continent on the planet that I know so little about.  I have read many books and have been in contact with many people.  It's amazing how the networking starts to unfold once you open your heart and mind to a new adventure.  That's how it starts for me.  Thanks Leonardo DiCaprio.