Sunday, October 3, 2010

There were 5 in the bed and the little one said....

So, we are a happy family of 5 tonight all sleeping in one bed!! Yikes!! It's only midnight but we'll see if this lasts all night long :) Don't worry there is a full-size mattress on the floor but for some reason.....there are 5 in the bed.

We have had a fabulous time! Learning about each other, learning new family dynamics. You would think Zoe is a professional vaudeville act by the way the boys laugh at her constantly. This could become hazardous in the way of teaching her not to throw things or say 'Shut up!" but for now apparently it is absolutely hysterical! Asa and Eli adore her. Want to hold her, tease her, kiss her, love her. If I were her, I'd be saying 'shut up!' too, for as many times as they call 'Zoe!' all day long! HA!!

So, as I am listening to a rooster cock-a-doodle doo out my hotel window at midnight...let me tell you the FULL story!

I had much angst last week as evident by my last post. Wanting to have faith that this would be our week yet preparing my heart and mind to 'brace myself' that we could be waiting yet another week. I stayed busy Monday & Tuesday. Hid at home Wed. because I didn't want to complain nor did I want to pretend to be happy. So, I stayed at home and did pretty much nothing of significance. Thursday, I volunteered at the boy's school all day long. The office needed some help with paperwork systems getting ready for the accreditation audit coming soon. Menial work, low passersby, little conversation..I'm in! Thursday morning, we totally overslept and the 3 of us dragged into school 30 minutes late. Nice, mom.

In my baseball cap and no shower, I go to work filing and updating forms. I am making a new friend, Megan. Megan is the school admin person who has recently (1-2 years?) moved to SSI and we are having a blast. She is funny, how can we not be??!! I am laughing bc after the day was over, Megan says 'Our friendship was put in the express lane' that day! Right before lunch, we begin to 'bond' for about 20 minutes over our deepest woes. We talk about the adoption and her life. I tell her I am watching the clock bc around 1 or 1:30 is when we will know our wait is over for the week. We both end up crying, hug it out and I go pick up Chick-Fil-A. Every girl's solution to any problem!

At 1:30, I simply note with a sigh, 'Guess we're looking at next week, again.' I feel a little numb - but am trying to be more worried about the paperwork I'm filing. THEN, IT HAPPENS. At 2:00, I look at my watch and THERE IS THE EMAIL!! THANK YOU, LORD!!! I am nearly speechless!! I have emailed them 4 times in the past 3 weeks. They send me the same reply to all 3 emails. The 'Come pick up your daughter's PRINTED VISA EMAIL!!" I jump up and down and run around the divider to tell Megan! This is hilarious! We've known each other about 5 hours! THANKS MEGAN!!!

Since I was at the boy's school, I was able to go down to their classrooms to tell them that Zoe got her visa. Both of them jumped up and down, "YES!!", they said! Hugged big! SOOOO excited! Ran to tell their classes who had been praying for Zoe since the start of the school year. SO PRECIOUS. My boys are awesome. I'm just sayin.

So, I run home to call Delta. :) The NICEST lady helps me. I immediately tell her we are going to pick up my daughter from Africa and she bends over backwards to help us find the right flights within our SkyMiles range! We can leave in 12 hours or we can leave in 3 days. Seriously? Do I even need time to think about that? 12 hours! it is! I run around and start throwing things in suitcases. I was just there last month. Trial run, people! I already have things in ziploc bags, and all the chargers and donations and Zoe's clothes were already packed. We weren't taking shirts for the boys bc so many people donated shirts in their sizes that they are just going to wear those shirts and then we leave them. Same for towels. Check! We leave with the maximum allowed for 4 international tickets. 8 checked bags, 4 carry-ons, and 4 'personal items' (that reads book-bags). This makes Mark very nervous to get all this to Ghana with 2 children in tow. He has given me the 'you-better-be-glad-I-Love-You' look several times. Especially when he packed his Armada and then had to switch to the suburban bc it wouldn't all fit in his SUV. He needed the extended cab! The boys were AMAZING travellers. So helpful, carried their own bookbags and even rolled a carry-on a time or two!

Mark and I slept 1-2 hours Thursday night bc we were packing and then we had to get up at 2:30 am to head to Savannah for our 5:30 am flight! Connect in Atlanta for 1 hour and then make it to JFK by 9:45 am. We now have a 7 hour layover in NYC. Fortunately, I did my AMEX homework last month with Christi and we are going to spend all 7 hours in the Delta SkyClub watching the Ryder Cup and eating free snacks. THANK YOU, LORD! The boys even get out there homework/school papers and did some school work while we were at JFK. You'd be proud, Ms. Fuller and Ms. Hawthorne!

As we loaded the plane, in Atlanta - I noticed a VERY tall man & his wife getting on the plane. I knew immediately, it was one of our former youth from Marietta. Michael Elmer & Esther! How fun! We haven't seen Michael in years and only know Esther by pictures. They are going for an anniversary, no-kids, play weekend in NYC. YET, they spend an hour or so hanging out with us at Burger King in JFK! So fun! What a sweet treat for us! THANKS LORD! We catch up - learning about their life in the past 5 years - take pics - we pray together - and we are moving on!

Again, at JFK a VERY NICE Delta attendant who moved all of our seats to a full empty row (all the way across) prior to boarding the plane. The row was the last one on the plane. Was he being nice or trying to get my children out of the way? Just jokin, people! He was being nice! GREAT stewardess who for some reason we thought was named Denise, but I think her real name was Cindy gave the boys all kinds of treats throughout the trip. We give Eli and Asa some Triaminic about an hour into the trip (sorry for all my organic friends!) and a little while later, it is sweet dream city for all of us! When Eli woke up, he was amazed that we only had 1 more hour to go!! HA!

Mark was amazing all the way through the Ghanaian airport - even with 72 bags and 2 children. Paul and Zoe meet us at the airport...SOOOO HAPPY!!! The boys are excited to meet Zoe. It is a little chaotic and we all make it to the taxis. The boys are at first more amazed that they don't have to wear a seatbelt and Zoe is not in a carseat than they are with the scenery! I am SO enjoying viewing life in Ghana from their children's perspective. It is not deep and philosophical. It just is what it is.

We all slept very much yesterday. We made it out for pizza at the Accra mall, the playground at the mall, and ShopRite for a few groceries. Pretty American day. We're easing the kids into this people. I LOVE watching people watch the boys. Pretty much all Zoe wanted to do at first was touch their hair. :)

Cold showers this morning. I was secretly glad it was finally a little uncomfortable for the boys. No sympathy from mom.

This morning, we were all recovered from JetLag, new family initial shock, and are ready to play! Paul and a couple of his boys come over to play mid-morning at the hotel. Asa and Eli love it. We talk with Paul for a very long time.

Paul is starting his own NGO (Non-Government Organization) - non-profit. It is called Nyame Dua and it will embody his foster home in Accra and his home in Bolga. He asked Mark and I last month to serve on the board for the organization and I could not be more excited about working with Paul and others to help these kiddos and Paul's family. My friend, Christi and I have lots of ideas and plans. We'd love to have anyone join us!! Let me know if this speaks to you - email me!

For those of you who sent me donations, the big boys, especially LOVED them. We brought tons of shoes and they were very thankful.

This afternoon, we walked to Paul's. Talk about an unusual sight! 4 Obrunis - 2 little yellow headed boys - walking down fairly obscure streets in Teshie. Lots of children coming from around corners to take a peek. We take FanYogos (big gogurts) and soccer balls to the children at Paul's. The big boys, especially, are so happy to have soccer balls! They all go with our boys down to a dirt field a couple of houses away to & play a wonderful game of soccer for a couple of hours! Mark and John Baker play too. Paul and his wife fix a lovely chicken & rice dinner for us. We eat with another adoptive parent, John Baker, & head back to the hotel for the evening.

Lots more laughing. Rolling around on Daddy. Riding Daddy's back. Smacking the boys with pillows. Eating potato chips. Laughing. Looking at pictures from our previous trip. Laughing. Laughing. and More Laughing. I love my family. I feel such a GREAT sense of relief with the 5 of us together. We are thankful and blessed beyond measure.

Our POA is supposed to go pick up Zoe's visa tomorrow at the embassy. I will feel even a GREATER sense of relief once that is over.

Headed to Cape Coast for a few days. Will come back Wed. evening. Thursday, we will get to spend some more time with Zoe's birth mom. Letting her say Goodbye and learning anything she wants us to tell Zoe as she gets older. Taking more pictures. Paul says she was thrilled to hear that Zoe is now going home with her family. She will have to travel 5 hours to come tell her g'bye. I'm pretty sure I will be a wreck after that.

I do love Ghana. The people here are proud of their country. They are so friendly. A piece of my heart will always live here.

I cannot thank all of our friends & family & even those of you who I do not know but have met in passing and you say you read our blog or those that have commented...we are grateful for prayers and encouragement. Mark and I cannot decide if we feel like this is 'finally over' or if we are 'just beginning'. We know it is BOTH. 'Finally over' in the immediate sense of the word but Only just beginning in the long term sense.

We have had many friends comment on how Zoe and I look alike. Paul said that the hotel staff here was saying the same thing! Isn't that so funny?!? and so God.

Love to all - a
PS - we WILL post pics... our camera software has not been loaded to Mark's mac. Will do once we are in CC and then post! They are pretty stinkin cute! I'll just say that!


  1. Praise God! I love every stinkin' word of this post! I love reading it and hearing it in "your voice." We have been telling Levi all week that Asa and Eli are in Africa to meet their baby sister. Yesterday he "showed" us in the air where Africa was on a map. Let's just say he thinks it's about as far away as Athens is from Marietta. :) So I don't know why y'all are so tired! Can't wait to talk to you! And of course you're funny-there's no other way for you to be!

  2. SO excited by ALL of this! Uncle Mike can't wait to introduce Zoe to the TABLE GAME! HA!

  3. HURRAY!!!! Love to you and your family Amy!!! We all just watched "The Amazing Race "in Ghana. So incredible to see them cruising down Teshie Road! LOL

  4. Amazing. I am so happy you are all together!

  5. Great to hear that you are all together. It is quite interesting toting around the blondies, as we did it too with our three. They sound laid back like ours and I hope you just have a fabulous time at the cape with them. Email me if you didn't hear about the alligator place-the family would like it. P.S. I LOVE how God placed you together and Zoe looks like you. It is the same for my older brother and my mom who are not biologically related. I love it!

  6. Not much to say except "Praise God from whom all blessings flow!" It's just so sweet....So very happy for all of you!

  7. Amy, I am thrilled for y'all!! God is so faithful. It's hard to believe Kelli and I were sitting on the beach with you a little over a week ago, and now you've got your little girl! :)

  8. Hey Fritchman Family of 5!!! This is so cool to be able to read about your trip, life in Ghana and the bonding in your sweet family! Brian and I were watching Amazing Race Sunday night and the teams travelled to Accra, Ghana. Can't wait to see you all back in St. Simons Isands. The Keen Family of 6

  9. We are so happy for all of you. Your family is finally all together! God's timing is never fast enough for me, so I understand that horrible waiting. But then, it seems like it's all worth it when you get the reward! Kiss Zoe for us and hope to see you soon in Marietta!
    P.S. Can't believe you saw the Elmers! That was sweet of God to put you two together....

  10. So happy for you all!!!! God is good! Charmaine

  11. Amy!!!! So happy for you guys. Your boys will remember this FOREVER and it will change them. I am praying. Katy

  12. What a joy to have watched your journey to get Zoe!! I am so very happy for your family. Now you will knit together as a new journey starts for the 5 of you. God is Awesome. Adoption is a miracle.

  13. I love your family too! You are all so fun and funny and all around wonderful! I love the way the boys already love Zoe so much and the way that God has put a special love in your heart for Ghana. That love will always show in your face as you tell Zoe "stories" of Ghana. What a beautiful family of 5!
    We love you all, the Tanner 5!

  14. Amy! It was a TREAT to finally meet you and your sweet family! It was a highlight of our trip for sure! Well, there were other things of course.. ;). We'll be praying for you guys!! SO FUN! We'll have to plan a weekend where we come to visit you guys! With the boys!