Monday, July 2, 2007
Lots of Info. to share
The Internet connection is very slow, so I'm going to do a lot of updating in this post.
First, we had a great day with all the kids. They are amazing human beings. Emmanuel and Abigail are still on their best behavior. We sat at the U.S. Embassy for an hour and half to get their visas and they didn't flinch. Speaking of the U.S. Embassy, it's a shock. All around us is poverty, a lack of quality roads, no traffic lights, or air conditioning. The notebook I took to the AFAA house was soaked because of humidity and you can feel all the clothes and sheets are quite damp. Our hotel has satellite TV which means we have two channels, Aljazeera and CNN and the signal shuts off at 10 p.m. But I walked in the U.S. Embassy and we have a TV playing with our daily Paris Hilton update, air conditioning, and magazines like Fast Company and Money. I think I must have seen a cappuccino maker in the back.
Now for the latest:
Abegail can read and write her name (and Emmanuel's) and anything else you ask her to print. Jessie says she's very smart. We found out today Emmanuel's birthday is July 8th. So he'll be four the day after we get home. We also learned A & E's parents names were Alexander and Alice. They had six children but were never married. Alexander is a farmer but has been unemployed for sometime. Alice left the family in October of 2003 when Emmanuel was 2 1/2 months old because Alexander could not support the family. So she went to be a trader in a far away place called Rivercess and was never heard from again. Alexander heard about AFAA through his sister-in-law and started the adoption process in August of 2005. The kids came to the AFAA house in April of 2006 just the time when we had all our paperwork in. Alice never finished the 6th grade because her family couldn't afford the tuition. Alexander, who is now 41, was a high school graduate and worked as a contractor when he met Alice Tinno, born 11/15/69, coincidentally Alexander's b-day is 11/16. in 1986. They had their first child in 1988. The other kids now live near the airport, about an hour away from the AFAA house with the roads. They range in age from 11 to 19.
GENERAL AFAA INFO FOR FAMILES
If you are wondering how I got clothes sizes, I looked on the tags of the clothes they were wearing, which all seemed to fit appropriately.
Jessie (who you will all adore!) told me yesterday she has applied for 16 passports and expects to get most of them this week. She was at the office today from 10-1:30 and came back with two. She says it is very frustrating waiting for officials to call names. As I said, it is an hour drive to the airport and the Royal Hotel where we are staying is about 20 minutes away. The AFAA house is actually in Paynesville just outside of Monrovia. All the kids are doing well. They have a lot of structure and school. They all want to look at each other's albums. Several of the children knew exactly who was in our family so I think they spend a great deal of time memorizing details. They have a great routine and schedule they try to stick to except of course when we visit, we threw things off a little. They wake up at 6:30 and have 10 minutes of prayer time. They have a bath every night and wash their hair on Saturdays. The girls have four days a week scheduled where they have their hair braided. They also sing songs and have a prayer before meals too. Very sweet.
By far the most anxious to go home is Jacob, his sister is Mardia. I never did make contact with his folks, but if I do he wants me to tell them thank you and he is waiting for them. If any of you know who his parents are, please put us in contact. He's a very tough kid to resist. He is constantly asking us about his family, if we know them, if we will tell them he loves them, and he's quick to show us what a good boy he is.
Scott had a picture on his phone that GIFT (PA) is in. One of the kids saw it and then all of the kids saw it. Their faces light up. All the house moms, Jessie and Patience etc. asked how she was doing. She is a favorite of the AFAA house, the kids miss her. Right now there are 27 kids at the house. Jessie says they are expecting more but they ran out of beds.
THE SPRONK FAMILY
Saylah is pronounced sall-a. The spelling is SAYLAH. Her birthday is 3/9/03. She loves pink and loves to dance and sing. She is absolutely adorable and I spoke to her about sharing a room with Emma and how there would be snow etc. You will fall in love in an instant. VERY VERY SWEET. I would say she is in a size 2T right now, she is bigger than the other kids her age in the house.
THE MONSON FAMILY
I would say Ishamel is the second most anxious to leave. He wanted me to find out who was coming to pick him up and when they were coming. I said I'd try to find out so if you get this Karen please email me. His favorite color is yellow. We went over his entire album together and I think he has memorized every person. He is extremely excited to be adopted and if you came yesterday that wouldn't be soon enough. He wanted me to give you this message, "I like the album. I want to tell you hello. I can't wait to meet you." He wears a Large boys shirt, size 14-16 His birthday is 12/9/97
The Zabinski Family-S. MPLS.
Since the world is small it would only figure that Martu and Maki came from the same area as
A &E. Martu was especially obsessed with my Blonde hair and how soft she said it was. She kept stroking it. She was born 12/12/99 but insists she is ten. There is a list of birthdays and that's what it says on the list so not sure about the discrepancy. Martu did not speak much during our time together but later told me to tell you, "Come for me, I love my mom." Mackie's birthday is 8/24/01. He loves soccer (futbol). He also said to say I love my mom.
The KNUPP FAMILY
Junior was born 10/1/04. He was named by the police officer ("Junior") who found him. "Smith" came from the AFAA security guard. I spent lots of time talking to him about how much his Mommy loves him already and will be there for him but that she will have to go to work. It didn't seem to phase him in the least. We went over the album last night and then today he was examining it again. He loves cars and trucks. Clothes size between a 2T and 3T. You will adore him Val!
The KREKE FAMILY
Here's the deal with Kurker. He is jumping around laughing having the most fun of all the kids and then you get him by himself. He won't say a word. I'm like smile, come on this is for your mommy she wants to see you. Nope, wouldn't flinch and unfortunately he's not ticklish. So the pictures will be much the same as the ones you have. But don't let that fool you Lori, he is adjusted just fine. His birthday is 3/1/03, he is in a size 3T. This is not really that relative but the one think I did notice, his belly button is an outie and when you touch his stomach it pokes at you. (trying to prepare you in all ways) Gormah also did not say much. Her birthday is 7/1/01. She is in a 4T.
The Stewart Family-
Sharon, I think it was your kids who received their passports today. Not for sure because I'm awful at understanding anyone here, but pretty sure Jessie said it was their names who were called. Ok, these girls have no shortage of personality. As I called them aside, Princess danced and twirled into the room. I went over Jemama's album with her. Her name is spelled Jemama, pronounced (Je, mama). These two girls have the biggest smiles in the place, I could have taken photos all day. They both were wearing dresses, I'm thinking they are pretty girly. Jemama said her favorite color is red and Princess says her favorite is orange. Jemama's b-day is 10/8/97, Princess' is 2/2/01. Jemama likes barbies. Both girls have their ears pierced and both wanted me to tell you they are excited to see you!
The Simons Family
Diamond and Florence yelled Texas as they got their photo taken. I asked Florence, "what would you like to eat when you get home to your new family?" And she said, "whatever they're cooking." Both kids were very taken with the albums. I went over in specifics exactly who everyone was and had to explain what a cousin was. They were very excited to see a Christmas tree and a trampoline! Both Florence and Diamond are in a 4T. I would say they are exactly the same size and seem to really like one another. Diamond's birthday is 11/22/02. Florence's is 10/9/01.
Obviously I know many of you have other questions, I'm hoping to talk to Jessie more tomorrow and try and e-mail some of you personally. She spent the first part of the day trying to get passports and the second with us at the US Embassy with what turned out to be complicated paperwork that didn't need to be, we got through it fine, you will too, I think they like to give people a hard time every now and then. So more soon. Because of slowness, we are going to try and link all the pictures to a specific website and you can just click on that. Hang in there, now I know why Cheryl always says patience, it is truly a different speed here!