Monday, September 13, 2010


I haven't posted in a while because there has been a lot going on emotionally and I didn't know how or what I was allowed to share! BUT FINALLY! After many many months, we received a lovely email from the Embassy stating...

Ms. Gibbs,

Thank you for your email dated on Sept 6. We wish to inform you that your son's adoption investigation is completed and his visa is ready to be PRINTED!!!!!!!!

So today, our POA is taking S boy's passport to the Embassy so his visa can be printed on Friday.

I do have to tell you that the experience in finding out that our boy is coming home after many months of "fighting" for him, praying for him, missing him - was unlike any experience I have ever had. It was much more "emotional" than the birth of our daughter - not because I love him more, or wasn't excited for Adalee to be born (I was in labor for 36 hours - I was MORE than ready!!) it was just different.

I have felt in "bondage" not knowing when or if my boy was ever going to come home. I felt like my heart had to constantly be guarded because we'd get these little glimpses of "hope" and then nothing. I was having to have other people carry me in prayer, because my soul was exhausted of praying continually. But when I opened up that little email and read those words- Jesse told me that I reacted in a way that a mom who just found out that her kidnapped son was alive - and not hurt and that he was coming home. NOW, Sammy was NEVER kidnapped! He was never in any danger and ALWAYS taken care of. But it was this huge weight lifted and the walls of my guarded heart were broken down - I could feel all that love rushing over me and it caused me to physically shake uncontrollably and weep like I've never cried before. God's spirit was ever so near reminding me that what he started, he is bringing to completion.

God, you are SO good and YOU stay faithful, even when we question.

Now, I'm praying for all the other families who have been waiting for thier child(ren)'s visas. Lord, bring good news for them this week too!!

Monday, June 7, 2010

April 18, 2010

Samuel Jesse Gibbs became ours at 9:30a on Friday, April who knows.... haha. Every day kind of runs together. But HE IS OUR FOREVER SON!!

Quick recap - don't have too long....
1) Sammy's birth-mom was so nervous during court - she wanted him to become ours just as much as we did.

2) We visited his village - just like you picture - the clay huts with grass tops, many people came to greet us - the whole village, his whole family. They were so PROUD that THEIR grandson, great-grandson, son, nephew, etc was now an AMERICAN BOY! We got to spend time with them and were humbled by their generosity and kindness. Before we left - they wanted to give US a gift- from this very poor village, all the grown men were chasing a chicken to give to us (worth almost $30 USD - more than 2 months worth of income for them). It was quite comical watching them all run around trying to catch a chicken - which we HAD to take. I was kind of praying that they wouldn't hand ME the live chicken, but was ready for it. =) (but they didn't - they just put it in the trunk - alive w/ the legs tied...)

3) we had a 20 hr bus ride - those are always fun. We had to change buses unexpectedly half way through and the funny part was, as they were unloading all our luggage, here came over 30 goats (alive) from the luggage bins too - they unloaded them all and reloaded them all into 1 big 15 passenger van after they took out all the seats....maybe it was the lack of sleep, but it was about the funniest thing I've seen in my life.

4) I hit a Ghanaian man - a grown man. During the middle of the night - at one of the scheduled bathroom stops, a group of Ghanaians asked "obruni (white person) is this your child. And I answered yes. This whole time, the response that we have gotten is - "AWWWW, so great, an American boy..." but this time we got - "NO, he's NOT your son. You cannot buy this boy - he is OURS, you can't take him" and then a grown man grabbed Sammy who was in my arms and I decked him... and Jesse just looked stunned that he didn't even have to do anything - I really did beat him to the punch. Then we got right back on the bus (and I cried like a big baby!)

5) We went swimming with our son today - his very first time and he loved it... attachment is going great with all of us now. He is definitely strong willed, but so sweet. And he's sleeping right next to me as I write this. =)


April 15, 2010

Well, it is Africa and I should be okay with the change in plans - court not happening today. We woke up early this morning, put on our 1 nice outfit that each of us had, got in a taxi and headed to court with the other American family and Sammy and Andreala's foster dad, P.

When we arrived, our social worker arrived with Sammy's birth mom. She is beautiful. Young, long braids, and quiet speaking. She walked over and saw Sammy. Greeted us and Sammy reached for her. She held him for about 15 seconds and then told him as she pointed to me, "Sammy - go to your mama," and she handed him back. She immediately had to walk away (and I can only imagine because her heart was breaking). My heart was breaking for her... I lost it. But it's unacceptable to cry in public here. We will have much more time with her tomorrow when we visit her village. We were warned to keep minimum contact with the birth moms because they can always change their mind until after court. (this we didn't know - but from now on, it won't be like that anymore.) Our social worker did say that both moms (Sammy's and Andreala's - the other little girl of our new American friends) are very dedicated to having their children adopted. But there is always a fear, I think natural on our part.

We all then walked into the courtroom. There were many many Ghanaians waiting for their time in court - we were all in one HOT room (and they don't wear deodorant). Of course my little Sammy threw a fit and so I excused myself to comfort him in the hall. A judge approached me and said, "Are you hear for your case today? An adoption case? Is this Samuel?... I will see you tomorrow morning at 8a. I'm sorry for the delay."

I then went into the court room and found our lawyer and social worker and they confirmed the change in court date. The judge had brought home our file to read last night but left it at his home this morning without having the chance to read it...haha!

So, tomorrow we will go to court at 8a in the same clothes we went in today and God-willing have the decree by tomorrow. The judge did tell us that we will have the adoption decree by the end of the day tomorrow. But worse case scenario, if the adoption decree doesn't come until Monday - then J (our social worker) will stay here in Bolga and then gather the decrees so that us families may go back to Accra (big city where there is actually something to do) and so Jesse CAN catch his flight on Monday.

Today has been good b/t Jesse and Sammy. Sammy called him Daddy many times and kept saying, "Daddy, I love you!" He followed Jesse everywhere. We did a late birthday celebration again today where we sang happy birthday to him and it embarrassed him so bad that he "lost" it for about an hour. He's actually with his foster dad right now, recovering. =)

Thanks again guys so much for all your prayers and encouraging notes. We love you very much! Hopefully when I write to you next, Sammy will be Samuel GIBBS! Our forever son.


April 14, 2010

It's so good to hear encouragement from everyone and just knowing that we're lifted up in prayer makes ALL the difference. Because I only have limited time to use the computer - I can only write 1 email - but I promise we LOVE all your emails - so keep them coming! And really, we love each of you - and somehow feel so much more bonded to you through this process.

Lets pick some highlights!

1) It's Sammy's 2nd birthday today! We celebrated with frozen yogurt, a slinky, bubbles, playdoh, and a book. It was so much fun - although birthdays aren't really celebrated over here, but he felt really special today, I hope!

2) After Sammy's nap yesterday - a new boy in his attachment to his forever daddy. He let Jesse hold him, feed him, play with him. And today, he called him dad and followed him around when he left the room. It's not perfect yet, but a LOT better. It made Jesse feel really great and gave me a much needed break. It's really something holding a 2 year old ALL day when it's 115 degrees outside.

3) Peer PRESSURE - I did it mom and dad, sorry! It was SHEER TERROR and I hated it. But, I really did hold a live crocodile's tail (touch is more like it) and Jesse sat on it. HUGE Ghanaian tradition and supposedly no one has ever gotten hurt visiting this lake with over 200 crocs living in it. Pictures to come. This is my agent's computer so I only have the pics she takes of us.

4) Court is tomorrow and we meet Sammy's birth mom tomorrow. We will also visit his village either tomorrow or Friday where we get to meet all his extended family. We're really looking forward to time with his birth family.

5) We learned that our boy is SPOILED even by Ghanaian standards. His foster dad LOVES him and favors him over all the other children - hmmmm... sorry little boy, but the word NO does exist in your American home. We (Sammy) has thrown his fair share of HUGE fits. =)

Prayers we could use: That court would HAPPEN tomorrow - it should. That his birth mom would welcome our conversations with her/video and pics of her. That Sammy would continue to bond w/ both Jes and I and that God would use us while we're here to do HIS work. And for Adalee, that she would continue to do well! (We got to talk to her last night and it was so good!)
Much love,

April 12, 2010

Dear family and friends!

We're now in Bolgatonga, the place where we will have court. Haha...what an interesting journey to get here. Some of this has felt like I'm on the Amazing Race from the crazy first bus ride to Kamasi to then wait for a bus to Bolgatonga, to the peeing in a shower like stall with no ventalation or anything to catch your pee - literally, you went on the ground while standing in other's urine (I would call this my road block if I were on the amazing race) The things we do for our children! We're very spoiled Americans. On the bus to Bolgatonga rode with us about 80 Ghanaian people, chickens - live and clucking, boxes, mattresses,etc. Let me remind you that this bus was like a school bus - not nice, no ac, and when Ghanaians get hot and bothered with someone - they yell! So, very very loud at some parts on this 8 hour bus trip. BUT, remarkably, Sammy did wonderful - just sat there and slept or played with some books Nana and Pops got him, or stacking cups that we brought along. The difference in American kids and Ghanaian kids... (or maybe just my two - I don't think Adalee would have sat there all quiet for the 13 hour total bus ride??)

Now Sammy is understanding more of whom exactly we are. At first I think he just thought we were special visitors that he has been waiting on, coming to show him special attention - but now, he's kind of "over it." I'm so glad his foster dad, Paul, is also with us - it's helping with the transition A LOT. Sammy's attachment to me seems so flawless and wonderful - he calls me mama and only wants me over everyone else, except Paul - he likes us both equally. However, his attachment with Jesse has taken a turn. We were fully aware that this would happen (probably) and kind of wanted it to - because it would show his HUGE attachment to Paul and that when he gets attached - it's a good one. If Sammy had had no issues with Jes or I and willingly came to both of us and was content with anyone - that's when you begin to wonder if there could be potential attachment issues - "could he ever be attached to ONE mama and daddy." So poor Jesse is taking the "hit for the team." Sammy, starting last night, began to refuse to even be around Jesse - turned his face away from him - cried at the top of his lungs when Jes held him. But, A had explained that there is some "loyalty" issues going on there too. Sammy is really attached to P and he might feel that if he begins to let himself become attached to Jesse, that would mean he would lose his "daddy P." It is really hard on this little boy - so much happening so fast. All that to say, his attachment today was a little better at breakfast. He would let Jesse feed him, he actually sat on his lap, and would share food with his new daddy - and even called him da. (maybe he's holding on to that "ddy" until he's for sure about jes?!)

We met with our attorney yesterday (after not having any sleep for over 40 hours - the fun bus ride experience and waiting time) and I'm sure he thought - those crazy smelly Americans. But, nonetheless was very nice. We will have our case tried on Thursday. Please pray for a morning time - we will not know if the judge will want to see us BEFORE or AFTER his regular cases - we're praying for BEFORE.

I want to thank you SO much for updating me on Adalee - it makes me smile so much to hear that she is doing GREAT! I really do look forward to all those updates! I love hearing updates even if you're not keeping her, but see her. So THANK YOU everyone. God is really giving me peace about being away from her. I'm really learning to trust THIS child with God. I really can't imagine how we would do this trip with her - there's really NO way - from the traveling, to the food, to the 115 degree weather. So, that is giving me a little peace, knowing that even IF we could have brought her, it wouldn't be the best for her.

I love you all so much - and we couldn't do this without your support and prayer. Oh, and another prayer request: Please pray that we (Jes and I, our social worker, agency, lawyer, the other family that we're with) are given wisdom to know if when we leave Bolgatonga if we should also leave Sammy and his foster sister Zoe here as well in foster care. This is a tough decision because it now looks like the kids need to have court where they were born (and now possibly have to reside here as well until the immigration is approved?). We DO NOT want this to be the case, because it can be traumatic for the kids to have ANOTHER set of caretakers (even if only for a month or 2). There is a family willing to take Sammy and Zoe and we'll be able, with our agency to "interview" them... so I guess that's good? But, at the same time, we do not want the embassy to tell us that we did this adoption wrong and now have to try the case all over again and have the kids move up to Bolgatonga and have to come back a 2nd time for court... "Lord, please show us the way."

Love you much,

April 14, 2010

Pictures of J and I meeting S for the first time!
Oops - they're in reverse order - look from bottom to top! =)

April 10, 2010

Dear family and friends,

I'm writing this update as we are riding on a bus to Bolga! We've had such an amazing JOURNEY thus far, and man - I've never been this "easy going" in my life! I have really had to learn the Ghana time around here.

We have met Sammy and he is absolutely wonderful! He saw me and immediately called me Mama. And Jesse - man, Sammy LOVES his daddy! He still calls his foster dad,P(first letter of his name - privacy!), his "Ghana Daddy" but Jesse his Daddy. He ran and showed us his family book we sent him when we got there and pointed to each of our pictures and said - Mama, Daddy, and Addie! He is so amazing. Much smaller than I realized - much smaller than Adalee (taller though). And what a cuddle bug. It wasn't until we saw him in person that I knew how "rough" his little body has had it. Before he came to Paul, 5 months ago, he was malnourished - but by OUR standards, not Ghana's. We see this in his thin hair and skinny little body, but his hair should start growing in thicker as his nutrition continues to improve. He also has a little heat rash that should calm down as he is in air conditioning with us this week. All this to say, I can't wait for him to come home so that we can start taking care of his little body even more so than his wonderful foster family. They are truly doing a great job with him.

We love seeing all the orphans here, they love us white mommys and daddys! It has really opened my eyes to the true need of families for all these children Mom and Dad - I have a little 14 year old picked out for you! She's wonderful. =) I even asked Jesse if we could come back and start our own orphanage - but he told me he wants to finish Fuller first! =) I'm still working on him though...

We did find out that Sammy won't be able to come home with us this trip because NOW the birth families have to have ANOTHER interview with the embassy when we file our immigration paperwork, however the birth mom has to have a picture ID to get into the embassy, which no one has here. We will be able to pay for Sammy's birth mom's photo id, but it will take an extra 1-2 weeks to get that id and then for her to have the interview w/ a dna test. I'm not exactly sure how I'm going to leave him.

Back to right now - so we're on this bus on a huge dirt road with potholes the size of a person and rocks that are HUGE. I think we maybe going 5 mph and I think we have 5 more hours to go to switch busses to finish taking us to Bolga. What a ride. Oh, and have I mentioned that we waited over 8 hours for this bus?! I'm just so thankful that we are here with our agency who knows what they are doing and another family whom we've really grown to love.

It's so serial to be finishing this email sitting next to my sleeping son on his new daddy! I hope that I will be able to send you "proof" of this beautiful boy (via picture) very soon! Please pray for a quick court process, that Jesse does get to make his flight, and why not - let's still pray for a miracle - somehow my little boy would get to come home with me still! And please continue to pray for my little girl at home - this mama is having huge separation anxiety and missing her so much! Thank you all for loving on her while we're loving on her "bubba." I know that she is taken great care of.

Love you all,

April 3, 2010

Dear Family and Friends,

We are getting ready to go meet our son in 4 days! This trip was unexpected, but definitely a blessing. As laws changed in Ghana a couple of weeks ago, Jesse and I are now expected to be in court while the adoption trial takes place. This will be a great experience for us as we get to not only be with Sammy, but see where he was born (in Bolga), and spend an extended period of time with Sammy's birth mom - something we have been praying for. We will also complete our adoption in Ghana, whereas before, we would have had to come back to the US to complete it. This will be a LONG trip for us (Jesse 2 weeks and myself at least 2 1/2 weeks, possibly more depending on "African timing")

There is a slight possibility that we will get to bring Sammy home with us this trip, but God will really have to have HIS HAND upon the whole process and it will have to be HIS TIMING if Sammy were to fly home with us (I would have to extend my trip by a couple of weeks probably). So, please pray for that. =) If he doesn't return home with us this trip, it will only be a matter of a weeks after I return before he is able to come home (via I go get him, or he is escorted - to be determined)

Also, please include Adalee in your prayers as well as us, for she will not be able to make the trip with us due to her age. This will be the first time Jesse and I have left her, ever! I'm not going to lie - there is severe separation anxiety on my part. But, Adalee will be with family and friends who love her very much, and whom she loves in return! I am confident that the Lord will sustain her while we're gone, but I would greatly appreciate prayer for peace for my heart as I already miss her, and yet I haven't even left yet.

J and B