Saturday, March 15, 2008

Six Months Home

When Kai came home in September, he was such a tiny peanut. My bio kids were 20 pounds by the time they were six months old, so the first time I held this precious bundle in my arms, I was amazed at how tiny an 11 month old baby could be. He was a whoping 15 pounds. He has grown and changed so much in 6 months. He is now 17 months old, and weighs 21 1/2 pounds. He is walking everywhere, and tries to repeat everything the kids say. He also loves to tickle people. He says "tito, tito". When I walked out of his room last week after laying him down for bed he said, "I wub you!". He melts my heart on a daily basis. He loves anything that has to do with a ball. He especially lights up when he sees a basketball. He loves to be chased around the house, and he giggles the whole time he is trying to get away. What an incredible blessing he has been to our family.

Ellie has a smile that could light up any room. She also has an infectious laugh. She loves to be held. I had a fear prior to the kids coming home that they might not want to be touched by us. When we pick her up she wraps her arms and legs around us as tight as she can. Yeah!!! She is a petite little thing that has grown taller in the last six months, but has only gained 1 1/2 pounds. She loves to play with her siblings.

She loves to have her hair done. The extensions you see in the picture took me 10 hours to complete. She sat so still, and repeatly commented on how pretty she was.

It has been difficult to watch Ellie grieve her former life in Liberia. She has done really well adjusting to her new family. I can't fathom how hard the first 4 1/2 years of her little life have been. Nothing has been realible in her life. I hope she can one day feel secure in the fact that our family is forever. I can't say it has been a smooth road, but we are progressing everyday. I feel so blessed to be able to call her my daughter. I pray that as her parents we are able to provide exactly what she needs to grow into a confident, Jesus loving woman who loves life.

Entries from old blog

November 16
It has been ages since I have updated this. We are doing really well. The last 1 1/2 months have been so joy filled. They have also been full of doctors visits, a hospital stay, and just plain trying to get our whole family healthy.

Kai spent 5 days in the hospital where they discovered he had salmonella, and Hep. A. He is doing much better now, and is back to gaining weight. He is cruising around, and I fear :-) will soon be walking. He is back to his happy, content self, after weeks of feeling ill.

Ellie continues to bless us daily with her hugs, and smiles. She is now saying "I love you" out of the blue on her own which is such a delight to hear. Communication is continuing to emerge slowly. She tries, and sometimes I truly have no idea what she is saying. Most of the time, though, we are able to figure it out. She has spent the last month really trying to test her boundaries, and see what she is allowed, and not allowed to do.

Maddie, Noah and Owen are in full swing at school. They are all playing basketball this winter. Maddie starts tomorrow, and the boys began a couple of weeks ago. We are excited to watch them.

Please pary for Brendan and I as neither of us have felt 100% in terms of health since returning. We are both off to the doctor this evening.

Please also continue praying for Acres of Hope. It has been slow moving for families with regard to being able to obtain the appointments in a timely manner with the US Consular. There are so many families waiting, and at the rate she has been agreeing to see families, it is creating a huge bottleneck.
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October 12
Where has the time gone?
I can't believe we have been home for six weeks already! Where have the days gone. We are having so much fun as a new family.

People keep asking if it is harder than I thought it would be, and I am surprised by my response. It has actually been alot easier than we were anticipating. Everyone has gotten along well together, and each day it feels like Ellie and Kai have been here much longer than they have. Ellie has an infectious laugh, and bright smile. Each day I feel like it is getting easier to communicate with each other. I do still have a difficult time understanding some of her phrases, and she repeats it for me over and over. Sometimes, I don't get it at all. She is good at giving me a break.

Kai has gained 2 1/2 pounds!!!!! He has been sick this past week, but overall is making great strides. He is so much stronger already. He is crawling on his knees now instead of doing the army crawl. He is pulling himself up occasionally, and loves to walk with our hands. He is such a happy happy baby!

We took the kids to the international adoption clinic at the University of Minnesota a few weeks ago. It was so informative, and we are really glad we went. They treated both Ellie and Kai with malarone to try to fight off any underlying malaria that may be dormant in their systems. They did just fine with the medication.

The staff was so helpful, and answered all of our questions. They specialize in attachment with adoptive children, and recommend that noone other than our immediate family hold them or care for them for six to nine months. Although this might seem a little extreme, we feel it is the best move for our family. The nurse practioner did a great job explaining the rational behind it to us. What would make Ellie and Kai have any confidence in the fact that we are going to be their family forever? They have had nothing but trauma and changes in their short life. They have had to go to so many different caregivers to fulfill basic needs, and needs to learn that our family will do that for them. This has been somewhat difficult since so many people have been excited to hold them. We appreciate how understanding everyone has been.

We are excited for this weekend as we are having Ellie and Kai baptized. Family and friends will be gathering together to celebrate with us. Ellie's Godmother, Maria, is flying in in a couple of hours with her 3 daughters, and we are all thrilled to see them. Brendan's brother is also flying in from Washington which will be so much fun.

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September 18
Over Two Weeks Home!!
What a truly amazing experience this journey of adoption has been for our family. Kai and Ellie have enriched our lives in such incredible ways. Thank goodness God is PERSISTANT! We have been home now a little over two weeks, and yet it feels like our family has been reunited for much longer. It seems that everyone has found their groove.

I am so excited to announce that I had Kai weighed at the drs. office today because I had to pick up some paperwork, and he has gained one whole pound in the last 2 weeks. He was 16 pds and 8 ounces. Hooray!! He is changing so much everyday. He is such a happy and content baby who loves to laugh which makes the kids laugh which makes him laugh even harder. I love it. I love hearing my 8 year old who sometimes thinks he is too cool for little kids act completely goofy to make him laugh. Kai's personality reminds me alot of Owen at that age. Kai is turning one this Saturday. We are so happy that he made it here in time to celebrate together.

Ellie is opening up to all of us more and more each day. She has the cutest giggle, and infectious smile. Owen walks around the house all day saying, "Ellie say_______! She willingly parrots whatever Owen has requested of her, and he feels so important because he is helping her in learning. Maddie is the happiest big sister. She was made to be a mommy and she is in her glory helping to do anything related to her new brother and sister (she even offers to change diapers!).

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September 07
1 week
It's been nearly one week since we stepped off the plane in Minneapolis. It has been exciting to see our kids interacting with each other. . .all 5 of them! Since transitions are a process and not just a single event, it will be fun to experience the transformation of our family as we get further along. Noah, Maddie, and Owen have been so welcoming, it has really been a joy to watch their excitement at having a new brother and sister. They are verbal with what they need from us as parents as well, which is also a blessing. Maddie and Megan have time planned tomorrow to do something together. Ellie and I went out yesterday. . .Well, you get the idea. We'll keep this one short and leave you with a final thought.

Cute story for the day:
Ellie is really excited about her name. She ran around the house for a couple hours tonight saying, "Ellie Diamond Shane." Pronounced something like, "Ellie Dimo Shn."

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September 03
2nd day Home
We have been home for 2 days now, and are slowly catching up on sleep. The kids traveled so well. They either slept or played quietly. We are so elated to be back home and united as a family complete. We were met at the airport by friends and family and it was so much fun to show off our 2 new beautiful children. The baby was a bit overwhelmed by all the new faces, but they did very well. Ellie was talking with the kids by the time we got home. She was so excited to explore the house, and immediately started trying on shoes and sunglasses (which she enjoys wearing upside down).

A little sidenote story which is too cute to leave out. Our 4 year old Owen took 4 baths the day we came home. He told his grandma that he wanted to smell really good for Ellie and Kai. He picked out a dress shirt and tie, and fixed his hair all by himself. At the airport Owen said to us, "I really missed you guys. I made my bed all by myself today for you and I can put myself to bed tonight so you can put Ellie and Kai to bed." How cute is he!!!!!

Our first day we just hung out around the house. Grandma and Grandpa Shane came over to visit before they went back to South Dakota. My mom came over in the afternoon and helped with laundry while Brendan and I attempted to sleep unsuccessfully while the kids napped. Then my brother Matt and his family came over in the afternoon. We watched footage of video from Liberia, and Ellie was so excited to watch it. She got to see her friends that we stayed with at the guest house. In between we did a little swinging in the backyard as well as jumping on the trampoline.

Noah, Maddie and Owen are so enamered with their new sibs. It warms my heart to see so much love.

Today we ventured to the park with some neighbors, and played in the yard. We met some friends at DQ for a back to school treat. Ellie had her 1st ice cream sundae. She was quite frightened of it at first until she had her first bite. She ate it very slowly and thoroughly enjoyed it. We had one minor tantrum today, but it was shortlived.

Noah and Maddie start school tomorrow so it will be just Ellie, Kai, and Owen at home with mom and dad. Brendan has another 2 weeks off from work which is really going to help with the beginning stages as our family transition continues. What a joy it has been to bring these kids home!!!

August 30
Seeing the Orphanges
Today we went to see the Acres of Hope orphanages. We went to the older kids first and they sang songs for us and danced. It was a beautiful thing to watch. After that we went to the younger kids orphanage which is where both Ellie and Kai both were. After the little ones put on a show with songs and Bible verses, Ellie showed us where she slept. She was excited to be there but was in the van to leave before we were so she is ready to come home.

Kai was welcomed by his nannies who called him Bleh, Bleh. We put him in the crib he slept in and had his nannies sing to him. At first he was a little confused, but then started dancing. At both orphanages, you can tell that they are well taken care of. It is quite amazing to be on this end of the adoption process (in Liberia) and see how hard the staff works for our kids and for us.

We start the trip back tomorrow night and we are definitely ready to get home. This has been an unforgettable experience and we are so thankful that we were able to be here. Liberia is actually worse than the "3rd world country," level and the area where Ellie and Kai were living before the orphanage was the poorest in Liberia. How exciting it is to be able to take the kids from that and provide a life that can give them so many more opportunities.
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Rest Day
Yesterday was a great busy yet restful day. Ellie and I got our hair done. I will post pics later today. She sat so still. I was amazed. She is letting Brendan do a little more for her now. She still yells Momma whenever I am not within sight. She will only let me get her out of bed, dress her, etc. I know that will soon change.

Kai started antibiotics today. He is starting to cry when we walk away, however briefly, and stops immediately when we return. I am hoping this is a good sign that he is feeling more comfortable with us and starting to attach. Melodie, who works at the orphanage saw him with us yesterday, and commented that it usually takes him a long time to feel comfortable with new faces. She said he is acting completely normal with us which is good to hear.

We went to the beach last night for dinner with all the kids which was really fun. Ellie is not fond of the water!!! She is okay as long as she is held.

We will post pics later today.
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August 28
Embassy and Beach Day
Today was a great day. We started out this morning at the US Embassy for our visa appointment. It went really well. Alot of anxiety for little reason. It was really a fast appointment. We will be given the visas along with all of our paperwork right before we get on the plane. We are for sure coming home on Friday arriving on Saturday night.

Then, we did a little shopping at the market. It is really fun to barter. Then, it was off to the beach Kai didn't really care for the water. There is only cold water in the guest house (all of Liberia for that matter), and we have been boiling some water to warm it up for Kai. He takes a bucket bath, and cries in a little whimper the whole time. He doesn't enjoy it. Therefore, he was very content being held in my arms at the beach. Ellie loved the beach. She wanted to be held in the water, but she enjoyed it. She played for hours in the sand with daddy.

Ellie really got comfortable with Brendan today. She called in Papa more and more. She has such an infectious smile, and loves to giggle. She also talked to all the kids on the phone today, and they loved it.

Please keep Kai in your prayers. He has had fever since we got him. We did a malaria test tonight and it was negative. He is taking his bottles well, and really doesn't seem upset, but we want him to be healthy before we travel back home. We might start him on antibiotics tomorrow if he is still running the fever.
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August 27
Today was a good day with the kids. When we got up, Ellie was a little pensive at first, but as the day went on she was definitely Megan's shadow. If Megan was out of the room, Ellie followed. If Megan was out of sight, Ellie would start yelling, "Mama," repeatedly until she was with her. For Brendan, it took a little longer before Ellie warmed up today. We also learned that my name to her is not daddy. . .it's Papa. By nightfall, she was laughing and chasing us around the guest house. Then bedtime came. She had put something in her mouth, like kids do, and we asked her to take it out. She didn't want to so we had to take it out. She started wailing and as Brendan picked her up was swinging her legs. He held her for a minute and then Megan held her for about 5 minutes before she (Ellie) fell asleep. A long day, new faces, and a lot of commotion is a lot for adults let alone a little girl who is just trying to make sense of it all.

Kai is a little ham. He is content to just sit and cuddle with us, which is fun. He is so tiny for an 11 month old, but his spirit is huge. He has an army crawl right now and had some difficulty standing on his feet this morning. By tonight, he was standing solidly and was proud of himself. . .and of course so were we. We heard Kai's cry for the first time today as well. He did not care for his cold bath and he wasn't ready for bed tonight either, but it didn't take long for him to get to sleep.

Ellie was also able to say "Hallo" to Owen and Nana on the phone today. Owen was pretty excited!

We were able to tour the site of the new AOH orphanage that is under construction. It is beautiful!!
Our paperwork is ready for the embassy tomorrow. We are looking forward to having that experience and putting the paperwork part of this process behind us (aside from the readoption paperwork once we get back).

Tomorrow begins a new day with the kids and as time goes by, we are becoming more and more comfortable with each other. We can't wait to bring them home.
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August 26
Today was such an incredible experience. We met our two new additions at 4:30pm today. Those first moments will never be forgotten. Kai went straight into my arms, and Ellie went staight into Brendan's. Tears were flowing from Mama!!! The kids were really quiet in the first moments.

Within an hour, while Ellie and I were looking at Kai's photo album she pointed to my picture and said "Momma". Then, she quietly said, "My brodda, my cista". So cute!!! She is quickly warming up. While Brendan and I were putting the kids to bed she was laughing, and smiling for the camera. She was also starting to talk a little more.

Kai is a tiny baby. They were not kidding. He has gained weight and is up to 15 pounds, but he is still TINY!! He also was very quiet at first. I have yet to hear him cry. He cuddled right into our arms. Tonight when I was changing his diaper we were tickling him, and he was laughing. He fell asleep in my arms.

I forgot my cord for my camera to download pictures so I am using Jocelyn's camera for a few pics each day. So, currently all my smiling pics happen to be on my camera. So I will try tomorrow to get smiles on Jocelyn's camera.
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August 25
Going to Market
Today we took a trip to downtown Monrovia. We experienced the marketplace which was amazing. My friend Pamela wrote me an email a couple of nights ago to take a step back and truly experience Africa. How right she was. The sounds, smells, and surroundings are all so completely different. The market was crawling with all sorts of smells from all of the food. There were vendors and people everywhere. Water filled the streets, rain poured down, and then suddenly stopped. Little childen carried huge baskets on their heads. We bartered in the market which was really fun.

The destruction created by the long civil war is indescribible as well. Although you can see little strides here and there, the aftermath is overwheming. We went to the top of what used to be a beautiful hotel called the Ducor Palace. We were let in past security guards and were allowed to go up the stairs to the top of the hotel. I really can't think of the right words. It was a shell of a building that use to cater to the most important dignitaries in the world. It now has broken glass, gutted rooms, dirt, no handrailings, and the list goes on. From the top of the hotel we could see all of Monrovia. It was quite a sight and told the story of a country trying to rise again.

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August 24
We made it to Africa
We made it!! We touched down in Liberia at 5pm, which is noon in Minnesota. We will be seeing the kids on Monday morning. The Liberian countryside from the plane (and the drive from the airport) was beautiful. I need to keep this one short. More to come next week.

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August 23
Leaving For Africa Again Tomorrow
Hello Friends,

We found out yesterday that Ellie and Kai's birthmom was located, and the previsa appt. was Tuesday. We don't know details, but Patty said it is done so all must have gone well. Hooray!!!

Today since we were stuck here in Belgium, a group of us took a train to Paris. I can't believe I just said that. It is only 1 1/2 hours away by train. I never thought we would go there. It was breathtaking. Although we would have preferred to be in Africa, it was an okay second choice.

Our plane leaves at 10:40am and arrives in Liberia at 5:50. We will hopefully be able to meet the kids on Saturday morning. We will keep you posted!
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August 22
Stuck in Brussels
Well, we made it to Brussels yesterday and caught up on sleep, took in some sights and had a relaxing dinner. We woke up this morning ready to get to Africa and long story short, when it came time to board, they announced a technical problem with the plane (landing gear) and the flight was cancelled. Since the airline only flys to Liberia 3 days a week, we are staying in Brussels until the next flight goes out on Friday. The airline is providing meals and lodging at the Sheraton across from the airport. Please pray the flight goes out on Friday.

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August 19
1 DAY!!!!!!!
We are packed and ready to go. Maddie and Noah are playing at grandma and grandpa Shane's, and Owen is getting ready to spend time with Nana. He is getting as many last minute hugs as possible which mom so thoroughly enjoys.

Our journey begins in less than 24 hours. We will arrive in Monrovia on Wed. evening, and hopefully we will have our babies in our hands on Thursday after filling out some paperwork at the orphanage.

Please keep those prayers coming that the birthmom is found and the appt. on Tuesday goes smoothy. I can't wait to fill this blog with lots of pictures!!!!

Thanks for all the support. We really appreciate it. We feel so incredibly blessed by those who have walked this road with us thus far.
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August 16
4 Days
I can't believe that it is getting so close!!!! Our previsa interview is moved to next Tuesday, so I will post about that after we arrive in Africa. I can't believe I am actually saying that. Brendan and I did some last minute errands today, and the kids gladly stayed with our precious babysitter and friend Ana. I use to babysit her. Man I am getting old!!! Then, we were off to the pool this afternoon. Tomorrow we are going to pack up the kids, and head to our friend's house for a High School Musical 2 party. Our kids are so excited.

Maddie has been carrying around her bitty baby on her back, and setting her in Kai's highchair. She can't stop talking about having not only a longggggg awaited sister, but a baby, too. Owen has been giving me about 10 serious hugs a day with lots of I love you's. He and I have been shedding some tears together the past few days. Noah watches the calendar like a hawk. He's quick to tell us whenever he can that we would already be home by now if we left on our original dates. I know Brendan and I don't even have words to describe the anticipation, love, excitement, & nervousness we have been feeling, but it has been so much fun to watch our kids prepare for this. They have such an outpouring of love for siblings they yet to meet. :-)

I must once again throw in a truly inspirational, tear jerker video that was posted on our adoption group site yesterday. Get the kleenex ready.

God Bless you all!
Brendan and Megan
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August 14
6 Days
We are less than a week away from leaving on that plane to get our babies!!!!! WHOO HOO! Our weekend was occupied with 3 sick kids. All three at the same time. That doesn't happen very often. I posted a picture of them because they look so pathetic. This was taken right before Owen joined in the fun. He still looks happy here which quickly changed.

We are anxiously awaiting the results of Patty's meeting today with the US Consular. Donna gave us a one line update saying that it went well which is encouraging.

Brendan's last day of work was today, and now the rest of the week can be spent playing with the kids and packing!!!! :-)

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August 10
10 Days
Today has been an emotional day for all in the AOH family. As I mentioned before, the US Embassy has changed several policies in the last few weeks. They are now requiring all birth parents be found to have an interview with the US Consular before she will issue visas for our kids. This could be easy or impossible. How do you find someone who has no known address and lives out in the bush? If a birth parent has moved they could be anywhere. It is not as if they have mail service and cell phones. This could have grave impact on getting children out of the country, especially those who need medical attention. Kai (Blessing) has had such a difficult time with his health, this worries me. There are so many needs that need to be prayed for, but this is weighing most heavy on my heart since it is the only thing standing in the way of bringing our babies home.

There are 4 birth parents that need to be found by next Thursday. Please pray for this to happen. Please also pray for Patty as she is meeting with the Consular early next week.

We have all been contacting our senators, representatives, etc. Hopefully, this will have an impact. One of my AOH friends who is traveling at the same time needs to get her son home to have surgery to repair his back or he will die. Her blog is if you are interested in reading about her amazing journey.
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August 09
11 More Days
In 11 days, Brendan and I will be boarding the plane to begin our journey to Africa. Yesterday we received the orphan reports for Ellie and Kai. It was so amazing to be able to get a glimpse into their life at the orphanage, as well as learn about their personalities. I feel like I'm getting to know them after months of wondering what they are like.

Today was a successful day for us. Acres of Hope was able to get the appt with the US Embassy and the previsa investigation is scheduled for next Thursday. Please pray for success in obtaining all the necessary steps to complete this quickly. The new consular has put up so many potential roadblocks, but we pray to breeze by these.

A friend from AOH put this incredible video link on her blog called 99 red balloons, and I have to share it. What a journey! A friend of ours has a brother who's baby was just diagnosed with this same syndrome. What a difficult thing to have to endure.

The Shane's
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August 07
13 Days
Our God acts on/through those who wait on Him.
We are so blessed to have such supportive friends. Tonight as I was reading my email, I came across scripture that a friend so thoughtfully wrote to encourage us. I thought I would post it since we all have things in life we are anxiously awaiting answers for. God has filled my heart with peace to overtake my anxiety from last week. I know it will all be over when I am holding my new babies in my arms. He is my strength during this process. He is in charge, and I need not lose sight of that.
Isaiah 40:28-35 Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth Does not become weary or tired His understanding is inscrutable. He gives strength to the weary, And to him who lacks might He increases power. Though youths grow weary and tired, And vigorous young men stumble badly, Yet those who wait for the LORD Will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary.
*Waiting is more than just doing nothing! Waiting is an inner expectancy a contentment and commitment to be with God and receive from Him.
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August 06
14 Days
Today was a lazy summer day with the kids. All of our sports and activities for the summer have ended, and we spent the morning in our pajamas. I took part of the morning to start working on Ellie and Kai's scrapbooks with their orphanage pictures. It was alot of fun, and I am excited to work on it tomorrow as well. Noah was helping me by cutting out lettering. I am going to have the kids write letters to the kids about what it was like for them to wait for their brother and sister to come home.

I felt alot more peaceful today. I know that this is God's plan, and it will happen according to His plan, not ours.

Another friend of mine sent me this passage today from Isaiah so I thought I would pass it along.

Don't worry because I am with you. Don't be afraid, because I am your God. I will make you strong and will help you; I will support you with my right hand that saves you....I am the Lord your God, who holds your right hand, and I tell you, "Don't be afraid I will help you."
Isaiah 41: 10,13
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August 05
15 Days
Oh, this weekend has gone fast! Praise God for that!

My friend Angie sent me an email with one of my favorite song's last week. She adopted a little girl from Korea who is now 2 years old. I tried to get this on the blog, but can't figure it out so here is the link. The song is titled "When Love Takes You In" by Steven Curtis Chapman. It was at his concert almost 3 years ago listening to this song that Brendan and I looked at each other both with tears in our eyes. We came home that night and started talking more seriously about someday potentially adopting from Africa. Maddie, Owen, and I sat on my bed together last Thursday watched the video and had a good cry. They gave their mom lots of needed hugs. They are so sweet, and excited, and frustrated (with the delay).

Tonight we went downtown Minneapolis with the kids to see the damage from the bridge collapse. Wow! Such devestation! It was difficult to see, but I'm glad we did. The kids asked alot of good questions. After they saw the coverage on T.V. we thought it might make more sense to the kids to be able to see it. They are nervous and talking about bridges alot. Angie also sent me this verse which I keep reminding myself of when thinking of what has transpired in the last week.

For nothing is impossible with God. - Luke 1:37

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August 04
We want to thank everyone who has given us encouraging words in the past few days. Although it is very disappointing that we don't get to leave on Thursday, we are feeling better today after getting our tickets worked out yesterday. The kids are so sad, but it will seem like a little bump after the kids are in our arms in our home. What an undescribable feeling it will be to have our family together at last.

We will be leaving Aug. 20 and returning Aug. 31st. We extended it by a week to hopefully eliminate any need to change the tickets while we are there. Although we know that is still a possibility. We will be meeting up with Donna (who is our contact at AOH), and Jocelyn (who is such an inspiring adoptive mom who is adopting a 7 year old boy with a serious medical condition where his spine is severly twisted and will need intensive surgery to correct it right away) in Brussels. We will be flying into Liberia together which eases my mind to go through the airport with experienced people. We are also traveling with another familly from MN whom I have been able to speak with several times. I am excited to be able to go on this journey with these women!!! Donna, and another adoptive mom are traveling to escort some kiddos home.

Please keep those prayers coming to soften the consular's heart. She could make things very difficult for us while we are there. Another family in country right now was unable to be seen this week, and has to wait until next Thursday. UGGG!

God was watching out for me yesterday. My mom was previously planning on taking my kids to her friend's house yesterday who lives on Prior lake to play in the water so I could get some last minute stuff done. She called in the morning to see if I still wanted her to take them given the fact that things had changed. The stress level at our house was pretty high. I told my mom, "YES, PLEASE TAKE THEM!" The kids had a wonderful time, and I was able to spend time with a dear friend of mine yesterday who is in town for our 15 year high school reunion which is today. He is such a blessing in my life, and yesterday was no exception. He knows me so well, and is such a great listener. I had the whole day to myself, and topped it off by going to a chick flick with my mom. It was beautiful.

Brendan also was able to decompress a little bit yesterday. He had delegated all of his duties at work, and was ready to leave. He now has to gear back up for another week and a half, and then plan for a month off. That is a long time to be away from his positionn. He spent the morning at work distracted and frustrated. His boss told him to go home, and do a little work from there if he was able. So, he did a little work, and we had some quiet time together before the kiddos arrived back home. (Maddie arrived back home with a fever of 104).

My kids, minus Maddie (the sick one) and me, are celebrating with my niece Abby who is having her 4th birthday party today!

I know that none of these circumstances are a surprise to God. He is in control!!!
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August 01
8 DAYS and Stressed!
I can't believe that a week from tomorrow we will be boarding a plane on our way to Africa. We are so excited, and now a little stressed. Due to a change in position with the US Embassy's Consular's office, our return dates may be delayed. The consular who issues visa's for the kids to leave the country has completely changed the process, and will not budge. She is only allowing Acres of Hope to go to the Embassy one time a week. This will slow down the adoption process tremendously for those who are not as far into the process.

Please pray for her to soften her attitude toward adoption in Liberia. Although other agencies there have had trouble, Acres of Hope has had none. Please pray that next Thursday when Patty, who runs Acres of Hope, sits down with the Consular that she is able to take that information into account.

Acres of Hope is such a wonderful agency, and they work so hard for our kiddos. Please pray for them during this frustrating process.

We know God is in control of this situation. We will be meeting our babies in a couple of days, and that is truly amazing!!! Our kids here will be well cared for! We are totally okay with it, but just pray we don't have to be away longer than a week.

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July 29
11 More Days!!
Well, only 11 more days until we take off for Liberia. The anticipation of the trip and meeting our children is both exciting and nerve racking all at the same time. It's going to be so great to finally see the kids in person and bring them home. Our current children are excited and have the count down calendar up on the wall so they can check off each day until their brother and sister are here. I know that 11 days will go quickly, but it feels like there is so much to do to be completely ready to be out of the country and off of work for an extended period of time. We know that our current children will be well taken care of while we are gone and for that I can breathe easier. I'm not quite sure what to expect when we get to AOH, but God is good and his guidance through this process so far has been very calming. I am just getting ancy to get there. Whenever I start down that path, I am reminded to. . .Be still and know that he is God. I pray that the kids are healthy and safe and that God is preparing them as he has prepared us.

July 25
Entries From Old Blog

Jul 23rd, 2007 by Megan Edit

Hi, this is Noah. It is 16 more days until my mom and dad leave to pick up my new brother and sister. I have made the time go by faster by playing baseball, hockey, football, and soccer. I have also played at the pool with friends.
I am excited to meet Ellie and Kai. I am really good at making little kids laugh. I am excited to hear how Eliana talks with her accent. I am looking forward to giving the kids a hug.
I get to stay up very late, and I’m going to go to the airport the night my mom and dad get home. I get to have a sleepover with my friend Tori while my mom and dad are in Africa. My grandma and grandpa are going to take care of us the rest of the time.
It was Ellie’s 4th birthday on July 14th. My mom made chocolate pie for breakfast, and we sang happy birthday to her. We held her picture for a picture so she can see it when she gets here.
At the top is a picture of me before I got my haircut!!! Now it is short again. I think I look like a mushroom. I will put a picture of my mushroom head later.
I love you Ellie and Kai! I pray that you are healthy, happy, and have enough food to eat every day and night.
Love, Noah
Prayers Please
Jul 8th, 2007 by Megan Edit
Kai (Blessing’s) malaria is better, but he has struggled with his weight since entering the orphanage. Having malaria twice certainly hasn’t helped. He is 9 1/2 months right now, and his weight is down to 12 pounds. He has lost 3 pds since Feb. when his weight was 15 pounds. We are awaiting the pre-visa interview which is scheduled for July 19th. When that is complete we can travel. Please pray that he stay healthy until we get there. Ellie (Diamond) is doing very well!!!!!
Our time to pick up our new babies is so close. The kids can’t stop talking about it. We are so ready, and excited to begin this new part of out lives. Our family is almost complete.
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Jun 25th, 2007 by Megan Edit
We received another email tonight from Donna that Blessing (Kai) has malaria again. Donna said he has had a hard transition at the orphanage with his health. This is the second bout of malaria, and he has had a difficult time gaining weight. Donna is going to try and find out his current weight for me tomorrow.
Please pray that he gets over this quickly, and doesn’t lose too much weight. We should be hearing from Donna this week with our pre-visa interview appointment. Pray that we travel quickly to get Kai home and healthy. The latest we should be going is mid-August. Hopefully, it will be a little sooner.
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Jun 13th, 2007 by Megan Edit
We received yet another amazing call tonight saying that Ellie and Kai have received their passports. We are one small step away from booking our tickets to travel. In the next couple of weeks we will get a call saying the pre visa interview is set, and then we can go. Yeah!!!!!!!!!!!!! We are jumping up and down at our house! Yeah God!!!
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May 30th, 2007 by Megan Edit

all smiles growing so fast

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May 30th, 2007 by Megan Edit
We received a phone call this morning that the kiddos are officially ours. The adoption is final. The next call we are hoping to receive shortly is that the passports have been approved. We are hoping to travel either late July or August. I told Brendan last week that I really thought we would be finding out before June. How exciting that that actually happened. Please keep praying that the process continues to move ahead smoothly. We feel really blessed to be working with Acres of Hope. It has been a really positive experience thus far.
We feel so blessed to have such incredibly supportive friends and family. We have felt supported in prayer throughout. We are so thankful for each and every one of you.
Brendan and Megan
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Apr 26th, 2007 by Megan Edit

Ellie’s Beautiful Smile Kai’s 1st Teeth
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Apr 26th, 2007 by Megan Edit

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The Waiting Continues
Apr 26th, 2007 by Megan Edit
Boy, this process has seemed to both fly by, and stand still. It is hard to know you have babies on the other side of the world, and not be able to tuck them in at night. Right now our paperwork is in the Liberian court system, and our adoption should be complete in May/June. Then, they apply for passports, and in another 6-8 weeks, Brendan and I should be on our way to pick them up.
Kai Blessing was in the hospital about 2 weeks ago discharged last week. He had both malaria, and pnemonia. He is a strong baby, and acres of hope said he is doing well. They said he cried alot. Poor baby! Please keep him in your continued prayers.
Eliana Diamond is adjusting well to the orphanage. We received a picture last week of her smiling which was so good to see. I can’t wait to talk to her, and hold her in my arms.
For now, no news is good news because that means they are both healthy!!!!
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Our Adoption Story
Mar 5th, 2007 by Megan Edit
Hello Family and Friends,
We wanted to create a way that we could keep you updated on where we are at in our adoption process. We are so elated we have received our referral, and are eagerly awaiting more information after the women from our agency return from Liberia regarding Eliana (Diamond) and Kai (Blessing). Until we learn more about where we will end, we want to take a step backward and tell you how we got started. . .
There is an old saying that tells us that God works in mysterious ways. Well, you could say that this phrase defines our story. For us, adoption has always been a normal part of every day life. We both have siblings that were adopted from Korea. We have family members who have adopted. We both work in a career that allows us to speak with people who have experienced all aspects of adoption. We have friends who have adopted or were adopted themselves. I guess God has been trying to get our attention for quite some time, but we weren’t ready to listen until now. As Owen once said, “you need to listen louder.” We can learn so much from our children. . .here is our story about how we were able to listen louder.
I came home one day last November and found a magazine lying open. At first I didn’t think anything of it, but when I saw what it was about, I knew it hadn’t fallen open to that page by accident. It was a story about a community in Charlotte, NC that had adopted over 3o children from orphanages in Liberia, West Africa. In particular, the story was about a boys choir who had been travelling through the U.S while at the same time, the civil war still raged in Liberia (since 1989) killing hundreds of thousands of people, leaving the country with a life expectancy of 46 and an unemployment rate of 80%. While the boys choir was touring, their orphanage back in Liberia was wiped out by rebels. Reading this story was gripping. As I finished, Megan came into the room and told me that she had heard the main participants of the story speak at Hearts at Home that weekend. Hearts at Home is an annual Mother’s weekend away that Megan takes with some friends to Rochester, MN. It is a great weekend for her to get away and relax in a Christian environment listening to speakers talk about marriage, raising children, and reminding mom’s how to take the breaks they so deserve. So it was at this conference that God started working in Megan and subsequently in me.
When people ask why Africa, we respond by saying, “we have always had a heart for Africa.” When people ask why Liberia, we talk about the conference and the article. When people ask why we would adopt when we have 3 children already, our story continues. . .
We have learned that God is persistent in getting our attention and that he works through others in such a way that he can not be ignored. Our experiences start with Megan getting an African Angel Willow Tree Ornament for Christmas from my parents. This gift had been bought and wrapped prior to us telling them about the adoption. When we asked how they came about choosing that angel, they said, “it just seemed to call out to us.” Another experience occurred the day I had my heart surgery. I was getting prepped by a nursing assistant who was from Liberia. Megan was able to talk at length with her that day about our plan to adopt.
We know that we are far from ending this adoption journey, and ask for your prayers as we continue to listen louder.
The Shane’s