SugarHouse Mama

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Cute Pics of Ajua!

Lois just emailed me these pics and I just HAD to post them ASAP.

Oh man! I miss her soooo much!

She would laugh so hard when I "ate" her neck. It was so funny.

This picture is just so Sarah. A woman at the guest house put "black" on her eyebrows. She felt so glamorous...I don't think Gloria approved very much.

Here is Gloria, Kingsley's wife, carrying Ajua around on her back. Kingsley and I were out taking care of paperwork, we left Lois and Ajua at the school with Gloria.

Older Orphans

Here are the pictures of the older orphans who live with Kingsley.

I love, love, love Ebenezer, Patience, and Dorothy. I was able to spend some time with them and they are just the best kids ever! They are so helpful and so kind. Actually, it seems that all the children are helpful and kind. I guess my favoritism leans simply to those I spent the most time with. Typical.

Anyway, if we were old enough (Ghana law requires that adoptive parents must be 20 years older than the child they are adopting) Ebenezer would top my list. He was so awesome with the other children - he always took Ajua away to play when we were leaving so she wouldn't be too upset. And boy does he love soccer!

Sandra, 11 years
Dorothy, 8 years
Paul, 9 years
Vida, 11 years
Mary, 10 years

Elizabeth, 13 years
Ebenezer, 14 years
Enoch, 15 years
Edward, 12 years
Patience, 11 years

Dollhouse Frock GIVEAWAY !!!!!!!

Dollhouse Frock GIVEAWAY !!!!!!!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

What Happens in Ghana

So for all of you who have been's the story about our adoption fiasco in Ghana.

It's been hard getting myself to the computer to write this out. It's still painful for me :(

Anyway, our lawyer told us we would have our adoption decree when we arrived on the 9th. (Actually, we were told they would probably have it around the 4th).

We arrived in Ghana to find no decree. Not only that, the lawyer didn't have ANY paperwork from the social welfare worker in Ghana. It turns out the report was (hand) written, and the SWW's secretary just decided she wasn't going to come into work for about 2 weeks. So it was sitting there waiting to be typed.

After volunteering my services to type up the report, things got moving. It finally became clear to the SWW and the lawyer that we meant business and we needed to hurry if we were going to make our flight back home.

We were sent on long, wild goose chases for paperwork, we had numerous meetings that went nowhere, and we blew out 3 tires. At the end of it all, we finally had a court date (2 weeks into our stay).

The judge hearing our case was new. The lawyer is of the opinion that he has never done an adoption before. Our hearing, according to the lawyer, was a big mess and nothing went 'the normal way'. Our judge told us to come back in November and he would give us our decree.

Everyone (lawyer, SWW, Kingsley, and myself) consulted and agreed we should re-file with a different court. The lawyer knows another judge who can get it all done quickly. I met the judge, informally, at the lawyer's office. Once that was decided, I made arrangements to fly back home a few days later. Our lawyer said if I stayed they could have it done in 2-3 weeks, but I just couldn't stay another month. I needed to get back to work.

So my return was empty-handed, sad, and painful.

Ajua wouldn't kiss me goodbye. She was very mad that I was leaving her behind. In fact, Kingsley said whenever I am brought up, she says she is angry with me.

lol. Am I crazy to think that is cute? It doesn't really upset me. I figure it's a god sign that she cares about me and is bonded to me. Really, it would be a lot worse if she didn't care one iota that I left. That would be sad.

So I am home. The house feels quiet and looks lonely....

Oh, and due to the market fiasco that happened while I was gone, all those clients I was eager to get back to have decided to wait a bit. They are just sure home prices will come down some more and want to wait about a month. Awesome. I need to pay for another plane ticket, here people!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

One for Jenifer

Ok Jenifer, here's an AWESOME picture of Mathilda.

She was, uh-hem, trying to eat her flip-flop. Gloria, Kingsley, Lois and I (pretty much in unison) went rushing to her to take it out of her mouth. The rushing was, of course, accompanied by some yelling & etc.

Mathilda was so angry with us for taking her shoe away. She started crying. Don't take this the wrong way, but her little fit was awesome. lol. It was one of the funniest things I've ever seen....

So I took a picture. It doesn't happen often, but when she cries, this is what it looks like:

For the record, I'm laughing right now.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Precious is Precious

So this is Ajua's little orphan friend, Precious. She is 4 years old and lives up to her name for sure!

Any takers???

Here's Precious and little Ajua. Ajua quickly became accustomed to a camera in her face. She actually started waving to the camera. Cute!

She wasn't quite sure why I kept taking her picture. lol. Do you get the feeling she's thinking, get it over with already, lady in this one? I do.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Junior and Ajua

Junior and Ajua were singing some song (not English, sorry), dancing, and then jumping down onto the sleeping pads. It was so cute, I took a couple videos. Of course, they weren't as cute when I brought out the camera, but whatever.

You can get a little feel for her personality in these. She loves to play and is instantly happy when singing songs and dancing around. She is going to LOVE Kindermusic. I can't wait!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

See Jean Ride

Jean, Kingsley's oldest daughter enjoyed the rare pleasure of riding a bike today.

A man and his bike showed up briefly at the school today...not really sure why. He was very accommodating as all the orphans rode the bike around. A few minutes after this video, the children asked if I knew how to ride a bike....

"Oh please," I said as I hiked up my skirt and took hold of the handle bars. I will admit that it is a little scary riding a bike on rough terrain in a skirt. But I showed them my biking prowess still the same.

Lois said Ajua was laughing as she watched me ride the bike. See how ridiculous it is! Mommy riding a bike! What a joke. She sure looks funny!

I just wish I had a video of me riding and Ajua laughing....

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Lois is...

Lois is....well I don't exactly know what Lois is doing. Trying to play a game with the children or something....

OMG! Sarah is SHARING!

Ok. So I really love Sarah, but she has a little problem with sharing. Ummmm, correction, a BIG problem. It's actually a little bit funny.

I mentioned before how upset she would get if other children came up to me and crowded her out. Anyway, she's not so good at sharing with other people.

So I was completely surprised when we arrived at the school in the afternoon and I looked behind me to find her and....she had pulled out her lunch, sat down with a little friend, and was SHARING!

She came toddling up to me with the request, "Nsu?" (water?). I gave her a bottle and she promptly returned to her friend and gave the bottle to her.

So. She does know how to share and is quite good at looking out for the interests of others - as long as it's on her own terms, I guess.

Here's proof: (Robert will be especially skeptical of this claim that Sarah can share)

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

A Visit from Richard

I met Richard when I was teachign in Ghana 5 years ago. I sent him an email, letting him know I would be around and how to reach me.

He surprised us with a visit. He was looking forward to meeting Robert, but unfortuantely Robert flew out this morning. Too bad they just missed each other.

We visited for a little bit, and he gave me a gift to pass on to Robert. I think Robert will enjoy displaying it at his office!

It was nice to meet up with him and catch up.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Real Estate Business in Ghana

I just HAD to snap a picture of this real estate office in Ghana. lol. I thought it was so funny! Hey boss, no need to stress about office space and leases. Let's just throw up a shack on the side of the road. The hand painted sign is a VERY professional touch. ;)

Random Pictures and Video

So here we are. One week into our trip to Ghana and we still have not filed our court paperwork. It's looking like I will need to extend my stay another week...

The biggest problem is that it takes all day to get one thing done here. There is so much driving involved - just to see if an office has a form. When they don't, you have to drive somewhere else. Nothing is online (most offices don't even have internet), nothing is filed and stored, nothing is simple or easy.

We are also learning that you can't call someone to see if they will be around. You have to go to their office or house. And trying to call and ask a question is almost as pointless. Most of our efforts to move this along quickly are fruitless.

We haven't even been able to spend very much time at the school. I feel so bad. I thought we would have all this time to go see things, so Robert can experience the beauty of Ghana and see all the reasons I love it so much. Instead, he has been exposed to the frustrating, impossible, and even annoying aspect of their culture and habits.

I also promised that I would take lots of pictures and video of the other children that are being adopted. That hasn't really happened. We jsut haven't had any time to really spend with them.

Anyway, here are some random pictures and one or two videos. Most are of us and Sarah, but there are a couple of other children in here too.

Brian and Josephine. Lanae sent a package for them. I was finally able to give them the package today. They are so sweet. Kingsley said both Brian and Josephine are at the top of their class. They are quiet, and Josephine is shy, but they are sweet and they really love each other. Josephine watches everything Brian does and follows his lead. I had so much fun spending some time with them.
Looking through their package.

So Cute!

Robert loves this little girl. If she were an orphan I think we'd be submitting paperwork right now!

Here she is again, surrounded by other kids. She is so cute and so sweet.
Godfrid. I just love Godfrid. He's another one I would be submitting paperwork for. He is very quiet and crazy-obedient. He loves to help and is so kind to the other children. He stays at the school with Kingsley's family, so I got to spend more time with him. I can't say enough about how much I love this guy!

Ajua loves playing with my glasses. She puts them on and starts strutting around. It's really funny. She has quite a sense a humor. She totally knows when she is being funny, too. She hams it up and then turns to make sure you are laughing at her joke. It's funny.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Kakum and Cape Coast

We visited Kakum National Park and Cape Coast today. We were able to do part of the canopy walk at Kakum (some of the bridges were closed for repair). We wanted to visit the Slave Castle in Cape Coast, but it was closed by the time we arrived. Pretty disappointing.

I hope I never forget the look on Ajua's face when she saw the ocean. It was the first time she had ever seen it, and she was amazed. Her eyes were wide with excitement and she exclaimed "Nsu!" (water) and pointed excitedly at the ocean. It was so cute! She couldn't take her eyes off it.

We can't wait to take her to San Diego! She will LOVE it!

Robert thought this tree growing inside a dead tree was particularly interesting.

Along with this You can't really see it, but at the bottom there is a drawing of a stick figure man peeing. It's pretty funny. Mostly because they pee everywhere and I don't think a sign would really stop them anyway.

The beginning of the canopy walk.

A nice view from one of the platforms.

Here is one of the bridges we walked across.

You walk across one bridge to a platform, then another bridge, etc. Typically they have 7 bridges open and you make a circle around. They had one or two of the middle bridges closed for repairs, so we had to walk out and back. It made for some unnerving traffic jams on the platforms.

Ajua couldn't understand why I was getting tired of carrying her. The walk up to the canopy was pretty steep. She walked herself for part of it, but when it got too hard, she wanted me to carry her. It was so humid and the work-out was tough. I had to pass her off to Robert a couple times.

Taking a quick break as we hike up to the tops of the trees.

This picture kills me. She is soooo cute!

On the way down. Ajua wasn't too thrilled with the canopy walk. She started crying on the third bridge. She wasn't hanging on to me very well and she was slipping down. I couldn't hike her up because the bridge wasn't exactly steady. So I was forced to put her down about 3 or 4 feet from a platform. She freaked out and started crying. I had to hold her arm and scoot her along with my leg. It was pretty funny. When we reached the platform a guide came to get her and carry her for me. We headed back after that.

The ocean at Elmina, the slave castle in Cape Coast.

Ajua watching the waves come and go. She thought it was amazing.

Me, Ajua, and Junior. Junior is Kingsley's youngest son. He is the funniest kid ever. When we arrived at the school for the first time, he came running full speed up to Robert and jumped on him. He loved Robert. Junior was always climbing all over Robert and falling asleep on Robert's lap. I think Robert secretly loved it.

I hope you can see her face in this one. She was so cute at the beach. I was really happy we went, even though the castle was closed and Robert couldn't see it. It's such an important part of Ghana history and truly amazing to see. I was sad Robert missed it.

A very large wave was crashing in - I thought it was a little scary, Ajua was all smiles.

Videos at Kakum and Cape Coast

Here are the videos Robert took at Kakum and Cape Coast.

Quick Clip

Quick video clip of Sarah... she's so cute! It's pretty dark so you can't see her face very well, sorry about that....

Friday, September 12, 2008

Local Scenery and School

We made a quick visit to Luckyhill today.

Here are some quick pictures of the local scenery (shot out the car window, sorry) and a few pictures Robert took of the school/orphanage.

Our adoption decree was supposed to be ready to pick up when we arrived. That is, after all, why we bought our tickets. We found out that not only is is NOT ready, the lawyer hasn't even submitted our file yet.
We were told he was waiting on some paperwork from the Social Welfare Worker... we are going to be meeting with the SW man to figure out what the hold up is. Kingsley said the report is ready, it just isn't typed yet.

Forget that. I'll type the dang thing myself if it gets us closer to court! It's going to take a miracle to get us home by the 19th, I think, but we are still hopeful.

The building on the left is the 'house'. It's where the volunteers, children, and Kingsley's family sleep. Some of the children sleep in the school rooms.

This is behind the house. This area is where the children play.

Additional school rooms are greatly needed. There are over 300 students who attend the school and only about 6 or 7 classrooms. Currently, Kingsley is working on building 4 more classrooms as he receives donations.

This is the unfinished Kitchen. Next to the kitchen is the unfinished library where books and school supplies will be kept. Again, Kingsley works on these rooms as money comes in. Currently, Gloria cooks for over 300 children every day over coals, outside. If it rains, she moves everything over by the classrooms where there is protection from the rain.

This is the road to get to the school.
Robert and Ajua. She's warming up to him!

Sarah was a little unhappy that I was showing Mathilda attention. She believes no one else should even touch me. She gets upset every time the other children swarm me and she gets pushed out of the way.

We took Mathilda into Accra with us and she had a BLAST! She is so funny! We stopped to eat at Frankies and she cleaned her plate - and I do mean cleaned. She picked every bit of rice off that thing. When she was finished she hopped down from her chair and took her plate up to the servers to return it. lol. It was so funny. She just strutted right up to them and handed it to our server. They were laughing and seemed to thoroughly enjoy her helpfulness. At the school, the children have to return their plates as soon as they are finished so they can be washed and loaded up for the next child. She will LOVE clearing her place after dinner at home, Jennifer!

Driving from the school to our guest house.

The weather was actually quite nice. It wasn't ever extremely hot, and only uncomfortably humid once when it rained the day before.