Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Psalm 2:7

I will proclaim the decree of the Lord: He said to me, " You are my son; today I have become your Father." - Psalm 2:7
There was a lot of excitement in our van as we pulled into a driveway in Greensboro, North Carolina.  Once we were inside, we gave hugs to the 6 kids who had been adopted from GSF, whether they remembered us or not.  Here we are with all six of the kids and their families.
Godfrey, Patricia, Joyce, Zuri and Zeke, and Patricia and their families.  Also in this photo are 2 families who used to work at GSF, the Greers {adopted Patricia} and the Jacobsens; as well as a family in the process of adopting from GSF, the Van Camp family.

The next day, we pulled into another driveway where two little boys and a big dog came running out to meet us.  Pius and Brian were also adopted from GSF and live in the same town, but couldn't come the night before.  It was much too short of a visit, but it was soo good to see them!  {Sorry for the lack of a picture}

We then did some more traveling and after a few stops ended up in Knoxville where baby Favour lives.    Favour was still little when she left, so it was fun to see her walking around and all grown up.  She didn't really remember us, but we remembered her.  We also got to see Susanna who was an intern at GSF last year.

After A LOT more traveling, we finally got to Milwaukee and got to see Joann and Angel.  It was glorious to be able to spend some time with these sweet girls and their family.
And, with a lot of excitement, we finally arrived at the West house.  The West's have adopted twin 11 year old girls from GSF.  And, since we don't have a homeschool teacher this year {any teachers looking for a job in Africa?}, a fellow GSF Missionary {Auntie Claudia} sent her three adopted girls to go to school with them for a year.  We had a great time hanging out with them!  While we were there, we had one day that another  adoptive family was able to come hang out with us.
Auntie Claudia's girls are Hope on the far left, Emma in the very back on the right and Maggie in the red shirt, front left.  The twins are Grace next to me, second from left on the front and Martha, next to Maggie with a pink hair bow.  The other family adopted Layla, formerly know as Faith, on my lap and Samuel, formerly know as Aaron in the front middle.  The two others are Brice, who helped build our house and Meredith who was a nurse at GSF.

After we left their house at 7 pm one night, we drove to Iowa to stay with another family who adopted two kids.  We got there really late {around midnight}, so the kids were asleep.  The next morning, I woke up before the rest of my family, and headed upstairs, because I couldn't wait to hug those kids again.
 My mom is holding Hannah Zai and I am holding Edi Caleb.  It was so good to see how they are growing up!
Towards the end of our trip we will be going to see two of the other boys.  Watch out, Team Clarke, it's gonna' be fun!
Their forever mom took this picture, but I just love it so much.  This is their new baby brother.
Then, there's Jimmy who we will not be able to see.  But, you know, when you live in Alaska, you can't expect to have visitors every day.  Here's a fun picture of him in his first snow blizzard.
Last, but not least, is Annett.  Annett is still in Uganda, but her family has legal guardianship of her.  They are going to pick up Visas on Friday and travel HOME on Sunday!  Annett gets to be home with her family for Christmas!!  Praise the Lord with us!!  You can follow along with their journey on their blog, here.
Love this picture of Annett!
Glory to God for giving these precious children families!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Tuesdays Unwrapped

1.5 - The number seemed quite harmless to me at 5:00 last Tuesday afternoon as I sat in the Dermatologist office.  Around 5:30 I learned that it is indeed more than just an ordinary number, in this case and could in fact be harmful if left alone.  The nurse told us this number after using  a camera/computer called the MelaFind {Click here to read more about it} to take a picture of a mole on my back.  The MelaFind has been trained to scan moles and give them a score which dermatologists use to determine whether or not it should be removed.  So, I sat on the operating table and tried to figure out what 1.5 could possible mean while the Dermatologists discussed what to do.  By the time the doctor came back in I had convinced myself that 1.5 must be good and 10 must be the worst.  Not so.  Negative 1.5 would have been great, but anything above 0 is suspicious.  1.5 was just too high to mess around.  It would have to go.  So, in came the plastic surgeon.  Off went the mole.  Into the lab it went.  We were sent home with stitch cutters to remove the stitches in 10 - 14 days.  I assumed that this mole would be like the last one I had removed.  Still small and non-cancerous.  No big deal.  We wouldn't have to come back here again.
That point where I try to find an image to go here.  Grace is a fitting word.
Three days later my mom called the Dermatologist, 'hello, I'm calling to see if you have lab results for my daughter.  The dermatologist said it would be 1 -2 days before we heard back.'   The lady on the other end said all the doctors are with one patient and we will have to wait.  A few minutes later the doctor called and my dad answered.  Then, my dad asked my mom and I to come into the living room.  Not the best sign in the world.  Turns out, the dermatologists and lab people looked at it for quite awhile {yes, I find that a bit weird that their were several people thoroughly checking something that had once been attached to me} and found a slight sign of a melanoma.  Now, before you jump to conclusions that I probably use a tanning bed, let me inform you that I have NEVER used a tanning bed and I don't plan on ever using one.  There is a family history of melanomas and I inherited the genes.  What a great thing to get from your father and grandfather, right?  I really don't have time to write about the family history thing and I think my mom did a fine job of writing about it, so if you want to read more about it, go read her post.  Anyhow, because their was a sign of melanoma, they have to remove more skin around the spot.  So, I will be going in for surgery.  This morning at 11:00.  I would greatly appreciate your prayers.

I'm linking up with Emily Freeman {author of one of my favorite books, Graceful} today in Tuesdays Unwrapped.
So today, I've tried to find some things to unwrap here.  Some things that may seem messy and turn out to be unexpected gifts.  Turns out, there are quite a few.  I mean, my grandfather almost died from skin cancer when my dad was a little kid.  My dad had a melanoma and didn't know until a kind nurse pointed it out and told him to go get it checked out.  The dermatologists wanted to 'keep an eye' on my mole, but they decided that since it will be 2 or 3 years until we come back, they needed to go ahead and 'MelaFind' it and remove it.  I'm so glad they did.  This would have been a much bigger deal had they waited.  And, I'm thankful for dermatologists who were used by God so that I still have a family.

To read Tuesdays unwrapped posts from Emily Freeman and others, click here.  You can also join in - its super easy.  This is my first time to do anything like this and it wasn't very hard.  If you want to know how to do this, click here.