I'm so glad you found us! We love to share our story of what the Lord is doing in and through our ministry in Kenya. If you are a reader, please click the link on the right-hand side and "Follow Along!" And stop back by anytime! Karibu sana!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Then Back to Reality in Nakuru

From shopping in Nairobi's nicest shopping mall a few days ago, to our weekly shopping at the market in Nakuru...indeed, a little different. But I do love the open-air market and all the fresh vegetables! 

Jully, one of our baby caretakers, does the market shopping for the baby house on Monday mornings, so I go with her for my personal shopping as well. It is much less hassle and MUCH cheaper for me to go to the market with a Kenyan. When the vendors see my bright and shiny translucent skin color, the prices magically double...or triple, or quadruple. It is good to have Jully to help! I am sure I slow her down drastically, but she is a great sport about it. 

LOVE this mama! She is great. We buy the heavy things first (papaya, potatoes, pumpkins) and then leave them at her spot while we finish. Yesterday I had a street boy that was relentless in disturbing me, pulling my shirt, grabbing my arm, pushing, etc, even after giving him money and food. She picked up her gigantic banana tree branch and chased him away with a chapa! She is kind of protective of me. 

I never cooked with fresh garlic when I lived in America, but it is so cheap here, it is a staple.

Yeah, I don't buy this but Jully does. Yep, it's dried fish. Omena.

And of course we stop for a yummy pineapple treat on our way out. 

I LOVE Nakuru! I am so glad to be here. I just wanted to share a little bit of Nakuru life today....Monday Market Day. A little different than Black Friday shopping in Nairobi. 

Monday, November 29, 2010

Black Friday Shopping in Nairobi

Black Friday shopping is definitely different in a third world country than in America! But Nairobi does have its share of nice shopping centers. When I lived in Nairobi, I never realized how "Western" it was! Now that I live in Nakuru, I really do appreciate that side of Nairobi. So while Julia and I were there for Thanksgiving, I decided to take advantage of the "Western" side of Nairobi and do a little Black Friday shopping at a few of the nice shopping centers. 

It was SO fun to get to show Julia the Christmas decorations! She is totally enamored by anything Christmas right now. I love two year olds! While we were at Village Market, I thought of how drastically different her life would be in America. She could see these sights all over the place. Once we leave Nairobi, she won't see these sights again. She had such a great time. 

Nelly and Julia were mesmerized by the Christmas decorations at Westgate Mall. SO fun to watch these  Kenyan girls' reactions!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

A Springtime Thanksgiving

Who knew that being south of the equator could make for a nice Thanksgiving? I have been here for 3 1/2 years, but this is only my second holiday season to stay in Kenya. Though I would have loved to have been with family at Thanksgiving, it was great to spend this beautiful spring-like day with some of our Kenyan friends. 

Julia is quite the little charmer and certainly grabbed her share of attention from her many friends. 

She was a great little girl all day! I was SO proud of her!

Definitely a different kind of Thanksgiving....wonderful weather, spring flowers, outdoor dining, volleyball and outdoor games. But it was GREAT!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Another Visit to Julia's Birth Home

We went to visit Julia's birth family again last Friday. I needed to see her uncle so that he could sign an affidavit for us to take to court and rather than calling him to meet me in Nairobi, I decided we would go visit.

We took sweeties (treats) and bubbles for the kids. They had never seen bubbles before and they had a great time playing!

Julia's mother was in much better condition this time. She was more interactive and happy, although it was obvious that she still did not have any sort of connection with Julia. She seemed to be more infatuated with the fact that we were visitors and were obviously different from them. She just kept touching Julia's clothes and pointing to the flowers on her shirt. And once again, she wanted pictures in the tea field. She first tried to tell me to leave Julia; she just wanted me in the picture, but I wanted one of all three of us. 

 Julia's sho-sho (grandmother) tried to take her to hold her but then her mother wanted to. 
Julia did NOT like it! Broke my heart!

These are Julia's cousins....

 This is where Julia would live, these would be her playmates, this is what her life would look like if she were not with me.

and her aunties.....

 Julia's mother is on the left and her grandmother on the right.

For those of you who do not know, I am in the process of pursuing legal guardianship of Julia, which will hopefully allow me to be able to travel with her. Americans are not allowed to adopt in Kenya at this time, although I have started working towards attaining needed documents so that we are ready when adoptions do open up again. I will not be going back to the United States again until we get travel permission and a visa. So, PLEASE pray for this process to begin to move forward and move quickly!! 

Monday, November 22, 2010

Meet the Staff - Tracy

Meet Tracy. Tracy is our weekend baby caretaker. she is a full-time student who wanted to help us out when she could. As it turned out, we needed someone to come work at the baby house on the weekends, and it worked perfectly with her schedule.

It has been a huge blessing to have Tracy. She has the best attitude and will do whatever is needed to take care of the babies. Whether it is covering for Julie when she takes Kate to court in Nairobi or staying late to help out with sick babies, Tracy is always willing to do more than her fair share!

With a happy smile and cheerful heart, Tracy loves our babies like her own and takes such great care of them. We are very blessed to have Tracy as part of our Haven of Hope baby caretaker team!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Welcome New Baby Boy!

This sweet little guy was abandoned in the hospital two days after he was born. He is now four weeks old and a beautiful, healthy little boy. He comes to us from a government children's home in Nairobi where he wa taken after being abandoned in Kitenfela. (You may recall that our little Joseph was also from Kitengela.) This little boy is truly meant to be in our home! Had we not moved to Nakuru, he would have been placed directly into our home four weeks ago. He was the first newborn that had been taken to our previous Disctrict Children's Officer since our little Loseph. Isn't it cool when God works things together that way?

So what is his name????

As has been our custom for the past few babies, it is a group decision by the staff to decide what to call the baby. I told them his name, and they decided what he would be called. 

His name is...Emmanuel William.

Emmanuel (meaning "God with us") was the name given to him at the children's home where he was before coming to Haven of Hope.

William (meaning "protector") is the name of MY BRAND NEW NEWPHEW who was born on teh same day we got our new baby. Yes, my brother, Kenan and his wife Karat (or Karen to the rest of the world), are the proud new parents of baby William Robert Ivy! You can bet I will be posting pictures as soon as I (uh-hm!!) see some!

 He has great head control and is very alert. 

In a 5-2 vote (which I was not part of), the staff voted to call this precious little boy William. So....meet William, our newest addition to Haven of Hope! 

William is a bright-eyed, alert little guy who is very quiet and observant. 
Elijah is totally enamoured with him!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Friday's Favorite - The Best Gift!

I teared up this morning as I put on my favorite piece of jewelry. As I fastened it on my wrist, like many times before, it caught my attention in a special way.

My best friend in the whole world gave me this gift that touches my heart so deeply. We began this journey of His Cherished Ones together and she gave me this James Avery charm bracelet as a reminder of the little lives we are blessed to touch, and those little lives that touch and change our own.

There is a house charm for Haven of Hope Baby Center, and a little shoe for each baby in our home.

As I put on the bracelet this morning I was a bit nervous and apprehensive about our baby house inspection and interview today, and when I saw little Hope’s name, it just put everything into perspective.

Thanks for the reminder, God! And thanks, Kris, for the special gift…that continues to give and bless me every day.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Baby Update - Kate

Kate's First Day at HOH

Kate Now (16 months)

From the moment we picked Kate up from Nairobi Children's Home, we knew there was something strange about her story. She was supposedly abandoned, yet she looked so well taken care of. She had obviously been with someone who loved her and treated her very well. She was clean, healthy and well fed. 

As it turns out, she was not abandoned, but rather taken to the police by her father who claimed to have found her on his doorstep. The story began to unfold last December when Kate was tracked down by the police and called to court as her parents were both being held on different accounts. As it turns out, Kate's mother did truly love her and was taking care of her, and Kate was wrongly taken to the police by her father. 

Sadly, the court case in which her father and mother are involved in is still unresolved and she is therefore not released to her mother's care until the case is closed. Kate must be present at each hearing, and we have been to court 11 times this year! Each time, the case is postponed for various random reasons, all most likely as paid off by her father. The next court date is set for December 21st. We hope and pray that the case will be dismissed and the judge will allow Kate to be returned to her mother. 

For Kate's complete story, you can CLICK HERE to read previous updates.

Kate is now 16 months old. She is a happy little girl. We often refer to Kate as the "bulldozer." She knows where she wants to go and gets there however she can, usually by bulldozing over the other babies. She is a big little girl but has such a soft side. She loves to sing songs and stack blocks. We love having Kate in our home! She brings such joy and laughter. Though we would be sad to loose her, it is our prayer that she will soon be returned to her mother's care. 

Kater-Bug, the "Bulldozer" :-) 

How can you pray for Kate?
Pray that....
* Kate's parents' court case would be dismissed and that she would be returned to her mother's care,
* Kate's mother will continue to prepare herself and remain financially stable so that she can take care of Kate,
* the transition of Kate back into her birth family would be smooth and easy,
* Kate will continue to grow into a strong, healthy little girl.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

A Word for Wednesday - Keeping Our Eye on the Ball....

Or on the prize, rather.

“Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:13b-14)

Surprise, surprise. In typical Kenyan fashion, our AAC (Area Advisory Council) Inspection for Registration was postponed until tomorrow. Yes, typical.

Though frustrations come on a daily basis and I continue to learn to live in a culture that is so unlike my own, I am encouraged when I read that verse. This process of Registration is required by the same government that seems to cause the roadblocks and delays that prevent it from being completed. But I know that it will be well worth our wait. The benefits are so worthwhile and I will appreciate having everything in order and done “by the book.”  My assistant quit without notice just days before registration, but I know I will appreciate having done things I thought were taken care of weeks ago and tending to all the details myself so that I know the full process of all it takes to get this in order.

I have learned so much the past few weeks! I have learned the legal requirements of children’s homes in Kenya. I have learned a little more about how to deal with government officials. I have learned about the adoption process and what it takes to get our babies into adoptive homes. I have learned that our printer ink cannot be bought in Nakuru so I have to be prepared and plan ahead. It has been a learning process, and for that I am thankful.

And even more than that, I am thankful that we are able to be here and provide a home for our precious little ones. We may have a lot of hoops to jump through in order to operate “under the law of the land” where we live, but oh how worth it it is!

God continues to provide encouragement for what He has called us to do. I am thankful for the team of supporters and prayer warriors that we have behind us. I am thankful that God is faithful and that His Word is alive and active and offers hope and mercies, new every day. 

Here are a few other verses that I have been holding on to today:

“For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” (II Corinthians 4:17-18)

Thank You, God, for allowing us to have a part in Your eternal purposes for these babies. Thank You that we have the opportunity to love them and show them Jesus in their first years of life.

“So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.” (I Peter 4:19)

Our “suffering” is so small in comparison to those around us, but Lord, I pray that they will be reminders of Your provision in our lives, and that we would continue to press on to do what You have called us to do.

Thank You, Lord, for the privilege of our light and momentary troubles and our [small] sufferings, so that we are able to see You and Your glory in it all!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Registration Day

TOMORROW!!! We have been working towards this day for a very long time! 

When we first moved to Nakuru, I was very discouraged to know that we had to begin again with the whole registration process, totally starting over. However, I quickly learned that we had moved to a district that was much more organized and helpful that our previous district. We have been here only half the time that we were in our old place, have done a hundred times more work towards the registration process than we did last time, but we are also closer than we ever were to actually attaining our Certificate of Registration! 

So, tomorrow is our D-Day. This is where we turn in every piece of documentation we have gathered, every report that has been written, and every procedure and guideline that has been developed. We are also being inspected by the Area Advisory Council (AAC). The AAC will break into two teams. One team will inspect the house and property and interview staff members. The other will read and inspect all of our files and documentation, including staff files, baby files, financial files, etc. 

Though this district has been more organized and helpful in lining out what is needed from us, we have still faced some issues and are hoping that the registration process will help out with those things. It seems that they have been dragging their feet in helping us get our committal forms for our babies, which are required for our babies to move from our home. This includes Jeremiah and Elijah being placed in an adoption registry and me being granted guardianship of Julia. These are VERY important documents that the Children's Department must sign off on. We are hoping and praying that the registration process will help move the processing of these documents along a little more quickly. 

Please pray with us for our inspection day tomorrow. Here are some specific requests:
* That this will be a productive time; not a team looking for things that are wrong,
* That we will have everything they request of us and it will all be in good order,
* That I will be at peace during the inspection and that the staff will also be relaxed and comfortable,
* That their report/recommendation will be process quickly so that we will know the results, 

* That we will be given our committal papers for all of our babies so that we can move forward with the adoption registry for Jeremiah and Elijah and guardianship for Julia!

Thank you for your prayers, and we look forward to sharing the amazing work of God through this process!!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Meet the Staff - Joyce

This is Joyce, our awesome Social Worker!

Joyce has been a life-saver the past few months! After waiting for over a year to find someone who knowns what to do, is qualified, and available, we finally found Joyce. Joyce previously worked for the adoption agency in Nairobi that we will working with for our children. After having her first baby, she decided to move to Nakuru where her family lives. Fortunately for us, she is here, available, and KNOWS adoptions and process of the Children's Department!

Joyce is very knowledgable in the areas I have needed the most help with. She has done so much to help us get ready for our final registration process with the Children's Department, and she has helped me to understand and interpret what it is that I need to do for the many Policies & Procedures I have been writing. I could not have done this process without her!

We are VERY blessed to have Joyce working with us! I appreciate her help so very much. 

Nakuru Vineyard

Today was baby dedication day at Nakuru Vineyard Church. What a special time for two sweet families. Baby Dedication is not a typical Kenyan practice, but the Vineyard church of Nakuru recognizes the significance of parents dedicating their children to the Lord and committing to raise these children in the faith and knowledge of God.

I love the worship at Nakuru Vineyard, but unfortunately my Kiswahili isn't good enough to get it all without seeing it with written word. I get most of it, though. And they do do some in English. Either way....great worship. 

And fortunately, the service is always dual English-Kiswahili. It takes a little longer with an interpreter, but this is Kenya so everything takes longer anyway. :-)

Julia and little Charmane are the youngest of the kids in Sunday school. They enjoy watching the older kids but just are not quite there with knowing what to do. 

This is Glen praying for the class before beginning the lesson. He is a cute little guy! He likes to hang out and play in my car.

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