Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Final US paperwork

It's hard to believe summer is already here! Sorry we haven't updated the blog much lately, we've been doing a lot of waiting and it's hard to know what to write about. Towards the end of April we thought we could have an end of May court date. Unfortunately, that hasn't worked out yet but there's a lot that goes into obtaining one so we're trying to just reflect and be thankful for how quickly this process has gone so far.

We've been waiting anxiously for our final piece of paperwork needed from the US Government and finally received it this week! The I-171h approval allows us to get visas for the kids in order to bring them into the United States. We were afraid we might have to travel without having this approval and it's been difficult to know how long it would be before we would receive it. At one point were told it could be 75 days from the time an officer from USCIS was assigned to our case (which was supposed to happen around April 29)! I just kept praying that somehow our Homestudy and our application would make it to the top of a pile. We had called several times to try to check the status of our case and kept being told that we didn't have an officer assigned yet (they assign based on the date all of your information is submitted). Then, last week Wes called to let me know that we had an approval letter in the mail! I was shocked and I know that could have only been orchestrated by God. So, now we just wait on a court date!

Unfortunately, I can't put a lot of information about the kids on here but I want to share so much. We did just learn that they like cats (this makes me very happy) and they are very polite and will kneel and shake your hand when they meet an adult or are given a gift. When playing with each other, they babble and appear to understand each other but no one else can understand what they are saying. We also received some updated pictures of them, they seem to have grown so much, we just can't get there soon enough!

Thanks for your prayers and encouragement. It looks like our next hurdle is going to be receiving this court date. We're told the courts are closed for the month of June so we will hope and pray that we'll get a court date soon.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Hair Care

We've been trying to learn about hair care and how it will differ. We knew some of the very basics but not enough! Every opportunity we had to ask for help, we did and usually got laughed at! I can't blame them. Well, we finally asked for help at the right time, from the right person! She laughed at us at first but then offered very kindly to help. She would be happy to meet us at a store and walk us through what we needed. She said she'd like to open up a cultural learning center one day to help families who are adopting or foster children to know how to care for different hair and skin types.

Here's what I learned:

You need the right tools! For a girl, a wide tooth comb (far left), a "tail comb" for the part and to comb out any other knots in the hair. Brush/comb from the bottom up. For a boy, the military brush (soft bristles) and NEVER comb from front to back or he'll get a receding hairline! Brush hair in the direction it's growing or to the front. Who knew!

A good shampoo without all the chemicals (sulfate, citric/salicylic acid etc.). You want to keep oil in the hair or you'll have breakage. Wash hair twice with shampoo (I'm not sure why but I've heard this several times). Wash hair bi-weekly or weekly.

Next up, conditioner. As usual, leave in for 3 minutes and then rinse.

Deep conditioner: Leave in for 30 minutes (cover hair with a shower cap) then rinse. I think this is as needed or maybe once a week. I can't remember but it will help the hair be softer.

Just use a good old fashion shower cap when using the deep conditioner. You can use the same shower cap multiple times before tossing.

Leave-in conditioner. Just like with my hair, this will help with the tangles. Need to use 3 times a week to keep hair soft and healthy. Curly/corse hair needs lots of moisture.

Using a hair bonnet or "satin sleep cap" will make hair styling easier. It's also recommended to sleep on a satin pillow case (or use the bonnet). Cotton pillow cases pull the moisture out of the hair.

The Sea Breeze can be used once a month as a scalp refresher. It will help with oil build up and any cuts that might be present.

And finally, the Tea Tree oil. This can be used for any skin/scalp irritations and to help if their scalp itches.

Other notes she made for me:
  • Oil scalp weekly
  • If the kids go swimming, wash their hair immediately. That Chlorine might make my hair turn green but it will strip the oils out of their hair
  • Blow dry or Plait (braid) hair to air dry. I guess the braiding or plaiting will have to wait until she has longer hair!
  • Do hair at night and use the hair wrap (bonnet) to sleep in, this will make mornings go much smoother
  • Boys are much easier (I think this is always the case no matter your hair type) just shampoo and condition weekly, use a moisturizer after washing. You can use a do-rag to keep his hair flowing in one direction or to create waves.
  • Braided styles will save you a lot of time, just be sure to oil the scalp and use the head wrap.
I'm so thankful for the time she took to teach me how to care for our children's hair! That may sound silly but we realize it's different than ours and requires different care. The above hair care regimen is the basics to get us started. Depending on their hair type, some things may change. Many of our friends use Carol's Daughter which I hear is a fantastic product. But, we were able to get all of the items pictured above for about the same price or less than just the basics in this line!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

A Different kind of week

This week has flown by. With much on the mind, I'm not sure how much of anything I've actually gotten done. It's been hard to focus with so much happening here. On Tuesday, 6 year old Sterling Davis was undergoing his 4th surgery for a brain tumor. You can read more about his story here. What an amazing young man with incredible parents and 3 younger sisters who are all relying on Christ every step of the way!

Wednesday our tornado warning sirens began blaring at 5am. That morning storm brought down lots of trees in our area. Shutting off the entrance to neighborhoods, blocking major roads, landing on homes and pulling up driveways. We knew there was another system headed our way. As the day carried on, it appeared the worst of the storm would probably head north of us. Schools let out early, most businesses & shops closed down early just in case. Wes & I stood on our front porch and watched the system roll through with our door open so we could hear the news & the basement door open just in case we needed to make a quick run for it. We knew Tuscaloosa (approx. 1 hour West of us) had a major tornado. We were hearing just north of downtown Birmingham was getting hit & we could see debris & cardboard boxes flying around above the tree line in our neighborhood. It was unbelievable. We are far enough south that we really didn't get much rain or hail and we have a dead tree in our back yard that we can't believe is still standing!
a map of the tornados (we're in Shelby county)

Thank you to everyone who has called, emailed, text, facebooked or contacted our parents asking if we are OK. We are indeed fine but many of our friends, friends of friends and community are not ok.

On Friday we received an email that we may receive a court date in late May! We also found out there were riots happening in Kampala~not good considering everything happening north of UG. I went into freak out mode a little bit. There's so much to do & still so much that we need to get, not to mention how we'll finance this last part in such a short amount of time! I am trying to turn every bit of this over to God. He is sovereign & in control of every bit of it. I know this but I just like to plan and have everything under control.

2 Corinthians 12:9
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.