Thursday, April 29, 2010

April 28, 2010 Day 7:

Well I know you are all hanging onto your seats checking your status and waiting for my next post so I felt I must do it.. :-)
Today started with a blessing. This time it wasn't Gabriel shaking me to say he had to go wee.

Today I awoke and checked my FB to see a post of Ashlies blog.

She writes about the orpan and their cause. If that post wasn't enough it was an even greater blessing to re-read her post from January entitled BEHOLD where she tells the beautiful story of our wild and crazy family and how we have arrived at this point.

If you only have five minutes go and read her blog today!

Today was a fun filled day. We hoped in a taxi and after circling the round about more than once found our way to the craft market.
Well since we were the only visitor when we arrived we had everyone speaking to us and wanting us to enjoy the fruits of their labors.
These folks, everyone one of them, is extremely talented, the paintings, the wood carvings will take your breath away! I would love a wood carved bed from Africa some day but it wouldn't fit in my suit case :-).
We made our way around and enjoyed the time and are coming home with some wares from Africa.

The highlight would probably have to be Gabriel finding a wood carved horse!
He loves horses, we will have to watch that he doesn't wander down the street unannounced at home once he discovers there are horses 2 houses down.
Tanner enjoyed talking with the vendors and just soaking it all up. After this we went to the Accra Mall for some lunch and then made our way home to the hotel.
Unfortunately we weren't able to connect with the Social Welfare Director as hoped, which I was sad about as I really wanted to meet and see him again. We returned to and hung out at the hotel, sorted our clothes etc and got packed to go.
We were paid a last visit by Romana and her 2 kiddos and then had some dinner while watching, you guessed it some Champions League Futbol! After that it was time to get Gabriel ready for bed.
We spent time talking about the airplane and tomorrow. Not too many questions yet but I imagine tomorrow may be a bit different. We are ready to soak up ALL tomorrow has to offer.
Until then read Ashlies Blog :-)...and who knows I may have my Ode to Tanner up tonite too! He has had a great trip and I am very proud of him! I know he doesn't know where to put everything he has seen and taken in on this trip but it is in and he will be able to pull and reflect on it all at just the right times in the future.
Tanner and Gabriel wating for chicken dinner at the mall...after a long day of shoppng at the craft market!

Tanner and G-man getting ready to walk to Beacon House for the Exit prayer time and good byes!
Words for this many to say, none would capture the depth of all that this picture holds!

Dear Tanner
The time we have had together, while not perfect, I believe it has been perfect.
It's been an Oasis for us (fitting we are in Africa) without the many usual distractions.
We flew thru llife leading up and next thing we knew we were at the hotel in Seattle preparing to leave. The next morning we were off and from the 3am wake up all thru the day I couldn't beleive how awake and alert you were.
It was clear you were excited and anticipating ALOT!
Throughout our time in Ghana you have had a twinkle in your eye that can only be from God speaking to you and even if you don't know all of what He has said to you or has planted in you right now hang on to the peace and the good feeling I know He has given you inside.
The explanation and understanding will come in time. You never once complained, except when I was being irritable. :-). Instead you rolled with it all.
I really wish we could have done more with the kids, seen more sights and really been able to let you experience more of Ghana.
That said I am very thankful we were able to do all we have done. You loved on kids and God planted some of them uniquely on your heart and I know you will continue to remember them.
That's how God works He makes matches in our hearts with others to connect us. Sometimes it's to pray for them. Other times you are able to be more involved. It's ALL good.
We don't have to conquer it all but instead just learn to be obedient to the one or ones God has led us to. You and Gabriel have started a special bond and as you have said this time has also given you insight into John n Victoria that you wouldn't have had before.
  • You have seen that the world is much bigger than our little corner we live in AND
  • you have ALSO seen how people are different and NOT SO different.
  • You noticed that people with little can be and are Happy.
  • You also talked with and shook hands with people who work hard every day, day after day.
  • You came to the conclusion on your own that the amount of money or things they have is NOT what makes them happy.

Hang on to these things and allow God to continue to develop them in you.

I think it has been awesome watching you grow up during these last several days in many ways. I wouldn't trade them for anything!!

Now as we embark on our journey home in just a few hours, stand guard over your heart and mind because the enemy is a liar and a snake and He will try to sneak up, sabotage and steal what God has implanted.

It's a no contest UFC match though...You WIN and are already victorious!

The battles will come but stand firm dude! I am honored to be your dad and am excited to see these seeds watered more over the years and also to see many of them harvested too!

Love you man!


April 27, 2010 (Day 6)

Yes I know I posted a note about “Seeing God Work”.
Consider that Bonus Coverage from Ghana! :-)

Today was a slow day, it began at 530 again with “Dad I have to wee”. Yes!
We then went back to bed again until around 8. We had a potential lunch date with the Social Welfare Director for the Accra Region but it was postponed as he had a conflict.

This is the man who came to the states last August. He has been the man who’s signature is not only on our adoptions but on the 30 or so that have occurred in the last couple of years. He is a wonderful man and definitely has a heart for doing what is best for the children. It amazes me that he remembers them all.

When he was in Washington in August he knew the kids and remembers their story. He was able to see them in our homes. It was great. He remembers John and Gabriel as he has been a part of the social welfare decisions their entire life in Ghana. It will be an honor to see him if it works out tomorrow. With the potential lunch meeting we just hung around the hotel.

Went to the pool, walked and got some Gelato (AGAIN), took a nap, reflected and just paused.

Then we went to a roadside chicken and rice stand for dinner! OH MY GOODNESS!
Would have never gone if it hadn’t been recommended by Beacon House teachers. Wood Shack, open air, cut the chicken up and cooked it behind the shack, reality stuff.

No they didn’t kill it and cook while we were there but we saw it earlier when we walked by. I was hesitant, which is why it took until Day 6 to try it.
I told Tanner after he was eating the chicken that it was probably the one we saw running around there earlier today. He looked at me with one of those “no way” looks and I let it sit.
HA HA He is probably still wondering. Who knows it could have been?!?! If not today’s loose bird it probably was yesterday, right?
Anyway it was delicious and spicy rice…not for the mommy tummy stuff for sure!

We came back and settled in for the night, tried to Skype but the connection is just not good enough for anything except text….so Gabriel and I laid down and watched some Champions Cup Futbol on the television.
Tomorrow we will venture out in a taxi (I guess, really truly would rather not, but must give Tanner the experience) and try to go to the craft market. As I said hopefully we can meet up with Romana and the Social Welfare man but if not we will have an Adventurous Day!

Two sleeps until heading home!

*When I showed the Kids the pic of Gabriel eating chicken and rice....there was a hoot and a hollar...."WE WANT Chicken and off we went to East side some chicken and in honor of Daddy's brave vendor on the side of the road, chicken dinner...we celebrated with Chicken and Rice!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

April 26, 2010 (Day 5)
Monday morning!
An adorable son asleep on the floor to my right and another pretty awesome one asleep on my left!
Okay truth is the one on the floor to my left was awake before me saying, as he shook my leg to wake me, “Dad I have to go wee” I said awesome, John, I mean Victoria, I mean Gabriel (ha ha ha) lets go!
Very good that he woke me as the alternative I’d rather not deal with!!! He went and layed back down until I was just asleep again and then,…you guessed it, shake me again, “Dad I have to go wee again” Okay Gabriel lets go (Whew)! We returned and Gabriel says to me “Dad, its morning, as he points to the window that has light coming thru it.
I wisely looked at my clock on my phone and deduced, though technically morning, it was not time to get up. Gabriel very politely laid down and was relatively still for another hour or two until I could justify rolling myself out of bed and starting the day.
After breakfast Gabriel insisted on going to the pool, as you know from yesterdays post, he wants to be there but is very low key once there. We went and today he sat down almost right away on the first step. Tanner was gracious again and did every stunt and trick Gabriel requested. Since it was the middle of the day I wasn’t going to stay out in this “close to the equator sun” long so we headed back in.

When I got in I had a text from a friend who had resolved my phone issues and much to my surprise had also got it all set up for me to roam internationally as well.
This was HUGE as it allowed me to communicate with Carrie and also to post photos real time as we went thru the day!
Thanks KEN!!
We decided to go for a walk to the market down the road. Off we went. While on the way I was quite the site texting Ken to confirm it was OK to turn data roaming on as I walked on a dirt road in Africa.
We went into the store and got a few “guy incidentals” (potato chips, plantains and some Tampico juice). We also had some gelato (yummy) and then headed back for some lunch and rest before heading over to Beacon House.

So as our friends on the west coast awakened we were walking to BH one last time. Gabriel played hard with his buddies while I had a great conversation with Romana and Bernard about many things and how we can remain connected and helpful to Beacon House and their cause here in Ghana. As dinner was approaching it was time for Gabriel’s exit. Whew!

(Walking the road to BH one last time....Bh is on the left. This picture of Tanner and Gabriel SPEAKS more than 1,000 words! It will get printed and put on our Wall at home...transitions and attachements are a mile high and deep when you see the scope of what God is doing just by what you can see in this picture.) AMAZING!
The words will not explain how awesome and amazing this is.
Gabriel in the middle and all of the children sitting in a circle around him pray for him and us. Then the house moms and volunteers pray. Then it ended with Mama Shelter leading them in a song of praise and send off as each of them hugged Gabriel as they sang and sang.
The video of this will require a box of tissue I guarantee it! Even the dog (aptly named Romeo) had to give Gabriel a kiss of send off (ewww).
The day was drawing to a close and we returned to the hotel just the 3 of us. Gabriel had some things with him that he had collected over the years at the orphanage but was very quiet, much like when we first met on Friday.
I asked him how he was feeling and he was quiet and I could just tell he was processing ALL of it!
Knowing and trusting it is ALL good but not quite sure of knowing what to do with the feeling inside as he will most assuredly miss ALL of his buddies!
I scooped him up and we prayed and just let it all settle in for a moment.
I then asked him if he would show us the things in his bag and like a light switch being switched on he dove in and with smiles and joy began to show Tanner and I all of it. Good stuff!
Well once again a day of adventure and some life long and life changing memories for us all. I am so thankful to God for how he orchestrates it all. The people God has put in Gabriel’s life up to now can only confirm His love for us all…as the old song says “He’s got the WHOLE WORLD in His hands”
Think about it…the world is Big, and we are all in it with all our problems and needs and yet…He holds us in His Hands. It is in moments like this that God makes himself so very evident to me, His handiwork is around us everyday in His creation, but never is his handiwork more evident to me than when I see how He has and is taking care of some ONE.
In this instance today it was evident yet again that He was and has been taking care of Gabriel and now He has entrusted his care to me.
Thank goodness He is taking care of me too!!! Three more sleeps until the journey home begins!!!

Dave and Carrie Blaske
This is a SHOUT OUT to this AMAZING husband of mine!
As these journal entries come in day by day from Ghana, my heart skips a beat.
Not just because of what is written IN them...but because WHO is writting them!
Really...our marriage, partnership, love story is a GOD sized story! As I am here in Washington counting two more sleeps until my 2nd son, husband and new 5th son comes home my heart races with the story of redemption!
Is the picture of us for the silly, fun loving, supportive, God loving man really my husband...YES INDEED!
In the worlds stats...with what we started out with in our marriage, the world says we should have been divorced a long time ago...
BUT GOD.....
He has a plan to bring hope and a future to all who love Him....ya know what...
Dave, Thank you for loving God FIRST, loving me next, loving our kids, passionately loving kids in crisis and working hard using your God given gifts and talents to provide for all of us.
God called...we answered...and the adventure of a life time continues!
With all my love!

April 25, 2010 (Day 4)

Sunday In Ghana.
Today began with breakfast as we listened to the church begin above where we were eating.
We had eggs to quite the groove and clickity clack of dancing heels I presume.
Romana picked Tanner and I up and we were all off to church. It was testimony Sunday, a time where members of the church were sharing how God had made a difference in their lives. The music was awesome, I loved it! Songs were familiar and if they weren’t they were easy to pickup. 2 hours came and went.

Romana was able to obtain another water filter from a member of the church to use at the orphanage. On the way home I heard them discussing how even with this second water filter it is still approximately half the number of filters they should have at the orphanage given the number of people at the orphanage. I am going to see what I can do about that before I leave.

After church it was off to the Accra mall for some shopping, money exchange and of course lunch. Gabriel was asking, quite often, Dad what are we doing after church? I would tell him and he would say then what? So I would tell him and he would say then what? I smiled and said yes we will be going to hotel after we shop and eat.

On the way to the mall we stopped at some street vendors to buy some stuff. Some of you may be saying, did he say mall? Yes I did. In fact if you were to drop yourself into the Accra mall thru time travel (not that you could but I'm jus' saying) you would not think you weren’t in any North American mall in a large city. AC, food court, an apple store (which Tanner loved). Granted it is not real large but it has a movie theatre.
The difference here is that on the way to the mall there are the poorest of the poor approaching your car asking for food or selling something, across the street is a traditional market where you can buy some of the nicest African hand made crafts any where.

The streets near the mall are paved and much like a major city but it is not far and you are on dirt, pot hole, rutted roads. We eventually received our lunch and finished our shopping…nothing happens fast in Ghana!

As we drove you can see the build up and hype for the World Cup of Futbol (soccer) everywhere. In Ghana soccer (futbol) is king amongst sport. As you drive every spare section of dirt has a futbol field set up or a game is being played.

We got back to the hotel, just Tanner, Gabriel and I. Gabriel is quite the character. Expectedly testing boundries already. Oh how hard it is sometimes to not give in to the little adorable smile! Nothing to big just not the immediate obeying I know he can do, when it comes to going to sleep or taking a nap. I am remembering many of the habits and joys we saw with John and Victoria 2 years ago. Very respectful, not to say they don’t / didn’t test but as long as you hold a good line they obey (not too strict but not a push over either,...sounds so easy when I type it...HA)....

As I write this Gabriel is asleep in his spiderman jammies, traditional style, on his side with his head resting on his arm. No pillowsm no covers. Oh I almost forgot, we went to the pool today.

Gabriel wanted to go, had to go, was excited to go but when we got there he was not the fearless jumping beans his brother and sister were. He was happily content to sit on the side with his feet in and watched Tanner jump and swim and roll and do anything Gabriel asked.

As the day draws to a close, I am told we will have full complimentary internet beginning Monday, no more purchasing 2hrs at a time. They ran out of cards today so I have been without again but it looks as though we will have full blown access sometime on Monday for the duration of our stay.
We shall anyone who comes to Ghana knows you just roll with it...
Tomorrow is a big day as we go to the orphanage for the last time and Gabriel says goodbye to his friends and teachers. It is and will be a joyous, tear filled time as the children he has grown up with and workers who have poured into him will pray for him and send him off with blessing!

It will be awesome and draining for sure. But before we go back to the orphanage we will spend the day together which I am sure will prove to be another day of adventure!
First time we got to SEE Gabriel with Daddy and 3...internet /skype WORKED!
It was a GIFT! My mommy heart jumped for joy as his little face entered onto the screen. He was so very cute getting really close to the camera and saying "hello"
(he also wanted to see the dog, the cat, the kids, the food etc)
Dave is doing an AMAZING job with his journal I will leave it and let you read on!
(boy do I love that man!)

April 24, 2010 (Day 3)
We awoke, late I might add, and tried to get ourselves over to the Orphanage as soon as we could.
We arrived as the kids were just sitting down for lunch. Gabriel ran to meet us in the courtyard and gave us both a hug of greeting. Feels very good!
While inside Romana invites us to a fair/craft show for one of the schools in town. So off we went, Romana, Gabriel, Tanner, Romana’s son, Rachael and Grandma Judy.

We spent a couple hours walking around, had some lunch and had an enjoyable time. Tanner was amazed he recognized most of the music. All throughout the day there were kids dancing and singing on stage, just full of life.
I think Tanner thought all the music he listened to could only be heard in America. :-) Ahh expanding his view on how big the world really is. :-)

Tanner is doing great, when awake he is full on not wanting to miss ANYTHING that this trip has to offer, I think he really knows it is special and also doesn’t know if or when he may get to experience something like this again.

After the fair we return to the hotel this time with Gabriel for an hour or so before going back to Beacon House so Gabriel can have dinner and get settled in for the night.

I am SOOO appreciative of how Romana has worked out how to best transition the kids to their families. Each one is likely not exactly the same but I know she has worked out what works and what doesn’t and always is sensitive to what God is leading her to do in the particular situation based on the child or children being transitioned.

Before we head back though God decided to give us a gift of connecting with our family back home. The internet had not been working but this time when I tried I was able to get on and we were able to video skype with Carrie and the kids (all except Brock as it was early and he was still in bed, its Okay Brock we know you need your beauty sleep! :-)

Skype was a joy, though Gabriel was a bit distracted as the hotel had sooo many new things to touch and see what they did. I know Mom and brothers and sisters back home were very thankful as were we! I remembered being the one at home when Carrie was here with John and Victoria 2 years ago. Ahh good stuff!

We took Gabriel back for dinner at Beacon House, made arrangements for church in the morning and then came back to our hotel for dinner and in Tanners case some log sawing…he is out out out again! LOL
As for me as I close this day I am feeling much better, still 5 more sleeps (including tonite) before we get to begin our return but feeling held up and comforted.
Looking forward to enjoying what tomorrow has in store for us as we walk it out step by step….moment by moment….