Saturday, December 29, 2007

A Family of Five

First, please excuse the writing if there are any mistakes. Robin Roberts and I are at an internet cafe in Panahachel, and the computer keyboards are different. In order to get the amperstand sign, I had to hold down the ALT key and type the numbers 64 and then the Q button. Forgive me, but I don´t understand.

We will post more pictures later...probably Tuesday when we return here. We must find the internet cafe from the other night first.....So, no pictures today.

We took Jett back to the orphanage yesterday, and he cried profusely. He saw his nanny....also called a momma here....and hugged her. We all cried for him as we thought he missed her greatly and did not want to leave. However, today we were going back to the orphanage so he could say goodbye to his friends. He immediately teared up and clung tightly to me. I asked him if he wanted to go, and he did not. He wanted to go back to our room and go back quickly. So, the translator talked to the nanny inside and allowed JT to be part of the conversation.

We learned that Jett thought we were taking him back to the sad. It made my heart break for him. Our totally compassionate Madison cried for almost 3 hours for Jett.....she was still upset this morning over the situation. This will be a journey for him, and we are prepared to walk it with him every step of the way. May God mold his heart and mind to be the man that God purposed him to be.

Jett is continuing to bond well, now giving hugs and kisses to our family. He wants JT and I to carry him everywhere. He reaches up for one of us everywhere we go and says levo....pick me up or hold me! It warms my heart.

Jett is a great eater and sleeper. He takes a 2 hour nap daily and sleeps from 8 at night until 6 in the morning. He eats well too and loves water. He makes a game out of everything, and we are all madly in love with him. That is all for now. We will definitely post some of the cutest pictures you have ever seen next week!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Gotcha Day! was harder than I thought to get internet service at Eagle's Nest. So, tonight my new friend Patty brought me down to Panajachel and we are at a local internet cafe (more like an open air cafe with just computers). So, here's the update...

We made our way around Guatemala City yesterday and learned many new helpful Spanish phrases. Then, after lunch, we took the hotel shuttle back to the airport. Somehow, we were able to communicate to the driver that we needed to go the departures instead of the arrivals. Everyone else got off the shuttle, and I think he thought we were mistaken or crazy, but he took us anyway. We, of course, were the only Americans with luggage at the arrival area. We got many “crazy Americans!” looks and some people even tried to help us get to the right place. After waiting only 10 minutes, we saw Jim Houston and the crew from The Church at Brook Hills arriving right on time! Finally, everyone realized that we were meeting another group and not leaving!

The ride up the mountain in a school bus took about 3 hours the last time I came, but it seemed to drag on for another day…..I told Lisa Mitchell (aka Lala) that I thought the road had gotten 100 miles longer. The last 15 minutes were the longest of my life! I couldn’t believe the emotional turmoil my head and heart were in…..excitement, overwhelming love, “what have I gotten myself into this time” questions, nervousness, eagerness, joy, elation….so much that I can’t even describe it. God had been preparing my heart and mind for this moment, and I could scarcely sort it all out. Oh, the joy.

The videographer and photographers got off the bus and took our last picture as a family of four. Then, we walked into the orphanage, and everything was just as I remembered it. Babies everywhere….oh, the joy of knowing those children would be going to forever families soon. Now, where’s my son? We were led to a bedroom on the right side of the hall where there was no pomp and circumstance. My son was on the floor in a room with about 10 other children. One little girl was crying and another was working on changing her clothes. No bells, no whistles…only tears of joy. The nanny was putting Jett’s shoes on his feet. He looked like he’d been playing hard all day. He looked at us and the nanny said something in Spanish (I think I heard Momma and Papa)…he looked at us with those big brown eyes and came straight to me. He hugged me and I cried….two years, and I cry like a baby. I’m sure he was super confused and wondered what kind of Momma he was getting. She’s hugging me and crying like a baby…do I even like this woman? Then, he saw JT. He locked eyes and hugged him tight. Jett immediately took to JT – rubbing his bald head and running his hands through JT’s gotee. Lots of photos were taken and we were a family of 5! To God be the glory for His plan and His timing.

We walked down the hallway and took Jett out of the orphanage for the first time. He was out of the confines of waiting and had his forever family FOREVER! No going back…..what is this world, and what I am supposed to do in it? May God use this child to change the nations for His glory!

It was a day of “Firsts” for all of us….for Jett it was the first time to stay in an apartment, to sleep in the bedroom with his family, to get a present that he could keep forever, to change into new pajamas, to take a hot bath in a big bathtub, to eat with his family, to pray with his faith family. And for us, it was the first time to hear our son sleep soundly, to watch him learn what having a sister meant (not sure if he’s liking this notion yet), to watch him play with new toys, to put on our son’s shoes, to brush his hair…..Oh, the days of firsts are just beginning. Thank you Father for a day of firsts.

JT and I took Jett to the supermarket today by ourselves. The girls stayed at Eagle’s Nest with Lala, and we were able to spend some time with Jett alone. As we began our walk into town, Jett was holding both of our hands. He looked up to the workers on the side of the hill and said “My Papa is taking me to the store.” Oh, we were SO proud.

We are eternally grateful for the Father’s plan for our family. Right now, we are watching Madison play hide and seek with her brother. He is fully tangled in the curtains of the apartment waiting for someone to find him….what a humorous child. We can’t wait to see what else God has in store for us!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

This Day!

This is the day we have been waiting on for almost two years. As I lay sleepless last night I could not help but reflect on the many nights and days of work Sheryl has completed to get us to this point. The work to this point has all been leading up to this day! This is the day the Lord has made for our family. I know that this day has been in His plan since the beginning. I know that this day has been orchestrated by the Father to bring about a new chapter in the Turner family journey. I know that this day has been a part of the plan all along in His master plan.

We are sitting in the hotel room waiting...just waiting again for the team to arrive and for our long journey up the mountain. As we wait I am thinking about the past months and the journey to here. What was I thinking? Did I really think I would be able to handle all of this? Well here I am. Here we sit and in just a half day, we will be face to face with a son who has never seen us nor have we seen him. We will stand face to face with the son that God the Father has chosen for us to bring into our family as one of us. We will be in the very place we have been anticipating and working toward since January 2006.

I realize that at this moment it is me that the Father is working on to change. Jett will have many changes in his life and the future is so different than where he is at this moment. Yet, it is my life that has been changing during this time. I have begun to realize the purpose in reaching the children in this world. I have begun to learn how to love more like the Father loves. I have begun to understand the role I play in the Father's plan to reach the world.

This day I will see the next challenge for my relationship with the Father rest in arms as I sit with my son! This day I will see the face that has captured my heart and mind so many hours of so many days. This day I will see the life that has been given to me to further the growth of the Kingdom! This day life will change and God the Father will open our eyes to the real story of adoption as we begin this day to understand His love for us!

Oh Father show us your way and help us to follow you in every step of this journey today. Open our hearts wide. Lord, today use us as a real hand and heart of yours to wrap up this precious child in your love as we lead him to the truth of who you are and Whose he is. Father this day, lead us into Your path as we follow You into this next chapter of our journey!

In His Grip,
JT / Big Daddy

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Twas the Night Before Gotcha Day.....

Here we are in Guatemala City…what excitement has built in our family since our departure at 4:00 am from our home in Alabaster this morning. We landed in GC at 12:30 today and only had a slight panic…..our luggage (all six bags) were some of the last ones on the conveyor belt. After about 25 minutes of watching many other passengers collect their baggage, we were beginning to get concerned. Then, we saw our luggage arrive, and we were ecstatic. We had the privilege of going through customs…’s not like other countries we’ve been to and not like the last time I was here either. The uniformed official-looking customs agent looked at our form, looked at us and showed us to the door. That was it….amazing!

We made it to our Holiday Inn with very little effort. We are only a mile or so from the airport and can even get back there tomorrow by ourselves. We’ve learned enough Spanish to get by with the major things and are learning more by the minute! We even ordered our dinner tonight in Spanish and got exactly what we wanted…it was delicious by the way!

I’m posting a few pictures from our excursion outside of the hotel today. We walked for several blocks around the hotel and found a local McDonalds. Those of you who know us well know that we wouldn’t normally eat in a McDonalds and haven’t in almost a year. But, we went in and found a McCafe (that was the name of it) inside the McDonald’s. It was a coffee shop. They had the most amazing coffee and desserts….we sat on couches and enjoyed our time together as a family.

Speaking of family, this is our last night as the foursome we’ve been for over eight years. We are so eager to meet our son tomorrow. Here’s the plan so far….we will go back to the airport around noon tomorrow and meet Larry Boggs (he’s the missionary who runs Eagle’s Nest along with his wife Claire) and the team from The Church at Brook Hills. We will travel from GC to Solola up in the mountains. This is a grueling 2-3 hour drive and tends to lend itself to promoting carsickness. I’d like to meet my son without getting sick right in front of him.

Our family is thrilled that we will become 5 tomorrow. Jett Turner is officially ours, and tonight will be his last night to sleep without his Daddy, Mommy and sisters nearby. It will be his last night not to know his forever family. Sleep well Jett…we’re coming!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Getting Ready!

Today will be Christmas at our house....we will open presents as a family of four for the last time. What a joy and privilege to watch as our girls celebrate the birth of Jesus and anticipate getting a brother in just a few days.

As you can imagine, things are hectic here....trying to get the house ready for us to be gone 2 weeks, taking care of last minute ministry stuff (JT will be leaving to lead a trip in Arizona one day after we get home) and enjoying the Christmas holiday! So, we covet your prayers during this time.

By Sunday night, we will have everything packed and ready to go. On Monday, we're going to a Christmas Eve Birthday Party for Jesus at Rich and Angelia Stewart's house. Then, off to The Church at Brook Hills for the Christmas Eve Communion Service. What a sweet time of fellowship that will be with our family and close friends. Our last official meal will be an ode to Waffle House with our friends Bo and Alice Hardy.

Excitement is mounting, and we can all hardly contain ourselves. Thank you all so much for your emails of encouragement and support. We love you and can't wait to see you all when we get home!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Travel Plans Made!

It's official - we're traveling to Guatemala! Praise be to the Father of all good things!

We are flying out on Christmas Day and will make our way to Eagle's Nest on Dec. 26th with a group from our home church, The Church at Brook Hills! The very people who introduced us to Jett will witness our family reunion for the first time! Isn't God's timing amazing!

Then, we will go to the US Embassy in Guatemala City on Jan. 4th, pick up Jett's visa on the 7th, and we will return home on January 8th! We will be flying Delta 1607 and arriving at 8:03 pm. We are overjoyed right now. Our son is waiting and we are going to get him.


It's 2:00 am but a great sense of peace has filled our home. God has brought peace where there was worry. He has stilled our hearts and minds in Him. Thank you Father for your unfathomable plan, and thank you that we get to be a part of it!

If we do not receive a new date today, we'll be traveling to Guatemala the week of Christmas. While the original plan was for the girls not to go with us, they will now be going! We will stay in Guatemala until January 8th. Then, all five of us will come HOME!

We will begin making arrangements soon for travel and covet your prayers. We're staying longer than we originally planned but it will be a good time for our family. God is working all of this together in a miraculous way.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Waiting for a Miracle

I am so overwhelmed right now with the rush of emotions. The news has come from Guatemala and a date is set, but it is not what I wanted it to be. I know the Father is in control and I trust His heart. I also know that the people in the process make choices that impact the lives of children and families. As I have processed the news and the flurry of phone calls to the embassy, I have reached a point of waiting on Him!

In Is. 40:31 we hear the words, "they that wait upon the Lord will renew their strength..." I recall my first sermon God gave me back in my early days of my faith journey was on this very passage. The Hebrew word for wait is "quavah" and means to literally weave together the strnds of a rope in order to hold on in a struggle for life. Today I am reminded of our need to weave together, actively pursue the grace and mercy while wrestling with the emotions and lessons of patience and faith of the issue.

Today I pray for a miracle! Today Father, I ask for you to step into the circumstances of this life we are involved in during this day and provide an opportunity for us to go next week to bring Jett home. Lord I ask on behalf of our son to move among the papers and processes in Guatemala to allow a new date to become available and details worked out for our travel. Lord today I ask for your strength to wait on you to move and trust you will do what is best! Lord give me the faith I need to trust you in this process.

Thank you all who are keeping up with our journey and thank you for your amazing prayer support. We feel your support and eagerly await the incredible burst of energy and peace that comes with each prayer that is lifted and each moment we trust. Join us in prayer as we seek His will and His timing.

Good News and Bad News!

The bad news first...the date is January 4, 2008. Good news...we have our pink slip! We were seriously hoping for a date next week, but it doesn't look good for that right now. We have called the US Embassy several times, and our only option is to have our date moved up if someone else cancels.

Please pray with us right now that someone will cancel and our date will be moved up. JT leaves for Arizona on January 10th, and we would love for us as a family to spend several weeks together before that. Please pray intensely!

Crying Again and Photos

Here are some new photos that Ashley took back in the summer of Jett. Do you think he's a drama king? Ashley said that she would come into a room, and Jett would point to her camera and say "Foto de me! Foto de mi!" I think he and Madison will have to fight for camera time!
We were supposed to hear about our date yesterday but never did. I went to bed in tears and woke up this morning with tears. I read another's mom's blog whose paperwork went to the US Embassy after ours. They received their pink slip yesterday and will be home on the 22nd. I'm so happy for them and sad for us. I cried again....
We are down in the dumps right now and do NOT understand why this is taking so long. We just want our baby home for Christmas, and right now, we don't know if that will happen. This is breaking our hearts and wearing on all of us. We would use your prayer intensely today.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Did we pray for patience?

Today's the day when we should (I emphasize that word as nothing as gone according to the Guatemalaen timeline these days) get our pink slip today. The US Embassy confirmed our paperwork last Thursday and indicated that it would take 4 days not including Fridays, holidays, weekends or days that end in "y" (just kidding on the last one). They are fairly accurate with their timetables, but we'll see.

I'm checking our AOL email account (this is our secondary account that we generally don't check but once a week but was used when we first filed for adoption 2 years ago) every 5 minutes. It's driving me crazy (and I'm sure it's getting on JT's nerves). I'm constantly looking for projects to do but not wanting to do them.

I think I'll go to the bathroom and counsel myself in the mirror. I might have to diagnose myself with dissociative disorder then. Seriously, we could use your prayers today.....specifically for patience. We want all of this to be God's timing.

We'll post as soon as we know anything!

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Christmas Photos

Here are a few Christmas photos we received from Lifeline. Jett looks like he's enjoying the season. We can't wait to get him home and begin teaching him the reason for Christmas!

Friday, December 7, 2007

Paperwork is at US Embassy

We received great confirmation today that our birth certificate, passport and paperwork were submitted to the Embassy yesterday (this news came from our social worker Lauren and the US Embassy in Guatemala). Yeah!!! Their wording indicated that it would take 2-4 days to issue the pink slip with our embassy appointment on it. Of course, those days don't include Fridays, holidays or weekends.

We hope to get our email notification by next Wednesday! When time allows I'll share a story about December 12th!

Thank you all for your prayers and encouragement and for walking this journey with us. We can finally see the light at the end of this tunnel. May God receive all the glory!

Monday, December 3, 2007

"Pink's" Turn

As you can see, this is our sassy eight year old, Madison, who loves pink. Notice all of the items (except the hat) are pink.....this is a frequent look at our house. Anyway, Madison wanted to post on the blog, so I'll type as she dictates:

"I'm really excited about getting Jett. But, I'm kinda nervous. It's going to be hard to get used to a boy." (So, I ask, "what's different about a boy?") He likes outside, he plays different things like tools and cars and trains and building things. And I like baby dolls, American girl dolls, dress-up, cooking. I'm excited because I'm going to have a brother. I'll finally be a big sister. I'll play cars and transformers with him."

That's all she had to say about that. Words of wisdom....

Saturday, December 1, 2007

5 Stockings

Yes, we have hung 5 stockings on the mantle. Each one has a name on it, and it's the fifth one that I'm waiting for.....Jett Turner! As we near the day, we are eagerly anticipating bringing our son home for Christmas.
God, as you constantly remind me, You are in control. May Your name be glorified. May this process bring glory to You. May Your glory be shown to the nations.