Thursday, August 31, 2006

mach speed

it has always been our feeling that we are a temporary home for the girls--that our main priorities are to keep them out of foster care (aka. "the system") and to find them a permanent loving place to live.

their exposure to a real family in atlanta, instead of our fRamily, created in the girls an intense desire to have that kind of love permanently. they really hated coming back. who wouldn't? they were living the dream of any 11 or 12 year old, or any 30 something. swimming, biking, movie watching, game playing. no school, no schedule, no structure. they loved it. and in part, they hated us for having to come back.

as their discontent levels continued to rise, lindsay realized that we needed to involve shelia (the girls' mother) more in their care. and the next time someone was upset enough that they needed to go somewhere else, that somewhere would be their mother's. so around midnight saturday night, paulette, lindsay, and i made a trip to shelia's nursing home with the hope that shelia could help paulette be less angry. it worked, but only after the drama of a missing person's report, some serious lecturing from the police, and a number of trips to take paulette back to the nursing home. the good thing is that we learned that paulette can figure out how to get home from almost anywhere and is really skilled at riding the dc metro buses.

all of this made clear the necessity of finding them a good home. through a number of clear miracles, it seems that we are on our way. we have been praying intensely that God will help us, and that He will pave the way for these children. they are His, after all. and it seems that He has moved this process into mach speed. questions we have been struggling with for months have been answered, a lawyer is in the process of being retained (something we have worked on for about 3.5 months), people are contacting us, from the most random of sources, because they heard about the girls and are interested in taking them. i am astounded by how many people have considered this. most of these people don't know them, they simply hear the story and think "huh, maybe i should take them." there are people out there who are so full of love that their homes are created to help kids in these situations.

we have talked a family that's had over 20 foster care kids in their home over the last 10 years. this family has permanently adopted 2 of those kids. and they feel like they are missing one. and what is even crazier, is this is not unique. we have talked to many many people who are in similar situations.

i am astounded by the love these people have. it really is inspiring. we hear so much of how horrible people can be to each other, and we rarely get to hear how loving and wonderful we sometimes are to each other. these people are amazing. and i am convinced that we will find the place, which God has prepared, for these girls.

it is tricky to write about all of this stuff--it is sensitive.

Friday, August 25, 2006

they're ba-ack

for all of you who might be wondering whether we still have a framily to speak of, have no fear....paulette and jennifer have returned. after a glorious month of freedom for all of us, the girls returned home kicking and screaming this afternoon. literally. when i (lindsay) met them at the gate, a us airways personnel was kind enough to warn me, as the rest of the passengers deplaned, that the girls were still on the plane and that one of them was "kicking and hitting" the other one. excellent.

the girls raved in the car--and will hopefully post on this blog--about their spectacular visit to atlanta. i don't want to give away the best parts (think go-carts, six flags, and an end-over-end bike crash) but i do want to say that atlanta has truly converted these two. "atlanta is way better than washington," says one of them. "are there even any malls here?" evidently, they've been introduced to the wonders of the perfume counter at dillards, smoothie king, and--my personal favorite--chick-fil-a and are skeptical that washington holds any such treasures.

for their first night back, we ate at our favorite vietnamese restaurant, played rummikub, and negotiated a new system of incentives for housework, personal hygiene, and general good behavior. the girls visited cute daniel and isaac. they called their mother (who, as expected, forbade them from taking any more vacations). jennifer cooked herself an egg and, in the first of what i hope will be many victories for the incentive-based system, cleaned the kitchen after herself.

i wish i had some pictures to post, so you could see how good a month of that fresh atlanta air was for them, and how much their hair has grown. hopefully, though, we'll have something to put up soon. stay tuned.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006


the last day in cote d'ivoire i realized that if i was ever going to get married it would probably have to be to a french man. there is a mutual attraction between me and the frogs that just doesn't exist with other men. i have no photos of this particular french man, which is a bummer.

corina eating agutae (sp?)
it is an oversized rat that they eat as a delicacy in cote d'ivoire
she said it was really good and quite tender.

typical roadside scene

i don't think i will ever really understand the utility of selling cds, chewing gum, jeans, windshield wipers, and razors at busy intersections. i am sure i am missing out on some serious convenience, but if i need jeans i am sure i will want to shop around...

monica asked annie to help us shop
the prices started out a full 8x's more than the actual sale price.
this market is the best in all of africa

mangosteen and friends at the market
i love tropical fruit

they sell tons of ivory in the ivory coast (ironic?)
it is a beautiful material, but it is definitely not worth the life of an elephant.

i left cote d'ivoire and had 2 days and a night in paris with alena

ahhh paris. why did it have to rain all weekend?

we stayed at les etangs de corot
it was delightful. the link to the website does it some justice.
if you need to relax and unwind this place is perfect

the courtyard

nerdy of me, but check out that courtyard

despite the rain we went to the rodin museum

this was my favorite sculpture

the gardens with the sculpture make this one of the most
beautiful museums i have ever visited


alena was away from ian (who is 8 months old) so she eventually had to pump.
i made a huge mistake. i confused la defense with la republic and instead of going to the cool, trendy shopping area of paris we ended up in this sterile financial district. it really messed up our mission to shop.

this woman was quite interested in what she was doing
we had a hard time communicating
(she spoke arabic and french)
but is was a cool exchange between women.
she had 4 children with her and it was apparent that the idea of leaving an infant home with his father was unthinkable to her. i don't like burkahs they seem oppressive to me and i felt like this woman was really missing something that we had. and then i wondered if she felt the same way about us...

i left beautiful paris for the wretched charles de gaulle airport
with the new security measures in place the lines were ridiculously long. i was yelled at by a french security guy because i asked him where i was supposed to go. i realized that the guys running this shoe were morons and power hungry. so i just cut in line and was through security in about 45 minutes which was a welcome relief. i have no doubt that i could have been in line for over 3 hours.

okay girls, your turn to post photos.

Friday, August 11, 2006

nigeria and cote d'ivoire

i am sitting in my hotel "lobby" eating a plate of fruit (papaya [not eating blak], mango [super yummy], and pineapple) and pan au chocolat...lovin' this. it is the first morning in a really long time that i wasn't up before 6:am and the first time in the whole week that i have been able to actually have a breakfast.

but let me back up and give you some taste of nigeria and cote d'ivoire

this is me having lunch with some colleagues at the hotel

orange was the theme of the abuja sheraton
mirrors on the ceilings and orange everywhere

room with this view

abuja is africa's geneva. it is sterile and not much like africa. there is not much to recommend it, but there is not much to hate about it either. it is a peaceful mellow town. most of the town is about 5 years old, as that was when the capitol moved from lagos to abuja.

one of the ladies at the embassy that was helping with travel was really upset. she explained that someone in her family was having their house demolished in the next couple of days. they have just finished building it 2 months previous and then the city decided that the title they held for th property was not accurate. that they had not purchased the land from someone who actually owned the land. Hence, demolish the house. such an insane rational, and there is no way to prove who is right or who it wrong. but they have no recourse. there is nothing that can be done. they are trying to get their belongings out in time. apparently many people who are living on the streets these days are people who once had homes and stable lives, but who the government has treated in a similar way. house demolition???!!!!

travel companions dr. samuel adenyi-jones (the king of nigeria) and corina

happy, confused, and seriously we checked out of our hotel

the large mosque from the road

on the road to the airport

the airport in lagos

our security detail. they follow us where ere we go

we stayed at the sheraton in lagos, which is famous for it's parties. all of the people working for the oil companies, flight attendants and pilots all layover there. they stay up all hours drinking at the bar. there is a long line of prostitutes outside of the hotel. it is a nice but seedy hotel. i was glad to get out. but i was not glad to wake up at 4:am to get on a 7:am flight (armour toured of lagos in the interim) only to have my expediter slow down the process and the plane be delayed (long story that i will explain later). once on the plane i thought i would asphyxiate from the smell of gas, i got in a HUGE fight with a flight attendant, and corina's luggage was lost. my lovely travel agent booked me on the same flight that crashed with embassy staff a few months ago. anyway it was a disaster, i am glad i got my luggage and kept my life. i feel bad for corina who doesn't have her luggage. two days later the luggage is still missing.

but then i arrived in cote d'ivoire:
sunset from the hotel lobby

this is the pincane and the hotel lobby

corina's new fiance

this is the hotel. my room is in the building in the back. the Wafau

there is a weird relationship brewing between iran and cote d'ivoire. it troubles me. is it like china and sudan? or is this islamic fundamentalist recruiting in a vulnerable, tense country? it is really concerning to me.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

email from the atl

this is a recent email from paulette. my guess (hope) is that is summerizes their first few days in atlanta. i think i publish this with permission. i asked and she didn't say yes or no. she instead told me about a crush she has developed. i have asked them to take photos. my guess is jennifer, will be our girl for that.

kimberly yesterday i learned how to float. it took me about 10minutes to learn how to float.well today i'm going back to the pool to hang out with everyone and by everyone i mean tohmas, yo, esther, michel,chipand the rest of the crazy gang they really are crazy mostly tom. two days ago we meaning yo,jen and myself were hanging out in thomas's rom playing video games and just chilling oh yeah every night we stay up yill 3am talking giggling and just being kids lol (laugh out loud thats what lol means)
well thats all for right now i'll continue to keep in touch oh yeah everyone says hi.
love, paulette