It is a site a blog started by a photographer names Tom. He has dedicated his time to help stop trafficking and exploitation of children in the fishing villages of the Volta region.
If you have a chance please take some time to read and educate yourself on a bit of what is going on there.
His award winning photography does an amazing job of capturing the joys and tragedies, the beauty and sadness that are a part of Ghana, specifically the Volta region. It is very overwhelming to read.
Tom had a chance to travel around the region with a man named Joseph Brabi who is John Bull's right hand man (John Bull is the man featured with his wife on the video in this post). The ministry the Lord has given them in Ghana is amazing and their website is wonderful. What he and his wife do is a beautiful picture of Christ-City of Refuge- another must.
The experiences Tom writes about in his blog are very real and tragic.
He writes "These were the most difficult pictures I have ever taken. I felt ashamed being a visitor and having the option to leave Ada."
But then he said, "Looking back now I’m glad I took the photographs and witness what I did while in Ghana. The photos taken at Ada and Ada Kope are the strongest work for the coming exhibition. The best tool for us to stop the atrocity that is modern day slavery is to bring it to the public eye and to support organizations like YGAP and CORM. Unless we put slavery into light it will continue to fester in the darkness.
Here are a few of the photos:
In the midst of the hardships of Ghana there is beauty. The photos of the children playing and the little girl with the pot on her head.
And there is hope in Ghana at places like City of Refuge with John Bull, Stacy, Joseph Brabi and his wife Theresa (pictured below). People who have the love of God in their heart, who love the children that God brings to them!
And one day, if the Lord wills, He will bring us a child to love and care for!
We already sent 1 application in and now we have 2 more almost done that we are sending in.
1. Initial application to agency in Texas that will take care of overall adoption.
2. Our application to our local Homestudy Agency here in Illinois.
3. Finishing touches on our application to the Agency in Texas now that we are approved.
Here is a picture of MOST of the stack of paperwork we had to do.
It has things like:
Criminal conviction history
Physicals for each person in our family
Our Financial Situation
Our at least 5 page long Autobiography's we had to write
pictures of our drivers licences
Addressed envelopes ready to send after we do the last 3 things hopefully this week!
PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE pray that we can get this all finished up so we can send it this week and get our Homestudy started.
An about 3 month process that our case worker will come into our home and see our family life, living situation and confirm that we are a family fit to adopt a child.
THEN we get matched with our CHILD!!!
We have raised just over $2000 so far!
We have quite a ways to go to meet the approx. $25,000 we need and the car the Lord will provide, but people have blessed us SOOO much with their hearts to give. We have been blown away already.
And we haven't even been matched with our child yet!
I just want to thank each person that has already contributed to this journey our family is on!
Fundraisers working on for the future
1. A Tumblr that will have t-shirts to purchase and updates on the adoption
(it may take over this blog, but i will keep you posted on that)
2. I really want to make bracelets to sell, I got the idea one night and I am super excited about it. They are are more then just bracelets and I will explain more in the future!
(it is more for awareness then fundraising)
3. There are grants that we are going to look into and apply for!
Oh my, what has happened over the last few weeks since our last post.
1. Josh met with a gentlemen that introduced him to 2 people who have adopted and he came home so refreshed. This application process has been tedious and overwhelming at times. Juggling our regular busy schedule with work, the kids school, church and ballet we are busy. It's not just filling our papers, there are appointments to schedule and show up to, autobiographies to write and paperwork to search for and copy. It can be discouraging.
But after this meeting Josh had one comment that was said that really put some wind in our sails, "When I think about all the paperwork, time and $ that goes into getting your child home I remember that it is nothing compared to what Jesus did to adopt us into His family."
It was an amazing reminder to give us thankfulness for what Christ has done for us and perseverance to push thru all the tedious things that need to get done!
2. I went to our church's mom's group for the Adoption session. There was a speaker who was going to share her story of adoption and another speaker who was a case worker for the mom's who place their children up for adoption. I was excited to hear what they had to share and glean any advice they had. The first gal shared about her Inter-country adoption of a newborn baby boy and who was a different race and had some amazing things to share. Alot of her story was very different then what ours will be in that hers was Inter-country and ours is International, her son was a newborn and our will be over 2 years old. But there were a few things she faced and spoke about that were things I was curious to see how she handled. One was dealing with people who had a hard time with her having a child of a different race. She also shared about how she dealt with telling her son about being adopted. There were some things she said her and her husband did that made me think and wonder what we would do. She has an open adoption so the mom can be involved if she wants to. So she tells her son that he has 2 moms and they speak of his other mom quite a bit. She isn't involved right now, they don't know where she is so that sparks other conversations as well.
My mind started whirling of concerns I have been having already and what she had said only made me have more questions! How will we help our new son to feel a part of our family? How will we talk to him about where he came from? Will he believe that we love him as our own son? How will he know he belongs? What about people around us and their questions/comments, how will they effect him? What is the best way to handle it?
After the 2 speakers I totally had more questions then answers. Our leader Janel got up and her husband who is adopted was hanging out in the back of the room. She decided to have him come up and share. And oh my, I was so encouraged.
He shared things like.....
- His parents told him that he was hand picked. They were very specific that they wanted a boy from an irish catholic home. They chose him because of who he was. And he actually was a bit conceited about it, telling other kids that his parents picked him!
-That made me excited about the specifics the Lord has laid on our hearts! The more specific the more we can tell him he is exactly what our family prayed for.
-His parents told him "You belong where you are loved". I LOVE THAT!
-While he was talking I started thinking about telling him, "God chose you for us and chose us for you. Your are CHOSEN."
I was so encouraged. It was like a breath of fresh air. I totally had a picture in my head of walking him up to the school door (when he is ready) and introducing him as my son kissing him on the head and sending him on his way. Now don't get me wrong I know there will be hard times, as there is with every son or daughter. I know that there will be fears, anxieties and frustrations. But there will also be more love, more laughter, more hugs and kisses!
3. Then just to top all of this off. I was talking to my mom after the Mom's Group and was sharing with her all the things I just shared with you. Now mind you when I first told my family they were fearful about the concept of adoption. About the seriousness of it, the many things that we would face and how it would effect Elly, Lucy and Atticus.
After I finished telling her all of this my mom said, "Well since, I was there for the week after the birth of Elly, Lucy and Atticus I would love to be there for the week after he comes into our family."
I can not tell you how much this blessed me. I got all choked up and was so happy:) The most beautiful gift I have gotten so far on this journey or adoption.
So the season for lemonade stands is ending. Onto the next endeavor to raise some $. I have a few ideas up my sleeve. Ideas for bracelets to sell are brewing in my mind. More about that later.
The girls made a total of $120!! I am so proud of them and people were so kind a generous in our neighborhood. We had a lot of fun doing it and the girls joy and excitement to help bring their brother home blessed me so much!!
This is the homemade sign the girls 100% made themselves. Words all all totally their idea!
My little ladies wanted to do a lemonade stand to raise money for adoption. We headed out our first Sunday and they were sooooo excited. We are going to try to go out every Sunday to sell Lemonade. I am excited to raise awareness and meet our neighbors! And when Lord willing our little boy comes home our neighbor's be invested and welcome him home:) Pretty much everyone that passed wanted to buy Lemonade. We are selling the lemonade for 50 cents, but most at least paid $1. We also got a $10 and $20 donation!
1. Received Homestudy paperwork from Sunnyridge (currently filling out)
2. Sent in application to Generations for adoption
3. Got approval for basic application to adopt with Generations
4. Had Orientation with Generations via SKYPE (received more paperwork for official application and fee)
Today we had our Adoption Orientation with Generations Adoptions via SKYPE. Generations will be the overarching agency that takes care of the adoption, dealing with America and Ghana. Sunnyridge will be doing our homestudy because they are based in Chicago. The homestudy is needed for American approval for us to adopt.
In the orientation we met our case worker from Generations for the overall adoption. She went over and gave us more paperwork to fill out and send her. We will send in our $250 application fee with this paperwork. OUR FIRST PAYMENT in this process. Hoping to finish filling out our paper work for the homestudy and send this new paperwork in soon! It entails so much! For the homestudy paper work we have to have background checks, fingerprinting, financial checks, physicals and more. After all that is done our homestudy will begin and when finished we will send that in to get approved by the U.S. to adopt. Then on to getting matched with our child. And onto getting approval from Ghana.
At this point I am a bit overwhelmed by all the paperwork, but glad we have at least taken another step. I also have an appointment with my neuro surgeon tomorrow to find out his opinion on why the vision in my right eye continues to get worse. Please pray for guidance and healing! We will see what the Lord will do.
Psalm 146:7-9 He upholds the cause of the oppressed
and gives food to the hungry.
The LORD sets prisoners free, 8 the LORD gives sight to the blind,
the LORD lifts up those who are bowed down,
the LORD loves the righteous. 9 The LORD watches over the foreigner
and sustains the fatherless and the widow,
but he frustrates the ways of the wicked.
Psalm 68:4-5 4 Sing to God, sing in praise of his name,
extol him who rides on the clouds[a];
rejoice before him—his name is the LORD. 5 A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows,
is God in his holy dwelling.
He tells us "Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the foreigner or the poor. Do not plot evil against each other." Zechariah 7:10
Ok, so originally this blog was "Agoo Little one". But being the newbee that I am to all things Ghana-I made a mistake.
"Agoo" was the word just below "Nantew yiye" on the translation website I was looking at. "Agoo" means to call attention. And "Nantew yiye" means "safe journey". THUS the Blog name change to "Nantew Yiye Little One". These are words from the Twi (pronounced 'chwee') language. Specifically Ashanti Twi is a language spoken in Ghana by about 7 million people.
We went over a little bump in the road over the last few days. At first we were told Ghana was shut down for adopting! Then a few hours later we were told it was in process of going hague. Which means you can't do private adoptions, you have to go thru an agency. And after all this we find out that it will end up being better in the end going thru an agency because the children are more protected and we will be able to apply for grants!
So now we are picking our agency. We have been referred to Genereations adoption agency, so we will probably end up going with them.
We finally received our homestudy packet in the mail from SunnyridgeFamily Center so we can take our first step to completing our TO DO list of adoption!
What is a homestudy? The link I attatched will have info on that, but basically the homestudy takes 3- 6 months and entails.....
Educate and prepare the adoptive family for adoption
Evaluate the fitness of the adoptive family
Gather information about the prospective parents that will help a social worker connect the family with a child whose needs they can meet
I am really enjoying this blog by a family Josh told me about who are adopting from Haiti. I had to share this entry with you and you have to watch the sweet video that is posted at the end! Below is a picture of her with her son while visiting him in Haiti. They are still waiting to bring him home!
This is what I have learned about the area our little one comes from so far
A Brief History
(found here) The ancient and historically significant country of Ghana is one of the five African nations along the northern coastline of the Gulf of Guinea. It is bordered on the west by Cote d'Ivoire, on the north by Burkina Faso, and on the east by Togo. The country consists mostly of low-lying savannah regions, with a central belt of forest.
Ghana's rich history centers on the once-great Ashanti Empire, which rose to power during the late 17th century and continued to prosper as a center of the 18th century slave trade. The Ashanti capital, Kumasi, was one of the finest and most advanced cities in Africa, and the Ashanti state even employed significant numbers of Europeans as advisors and administrators. The European presence in Ghana is also marked by the multitude of colonial forts that dot its coastline--strongholds that anchored the European trade in gold, ivory, and slaves. Although Ghana, then known as the Gold Coast, was largely considered a British territory by the latter half of the 19th century, it wasn't until 1900 that the British succeeded in defeating the Ashanti and the area's other strong kingdoms.
If Ghana was late in coming under European control, it was also the first African nation to win back its independence, in 1957. However, corruption and internal military strife proved to be apparently intractable problems, and Ghana went through an extended period of instability in the 1960s and 1970s marked by military rule. The country has since then been moving steadily toward political and economic stability and is currently one of the most peaceful nations in Africa. Unfortunately, Ghana’s economy is currently struggling and many of its people live in abject poverty. Numerous Ghanaian children have been orphaned by the conditions that their families live under, with parents who are unable to feed or clothe their children.
The orphan statistics in Ghana are at a staggering 170,000 who alone have become orphans due to HIV/Aids. Many of these children are taken in by extended family and friends, but the remainder must either live on their own or in orphanages. It is a very sad fact that these children must look after themselves, and those blessed enough to be in an orphanage must always deal with the fact that they are no longer with their parents.
Two in five children who start primary school in Ghana do not complete fifth grade.
1.1 million children in Ghana are orphans or have lost one parent.
90 percent of children and adults in Ghana lack access to improved sanitation facilities.
Nearly one-third of children and families in Ghana struggle to survive on $1.25 a day or less
In the West African nation of Ghana, lies the largest manmade lake in the world, Lake Volta. The surrounding villages in this region are plagued by poverty, waterborne diseases, malaria, and illiteracy. These misfortunes often lead to an increase in orphans, abandoned children, and even children sold into forced labor. These children are especially vulnerable to exploitation in the fishing communities. Children are not often valued beyond their ability to provide immediate income and, as a result, are not given the opportunity to fulfill their lifelong potential. Trafficked and at-risk children need safety so they may grow into dynamic and caring members of society. They need someone to advocate for them, as they are unable to voice their own right to freedom.
Lake Volta is the largest reservoir by surface area in the world, and the fourth largest one by water volume. It is located completely within the country of Ghana, and it has a surface area of about 8,502 km² (3,275 square miles).
Many of the fishermen who ply their trade on Lake Volta are known for using child slavestrafficked from both within Ghana and surrounding countries. Challenging Heights, a Ghana-based NGO that helps rescue child slaves, estimates that over 24,000 children in Ghana fall victim to the worst forms of child labour annually, many of whom are forced into dangerous work in the fishing industry. According to the international NGO Free the Slaves, some of the reasons these activities persist despite anti-slavery and anti-trafficking laws is the lack of funding for law enforcement, the lack of a strong social stigma against the practice, and the lucrative nature of the business
About 4 months ago Josh came to me telling me he had been hounded by the theme of adoption from every angle. He was unsure of what it meant, was it for us personally or for our church? So he asked me to pray about it.
Over the course of the next few weeks
the theme kept coming and
our hearts were moving toward the idea of another little munchkin in our family. Our 2 daughters, Elly and Lucy were excited about the idea of having another sibling. Our hearts were there, but the actual process was quite daunting to me.
At this point we are all talking about it being a POSSIBILITY. This "possibility" was a HUGE mountain in my mind. There are so many questions in my mind I can't even begin to list all of them. As of now I feel like I'm standing at the bottom of a mountain I am told I might have to climb to the top of. I am a person looking up a steep mountain and I have never gone to a rock climbing class, have no gear, no guide, and am dressed in flip flops and a sundress. SOOOOOO ill-equipped and unprepared! Asking the questions, HOW, WHEN, WHERE??
Then Josh goes to a conference. Out of all the Pastors at the conference he could have been seated next to, he sits next to a man who tells him that he and his wife were finishing up their journey adopting 2 children from Ghana (and now they are actually adopting a 3rd). Josh comes home and has this look on his face......
Now mind you, my husband is a passionate, vision casting person. But he is not one to jump on bandwagons, invest, motivate and not follow thru. The last time he felt like God was talking to him THIS strongly was just before we moved to Chicago. And now look at us!
Back to the look on his face.....so he walks in the door, with this look and tells me about the man he sat next to. 2 nights previous we had watched a documentary on "The Lost Boys" in the Sudan. It was very moving and put faces in my/our minds.
If I hadn't watched the documentary what he said to me might have made the mountain seem huger to me.
He tells me about Ghana. And instead of making the mountain seem bigger I felt like now I knew what was on top of the mountain, the mountain seemed like something I now wanted to conquer! THEN, he told me this man gave him his information and that he and his wife would be happy to walk us thru our adoption process!!! I feel like God just showed up as my rock climbing guide and handed me my gear I need to climb the mountain in this couple! Ok, Ok, maybe this is what God wants us to do?! He seems to be clearly placing signs in our path directing us specifically....now I just need to get out of this sundress and flip-flops!
2 days later, after processing all of this, Josh and I are talking and he asks me where I am at about taking that first step in the process. Actually making that first phone call. After a good long conversation we decided to take the first step! The first LEAP of faith. Keep in mind, we have NO MONEY for this journey. We are just taking a huge step of faith. Trusting that if God wants this child in our family it WILL happen. We have lots of tangible ways that we are going to try to raise money and there are some matching grants available out there.
So my husband, children and I put on our mountain climbing clothes, are all geared up and following our ALL SUFFICIENT guide up the mountain!!!
I am going to keep everyone posted thru this blog. If you want to join us on this journey, "climb the mountain" with us please comment and check back for updates!!!