Court today!

So, it’s early Friday morning. I can’t sleep. I’m really excited! Steven and Abby will be taking our paperwork to court at 9am!!! Yes, earlier than we expected!! Yay!!
I truly thank God for Abby!!! She has gone above and beyond anything we could have asked or hoped for. We are pretty sure that this is Steven’s first ever adoption. The paperwork would NOT have been finished if not for Abby. She went to social welfare and typed the paperwork for Steven. She said he was not computer savvy at all. They tried to take it to court yesterday, thank goodness. It wasn’t done correctly. The magistrate wouldn’t accept it. I am so glad they tried yesterday, because if they would have waited until today we would have had to wait another weekend to get the girls. God is good! Abby brought us copies and we edited it and she made some other changes. She will take the paperwork this morning to put it on letterhead and take it to court. Please pray that it is excepted. Abby is truly a blessing and we thank God for her!
If all goes as planned then we should have the girls this afternoon!!!! Please keep praying!

Love and prayers,
Johanna

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A lot and nothing

Sorry I haven’t written in a while. A lot and nothing has happened this last week and a half.

Nothing:
1. No warm fuzzies
2.No paperwork has been given to us
3. No paperwork has been done on our behalf
4. No paperwork was signed by the father
5. No straight answers
6. No girls

LOTS: God is Awesome!!!
1. We have been able to visit the girls
2. The Armstrong Family arrived
3. Paperwork should be done on Thursday
4. Court date on Friday??????

Last Thursday I was really discouraged and my heart was sad. We had met with our caseworker and realized right away we were not going to be his favorite people. The first words out of his mouth were a lie to us and he wouldn’t let the father of Sara sign any paperwork to release her for adoption. Frustrated we left the office, but we were able to have another social worker come and do our home study to get the paperwork done for court on Monday. Well, the paperwork wasn’t finished on Monday so we weren’t able to go to court on Tuesday. Which means we have no paperwork to give to the orphanage to get the girls.

God is Awesome!!!! Thursday when we got home I noticed a woman getting bags out of a safari looking vehicle. I really didn’t think anything of it and went to our cottage to have the social worker look around. Well, little did I know that God had brought us the Armstrong family. God knows just what we need, when we need it! The Armstrong’s are a family of 6 from Washington state. They have 3 boys and a beautiful zambian daughter. They are just finishing their adoption-Which has gone smoothly and quickly. They have been such an encouragement and wealth of information! Jace is loving playing with the older boys and Lola is having a blast with the younger two. God is so good! We have been able to sit in the courtyard and watch the kids play and chat about the process of adoption and get to know each other. It’s neat to watch their family and see what our family may be like in the future.
This morning in devotions I read Ecclesiastes 7:8- ‘The end matter is better than its beginning, patience is better than pride.’ We met with Steven, one of the social workers, yesterday. The meeting went better than expected. Thank you God!!! He was nice to us and smiled and tried to explain why everything was taking so long. He said he would have the paperwork for court finished by Thursday. We hope that is true. If the paper work is finished then we will go to court on Friday at 2:00 our time. We’re not to excited about going to court on Friday because if things don’t go as planned we’ll have to wait another weekend before we get the girls. God knows and He has a plan. We’ll just pray and see how this all plays out.
We have been able to visit the girls a few times. Yay! It was amazing and sad at the same time. Hope has been very quite, but each time we come she has been a little more talkative and smiles every once in a while. She enjoys reading books and coloring with us. When we tell her we are leaving she will wring her hands or ours if she is holding them. Sara was very friendly from the first visit. She really likes to play with Jace and laughs at him. She’ll call his name to come and play with her. She cries when we leave. My heart hurts when we leave and I can’t wait until they get to come ‘home’ with us. Please pray for that time. Please pray that it is a smooth transition and a happy time. I can’t imagine what they will be thinking and feeling-leaving with people they hardly know. Please pray that they have a peace and an understanding that we want to love them and make them a part of our family.
Thank you so much for your prayers! We really appreciate them.
love and prayers,
Johanna

HOLY COW!!??

Seriously… HOLY COW!!!
I met with the only person on the face of this Earth (LITERALLY) that could locate Saras father, today. We talked a bit of his story and how Sara became an orphan. Her mother died around childbirth. The mother’s family walked away from the father and left him in care of Sara by himself. The father himself was a poor and very sick man always in and out of the hospital and couldn’t care for her. Recently he had moved far away from Lusaka and was unable to phone. Social Welfare would have never found him!
Our friend then told me what she would have to do to go and bring him to town in order to sign over the rights to Sara. She had to take a bus a few hours away to meet a taxi. She then would take a taxi to a far off intersection where she would then proceed by cow pulled cart through farmland to where the father was staying. She would have to stay the night out in the country and come back in the morning the same way she went out but with the father in tow. We have been praying that everything works out fine and that the father can meet with Social Welfare this morning and we would be able to go get the girls today or tomorrow.
Another process that God is showing us that He is control. Who would have thought cow travel is still a valid means of transportation. haha

While we have almost been here a week and without seeing the girls, it has been a nice time just hanging with our little family here in Africa before it all changes. I have been a little underimpressed with the system here but maybe it’s ok 🙂

-jake

Not a chance!

I would like to go a little deeper into the meeting of Evans at the market.
So, a local Zambian girl, Abby, was recommended to us from a family who has made this journey previously. We have been in contact with Abby for months and have now spent much time with her. She is our local “expert”…so we thought. Knowing we would have to wait thru the weekend, we would have thought that she would have told us about that market that was held down the road at the local mall parking lot. We have walked there everyday so far for something to do. She, however did not mention it.
We just happened to meander over to it in the afternoon. We thought how cool it was that we stumbled upon it. Maybe 60 vendors had booths set up with all sorts of very standard tourist items and some with custom handmade items. We had some other stuff to attend to in the mall so we finished that before we began to look through the booths. We sort of took our time and spent almost every last dime. Looking back I made one last little stop at a booth that “for some reason” caught my eye. I spent several minutes “randomly” looking through some old country coins. I found a few American nickels and pennies that made me chuckle. I found a few pretty neat African coins no longer in print as well. Either way I have never bought anything like that before and i didn’t that day either. BUT… after I had finished looking and we proceeded to the grocery store is when we “by chance” walked right by Evans. Now mind you, we were in a random market we didn’t know about, we previously only knew Abby and Evans who lived in Lusaka, Lusaka is a population of a couple million, Evans hadn’t even planned on attending the market until the last hour to meet co workers, simply that is amazing but what happened the next day is more amazing.
We arrived in Lusaka on faith God was in control. We had no transport from the airport, but Abby came through. We had no place to stay, but Abby came through. One other big key to the adoption process here is a lawyer to file court hearings and finalize the process at the end. We didn’t have lawyer either. Well, wouldn’t you know, Evans’ wife is a very powerful attorney here with a well known firm. He passed along their info and we met with an attorney the next day. It gets better!
After meeting with the attorney and sharing our mission and hearts with him, he was seeing how because of our “noble cause” that the firm could represent us Pro Bono and only have us pay court fees. AMAZING!!!! We had not come with a lawyer planned because the previous families really couldn’t recommend their lawyer because of lack of confidence in them after paying them thousands of US dollars. So, what an amazing God we serve.
We just looked at each other, held back the tears of joy and thanked God for once again showing us that we ARE doing His will and that He is in control and He deserves all glory. It is NOTHING that we can do. Praise Him!!!

-jake

Another early morning

It’s 12:39 am Monday, July 9. I’m the only one up now. Which makes me very happy. So to catch you up on our weekend:
1) we have no Internet anytime, ever!
2) Jace is feeling better
3) God is awesome!

We had a fun family day on Saturday. We went to watch Madagascar 3 at the “arcade” (an outside mall). Loads cheaper then in the states. We tried to get the little thing that is suppose to give us Internet to work, but no such luck. We went to the store to try and find food for Jace. We came home with frosted flakes which cost us $5.00. I’m not talking the family size, jumbo box. Just a regular small box. I’m amazed at some of the pricing here. A roll of paper towels was right around $5.00 and so was a child’s sweatsuit. I think I have found a substitute for my “meningitis pills’. Which I have ‘meningitis’ again because of sleeping in the airplane seats. They are cream filled biscuits and they are only about 30 cents for 8! I think I will be stocking up before I come home. The power went out again on Saturday night. It was only for about 1 1/2 hours. It was right as I was about to put the pasta in the pot for dinner. Thank goodness I hadn’t put it in yet. We ended up eating the box of frosted flakes for dinner. Lola loved it. She’d eat cereal for every meal if I’d let her. I won’t let her because I would want to eat it with her and I can’t. Speaking of which eating Paleo isn’t really happening here in Africa. After our dinner we played games and then I gave everyone NyQuil and cough medicine.
It worked! Everyone slept through the night. Lola woke up at the crack of dawn, but drew until I said we could get up. The boys didn’t get up until after noon. I think we are finally caught up on sleep. We hung out around the house for a bit then headed to the arcade. We tried to figure out the Internet again, but she told us we should have it Monday. We’ll see. We had a great lunch at the ‘food fair’. Jace actually ate, YAY!! After lunch we walked through the market that was in the parking lot. They make such beautiful bowls and spoons. It was fun to look at everything.
As we were leaving the market Jake saw the only person that we know who lives in Lusaka. Jake and Paddy met Evans their first trip. We didn’t have anyway to contact Evans and planned on asking people at SOHIP for his information. Jake looked up and there he was. Evans wife is a lawyer. We need a lawyer. He wasn’t suppose to be there, but someone from SOHIP had asked him if he’d go with him. We chatted a minute and he gave us his contact information. Thank You God! We were a little worried about finding a lawyer. We wanted one that was honest and knew what they were doing. His wife is in the States now, but he said he’d set us up with her partners. It is so awesome how God works!
After that the kids and I had lime ice cream and Jake went to an Internet cafe to check stuff out.

So this is what we hope happens on Monday:
1) we get the paperwork to get the girls and a social worker is able to go with us to pick them up
2) we are able to find sara’s father and have him sign a paper
3) we speak with a lawyer and they aren’t way expensive And are knowledgable about adoptions
4) we make it to the embassy

I know my girls are praying for us and I am so thankful for that. It’s hard not to be able to text and share what’s happening and ask for prayer. Thank you ladies for your love, support and prayers!!! You mean the world to me!

Love and prayers,
Johanna

And We’re Off

So we are on the airport bus to fly away and begin this amazing journey. There has been Sooo much God stuff happen to even get us to this point. We will share soon.
Some of our goals for this trip are thee following:
1. Complete funded projects- 1 well and 10 family biosand filters.
2. Raise awareness through photos and video in order to generate more funding. I will come back in Aug and hope to bring back more funding to do more projects.
3. Connect with other orgs over there to work together in the future. Connect with orphanages to help.
4. Further develop the sewing program we helped with last year.
5. Work on a more personal connection to donor involvement. We want to GPS specific locations of funded projects.
6. Serve SOHIP and complete projects for them.
7. Complete this little adoption thing. Haha.

How you can get involved-
1.Please please please be praying for us.
2.We aren’t really asking for financial support of our adoption but we could still use help covering our travel expenses for the trip to complete the water projects. That support is tax deductible when donated to Love-Water. You can go to our website and donate online or send a check.
3. As mentioned the water crisis never stops. We are amazed that we can play a small part in Gods plan. If you would like to partner with us you can donate through the above avenues. I am going
back to Zambia end of September and want to take back more funding to do more projects. So if YOU want to leave a mark on this world, let’s just do it.

Thanks for stopping by and stay tuned for all to come. Pass along the link so others can read too.

Love you all.
In His Grip,
Jake Sherley

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We’re Here!!!!

We’ve made it! It’s 3:05 am Saturday morning. I’m laying in bed with Lola because both kids woke up this morning at 2:22 and were hungry. So, I decided that this was a good time to record some of the memories we’ve made so far.
1) Flights: They went great! Kids loved having their own tv. Most of us slept a good portion of each flight (Jake, not so much). Best of all- no one got sick ( this was my fear). All flights were on time and all the baggage arrived when we did.
2) We met Abby: She met us at the airport with a van to take us and all 8 suitcases to our guest house. She arranged our lodging and our transportation. She has helped with so many things and knows where all the offices are and who’s in each office.
3) Department of Child Services: WOW! I would love to take a picture and show just a bit what it’s like. You can’t take pictures of government buildings so that won’t be happening.
4) Lodging: We were up-graded to a ‘cottage’. It has 2 bedroom, a bathroom, a large kitchen and a large living-room. It gives the kids more room to be kids and we don’t have any neighbors. It’s pretty expensive so we hope to head to Ndola or find a cheaper place.

We arrived Thursday, July 5th at 12:30 pm. Abby picked us up and we dropped off our luggage. Then we headed straight to social welfare. It wasn’t what I expected for the governments head offices for the Department of Child Services. I knew not to expect anything like ours, but oh my! We went between two offices in two separate buildings. The buildings were far enough apart that you needed to drive between them. We visited each building twice and finally spoke to someone the last time who said we need to speak with someone from the other building that was in a meeting. We finally got ahold of him by phone and set up a meeting for Friday morning at 9am.
We had spoken with him last week and hoped that everything would be ready for us to pick up the girls. Didn’t happen. He found our paperwork as we sat there. That made me happy. He explained what he need to do next and told us to come back Monday at 10. Then someone can take us to the orphanage with a letter. We are hoping and praying that he wrote the letter and gave it to whoever he needed to. We were disappointed, but God’s timing is better than ours.
When we arrived back at ‘our house’ Jake went and spoke with the owner and we were upgraded to a cottage. Thank You God! I was a bit worried about six of us in a small room, but God worked it all out-better than I could have imagined. He is good!!
So now we have the weekend to get our clocks right and get settled in our new ‘home’. We are now able to cook which is an answer to prayer. Jace is having a ‘funny tummy’. He hasn’t eaten much and he hasn’t gotten enough sleep. He misses his Papa a lot and wants him to come over. I thought Lola might have a hard time. I really didn’t expect Jace to already have a hard time. I’m hoping once he gets food in his belly and his sleep schedule right he’ll be back to normal.
I guess I’d better stop and try and get these kids back to sleep.
Love and prayers,
Johanna