Sunday, December 14, 2008

More Christmas Home!

Christmas Time at the Garwoods

Monday, September 29, 2008

What I did not expect

Two Weeks:

God is so good and we are so thankful for our little Hunter. He has been home for two weeks and it has been a blast. We have had so much fun with him and the girls are really enjoying him. Abby thinks she is the mama and wants to do everything for him; change his diaper, dress him, etc.  Fiona had a harder time at first but this morning when he got up she wanted to talk to him and play with him.  


I expected the diapers and I expected people to stare and ask odd questions.

Something I didn’t expect: people touching him and how enamored they would be with him. It is really quiet strange. Strangers touch him. They don't ask, they just touch.....bizarre. Nothing like this happened with the girls.  


Saturday at the YMCA waiting to sign the kids up for swim lessons, the guy next to me pulled out his keys to entertain Hunter.  No problem. But then he reached over to take him. He didn't ask or say anything. I held Hunter and said, “No.”  The man was shocked and asked, “Why?” I wanted to say, “Because you are a stranger and I don't know you.” but instead I was sweet and explained that he had only been home a week or so and only mama and daddy are holding him right now until he gets used to us.  

Sunday was an even stranger moment. We took the kids to the aquarium. I was playing with Hunter and Abby in front of the large tank waiting for Tom, Fiona and our friends to come down stairs. A couple approached me and asked to take a picture with Hunter. I said, “no.”  They were surprised and I just held him until they were done with their pictures. Now, Hunter is very handsome but still it is odd that a stranger would want a picture with him.   

The sermon in Crossroads (college group at GCC) was such a blessing Sunday. We need to have urgency with others to share the gospel. On the subway coming home from the aquarium a sleeping traveler woke up and asked me if Hunter was mine and where he was from. I explained that he was from Uganda. He said, “Oh, like Madonna?” I said, “I didn't know where she adopted her child from. Not like Madonna, no, more like Jesus.”  He looked at me puzzled and I explained what Jesus did for us. He then asked, “didn't that Angelina Jolie adopt too?” I said, “Yes, there are many children that are orphans in Africa that need mamas and daddies.” He then closed his eyes and went back to sleep.  I pray that our lives will constantly be a reflection of the love of Christ to adopt us as sons.  


Sunday, August 03, 2008

Croatia and Beyond

After much preparation Team Croatia arrived in Zagreb without incident. We met at Grace Church at midnight to get all the luggage weighed and organized. Some, deep down inside there hears, questioned to need to meet at midnight for a flight that departed at 6:15 AM from LAX. Those questions proved unwarranted. By 2am we were on our way to Denny's for a earl, early breakfast joined by our newly wed friends the Kricks. After Rich Downer graciously deposited us at terminal 7 we hoped in line, checked out bags and boarded our plane to Chicago. From Chicago to Munich was a very fast flight. Munich to Zagreb was even faster. Kris Brackett and Todd Dick were there to fetch us an take us back to their respective homes. Tom, Jessica F., Susannah and Mark said goodbye to Keith, Jason, Doug and Jessica Y. and headed for Krapina with the Bracketts.

Once at the Brackett's we took a short drink and snack break, after which we started loading up the van with all the camp supplies. We drove to the new church facility. I like it. It's a bit cooler than the previous location. The landlord seems to be much nicer. We met up with Momir at the church and pulled the rest of the camp supplies together and loaded the van and trailer so that they would be ready for this afternoon when the advance team departs to make camp ready.

We four American STMers were guests at Misko's home for dinner. As dinner wound to a close I couldn't keep my eyes open. Kris took the girls to Vestna's home in Zabok and dropped Mark and I at the Brackett home. I took a nap and shortly after waking up I want to me room to sleep. I awoke at 4am and spent the morning revewing me message.

We went to church her in Krapina this morning. I preached out of John 15 about Jesus the Vine. Misko translated. It was a great service.

After church Mark and I joined the Bracketts for lunch while Jessica headed down to the sea early with Veastna to pick up Vestna's daughters and neices and bring them to camp.

Kris just left to take Mark to the church. Mark will join Momir and his family along with Antune to go ahead and set up camp.

I think I will go take a nap

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Hunter's Second Birthday Part 2

It's Hunter's birthday today. Once Yetta realized that we didn't have anyone's phone numbers to call and wish him a happy Birthday she found herself in tears. I pulled out my trusty Moleskine journal and asked Yetta for the phone card number. She said, "Why" Who are you going to call?" I said, "Abdulla." She said, "Who's that?" I said, "a taxi driver." She though, "(I am not sure what she thought but maybe something like, "How in the world is calling a taxi driver in Uganda going to help?")." So I call him. After he answers, I tell him who I am and he remembers me. I asked him for Danyne's phone number and he ended up passing the phone to a woman in the cab. She said, "Hello." I ask who she is and it turns out that it's Debbie from Amani who happens to be in Kampala on her way to the equator in Abdulla's cab. She gave me the phone number for Andrea who is filling in as nurse while Souixanne is away. We were able to call Andrea and sing happy birthday to Hunter and talk to him. He was able to talk some gibberish back to us. Yetta even woke the girls to say Happy Birthday.

God is good whether or not we got to talk with Hunter this morning but we are so thankful to the Lord that He worked it out for us to get to talk with Hunter on his birthday.

Happy 2nd Birthday Hunter!

Today Hunter turns two! Happy Birthday son. We wish you were here with us to celebrate but we know God's timing is perfect. We hope your day is full of fun and laughter. We are praying for you and celebrating you today! We love you! Daddy, Mommy, Fiona and Abby

Friday, June 20, 2008

We have a court date

As many of you know we are in the process of adopting Hunter from Uganda. He will turn 2 on July 1. We now have very exciting news. Ditte emailed Yetta to let her know that we have a court date of August 22. This will be a crazy time since Tom will be in Croatia from the 1st to the 18th on a short term Ministry trip. I will have to reroute myself from Germany on the way home to head to Entebbe to make it to court. It should take at least a week following the ruling to get a written ruling and then we try to get a passport and visa. Please pray for us that we will continue to trust the Lord and his timing. Pray also for ticketing and pricing that God would continue to provide the funds needed. I will try to keep you updated as we have more news .

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Tiger's Roar in Cubbies Tonight

Fiona received her awards tonight during her last Cubbies event of the year. Abby will be joining her as a Cubbie the time she goes. Awana ministry is a great time for kids to be challenged to memorize scripture and I am thankful that the church continues this ministry.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Tommy and our Boy Hunter

Here are some pictures of Tom's time with Hunter in Uganda. Please pray for a court date to come soon and for the judge to rule favorably. We know that God is in control of all things and we are trusting Him.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Heading Home

We packed our bags and loaded the van and we said goodbye to the boys today. Hunter just cried and Adam wasn't gonna have any thing to do with being put down. They both cried for a bit. I took a few pictures of the crying just to document it. I successfully filled a card today. 2 gigs of pictures and video. I am just hoping its enough for my loving wife who would love so much to see Hunter and be here.

We headed out with Ditte and Abby Sweeney and baby Claire to Kampala to meet again with the attorney to sign papers. While there we learned that our spouses will need to sign forms and FedEx them back here once we get home before we can file for a court date. It looks like we will get court dates closer together than we were told last week. We thought the court dates would need to be spaced about 5 weeks apart but it looks like it will be more like 2 or 3 weeks at this point. It doesn't look like any of us will get to come to Uganda together again for this process.

We were dropped off at the Hurley's in Makono on the way back to Jinja. We said our goodbyes to Ditte who had been faithfully coordinating the adoption process as well as to Abby Sweeney and Baby Claire who still have about a week left before they head back. Danielle made a great dinner (apparently Danielle never cooks for less then 13 people here in the Hurley home.) It was a tasty pumpkin soup with a really good chocolate creme brûlée. Shannon will be driving us to the airport in Entebbe at 5am.

He excited I am to see my wife and my girls.

Monday, April 21, 2008

A Family's First Visit

During a family's first visit, they must meet with Mr. Opio in the Jinja probation office to apply for foster custody. At the same time, ask him to sign the introduction letter required by Mr. Otim.
On Friday we walked with Ditte and Mama Agatha to meet Mr. Opio. He was in a meeting when we arrived at 4:30pm. We sat down in the sun and waited. He left his cell phone plugged into an outlet and it started ringing so that he left his meeting to answer it. When he saw us he said something about us making him late but that he would be about 10 more minutes. At 5:15pm he called us into his office with concrete floors a few chairs, two tables, lots of papers and some long ago broken windows. He asked some questions about why we were there. He looked over our paperwork asking questions about Angels Haven. He tried to sound serious when he said that he was planning a trip out to America to check out the organization and visit the families where these babies are living in California. We told him that it was a great idea; a very good excuse to come to America.
He asked Aaron if he was happily married. To which Aaron answered yes. He asked if Aaron was shopping for more wives and pointed to my weddng ring and said, "he is wearing his noose and I am wearing my noose where is yours?" Aaron explained something about machinery and I said that it wouldn't be very wise to look for other women when your wife's brother is traveling with you. Mr. Opio said,"So, he us under your supervision?" I said, "Oh, Yes. He is under my supervision."
With that he said that he would sign the letters on Monday when we brought them back.

Ditte is heading over there in a little while to do that.

Tomorrow we will head to Kampala to meet with Nicolas Opyio (the lawyer used by Amani)


I have had a number of days to play with my boy Hunter. He is a pretty happy little boy. He always has an eye out for CoCo (chickens). He as well as the other children eat a ton. Here the kids portion of a meal is a full plate of food. We looked through the picture book that Yetta sent a while back. He pointing at Yetta's picture when I asked him, "Where is Mama?" He repeated Mama and Dada and Abby but Fiona is a little more of a challange for him.

It's been a cool and rainy time these last few days. It has kept the temp wonderful. Aaron and I spent our first night in the appartment upstairs above the babies. It was the best night so far. It coats less than any of the hotels and is so much more convenient to be right here.

It is exciting that Adam has been doing great with Aaron. Yesterday he wanted Aaron to hold him and didn't want to be put down. If I can get pictures to upload I have a couple of Aaron holding Adam while running around and playing soccer with John the security guard.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

More Pictures of our Boy!

There is a sweet volunteer at ABC who has been sending me updates and pictures of our sweet Hunter. He is learning how to walk and was walking with this toy car yesterday. Here is what she wrote about him:

"He is getting stronger everyday and is loving the progress he has made. Today at lunch time I was asking him to "bonga" with me, which means pounding fists kind of like a high five- Hunter was thrilled to understand the concept and kept reaching his little fist out for another bonga. SO cute!"

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Here is a picture of our boy

Here is a picture of our boy! He is so sweet looking. We found out that Birungi means "good" or "well". They don't really know where he got this name from but guess that it is because he is such a sweet baby who hardly cries. Please pray that we would wait on the Lord as we go through this adoption process.

Friday, February 29, 2008

Our Baby BOY!!!!!!

Yes! We got the call today about our UGANDAN BOY! Praise God for his wonderful grace to give us a baby boy. Right now his name is Hunter Birungi. We have not decided on his name yet but think Hunter is a great name. I think we would like to see more pictures first. We think we have seen one but we want to confirm with the orphanage that it is him before we post his picture. But pictures are coming soon!

Here is what we know about him so far-

He is about 19 months old.
He is learning how to walk.
He loves milk and does not like water.
He is healthy.
He weighs just a little over 17 pounds.
He has 10 teeth.
He is VERY easygoing, self-entertaining and introverted.
He is very handsome.
He only has a few words right now-the words he hears every day-like “Auntie” and “Uncle” and lots of babble.
Hunter also likes to sing everything he says!

When we heard that he likes to sing everything he says we knew he was truly ours and a GARWOOD!!!! It is so like us and our girls.

It has been such a joyful day with many tears as we think of all that God is doing. He is the first boy to carry on the Garwood name to the next generation! We are very excited!!!

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Meeting the DODGERS!

Yesterday we had a great day. We went down to Pasadena for lunch at the Panda Inn. This was one of the stops on the Dodger's two day caravan through out Los Angeles. They served us lunch and took tons of pictures, signed autographs and gave out hats to all of us. It was great to meet my favorite players, James Loney and Nomar Garciaparra! We also got to meet pitchers Brad Penny and Kuroda, Andre Either and Dodger legends Bobby Castillo and Kenny Landreaux. The girls met Tommy Lasorda and he asked them to kiss him on the cheek! It was such a fun time. Abby yelled over to James Loney several times and when we were leaving the girls said goodbye to them all and said see you later Dodgers! It was so cute!

Monday, January 28, 2008

Cool pictures of our family and cute stuff to buy!

We recently took some pictures to model aprons for a friend who sows really cute aprons and other things. Check out her etsy store and see our cute girls! Then go and buy some cute stuff for your valentine! Have a great day!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Abby's 3rd Birthday

Today Abby turned 3! Happy Birthday our sweet girl. Happy Birthday to Aunt Abby too. To celebrate our little Abby's birthday (since her party will be in a few weeks combined with Fiona) we went and rode the ponies at Griffith park. We have done this a few times but Abby could only ride the slow pony because she was not 3. So today she got to ride the pony that trots like her big sister. Our dear friend Sally (bridesmaid in our wedding) came from Washington and spent the night with us last night and the day with us today. It was so good to see her and catch up. Here are some Pict's from the day.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

My Husband is the Coolest!

Yesterday I mentioned to Tom that I think it might be cool to make the girls two toddler beds into one bunk bed. He said he had been thinking about it for awhile too and the next thing I know he is in the bedroom with his tools making it happen. The girls are loving there new sleeping situation and Fiona climbs up to the top like a champ. We will see how they do in a few minutes when they really do go to sleep in them for the first time. We need the extra space in the room because my mom got the girls a great dollhouse for Christmas and when our little Ugandan baby comes we will have to fit a crib into the room. We are still waiting for our phone call letting us know who our little one is- but we should know in the next month or so! Keep praying. Here are some pictures of Tom putting the beds together and the finished product! I also put a picture of the beds next to each other so you can see how they used to sleep.

The Dodger Float- 50 years in LA Celebration!

Here are pictures of the Dodger float. I can hardly wait for the season to begin. I am so excited that Joe Torre is our manager. Every time I see someone with a Yankee hat on I giggle inside and thank them for the coach. WOW! Let's go Dodgers!

Rose Parade Float Viewing

I think I have found a new family tradition (well at least while in Cali). I was more motivated to go this year because I had to see the Dodger float up close! Let's Go Dodgers- 2008!!! My mom and I took the girls on the 2ND and went and viewed the Rose Parade floats. They let you get pretty close to them and some of them even operate them for you. It is really cool to see these floats up close. They can't be appreciated on TV. Seeing them up close I really got to see all the detail and hard work that goes into each and every one of these floats. They are an amazing display of all the beautiful things God has made. It is defiantly worth going and taking a look at- you get exercise- it is a lot of walking and you don't have to sleep all night on the street to see them in the parade. Here are a few Pict's.