Sunday, August 29, 2010

Our family

Today has been incredible! We arrived in Ghana and that in itself, seems surreal. We traveled in with two families from Hopscotch. These are families we are walking this journey with, but have never met. Now we have and their kids! Adorable and sweet!

I am not sure words can express how I am truly feeling right now. I feel like I am where God planned for me all along. I feel at home. I have all of my children under one roof and my heart is happy. My heart is full of love for these children God blessed me with. I am amazed by that! God is so good!!! Percy brought our children to the hotel to meet us tonight and I lost it. Our babies we have prayed for and longed to see their little faces. Thank you, Lord! Our five children have played together and laughed together. It was hard to make them go to bed. After they were all showered, they laid together and watched a movie. It just seems right.

Aiden talked all day about when we would meet his new brother and sister. Right before they arrived, he asked me to walk him outside just to see if they were here yet. Keenan adores both of them. He just sits and talks with them. He even asked why we have to leave them here next week. And Sydney is in heaven. She is with the sister she prayed for three years for. The two of them were cuddled under the blanket tonight and Sydney was cupping Helen’s face. How I wish I had a picture!

All in all, everything is going great! Memories are being made and we are bonding as a family. Please continue to pray our Father will be glorified in it all!!!

(I couldn't get our family pic to upload! I'll try again tomorrow.)

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Where do I start?

This has been a busy, but awesome week! We are flying to meet our babies!! I cannot believe it. The day we have prayed for is finally here. We are so thankful to our God who has brought us thus far and we know He will guide us through the rest of our journey. Please be in prayer with us as we travel. Pray for our flights to be easy with our 3 children, for Aiden to not have any reactions to his many food allergies while there, for our bodies to be healthy in country, for God to use us as He wants to, for God to show us each step we are to make and for our complete obedience to God. Pray for our sweet African children, that our family of 7 will have an instant connection and bond. Pray for the people we will be ministering to while in country. Pray that the blood of Jesus will shine through us every day. And lastly, pray for patience for us as we parent 5 children in a foreign country.

Now, a little recap for our week. Monday I went to dinner with a group of girlfriends to celebrate a sweet friends' birthday. As I was walking to the parking lot to go home, you can imagine my shock as I saw my window had been smashed! Glass was everywhere, all over my car and the parking lot. I cried. The security guards came over and I cried harder. Yes, I was a little upset about the car, but that wasn't really it. I needed to be focused on our trip and Sydney's birthday, not some thug breaking my window to steal my GPS. Now as I'm typing this it is almost funny. The enemy tried everything possible this week to distract and discourage us. GOD IS BIGGER!!!! HE WILL OVERCOME!!!! And He did.

The rest of our week was spent packing and going to Wal-mart, packing more and then going to Wal-Mart again. Yes, we made multiple trips there this week. My kids are so tired of seeing Wal-Mart I thought they could scream. Honestly, me too, but we have everything (I think) and we are ready. We packed lightly so we could have more room for donations. We have had so many wonderful people donate to the mission. The greatest, though, came from the homeless of our city. Our good friend runs God's ministry, The Water Angels, in downtown Knoxville. So this week, they prayed for the orphans. Their hearts broke for what breaks God's heart. PEOPLE WITHOUT HOMES and they get it! They spent a day making goody bags for the orphans. They stuffed these bags with Bibles, snacks, homemade bookmarks, toothbrushes, you name it and it's in this bag. They prayed over each bag and for the child that would receive it. My friend shared a story of one of them as he was filling his bags. His prayer to our God was that he has everything (HE IS HOMELESS) and these poor children have nothing. He is so blessed and they have nothing. He cried out to our God on behalf of children living in Ghana, Africa and that God would bless them. I was amazed! I cried! These people gave of themselves. What a touching story! I cannot wait to distribute these bags that were made with so much love, made with God's love!

There are so many people praying with us and for us on this trip. Each prayer is heard and we covet them. This week we had the opportunity to have some of them pray personally with us. Our lifegroup at church was so touching. They prayed over us as a family, but then Thursday night I was handed a group of envelopes. They handwrote a note for each day we are going, each day we will be gone. How inspiring! And the day they were assigned for the note, that family will cover our family totally and completely in prayer! I am amazed at their love for us. Love they show us because God loved us first. Another friend brought me to tears as he prayed for Helen to find her voice and to know how much we and God love her. (Last time we heard, she doesn't speak.) And he prayed for our Samuel to be able to be a little boy, no longer responsible for taking care of his sister. He is a child. We want him to be a child. We want so many of the orphans living around the world to live a child's life, not an adult life. Let's step up as Christians and love these children. Let's give them a childhood. Let's love them the way God loves us, they way Jesus loved them when He was on this earth.

We will update as much as possible while we are in Ghana. We want each of you to be a part of this journey God is bringing us on. Sydney will update her blog, FEEDING THE ORPHANS, too. She has already told me, "Mom, you'll have to post for me. I will be spending every moment with Helen, Samuel and the orphans."

One last thing, our sweet 5 year old's birth name is Richard. We love this name and will be keeping it. The day after we received this referral as I had Bible time with the children, God led us to I Samuel. I heard God tell me our son's name is to be Samuel. You see, we prayed for him and before he ever joined our family, I told God I would give our child(ren) back to Him, just like Hannah. God gently reminded me of this and so our Ghanaian son's name will be Samuel Richard O'Leary.

Friday, August 27, 2010


Last weekend my parents traveled to TN to celebrate Sydney's birthday a week early. We had lots of fun, cake, of course, and all the grandkids playing. My nephew didn't want his picture taken, but he was here, too. Before long, there will be 6 of them!!!
O'Leary kids with Pap and Gran
Sydney and Gran packing for Ghana
one suitcase full of clothes and shoes for the orphans
So sweet to see them working together
Now this one deserves a story. Wednesday morning I asked Aiden what he was going to say and do when he sees his new brother and sister. His answer was, "I'm going to hug them, tell them I have missed them, and tell them we have butterflies in our backyard. Mom, can we take pictures for them?" This has special meaning to me because it is a reminder of HOPE. God's hope for us. So this is our butterfly picture for H & S. We will take it to Africa. I love 3 year olds! He has not been excited about our trip UNTIL NOW! Every day he will say something new about it. He cannot wait to travel to meet his new siblings.

I have so much to share, but it is Sydney's birthday so I will post more tonight. I have so many pictures to share. We have been given so many donations to take to the orphans. One donation, in particular, though involves the homeless of Knoxville and their incredible giving. Details tonight!!!

This week has been an adventure to say the least. We are going to Ghana, though!!!!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

This is Sydney's last post from her blog: Feeding the Orphans


I am selling Bottle cap magnets and chokers to buy my plane ticket. Our first trip our whole family will be going. The second trip my mom is going but I am trying to raise 1,000 dollars for my plane ticket because I think God is telling me I need to go. If you would like to buy a magnet, choker or have any questions please email me at


Friday, August 20, 2010

It is Time!

Our African babies

Yes, it is true! It is time! God's time, His perfect timing for us to fly to Ghana to meet our children. I still sit in amazement. This has been an awesome journey, but a difficult one. Aren't all adoption journeys, though? In 9 days I will meet my babies, our little ones we have prayed for. The sister Sydney prayed for 3 years. I still am not sure it is even real. Is this normal?

We fly out of Atlanta next Saturday night. We will arrive in Ghana and hopefully we will be taken to meet our sweet angels. We will spend time in country while our dear friends take care of our home here and our dog. What are we going to do in country? Love on our little ones is our main objective. Secondly, Sydney will buy and deliver food to the orphanages with P's help. We will visit with John's orphanage and take lots of pictures for everyone. We hope to visit the villages that need water. We need to get this started. We have so much we want to do and are so excited to meet everyone! Mostly, we want to soak up every minute, every second with our children while we are there. We will not be bringing them home this time. We are filing paperwork with the US Embassy, then we will come home with our arms empty. We will wait for approval and visas and go back to get them. Already, I know this will be one of the hardest things I have ever done, we have ever done. Please pray for God's guidance and wisdom to be over us, for us to be completely obedient to Him, for our children (all 5 of them) to bond. So this is a family trip, all 5 of us will be flying to Ghana. It doesn't really make sense, but that's what God tells us. Sometimes He will tell us to do things that do not make sense to us. We are stepping out in faith here and being completely obedient to His call of our whole family traveling and staying 12 days. Huge step of faith here. Do we have all the money to complete everything? We aren't sure yet. We are waiting to hear about some of our fees. If we do have it, we will wipe everything out. All we know right now is God is asking us to obey, we need to do that and we know He will provide a way for everything.

On another note, I prayed months ago that our 5 year old would take care of his little sister, our baby, until we could get there. My friend who took this photo and spent time with him said while she was there he held her hand the entire time. That warms my heart! I cannot wait to scoop them both up. I'm not sure I'll ever let them go. :)

Monday, August 16, 2010


This was an extremely busy weekend for us. Saturday our family spent the day at a ministry our friend runs for God, Water Angels Ministries. 600 backpacks were given away to children who cannot afford them, stuffed with school supplies. What a blessing!!! It was hot, hot, hot, but an awesome day. I loved watching those kids walk away with their backpacks. Now, they are all ready for school to start tomorrow.

On another note, last night I got a phone call from Beth Haynes, a news reporter for the local channel here in town. She heard about Sydney's Feeding the Orphans and wanted to interview her. Sydney decided to do it because it could help more orphans. Well, this morning she woke up and as the time approached for Beth and her cameraman, Tim, to arrive, the nervousness came faster and faster. We prayed over Sydney. We asked God to give her the words He wanted said. We prayed for courage for her, strength for her to overcome her fear of the camera. I thought she was ready. She seemed to have such a peace about her. Then, they arrived. It was time and she lost it! All of a sudden, she couldn't do it. Tears were coming in her fear. However, she overcame that fear and let God work through her. She did a great job. We are very proud of her, but also humbled at the same time. God doesn't need any of us to get His work done. He will find a way, but I stand in awe that He chose our family to adopt H & S from Ghana and He chose our Sydney to do His work for the orphans. I am so thankful we have been obedient. Tonight as we were getting ready for bed, Sydney seemed down, not herself. She and I talked and as I listened, I cried with her. You see, today as the news people were leaving, we received a much anticipated email from Ghana. Our court decree is ready and we can schedule an appointment with the US Embassy in Ghana. Really??? We have been waiting for this. Awesome! This is our ticket to our kids in Ghana. This gets us to their sweet little faces in person! Thank you, Jesus, for answered prayers! As I listened to Sydney talk tonight, though, for her it opens up something else. A fear that the 1 year old sister to our Ghanaian children might not be alive. She may be living with Jesus now. When we accepted our referral, we learned our little ones had a baby sister, but this baby was sick. Very, very sick. She was in the hospital and they weren't sure she would live. And we knew if she did survive, Mom wanted to keep her, to take care of her. This is a baby that has changed Sydney's life. I can't even explain it. However, now we are going to Ghana (yippee) and Sydney's heart is fearful. She is afraid of what we will learn when we get there. As I listened to her talk tonight, my heart broke for her. Her heart breaks for the orphans and I am thankful because this breaks our God's heart. I pray for God's continued peace and strength for our family. And for all the families waiting for their little ones. And for the orphans who do not have a family yet. Click here to read Sydney's last post. Touching. No one helped her write this. Actually, I should say God helped her. What can you do to help an orphan?

Click here for the video.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Praise Him in the Storm

One of our favorite family movies is FACING THE GIANTS. Now, we are sports nuts and this is a football movie and it is Christ-centered so it quickly became a hit for us. Today I struggled a bit. I am just so ready (or as a friend said, PAST READY) that today I just sat and cried, several times actually. Not sad tears, just frustrated. I know God's timing is perfect and I am so thankful for this, but in the midst of it all, I am ready to hold my babies. I am ready to see their little faces, to tell them how very much I love them, to see my children here united with their African siblings and to watch them love one another instantly.

During one of my tear fests, I opened up my Jesus Calling book. Here's what I read: Come to Me when you are weak and weary. Rest snugly in My everlasting arms. I do not despise your weakeness, My child. Actually, it draws Me closer to you, because weakness stirs up My compassion-My yearning to help. Accept yourself in your weariness, knowing that I understand how difficult your journey has been.

These words were written for me. I felt weak and weary today. I felt like there was no end. I read these words followed by the Bible verses below and just cried harder. I realized more and more just how much Jesus loves me, little ol' me. I can run to Him in my sorrow and it is okay. And my neediness draws me closer to Him, as it did today.

This all reminded me of the Facing the Giants movie when the wife cries out to God, "I will praise you no matter what. I will praise you in the storm." Then, it hit me. I needed that reminder today. I need to praise God no matter what. I need to praise Him if it takes years for my babies to come home. I need Jesus and I choose to praise Him even in the storm.

Until our time comes to travel to Africa, I will try to praise our Savior for loving me, for choosing me to be H & S's mother, for choosing our family to be a part of His great adventure. I will fail at times, but that's okay because Jesus will pick me up AGAIN, over and over again.

Isaiah 54:10 - "For the mountains may depart and the hills be removed, but my steadfast love shall not depart from you, and my covenant of peace shall not be removed," says the Lord, who has compassion on you.

Romans 8:26 - Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groaning too deep for words.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


Nothing to update. We are still waiting for our court decree. This can be discouraging, but God is in it. He has a purpose for the wait. And I keep reminding myself of this, along with precious friends. Thank you for encouraging words!

On another note, God is in even the small things. I know that, but was reminded today. There are two boys who God brought into our lives ONE YEAR AGO. That is hard to believe, but true. Well, I posted about how one of them moved away a couple of months ago. The other one is still here. We are enjoying the last few days with him before he goes back to school. Anyways, the other night he was walking down the steps, stopped and looked at his socks, and was upset because he had a hole in one. Then, yesterday we were at Wal-Mart and I was talking with a dear friend while my two boys, Keenan and John, went to look at men's clothes. I didn't know what they were doing, but John was trying to buy socks with his $2 in his pocket without asking me. A man saw him looking at socks and talking to Keenan about how he didn't have enough money. This kind man walked over and said, "God told me to give you $10 to buys socks." Wow! God even cares about socks! Of course he does, but John needed to know this. He needed to see God in that and see how much God truly loves him and cares about him. Thank you, Lord, for caring so much about the little things! Now John has new socks and will be reminded each time he puts them on his feet. :)

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Court decree

We just received an email that our court decree should be ready by the end of the week. As soon as P receives it, we can schedule our appt. with the US Embassy in Ghana and travel to file our I600. We are ecstatic and thankful! Thank you for praying with us. Please continue to pray. We are uncertain about travel arrangements and want to clearly hear God's voice. We want His Name to be GLORIFIED!!!

The timing of this email is so perfect. Isn't God always, though? This morning I was unsure about what to do for Bible devotion with the children. I opened my Streams in the Desert. It talked about Lazarus' death and how Jesus raised him. You can read the whole story here or John 11:1-44. It is a beautiful story! In this story, though, Jesus thanked God for raising Lazarus before He ever did it. He gave this thankfulness first. The song of victory was sung before the battle was fought. Our lesson this morning was on being thankful first. Knowing God will deliver. Especially on our court decree. We know God will deliver it, but this morning the kids and I praised Him for that decree. I cannot wait for them to wake up and hear our news.


My dear sweet friend came over the other day to deliver a gift. No special occasion, just because. As I read the card, my heart was moved and I cried (seems to be a common occurrence around here). These are the words I read:

I know it is hard to see the HOPE right now, while you wait in the darkness. I think that's why butterflies always symbolize HOPE for me. Little does the caterpillar know what God is forming in the darkness of the cocoon. After waiting in the tight, dark place, he finally crawls out as a beautiful butterfly. And, as each butterfly appears to reflect the amazing creative beauty of God, so must the circumstances vary that brings us the closest to Him. As you continue to wait in the cocoon that the Lord has knit together, trust in Him for the perfect time to release the beauty of all that He is creating. For if a butterfly is released too early from its cocoon, the wings will not form and it will never fly.

With our adoption we are in the dark. No news, just waiting. And this card is inspirational to me. I want to draw closer to Him and have through this journey. I want to become so totally dependent upon My God that I do not breathe without Him. I want to soak up every minute of Him. And I know He will release the beauty in the end and it will be far better than we ever imagined. I am so thankful for sweet friends, for encouragers sent by God and so thankful my God loves me so much.

Here are pics of the sweet 'BUTTERFLY' clothes that came with my card. A gentle reminder each time I see them in her room and will be when I see my beautiful girl wearing them. Thank you, Robin!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Father, Glorify Your Name

I read a friend's blog the other day that was talking about people who had visited their children, taken gifts for them and brought back pics of them. She referred to these people as "angels on earth". How precious! I am so thankful for friends traveling ahead of others and loving on kids. However, this is something we have not had. Our kids are in a different foster home from the others. No one has been able to see them thus far. So even in my joy for others, sometimes this is really hard for me. Please do not mistake me! I am ecstatic for everyone else, just longing for the same thing for me. :) As I read these words the other day, tears starting flowing. I couldn't control them. I stood there and just said, "Why, God, why? Why haven't you sent angels to see my kids?" And ever so clearly, just like He was standing beside me, I heard Him say, "I did. I sent my angels. I did that for you." Oh, thank you, sweet Father! Thank you for loving me! Thank you for sending your angels. You see, this has been a prayer of mine for months, that God would send His angels to love my kids until I could get there. And He reminded me that He answered my prayer.

Adoption requires faith. God has grown our faith so much over the last few months. When I feel like I cannot do it any longer, He lifts me up and comforts me. Through all of this, sometimes I find myself asking God to help me, to save me. To bring my children home now. More and more lately, I have been asking God to fulfull His perfect timing, for His plan to be laid out, for everything to be about Him. Yesterday Righ (my husband) shared a chapter in a book with me. It talked about how every day, every minute we have two choices. We can say FATHER, SAVE ME! or FATHER, GLORIFY YOUR NAME! I was convicted of this. I cry FATHER, SAVE ME more often. I realize I need to ask His Holy Name to be glorified in everything. If it takes years for my babies to come home, that is okay, if it brings glory to His name. My life is about Jesus, nothing else. Living my life for Jesus, living my life how He wants me to, being completely obedient in everything. I want our lives and our adoption journey to glorify His name!