Monday, July 16, 2012

Billboard: TRAVEL DATE

Again, God's timing was impeccable.

Gladney's Teen Service Trip to Colombia happened July 8th thru July 15th, and our caseworker was a chaperon.  I received an email a couple of weeks ago where she told me that she would hand deliver the care packages to 'Thunder' and 'Lightning' if I could get them to her before she left.  I did!  And they were delivered via the BethExpress and her two very special VIP carriers.

Kelli's 'KLEENEX moment'
Have you heard the expression, "KLEENEX moment"?  I saw this picture posted to facebook on the morning of July, 11, 2012, and the flood of tears commenced.  Seeing the President and Vice President of Gladney in a Colombian airport holding the care packages destined for my boys struck a chord of raw emotion in me.  The care packages were SO dear to my heart.  Putting them together has perhaps been the most emotional part of the journey for me so far.  I would go to pieces every time I thought about the fact that the very object I was holding in my hands would soon be in the hands of 'Thunder' or 'Lightning'.  The sock monkeys that were purchased a year ago and have been propped up on their beds as hopeful symbols of the boys that would one day complete our family would finally be cuddled and swung around and held by the very boys they had been waiting for.  Everything in those back packs including the back packs themselves was chosen intentionally and with love immeasurable.  I prayed before and after each purchase.  I prayed that God would use these "things" to help make a connection between us and the boys, a family connection, a love connection...that somehow when the boys received these gifts, and letters, and photos they would know...they would know that we were indeed the very family that God had been saving them for.

The day went on to be a day of intense prayer in our house as our caseworker traveled from Bogota to Cali with this precious cargo in tow, not just for our children but for other Gladney families and their babies as well.

Before leaving on the trip, our caseworker gave me my next homework assignment..."get skype".

SO, I got skype.

And it is a good thing I did because at 11:20 pm on July 11, 2012, I received my first skype video call!  It was from Colombia!  It was our caseworker and the entire service trip team.

Extra-ordinary angels
Fair Maiden L.K. and I drove home from the lake to take the call (no reliable internet connection in "Timbuktu"!).  It would be my first skype experience.  We hooked up the camera, installed the earphones, I put on the headset, and waited...waited for "the BIG moment".  After being delayed by some technical difficulties, the call came in and we were on.  "Lights, Camera, Action!"  Initially I was blown away by all of the faces in the background...the smiles and the excitement was more than I had bargained for.  Our caseworker shared good news, bad news, then more good news.  First of all a picture...the boys!...a candid shot of them in the play yard.  'Thunder' was engaged with friends.  'Lightning' was watching intently in the background.  Their hair had grown out.  'Lightning' was wearing rubber rain boots at least 3 sizes too big.  Next, some bad news.  The team was not allowed to interact much with our boys...technicalities of the is what it is.  Finally, more good wasn't "such a big deal" that the team didn't get to spend much time getting to know our boys BECAUSE we would have the chance to get to know them personally in 14 days.  14 days!  Not 5 weeks, but 2!  The room exploded with cheers and whistles and claps as our caseworker said,

"You will be traveling on July 25th!!!!  Purchase your tickets as soon as possible.  You're leaving in 14 days!!!"

The moment was surreal...incredible...heart warming....oh my goodness, all those people celebrating with us.  The energy could be felt right through the airwaves.  More ordinary angels, NO, extra-ordinary angels, have been woven into the pages of our story.  God is an amazing author and I am so grateful for those young people so willing to be used by him to bring joy to others.

Fair Maiden L.K. and I said goodbye to our friends in Colombia and quickly made our way back to the lake.  When we arrived, Knight-in-Shining Armor had been successful in getting the wireless router to work thereby connecting him to the internet...a little late, but better late than never.  He was booking our tickets!

My bubble burst the following morning when an officer at the National Visa Center told me that they had only received a visa petition for ONE of our children, not BOTH of them.  I was at the mercy of my cell phone connection which was TERRIBLE, so it took two hours on the phone speaking to four different officers for us to realize they had received BOTH petitions and the impending crisis was averted.  All the while, I had to stand on my head with one leg hanging over the balcony railing with a fork between my toes acting as an antennae to maintain a decent service connection throughout the call.  PHEW!  Our alien file became visible at the US Embassy in Bogota on July 12, 2012 at exactly 11:55 pm.  Next, receipt of the Article 5.

After a full day of boating and knee boarding and swimming on Saturday, the kids were all snuggled in their beds asleep, Knight-in-Shining Armor and I were drifting off to dream land when he whispered in my ear,

"Surely the boys know about us now, right?"

"I hope so," I sighed longingly.

"If so, do you realize that they are probably laying in their beds right now hugging the monkeys you sent them.  They might even be sleeping in their t-shirts and looking at the picture books.  I bet they are SO excited.  And we'll be there SO soon."

Silent tears fell from eyes onto the pillow as we did indeed drift off to dream land...


  1. Hi Kelly,
    We are so happy for you. This is so exciting ! Can't wait to follow you along once you are in Colombia. These two weeks will fly ....
    Take care
    Pascale and Frederic

  2. Hi Kelli,

    Another Gladney family excited to follow along on your trip in the weeks to come! Congratulations!!

    Stephanie and John Killingsworth