Friday, September 24, 2010

Home...At Last!

In May of 2009 Hubby was preparing to go to Africa, with not one soul that he knew.  The team was from Colorado and God had clearly laid it before him to "GO!"  We were thrilled, but I had a personal prayer.  "God please give Justin a friend.  One to watch out for him and have those late night chats with." 

Oh boy, did God answer! 

Through e-mail (if I remember right), we decided that Justin and this other guy (not from Colorado) would meet in the London airport and have dinner.  I anxiously waited to hear what this guy was like, knowing hubby was about to spend 2 weeks, in a third world country with him.  I will never forget breathing a sigh of relief when Justin called and said he was a great guy and they even looked alike. :)  I laughed and thanked God for His sweet goodness!  What an answer to prayer!

The two weeks in Uganda together created a brotherly bond that I believe will last a lifetime.  They were two dads loving orphans, praying for each other and both starting and adoptions together.  They celebrated the beginning of those adoptions and encouraged each other through the bumpy road that was from the start.  They laughed together, they cried together and cleaned up other team members puke together...some real bonding...eeeewww. hehe

[this is Justin, Shonnie (whom we love too) and James]

After returning home we began to Skype.  I "met" James first and was floored how much he and Justin were alike.  God has a complete sense of humor.  They both love to hunt and be outdoors but most importantly they are both sold out for Christ and passionate about heir families.  Cool hu?  Who put these two together? - God did - ya, He gives good gifts! 

Later, I got to "meet" Cheremi and before long we were laughing and it became very comfortable, very fast!  We had regular Skype dates, at least once a week.  We spent a lot of time just getting to know one another and sharing our adoption steps. 

We prayed insane amounts that God would allow us to go to court all together. 

Justin and I got our court date first and headed out.  We prayed and hoped they would join us but had little hope at that point.  I will never forget sitting in the little internet hut and reading that they were on their way!!  I could not believe my eyes and was over.the.moon.happy! 

I grabbed my camera the morning they were expected meet their children and documented their first moments. 

Is that the most precious moment?  It was!

What a blessing to be together.

[they are laughing at me because I took my hair out of the bun for the pic - I knew it could end up on a blog post - see C & J - much prettier hair for the blog lol]

Our husbands were like little boys that had their BBF back!  lol  At one time Cheremi and I noticed the guys were missing and had no clue where they went.  They had gone down the street to grab a rolex together.  :)

It was not long and they realized Canad@, their country, was going to be a problem.  Canad@ was not issuing visas for legal guardianship in a timely fashion (or any fashion for that matter).  Cheremi headed home to be with their 3 children.

[this was right before Justin headed home to be with our 4]

It was not long and Isaiah and I were on our way home.

[saying bye to Uncle James]

It was bitter sweet for me.  I was so relived to be with my family but I felt like I had left a fellow solider behind.  There was rarely a conversation had, that I did not ask for people to pray for them.  We prayed, we fasted and shook our heads at the far-to-long-wait.  We watched Christmas come and go with James in Uganda, fighting for his kids and Cheremi at home.  Our hearts we heavy for them and they were never far from our thoughts.

After 5 long hard months James came home, empty handed.

I was glad for Cheremi to have her hubby home, single parenting is hard.  It was time for them to fight for their kids from home.

In September they stepped out in faith and booked their flight to Uganda and petition for full adoption.  This is only done for special circumstances.

Praise God, Full Adoption was granted!

We screamed, yelled and cried knowing this trial was coming to an end.

It was all I could do to not book a ticket to UG to help Cheremi home with 2 kids!  She need a friend, I wanted to be that friend, but I couldn't, so I prayed, A LOT, knowing that God was able to strengthen her.

On my birthday they were on a plane, what a gift!

On September 21, 2010 they were untied forever as a family!

 [Aren't they beautiful?]

Welcome Home Schalk Family, Welcome Home!

Psalm 68:6

God sets the lonely in families, he leads forth the prisoners with singing


  1. love this post Sha, I have tears, I think my favorite picture besides your hair down for the one~ha! Is their daughter with the band and all the stinkin' cute! I am glad they have such amazing friends in you and Justin. Very excited for you all!

  2. Oh, yes we all did pray and fast and cried and prayed some more. I believe that God is Faithful and He works all things out for our good and His glory.
    This is truly a testimony to God's rule over human thought and the court systems of the world.....
    Still praying for families and children that are in this adoption process.


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