Tuesday, August 14, 2012


Well, we've been home with Twiggy Four since July 7 and the adjustment is further along than I had hoped.  He definitely knows who mom and dad are and is wary of people he doesn't know.  The girls adore him and love to laugh and play with him.  Up until this week, Twiggy Three hasn't really known what to do with him, but this last week they began rough housing together.  Hearing them race around and yell did wonders for my heart. 

The trip overseas went very well.  Mr. Branch and I got to take a 2 day safari in the jungle in which we got to zip line, tour the open zoo, take a night safari, sleep in an air conditioned tent on the open zoo, do the obstacle course in the trees, and just plain relax.  It was very hot and humid, but so worth it.  We hadn't been away by ourselves for quite some time so it was needed before we began the next phase of parenting.

We met Twiggy Four on June 28 and he came right to us.  As we toured the orphanage, he held my hand and willingly said good-bye to his peers and caretakers.  He didn't appear sad, but I cried when a caretaker became emotional.  He was clearly a favorite.  He and Mr. Branch played outside with a ball for a few minutes while some paperwork was done and he was quite the tease.  I knew right then that we were in for it! 

Our hotel was close to our missionary friends and they were very helpful in translating and teaching us words we needed to know.  Between the words we know and lots of gesturing, we understand each other most of the time.  Every day now he says 1 or 2 new words in English and understands us more.  This week I go to register him for Kindergarten and I'm praying that his lack of English doesn't keep him back.  He was in school overseas and knows everything we would expect of a kindergartener except that it's in a different language.

Home life is very busy these days.  Having a VERY curious 5 year old from an orphanage, who is a lefty by necessity not nature, and is potty trained but lacking greatly in aim means keeping eyes on him at all times and much cleaning up.  I can't count the number of rags I go through in a day!  He also wants to be independent and do everything himself which combined with the language barrier can get difficult. 

Last night our small group talked about doing "the dance" with our hurt children and that nailed exactly what I've been trying to do.  We each take steps toward and away from each other but as we do our bond is made stronger and we eventually end up at the same place.  Mr. Branch and I are the leaders of the dance but we allow him to have control of some of his movements which gives him confidence. 

Twiggy One is thinking about doing some guest blogging about the adventures of Twiggy Four.  He comes up with the funniest stuff and the craziest stunts.  Numerous times a day I ask, "Why is ________?"  For instance, the other day Twiggy One came out of the bathroom and asked, "Why is there water in the jar candle?"  Hmmmm.  Or, "Why is the door stop in the trash can?"    He keeps us on our toes, that's for sure.

He just came over and snuggled with me for a minute.  Ah, my heart!

Today he has his physical therapy evaluation.  I'm hoping to get the process started to get a splint fitted for his hand.  We want his weak, curled right hand to be able to open so beside therapy, it needs to be splinted for several hours a day.  I learned about a great therapy that I would like to do next summer but in order for that to happen we need him to see that his hand is useful.  We met the occupational therapist last week and she was happy to see that he can open it when reminded to.  She was really great in playing with him and making him laugh.  I was worried that he would be stubborn and not want to cooperate, but it was so much fun there that he didn't even know he was working hard. 

As always, thank you for praying for us during this adjustment period.  Our family is blessed beyond measure.

He is Faithful,


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Twiggy Bear Arrived!!!

Well, I'm not supposed to post a picture of Twiggy Four online, but I just can't resist letting you all see him holding Twiggy Bear!

Here he is looking at the welcome photo album we sent to introduce him to his new family.  (Don't mind the baby powder on his face.  They do that to help them not feel so sticky in the humidity)

(Click Here to read the post introducing Twiggy Bear, then read about all his adventures last summer.)

Today I sent pictures of our car and how seat belts and booster seats work so he will understand when we head home from the airport.  That's not a real great time to tell him he has to be buckled up (in his country there are no seat belts).  I also sent pictures of some of his clothing and toys that we will take with us.

11 days till we leave!!!  We still can't purchase tickets yet because the Visa approval needs to be forwarded to the US Embassy overseas, but we should be fine.

We had our yard sale this last weekend and we brought in double our goal!  We also reached our goal with our matching grant!  God has been so faithful to provide just what we need when we need it...

Trusting His Care,

Mama Branch

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Final Adventure of Twiggy Bear

Guess who is in this box heading overseas today???  You're right!  It's Twiggy Bear.  He's holding a "Welcome Home" photo album that will be shared with Twiggy Four shortly before our arrival to introduce him to his new family.

Click Here to read the post introducing Twiggy Bear, then read about all his adventures last summer.  This summer will be the adventure of his life!!!

We have a little hiccup that could use some prayer.  The child history listed an incorrect birth year so a corrected history is being sent.  We need for it to arrive quickly to catch up with the Visa application and not hold us up.  Thanks so much!!!

Mama Branch

Thursday, May 24, 2012

We have lift off!

The child history arrived on Monday and the Visa application has been filed.  Visa approval takes a couple of weeks then we can book our flights!  We're aiming to leave June 24, with Gotcha Day being June 29, then appearing before the adoption board on July 4. 

Lots to do between now and then!  Childcare is a little easier because our church is having VBS then the next week is Family Camp.   That should help the time go faster for the kids.  This weekend I'll be sanding and painting a dresser for the boys to share.  We hauled a cabinet into their room last night for toy storage.  It's starting to look like 2 boys live there.  Fun!!!

Reality is setting in a bit about having another child and how that impacts all of us.  Please pray for continued peace and trust in God's plan.  Also, Mr. Branch is getting moved to a more stressful position right after our trip which is not fun to think about right now.  I'm having a cervical epidural steroid injection on Tuesday due to some disc herniation that is putting pressure on my spinal column.  We're praying that will give me the pain relief I need to endure the long flights.

So, excitement and a bit of trepidation here.  Thanks for all the support and prayers!!!

Mama Branch

Monday, May 7, 2012

We have approval!!!

We just heard from our agency a little bit ago that we are officially matched with Twiggy Four!!!  WooHoo!!!  Unfortunately the file/child history that we've need to proceed has not yet arrived.  Typically that is before approval, but we're not complaining.  We're just super happy to know that he's officially ours.  As soon as the child history arrives, we can file for his Visa and begin to make travel arrangements.

The other good news is that we were approved for a matching grant for up to $3,000.  God is so good!!!

Praising Him for His faithfulness!!!

Mama Branch (about to be mama to 4)

Thursday, April 26, 2012

It's In The Mail!!!

At long last, Twiggy Four's child history is in the mail to our agency.  We're not exactly sure what will be included in the package.  Either it will have placement agreements that we will sign and return overseas for an official "match" by the adoption board, or they will have already approved us and our "To Whom It May Concern" letter inviting us overseas will be in there.  We were told in March that we were scheduled to be approved for a match in April, so since it's nearly May now, we're hoping it's the latter option.

And wouldn't you know it, I'm going to be traveling next week so I won't be home to process any paperwork that is needed.  After all this time!!!  We were traveling when Twiggy One's referral came in, so I guess it just goes with the territory!

Life is about to get VERY busy.  We have many meetings for homeschool through the school district to wrap up our year and get credit for everything.  Then VBS is coming up in June.  Buckle your seatbelt!!!

Mama Branch

Monday, January 2, 2012

Answered Prayer!!!

God answered "yes" this year!!!  10 days before Christmas I received an email that Twiggy Four's file is waiting to be translated to English then it's off to the Director's desk to be approved.  After that, it will be sent to our agency for us to accept his referral, then it's back overseas to wait for travel approval.  I am so excited to know for sure that his file is being worked on.  I was always worried that somehow his would have been lost in the shuffle and when this mysterious package of files finally arrives, his wouldn't be in it.  And the next best news is that the Director of Social Workers personally looked into his case (since his assigned social worker never responded), so someone higher up knows that there is a family waiting.  Hopefully that will speed things up a bit.

My photo album is getting quite full since my friend at the orphanage keeps sending me pictures.  We just received new ones today of the New Year party they had.  He got to participate in the parade and enjoyed watching the races (of what, I don't know).    The princess came to visit them a few weeks ago and they had a big party.  With all the exciting parties he has, I'm almost afraid he'll be bored once he gets home.  LOL!

Another piece of good news is that our son's country has reopened to healthy applications.  That MUST mean that the priority special needs files will soon be here.  Right?!

Twiggy Four will be 5 on February 1.  So, I'm going to put out a fleece and pray that his file is here by his birthday.  God may say no, but I'm going to ask anyway!!!

Click Here to read the post introducing Twiggy Bear