New Year's Eve

December 31, 2019

 In the morning on New Year's Eve, D and I treated the kids to a cart ride out to the beach at Coral Sands. 

A Morning at Commander's Beach

December 28, 2019

   It was too windy and stormy to go to Emon Beach one morning so we grabbed our rain coats and headed over to Commander's Beach, one of Earth's favorite places on the island.  He loves to find shells and crabs there and to see what kind of fish have ended up in the pools if the tide is low enough.

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day

December 26, 2019

   We spent some part of every day at the beach and Christmas eve was no different!

Parade of Lights and Scuba Santa

December 23, 2019

  So much of Kwaj life revolves around the beach so just one night after the family arrived, we headed back there for the annual Parade of Lights and Scuba Santa event.

They're Here!

December 21, 2019

 Look who arrived on Kwaj today!!

Earth's School Christmas Party

December 18, 2019

   Me and my little Christmas tree

A Little Beach Time

December 11, 2019

 I don't think I'll ever get tired of this view!

School Pictures

December 10, 2019

Oh, how the kids have grown!  They all look so much older in the school pictures this year, and thanks to our unique situation, even Earth has a real school picture.

The Best Christmas Present

December 7, 2019

  Our family has been blessed with the most wonderful gift- the financial assistance needed for D and the kids to come to Kwajalein for Christmas!  They arrive on the 21st and can stay for almost two weeks.  Earth and I can't wait to see them and are counting down the days.
  For our family, home is when we're together so even though this paperwork process is keeping Earth and I here for now, soon we'll be home!

N600K Update

December 5, 2019

If this picture looks the same as the one in the last update I did, that's because nothing has changed.  I was able to call about a week ago and was told that Earth's case had been transferred to the Honolulu office on November 18th but that otherwise, they had no new information for me. 
  The last time we went through this process, the kids' cases were transferred in November as well and we had interviews by early February.  Of course, that was five years ago and there's no guarantee that things will be the same this time but as always, I'm hopeful.  (To see our timeline for our previous N600K process, click here)

A Day at the Beach

December 2, 2019

   The storms here finally passed and Earth and I enjoyed a beautiful afternoon at the beach!

A Thanksgiving Full of Friends

November 30, 2019

 Although we were missing these crazy people

and the weather was terrible,

Checking in on Earth's N600K Processing Status

November 2, 2019

  The most recent update was posted on September 16th and there hasn't been any changes since then.  I've debated calling but have decided against it since any agent I speak to probably won't have access to any other information besides what's available to me online.  All we can do now is wait and hope that the paperwork moves through quickly.

Happy Halloween from Swat Darth Vader!

October 31, 2019

 When your 4-year-old picks out his costume all by himself...

Adoption Fraud in Arizona

October 9, 2019

 I know what it's like to want a family and not have one.  I know what it's like to feel like everyone has a baby except you.  I know what it's like to not be able to go into a room because it's set up for a baby that you're still waiting for.
 I also know that growing your family through adoption is a beautiful thing but it should never be easy.  To bring a child into your home through adoption should never be simple, fast, or clean.  If it is any of those things, there is a chance that something isn't right in the background.  I was surprised and relieved when I saw this story on NPR this morning:

 I've known about and advocated against Paul Petersen (and other lawyers like him) for a long time.  Adoption is a common cultural practice in the Marshall Islands as a way to share resources and strengthen family bonds and it has been very easy for people like Petersen to take advantage of those traditions for their own gain.
  I'm so thankful that he has finally been caught after evading the law for so many years and I hope that the trial helps put a stop to this horrible practice.  I also hope that all the families involved in this can get a measure of peace and move forward with their lives.

Monday Moments

October 1, 2019

 Earth and I had a fun Monday, visiting family on Ebeye and playing with friends on Kwajalein.

Happy Birthday, Earth!

September 18, 2019

 Happy 4th birthday to this crazy boy!

Blueberry "Pancakes"

September 12, 2019

   At home, Sunday mornings mean pancakes so I thought I would try to bring a little bit of that here for Earth. 

A Morning on Cherokee

September 9, 2019

  A sweet friend invited Earth and I to join their family and some other friends for a morning sail last weekend.  I've only been out on their boat once before so I was excited to go.  I didn't get too many pictures because I didn't want to risk dropping my phone in the water but here are a few from our day:

The Labor Day Fun

September 5, 2019

Our Labor day fun started two weeks before Labor day when Earth, his godfather, and a good friend signed up for the cardboard boat race.  Two engineers, one toddler, cardboard, and duct tape? Sounds like fun to me!

Sitting Like a Lady

September 3, 2019

  When I was growing up, my mom taught me to "sit like lady": shoulder up, back straight, legs crossed at the knee.  Sitting like that showed that you were polite and proper and grown up.  I wanted to be all those things so I learned to sit that way- until recently. 
  Now that I'm living on Ebeye and in a Marshallese environment everyday, I've started doing some things the way they do, and Marshallese ladies don't sit with their legs crossed.  When you sit, your legs are straight out in front of you, knees closed.  It's taking some practice but I'm getting the hang of it.  I know that Earth and I will stand out here no matter what we do but there's nothing wrong with trying to fit in a little bit.

Where the Streets Have No Name- Navigating on Ebeye

August 31, 2019

  When I first arrived on Ebeye, I asked my friend Katie (from Changing Focus Ministries) how to find her house.  She said their house was on the south end of town, halfway down the street past Calvary Church and that if I made it the DIY hardware store, I had walked too far.  It took me 10 minutes to find her house, most of that time spent wandering up and down the road wishing for street signs!

Feeling a Little Homesick

August 28, 2019

   Right now, the electricity is on rolling brown outs on Ebeye and it's affecting me a lot more than I thought it would.

A Visit to Oceanside Beach

August 25, 2019

   Earth and I spent a little time at one of the more secluded beaches on Kwaj the other evening.  This was one of our family's favorite beaches when we lived here (we even had a family photo shoot done here) and it was fun to be able to explore it with Earth.

Why Is There No Easy Fix for the Flooding on Ebeye?

August 23, 2019

   We're in the middle of the rainy season here and Ebeye, the island I live on, is flooding more and more often.  The water rising in the streets is dirty with trash and sewage and while it drains quickly in some areas, in others it sits for days, encouraging disease and decay.  Why don't they just do something about it, you might ask?  It's just not that simple...

A Day in Our Island Life

August 16, 2019

Although my life isn't that different from that of any other working single mom in the US, it is a little unique so I thought I'd share what a regular day looks like for Earth and I.  My day usually starts at 5:30 and although some mornings I can manage a little coffee before Earth gets up, our room is pretty small and quite often he gets up when I do.

Officially In-Process!

August 14, 2019

  After discovering the wonderful news that you can now file for naturalization through the N600k process online I raced to get started on it.  Unfortunately, power went out to the whole island just as I sat down that the computer.  It was out all night but I was able to finish and submit Earth's application on my lunch break today:

  Besides being able to file online, you can now request an appointment date when you file.  I entered December 1, 2019 so, theoretically, if we have Earth's interview on that day and he is approved for citizenship, we could be home by Christmas.  I'm trying not to get my hopes up but can't stop myself from imagining how wonderful that would be.


August 13, 2019

   On Saturday, we let the ferry leave without us and headed to the beach to kick off our weekend!

Answered Prayer: Earth's First Day of School

August 6, 2019

  This whole situation is hard and there have been some very uncertain and scary moments but through every step Earth and I have taken on this journey, I have felt God's love and protection.  My friends, let this be a little bit of testimony to God's love for this little boy: Earth started preschool on Kwajalein today.  People who could have said no to this have said yes and very quickly when they could have dragged their feet.  People in high up places who normally wouldn't even be aware of us know about our situation and are tracking our paperwork and making sure it gets approved.
  So many prayers have been answered: We've been able to stay on Kwaj for the whole four weeks of our vacation pass, we were able to stay in a friends house which gave Earth a little bit of "normal" in all this, we were able to secure an excellent apartment on Ebeye, I was able to get a job that's perfect for me and our situation (y'all, I work in a library!), I was able to get the level of base access badge that I needed after initially being denied, Earth was approved for preschool, and I have been approved for a base meal card and a PO box.
  Earth and I are nothing amidst billions of people but God has heard our prayers and those of everyone praying for us and has answered every one.  We don't deserve His blessings but have been showered with them.  I'm felled by His love for my son.

First Day of School

School started yesterday!

Moving Day

August 5, 2019

Good morning from Ebeye!
 Earth and I moved into the apartment yesterday and spent our first night there.  This was my view from the dock as I waited for the ferry to work

It Takes a Little Getting Used To

August 2, 2019

  I've never been one to cry on my child's first day of school.  At the boohoo/yahoo parties, I'm definitely in the yahoo camp.  I love my kids but I don't mind having some time away from them and I actually think it's good for them to develop a part of their life that doesn't require me.  All that is easy to say but when Earth started crying when I dropped him off with Mama Elizabeth this morning, my heart broke a little bit and I almost cried myself.

A Little Good News

July 24, 2019

 You know how sometimes you start feeling down about things...

Operation Christmas Child Distribution

July 23, 2019

   My friend Katie is a missionary on Ebeye and they invited Earth and I to a distribution of boxes from Samaritan's Purse/ Operation Christmas Child. Since our family has packed boxes for Operation Christmas Child, I was really excited to see kids receiving them.

The Best Possible Worst Choice

July 21, 2019

  "I could never do that!" "What kind of person gives up their child" "How could they just give them away like that?!"  D and I have heard these sorts of things and worse since we brought Sky home.  My reaction has always been to say that I've been very blessed in my life to never need to make that kind of choice.  This left turn in our lives has made me think more about hard choices and what I would do for Earth if I had to.

An Apartment Update and a Beautiful Sunset

July 18, 2019

Our apartment at the Ebeye Wellness Center is almost done! This is the building we'll be living in and our apartment is the one on the third floor with the balcony towards the camera.  

This and That (Picture Post)

July 14, 2019

There hasn't been any progress on the job or the apartment yet but I know it will eventually all come together, meaning that Earth and I won't have quite as much free time as we do now.  We're making the most of Kwajalein while we're living here, hitting all the beaches and enjoying the laid-back lifestyle with our old friends.

Time Out

July 11, 2019

How do you explain a situation like this to a 3 year old? I've been struggling with that ever since D and I decided that Earth and I should make this trip.

Back on Kwajalein

July 10, 2019

  Earth and I are back on Kwajalein and it's really good to be back.  While I think it was really good for us to have some time with Earth's birth family, it was really hard for both of while we stayed in their house.  Believe me, the problem was definitely with us, not with them.

The Left Turn

July 9, 2019

  Not that long ago, I was having a heart-to-heart talk with D about how I was worried we were going to live in suburbia forever and never travel again. How my life was boring and everyday without much to look forward to.  As they say, be careful what you ask for...

Where We Find Ourselves

July 8, 2019

This is us at Christmas, before our lives hit a dead stop and then made a left turn.  Some of you may know already but for those of you who don't, I'll fill you in soon.  I've missed this space and am looking forward to sharing it with you again.  I wish it weren't under these circumstances but you can't always choose the direction life sends you in.
Our Charmed Life. All rights reserved. © Maira Gall.