Life on the Beach


Joel and Sam playing on the beach at Strand. We had a lovely morning with Pete & Ash and the kids, rounded off with a McDonalds lunch. It was such a pleasure to spend time with the Smyth family again as we rarely get to see each other these days. Pete & Ash were incredibly supportive friends during our time in Zim, especially as we struggled with the issue of moving on from the Just Children Foundation. Pete now leads the 'God First' church in Jo'burg.

To see a few more photos visit: Finnie's in Focus our PhotoBlog.

Family Shakes Blog


At long last my best mate Roger and his family have gone online and set up a Blog called "Getting The Shakes" which will chart their move from the UK to New Zealand in 2006. Do take a look and enjoy the photos and news as and when they post.

Some of you may remember that Roger was Best Man at our wedding back in 1991.
On Thursday Dean joined some of the key CNP residents for a Thank you / Christmas lunch hosted by Chris Nissen himself. The lunch was great and the guys from CNP relly enjoyed the venue as the restaurant juts out into the sea with stunning views of False Bay, Table Mountain & the Cape Peninsula. Sadly, Chris Himself never pitched which was a real shame, but a good time was had by all regardless. Usefully, Dean got to meet some of the key players in the local police force including the station commander of Somerset West police station and the provincial director of Helderberg area police. Contacts which will definitely come in handy!

Enjoy the photos below:

Dina & Veronica


Sonjani (Station Commander of Somerset West police station) giving the welcome speech


The invited guests


Henna & Aunty Poppy


Provincial Director of Helderberg area police giving farewell speech on behalf of Chris Nissen

Post Christmas news

We have been enjoying a very quiet family time since Christmas Day. We are loving getting to know Eli and he is settling quickly and well into a routine. As a result, we aren't too shattered and are able to enjoy some good family time. Joel has been enjoying playing with our next door neighbours' children who are 2 and 5 and has been taken out by a good friend of ours here one morning, whilst Paula looked after Eli and Dean did some studying! We rejoiced on Thursday to learn that Eli's birth mother officially signed her consent to release him to us for adoption. Now starts the nail-biting 60 day window in which she could change her mind. Amazingly, as we have been praying specifically for her, we learnt that on that same day a woman who had given her baby up for adoption 15 years ago, went to stay the night in the same hostel and spent time with her talking about her decision and what a blessing it has been on all sides. How amazing is that! Please keep praying as we start the legal process of adoption. Various bits of paper work are already underway and we will probably be in court in the next 10 days for the first part of the process.
It is extremely hot here now and we are loving the heat, although it does leave Eli sleeping most of the time! Today we had a wonderful morning on the beach with our dear friends Pete, Ash and their 3 boys from Zimbabwe days. They now lead a church in Jo'burg and are enjoying a family holiday down in the Cape. It was excellent to catch up and to spend such a fun time in the glorious sun. Eli slept most of the morning in their little beach tent, so we were all happy! We ended the morning having lunch in McDonalds and thoroughly enjoyed seeing each other again. We'll not see each other now until the New Frontiers South Africa conference in April in Bloemfontein (we can't stay away from that place!)
We are looking forward to another week of holiday next week before things start to hot up again. Dean will still be going in to Chris Nissen on a couple of afternoons just to keep up the contact, but apart from that, we plan to enjoy being together, even if it must be at home.
We'll post some photos in the next day or so including some of a Christmas dinner Dean went to.

Helderberg Nature Reserve

Dean & Joel went to the Nature Reserve again yesterday, mainly to give Paula & Eli a bit of a break but also to give Joel some special time with Dad. We had some real fun as you can see from the 'Dilemma' video posted below. We're not sure where Joel gets his flirting skills from but they're definitely not from his Dad (probably gets it from his mother!).

Whilst we were feeding the ducks the Cape Weaver Birds were getting quite bold so we put some crumbs on a post a watched them swoop in and take them. Unfortunately we only had Mum's point & shoot camera so the piccys aren't great quality (hence they're not on our Photoblog) but the sequence of three is quite good.

Hope you enjoy them.

A Weaver bird eyeing up the bread


he comes in for the 'kill'


and he's off


The Helderberg Mountain:

Dilemma



Click HERE to play

This is a short video taken in the Nature Reserve of Joel and a girl he got talking to, as you can see she suddenly presents him with a real dilemma... does he run after the pretty girl or does he stay and watch the tortoise? Decisions, decisions...

NB. This clip is about 5mb and without a broadband connection may take a while to download.

Christmas

We've had a great christmas so far! On Christmas Eve we had dinner with some friends and two of their family members which was great as we all have children of a similar age and they really enjoyed charging around together.

Joel has been totally unfazed by the whole event and just like last year he wanted to play for about 20 minutes with each toy before opening the next present. One of the real joys of our lifestyle and work is that we're sheltered from the greedy commercialisation of christmas and as such can focus more on the true meaning of the day. We realise that as he gets older, Joel will become more aware of the commercial side but it's great to enjoy Christmas for what it really is.

Having a newborn in the house has changed things a lot! Suddenly we begin to realise that Joel really was incredibly easy whilst he was on his own (he's not being difficult now) but to have two kids involves a whole load more work than we had probably anticipated. We're really enjoying Eli and he is doing incredibly well as we try to settle him into a routine, but the late nights and early mornings are tiring.

We hope you enjoy the photos below (as ever click on them to view them full size) and there are more over on our Photoblog

The first family photo of the 'Finnie Foursome'


The Boys on Christmas Eve


Our Christmas Tree

Birth Announcement!

We are proud to announce the birth of Eli Thomas Finnie, born on 21st December at 12.45pm weighing in at 3.88Kgs. After a long day Paula and Eli arrived back in Cape Town just before 8pm and were met at the airport by Dad & Joel, Joel was immediately a very proud big brother!

Mum & Eli


A very proud big brother!
In the midst of all that is happening we're trying to make sure that we give Joel a lot of time and attention, and on saturday afternoon we met up with some friends in the local Nature Reserve for a couple of hours. Joel had a great time running around with Sean including a brief visit to see Spikey the porcupine (for more photos look at our Photoblog).

We had a phone call from the social worker in Bloemfontein today to say that the birth mother has been readmitted to hospital and a c'section will be performed tomorrow (Wed), so the plan at the moment is for Paula to fly to Bloem' on thursday morning, returning in the evening with our baby! Please pray that all would go well and safely for the birth mother and baby, pray that the baby can travel OK and please pray for Joel as he has to deal with the reality of no longer being number 1.

We'll let you know more soon and we'll post a photo of our baby once s/he's home.

Joel on a picnic table in the Nature Reserve

Future Worship Leader?




This is a brief video of Joel spontaneously imitating our worship leader, he's obviously watched how we begin our time of worship on Sundays and does quite a good rendition!

The quality of the video is low but if you listen carefully you can hear him saying things like: "Yes Lord" & "Thank you very much". Also, watch for the hand and then listen carefully as he ends his prayer and launches into playing his guitar.

We hope you enjoy the video as much as we do!
Here are a few photos from our 'flying' trip to Bloemfontein. We had a good trip despite the disappointment of not returning home with the baby. The good news is that we will definitely get the baby as soon as s/he is born and we'll keep you informed of happenings.

More photos can be seen on our Photoblog

Just arrived in Bloemfontein. The weather was really hot with cloudless skies, beautiful!


Paula 'writing' an SMS, our cellphones rang and buzzed continually throughout the two days as so many friends were praying and asking for news. Thank you to all of you who were (and are) praying, we felt like prayer carried us through a very emotional and draining time. Joel was definitely getting a bit fed up with the amount of time we spent on our cells.


Joel in Bloem zoo, this was the highlight for him as we spent Tue afternoon and Wed morning in there. The monkeys and big cats were the favourites although the "ellyflop" came close!


Biltong Boy. Joel has developed a taste for biltong, if you don't know, this is a gross strip of dried meat which South African's like to chew on. Apparently it's good for teething babies which is just as well as it really doesn't seem to be good for much else.


On the way home. We were blessed in both direction by having 4 seats to ourselves, this meant Joel could spread out and play without annoying anyone (too much).

That Rollercoaster

Never mind the 'Big One ' in Blackpool, we've got our own personal rollercoaster and it's way more exciting/frightening than the static sort you find at funfairs!
Well, we're home...... without the baby!!! It has been a very emotional time in Bloemfontein. The birth mother has been induced 4 times - poor woman, but nothing happened. Her due date isn't till Sunday, so we're not quite sure why they advised us to come this week, but there we go, there must have been a reason. We had some excellent family time, but it all feels very expensive to come home without the baby. That said, we spent a great afternoon and morning in Bloem' zoo, from the outside it looks really run down and dilapidated but it was brilliant inside and Joel had a great time there. We'll post some photos in the next day or so.
Despite the frustration we had the most amazing time with birth mum this morning and were able to be honest together and ask all sorts of things. She is wonderful and it is an experience that I don't think we will ever forget. She is a committed Christian (and this experience has served to mature her spiritually tremendously) and we were even able to pray together at the end. We are very humbled. It was so incredible. We were quite concerned about this meeting, but we really had nothing to worry about at all. She is thrilled that the baby will be brought up in our family and it was great to talk so openly about her experiences. We feel this was the reason for our trip to Bloem'.
So, we think it will be Paula going back up to Bloem' next week (probably around Wednesday), as the birth mother is definitely going back into hospital on Monday for more induction and possible a c-section.
Please continue to pray that the baby would be born sooner rather than later (this would really bless birth mother) and without need for further intervention by the medics. Pray too that all would go smoothly with Paula going to collect the baby, hopefully next week.

Adoption Roller Coaster

One has to wonder when (if ever) the rollercoaster will stop. We're now in the last few hours before we get up at some unseemly hour to drive to Cape Town airport and fly to Bloemfontein on the 'redeye' at 6am. Suddenly it all feels a bit crazy and almost reckless, even though we are convinced that this is part of God giving us our hearts desire.
The last 24 hours have been really busy and we seem to be constantly niggling each other, mainly because Paula has everything organised and Dean is a procrastinator (cracking combination!). Despite this we do seem to have got most things sorted although Dean hasn't sorted out the blind in the baby's bedroom, for which he will be made to suffer inexorably!
We've really appreciated some very encouraging phone calls from dear friends, we loved chatting to Roger & George on Saturday (Roger was best man at our wedding) and then tonight we chatted with Shirley in Switzerland (Shirley and her husband have adopted two gorgeous kids) who offered some brilliant advice which we'll definitely be taking up!
We feel really blessed too that Wilna (our social worker) is a Christian and is fully supportive and sympathetic to Christians wanting to adopt. This makes such a difference from the often ridiculous stance taken by the 'PC' social services in the UK and we're grateful to God for her.
Please pray that all would go smoothly, especially for birth Mother as she is due to be induced in the morning, pray that she might go into labour naturally. Please also pray that God would bless her decision to give her child to our family, also pray that God would bless her decision not to terminate the baby. We stand in awe of her for taking this pregnancy full term and really hope she will be blessed for doing so.
That's all for now, we'll post again on Wed eve when we're home, and hopefully we'll also have a photo or two to post.

Baby Finnie!

Well the last 48 hours or so has been spent on that rollercoaster again! - somehow this is no longer surprising in the Finnie household!! We had our first meeting on Thursday with the social worker to discuss the possibility of adoption. She had informed us previously on the 'phone of a possible adoptive placement in Bloemfontein and we had therefore put together and submitted an all singing all dancing family profile for the birth mother and social workers to use. We had presumed that the baby would be available in a few months, but when we met the social worker were told that mum is due to be induced on Monday! Big Shock! Once we had digested this news, we were then inormed that the birth mother had chosen our family from 4 family profiles, to be the adoptive family for her baby!!!!
She then said that subject to confirmation over the weekend, the mother is going to be induced on Monday or Tuesday and asked what plans we had for next week! We are therefore flying out to Bloem' very early on Tuesday morning to go through the legal procedure to collect and bring home our baby on Wednesday afternoon so that we can start the adoption procedure!!!!! Can you believe it? We can't! We are overjoyed that the mother chose us - that means so much to us. We are thrilled that we can have the baby from day 1 or 2 of its life and yet we are scared to death to be starting down this road again with only a few days notice! How God is that?!!! Amazingly within a few hours of Paula talking to some other mums at Joel's nursery, we have been blessed with an amazing amount of baby stuff, so we have gone from feeling that we have nothing physical to offer the baby (we had no baby clothes, the house is too small, we don't have a pram or steriliser etc. etc.) to suddenly being almost totally equipped (we did buy a pram and cot - praise God for credit cards!). Regardless of the physical stuff, we do know that we definitely have so much love to give this child and we can't wait to welcome it into our family.
Please pray for us over the next few days. We are entering a hectic time practically (let alone emotionally) with forms to fill out, flights, car hire, accommodation etc. to arrange things to collect or buy, practical arrangements to overhaul our house, and all this with Christmas on the doorstep. We are so thrilled, we are almost bursting. We also need to pray that the mother will not take up her right to take the baby back in the first 60 days. That's a long time, but we are believing that this is the right thing all round. Please also pray for Joel - what a bombshell for him!! Pray that we will have immense wisdom to tell him and that he will have all the understanding he needs. Please also pray for a smooth and healthy delivery of the baby next week - for good health for the mum, and pray for those other 3 families who are not going to be blessed with this particular child.
On a practical level we are really feeling the strain of the adoption financially. Because we had to book flights at such short notice as this time of year, we have paid through the nose. We also have to pay for accommodation and car hire and have had to buy a push chair and cot (so far we've spent about a thousand pounds). This side of things fills us with alarm, but we know that God is in control and will provide for all our needs. If you feel that you would like to help us on any level, we would love to hear from you.
Thank you so much and we will keep you informed....

Emyezweni Christmas Party

We recently posted a couple of photos from the Emyezweni Christmas party whic was a great event. If you would like to see more of Dean's photos and read a bit more detail about the event take a look at 'Debs News'.

Debs (together with Rachel, another UK volunteer) runs Emyezweni pre school in Lwandle (a Black township just outside Somerset West) with support from Ukuthasa a UK charity and Helderberg Christian Church. The pre school offers a valuable service to many parents who would otherwise have to stop working to care for their kids.

Table Mountain Trip

As promised, here's a photo from our trip. You can see more on our Photoblog; Finnie's In Focus.

This photo shows Paula with Cyril, Danny, Michael, Alfred & Peter standing over Cape Town.

As ever, click on the image to view it full size

Gutted!

We had our trip to Table Mountain yesterday after church for our respective groups. The weather was great, no cloud in sight and a very excited bunch of adults keen to experience the mountain (most for the first time in their lives!). We got to Table Mountain just before 1pm only to find that the cable car had been closed 10 minutes before we arrived due to gale force winds at the top of the mountain. We waited for almost an hour and had our picnic lunch, but there was no sign of the wind abating. Sadly we had to leave without actually getting up the mountain. However, we did have a lovely drive along Chapman's Peak before heading home. Everyone had a good afternoon and our groups appear to have gelled even more than they already had which is great.

We will rearrange the trip to Table Mountain for Feb/Mar next year after the tourists have gone home and the weather has cooled down a bit (and the wind has dropped).

We got some nice photos and we'll post a few later this afternoon.

CNP Men's Bible Study

We had an excellent morning looking at Job. We concentrated on the character of the man, looking at the first 2 chapters, a little at his interactions with his friends and then a bit more in depth at God's response in chapters 38 - 41 and finally God's amazing blessing on a man of great faith. Our study was followed by an excellent time of prayer which is so encouraging as I was struggling to get 2 men to commit to regular participation at the beginning of the year. Praise God! We now have between 8 & 9 men each week and look to be growing.

Vicky joined us this morning which was great and it looks like he will be a regular contributor once he's found his feet within the group.

We also had a great answer to prayer. Basil gets the container key for us in the mornings and said that Sandra (a community leader) wanted to see me today, so after our study Basil and I visited and she agreed that our use of the containers each week is fine. So again, Praise God!