The Process

This post will be kinda boring with just a synopsis of the process and journey we are on, but many people have asked questions so we want to try to answer those here.

Ugandan adoptions are intense with tons of paperwork, requirements, appointments and waiting (and waiting and waiting and waiting and waiting and waiting)!
start_finish

  1. Choose an adoption agency and get approved – ✓
  2. Complete Homestudy (several visits with a social worker and paperwork) ✓
    1. 24 hours of adoption education classes ✓
  3. Complete Dossier (hundreds of legal documents that have to be notarized including birth certificates, marriage certificates, health forms, previous taxes, reference letters, child abuse clearances, employer letters, etc) ✓
  4. Accept Referral (when you see a picture of your child for the first time and you know that God has chosen you to be her forever family)! ✓
  5. USCIS approval (immigration in the US stating that they will allow us to bring a foreign child home) ✓
  6. Fundraising and Grant applications ✓
  7. Travel to Uganda and meet your child ✓
  8. Court with Ugandan Judge (waiting at the court house for 8 hours for a 1 hour court hearing) ✓
    1. verbal guardianship from the Judge (received at court hearing) ✓
    2. written order from the Judge (received 1.5 weeks after court hearing) ✓
    3. written ruling from the Judge (still waiting for this)
  9. Apply for child’s passport ✓
  10. Put child in foster care while paperwork is processed (cry a lot and pray even more) ✓
  11. Embassy in Uganda
    1. Document check to make sure all of our “T’s” are crossed and “I’s” are dotted
  12. Immigration appointment in Uganda (appointment for a medical exam to make sure she is healthy enough to travel)
  13. Embassy in Uganda (again)
    1. Visa interview
  14. Bring that baby home!

We are so fortunate to have an amazing foster family that is taking care of our baby girl.  We get updates and pictures 1-2/week. This waiting part is frustrating and challenging but we feel at peace about the process and that in God’s timing we will bring her home.

*The Ugandan President signed The Children’s Reform Act and it went into effect on June 2, 2016. Part of this law pertains to international adoption and states that prospective parents must live in Uganda for 1 year prior to gaining guardianship of a child.  We do not know how this law is going to affect us or our specific case since we were already in process before the law was signed but we are moving forward in faith that God will see us through to the end.

We covet your prayers, encouragement and support so keep em coming!

Boling Family

Meeting Baby Girl.

We drove 7 hours along bumpy roads with no air conditioning in the van. We passed town after town that started to all look the same. Shanties along the road with goods to sell and “bota bota’s” (motorcycles) weaving in and out of traffic.  Then we began to see the luscious hills, farms with crops ripe for the picking, and cows and goats grazing along the road.  “Are we there yet?” Ki asked in anticipation as he sat on Justin’s lap in the front seat.  The sun began to make its decent from the sky and I began to wonder if we would make it in time to meet our baby girl before bedtime or if we would have to wait until morning…ugh another 12 hours seemed like an eternity.

When we turned into her orphanage, I was taken aback.  Memories from Ki’s orphanage flooded my mind, but this was Baby Girldifferent.  There were multiple buildings that were well kept and grass for the kids to play in.  There were gardens of vegetables and banana trees being tended to, and then around the corner 12 little toddlers came running to greet us being lead by three “mamas.” The children were genuinely happy and healthy.  It was evident that the “mamas” cared deeply for these children and they were loved.

After tons of hugs, kisses, tickles, and hand holding we were lead into the main house to meet with the head of the orphanage.  This beautiful woman with kindness in her eyes took my hand and kissed my cheek and thanked me for coming.  She said it was almost bedtime but she would be honored to get our daughter for a few minutes since we drove such a long way.

I sat on a chair in the entry and folded my hands in my lap to stop the shaking and I bowed my head and prayed.  “God this is really it!  I’m really going to meet her in a few moments, this precious child that you have chosen me to raise.” The woman opened the door and handed me the lightest bundle of baby and blanket.  Baby girl reached her hand out and wrapped her tiny fingers around mine and gently touched my face with her other hand.  Tears poured down my face as I just stared at her in awe.  I was speechless.  She was absolute perfection.  Her big brown eyes searched my face and she snuggled into my chest.  She placed her middle two fingers from her left hand into her mouth and started to suck them.  I was startled out of this moment when the woman asked, “Would you be able to pick her out of all the other babies we have here?” My response was barely audible, “I would know her anywhere.”

Justin and Ki were by my side, but I was completely oblivious to their presence, until Justin leaned down and kissed her forehead.  After a few minutes, baby girl started to yawn and rub her eyes indicating she was ready for bed.  Ki gently stroked her face and sang to her “Baby Jesus” a song that he sang everyday in his orphanage.  Then the woman took her from me with promises that we would see her in the morning.

My heart was full but heavy…this connection that we had as mama and baby was so strong even though I didn’t carry her for the last 9 months.  Somehow she was a part of me and I was a part of her. I went to bed with a pressure on my chest, the weight of a tiny baby resting on me and I thanked my God for this journey.

– elaina

I Am a Child of God

Sitting in church today, and the worship song was “I am a child of God.” This is the song that spoke to my soul and convinced me that we were supposed to pursue another adoption.  I couldn’t help but cry as I let the words wash over me…

You unravel me, with a meloYup Got A Tattoody
You surround me with a song
Of deliverance, from my enemies
Till all my fears are gone

I’m no longer a slave to fear
I am a child of God
I’m no longer a slave to fear
I am a child of God

From my mothers womb
You have chosen me
Love has called my name
I’ve been born again, into your family
Your blood flows through my veins

I am surrounded
By the arms of the Father
I am surrounded
By songs of deliverance
We’ve been liberated
From our bondage
We’re the sons and the daughters
Let us sing our freedom

You split the sea
So I could walk right through it
All my fears were drowned in perfect love
You rescued me
So I could stand and sing
I am a child of God

Two of our precious children have endured unthinkable loss to join our family.  The magnitude of that humbles me and breaks my heart.  I have no idea what would lead a mama to abandon her child in the hopes for a better life.  I pray that God gives me the words to comfort my children as they process through their tragedy and loss.  Until then, I take comfort knowing that we are all “adopted” into the Kingdom of Christ. He suffered for me and my beautiful babies so that we would know the love of a Father and we can experience freedom!

#adoptionishard #IamachildofGod

 

The Beginning and a Call to Obedience

1fab21036002211b04cd9cb05d9ad6ceFour weeks ago our adoption coordinator asked if we would be interested in pursuing another adoption. My heart desperately wanted to, but I didn’t think J was on board. I told our coordinator that I would pray about it for 24 hours and if I felt God leading me to talk to Justin then I would, otherwise she would have to accept that it just wasn’t the right timing for our family.

On Palm Sunday, about 20 hours into my praying, I was walking into church holding K’s hand.  I looked at my innocent little guy and prayed, “God you opened every single door to bring us to K and I can’t imagine our lives without him.  If You want us to pursue this adoption, then You have to fling the doors wide open and make it abundantly clear.”

Well, that is exactly what He did!  The sermon was about breaking free from bondage and it spoke so clearly to my soul.  The pastor spoke about orphans being in bondage, and fear crippling our hearts to render us helpless.  During the last worship song, as tears poured down my cheeks, I grabbed Justin’s hand and squeezed it so tight our knuckles both turned white.

When we got to the car, he looked at me puzzled and asked if I was pregnant? Ha! God gave him the intuition that something big was coming. I told him that I had been praying fervently for 24 hours about whether I should talk to him about adopting again and that I felt confirmation that I was supposed to share with him.  He silently wiped my tears, held my hand and said “ok.” I repeated myself with more conviction and said “No, I think we are supposed to adopt, like NOW.” He gently squeezed my hand and said, “Yes, I agree.”

Tears continued to flood my eyes as we drove home.  I am just in awe of God and His timing.  It makes no sense for us to adopt again right now.  We have 3 very active, crazy boys that we can barely keep up with.  We are overly scheduled with work, preschool, kids activities, small groups, and friends/families. Not to mention, the money tree we planted still has not sprouted! Against all of that, God has clearly called us to be obedient to Him. He is asking us to submit to His plan and His timing and trust that He will carry us through this.   God is faithfully opening doors to lead us to our baby girl.

Elaina Jo #mamaofallboysnomore

The Journey, God Sightings & No Sarcasm! – Part 2

Our journey has been unexpected, crazy, and hard. Many things have not been in our control and that has probably been one of the hardest parts. But there has been some amazing parts that have gone unshared, as i have been sulking in a dark hole angry at our supposed unfortunate circumstances!

Here is list of 10 things God did over the past 75 days…

Top 10

  1. As many of you have said, and honestly i hated, Ki and I have really been able to bond. This is a gift that i am just now realizing…as our days must be nearing an end.
  2. We have learned, lived, and experienced Ki’s culture first-hand…what a gift to be able to help him understand as he grows.
  3. We have met some of the most amazing, hospitable, caring, humble, and God fearing people ever!
  4. This time has shown my family who we can count on when we are struggling.
  5. We have seen God’s grace financially.
  6. I have fallen more in love with my beautiful wife every day we have been apart.
  7. I dislike watching my boys grow up within my Facebook feed!
  8. The Office UK version is horrible!
  9. Single parenting is hard…kids need both parents desperately.
  10. God is not dead. Yes…I stole this from the movie, but it sums things up really well.

Much Love and Ki and I hope to see yo all soon!
jbols

The Journey, God Sightings & No Sarcasm! – Part 1

Okay we are not good bloggers…I guess we get caught up in our own lives too much to share. #sorry #nomoresarcasm

Update: We are working through the final steps, our document is finally completed and has been submitted to the party that requested it! YEAH…looking like a possible end of next week return, but we have said that before…never count your nkoko before they hatch. #googletranslator

Recently, my sister, who has a knack for asking super deep questions at the right time, asked me in a round-about way, “So…what is God teaching you?” Well…it was too long of answer so here is few things…

  • That life is not about me.
    • Example…I have been sulking the past few weeks and honestly ignoring Ki saying, “Why this…”, Why that…”, and “How come we can’t…” all valid questions but not all or the right questions. I have missed so much time playing, laughing, tickling, chasing him, learning about his heritage. All because i was focused on poor me not on him. I have been reading My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers on and off for a few years now I read this recently which rang loudly in my “poor me” heart…
      “We become troubled because we have not been taking Him into account. When a person confers with Jesus Christ, the confusion stops, because there is no confusion in Him. Lay everything out before Him, and when you are faced with difficulty, bereavement, and sorrow, listen to Him say, ‘Let not your heart be troubled . . .’ (John 14:27).”
  • What do i want to do?
    • We often ask ourselves if i could do anything what would i do? Likewise we often respond with something like, “I’d love to own the Denver Broncos.” For some of us that is not realistic, but I think we often look too far forward. Looking back is key, as if we don’t we will fully loose sight of what God has done through us.
      “Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.” Galatians 1:10
      “We are only what we are in the dark; all the rest is reputation. What God looks at is what we are in the dark–the imaginations of our minds; the thoughts of our heart; the habits of our bodies; these are the things that mark us in God’s sight.” — Oswald Chambers
  • Broken Heart = Honest Heart
    • “God shatter my heart!” Is something I vividly remember saying to God prior to us starting this adoption journey almost 12 months ago. Since then, especially in the past few weeks, it feels as though God has not only been pruning me, but that he has almost completely started over with me. As I have relived so many things from my life both good and bad, and our family has been pushed to the edge only for Him to prevail with truth and peace.
  • Palms Up
    • When our family left the USA for Uganda I was a focused on work friend, brother, dad, and husband. I fought my kids for time to check my email, to make a cool Facebook post, to make just one more call. I’m not ashamed of that person, as work ethic is something my parents obviously taught me very well. However, I’m trying to learn how to tame that hard working person and not neglect my family. God just had to take me to Africa, with little internet, no sports, no friends, no family, and place me in situation after situation where I couldn’t work hard to make something happen…I had to simply put my palms up and do my best to trust Him.

God has broken me to my core, and ask’d me do i really love Him…the answer is yes! I’m I healed from the pain of this trip? 100% no, but i watched a recent I Am Second Video with Baron Batch. He summed this feeling up perfectly,

“I think God gives us scars sometimes to remind us where we’ve been, and more importantly that He has healed us. And once we have those scars we can show people and say, Look this is what God has done for me.”

 

God has used many of you as encouragement, rocks for us to lean on, outlets for us to refocus our prayers, and helpful hands for my family. Thank you and Ki and i hope to see you all very soon.

Much Love
jbols

UPDATE: Uganda Be Kiddin’ Me!

The Boling “family” has been in Uganda for 7 weeks…on Monday August 11th. Likewise…Tuesday August 12 will mark me being here and being a single dad for 2 weeks. We are nearing the end of this crazy, unknown, unbelievable journey. Below are a few stats to let you know what’s going on…some of them may surprise you or bore you!

Screen Shot 2014-08-09 at 6.05.25 AM

1,645 games of Solitaire played
1,789 games of Free Cell played
178 eggs consumed
122 chapati eaten, like a tortilla
1,176 hours sent in Africa
588 hours spent sleeping in Africa
We have moved 3 times
House record is 14 playing cards tossed into a bucket.
I have a killer bro-tank tan!
Ki ate 2 whole apples seeds all.
We almost pet a Rhino!
We do not have Ebola

I’m not really doing this to help you understand what we are or aren’t doing while we are here, but i’m writing this out so i can remind myself that its not so bad and could be worse.

Yesterday was our “darkest” day in Uganda since our arrival 7 weeks ago, and i say that lightly as we have met many families with far worse circumstances than ours. The adoption process has many ups and downs, and you slowly learn to not expect anything good to happen. This sounds very glass is half empty, and it probably is, but the adoption landscape changes every day. You jump through one hoop and there is another hoop, that is even smaller ready for you to squeeze yourself through.

Okay…why was yesterday so rough? Well, this week we began our last step with the US Embassy, which means we would head home TODAY! YEAH…right? Well they informed me that we have one document that is not signed by the correct person. After many clarifying questions and attempts to “encourage” them to accept the document we had…it came down to I needed to go find this person and get her to sign this paper. How hard can that be? So with some help from our lawyer we got in touch with her and got a meeting with her. I brought ki and photos of the family, and explained our situation and our story thus far. Then she as she was about to sign she said, “I have to go to a meeting I’ll look at this later, as I would prefer to understand the document further if i’m going to give it my approval.” I replied and said “Totally understandable! I appreciate your time and is it fair to expect this document from you tomorrow morning at the latest, as our situation requires a quick turn-a-round?” She said, “We will see.” So i left the meeting feeling confident that we were ready to roll and only lost a few days. As tomorrow turned into today i quickly realized the document was not a priority and our conversation had little affect on moving this forward. As the day ended I called her to check in and see if i could help answer any questions. She said, “I still need to make my inquiries and I haven’t gotten to it and i don’t know when i will be able to.” I responded with, “Oh ok. Can we…CLICK!” She hung up on me! I understand there is a cultural difference but come on lady! I then called our lawyer to explain what happen and to ask his advice…he said we need to wait if we push to hard she may never sign it. I asked him is this a 1-2 day thing or a 1-2 week thing…he quickly said its probably a 1-2 week thing.

OUCH! A punch to the gut…all because one lady needs to sign one document.

As it stands…I was able to get what i think is another meeting with her and a representative from my lawyers office for Monday morning. My prayer is that i walk out of that meeting with her signature…we will see…until then many of you have continued to push these verses our way and we are clinging to them especially when it seems all hope is lost.

My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” Psalms 73:26

“So do not fear, for I am with you;

    do not be dismayed, for I am your God.

I will strengthen you and help you;

    I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10

“…because God has said,

“Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”

So we say with confidence,

“The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid.
What can mere mortals do to me?””

Hebrews 13: 5-6

Each day brings new hope, and each day is another day with our son, which we have already missed to many of. Thanks for reading my rant and we will see what Monday brings…

Much love.
jbols