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 different. 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.
“For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” – Matthew 18:20
Several people have asked us what they can be praying for, as we approach our travel date, so here is a specific list:
Preparing to leave our comfort zone and experience a new culture (exposing our boys to extreme poverty and trying to prepare them for what they will see)
Travel (4 separate flights over 4 days to get to Kampala, Uganda with 2 young children and multiple time changes)
Health for all of us
Transitions and attachment as we bring Ki into our family
Adoption process and paperwork in Uganda (favor from the Judge, Immigration and US Embassy) Currently, things are running fairly smoothly and things are being processed within 5-6 weeks so pray that this is the case for us as well.
Establishing relationships with the orphanage and caregivers as well as other adoptive families that are in country.
Finances (we paid all of our adoption fees and now just need to cover travel expenses and bills while we are gone!)
God to be glorified and His word to take root in the heart of the Ugandan people!
We are still learning what it means to trust God completely and lean into Him daily. The process of adoption is not for the faint of heart, and we have discovered that being on our knees before the Lord is the only way we can bring our son home.
We received some good news that reduced me to a puddle of tears on the floor praising and thanking The Lord…
When we were matched with K, we were given pictures of 2 boys and asked to pray about which one would be our forever son. We were told up front that we were not allowed to adopt both boys because they were not siblings. This was the toughest decision we have ever had to make. We spent 2 days praying and crying out to God for direction. We felt so torn between these 2 beautiful children and didn’t think it was “fair” that we had to choose which one got a family and which one was left behind.
After much discussion and prayer, we both admitted that we were drawn to K. Justin said that K was skinny and looked like him. I said that there was something in his eyes that drew me in. However, we were still not ready to make a decision. Justin had a quiet time and was praying when he felt The Lord say “K is your son, you did not choose him, but I chose him for you.” I was at work when Justin shared this with me and I was a complete mess.
I emailed our adoption coordinator and told her how torn we were between the boys but we were leaning towards K. She emailed right back and said that K was the boy they had chosen for our family and were praying that we would accept him. That was our final confirmation that God had chosen this sweet boy for us and thus we proceeded with adopting him.
Well, my mama heart continued to ache for the other boy that we did not choose. We thought about him often and Justin described seeing his face in his dreams. We prayed so many nights for his forever family. This past week our prayers were answered! Our friends that are in Uganda adopting their baby girl sent us a message saying that a new family moved in near them at the compound they are staying at, and I would never guess who their son is! I was overjoyed as I shared this news with Justin. My mama heart exploded with praise that God is in control!
I have reached out to the family and I am waiting to hear back from them. I would love to keep our boys connected as they have the shared experience of living in the orphanage together.
OK…so this is not the good news you may be thinking but we had two very encouraging things happen over the last week.
1. We just got our last “pending” approval from the powers that be. What this means is our finger print check via the US government was cleared and they have confirmed that we are who we say we are and that there are no red flags in our current or past history. This would have held up our return trip with K if an issue was to be found.
2. Through fellow adoption groups and my Facebook stalking skillz…we found the website and Facebook page for K’s orphanage! First off…for them to have a website and Facebook page is off the charts unreal! We did not find any pictures of K, but being able to see where he is living right now is a huge relief! Many of the below items are nothing like what we are being told in our adoption classes, as they, for good reason, prepare you for the worst. We feel grateful and blessed that he is being cared for in this type of environment. Here are a few facts we learned about the orphanage:
It was established and the building was built in 2013.
Currently, it is home to 17 children, and will only ever house 30.
It has a Christian foundation and funding.
It appears as though all children are well feed and in good health. (very plump…for lack of a better phrase)
Thanks for all of your prayers, support, questions on updates of our status, and for the continued financial support. We still have 1 more adoption agency payment, and are beginning to plan financially to live in Uganda and pay our bills here while we are gone. We will post more details around that soon.
This week was a big week…why you may ask…well…not because H pee’d on the floor again, but… 1) We dropped our dossier, a word i just learned how to spell, which simply means a larger stack of papers then you … Continue reading →
Asking for money has never been a strong suit of ours, but here goes….We are in need of $25,000.00 by April in order to bring K home. When we started this adventure, we thought we would have 12-18 months to save and fundraise our adoption costs. However, things have been greatly expedited and we will hopefully be traveling in April for our first trip to Uganda! There is a lot of corruption surrounding US adoptions and there is talk that Uganda might stop issuing US visas to waiting children at any time. Here’s a breakdown of our timeline…
1. We wrapped up our Home Study this past week and are waiting for it to be sent off and approved by the US government (this can take 1-2 months)
2. Our dossier (all of the legal paperwork required) is complete and we are mailing it off to our adoption agency this week!
3. Once the above 2 things are complete, we can request a court date in Uganda. Our adoption agency is shooting for a date in April.
4. Once we have a court date, we will make plans to travel to Uganda and get guardianship of Ki! We will have to complete some legal stuff while we are there, but mostly get time to bond with him and get to know him. Then we will have to leave Ki with some friends in Uganda and return to the States while all of our paperwork is processed and approved. This can take several weeks if not months and we are not able to stay in-country for the entire process due to our young boys and our job requirements.
5. When everything is approved and processed, we will return to Uganda and bring Ki home! We plan on taking H with us on this second trip and all he talks about is traveling on a big plane to go get his brother.
So there you have it…and this is why we lay awake at night with my head spinning!
Cutting to the chase…we do not have $25,000.00. We are hoping for a good tax return and are saving every penny we have (the grocery budget has been cut to the bare minimum and we are all learning what it is like to eat rice and beans on a regular basis), but it is still not enough. We are planning a couple of fundraisers (we will keep you updated on those). We NEED your help. We NEED money and we don’t have the luxury of time.
We have been matched with a beautiful 2-year-old boy from Uganda!
FYI We do have a picture which we can share if you see us, but we cannot share it publicly or socially at this time. Please ask when you see us!
He will be known as K “1 of his Ugandan Names” Boling. We don’t know much about him at this time because the Uganda courts are shut down for the holidays. In the next couple weeks we will be receiving official paperwork that will hopefully have social and medical history. What we do know is that we are stoked, excited, tearful, and trying to trust God in all of this.
Please continue to pray for us as sleep is hard to come by and this is a very emotional process. We have a ton of paperwork to complete and about $20,000-$25,000 to save and raise by March! We are beyond excited and can’t wait to meet him and hold him.
Much love and thanks for reading!
– j, e, h, ky, and g