Wednesday, September 23, 2009

It's Time...

During a lot of our adoption journey, we likened our experience to being pregnant on paper. I have to say, looking back, it truly was very much like being pregnant, without the physical implications (though I wish I could explain weight gain away with this...). Well, if we were pregnant, then this is the story of our journey (a very long one at that) to the hospital.

Monday, June 1- Tuesday, June 2: We were as ready as we ever would be to leave for this trip. Our bags were packed, the house was closed up and we were ready to roll. Kelly's wonderful mom had Charlie (our dog, which has since taken up semi-permanent residence at her home!) and she drove us to the airport. We flew from Chicago to Amsterdam, had a layover, then flew Amsterdam to Entebbe. We arrived in Entebbe on the evening of June 2. We realized that though we had emailed our friends in Uganda to pick us up at the airport, we weren't sure at all who was coming to get us...which really just kind of was just the beginning of not knowing how things were going to work out. Thankfully, we only waited a few minutes to be greeted by Wilfred and Vena, Florence and Emma. We caravaned back to Sister Gertrude's house, where she had a delicious feast waiting for us. After eating and catching up, Kelly and I finally collapsed into bed (with the help of some Ambien!). Wednesday was going to be a big day.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Coffee, Dora and my favorite 5 year old

That pretty much sums up the beginning to most of my days- and I love it!

I started this blog in February mostly to feel like I was actually doing something to make progress in this adoption. Well, it's been 6 months since the last post and we're home!!! (Actually, we have been home for about 6 weeks, but I am WAY behind!)

So, instead of trying to recall the last 6 months, I will highlight the big things. Here we go:

February-April: These few months were pretty much filled with us just trying to stay sane, waiting and never knowing if or when we would be able to go and finally get our little Bakhita.

Late April: Frustrated and confused by something that was missing, we nearly called off the adoption. Our lawyer had contacted us with information that he was unable to get a much needed document, that could make or break our case. Not knowing what to do, Kelly and I started praying about calling everything off. That same day, we received a call from USCIS (US Citizenship and Immigration services....and they NEVER call people!) that our Immigration application had FINALLY been accepted. We finally had the OK to bring a child into the USA. Now what?!? Again, we believed we should keep pressing on.

Sunday, May 24: God provided 2 round trip and 1 one way ticket for our family to go to Uganda to get Bakhita. We still had no idea when we would be leaving.

Tuesday, May 26: We received an email from our lawyer informing us that he was applying for a court date, and should know by the end of the week when we would be able to appear in Ugandan court. We did not hold our breaths that we would actually find out this week when we would go.

Friday, May 29, about 8:07 AM, McDonald's parking lot, West Chicago (not that I remember EXACTLY where I was!): I had stopped to get an iced coffee before going to work for the day. I was pulling out of the parking lot when my Blackberry buzzed that I had an email. I hoped it was something from Uganda, but didn't really expect it to be anything. I opened it, and saw that it was from our lawyer. Pretty much the rest of that morning is a blurr...the email said that we had been assigned a court date for June 3 (yes 6 days later) and that we should get on the next flight to Uganda. AAAAAHHHHHHH! We were actually going!!!

Friday, May 29-Sunday, May 31: I would sum up this weekend by just saying that we ran around like a bunch of crazy heads, but even more than that was the INCREDIBLE, AWESOME ways that God provided everything we needed (and a lot of things we wanted) for us to get on our way to Uganda: from the cash we needed to travel, extra suitcases, house sitters, dog sitter and even $9 suit pants for Kelly!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

July 6

We had our last fertility appointment on July 5, and were saddened by the results.

Then, we went to church on Sunday, the 6th. Our friend, Troy, had just gotten back from Uganda, and we had not really had a chance to see him or talk to him about the trip...but we were fairly sure that he had seen Bakhita.

After the service, we were hugging friends, when Troy came up and blurted out (no "thinking before speaking" filter in place) "I saw Bakhita, and she has been cleared for adoption. Her dad gave his permission and you can go adopt her."

It was a good thing that I was standing next to my loving, supportive and equally excited husband, because my reaction would rival any "burst into tears crying scene" from some teeny-bopper movie. He simply hugged me, held me and whispered in my ear "Let's go get our girl." So, we are!

Hence, this blog! :)

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The Desires of Our Hearts

Psalm 37:4

Delight yourselves in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of you heart.

Before we left for you Uganda, we started praying very specifically for the desire of our hearts- to grow our family with a child. Specifically, a baby.

I think a lot of times we pray for what we want, then tack on "if that's your will, Lord..." and then, we hope for the best, hoping also that His will is really OUR will. I am SO thankful that His will and His way, are always the BEST for us, even when they are what we are least expecting.

Months before we left for Uganda, I was diagnosed with a minor medical "condition" that would make having a baby on our own difficult. We knew our options and had a plan. We had come to the point in our "plan" when we needed more help. So, a few weeks after we got home, we started down the very long and windy path of fertility treatments. We also had our very definitive "line in the sand" when we would call it quits, and when we would pursue adoption. Though adoption was always there, and we knew that even if we did get pregnant, we would add to our family through adoption- at some point.

During the rest of winter, we continued treatment and researching adoption. As winter turned quickly to spring, we were not making any progress on getting pregnant. To ease our minds that we had more options, we went to an informational meeting that Sunny Ridge Family Center hosted. After that meeting, Kelly was ready to jump in head first to the adoption process...while I was much more cautious. And, I wanted to keep trying to get pregnant.

At the end of June, we decided that this cycle of meds and trying would be our last. We needed a break- mentally and physically (I had had ENOUGH of the "personal summers" that were a major side effect of the meds). We took the meds and had the last test on July 5...nothing. It didn't work. We were glad for the break we were going to be taking from all of this.

All this time we prayed for a baby, a child- God's will for our family. We really had NO idea what was to come. We trusted that God would give us the desires of our hearts....whatever that might be.

Coming Home

Coming home from Uganda was harder that coming home from any other trip I had ever done. In typical (for me) style, I got sick on the last day- which made saying good-byes hard and really just made me desperate to NOT move and get into my own bed.

However, I knew that as quickly as I had come and gone from Uganda, Uganda would not go from me. Especially the face of little Bakhita.

I remember getting home, late January, and walking Charlie (the dog). I was bundled up from head to toe, still itching from the sunburn I got the day we crossed the equator, and headed out into the snow. My first thought- the Boda drivers of Uganda. These men bundled up this much (heavy parka, boots, hats...everything) for their daily driving through the streets. That thought led to the face of Bakhita.

Why this child? I wondered. The memory of her lingered everywhere.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Going Back

So, to continue the story of how we came to this place of adopting Bakhita...we traveled back to Bweya a few days after that first meeting.

I had found a few small outfits and some baby food for her. When we got there, our main job was to paint the orphange (which, I could write a small book would be called "How not to Paint," but that is for another time.)

Anyway, after our painting, I tracked Bakhita down. It was so great to see her again, and she remembered me. I took her in my arms, and introduced her to everyone else on my team, including my parents, her future grandparents. Even then, I loved her and knew that her face would haunt my dreams for months to come. That I would never forget her face.

After a while of playing, I took her to a place where I could give her the things that I had found for her. I put a new outfit on her- it was green and pink, and clean. As I put the hat, shirt and shorts on her tiny body, she just got the biggest smile. I stood her up to admire her, and the shorts fell right down. Her small frame could not even hold the size 12 month shorts.

We visited with Naphtali, an young man who grew up at Bweya, and was now working there. I showed him the baby food and the importance of giving it to her every day. He assured me that he would feed her. He also said that she would never forget getting that outfit on that day, because we made her look smart.

We left the home shortly after that moment. It was very difficult to leave her there. She had truly captured my heart, in a way that no other child had.