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.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

A long time coming

So, I finally am making my first post on this blog that I set up ages ago- dedicated to posting the process and progress of the adoption of our daughter, Bakhita. So, here it goes...

A little background:

When Kelly and I got married in August 2006, we knew that we wanted to start a family fairly quickly. And, we also knew that we had a pretty unique and unconventional relationship, our children would probably be no exception to that. We also knew that we both had a heart for Africa (specifically Uganda) and it wouldn't be long before we joined our friends in traveling there.

Fast forward to the fall of 2007. Talk of the upcoming trip to Uganda was in full swing, when we decided (and God arranged) that 2008 was our year to go. So, we updated our passports, got our shots and boarded that plane January 10, 2008. It was going to be such an awesome trip- our first mission's trip as a married couple, going to Africa with my parents, and a LARGE part of our church. We were finally going to see and meet all the people we felt like we already knew.

Now, I had already done several mission trips working specifically working with orphans, so I felt really prepared to go- and prepared for the "I want to bring ALL these babies home and give them a good life..." But, I also knew this trip would be so so different in so many ways. Mainly- being a mom was on the forefront of my heart and mind. The thought of adopting was there, but really only from the US. We (I) didn't really consider adopting from Uganda while we there.

But, God had other plans. (As usual. I say "Never THIS way, Lord..." and He seems to always say "I BEG to differ!")

All of that changed on Sunday, January 13, 2008. That day most of our team was heading to see the source of the Nile, while Kelly and I (and several others) went to go scope out this new home that UORF was just starting to partner with- Bweya Children's Home.

While we were there, the director, Christopher, had all the kids come in and sing to us. After they sang, we were enjoying luke warm Coke and cake, when this "baby" came crawling out. She literally appeared out of nowhere.

Troy leaned down to pick her up, and all the mother's hearts in the room kindly reminded him "Don't break her!" He gently picked her up, and sat her on his lap. We were sure she was only 8 or 10 months old. She was so small. Then, she smiled and exposed all of her teeth. All of them. A whole mouth full. We were shocked, to say the least.

We continued to pass her around the room, admiring her beauty and shear size, and giving her the rest of our Coke. She gulped it down so fast. Her little tummy got harder and harder. We didn't know if she would exlpode, or rip a HUGE burp! At that point, we thought, ok, she's maybe two years old. Then, it was time for a tour of the "campus." We carried her along with us, like she was a little doll. (Still, waiting for that burp to come!)

Out on the walk, we learned she was not two. But three and a half, and speaking in FULL sentances. We also learned that her name was Bakhita Josephine, and she had been abandoned.

It was time for us to leave, but we knew we were coming back to paint the orphanage on Thursday. I very reluctantly handed her back to John, who cares for her in his home, because she is too small to stay with the other kids.

In the days before we returned, I searched all the supplies for clothes and food for Bakhita. I didn't know then, what I know now, but I knew that this little girl had impacted me like no other child ever had. And, she needed help- clothes, food, love and Jesus. And, I was going to do all I could for her while we were there. She deserved a chance.