Tuesday, February 28, 2012

In Uganda: Daddy's Highlights So Far

Please be in prayer for our meeting with the judge in court tomorrow! We’ll write more detailed posts about what’s going with everything, but since so much has been happening and we’ve now had custody of the girls for two days, I just wanted to list my highlights so far (before I forget)…
  • At church on Sunday, I was holding Favor and she fell asleep in my arms. As I stood and swayed to the lively music, I felt a warm sensation all over… unfortunately not the warm fuzzies in my heart – it was PEE, all over my pants and soaking through to my underwear, down my right leg and soaking my shoe and sock, producing a food-wide puddle around my feet. That was only halfway through the 3-hour-long service, I stayed in that spot until the end, and nobody said a word about the whole thing.
  • The girls have no self-control with putting “yucky” things in their mouths. They’ll lick anything from chairs to fence poles, and this morning I caught Faith with gum in her mouth – and we never gave her any.
  • For our first night together, we tried out a “family bed”, mainly because it was our only option. Those kids are floppy sleepers! After not being able to sleep next to Faith for a few hours, I crawled to the foot of the bed where there was room and got at least a little rest.
  • The girls definitely aren’t anywhere near functional in English, so we’ve had to learn some Rutooro phrases. My repertoire so far: Do you want to pee? Do you want to poop? Water. Stop! Don’t cry. Are you fine?
  • My wife is incredible. Sarah has done an amazing job with the twins so far, and even right now she’s outside with the twins, letting me stay in the hotel room while Rory naps so that I can grab a few minutes of sanity. Faith and Favor love Sarah, and often prefer to be held by her than by me. While we drove for an hour in the car today, all three kids were in the backseat with her, with the twins both napping on her lap.
  • Like I said, we’ll post about more later. Keep an eye out on Facebook because we post random tidbits and photos there occasionally. Thanks for joining us in this journey!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

In Uganda: Our New Forever

My darling Faith,

Yours was the first face I saw through the bars of your window. You were sitting around the table waiting for lunch, peeking out over the other heads to see who the visitor was. Your eyes were so bright and your smile so big, I wanted to run into that room and sweep you out of your chair and cover you with hugs and kisses. You are sweet, beautiful, and have a gloriously large heart that is ready to be loved forever. And we are so, so ready to love your heart. You ate lunch quickly, finished off a couple of others kid’s plates, and ran to us as soon as you were excused from the table. You were very possessive of my lap and looked into my eyes and I got to see your huge, beautiful grin up close. Then, you joined in song and dance with the other kids. You aren’t shy when it comes to dancing and you keep up with all of the big kids well. The very first thing Pastor Abel said to me about you is that you are a gifted leader. You are always leading and guiding the others into what you want to do. Mama Faith told me the same thing and said she thinks you are like her; and Mama Faith has changed this city. I cannot wait to see what God is going to do through you, my little Lioness.

My sweet, sweet Favor,

How could I miss those round cheeks and big eyes looking into mine from your lunch table? Even though you’re not allowed to leave until you’re done, you squirmed out of your chair and went to the edge of the room to get as close to us as possible. When you were excused, you dove into your Daddy’s lap and immediately began singing, “Mommy and Daddy you are welcome” over and over again. Sometimes you got confused about who is mommy and daddy, but it just made us all laugh. And your dancing is amazing! You’re a natural! I can tell you’re a little bit shy about dancing publicly, but your love for dancing outweighs your shyness so you jump in with all the other kids fearlessly. To get to know your daddy, you felt all over his head and face and you loved beeping his nose. You are a sweet one who loves to play. We are so thankful for you and your sweet spirit. I think you are a gentle, kind, beautiful daughter of the King. I adore you.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

In Uganda: Arrived Safely

After 3 flights and almost 30 hours of travel, we arrived safely in Kampala, Uganda last night. Rory did awesome on the flights, only getting a little fussy every now and then. The airline did end up misplacing (hopefully only temporarily) one of our bags. All things considered, we’re glad that it was just Sarah’s clothes and our court clothes rather than Rory’s food or diapers. We’re staying in a nice guest house with several other families from our agency who are today doing the embassy interview as one of the last steps in the whole process. When we arrived at the guest house they had to fire up the generator for a few minutes so we could have light to get all our stuff inside and get settled in our room. Apparently power outages happen pretty often here (Filipinos would call them “brown outs”.)

We went to the embassy ourselves this morning and got a list of things to work on before we request an interview appointment. Everyone was so nice there, and we got to chat with another adoptive mom from the States who has unfortunately had a crazy case and is going on 11 1/2 months in Uganda! Her situation is definitely the exception and we’re not worried about that happening to us.

Uganda is such a charming country! We love the brightly colored buildings, the red dirt, and all of the out-of-the-ordinary things we see like lots full of furniture for sale and women walking with 30lbs of bananas on their heads. Rory adores riding in the car without a car seat and grins and waves at everyone she sees.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Adoption Updates

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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

To My Valentines

To my Habibi:
You are the most amazing man I know. You love me fully, you make me laugh daily, you smooth out my rough edges. And even after 4 1/2 years together, I still see Jesus in you more than anyone else I know. I am wildly in love with you.

To my Rory:
You have taught me sweetness and the warm-fuzzies I feel in my heart for you are like nothing else I've ever known. Your giggles, your impromptu singing, the ridiculous jokes you play just to make me laugh, and hearing your voice saying "mommy" over and over and over again on the other side of the door when I come home from work make my heart soar. I absolutely adore you and know that you are meant for great, great things.

To my Twins:
I haven't met you, but I've cried in longing for you more than I've ever cried for anyone else. I've memorized your faces and your actions, clinging to every piece of information I've been given about you. Though we are continents apart (for only a few more days), you've changed me and taught me so much about myself. But even more than that, you've taught me about the relentless love of a Father who never gives up. I'm crazy about you!

*Idea from The Anderson Crew*

Saturday, February 11, 2012

18 Months of Rory

We love our little light-giver.

It's hard to keep track of what Rory is learning and doing with each month.  She mimics every word we say and loves to spin until she's dizzy and falls over.  She's very shy around anyone other than her mommy and daddy.  When she's with us, she's a total ham and loves to make us laugh. 

And as always, she loves giving kisses.

how do you make a gif

gif creator at gickr.com

* Thanks to her Ninang Kylene for the little sister onesie!*

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Rambly thoughts of an adoptive dad

I love this picture of one of our girls.  And not because it shows a poor orphan with no diaper on, eating with her hands, alone on the floor... I love it because it shows the beautiful little girl who (along with her twin sister) is going to be my daughter.  Over the last couple of months, Sarah and I have had the blessing of seeing pictures of the twins throughout their life in the children's home.  Some pictures, like this one, give a glimpse into just how different life is for them there.  Other pictures show them laughing, playing on a playground, swinging, see-sawing, and crying after a fight over a ball - a pair of normal, rambunctious almost-4-year-olds. 

This morning I sat in a rocking chair on our front porch, closed my eyes and prayed for my girls - all 3 of them.  I pictured myself in my meeting place with Jesus - a quiet ocean beach where I talk with my Savior and Lord.  I stood on the sand facing the waves with the girls, confessing to Jesus that I didn't yet feel up to the challenge of raising these girls to be women.  He reassured me that he would give me the grace to get through each day, and that as I was faithful in raising them as their earthly father, they would better understand the role of God as their heavenly Father.  I need that kind of a reminder every now and then.

You know the funny things that I think about?  I try to mentally fit three car seats into the back of my Matrix.  I wonder if I'll get to play ultimate frisbee or go rock climbing with any of my girls.  I disappointedly realize that Friday morning coffee cupping field trips are a no-go when Sarah goes back to work (do they make a triple Ergo carrier??).

Though at this point I'm not seriously worrying about things.  I know we'll have our fair share of challenges pretty soon, but we've chosen to trust the Lord in it.  I could pull my hair out running scenario after scenario through my brain about what will happen with regard to attachment/bonding/connection issues, health problems, possible racism, supporting our family on one income, etc.  But like I said, I believe God's gonna give us the grace to get through whatever comes our way.  In that promise I live freely.

I wrote this in my journal, exactly 2 and 1/2 years ago: "It's a liberating feeling, putting yet another area of our lives fully into the Lord's hands."  At the time I was writing about us not using birth control and fully opening up the possibility to have our first child.  Here we are in another situation where the same conclusion applies: Trust God, and he'll work it all out. 

So, I'm ready.  Right now it's like the roller coaster is click-clicking its way up the big hill and we're anticipating what craziness lies over that initial hump.  It'll be a ride.  Ups and downs.  Highs and Lows.  Unpredictable.  WOOOOOOOOHOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!