Saturday, March 10, 2012

In Uganda: Happy Birthday!

Yesterday, March 9th, was Faith and Favor’s 4th birthday. It’s actually quite unique that we know their birthday at all, because most orphans don’t have reliable records and end up having a made-up birthday based on everyone’s best guess. The girls probably never celebrated anyone’s birthday before, so I knew that they wouldn’t really expect anything or even know what was going on if they were thrown a big party. Our amazing guesthouse hosts knew it was their birthday, so they baked up a simple carrot cake with frosting and sprinkles for the girls to celebrate!

And we got a really great birthday present: Faith and Favor’s passports!!! That was the last piece we were waiting on before we could submit our visa application to the US Embassy and request a visa interview. I’m putting all the paperwork together this weekend and we’ll head to the embassy first thing Monday morning to request a same-day interview. Please be praying that everything goes smoothly as the Lord wills, and that we are at peace with the time frame He’s got in store for us.
Even with help, being a single parent to twin 4-year-olds who don’t speak English is a pretty rough gig. Here are some things I’ve learned about my girls and about parenting so far:
  • Both Faith and Favor will use the bathroom as an excuse for attention. This happens several times a day. They’ll go potty and then 15 minutes later ask to go again, and insist they have to go (in Rutooro, their language), and Faith will even clutch her crotch and hop up and down for dramatic emphasis. I confirm with them several times in Rutooro that they really really need to go again, and then take the time to go through the bathroom routine, all for two seconds on the pot with nothing to show for it and then a quick “I’m finished!” (but in Rutooro). Grrr.
  • Favor is the emotional one. She wakes up every morning in a perky mood and gives me lots of kisses, but any time I’m even a little stern with her throughout the day, she breaks down crying. She’s really adorable and loves for me to carry her, and tonight she fell asleep holding my hand.
  • Faith gravitates towards women for contact, attention, and affection. She will allow me to carry her and hold her hand, but if there’s anyone else nearby she leaves me and jumps into the other person’s arms. I don’t take it personally, and I know that part of the reason she does that is because she’s been raised almost exclusively by women and she has almost no concept of what a daddy is. It may take months or years for her to develop a more healthy attachment and connection with me and Sarah, and for her to be a little more discriminating with running to complete strangers for affection.
  • Just the honest truth, but… sometimes kids push your buttons so much you realize that parents with less self-control really would make the completely inexcusable mistake of physically lashing out at them.
  • Time-outs work like a charm.
  • There are tons of opportunities throughout the day that I can take a moment to pray for my kids. Today, one key moment was nap time, and I felt the presence of the Spirit as I interceded for all 3 of my girls and my wife.
  • I can actually do this. For the longest time I was scared of being a father to kids. Well, maybe I was scared of being a father to anyone older and more difficult than Rory. I thought that maybe I wouldn’t be tough enough, or know the right thing to do at the right time, or have adequate wiping skills. But I’ve learned in just a couple weeks with Faith and Favor that you learn pretty quickly how to do it all. It’s not so bad, you learn from mistakes, and you survive one day at a time. I’m not saying that I absolutely love everything about being a dad right now, but I can honestly say that I’m learning and I know it’ll get better. Bottom line: I trust in the Lord for everything, including this. By God’s grace my girls will grow up to be strong women of faith (and favor).

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