Monday, April 30, 2012

Uganda-Part 4

We headed to Fort Portal Tuesday evening to prepare for court the next day.  We arrived at the court house around 8:30am and waited for an hour or two until the judge was able to see us.  It was a special day, in that everyone who had worked to help us adopt our twins was there.  We met the twins' maternal grandfather, and he was able to see his granddaughters for the first time.  The area probation officer (similar to a social worker here) was there, as was a pastor who works closely with the children's home.  Our lawyer came the night before from Kampala, and our Kampala and Western Uganda facilitators were there as well.  While we waited in the court room, we heard some noise on the ceiling, and when we looked out the window, there was a monkey peeking into the courtroom.  We tried to get a picture, but were unable to.  In America, we have squirrels, and in Africa, they have monkeys!

When the judge came in, we moved to the front of the court room.  Right about that time, Rory melted down, so Ken took her out.  Our lawyer presented the case and introduced everyone who was there.  We didn't have to speak, which was probably a good thing, because it was a very overwhelming and emotional experience for me.  I was holding back tears the entire time.  The closest I can come to explaining it is when you're in labor and just waiting to see your child for the first time.  Our court date was the moment of truth, when we would either receive legal guardianship of our kids, or we would not.  After court, the judge told us to return around 2pm to his chambers to receive our ruling.  We got some passport pictures taken of the girls, had lunch with everyone, and then headed back to the courthouse.

Of course, as soon as we went into the judge's chambers, Rory melted down again, so Ken took her out.  The judge was a very compassionate and wise man who was very understanding of our situation and twins' situation.  He provided us with our legal guardianship ruling, signed and notarized by him.  We are so thankful and grateful to the country of Uganda and all of the people involved in allowing us to be a part of their culture and giving us an opportunity to care for two of their children.  Everyone was very, very kind and hospitable.

Lunch anyone???

The man next to Jonathan is the twins' maternal grandfather and the one next to him is Pastor Abel, who worked very hard to help the twins be adopted.  We are so grateful to both of them!

After court!  We're overjoyed and completely exhausted.

 Thursday morning, we left for Kampala, but we first stopped by the home to say goodbye.  When we arrived, Faith stayed close to us, but Favor ran into her old room, took off all of her clothes, and ran out naked and started to play.  She thought she was returning to her home.  The house mamas all got together and sang a beautiful song and then prayed over the girls.  It was a very emotional experience for all of us.  These girls were their children and I am amazed at the sacrifice they made in allowing the twins to be adopted to give them an opportunity they wouldn't otherwise have had.

This is Mama Faith, the ministry director.

 And then began the drive back.  Lots and lots and lots of snacking and napping.

Anytime Favor was asleep, Rory would start rubbing her head.

Potty stop.

We were probably going about 60mph when this happened.  How many animals and people can you count?

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Uganda-Part 3

We met the twins on our fifth day in Uganda.  We weren't really sure what to expect, but had imagined what the moment would be like for a long, long time.  We were very eager to meet the twins, but also made an effort to drink in every moment before we met them, because our imagination of what it would be was perfect. There's so much sweetness in imagining and anticipating a big change because it's filled with excitement and passion without the challenges.

We arrived right around lunch time and the kids were sitting at the table waiting to eat.  We found the twins immediately, but they stayed sitting at the table and ate their lunch.  All of the kids were squirming to leave the table and see us, but I think the children's home was pretty strict about remaining at the table until the they are released.  They all ate their meals within less than 5 minutes and everyone then drank a big glass of water.  After that, it was a free-for-all where all the kids ran for us and dove in our laps.  It was great to meet the kids, but definitely overwhelming in that we just wanted to get to know our little girls and spend some time with them, but all of the kids needed love and attention.

After the initial introduction, the kids pulled out a big drum and sang and danced for us for probably 3 hours until we left for dinner and the twins stayed at the home.  (We're not posting public pics of any of the other kids at the orphange, so the pictures we can post are limited.)

Ants for an afternoon snack!

The kids were fascinated with Rory.

Monday night was the first night the twins stayed with us at our hotel.  We should have been better prepared for what would ensue, but we hadn't thought that far ahead.  They were silly and happy until we turned out the lights and Favor fell apart.  She screamed and wailed in my arms until she fell asleep about an hour later.  I, of course, cried as well.  I can't imagine how scary it must be for a 4 year old to be dropped off in a new place with new people and not entirely understand what is even going on.  (The next night she cried for about 15 minutes, and the night after that she didn't cry at all.)
Our hotel: It was an eco-hotel, which basically means that there was no hot water or air conditioning and it took about an hour to get the food we ordered.

Welcome to Africa.

Our first night together.
We spent Sunday at church and playing with kids at the orphanage.
The church

You'll see Rory's pacifier in her mouth for this entire trip.  I did that intentionally so as to keep the rest of Africa out of her month.  She was also a real trooper and wore long sleeves, long pants, and boots in 90 degree weather in effort to help prevent malaria.  It worked and she didn't get sick at all.

For breakfast, the kids had a banana and a cup of porridge.

A local family.  The mother had 3 sets of twins!

Some local kids coming to the well to get water.

The squatty potties.

The view from the orphanage.

Rory's best friend, Ken.  He was our amazing Western Uganda facilitator.

Cooking a meal.

Most of the land around our area was tea farms, so this man was probably farming some land nearby.

Chickens were everywhere!

Where they did all of the cooking for the kids.

Rory in a pineapple field.

One of the farm workers and her daughter.

I can't remember what this bird is called, but it was really special that we saw one.

Our typical car rides.

Next up...court in Fort Portal