Wednesday, September 12, 2012

How this came to be...

I realized in looking back at my blog, that I had not really told how this idea of adoption all came to be.  So, here is my story...

As most of you probably know, last October Cliff and I went on our first foreign mission trip.  We went with Pennies for Posho to Uganda, Africa.  Pennies feeds children at 10 (now 11) orphanages and quarterly they make trips delivering food.  We got to visit 8 of the orphanages and witness the food truck pulling up and the people being so excited. 

On Monday, October 31st we hopped on our bus and headed out to visit an orphanage three hours away.  Actually it is only about 45 miles away but due to the roads it took us three hours to get there.  We were greeted by children cheering and waving at us.  They could not wait for our bus to stop and for their visitors to get out.  The greeting is overwhelming.  The children are amazed by our pale skin and want to touch and hold onto us.  They have prepared a program with singing and dancing for us, so we take our seats under a big blue and white stripped tarp that they had stretched out to shield us all from the sun.  I was very thankful!

I took my seat in a white plastic chair.  Cliff was sitting in a row behind me several chairs over.  The children began to gather and sit as closely as they could.  A choir of school children came in and began singing.  They were very good.  I had a beautiful little girl in a red dress sitting in my lap.  I have since learned that her name is Hadijah.  She was a village child and did not go to school.  I knew this because she did not have on a uniform.  I was listening to the singing and looking at the children sitting on the ground.  That is when I saw her; so small and so cute.  I motioned for her to come to me and she did.  I scooped her up in my lap and I hugged her tight.  She stared at me and gave me a half grin.  Her skin was flawless and the color of dark chocolate.  Her eyes were a deep shade of brown.  She sat in my lap for the rest of the program. By the end, she had rested her head on my upper right arm and began to rub back and forth on my forearm.  I savored every second of it and thought to myself..."if she only knew what she was doing to my heart!" 

The program ended and the school children were called to go eat lunch.  One meal a day, posho and beans, no variety no choice.  The sweet little girl jumped down from my lap and headed to have lunch.  I began painting fingernails.  She came back around and I got to paint her fingernails blue.  After painting nails for a couple of hours, we gathered all the children to pass out sweeties.  Each child got one dum dum sucker.  It was such a treasure to them.  We were told to start getting on the bus since we had a long trip back to Jinja.  I scanned the crowd looking for her.  I hesitated to get on the bus.  I wanted to see her just one more time.  I wanted to hug her again.  But I didn't get to.  As I took my seat on the bus I continued to look out the windows for her.  I fought the urge to scream her name.  Tears began to pool in my eyes.  I tried to blink them away but it did not work.  They spilled forth onto my cheeks.  I felt like I was leaving one of my own behind. 

I can not describe that feeling I had for her adequately.  In reality, I only spent a few hours with her but in my heart I knew that she was mine.  There was an instant connection between us.  She was comfortable with me and as she laid back against me, I believe God was doing a major knitting job on both of our hearts.  I wrote in my journal on that day that I believed God knew I wouldn't be able to tell her goodbye so that is why I couldn't find her.  I also wrote that I believed that I had not seen her for the last time. 
Her face was etched in my mind and for the rest of the trip she is all I thought about.  We came home and the adjustment back into our life was very hard.  I felt guilty crawling into my king size pillow top mattress knowing that earlier in the week I saw a 103 year old woman who had been sitting on the floor for so long that she literally looked like she was melting into it.  Why did I have a bed and she didn't?  I felt guilty for having a garden tub and hot water.  Guilty doesn't even begin to describe how I felt the first time I had to throw uneaten food into the trash can.  I cried for what seemed like months.  I couldn't really even talk about my trip without crying.  I knew God did not take me to Africa to make me feel guilty but I really wasn't sure what I was to do with my experience. 

Christmas came and went and a new year began.  In Janaury, I was on my laptop reading about someone's experience in Uganda and decided that I would google the name of the orphanage that we visited on October 31st.  Much to my surprise they had a website.  I devoured every work on their website and decided to sent a note on their contact page.  The next day, I was checking my email and I had an email from the Pastor of the orphanage.  I thought my heart was going to leap out of my body.  Cliff was equally as excited about everything as I was.  I started emailing back and forth with the Pastor.  We emailed photos of our time there and asked about 3 children we met, one being my very special little friend named Brenda.  We learned that two of the three were not in school and that my special little friend was an orphan. 

We prayed and decided that we wanted to sponsor these three to go to school.  We got that arranged and we felt good.  This took a couple of months to get it all arranged.  Meanwhile I am following and hearing stories of these Uganda children who have come here to school.  My favorite story was when they took the little girl to Walmart to get her a new brush.  They are on the brush aisle and the little girl bends over and begins rubbing her head on the brushes to try to pick out a new one.  She did not realize that she could pick the brushes up because the reality is she had never had a choice before.  The other story that got me was about the child eating dinner in her bicycle helmet because she was so excited that she had a bike she wouldn't take her helmet off. 

I remember it like it was yesterday.  I was sitting in my bathtub thinking about these children and Brenda.  I started thinking...Is it fair that Brenda may never have a choice of a hair brush?  Well no, that is not fair.  Is it fair that Brenda will never have a bike?  Well no, that is not fair either.  Is it fair that Brenda will likely never sit in a big bathtub full of hot water.  My mind started racing with tons of questions and the answer was always the same.  And then in my spirit, the question changed from "is it fair" to "can you live with it?"  I knew immediately that I could not live the rest of my life and not do anything to make life better for Brenda.  I went and told Cliff about how I was feeling and God had been stirring in him too.  We began praying about what we were to do and then decided in April that we would ask the Pastor of the orphanage his thoughts on adoption.  We prayed that if God would open doors then we would be obedient to walk through them.  We all believed that this was God's plan for her as well as us.

In June we started telling others of our plan and sold watermelons to help raise some money for her adoption.  In July we completed our homestudy.  In case you don't know, completing a homestudy in a month's time is nearly unheard of.  We made our initial contact with the social worker and had our completed approved homestudy in a month!  In August we mailed our I-600a form.  In September we got fingerprinted.  And it looks very likely that we could board a plane in October to go get our little Ugandan princess.  I'll have to keep you posted on that one...

So that is how this adoption thing came to be.  When we went on the mission trip we had no intention what so ever to expand our family.  We were complete.  God had blessed us with a son and daughter and we were beyond grateful.  Adding to our family was not anywhere on the list of things to do in 2012.  But boy are we really excited that it was on God's list for our family.  Max and Amelia are as excited as we are about welcoming Brenda into our family.  They truly amaze me! 

So check back for new developments in our story.  Can't wait to post that our final approval is received and a court date is scheduled!

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