Sunday, February 28, 2010

Court Tomorrow

Please pray for us as we go to court tomorrow. It is a huge day. I'm not nervous, just excited. Our appointment is scheduled for 10am (11pm Sunday night for my friends at home) and I've been told will be fairly short. I won't have to say anything, just raise my hand when they introduce me to the judge. I think I can handle that! We aren't likely to hear anything tomorrow, but trust me, I will let you know as soon as I have news!

Please also pray for my new friends who are here and going for their visa appointment tomorrow. It will be a very telling moment for me as well. If they can get a visa for their son, we have a good shot, too. They had the same judge and she was careful to word their ruling the way the U.S. Embassy has requested.

Tomorrow is a big, big day. We're planning to go to bed early, but a large missions team is checking in to our guest house late tonight. Hoping we can sleep through it all...we have had two good nights in a row!

Dorie enjoyed helping make Lynne's birthday cake last Sunday...this Sunday it's Brian's birthday! In the back is Holly (staying with the Kelly's), who has been a real blessing to us, too!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

GREAT Night!

No tears last night at all! Thanks to all of you who are praying for us.

I went today and visited two little girls who are waiting for their American parents to come for them. They were taken in by some generous neighbors, so we were happy to see them and deliver some food and dresses from their new family.

It has been a good day. Dorie was a little clingy this morning...wanting to be wherever I was (even when I was trying to go to the bathroom!). We are bonding, but I know this takes time.

This morning Dorie was laying in bed trying to remember the names of all her cousins and other relatives at home. We were able to skype with them the other night, so I think they are beginning to seem a little more real. Everyone keeps telling me how impossible it will be for us to leave next Sunday. I know it does seem impossible, but my mom and I are holding out hope.
By the way, when you first meet Dorie, you should probably expect the response above. She is so shy at first!!

Friday, February 26, 2010

A Better Night!

Thanks for all the prayers. I think they are working! Last night the meltdown was much shorter and much less intense. We actually got to spend some good time relaxing before bed. Dorie sat with my mom and looked through photos of our family at home. Dorie is starting to remember names and has fun guessing who is who. After a while she climbed onto the bed with me and we read books for a while. Then she rolled over and put her head on the pillow. But she didn't close her eyes. I realized she was waiting for me (my mom and I were planning to work some crossword puzzles and enjoy a taste of Lynne's homemade apple crisp with ice cream after she fell asleep). So I laid down, but still Dorie didn't close her eyes. A few seconds later, she called, "Jjajja...!!" (Grandma). So my mom dutifully laid down, and Dorie's eyes closed. She was out in a matter of minutes. All night long she snuggled up to me, head on my shoulder, arms wrapped around my arm, and leg flung over my middle! (And yes, my mom and I managed to get back up and sneak our treats!)
This morning we had a fairly easy morning getting to school. Whew! As a teacher, it is so 6 days of school so far, she has been absent twice and late 3 times. And yesterday she didn't have her backpack or sweater. Today the headmaster told me that she is now nicknamed, "The daughter of the mzungu (white person)." That makes me sad for her. Hopefully today will be her last full day of school. Court is on Monday, and if things go well we will be busy all week with appointments (medical clearances, passports, and visas). Please keep praying!

Some potentially good news: I emailed the Embassy to let them know I was scheduled for court on Monday morning. She wrote back and asked me to send her my ruling and guardianship orders as soon as I had them so that she could review them and direct me on how to proceed. This is great! She didn't tell me, "Sorry, no visas!" So I am very hopeful today! Please keep praying! Another family has their visa appointment on Monday (same day that I will be in court). They had the same judge as I have, and if they can get their visa, that will be a huge advantage for us!!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Praying for a Miracle

Jenice requested two updates per day. I don't know if I can do that every day, but here's the second post for today! :) (PS: Thanks for all your help with work stuff, Jenice!)

Some of you have been asking for specific prayer requests. Here are a few:
1. Pray for Doreen. She is still having meltdowns at night. Last night was the most intense one so far (more of a temper tantrum), but it was way shorter. I think that's a good thing? I finally sat on the bed and started reading a book to her, and she calmed down. She stood next to the bed for a few minutes, then sat on the edge, then lay down next to me, then scooted closer and reached her arm out so she was touching me. She fell asleep next to me. I think it is just so hard for her to be stuck between two worlds. She goes to school right near where she used to live, but then comes into this American world in the evenings. It's got to be so confusing.

2. Pray for us to get everything done next week so that we can leave on our scheduled return flight. This would literally take a miracle. We go to court on Monday, then have to wait for a written ruling. This can take as long as the judge decides to draw it out....even weeks. I don't think she will do that, though. After we get the ruling we go to the Embassy for a visa appointment. The visa can be issued within 24 hours if all the paperwork is done correctly. So it is possible, but if you've ever been to Africa, you know that everything takes ten times longer than you originally think it will/should. It's just the way things are. BUT GOD. One of my favorite phrases from the Bible. It is unlikely that we will get everything done, BUT GOD can do it if He chooses. Please pray that He would let us come home. I may have to take days without pay if we don't get home on that flight (even though I still have about 70 sick days saved up...ugh).

Just to clarify...

Lately I have gotten a few questions about why I would be adopting a child who has a loving relationship with her birthmother. It is a loaded question, and I have been hesitant to talk much about it because I believe it is Doreen's story to tell when and if she chooses. However, in order to avoid any confusion, I will simply say that her birthmother loves her daughter enough to want to see her in a loving, stable, and safe home. Several months ago, she asked attorneys to find a family for Doreen. She has already willingly relinquished her parental rights.

There are many social, economic, and physical reasons that a parent may decide to make an adoption plan for her child. The U.S. Embassy is aware of the details of Doreen's life, and based on that information, she is legally considered to be an orphan. It is painful, but if Doreen ever chooses to share the details of her history, I believe you would understand that it this is necessary.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Ever seen the movie "Groundhog Day?" Sometimes it feels like that here. Don't get me wrong...we're having a great time, but the days are all kind of the same. We are so, so thankful for Brian and Lynne and their willingness to host us. It is making everything so much easier!

Dorie's school is from 7:30am-4pm each day. Can you imagine?? And that is pre-K. I kept her home the last few days. Monday it rained, and since I ride with Dorie on a boda boda (motorcycle) to school each day, it just wasn't going to happen. It's so fun to be out in the morning, watching all the children walking to school, though. I love it. It's about 30 minutes round trip for me. Tuesday we were all recovering from her Monday-night meltdown, so I wanted to spend the day with her again. It proved to be a good idea. She still had a bit of a hard time last night, but she did much better. I have decided to be reassuring yet firm with her. I let her cry and scream, but every few minutes I would walk over, rub her back and kiss her on the forehead. I would tell her I loved her and that I was sorry she was so sad. Then I would ignore her for a few minutes. It sounds harsh, but I think she is playing my mom and me a bit. Ater a little while she calmed down, and she did want me to sleep with her. I was glad for that.

Grace, Lynne's Ugandan housekeeper, brought her girls over for dinner last night. In anticipation of them coming, Dorie asked Grace what color skin her daughters had!

She is learning to play games with Julia and Liana...she got really into Memory!

She also loves brushing hair (mine, any doll, even My Little Pony) and dressing dolls. She is learning to play!
She also plays the local drum in our girl has rhythm! And yes, she can move that little body of hers like there's no tomorrow. Poor thing to have a white mama with NO moves at all!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

A Rough Night

Things have gone surprisingly well, but we have had a few tough moments. Last night Dorie was so homesick, crying and begging me to take her home. It broke my heart!

She settled down after a while, and cuddled up to me all night. This morning she is doing better, but I don't think we are out of the woods just yet. I was thankful to the Lord that she did cry--it shows me that she has deeply connected to her biological mother. Someday, my prayer is that she will feel that deeply for me.

We took Dorie to visit her birthmother today. When we got there she refused to get out of the car, so we waited and her mother came out to us. We had a nice visit for about 15 minutes and then left. Dorie seems very fine today. She told our friend's Ugandan housekeeper that she didn't want to get out of the car because she was afraid I was going to leave her there. Poor thing, she has so many emotions! I am just happy that she was very willing to come back with us. I think the bonding is beginning.

Our court date is scheduled for next Monday. Things are not officially resolved yet, but it is moving in the right direction. We had dinner with some other adoptive families last night. One of the couples had just received their legal guardianship ruling from the same judge as we have. My attorney looked at their paperwork and was confident that they will get their visa. They are hoping to meet with the Embassy officials tomorrow, so please pray!
She loves apples...this is all that's left when she's done!
And she also loves Liana! Today they dressed like twins!! Dorie pointed at their shirts, shorts, and shoes and said, "Pinkie--pinkie; shorts--shorts; pinkie--pinkie!"

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Some photos...

Watching her first video with Liana, all cuddled up on the couch!

Not so sure about the merry-go-round! We had dinner with several families. Dorie was a little overwhelmed with all the people, but loved playing with the girls! She's going to LOVE her cousins!!

Loving the pajamas...and her special new backpack! Dorie walks around the house with that backpack feeling so smart!

Friday, February 19, 2010


We had our first successful night together. It was amazing! After leaving Lynne and family (we're staying a block away at a guest house), we walked back. Doreen did great. She knew how to use the toilet (whew!), but toilet paper is unfamiliar to her. I have to remind her every time. She is very curious and likes to flush the toilet and watch it go down. She's not quite strong enough, so it doesn't always flush completely, but she is proud. So cute!

When it came time for the bath, she stripped down and waited by the tub for the water to warm up. She started hopping up and down...she could hardly wait! Once she got in, she was all giggles. It was obviously her first bath with running water (we had a detachable shower head that she used), but boy was she a happy girl. I got it on will all love it!

She loved her pajamas! It was a three piece set (shirt, shorts, and pants). She was so tickled with the shorts that she put them on over her pants! After her bath she strutted around the room with her new backpack, raincoat, and shoes. She was so, so happy and giggly!

We brushed teeth and then sat on the bed and read some books. She has nodded "yes" to everything, so I didn't think she was understanding a lot. However, when I asked her if she was ready for bed, she sternly shook her head "no." Wow! She really did understand! As soon as her head hit the pillow, though, she was out. She slept all night! I was in heaven, staring at my little girl, feeling her reach over and put her hand on my arm...and even though I didn't feel her kicking in my belly, I sure felt her kicking me all night long last night! I didn't get much sleep, but spent most of the night pleading with the Lord to allow me to take her home in 2 1/2 weeks. I am so in love with her and cannot bear the thought of leaving her here.

This morning we had to wake her up. She's a slow riser, but very compliant.

oops...running out of internet time...I'll post more later (pictures, too)

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Another Good Day

So Doreen is with me. I picked her up from school and we are together. So strange and wonderful! She is really shy and unsure about everything, but she is still smiling. Lynne's kids are great and are helpful in making her feel comfortable. They are a real blessing.

Here are a few photos to hold you over...

Doreen loved the popsicles for dessert! They were so cold they all put on oven mitts. So funny!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

She smiled!

I didn't have a lot of expectations for my first meeting...all I hoped for was a smile. I was not disappointed! My words will not express how wonderful today was, but I'll give it a shot.

We spent the morning with my attorneys and they informed me that there was a very big meeting today. Hopefully things are moving in the right direction and we will hear some really good news soon! Please keep praying! I cannot leave my sweet girl here! We went to Doreen's school in the afternoon. I couldn't wait to meet her. When we arrived we were ushered in to the headmaster's office. We sat on a bench against the wall and I was thanked for being Doreen's "sponsor." Lynne clarified that I was actually adopting her and asked if we could see her. When she walked in she was so shy! But she did sit close to me and rested her hand on my leg. After a few minutes she reached for my hand. Ahhhh....! When I introduced my mom as her "jjajja" (grandma), she smiled the sweetest smile!

We left after just a few minutes. It wasn't the emotional first meeting I'd imagined, but it was sweet. We went back to pick her up from school at 4:30 (yes, she goes to school from 7:30am-4:30pm!). When we got there, her birthmother was waiting to meet us. That was when I lost it. She and I hugged and I couldn't stop the tears. She sweetly whispered in my ear, "Don't cry, don't cry..." which just made me cry harder.

We left in Lynne's car and went for ice cream. Sweet Baby Girl likes chocolate! She tasted mine (coconut) and seemed to like it as well. We bought "real" food for her mother, and she kept staring at it. Finally, I offered the leftovers to her and she chowed down. She capped it all off with a soda and a smile. We had good but simple conversation with her mother. She assured me this is what she wants. It was hard, but I'm thankful to have the opportunity to get to know this selfless woman.

We walked down to their home and caught a glimpse of life in the slums. Along the way, Doreen stopped, turned, and reached for my hand. My heart soared! Their house is tiny. We only spent a few moments with them there, took some photos, and then left. We agreed that I will pick Doreen up from school tomorrow and she will stay with me from now on. Please pray for her.

So here are a few things I learned about her today:
*She has a good appetite.
*Her favorite foods are rice and matoke.

*She knows her numbers and letters in English.

*She has a deep voice. So cute!
*She is ticklish.

*She has a great giggle!

*She sticks her tongue out a little when she smiles.

*She nods "yes" to everything...basically, she doesn't understand a word I say.

*She is a cuddly girl and likes holding hands.

*She is only 5 years old...not 6!

Friday, February 12, 2010

I'm Going....

I am going to Uganda to get my girl. It seems crazy, I know. But my faith in the King of Kings is growing by the minute. He has not guaranteed I will come home with her, but I am going to fight for her. I am going to hug her and tell her I love her. I am going to tuck her into bed and cuddle up next to her. When she cries, I am going to wipe her tears. I am going to be her mommy.

I just got off the phone with one of my attorneys, and she believes I should go. So I am planning to fly out on Monday. As in 3 days from now. Just when I was told no more court dates would be issued. And to make it even better, my attorneys informed me that they were given their choice of judges! They are expecting to secure a court date for next Thursday or Friday. Interestingly, Thursday will be exactly 2 years since the Lord prompted my heart to seriously consider adoption. Definitely NOT a coincidence.

This morning my devotional from Streams in the Desert also confirmed that I am to go now:

"As soon as the soles of the feet of the priests...shall rest in the waters...

the waters...shall be cut off." Joshua 3:13

The people were not to wait in their camps until the way was opened, they were to walk by faith. They were to break camp, pack up their goods, form in line to march, and move down to the very banks before the river would be opened.
If they had come down to the edge of the river and then had stopped for the stream to divide before they stepped into it, they would have waited in vain. They must take one step into the water before the river would be cut off.
We must learn to take God at His Word, and go straight on in duty, although we see no way in which we can go forward. The reason we are so often balked by difficulties is that we expect to see them removed before we try to pass through them.
If we would move straight on in faith, the path would be opened for us. We stand still, waiting for the obstacle to be removed, when we ought to go forward as if there were no obstacles.

To top it off, one of my dearest friends today was informed of their court date to adopt the 2 year old boy they've been fostering! We are truly travelling this adoption journey together. What a blessing!

God is moving, and I don't just mean that He is going to do something miraculous for me. He might (I hope He does!), but there are eternal things He is doing, and if we tune in to Him, He invites us to be a part of it. Are you all still watching? Are you noticing Him? Are you accepting His invitation to be part of His great works?

Monday, February 8, 2010

Showers of Blessing!

Saturday my family and friends gathered to bless Little D and me!

It was such a special day! With all that is going on in Uganda, it was a breath of fresh air and a sweet time of encouragement.

There is nothing like being in a room full of women who believe God can part the Red Sea.

My sisters, mom, and a couple of friends made up the most scrumptious appetizers and desserts. Everyone was raving on the food...and on a rainy day, yummy foods to fill your belly are just the

Everything was beautiful! There is a picture of their little trees with hanging hearts (to match the design on my adoption darling is that???) that were on the hearth, food tables, and as centerpieces.

The generosity of everyone was incredibly humbling.
Little D is one loved girl, let me tell you!

Before I opened gifts I updated everyone on the situation in Uganda and asked for prayer. I reminded them all of the One we serve...the King of Kings is not bound by any earthly government. He has given me confidence that He is about to do something spectacular.
So when my attorney contacted me this morning and asked if I want her to move forward with "fixing" the court date, I told her yes. The fierce wind is blowing, but I will move forward in faith that God is parting the Red Sea. I hope you are all watching...

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Hard Lessons

If the Israelites had not been faced with the insurmountable Red Sea, God would not have parted it. If the impossible had not been facing them, they would have missed the miraculous.

So it is with things in Uganda right now. They seem insurmountable and impossible. But that is when my Great God is able to demonstrate His great power.

It doesn't make sense to me, but I trust Him. He is working. He has a plan. He has proven Himself to me so many times. I just have to be still and wait on Him.

"Moses answered the people, 'Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring for you today...the Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.'"
Exodus 14:14