May 27, 2014

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Home Sweet Home

Everyone says there’s a honeymoon period following adoption, and I’m sure they’re right. I’m trying to just enjoy each day and not worry about when this time of happiness might be put on pause while our daughter processes through the negative aspects of her new life.

But y’all — it’s going SO well! Violet really fits into our family.

Not that I doubted she would. I mean, who would pursue an adoption thinking, “Wow, this particular kid might make our lives just plain miserable!” Of course we hoped everything would go well, and we had every reason to believe it would based on the time we spent with her in Uganda. And so far, it truly has been wonderful.

She’s already experienced many firsts and made some precious comments. She grinned ear-to-ear when she saw her bed and said, “Thank you, Mom. It is a pretty room!”

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She’s marveled at the miles of smoothly paved and painted roads everywhere, and declared the 3-lane Interstate Highway to be “too big!” However, she is still eager to drive on it and has more than once asked if she could drive “Mom’s car.” She giggles when we tell her that she can’t until she’s 15.

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She giggles a LOT. And it’s joyously contagious.

She told us that she’d heard there was no soil in America–that everything was either grass or pavement. So we had to show her soil today.

She’s also enjoyed riding bikes and the Green Machine every day with her brothers.

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Jonah, our 4-year-old, has been stuck to her like glue, following her everywhere, asking her everything, and randomly saying with his southern accent, “I love you, Vyyyy-LIT!” I keep waiting for her patience with him to run out, and I’m sure it will one day, but she’s so good with little kids. Both in Uganda and at church Sunday morning, we’ve seen little kids just flock to her.

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She dabbled a bit in my makeup while I was putting it on yesterday and found out that mineral powder can be quite difficult to wash off. She just laughed and laughed when she saw her reflection in the mirror, and giggled even harder when Donnie asked her if she was trying to look like a muzungu!

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For Sunday lunch, she asked to make rice for us, and it was so good! I’ve never been able to make perfectly-textured rice like she did. And our smart little chef didn’t measure a thing!

I know the experts say to cocoon when you first get home, but it feels almost impossible to do so with Violet. She actually reminds me a lot of my late grandfather. He would try anything, go anywhere, just jump into whatever activity was going on and enjoy himself. That’s how she is — she has not hesitated at anything. She is a bit quiet when you first meet her, but as she grows comfortable around you, all the loveliness of her personality freely flows and she’s just a joy to be around.

The boys seem to be adjusting well, too. So this mama is feeling truly blessed! Thanks to all of you who have been praying for a good weekend for us — please continue to remember us during the next weeks and months of transition.

 

 

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May 25, 2014

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Operation Homecoming

On Friday, a bunch of us gathered at the airport to welcome our daughter home.

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We had balloons and signs and lots of smiling faces!

(We also had one really bloody nose, which added quite a lot of excitement to the wait.)

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About 40 minutes after arrival, Donnie sent a text to say they were picking up their luggage

and would be out any minute!

My oldest son caught the first glimpse of them…

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And Jonah and I rushed over to greet them….

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And after many embraces, not the least of which was this little boy,

totally elated to see his Daddy again….

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We became a family of SIX….

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And life will never be the same again.

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May 22, 2014

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On Their Way!

At the airport in Entebbe…

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And on the plane, about to take off!

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My daughter’s coming home. Thank you, Lord!

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May 22, 2014

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Last Day in Uganda

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With much joy, relief and gratitude I announce that our daughter received her visa yesterday. She and my husband will begin their long journey home tonight.

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It feels crazy that we’ve finally reached this point. It’s been three years since we first found out about her; two and a half years since we decided to seek her adoption. There were many, many moments that we wondered if we’d ever see this day. Uncertainty became a way of life, especially over the past year. Now that it’s said and done, now that they’re hours from leaving for home, it feels odd to not carry the weight of this process anymore. It feels a lot like that feeling immediately after giving birth, when you feel so light, and hollow and pain-free.

But I feel almost bewildered, like I don’t know how to live now without this big “IF” hanging over my head, coloring every decision. It was huge and heavy but we got used to it always being there. Can I even articulate how glad I am that it’s gone?

Violet has been super-excited, but I hear that today she woke up a bit subdued, and understandably so. What a huge, huge thing this is for a child! I don’t think I’d have been as brave when I was her age. Heck, I don’t know that I’d be that brave now, to move away from everything I’d always known for a life so far away, so very different from what I’m accustomed to. Donnie and I have tried to prepare her for the reality of life in America, in all the ways we know how. I guess we will find out over the next days, weeks and months if we did a good job of that, or not.

Prayers for healthy, safe travel are appreciated. And please pray for her heart — for her to be comforted and at peace as she begins this new chapter in life. She got excited the first time she saw an escalator at the mall with us — I can’t even imagine how she’s going to react to the airplanes, or navigating through two enormous airports. (It’s good that she’s starting out at little Entebbe!)

You might want to say a prayer for my hubby, too — this will be quite the journey for him as well (over 25 hours from start to finish, and he’s never traveled that long with a child before)!

Wow….I guess my next post will be homecoming photos.

I still don’t believe I’m getting to type that!

Thanks to all who’ve stood with us throughout this incredible, long journey.

 

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May 18, 2014

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Love that Endures

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Our girl needs to come home.

I’ve really, really had enough of the waiting. Honestly, I’d had enough of the waiting this time last year. I was fed up in January after court, when it took five weeks to get the ruling that was promised in one. It was heartbreaking to go home in April without her, when she begged Daddy to make me stay.

I’d say I’m at the end of my rope now that my husband is back in Uganda (our third trip over) and encountering more obstacles obtaining her visa. But these hands are empty — I let go of the rope a long time ago.

Without delving into boring detail, the embassy has basically changed some of the rules on us midstream, asking for documents that aren’t listed on their checklist. They’re saying one document wasn’t acceptable because it wasn’t signed, when it clearly was (just in a different spot on the page). They wanted something rewritten, another file totally redone. And they didn’t bother telling me any of this when I was denied her visa interview in April, or when my husband first checked in with them upon arrival this month. They only make adoption visa appointments during certain hours, two days a week, so it’s not like rechecks can be done quickly. Donnie has been scrambling to obtain what they’re asking for, and covets your prayers for tomorrow, when he will go back to the embassy for yet another document check appointment.

I’m just so totally over the bureaucracy, the power trips by attorneys and government officials, the spending money we didn’t have only to find new expenditures popping up every single day. (This is a child’s HEART we’re dealing with here, and her disappointment from all the delays is the worst part of it all.)

I want to laugh when I look at that fundraising thermometer on the home page, because this process will have cost more than double that amount by the time it’s said and done. I’m laughing not because it’s funny, but at my own naivety on display. I really thought we’d make one trip to Uganda and bring her home.

Silly me.

We’ve been able to make it this far due to saving, fundraising and the deep generosity of friends. I hate to ask anyone to help us again, and it’s been a long time since I’ve asked for help. But now that we’ve encountered a new set of expenses and more time in Uganda (that’s resulting in my husband’s paid leave running out), we really could use some assistance on this last leg of our journey. If you are at all able to help, we welcome gifts of any size through WePay and PayPal, and I’m working on a Facebook album showcasing things we still have left for sale after last year’s fundraising. (If you’re not my friend on Facebook but would like a link to the album, please let me know).

I’m sorry to sound like Debbie Downer again. I injured my knee over a month ago in Uganda and it’s still not healing properly. I’m supposed to rest it — a LOT — far more than what’s easily manageable with three kids and no husband at home. Being in pain makes me cranky. Waiting on our daughter and missing my husband makes me grumpy. Everything combined makes Eeyore look like a bubbly optimist compared to me. Maybe say a prayer for my boys because I’m just a little ray of toxic sunshine these days and they’re the ones having to put up with me!

So many of you have truly shared in our frustration and supported us with your prayers. A few have said that they’d have given up by now. I get why they say that, but….

You don’t quit when times get tough. Even when they stay tough far longer than you ever imagined they could. Other adoptive families with greater obstacles than ours have taught me that.

Love pursues. Love persists. Love keeps going even when nothing tangible remains to fuel it.

An exhausted runner doesn’t quit a marathon at the 25.5 mile mark. She didn’t push herself so hard, for so long, to just sit down when the finish line is finally in sight.

And in the same way, you just don’t give up on love.

I think that a parent’s love, if it is anything of value, must always be a love that endures. If God never gave up on me, how can I give up on this child?

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The Word says it best in chapter 13 of the book of 1 Corinthians…and I love the elaboration in this particular translation:

“Even if I dole out all that I have [to the poor in providing] food, and if I surrender my body to be burned or in order that I may glory, but have not love (God’s love in me), I gain nothing.

Love endures long and is patient and kind; love never is envious nor boils over with jealousy, is not boastful or vainglorious [self-important], does not display itself haughtily.

It is not conceited (arrogant and inflated with pride); it is not rude (unmannerly) and does not act unbecomingly. Love (God’s love in us) does not insist on its own rights or its own way, for it is not self-seeking; it is not touchy or fretful or resentful; it takes no account of the evil done to it [it pays no attention to a suffered wrong].

It does not rejoice at injustice and unrighteousness, but rejoices when right and truth prevail.

Love bears up under anything and everything that comes, is ever ready to believe the best of every person, its hopes are fadeless under all circumstances, and it endures everything [without weakening].

 Love never fails [never fades out or becomes obsolete or comes to an end].”

-1 Corinthians 13:3-8 (AMP)

~Amen!~

 

 

 

 

 

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Apr 30, 2014

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New News

I haven’t had a lot to say since we got home from Uganda. I’ve been busy nursing the knee injury I sustained while there, and then had a big weekend celebrating my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary. All that coupled with adjusting back to life here has kept me busy. AND, there hasn’t really been anything happening on the ground in Uganda with regard to getting our correct long-form death certificate.

But today, we received good news. The form has been typed and just needs a signature, so it should be ready by Friday. That means we can make plans to go back soon!

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At some point around Mother’s Day, the hubby should be getting on a plane and prayerfully, within a week, clearing the embassy and bringing our little ray of Ugandan sunshine home!

I’ve been working to edit pics from our recent three weeks there, but it’s taking a while. Here’s one of my favorites…

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A big highlight of the trip was getting to see pictures of our sweetie as a baby. Here she is at a perfectly adorable six months old!

Hopefully I’ll be posting soon that Donnie is on his way!

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Apr 16, 2014

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Another Separation

Tomorrow, I fly home without our girl.

Things did not go well at the embassy on Monday. It’s really too long and boring to type out, so I’ll summarize by saying that it was due to paperwork errors that are largely the fault of our completely inept attorney. Or, former attorney, that is. We have hired a new one that is helping us get things sorted out. God willing, it will all be finished in a couple of weeks and Donnie will fly back to attend the last embassy appointments, get her visa and fly her home.

Violet and Me

We’ve had a good time together this week. She’s not doing very well with the news that she has to go back to the pastor’s house. It’s not that she has anything against him — he and his wife, “Auntie”, are very loving toward her and I can tell that they all genuinely enjoy being around one another.

But returning there wasn’t part of the plan. It’s not her permanent home. She was SO looking forward to getting on that plane with me this week. She was texting Donnie tonight and begging him to make me stay here with her until the visa comes. It’s just totally heartbreaking to hear this, and to see her cry. She is such a strong girl — for her to cry openly truly shows how upset she is about this.

I wish I could stay, but for reasons I’m not at liberty to discuss here yet, I have to get home. I’d allotted three weeks for this trip, and everyone seemed to believe we could wrap it up in two. It’s frustrating that we couldn’t do it. It’s irritating that this child who has already hurt so much has to hurt some more, all because of stupid red tape and ignorant attorneys.

I’m just so weary of my heart being torn between two sides of the globe. But here we go again — another “goodbye for now.” Another time of waiting. We’re all just so sick and tired of waiting.

As I’ve heard before, redemption is costly. It cost Jesus his life. As we approach Easter weekend, I’m reflecting a lot on the idea of redemption. And what I’m giving up for her sake, the pain we’re all going through, of course it will all be worth it in the end.

Just please keep our sweet girl in your prayers…

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