I slept well under my mosquito net. Strangely, it’s been hours that I’ve been awake and eager to begin our adventure and yet, the others are still in their dreamland cuddled in the beds. We are all sharing one room in a very nice house. We are staying at Bridge Africa where Patrick runs a business housing families for adoption and mission groups. If you would like to see more about this ministry, or perhaps do some future planning to stay here please visit his website, www.bridgeafricainternational.org .
There was a hot pot of Ugandan coffee ready for me when I descended the stairs in my pajamas. Julie was in the kitchen arranging breakfast and washing up. Later today we will go to the market and fill the refrigerator and cupboards with food. Fiona was on the sofa reviewing a paper she must submit tomorrow to finish her university studies in communications. She works here full time for Patrick. She is the oldest of five children in her family and the first one to go to University. She helps her mother support her siblings so they too can have hopes of a better future. She is just another example of how dedicated the people are here to getting a good education and making a better future for Uganda. I am very happy to make her my new friend here. She often goes up the road to play with the babies in the home and her big heart loves each of them. She also brings her friends and sister along to play with the babies. She has told me how loved these children are in this home, and so happy. She was surprised to see Kira’s picture on the screen of my computer, as she loves our daughter and confessed she will cry when she must say good-bye to her. These babies have been held and cuddled and kissed as much as any child who has had both a mommy and daddy. What more could I have hoped for our little baby before she was given a family? God has surrounded her with love as he promised in the bible to take care of the orphan. We serve a faithful God.
It looks like I will become accustomed to black coffee. It’s such a delicious rich brew I don’t mind at all. They will serve us an egg, a baby banana and some toast for breakfast each morning. Then we are on our own to find meals. There are restaurants within walking distance from this house. There is a high wall around the property and a secure gate. There are men building a border for a garden to surround the wall now hammering away at the rock. Their foreign tongue and laughter have helped me to gradually realize I’m in Africa. I also can hear the squeals and laughter of the children from the school across the street. It is like music to me to hear the children playing.
Coming back to Uganda is so familiar and comforting. There is something calm and hopeful about the people here. We are always greeted with excellent manners, broad smiles and friendly service. I am in some ways more comfortable here than at home and I hope as I spend the next six weeks here I will be able to put words to these feelings.
I cannot for the life of me understand why they are all still sleeping! Our baby is up the road just steps away. Have you any idea how difficult it is for me to resist a sprint to the baby home and flinging myself towards Kira, scooping her up and cooing to her, telling her, I am your mama! We are going to be together until death separates us. We have loved you from the day you were born, and we have hundreds of people waiting to love you at home. All these months I have not once allowed myself to think about what it will be like to meet her. I practiced a special self discipline so I could experience it fresh without preconceived expectations. And now the moment is near, I am beginning to feel this great surge of immense emotion. It’s swirly with love, hope, and gratitude and it’s flooding me so strongly now. Dare I say this is more intense than giving birth myself? I can’t understand why. Perhaps because I’m not in a sterile hospital but a warm home. Also because the anticipation has gained hurricane force all these months of waiting to know her. If I had to choose one feeling that is overriding the others, it is gratitude. I could fall face down on the tile this minute and thank God for this blessing that is about to be placed into our arms. The next few hours are going to divide who I am into the woman before Kira joined our family and the woman who is Kira’s mama. I knew as I took the last steps out of my home in America that I would return changed. I even whispered, “good bye life as I know it”. Meeting this baby is going to change all of us forever. There isn’t an English word for the intensity of this kind of gratitude I feel.
I’ve known this feeling once before. I recognize it. I was getting married to Craig, standing at the altar saying my vows and I was overcome with a gratitude like this. In fact it was this exact gratitude that opened my eyes to realize something bigger than me had arranged the blessing. It was the first time in my life that I realized there was really a God and He had given me a gift I did not deserve, a life with Craig. The intensity of this sort of gratitude draws me to action, it caused me to seek out who this God was and find a way to serve him. It was the beginning of my Christian journey. I have a feeling this gratitude I am feeling now for the great gift of our new baby from God will spur a new fever of service in my life. I hope God will use my story and my passion to inspire more families to invite the blessing of an orphaned child into their hearts and home. This experience will drive me to be a voice for the chidlren who need families in this world. I might be a little person but I have seen how God can do a mighty work through me, and I am surrendered to anything he calls me to do for these little ones who need families. But, for now, right this moment, I am going to sit and say prayers for this day. A day of great gift giving from God. Our gift, Kirabo.