Two years ago when we were beginning our adoption in Uganda the whole idea of adoption was new. Originally a family had to live with the child for three years in Uganda before being eligible to adopt a child, but the courts side stepped that law by giving “custody” of the child, with the intent to adopt in the home country. That’s what we were given, and we promptly returned here to the states and finalized the adoption legally in our own court system. There are requirements though, as we are expected to send a photo and report to the judges in Uganda once a year about Kira’s development.
When we began our adoption, we chose to use an agency because we needed the help navigating the process, and Lifeline has an excellent reputation in the courts as well as at the US Embassy in Uganda. Mostly, we couldn’t imagine choosing a child out of a sea of faces needing help. We preferred to have God choose for us through the agency, and we feel that was accomplished. Our Kira was found abandoned on the day she was born, no sign of a parent, nothing but a fresh umbilical cord. Those circumstances were good enough to let her go to us a year and a half ago, but I’m hearing that it’s not the case now, both parents need to be present at court.
Going with an agency now means the wait for a referral will take longer, much longer, but in the end, the family is less likely to arrive in Uganda for the court date, and get denied. That’s a great heart ache that I have witnessed myself to several families. Can you imagine arriving, beginning to care and love for the child, and then get denied? Some families decide to stay with the children for many many months until it gets cleared up. That’s extreme hardship. Now the courts are requiring the presence of both biological parents, and even DNA tests are being done.
One of the main obstacles is the motives of the people who find and present a child for adoption. They cannot always be trusted to tell the truth, and motives may not always be pure. They are definitely looking for “what’s in it for me?”. That’s horrifically close to child trafficking. When the child’s case comes to the court, the judges reject the stories around how the child was found and made eligible. The adopting family discovers all of lies at the last minute, when they arrive in Uganda. For me, that would be intolerable.
So, if I were to do adoption all over again from the beginning, which we are not because we have reached the age limit, I would go with two options: one the agency, but understanding the process could take a couple or more years to finish. And the only other option would be independent, but only for a child who has a documented death certificate for each parent. That’s a condition that is hard to find and may take just as long as an agency.
That’s just me. I know many families have boundaries that are much broader and that is wonderful. I just know my heart, and I couldn’t get all the way to the final stages and be denied. It would be like a funeral for me.
Many people ask me what about the work Kirabo Seeds does with the orphanage in Uganda now, and in the future? The children at James’ church who are orphans, all have relatives back in the villages who in no way wish to lose forever contact with the child. They simply allowed them to go with James to have opportunity in the city that they wouldn’t get in the village. So no, they are not eligible for adoption. And the children who we will build a new children’s home on the land we are buying, well, there is only one condition where we would consider letting them go to adoption: if the child has a documented death certificate for each parent in our file.
Our mission verse for Kirabo Seeds is: Psalm 68:5-6 “A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling, God sets the lonely in families.”
The direction I believe we are called to follow for Kirabo Seeds, is to help raise Ugandans. We are going to strive to create a family environment for the children to grow up in and give them opportunity to realize their God given potential to become excellent God fearing Ugandan citizens.
We first were called to Uganda to serve, before we were called to adoption, and now that we are discovering all the tricks behind the scenes of adoption in Uganda by some people, we can’t condone it. We trust God will help us establish a good structure of Christian family for these children who will come to our home. There will be a father figure, a church presence, order, responsibility, morals, and great love. The more time I spend in Uganda, the more I realize the American practice of being a family is not the only way to do it. We are diving into the scriptures, and we’re going to see exactly what God says about being a family, and go in that direction for the Kirabo Seeds children’s home. We are students as we develop our plans, and learning as we go, but our manual is the bible. We will seek wisdom from God as we make decisions. And we welcome all the prayers and support that we can get as we strive towards helping children reach their God given potential.