February 28, 2012 Thoughts on adoption in Uganda.
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.
To read the posts I have written about our adoption you can find them easily. Go to the side where it says categories and click for the list of categories. Then click on adoption and there you will be given every post I have written about our adoption. I write them as I am moved internally, and not on a set schedule. The closer it comes, the more I will write about it! I hope these posts encourage you if you are considering adopting or if you are right along with us in the run towards bringing home a child. And if you are an adoptive parent we welcome your wisdom by the comments you can leave for us at the end of every post.
I spent the afternoon packing to go to Uganda. It occurs to me I ought to make a master list for this job. Here’s a rough sketch of some of the items it might not occur to others to bring along, yet have proven invaluable to me:
- 2 headlamps (electricity will go out, and someone will covet your useful torch)
- Soccer ball for a group of children who will think you are an angel
- A bag of individually wrapped life saver candies to give children you meet- quickly explain that Jesus is the life saver-
- Extra tote bag
- Prescription diarrhea medicine, and immodium
- Malaria pills, bug spray, itch cream
- Over the door hooks
- Ziploc bags
- Hand wipes
- Small gifts (pens are welcomed)
- Duct tape
- One new song to teach a group of children
- A bible story to teach a group of kids anywhere, any time
- Extra underwear (never ever ask a Ugandan to wash your underwear)
- Photos of you with your family to give to new friends,( they will pray for you)
- Lice comb (just in case)
- Wear clothes you’d consider leaving for others to keep
- A few pair of reading glasses to give to the elderly who still want to read their bible
- Shower scrubbies are great gifts and don’t weigh a thing in the suitcase, squish in a Ziploc to travel
- Two extra bibles- the best gift you could ever give someone there who has great faith but no sword
- Plain m&ms’s (give a pack to your driver while he waits for you)
- A journal- write everything down
- Motion sickness meds if you are prone, the roads are horrible
- Plug adaptors (british three prong)
- An American power strip
- Dress up, not down! Ugandans dress beautifully every day and you will honor them by wearing beautiful clothes. (ladies cover your thighs, seriously. Trust me.)
- Pair of scissors
- Travel pillow, and a wrap shawl for warmth
- Super light rain coat
This is my fourth trip to Uganda. As I anticipate this time with friends, eager to do ministry, and happy to teach, there’s something in me that is longing for what only Africa has to offer… a slower pace of life. A great sense of being in the moment, breathing, smiling, connecting… I am counting the hours now…
October 29, 2010 We are still waiting to hear about our court date. Any day is turning into weeks. Our court fees are paid and our paper work has been filed. We just need our case assigned to a justice and they need to then give us our court date. At that point we’ll be booking airlines and rolling those suitcases to the airport baggage claim. Meanwhile I feel peaceful. I don’t like waiting but I know God has the timing worked out for everyone concerned and it’s not about pleasing my prissy foot stomping need for immediate gratification. I remain mostly up, content and good spirited. When I feel like I’m slouching I remember, Isaiah 41:10 “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you.” Kira is now eight months old and she’s got really cute two inch braids with beads attached. Her eyes are large almond shaped and so expressive. She’s slowing down on her weight gain but remains an adorable plump baby. I need to see her smile. I haven’t seen photos like that in several months. I’m certain it will be my first objective when I have her in my grip: to make her smile.
Sept. 21, 2010 We have received our affidavit from the lawyer in Uganda. We sign it, send it to our adoption agent then she ships our whole dossier to him. When he gets it he will make our court appointment! I better get packing.
Sept. 16, 2010 We received an update of Kira’s development. Though nothing negative was said, we felt strongly that she is looking sad and a bit anxious. She’s not interested in toys. (I almost wrote boys!) And she sucks her fingers all the time. It broke my heart and gave me an urgency to get there like I haven’t felt before.
September 3, 2010 Kira is now six months old, and as round as she is tall. What a blessing for an orphan to be so healthy. She is sitting up on her own now, which is on target physical development. This is hardly expected from an orphan, so I say “WAY TO GO” to the aunties at the orphanage who are loving and caring for the group of thirty babies there. She continues to be curious and active about her surroundings.
We still have not received our court date. Waiting continues, and frankly it isn’t getting easier. It requires a heap of faith. We are hoping we’ll be in the group of those who receive their courtdates for October. It might however be November.
A group of missionaries went to the orphanage in June and we were able to find eachother over the internet. They were so generous to tell us about how well Kira is doing, how wonderful the staff is at the orphanage, and how loving an environment it is. I am so thankful for that. It makes it easier for me to wait knowing she’s well cared for there.
June 21, 2010~ While we were on vacation we received an update of Kira. She weighs eleven pounds. She’ll be four months in a few days. They report she loves her bottle and formula, is learning to smile and likes to be carried around. She’s jolly and CHUBBY!!! Which if my opinion counts, I think babies ought to have a good amount of fat, so this is all good news. We still don’t know yet when our court date will be. I ask for prayers that the legal procedures will go smoothly for us so we can have her soon. We are so ready.
May 29, 2010~ I am throwing a baby shower for the Aunties at the orphanage in Uganda where Kira lives. Email me at: email@example.com to send me a photo an message to these women who care for orphans so I can compile a digital book with all our thoughts and prayers to them. I am also interested in collecting donations and gifts for the orphans there. We can arrange this via email communication.
May 15, 2010~ This is where we are currently in the process of adoption:
- Aftr a month of waiting for referral news, on May 11, we received a referral of our little girl.
- She is two and a half months old! What a nice surprise to be given a little baby. We were prepared to receive a child from birth to two years old. We are overjoyed. Looking at her picture evokes enormous emotion and urgency to hold her.
- We have named her Kirabo. It means ‘gift’ in Lugandan language. We will call her “Kira”. She is our gift from God and from Uganda and we are humbled to receive her with great gratitude.
- Uganda has approved the USA’s requirements to adopt. However for one month since the agreement there have been no visas written. We contacted our congressmen and senators on May 14 to ask them to help us get the US Embassy in Uganda to cooperate. These are now American tax dollars failing us.
- We have been informed that MAYBE around September we could make plans to go to Uganda to receive Kira.
- When we get there they will bring her to us immediately! We will have her with us the whole time we make our two court visits.
- Why the wait? Well, our lawyer in Uganda needs to assess our case and prepare it for our first court date. There is quite a backlog there in Uganda since several months passed without any visas being issued.
- Kira is in good health and in good hands at her orphanage there. We have peace knowing she is experiencing love and good care.
- To God give all the credit and glory for this miracle in our lives. Craig and I refuse to accept any praise for our participation in this story. We are just so thankful that God is using us as a part of her life story. That is how simple it is. We are relieved to be obedient to the way God has moved in our lives and to see the blessing of Kira connecting to the blessings of our family. Our sovereign and mighty God deserves great praise.
We are working wth Lifeline Adoptions: 2908 Pump House Rd. Birmingham Alabama 35243 phone: 205-967-0811 www.lifelineadoption.org
Our homestudy in Texas was completed by: Generations Adoptions 400 Schroeder Waco, TX 7610 866-590-hope www.generationsadoptions.org
Books and Websites Recommended about Adoption
- The post-adoption blues: overcoming the unforeseen challenges of adoption by Karen Foli
- Parenting your Internationally Adopted Child, by Patty Cogen