Thursday, January 9, 2014

Africa, Part 2

I suppose this post should have come first, but it's so hard to find words to describe meeting your children and beginning the face-to-face bonding. How do I explain that they are MINE no matter what color their skin and no matter that I do not know every moment of their previous lives. I don't know where their scars have come from, but they are part of me, nonetheless. When we found our way past customs and out of the Entebbe Airport, there they were, skinny, wearing ill-fitting clothes and uncertain. I scooped up the little one and he immediately snuggled close. The hubby picked up the older one tenderly and we walked quickly out of the crowds towards the van that would take us to our guest house. In the van the bio kids and the older one climbed in the middle row, while the hubby, the littlest and I took the way back. I kept looking at the older one longing to hold him too. We sang "Jesus Loves Me" while the driver loaded our bags and on the way I shared a tic tac with them. 
When we arrived at the guest house, we spent a lot of time just snuggling and kissing and holding and then (blessedly) sleeping.
That first night we established a bedtime routine of all kids climbing under their mosquito nets while I sat holding the littlest and singing for about 20 minutes. The hubby sang some too and sat by the older one to train him to stay in bed during this time. It was a sweet time of sharing hymns, praise songs and lullabies with our children, and everyone in the guest house could hear and came to expect this nighttime ritual.
Everyone slept very well that first night--the bios had been something like 40 hours with only a couple of hours of sleep. I'm sure the two new boys were exhausted too.
Over the next few days we spent our time discovering and figuring out our new sons. We discovered that the littlest would scream if the hubby took him, but that only lasted for four or five days. We also discovered that the littlest had a set of lungs! On about the fourth screaming fit in a row, we discovered that a small "pop" on the let worked wonders. At one point, the littlest stuck his bottom lip, crossed his arms and walked out of the room muttering loudly. One of the Ugandans there filled us in. He was saying, "If you won't give me...(I can't remember), then I won't love you!" The words are harsh, but it made my heart sing to hear them because it was just exactly what a normal 2 year old would be saying at his grumpiest moment! We're happy to say that those fits and mutterings are almost non existent now! We discovered that they both had exactly our family's type of humor, but in different ways. If we gave the oldest an instruction, he would squint his eyes, smile mischievously, point his finger back at us and in his heavy Lugandan accent, say, "You do (whatever it was we had told him to do.)" The first time I really felt like the youngest and I were conversing was a time in one of those first days when I took him potty and he had to do #2. He made a noise doing it and cracked himself up. Then he made the noise with his lips and kept laughing. So of course I made the noise back to him and he thought that was even funnier. We made noises back and forth to each other all through washing hands and returning to the rest of the fam. He thought it was great.
At the same time as we were discovering and figuring out our new family, we were getting used to some of the Ugandan culture. 
The first Monday we were there, we ventured in to Kampala for our court date. We got to eat at a cafe, meet the boys' birthmom and then go to court. We didn't have to wait long and the judge mostly grilled their sweet, courageous and wonderful birthmom. He asked me some hard questions too: Why weren't we just giving to the poor in Uganda? Why didn't we just have more biological children? Did we understand the sacrifice and service the birthmom was giving to us? I was broken up for the birthmom's pain and nervous in front of this intimidating judge, but prayers sustained and the Holy Spirit gave comfort and we made it through. The judge did not ask the hubby any questions. 
(small note: for those of you who are a little taken aback by the fact that the boys have a living relative, please know that they fall under the standard definition of orphans because they only have one living parent who is not able to take care of them. It was the mother's greatest wish to give her children the opportunity of going to America. It was also the wish of the father as he battled his illness before he died.)

Large emotions and strange sights became our daily fair as we did even the most normal tasks: like wait in the car while the hubby went in a store for the internet router,

and dress shop
(Doesn't everyone look through thousands of fabrics, choose one, barter for the price, hike across town, be measured and have their dresses hand-sewn?)
While shopping, we made it through this maze of taxis. And yes, they were all moving, inch at a time as we wove through them!

Sights like the road to the orphanage were quite common--a road that the bus was unable to make it up after a bit of rain. (We hiked in to the orphanage--more on that in another post.)

Monument dowtown.

Large building in town--I think this was the King's Parliament Building.

Stores along the road

It is hard to show a few pictures and give a few words and say, "There was our first week or two." There's really no describing all that was going on in those weeks. But I think it is very safe to say that God was moving mountains. We are so blessed to have been united with our children. (And to now be home again!)



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