Wednesday, December 16, 2009

ANNOUNCING...

I have hinted that something has been in the works, and boy has it!!!

If you have ever been to Africa, you know that it gets into your system. You come back a changed person( I know I have said this a thousand times). You just feel like you have to do more. You feel restless until you do more. So the announcement is. . .

Awaka Children's Foundation has come to life!!!!! I have joined forces with 3 other adoptive moms to start a non-profit organization(NGO). Our goal is to work with orphanages in remote areas of Uganda. We want to provide these orphans with the same level, if not better, of care that our children received at Sanyu. We have made contact with an orphanage in the Kabarole area of Uganda, that is currently trying to take care of 200+ children. Notice I said trying.

We are in the beginning stages of our dream. We know we don't have all of the answers, but we are eager learners. Please visit our blog, http://awakachildrensfoundation-uganda.blogspot.com/, and join our facebook page to keep up with our progress.

Please let us know if you would like to sponsor a child.

Monday, November 23, 2009

More Like Jesus

Our pastor preached on the life every Christian should be living. He said we can not rest in our salvation. We are to constantly grow. Grow? Yes grow more like Christ everyday. So I did a little research into what kind of life Jesus lived. What did he do? So here is the list that I came up with. Feel free to leave me comments to add to the list.
-He knew scripture=Read your Bible and memorize verses.
-He prayed=Spend time with God everyday.
-He fasted=May I suggest the Isaiah 58 fast in addition to the normal food fast?
-He taught=If your called to teach a class, teach it. If not, live your life so that it will teach others by example.
-He preached the WORD=Notice I said the WORD. The Word of God, not of Billy Graham, Max Lacado, or Joel Osteen.
-He healed the sick=Not everyone is called to be a doctor, but there are a lot of sicknesses that are not physical. Sometimes it only takes a listening ear to help heal a heart.
-He would go the second mile=Just enough is not always enough.
-He loved his enemies=Dadgum that one is hard!
-He did good to please God=Just do it!
-He did not worry=Yes it is a sin.
-He did not judge=That is another hard one. If you focus on your walk enough, you won't be looking to see others stumble.
-He made disciples=More mature Christians help the baby Christians.
-He forgives=Say it, Believe it, Do it.
-He fed the hungry-There are plenty of ways to do this. You don't have to use fishes and loaves of bread, but the out come can be the same.
-He calls us to get out of the boat=Sometimes others need to know that they have people that will call them out in faith and be there for them when there faith might not be as strong as it needs to be.
-He took care of women and children=Are there widows in your community that need help? What about sponsoring an orphan or even adopting?
-He called us to drop everything and follow Him=Drop everything and follow Him. Listen for that still small voice and follow it. You will never regret it.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

NEED

We NEED prayer!!!
As anyone who has gone to Uganda knows, you come back a changed person. I think this probably goes for any impoverished country. You can no longer sit at your nice, comfortable home and not think about the NEED.
I have a chance to work with some great people to help meet some of the NEED.
Things are beginning to fall into place.
We of course NEED to know we are doing God's will and not our own.
We of course NEED prayer warriors to help us fight this battle.
We of course NEED money and resources and we do not know where we will get them.
Thankfully, we have faith and desire to listen and wait on God's answers and timing.
Thankfully, we learned that through our adoptions.
Thankfully, we know that there are people out there in blog world who will lift us up in prayer.

I will post more information when we get the answers we NEED and we can start satisfying the NEED.

Thanks and God Bless!!!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

New Tradition

Everyone has been asking me if I am planning a BIG Christmas this year. My answer is no. I had made myself the promise that when I had children, I would not go crazy at Christmas. I am only going to buy each child 3 presents. It was good enough for Jesus(gold, frankincense and myrrh) so it is good enough for them.
I am also promoting the Advent Conspiracy. This is a movement to encourage people not spend so much at Christmas and spend time in worship and sharing what Christmas is all about. Make gifts instead of buying them. If you do buy, buy gifts from charities and foundations that support charities. Etsy.com is a good place to find these gifts. I am going to try to post a list of some good sites for purchasing gifts later. You can also go to rethinkingchistmas.com, it is a site linked with the Advent Conspiracy website. It is a listing of alternative gifts.
Consider joining the conspiracy. Get your whole family or church involved and pledge your money to a cause and see what big things you can do. Who needs to play 'Dirty Santa' again?
I am also going to try to add another part to the conspiracy. I saw this on another mom's blog last year. Each day in December, like an Advent Calendar, my family is going to do something for someone else. Like bake cookies for a neighbor, rake leaves for an elderly person, or adopt a soldier for Christmas. If you have any ideas of things that you do please leave me a comment.



Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Eventful Week

Tuesday started with a trip to the doctor for immunizations.




Thursday we went to Christmas Village, our areas annual Christmas craft fair. The goal for the day was pictures with Santa. As you can see below, Andrew was OK with Santa, Willa Rae was not!








Sunday was the dedication of Andrew and Willa Rae at church as part of our Orphan Sunday celebration.



As part of Orphan Sunday, I announced plans to go back to Uganda on a missions trip in June/July 2010 if anyone is interested in joining us.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Your Invited x 2

This Sunday you are invited to celebrate two events. The first is Orphan Sunday. This is a day to raise awareness of the needs of orphans around the world. They need families, families that will teach them and show them the love of Jesus. They need food, shelter, clothing, medical care, education. But most of all they need to know that someone cares and loves them. This is what we are called to do. There are an estimated 147 million orphans in the WORLD. There are an estimated 160 million adult Christians in the US. You do the math. WE CAN DO THIS!!!!

Orphan Sunday from Christian Alliance for Orphans on Vimeo.



The second event you are invited to is my children's dedication in church. We do not have christenings or baptisms of babies, in our church. We have a dedication instead. It is more of a promise made by the parents and other family members to say that the child will be raised in a Christian loving home and that they will grow up in church. It is a promise to do our jobs as parents. Raise our children to know our love and the love of Jesus.

So if you want to be a part of these celebrations be at Glory Fellowship Baptist Church in Jasper, AL on Sunday, November 8th at 10am. Can't wait to see you there!!!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

First trip to the barbershop







Everything started out OK.

We got a little nervous.

A few minutes later he is loosing his patience.

Final Product=His sister finally has more hair than he does.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

God gave you a story--TELL IT


I have heard other families of transracial adoptions complain about the staring and the questions. I don't really get it. Did you not think that people were going to look at your beautiful new family and see you as different? It's kind of like Brittney Spears saying I don't want the attention leave me alone while I shave my head.
I think that most of us who have travelled this road feel that God called us to adopt our children. It is not something we ran out and did willy nilly, and we did a lot of praying and research about it. We have beautiful stories of how God brought our family together. Are there parts of the story that the world doesn't need to know? Yes. But we can still use our situation to tell people about adoption and the 147 million orphans out there that need homes. We can also use our stories to tell people how God adopted us into his family and how we are brothers and sisters with Jesus.
I do have rules for answering question however. I only answer the question asked. People always ask if my children are twins and the answer is no, there is 6 months difference in their age. Which always brings puzzled looks. I don't answer questions that get too personal. I had a friend tell me once, 'If someone asks you a question you don't want to answer, ask them 'Why do you ask?' That puts the ball back on their side of the court and they have to come up with a reason for being so nosy. I will also ask them if they are interested in adoption. If they are interested in the process I give them my blog address. I did this in Costco last week.
I understand that some of you have other children that might be uncomfortable with all of the attention the family is getting, but isn't it our responsibility as parents to explain to the kids why people see us as different. Different isn't always good, but it isn't always bad either. Everyone has to deal with being different at some point in life. Prepare everyone in the family for questions and comments.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Forever Changed--Part 2

Americans are not always right. That is another thing that I learned while in Uganda. I had the privilege to meet and make friends with people from all over the world while I was in Uganda. I realized that the American way is not always the right way. It is usually different from anywhere else. But as we all know, different is not always better.

I also learned that as 'GREEN' as we like to think we are. We are so wasteful of resources and money. We are a disposable society. If it breaks we don't fix it. We throw it away and buy a bigger and better one. That is not the case in Uganda. I saw men fix things that I didn't even think had all of the pieces. But somehow they got it together and it worked.

I also saw that what Americans would consider a small amount of money could change many lives in Uganda. I saw children walking miles to a well that probably cost around $500 to put in. This is the only clean drinking water that they have. I know that we can spend that in a 30 minute shopping trip on jeans and a pair of boots. Something we would waste money on so casually and we could change the lives of hundreds of people. The money it would take to fill up an SUV on gas would pay the salary of a teacher for a month. The money we spend eating out at a nice restaurant would feed a family for a month.

I must say that I am guilty of unwise spending myself. But I have definitely become more aware of it. I am challenging myself and anyone else that wants to join me.

I am not going to waste money on clothes, shoes, or fast food. I am going to save that money to donate to an adoption fund or other orphan related charity. National Orphan/Adoption Day is November 8th. Let's all make a donation to the care of orphans around the world. By the way God said to do it too.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Can't say it better

Today's blog post is plagiarized. It comes from Katie Davis, an amazing young woman that I had the honor to get to meet in Uganda. I had been reading her blog for over a year before going so it was like meeting a long lost friend. Katie lives in Uganda know with her 14 girls, she is only 20, and she is living a life that honors God. Please read what she wrote below and if you would like to read more about Katie and her family the link to her blog is on the right 'The Journey'

"My dear children, I am with you. I watch closely as you struggle for holiness. Often, you are uncertain of your spiritual condition. You strive to serve but feel conflicted by the times in which you are serving. There are some things that all humanity deals with regardless of where in history they are placed. First, there will always be a difference between the world’s path and heaven’s path. These two paths, while they can run along side each other for increments, will always separate. Ultimately, each man will have to choose. Every man, to a greater or lesser degree, will have to contend with choosing first good over evil and then he will have to make another choice and that is the choice of choosing My plan for his life over his own plan for his life. After that, the choices become even more studied in that the man must choose My plan in each day, in each task and even in each moment. You may say, dear apostle, that this is a difficult call for a man, to study his actions in each day. You may say, this is asking a lot. You are right. I, Jesus, am asking a lot of you. I ask for your full commitment and I do so without apology. Dearest apostles, if you give me your full commitment, there is no limit to what I can do. Look at your life. You have said yes to me on many days. Examine what I have done with your yes answers. Consider what I am building with the commitments of so many children of God who are willing to be directed by the Saviour, their King. I am building a structure of love. I am building a structure through which many are returning. Truly, your hearts, open and filled with My love, call out to others. You provide for Me a welcome to those who feel separated. If they can be taken into your heart for even a brief moment and experience Me, with My love, then they will have the courage to both approach Me directly and to accept Me directly. Please, do not count the sacrifices when you consider your service. Do not count the loss of worldly respect. Count only the souls who are comforted and consoled. Count the repentance and healing of so many who have been restored to unity with heaven. Count the humility that I have bestowed on you, dear apostle, since you began to learn about true holiness. I am your King. I can give you anything. I choose to give you peace and holiness. I choose to make of you a resolute servant. Accept My will in your life and you will then be able to accept all of the graces heaven has stored up for you. "

Message from Anne, lay apostle

Lord, may we seek you path, regardless of how alluring the world's path can look sometimes. May we choose good in an evil generation, may we choose Your plan even when it is harder, may we choose YOU every moment of every day. We want to be fully committed to You. We want the days we say "yes" to become every day. We repent from lukewarmness, from mediocrity, from normalcy. We want to shine so brightly for You that others can't help but see, can't help but feel your love. Let us look at EVERY encounter as an opportunity to show your love. Lord on the days where helping just one more person seems like too much, help me to choose You. On the days when satan whispers "you can't save everyone, why are you trying" let me choose You. On the days when it would be too easy to pop in a movie for my children instead of reading Scripture with them, let me choose You. When harsh words are easier to find than kind ones, let me choose You. Father, like Paul, I know what I want to do, what I should do, and yet I find myself failing, discouraged. Thank You for your grace. Thank You that You who sit so HIGH would look low upon people like me and use us as a vessel for you. How blessed we are to even be called servants, to be able to share in your Kingdom and share your love with others. Thank you for the cross, where you have given us peace and holiness. Father we long to say Yes to You.


He is teaching me to stop for ONE. And it is hard and it is ugly. Because every time I stop for that ONE sick child, that ONE hungry old man, that ONE new baby girl, my mind races with the statistics of how many more there are that I am not touching, not feeding, not saving. God whispers every time though that this ONE is enough. That this ONE is feeling His love and that is eternal. ETERNAL. I think of sweet baby Happy who died at 4 months after we did all that we could. I didn't understand how God had led me to feel so attached to that little girl if His plan was to take her all along. I think of Michael who is back at home with his step mom, healthy now, but more than likely still mistreated. God knows that as a single woman I cannot legally adopt a little boy, how could my heart be so knit to his. I think tonight of Gloria who's brain was so damaged from her high fever she may always be in a vegetable like state. God in His infinite wisdom KNEW that if I had been there a few days sooner, this could have been prevented. But then I think of 14 little girls who have a home and food and a Mommy and know Jesus. I think of 600 Karamajong children, modern day lepers in Uganda, singing about God's love for them and leaving with their bellies full. I think of 400 sponsored children who sometimes show up on Saturday in new clothes because now that Amazima is providing them with all their basic needs (food, education, medical care) their parents can afford to buy them a NEW DRESS. I see thousands of deep brown eyes and feel thousands of little brown hands and I know that even on the hardest day, stopping is worth it. A life changed is worth it, even if only ONE. God's love made known is worth it, even if only to ONE. I will not save them all. But I will keep trying. I will say Yes. I will stop for that ONE no matter how hopeless. Jesus, give us the stregth to say yes to whoever you put in our paths today.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Forever Changed

When I started adopting, everyone said you life will never be the same. They were right. I found love. I found that I love my children more than I ever knew I could love. I found the love of Jesus, it was poured out everyday in amazing ways. I found the love of friends that I will have forever. I found the love of a country and its people.
My life has changed, because I have children. I can no longer be selfish and just do what I want. I think of them first. Then I think of all of the children out there like them. Kids that don't have a mom or a dad. Kids that don't have a bed to sleep in or a house. Kids that are sick and can't get the medical care they need. Kids that don't have clothes to keep them warm or shoes to protect their feet.
I have a restless spirit. I have seen this need with my own eyes. I can no longer pretend that it does not exist. I feel that I have to do more. God commands that we all take care of these children.
I am going to warn my readers, few that they are. My next few posts are going to be hard hitting. They may make you uncomfortable. It is a message I think our whole country needs to hear, but most are not going to want to.
God bless.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

More of the Process

I have not mentioned it on my blog, but I have started a Yahoo chat group for people who have adopted from Uganda or are interested in adopting here is the address: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/sanyuuganda

Please leave me a message explaining who you are and where you are in the process. Membership is not open to everyone, so that our families' privacy can be protected.

OK, now more on the guardianship process. As for adoptions from Sanyu, after you identify the child you want to adopt you have to take pictures for Ugandan passports, medicals, and US visas, these pictures are 2 different sizes, get extras just in case. Godfrey knows where to take you and what size and how many. You will also have to go to the Surgery to get medicals done for US visas. You will see a Ugandan first, I think his name is Joseph, I'm sorry I can't remember. He will do measurements and initial blood tests. Dr. Pinto or Dr. Stockley will see you for the follow up visit and they have to sign the forms. Pictures should cost $10-15 and medicals, depending on followups and different blood tests $45-60.

After this you get to wait for a court date. When you show up for court, dress in your Sunday best and have the children dressed nicely with shoes and everything if possible. If Peter is your lawyer, he and his associates show up at the very last minute. It is very nerve wracking, but they will be there. You do not talk, unless the judge asks you a specific question. You address the judge as Your Lordship, if you do talk. Thank him or her at the end of the hearing. I did ask to speak in my hearing for A, because the judge was leaning toward denying the application. Crying does help in some cases, make sure you are truthful and genuine. The judge will tell you when to come back for the ruling, so you wait some more. People are having to wait different times for rulings with different judges. I had to wait 1 week for WR and 2 weeks for A. When you go back for the ruling take the child with you again and you just wait for those words "Application has been approved." Then you jump up and say 'Thank you' and burst into tears outside.
Now all you need is passports and visas and you can come home. Peter's office will work on birth certificates and passports. Make sure you keep on them about these. They should be ready the day of your ruling or a day or two after. Once you have your ruling, make an appointment with the embassy for your visa interview. It could take 2-5 days for this whole process.

You need paperwork for the US Embassy as well as for court and for the orphanage you are working with. There is a new consular and she does not seem to be as tough on paperwork as the former consular. But I am going to give you the entire list of things people were asked for in their interviews while I was there. Home study, Marriage Certificate, Birth Certificates for both parents, any divorce decrees, a letter from your attorney including all adopted children as rightful heirs, a personal financial statement proving you are able to provide for the child/children, letters of employment from employers, birth certificates for children in your household, letter from your pastor, guardianship plan for the child if you die, doctor's statement of your health, 3 references, last 3 years tax returns with w-2s(copies are fine), I-864, I-600a approval notice if you have it(they also mail this to the embassy if you put the address for the Kampala embassy on the form), I-600 petition to classify orphan as immediate relative, affidavit concerning exemption from immigration vaccination requirements for a foreign adopted child [these forms can be downloaded from the Dept. of State website, if only one parent is traveling the other parent needs to sign these forms and have them notarized before traveling]. Some of the other random things that people have been asked for in court or at the embassy, pictures of your family and your home, copies of diplomas or professional certificates, proof of post adoption home study visit, also if you adopt 2 unrelated children you will be asked to pay $670 more at the US Embassy for the second child.
Paper work that you need for visas that you will get after you are finished in court, guardianship order, relinquishment letter from the orphanage and any living relative if there is one.

I made 3 copies of all of these forms and had them in a binder that never left my sight. Do not pack these forms, carry them in your carry-on bags.

Take some time to go and see Uganda. Go to Jinja and see the Nile. If you have time go to some of the National Parks. We even went to the equator. Get to know more of the country than Kampala, it is a beautiful place. Kampala has beautiful parts and the people are doing a lot of work to make it better, but you need to be able to tell your children about the whole country.
Remember, this is your child's heritage. You want to be able to tell them as much as possible about where they come from. Please make sure that you give them a positive image of their heritage.

By the way, I suggest flying through Amsterdam. The airport and airline is much nicer than Belgium. Belgium does not want me to do a tourist recommendation for them. The chocolate is not worth the rudeness.

I hope this is helpful. It has been a brain dump. If you have specific questions let me know. Remember, the process changes, so this should not be taken as written in stone.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Starting to Process

OK, I have finally had a chance to slow down some and start processing everything that has happened in the last 4 months. I did not post much about the guardianship process while we were in Uganda, but I did want to tell people about the process for me. I say 'the process for me' because the process is always changing. If you are not flexible and able to roll with the punches DO NOT try to adopt from Uganda. I would almost say that goes for any adoption.

First of all do not start the process unless you are absolutely sure that this is something God is telling you to do now. Please take time to bathe the process in prayer. My process was by no means smooth, but it went much better when I was sure that I was communicating with God. Keep in mind, God calls us all to take care of orphans, He does not call us all to adopt. Make sure the timing is right.

If you are planning to adopt from Uganda or any other country, please make sure you go to that country with a respectful attitude. Do not think that because you are American or any other Westerner, that you are doing that country a favor and are entitled to special treatment. If you can not respect the culture or are offended by what you may come into contact with, are you going to be able to raise a child from that culture? I am not talking about being appalled by the poverty or some of the conditions that you might see. I am talking about being respectful for their way of life. Don't openly mock or make derogatory comments about things you see. Remember you are a guest, be a good one. Ask if you can help out at the orphanage or at some of the NGOs. Do not assume you know how to do things better. Do it their way. After you earn trust and respect, make suggestions respectfully. Remember, African cultures have been around longer than America. I'm convinced they do most things better than us anyway.

Next, do all of you paperwork that you need to adopt before you leave the US. DO NOT go to a country without a homestudy or your USCIS paperwork at least being processed. Show the people you are working with that you are committed to an adoption not that you are at their orphanage 'shopping' for a baby.

Contact the orphanage that you want to work with. You may have to contact more than one. Make sure you meet their requirements for adoption and that they have available children.

Contact an attorney. I recommend Peter Nyombi. He knows more about the guardianship process than any other lawyer. He will also make sure things progress in a timely manner. I will add this disclaimer though, I had a problem with one of his employees asking for a bribe to process my children's birth certificates. I played dumb and asked Peter about and he reprimanded the employee. However, when it was time to process one of my children's visas the birth certificate was not there. You have to stay on top of all of the steps.

Contact Godfrey to drive for you. I can never say enough good things about Godfrey. He is more than a driver. He is a guardian angel. He took care of anything my aunt or I needed. He knows as much about the adoption process as most lawyers. He knows where to get anything you need and where everything is. Let me add this bit on a personal note. He is a driver and he will become a friend. DO NOT TREAT HIM LIKE HIRED HELP!!!!!!!!! He is a very caring man and he deserves to be treated with respect. I don't want to come after anyone that has treated him badly, BUT I WILL, because I already have, and it wasn't pretty.

I am going to say this again, because it is the most important thing. PRAY! PRAY! PRAY! Make sure that this is in God's plan for your life and the life of any children you adopt. Do not do this because some friends from church did it and had a wonderful experience. I prayed about every step of the process. When I fell out of communication with God and did what I wanted was when I experienced problems. I know I was doing God's will in adopting both of my children. I may not have done everything the way He had wished me to.

I will post more of the process later. If you need further details about the process, leave me a comment. I will be happy to answer any questions.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Finally

I know that it has been a month since I posted, but things are just now getting into a routine. You will notice I did not say that 'things are back to normal'. I don't think they will be normal ever again. But I love not being normal!!!!!
The kids are doing great. They both started walking all by themselves last Thursday. If we can determine if they have giardia and get the pooping under control we will be doing great. They are both putting on weight anyway.
Thanks again for all of the prayers and comments while we were in Uganda. They kept us going.
I will post pictures and more about the whole process soon.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Please Watch This Video

I don't normally post videos on my blog, but this one is worthwhile. It is from the Church at Brookhills in Birmingham, AL. I actually became aware of it from friends in NC. It is an amazing message. One that I hope ALL CHRISTIANS listen to and act on. It is a call to help the needy.
Can I just say the needy are those who have less than you. That is not just a financial need. That is an emotional, spiritual, educational, medical, and physical need. It could be that the person sitting next to you has a need. I know that there are millions, no billions, of people worldwide that are in need. We need to become more sensitive to the needs of others.

http://www.brookhills.org/media/series/radical/v65

It is long, but worth every second.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Sanyu News

I know that some of the people who are following my blog are interested in adopting from Sanyu. I have some good news and some bad news. The good news is that Sanyu has been getting a lot of media exposure and as a result, Ugandan families have been coming in to adopt. The bad news is there are no children available for international families at this time. This could change at any time, so keep in touch with Sanyu. We are also trying to get some information on other orphanages that would have children available and have the needed certification to place children for adoption.
As always with international adoption, things are changing. We will try to get as much information out as possible. I hope to start a Ugandan adoption Yahoo group soon. I have been a little busy and today was the first day of school, so it may be a while.

Friday, August 7, 2009

We're home!!!!

We are finally home and this post is really late. Our travels home were not without incident. I may have to do serious bodily harm to my travel agent. I had heard that the airlines were so helpful to people traveling with small children. It must not have been the airlines we travelled on. When we finally arrived in Newark there was a storm coming through the east. It delayed or flight by over 2 hours which meant we were not going to make our connection in Atlanta. After 30 hours of traveling, I could not wait another 12 hours to get home when it only takes 3 hours to drive it. So I called my darling dad and he came and picked us up at midnight and drove us home while we all slept.
The kids have adjusted well and are taking to life in America. They will eat chicken in any form. My mom is still amazed at how much they eat. The 2 kids ate more last night than the 3 adults did for dinner.
I had to go back to work on Wednesday, so things are busy, busy, busy. I will get pictures posted soon. Thanks for all of the prayers while we were gone. Please don't stop praying now that we are home.
Love,
Tanya, Andrew and Willa Rae

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Coming Home

We leave in about 8 hours coming home. Please pray for our trip. We have 4 different flights, with over 10 hours of lay overs and the last leg is with a different airline. Please pray that our luggage can be checked all the way through and that we dont have to re-check at Newark and Atlanta. Please pray that the kids are comfortable and take to flying and new experiences. Pray that Martha and I have the stamina to make it the next 40 hours or so. Pray that the kids adjust well at home. Pray that I can get back into the groove in time for school to start.
Thanks again for all of your prayers and support. We would not have made it this far without it.
We will miss Uganda and the people we have met here. They have changed us for the better.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

WE HAVE VISAS!!!!!!

We finally have our visas. As we say a day late and about $2000 short. We are still packed up, but have dug up enough clothing to last us the next few days. We may be staying at another guest house in Kampala for the last few days. We are causing an overbooking problem at Sanyu.
If anyone is interested these are the things we hope to eat when we get home. Grilled cheeseburgers with dill pickles(you cant even find pickles here)
Real Fries
Sweet Tea with ice
bisquits with butter and blackberries
Mr. Cliff's deer steak
Real fried chicken--I cant begin to explain what they do to it here
cheese sticks from Cujo's
strawberries--the only fruit we can not find cheap
homemade chex mix
good bread, crackers, and cakes, if we come back Martha is opening a proper bakery here

Monday, July 27, 2009

Not Yet

We did not get Andrew's visa in time to leave on Monday. I had to change our tickets and we will be leaving on Saturday and arriving in Bham on Sunday. There is a reason we should still be here. I just dont know what it is. I have at least 100 reasons that I should be in Alabama now. About 50 of them involve food=). Thanks for all of the prayers, emails and fb comments.
In other news there is a family here that has chosen to adopt and another that just came to support a friend that is adopting has made the decision to adopt as well. It is great to see God working, even if your eyes are clouded with tears.
I would also like to post a world wide prayer request for Cade and his family. He had a four wheeler wreck and is in critical condition. Please lift this family up as well.
Thanks and Love to All,
Tanya

Friday, July 24, 2009

God Still Can!!!

I am tired, weary, and wornout. I got Andrew's passport and got it to the embassy in time. I was still waiting on the birth certificate. Ends up it was never applied for, so I didnt get it in time to get it to the embassy. Please pray that we get the visa on Monday. I really don't know what we will do if we don't. I'm stressed, but not worried.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Red Letter Day!!!!!!

Today was awesome. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! for the prayers. We would not have made it if not for all of you prayer warriors fighting the fight. We got approval for Andrew! Mercy's leg is almost completely healed! Irene's visa appointment went great and we should be able get Andrew's by Friday noon. So we should be home on Monday as scheduled. Keep praying til we reach Jasper.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Safari

First things first, I did not bunjee jump. Gravity has already done enough to my body, I didn't think I should go and spit in its face.
We had a wonderful time this weekend. Murchison Falls National Park is one of the most beautiful places on earth. Pictures and video do not do it justice. It was everything I thought it would be and more. The people here are so warm and friendly. As we drove along, it was about 300 kilometers, kids would wave at us from the roadside. I told Godfrey we were going to miss that, because we did not get that kind of reception at home. One bump it the road was actually about 200 bumps. They have put in speed bumps along a newly paved portion of road to keep people from speeding and tearing up the road. So we crawled, in the van, over every one. It was just the first in many funny and amusing things that happened along the way. Half of the road was a dirt road. It went from smooth to rub board to ruts and back, many, many times. It was our own bucking bronco ride through the park=). Then there were the flies, biting flies to be specific. The filled the van about 80 kilometers from our final destination, so the battle was on. We flailed and hit and sprayed with deet and nothing worked so we just had to laugh about it and go on. We stayed in a $5 a night hostel the first night. We had beds and mosquito nets. We went next door to the swanky lodge to use their bathrooms and eat. It was beautiful there. We had views overlooking the Nile and we could hear the hippos making their way to their feeding grounds. After we went back to our rooms it was lights out, literally. Because we are inside the park the only power they have is from generators. We only get power for a few hours, at 10 o'clock it was lights out!! We were ready for bed anyway. As we laid there during the night we could hear monkeys on the roof, and water bucks, water buffalo, and hippos walking around outside. We even hear a water buck walk down the sidewalk right outside our rooms. The sky was absolutely gorgeous. There were so many stars.
The next morning we were up early to start our game drive. We were out for about 4 hours and it was beautiful. We saw baboons, wart hogs, giraffes, water bucks, water buffaloes, Jackson's heartbeast, oribis(sp?), kobs, elephants, and some of the most beautiful birds in the world. We did not get to see any lions, but they can be hard to find. We went back to the lodge to relax for a few hours and then we set off on our Nile River cruise. We saw hundreds of hippos, Nile crocodiles, and all of the other animals we had seen that morning. Our destination was the base of Murchison Falls. The falls are only 6 meters wide at one point so the power of the Nile rushing though them is awesome. It was the best boat ride I have ever been on. We spent the night at Sambiya River Lodge in a banda. We had to use outdoor showers and it was the second best cold shower I have had in Africa. We had a great meal at the lodge and a great nights sleep on the best matress we have had on this continent.
The next morning we left early for a trip to the top of the falls. To see the power and beauty of the Nile is to know that there is a God. Only a supreme being could make something so breathtaking. We managed to keep the biting flies out of the van on the way out of the park. It just meant keeping the windows up. Thank goodness it was a cloudy morning.
On the way home we stopped at the Ziwa Rhino Sactuary. They have 7 of the 9 rhinos in Uganda. They are trying to reintroduce them to the wild. Two of the rhinos were donated by Disney's Animal Kingdom. They have a new baby, we did not get to see, that was born in June. His name is Obama. We actually got out of the van and walked through the grass for about 15 minutes to reach where 3 of the rhinos were resting. We got to walk within 15 yards of them. It was sooooo cooool!! We went back to the lodge for lunch and then it was back across the 200 speed bumps home. All in all a wonderful trip!! I would not trade the experience for anything in the world.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Did I??!???!


You'll have to check back to see. Leave me a comment and tell me if you think I bunjee jumped into the Nile.

Martha is not in de Nile


She is just having a great time looking at it.

Sorry about the corny humor!!!

Trip to Jinja


We went to Jinja today. This is the view from the table we ate lunch at. It was so quiet and relaxing compared to Kampala. We really enjoyed it. This is the Nile River. Can you believe it?!?!?

Sunday, July 12, 2009

The Official Birthday Girl


I had to post a picture of Mercy. It was her birthday and she is 1!!!! Mercy is awesome and so is her mom.

Birthday Party Part 2


The internet was not cooperating last night so I did not get to post like I had wanted. We had a birthday party for Mercy yesterday. Willa Rae and I horned in on it. I had chosen June 28th for WRs birthday, but that happened to fall on the weekend that Andrew was sick and I got sick, so we never celebrated. Therefor we shared a party with Mercy. We got the kids dressed up, we opened presents and had chocolate cake, pringles and juice. A very fun day for everyone!!!!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Birthday Party


Just a little juice to wash down the chocolate birthday cake. They both eat like Evanses.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Passport

Finally got Irene's birth certificate and passport today!!!! Next week it will be off to the embassy to start the visa process. We actually had to go to the immigration office to get the passports. We got to sit outside under the tent with all of the people waiting to get passports. It must have been 50-75 people waiting, we were the only mzungus. I was hoping to get Andrew's also, but it didn't happen. But on a positive note the guy who signs the passports wants to marry a mzungu from the US and he likes his women like most Ugandans do, fat=). It should make things easy if I have to go back for Andrew's passport.
Thanks for all of the prayers. We are hoping to make it back home on July 28th. We are still working on our list of food we want to eat the first week. Last night we went to a pub that served ice in their cokes. I had 3!!!!!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Court

On the way to court today I saw a guy wearing a t-shirt that said 'If God says yes, Man cannot say no.' That gave me a good feeling about court. We went in and the judge started by saying that he knew that I had already received guardianship for one child and that he thought it would be difficult for me to raise 'twins' since the kids are so close together in age. He also brought up the fact that Andrew has only been in the orphanage for 2 months. Peter argued back that my application was turned in before the judge had made the statement about children staying in the babies home for 6 months. He asked the judge to consider going ahead and granting me the approval under the condition that I leave him here for 4 more months. Not exactly the argument that I wanted to hear. The judge said he would just deny the application instead. They went back and forth argueing and joking and I thought I would loose my mind. I kept waiting for him to ask me a question. Martha asked him if she could say something and the judge told her it was none of her concern, so things were going downhill fast. Peter argued some more and then I asked if I could speak and the judge let me. I told him that I did not come here with the intentions of adopting 2 children. I explained how sick Andrew had been and how everyone thought he had sickle cell anemia. I told him how we all prayed for a family for him and how God had said that that family was me. I told him that I would consider it a great honor if he would let me take Andrew home and be his mother. Martha then got up and explained that she lives close by and that my parents live next door, and that we have plenty of family to help take care of the kids. We were both crying while we were talking. So instead of getting a definite NO, we come back for the ruling on July 21st. I am happy to say that Peter does not think the judge would make us wait 2 weeks to tell us no, so we are very hopeful. Thanks for all of your prayers. We will definitely have time to go to Jinja and Murchison Falls for a few days.
Somebody better be waiting on us at the airport with bisquits and sweet tea!!!!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Andrew's Court Date

I found out today that we go to court for Andrew on Tuesday. We have the same judge. I talked to someone at the lawyer's office today and I asked them what we were going to do about the 6 month thing. He said they would argue the case, because the 6 months was not law. So I hope they argue it well. If everything goes well, I hope we can all come home about 2 weeks after court. Please pray that all of this happens smoothly and quickly. We are ready to come home.

Trying on clothes



As you can see Willa Rae had fun and Andrew didn't.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Ruling

Went to court this morning and the judge granted me guardianship of Irene/Willa Rae!!!! I said 'Thank you, your Lordship' and then he said some other things to the lawyers. Everyone talks really low, so it is hard to hear what is being said.
When we got outside, I asked what had been said. The judge said that in the future he wants the children to be in the babies home or orphanage for 6 months before application for guardianship is made. Andrew has only been at Sanyu for 2 months. I thought I was going to trow up. I have talked to Peter and he said we should go ahead with Andrew's application, we might get another judge. I keep telling myself to trust in God, but I am sick, tired and ready to bring my children home. Please pray.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

He's mine now

I took Andrew to the doctor yesterday, and he has a viral respiratory infection and pink eye. It is highly contagious so he spent the night at the guesthouse with us. We were having a pretty good night until a little after midnight. He had an explosive poopy diaper. So I had to change him, the bed, and me. Therefore I think I should be able to claim him as definitely mine. We managed to sleep the rest of the night, but he did it to me again at naptime. I have been tagged twice.
So far, thankfully, Irene/Willa Rae has not caught it. I have a soar throat though.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

List of things on the back of a boda boda

Boda bodas are motorcycle 'taxis'. They dart through the traffic and take sidewalks or any other path that is needed to get where they are going. They are also used to transport just about anything you can imagine, so we have started a list.
1. Car windshields--we have now seen about 5
2. 8 foot step ladder
3. Man with a mattress
4. Woman riding sidesaddle while holding her baby.
5. ME!!!
Yes I finally got on a boda. Thanks to Tara, it was video taped. I will not try to upload it. It was sooooo much fun. We actually travelled at more than 35 mph. It is my new favorite way to travel. You get a boda tan, which we can't tell if it is an actual tan or just stained from the road dust, and it is cheap!!!
I will share the complete list of things on the back of a boda or bicycle when we get home. We see new things everyday, and everyone here is adding to the list.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The love of Pringles



Willa Rae was afraid her brother was going to finish the can of Pringle's before her, so she was just shoving them in her mouth. I promise I do take pictures of them doing other things besides eating.

more pics

Court

As far as I can tell, court went well. The judges only question was about Irene's name. Nothing about my character or ability to provide for her. He just wanted to know how she got her name. Which I was interested in knowing too. The social worker from the orphanage explained to him that they just pick one. I found out later that she was named after a sister of one of the Mamas. So now we go back to court next Wednesday at 9am for the ruling. I hope to find out today when Andrew's court date is.

Thanks again for all of the prayers. Thanks for buying t-shirts. Keep praying for the rest of the process to go smoothly and quickly. Martha and I are ready to come home. We have started making a list of things we want to eat the first week we are back.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Court Date

We have a court date for next week on Wednesday or Thursday for Irene. I hope that we can get Andrew in the next week. With waiting a week for the ruling and then having to get passports and visas, it's going to be tight getting back on our original ticket. Pray for speedy process and a favorable ruling. Thanks.

Ndere Center Dancers



Great show!!! Yes, she is dancing with 9 clay pots one her head. We will have more pictures and video when we get home. If you are ever in Uganda it is a must see. Dinner and a 3 hour show for $10, can't beat it.

Willa Rae enjoying a lolly

Laundry Room

For Granddaddy




It was hard to stretch it over her stomach, but I had to put it on her.

finally got him to smile for the camera

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Brother and Sister



They may not have started out as brother and sister, but they are acting like it now. This morning, during music, I was holding Andrew and Willa Rae on my lap. WR reached over and started rubbing Andrew's head and I thought 'how sweet'. Then she reached down and grabbed his ear and gave it a good twist. I couldn't stop lauging!!!
I heard from my lawyer that he has filed for WR's court date and will file for Andrew's later today. He wanted more money. So here is the begging part. If there is anything you can do to help me with the cost of this adoption, it would be greatly appreciated. I promise to pass it along to others in need when I can. Thanks and keep praying. I love Uganda, but I am ready to come home with my babies.

Ugandan Highchair



I had the pleasure of feeding 6 kids sitting in this last night. By the time I got back to the first child, he was screaming, waiting for the next bite.

Monday, June 15, 2009

GOD IS GREAT!!!!!!

Just a quick update. I found out on Friday evening that Andrew is negative for sickle cell anemia. He is not even a carrier. PRAISE GOD!!!! The only problem was I was worried I would not be able to adopt him. I was confident in God's plan and when I talked to Peter, my attorney this morning, he assured me that he thought the case would go throug anyway. I am on cloud nine. I took Andrew to the doctor just to make sure nothing else was wrong and he said he is perfectly healthy. He just needed good food and lots of love. I still don't have a court date, but I will try to updated as soon as I know.
A great big thanks to all of you prayer warriors!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

t-shirts for sale

I just found out that the Fourt of July t-shirt is ready. I am sorry, I don't have a picture. If you are interested please call Mary at 205-221-0255. I only need to sell about 700 of these to pay for my legal fees for Andrew. Thanks for all of your support.

A Great Day

We had a great day today. We went to Calvary Chapel Kampala and it was awesome. There was praise and worship music. The pastor was under 30 and preached from the Bible. It was like being at Glory. We got back in time for me to put Andrew and Willa Rae down for their nap and I got a short one too. We got up and played for a couple of hours. We went to the Ndere Center and saw the dance troupe there perform some of the tribal dances of Uganda. They were amazing. I think we may go back again. Dinner and a show for $10US. Can't beat that.
I am asking for prayer again. Tomorrow is a very important day. I have to take Andrew to the doctor and we should be getting our court dates. Please bathe these two things in prayer. I just ask that God's will be done in all of this. Thanks again for all of your prayers and encouragement. I can't wait to get home and tell you about all of the amazing things God is doing.

Andrew looking very smart

Irene enjoying music

Andrew in class

Saturday, June 13, 2009

God's Country

When I lived in Tennesse, they liked to say that it was 'God's country'. They were wrong!! Uganda is God's country. I have seen Him working in more ways in more lives than I have ever before. He is bringing families together. He is healing. He is saving. I can't go into more details. It will probably take a book. I am going to try to get more pictures up. Please keep praying!!! We can feel it.

How do I Explain

I know some of you are concerned about Andrew and the decision to adopt him. I completely understand. I was concerned about him too. I have prayed that he finds a family. I have prayed for it for the last 2 weeks. It just ends up that his family is supposed to be my family.
I have had the feeling for a long time that I should adopt 2 children. I even told a friend of mine about it last year. I knew it sounded crazy. Not a lot crazier than traveling around the world to adopt a child of a different race and culture. I was told that Sanyu would not let you adopt more than one child at a time. I got my home study approval for 2 children anyway. I had the feeling that it would be a boy and a girl. I had names picked out for 1 boy and 1 girl. I was told that I would only be able to adopt a girl. It is Ugandan law that single people can only adopt children of the same sex. Only in special circumstances can people adopt outside this law, such as with siblings. There are no siblings at Sanyu other than twin boys. No way that I could adopt a boy. But then there was Andrew. I prayed for a family for him. I didn’t think that I could be his mom. Every time I prayed the answer I got was ‘You are his mom’. I didn’t believe it. After a week, I worked up the nerve to ask my lawyer if he thought the High Court of Uganda would give me special consideration because of Andrew’s sickle cell. His immediate answer was yes.
Am I scared about the cost of adopting a second child? Yes. Am I scared about his medical condition? Terrified. Do I know if I will have enough money to pay his medical expenses? No. Am I short changing Willa Rae by adopting another child, one with a special medical need? I don’t know. I don’t know what the future will bring. Do any of us? If you gave birth to a child with special needs would you leave him at the hospital? I don’t think so. Andrew feels just as much my child. My heart leaps with joy when I walk in the room and he smiles and holds up his hands for me to pick him up. I cry when I put him to bed in the orphanage and he cries for me, just like Willa Rae. My heart aches when they have to draw blood out of his femoral artery for all of the blood tests he has to have. He is supposed to be my child just like Willa Rae is. I have no doubt about this.
Andrew’s birth mom was only 17 when she brought him in to get medical treatment. Everyone here knows how serious sickle cell is. Because they knew she had no money, they would not treat him. She told them she had to go get something and she would be back to get Andrew to leave. She never came back. That was a month ago. He has had to go to the hospital for a blood transfusion, since being at the orphanage. It is the only treatment they give children with sickle cell.
Because of the seriousness of his condition, I am being allowed to adopt a second child. Because of the seriousness of his condition, I am being allowed to adopt a boy. Because of the seriousness of his condition, my attorney has reduced his fee and has already started processing the case so that it can be presented with Willa Rae’s. (This is lightening speed for Africa). He has already started this process with only $100 given as a donation by a very special woman here at Sanyu. I don’t know too many lawyers that would go to work for that amount.
I have listened to God’s still small voice throughout this adoption process. I do not intend to stop now. I know the money will come from somewhere. I know God has a plan. I just don’t know what it is. I do know that I am supposed to bring 2 children home to America. I know that it will be hard, but being out of God’s will would be harder. My family and I need your prayer support. We would appreciate anything that you would like to donate to the legal fees. Thanks and God bless.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Could there be two?

I have been asking some of my facebook friends to pray about Andrew. He is a little boy who came to the orphanage in May. He has sickle cell anemia. Kids here have a life expectancy of 16 when they have sickle cell. I was really torn by this beautiful boy. We have really bonded in the last few days and he has just blossomed. He is even talking and crawling and laughing now. I was praying that God would send this little guy a family soon. He needs to get to the US where he can get the medical care he needs. God told me to see if he could become my son. I talked to the lawyer today. I would not normally be allowed to adopt a boy, because I am single. He said that he thought the High Court would make and exception because of his health. Wonderful!!!! Know is where I need God to really move. I need to come up with $5000 quickly. If you would be willing to help, please leave a comment. I am not going to post any pictures of Andrew, he is not mine yet and he may not be. I have to respect his privacy. Thanks for all of your prayers and help.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

The Blog World Collides with the Real World

This week I had the pleasure of meeting in real life, 3 women that I only know trough blogs. First there is Susie. She is a soccer coach from Washington. She is here with a group of girls playing soccer and doing humanitarian work throughout Uganda. She has a beautiful heart and wants to help the people of Uganda in any way possible. I hope she gets to come back and take a child home with her. Keep me posted Susie.
One afternoon, I was at the pavillion holding Willa Rae, and I look over and there is Katie Davis. I know that my mouth dropped open like she was a famous rock star. Which she is. She is a rock star that has come over and built relationships with the people of Uganda and has done so much to help the people around Jinja. If you do not know her, go and check out her blog. Kissesfromkatie.blogspot.com
Next, there is Melissa Carter. Melissa only lives an hour and a half from me in Al, but I had never met her or even talked on the phone. We had to wait until we were on the other side of the world to get to meet face to face. Melissa is here to take home her 3 wonderful children. She started the process 2 years ago. I can’t imagine having to wait that long or go through all her family has gone through to complete this process. Her children are beautiful and we had a great lunch. It was great to hear another Southern accent. I was beginning to loose mine, with all of the Aussies and Brits around here ( I know everyone believes that). They also understood what Roll Tide means.
In between all of this, I played with Willa Rae and the other kids. We took kids to the Surgery to see Dr. Stockley. WR had been running a low grade fever for a couple of days. I thought is was just teethin, but in the afternoon she threw up more than she should have been able to hold. Of course in typical fashion, by the time we saw the doctor she was smiling and playing and having a good time. They ran a malaria test and tb test. I will get the results on Monday.
We have also been helping Daniel, as much as a bunch of girls can, tile the bottle prep area. Daniel came just to do some work at the orphanage, but God had different plans. He has joined the adopting group and hopes to take home his son in Sept. or Oct. I’ll let you know more about this story later.
I also want to take the time to say that I have met and become friends with an incredible group of people from all around the world and from all walks of life. They are here just because they want to volunteer and help. Not many people would give up months, yes I said months, of their lives to come here and do what they do. Thanks and God bless you all. Even if you don’t know what football really is.

Advice on Adopting

I am usually the blog stalker, not the stalkee. This week I met someone who follows my blog that asked me for advice on pursueing an adoption. I was kind of surprised. I’m usually the one calling, emailing, asking questions of those who have gone before me. The I realized I AM in the position to give advice. I am by no means an expert on adoption in Uganda, but I have learned a few things in the last few weeks.
First, I can not say this enough. An orphanage is not a place to shop. The children here are not snowglobes that you can pick up ans shake and see if they will look good in your house and then put down and move on to the next one. They should not be treated as souveniers of your trip to Africa. You don’t have any right to think that because you live in another country that you can give a Ugandan orphan a better home than one here. Ugandans love their children and the best case scenario is that all of these children be raised in loving homes here that will support their culture. If you are trying to complete you collection of children from around the world, STOP!!!!! We don’t need you here. If this is not something that you have prayed about and are sure that is the will of God, DO NOT PROCEED.
Do not assume that you are entitled to a child. Do not come with the expectation that you are going to save a child. Do not come demanding that things go your way. Things change in adoption every day. If you are committed to adopting a child for the right reasons you will be willing to go along with the changes.
I know that some of you are worried about these changes. Let me assure you that I am truly happy that these changes have been made and I have no problem with them. Barbara wants everyone to come and stay 2 weeks when choosing a child. Can I say that this is a blessing and not a curse. Who would not love the opportunity to come and get to know these children before adopting one. I know I have enjoyed the experience and will cherish it always. If you come with your proper paper work you can go ahead and start the adoption process. I do not understand why someone would expect to be able to adopt anywhere when they have not gotten a home study or any of the other paperwork necessary. It is damaging to the process. It makes it seem like the Westerners are trying to pull a fast one on the Ugandans. I will say again WE ARE NOT ENTITLED TO A CHILD. This is a gift that is given by God and the guardians of these children. It should not be taken advantage of, just because you think you deserve your baby now. This is not a western culture where demanding something is going to get it done. It is going to compromise the process for everyone who comes after you.
I am more than happy that Barbara has asked Hedda to look over the paperwork from the US and Canada. She has someone doing it in Australia and in the Netherlands. Barbara is a very busy woman who has the best interest of each of these children at heart. She can not look over every set of documents and be an expert on the laws of each state and province. This will not delay the process. It will insure that the process is seen as uncorrupt as possible. Hedda was asked by Peter Nyombi this week to meet with 2 of the Ministers of government here. He thinks it is a wonderful idea that this step has been added. This will help assure the judges that all paperwork from Sanyu adoptions is in perfect order and that they do not need to worry about child tafficking. By the way, Hedda is doing all of this for FREE. She is not getting a dime. She is doing this because she loves children.
I know that Hedda has taken a lot of heat. Both here in Uganda and in the US. It is completely undeserved. She is a wonderful woman who loves these children. She is doing what she was asked to do to make sure that guardianships in Uganda continue. She is here to complete the guardianship of her own child. She wants to make sure that all of these children get the opportunity to find loving families. She has spent every day that she has been here taking children that are in need of medical attention to the doctor. Not her own child. Other children, children who would have died if they did not get this care. Does this sound like she is trying to keep families from adopting the children at Sanyu?
It truly saddens me that some people have let Satan get a foothold in this process. We do not need to be tearing people down, but building them up. If you don’t have anything to hide you should not be afraid to let a knowledgable professional social worker look at you paperwork and conduct a phone interview. Remember you are not the only person wanting to adopt a child. Please do all you can do to preserve the process and ensure that adoptions continue.
While you are here, respect the culture. Do not assume you know better or are better than anyone. Just because you came on a mission trip last year for 2 weeks does not make you an expert on how to run an orphange or help these ‘poor people’. Keep your mouth shut and DO SOMETHING USEFUL!!! If you think changes need to be made, try building trust and relationships with the people instead of bossing them around and treating them like they know nothing. Don’t be a stupid mzungu.
I hope I have not offended anyone. I will be reviewing comments before they are posted publicly. Like most advice, you can take this or leave it. It is up to you. But I beg you to stop perpetuating the idea that Americans are bossy, rude, and arrogant. It is not helping anyone. Most of all, the children who need homes. Pray about the words you use and the tone you use before you speak. I did.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Some Pictures, hopefully

I hope this works. I have been trying to post pictures for days. We have been having internet problems, but we are at the muzungu mall, so maybe it will work. Everything is going OK. I hope to have my care order tomorrow and then we can get a court date. We need to get one for June. Please pray for all of the families here adopting. Thanks, Love you all.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Three Boys Gone Home

It has been an emotional few days. Most of it good. On Thursday, one of the families that is adopting found out their son has sickle cell anemia. It didn’t matter to them, it just put a wrinkle in their plans. They have already adopted one special needs child. They went back to the doctor on Friday, and he does not have sickle cell. 
Friday we had a party at the babies home. Two boys were going to live with there families. One will live here in Uganda for a while. The other went to California.
There was a third little boy that went home. He went home to heaven. One of the babies with sickle cell died Saturday morning at the hospital.
There are several children here with sickle cell. They do not get much in the way of treatment here and their prognosis is not good. If anyone out there is interested in adopting one of these children please do so. I can tell you that they are some of the cutests ones here at the home. I would bring them all home if they would let me.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Catching up

I’m going to try to catch up on the story so far.
Sunday. Went to church with Godfrey at the Kampala International Church. It is where a lot of embassy workers and other muzungas go. It doesn’t last as long as some of the others. It is held on the campus of a private school that is beautiful. It is in an open air pavillion. It reminded me of having church in the barn. The sermon series for the next few weeks is on sex. That’s all I’m saying about that for now.
Monday. Started out normal. Went and helped out at the baby home. We took some of the kids to a public pool down the street. I got to take Irene/Willa Rae also. She doesn’t like the water. Bath time is going to be fun. That is not the worst part, though. I got to dehydrated and threw up not once but twice in a planter in front of everyone. Talk about an ice breaker. Thankfully Tara took WR for me and I went back to my room took some Phenergin and went to bed.
Tuesday. Slept til lunch. Went over and played in the afternoon. Stayed for feeding, but ditched nappy changing. Just not up to it tonight.
Wednesday. Went over for class time. Peter called and had to dash off to his office to sign some papers. Came back in time to feed WR, change her and head to the doctor’s office for blood work. They were running 2 hours behind, so we went to the mall for lunch and came back. WR is so great!! The doctor stuck her thumb with a needle from a syringe and she only cried for about 5 seconds. We don’t get the results until we come back tomorrow.
We did not have our regular driver, Godfrey. I am going to take a moment and do a little advertising for him. If you are considering coming to Uganda, you have to call him. He is the best. He has taken care of us so much. He calls and checks on us, even on the days he doesn’t drive for us. He is very knowledgable about the adoption process. I would be totally lost with out him.

Thursday Back to see the doctor. HIV NEGATIVE!!!!!! He said everything else looked OK and he would forward our paperwork to the embassy. We came back and spent the rest of the day at the babies home. It was a very exciting day in the neighborhood. There is a new ‘mayor’ of the area and they threw an all day party, with music, speakers, food, and a visit from the President.
We have been without water in the guest house for 2 days now. Thankfully it has been cool. No showers and pouring water into the toilet to flush. AHHH the luxury

Thursday, May 28, 2009

where do i begin?


Where do I begin? We managed to get here with all of our luggage and no delays. We spent day one just trying to get acclimated. We were awake at about 4am just in time for the mosque’s call to worship. I don’t know if you have ever heard something like that, but they want to make sure every Muslim in Uganda knows that it is time to pray. We get to hear it 5 times a day. Add in a rooster that doesn’t know that he is only supposed to crow at sunrise and sleep has been pretty hit or miss. We got to meet Barbara, the home manager, and she told us there were 3 girls under the age of one. Two had just come in this week. She had a staff member give us a tour. We did not get to see any of the little girls however. She said I should meet with Peter and tell him about the situation and see if he thought we could get a case processed on the girls that had just been dropped off.
We got up the next morning and Godfrey (Who I LOVE by the way) took us to see Peter. I gave him all of the required paperwork. I explained that there were 2 girls that had been brought to the home in the last 5 days. And asked if he thought a case could be processed on them fast enough. He said yes go back to the home and choose a child. WHAT?? TODAY? Everyone says that Barbara makes you wait a week or more. He said to get him the file back to his office that afternoon and he would start processing everything. He had even had business with the probation officer earlier and had asked him to stay so he could meet me. He agreed that if we could get the file back to him that afternoon or Saturday he would start working on the case(only muzungas work 5 days a week) So we rushed back to the babies home and in to talk to Barbara again. I told her that Peter had said to choose a child and we would start the paper work. I think she was as surprised as I was. So they took us to go see the available girls. There were 2 in the playroom to begin with and we started playing with them and the other children. Then they brought in Irene. She was so cute!!! She has the chubbiest cheeks. She was still in shock from being in the orphanage, so she had the most solemn expression on her face. We played a while longer and I prayed about it and God said to choose Irene. We all got up (Martha, Godfrey, my binder and laptop and me) and went back to Barbara’s office. We exchanged more paperwork and they sent us on our way with Irene and a social worker.
We had to go back to Peter’s office to drop off the file and pick up a copy of my home study for Barbara. Then it was off to get photos made of Irene for her medical checkup, for Peter’s file, for Barbara’s file, for Visas and passport, and for the advertisement they put in the paper. We left there and went to ‘the Surgery’ to get medical exams done. This is where we hit our only road block of the day. We could not get an appointment. I have to keep calling to get one and make sure it is before our court date. Which will hopefully be in the next couple of weeks.
We stopped at the store on the way home to buy a few supplies. We were hopeful that Irene would get to start staying with us, but she only got to stay the afternoon. I do get to see her quite a bit though. She was so quiet the first day and wouldn’t make eye contact with anyone. She has started making eye contact, babbling, and even clapping her hands. She will eat anything. They give them cups, with no lids, and they hold them and drink their porridge from them. Today she was holding a cup in one hand and half a banana in the other. I knew then that she was meant to be my child.
I’ll post more again later. Just know that your prayers a working and are being felt. Thank you to all of you prayer warriors!!! Keep up the good work. We are moving at lightning speed.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

So far

So far we are at the Birmingham Airport. Not alot of progress I know.
We got to the airport with plenty of time to spare. The hardest part was getting all of our luggage inside. What happened to skycaps? I had my tip ready and everything.
All of our bags were Ok at 49lbs, 50.5lbs(she let me fudge a little), and Martha had to swith some books from 1 suitcase to the other.
There was no line at the security check and Martha only had 1 bottle that was too big. So now we wait.
I will try to blog again when we get to Amsterdam. I don't think I will have time in HOuston.

I'm Not Doing It

I had someone ask me the other day, "How are you doing all of this?"

My answer, "I am not doing this. God is." There is no way I could have gotten everything to fall into place the way it has. I thank God every day for what He is teaching me through this process. He is teaching me to lean on Him, to listen to Him, and above all to trust Him in everything. I have learned that before I try to help the process along I should pray and ask God if it is something I should really do. Let's face it He doesn't need my help. I would have just managed to delay things and cause a big mess.

We leave in a few hours. I don't know when I will be able to blog again, so I just wanted to thank everyone for everything they have done to help me. Thanks for buying cookies, cakes, dinners and t-shirts. Thanks for the love. Thanks for the prayers.

Monday, May 18, 2009

My God is Awesome

Originally I would have been on a plane right now headed to Kampala. But plans change. I have been running around town today trying to wrap up loose ends, see friends before I leave, and buy more candy.
I had just got home and was on the cell phone with my best friend. I stopped at the mailbox to check the mail for the last time and what did I receive? My I-797 approval!!!!! I was approved on my birthday and I just got it. So I screamed in my friends ear and did a little dance around the mailbox.
So I think I now have the last piece of the paperwork puzzle in my binder. I hope I don't need anything else.
Now I just have to repack again and I will be ready to leave in the morning=)

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Packing up and Praying up

We are almost ready to leave. We leave in less than 72 hours. We wanted to ask for a little help with our journey. I have a list of prayer requests for all of you prayer warriors. Please cover us(my aunt Martha and me) with prayer.
Here is our list:
*God's blessing, guidance, and protection as we travel.
*Our health.
*God would make it clear which child or children are mine.
*Good lawyers and judges.
*The process would be smooth and move quickly.
*We would be able to help as many people as possible.
*I will be able to bring the children home with me this trip.
*We can keep expenses to a minimum.
*God's will be don in all ways.

Thanks and blessings to you all!!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Slight Change in Plans

I will not be leaving on May 18th. We got a flight out of Birmingham on May 19th!!!! and it was cheaper!!!!!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

I'm Off

Just wanted to let everyone know that I will be leaving for Uganda on May 18th. I am so excited I could throw up. I have been packing and cleaning all day. I have thought about this for so long that now I can't get my mind wrapped around the fact that I am going.

I need advice from all of you world travelers. Let me know what I should take. What I should see.

I'll be posting more later this week.

Thanks for all of your prayers.
Tanya

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

New Blog

Shortly after starting this journey, I asked God to help me raise money for my adoption. He gave me the idea of Believe T-Shirts. I have been selling them for 7-8 months locally and have success. I am starting a new blog to sell them online. Please visit my new blog and tell me what you think. Let me know how you like the shirts even if you don't buy one. I know everyone is on a budget. All of the profits go to my adoption fund.
Thanks,
Tanya


Believet-shirt.blogspot.com

Monday, May 4, 2009

Light bulb Moments

In First Grade, we have what we call 'Light bulb Moments'. It is when no matter how hard you have been teaching or how many times or ways you teach a concept a student just doesn't understand it. You go on and weeks later all of a sudden the student understands. You haven't done anything different. They just get it. The light bulb has come on.

Lately I have been having a few light bulb moments of my own. God has been revealing things to me. He has had to show me in many different ways, by many different people, but I am finally getting it. I thought I would share with everyone some of the things I am learning.

A few weeks ago, I was reading on Brent Riggs' site, brentriggs.com. He was talking about how America had moved so far away from God. He explained that he thought because of our prosperity as a nation, we no longer felt the need to rely on God. Because God had blessed us a a nation that worshipped Him and were in His will we promptly turned our back on Him. 'We can take care of ourselves, we don't need God. We're doing just fine, maybe even better. We don't like Your plan God it is too hard.'
Sound like anyone you know? Maybe those complainers from the Old Testament.

So the question is are we going to learn from the Israelite's mistakes or is history going to repeat itself? Can we come together as Christians and change the direction our country is going? Can we change the way we think as a nation? It's not all about me and what I want to do. It is doing what God wants us to do. Can we turn loose of what has become the American dream, more, more, and more things? I am challenging myself to let go of the things that I think I can't live without and use that money to help those with less. I am trying to seek God's will more. I am trying to hear the still, small voice leading me.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Up, Down, Up

Last week I needed medication.
It came in the form of some of the candy I had bought to take to Uganda.
After I found out that USCIS had all of the pieces of my puzzle that they needed, I promptly called my senator the next day. They even had a little form for me to download and send with all of my information and what I needed their help with. I thought that was very thoughtful of them. My opinion of their thoughtfulness changed the next day. I was told that Atlanta was backed up and it could be as long as 30 days before my application was approved. There was nothing they could do. Call back if I have not heard anything in 30 days. PHSSTSTTHT!!!!(that's me making an ugly noise)
I just knew that I would not be able to make it to Uganda in time to get my court dates before they closed for the summer vacation. Thanks to the blog world my hopes were lifted. My new Southern friend, Teresa, told me that she had heard it was only taking USCIS 2 weeks to process I-600a applications. YEAH!!! Then the great news, her lawyer said that the Ugandan courts were not closing until July 15th. PRAISE GOD!!!!
I haven't made plane reservations yet, but I have put down the chocolate.
Thanks for all of the prayers and advice.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

One More Step

I just got an e-mail from my social worker that my home study has been approved by Alabama DHR and was sent to the Atlanta USCIS office on 4/16. PRAISE GOD!!! YAAHOOO!!! WHIPEEEE!!! Now I have to see if I can get my i-600a can be hurried up a bit. If anyone out there has any advice it would be greatly appreciated. PLEASE PRAY, PRAY, PRAY! I need to get to Uganda at the beginning of May so I can spend as long as I can with my children. Thanks for all of your prayers.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Consumed

I had a friend who was visiting from out of town ask me about my adoption. Her question was "Does it consume you?" My answer was YES!! You can't think about anything else.

When will that form be ready?
When will DHR be finished with my home study?
When will USCIS be finished with it?
Can I actually get everything done and travel in May?
When can I make travel arrangements?
What do I need to pack?
What do I need to buy?
What else can I do to raise money?
What do my children look like?
What are they doing right now?
What size are they?
Will they like me?
What will I do with my time in Uganda?
How many people can I help while I'm there?
Will I make the best use of my time?
Will I get to take care of my children as soon as I get guardianship of them?
When will I get to bring them home?

Theses questions play on a continuous loop in my head. I wake up in the middle of the night: "God please bless and protect my babies, whoever they are and wherever they are. Let me get to them soon and hold them in my arms."

I am not worried about these things. I know God is in control of it all. I just want my answers now.
I used to think I was a fly by the seat of my pants kinda girl. This is a whole different ball game.


Yes I am consumed.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Chip in

As anyone who has ever adopted or who has begun the process, cost can be overwhelming. I have cut my personal budget to the bare bones in an effort to save as much as possible.
I am making a fair amount of money with my t-shirt sales. I have sold cookies, chicken and dressing dinners, and next week we will be selling bar-b-que dinners.
I am open to any other fundraising ideas that anyone wants to share.
I have added the Chipin to my blog to take donations. I don't like just asking for money. It goes against my work ethic. I don't think you should get something for nothing. But I need help. If you would like to donate, it will be greatly appreciated.
Thank you and God bless you.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

African Children's Choir



Last night I got to see the African Children's Choir for the second time.  It was wonderful!!!!  If you have never seen a performance please go to their website, www.africanchildrenschoir.com  and check their schedule to see if they are going to be in your area.  

The choir was started in 1984 by a man visiting Uganda.  He wanted to find a way to help the orphans and was inspired to start the choir by a street boy he heard singing.  The choir has a school in Kampala and has purchased 15 acres in Entebbe to build a larger school.  The choir is made up of orphans from Uganda, Rwanda, Sudan, Kenya, South Africa, and Ghana.  The parent organization, Music for Life, has programs to educate orphans in all of these countries.  The children who tour are ages 7 to 11 years old.  They have to audition to become part of the program.  If they are accepted they are educated through their secondary education and some have also gone on to college.  To date the programs have educated 7,000 orphans in Africa.  
If you can't adopt an child this is another way to help.  They have a sponsorship program and they need chaperons to travel with the choir.  You can adopt short term:)

While the performance was awesome, it did make me long to go to Uganda and get my babies.  I got good news from my lawyer in Uganda.  He said if I can get to Uganda with all of my paperwork at the beginning of May, we should be able to get all of my court dates in before the system closes for June and July.  If I can do that, I can bring my babies home in June and spend the summer with them before school starts back.  Yipeee!! Wahoo!!! Holy Crap!!!

So pray that the wheels of bureaucracy turn quickly.  I still have to clear Alabama DHR and USCIS.   Thanks for all of your prayers and advice.