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.
2 months ago