We are looking for paperwork ready families for 2 little girls in Uganda. They are both 3 years old, almost 4. We have an attorney that has reduced fees for both of them. One of the girls has a problem with her elbow that should be easily treatable in the US and have no lasting effect on her arm. If you think one of these girls could become a part of your family, please leave me a comment or contact me at the email address on the right. We would like for these girls to be able to come home to the US at the beginning of the year. This would be a very fast process, if you are paperwork ready!!
Please go and check out this 11 year old girls blog!!! It is called Little Goody Two Shoes. She is trying to raise money to buy shoes for children in Ethiopia. Children that have never gotten a new pair of shoes, or a Christmas present. Buy one of her cute bottle cap necklaces and help her help others! Little Goody 2-shoes
Someone is trying to steal my joy! It’s Satan. He may use others to do his work, but ultimately it is Satan. But guess what? I AM NOT GOING TO LET HIM!!!!!!!
“The prospect of the righteous is joy, but the hopes of the wicked come to nothing”—Proverbs 10:28
“There is deceit in the hearts of those who plot evil, but joy for those who promote peace.” Proverbs 12:20
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds”—James 1:2
“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.”—Romans 12:12
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”—Romans 15:13
So times may be hard, but I am turning to God!!! The source of all joy!!!
I am finding joy in a beautiful fall day! I am finding joy in the smiles and laughter of my children! I am finding joy in helping others! I am finding joy in praying for those who are trying to steal my joy! I am finding joy in the upcoming birth of a dear friend’s child! I am finding joy in making new friends! I am finding joy in mending relationships! I am finding joy in spending time with my Holy Father!
This past weekend Awaka was able to help some of the children we are sponsoring. We were able to give them a hot meal and a new pair of crocs!!! I hope you enjoy the video. It blesses my heart each time I watch it. We are working on a website and hope to have it all up and running soon. You can visit it here. Keep checking back with us for updates, family sponsorships, Ugandan crafts for sale, and other ways to donate.
I have written before about Awaka Children's Foundation. It is the baby/brainchild of 4 Ugandan adoptive moms, including me. We are moving forward, YEAHHHHHH!!! We have profiles of some of the children and elderly of Kamengo-ffunvu up on our blog. Please go and visit our blog here. There are so many people that need help and you can help with as little as $5 and of course with your prayers!
Orphan Sunday is coming up on November 7th. Churches around the US are preparing for this Sunday. One of the ways we are preparing is in prayer. Please join us in 40 days of prayer. Even if your chuch is not planning anything for Orphan Sunday please join us in praying for all of the churches that are. I am posting the prayer suggestions for the next 40 days, be prepared it is long. You can also find many resources at the Orphan Sunday website. orphansunday.org
40 Day Prayer Guide for Orphan Care Begin praying September 28th. Thank you for being a part of this!!!
Day 1—Pray that the Lord would give you a personal sense of responsibility for the next 40 days(and beyond) for praying for orphans, your pastor, your church, and your community. Ask Him to break your heart for the orphans. Ask that He would help you see orphans with His eyes and His heart. Ask Him to use this 40 days of prayer to change you and your church. Day 2—Pray for your Pastor to have guidance and provision as he seeks to follow the Lord’s commands to care for the orphans. Day 3—Ask God that of the 2 billion Christians in the world, 7% would show hope to a single orphan, looking after the child in their distress. Ask the Lord to convict the church and the world that if we did this, there would effectively be no more orphans. Ask the Lord to show each of His followers that we can each do something. Day 4—Ask the Lord to help your church congregation to feel His heart for the orphans as seen in Psalm 68:5: “A Father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. God sets the lonely in families. . . “ Day 5—Pray for the fatherless in your community. Ask the Lord to protect them and to care for them and to defend them and keep them safe, Day 6—Ask the Lord to help your church family to live out Proverbs 31:8: “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute.” Day 7—Thank the Lord in advance for all that He is going to do to bring glory to His name in your church and community. Thank Him for the care He is going to provide for orphans through your church. Day 8—Pray for the Lord to raise up workers for the harvest from your church and community. Ask Him to call Christians to go to the ‘fields of the fatherless’ to experience the joy of caring for orphans as we are commanded in Isaiah 1:16-17 “Give up your wicked ways. Learn to do good. Seek justice. Help the oppressed. Defend the orphan. Fight for the rights of widows.” Day 9—Pray that God would break the heart of your city’s pastors with the plight of orphans. Ask that he would convict them to lead their churches to pray, go, and love in Jesus’ name. Day 10—Ask the Father to set the lonely in families. Pray specifically for families in your community who may be in the process of adopting an orphan. Ask for God’s provision for all of their needs: physical, emotional, and spiritual. Day 11—Pray specifically for any orphans you may know by name. Pray for their health and safety. Pray for their shelter. Pray that they will be brought into loving families who will provide for their education. Day 12—Pray that God, the Defender of the orphan, will rise up and secure justice for the oppressed. Day 13—Ask the Lord to lead the lawmakers in every nation to protect and provide for orphans. Day 14—Pray that your whole congregation will believe and be convicted by Proverbs 22:9: “A generous man will himself be blessed, for he shares his food with the poor.” Ask for the Lord’s blessings on those who share their food with orphans. Day 15—Pray for yourself as a church member. Ask the Lord to lead you on, that you might walk in obedience. Ask God to show you how to encourage your church family or youth to care for the needs of orphans. Day 16—Pray that because of God’s mercy, He will provide caregivers and counselors for children who have been abused. Day 17—Ask for forgiveness for Christians around the world who forget the orphans and forget to heed 1 John 3:17: “ If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need, but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him?” Day 18—Ask the Lord to raise up respite care providers to support and give relief to the caregivers caring for orphans who are waiting to have families adopt them. Day 19—Pray for your Pastor. Ask God to provide him with resources, encouragement, courage, and a strong prayer team to support him as he seeks to live out James 1:27: “Pure and lasting religion in the sight of God our Father means that we must care for orphans and widows in their troubles, and refuse to let the world corrupt us. Day 20—Pray that the Christians in your village, town, city, and country would believe and live out the truth of Proverbs 14:31: “He who oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God.” Day 21—Pray for government leaders in your country. Ask the Lord to burden their hearts for the orphans. Ask that they would feel compelled to protect and provide for orphans. Day 22—Pray for families who have members living with HIV and AIDS. Pray for the children orphaned by this disease. Ask God to provide treatment, care, and support through the church. Day 23—Ask the Lord to strengthen the faith and resolve of Christians working in orphan ministries. Day 24—Pray for any church staff members and leaders. Ask for the Lord’s hand of blessing on their lives. Lift up the health and safety of them and their families. Ask also that the Lord would break their hearts for the orphans in you community. Day 25—Pray for God’s provision for your church’s orphan care ministry. Ask Him to provide people and prayers and money and food and supplies to give the orphans all the care they need. Day 26—Pray for children who are not yet orphans but may only have one parent who may be sick or dying. Pray for the health and safety of their parent. Pray for God’s provision. Pray for protection for the children in these households. Day 27—Ask God to care for child-headed households. Pray that the Lord will provide for their needs. Pray that an adult would come alongside them and adopt them. Ask the Lord to protect them from abuse. Day 28—Pray for families who are taking care of their grandchildren or nieces or nephews in addition to their own children. Ask the Lord to bless them for their sacrifice and to provide enough food, clothes, education, and shelter for all of their children. Day 29—Pray for mothers or fathers who might be having trouble caring for their children and feel they need to give them up or abandon them. Ask God to help them find support. Ask the Lord to meet their needs and give them the resources to be able to take care of their children. Day 30—Ask God to protect children affected by war and violent conflicts. Pray that the Lord will protect their vulnerable hearts and keep them safe. Pray that a church will reach out to them. Day 31—Pray for families in countries all over the world who have room in their homes and hearts for a fatherless child. Ask that the Lord would speak to them even now, leading them to consider adoption or foster care. Day 32—Pray that every member of your church would remember and acknowledge and praise the Lord that before the world was made, He loved us and chose us, and that His unchanging plan has always been to adopt us into His own family by bringing us to Himself through Jesus Christ and that this gave Him great pleasure.(Ephesians 1:3-5) Day 33—Ask the Lord to help your church be an example of the Lord’s love for orphans as written in Psalm 10:17-18: “The helpless put their trust in You. You are the defender of orphans Lord, You know the hopes of the helpless. Surely You will listen to their cries and comfort them. You will bring justice to the orphans and the oppressed, so people can no longer terrify them.” Day 34—Pray for youself and the other prayer team members. Ask the Lord for strength. Ask Him to help you no grow weary in battling for the orphans on you knees. Day 35—Ask the Lord to encourage and strengthen your church. Caring for orphans and changing attitudes and beliefs and actions is togh work and the enemy is bound to attack. Ask for protection for your pastor, his family, their health, and their ministry. Ask for God’s hand of blessing on their lives. Day 36—Ask the Lord to release and speed any care supplies to refugee camps where many orphans live and need even the most basic necessities. Ask Him to cut through any governmental regulations or corrupt leaders to miraculously get the supplies delivered to where they are needed most. Day 37—Pray for families who are in the adoption process. Pray that God will provide the funds and help them with all the necessary details. Day 38—Pray for street children. These children live under bushes and in dumps and sewage pipes. They may eat meals out of trash cans. Many people walk by them without seeing them or view them as pests. Ask God to open the churches’ eyes to help them see the orphans all around them. Ask the Lord to provide food and shelter for the street children. Day 39—Pray for the health of orphans around the world. Ask the Lord to provide medications and treatment for the simple things that are unnecessarily killing children like unclean drinking water, malaria, dysentery, AIDS, and malnutrition. Day 40—Thank the Lord for the past 40 days of prayer for orphans. Ask Him to bring more prayer warriors into the battle. Ask Him to help you to continue praying diligently. Ask Him to continue to give you His love for the orphans. Ask Him to continue to challenge the hearts of your congregation that “He who is kind to the poor lends to the LORD, and He will reward him for what he has
If you have been reading my blog for a while, you know that Uganda has made a big impact on my life. Not just by giving me my children. But by making me fall in love with the country and its people. I have been working with 3 other wonderful ladies that I met while in Uganda, they feel the same way as I do and they are adoptive moms too. We decided to start Awaka Children's Foundation. We have travelled a winding road, trying to find what it is specifically that God wants us to do for Uganda. We have helped some people already, but we are beginning to focus in on a couple of projects that are near and dear to our hearts. We have also picked up a partner along the way. Lara Gordon a wonderfully organized Brit, has already started her non profit, Craft Aid UK. Lara was a volunteer at the orphanage that we all adopted from and has a heart for Uganda as we do. She is already helping an organization, Peace for Children Africa. They work with 'street' children. Children that have no home to go to, no one to look after them. Children as young as 4. We want to help too. Our dear friend Godfrey, who is our eyes, arms and legs in Uganda has also found a project for us. It is the village of Kamengo Ffunvu. Godfrey has spent a lot of time there and has sent us a report of his findings.
Kamengo Ffunvu Village Report
Kamengo is located in the south of Uganda, 45 Kilometers from Kampala. Depending on traffic it takes 1 ½ hours to drive, ther road is 70% tarmac and 30% terrible(dirt) as you turn off the main Masaka Road. Kamengo is a big county having over 80 villages, these villages are headed by village local council chairmen, who head a committee of 8 people, women being part of the committee. I basically did not move and check out the 80 villages, I did concentrate on one call Ffunvu village. I met the local leaders on my several visits and these are my findings. The population of Kamengo-Ffunvu village is about 1000 people, children below the age of 7 years taking the greatest percentage, followed by women and men last. Kamengo has a good number of elderly, poverty stricken people with special needs. I was delighted to meet kids with special needs. I met a couple of deaf children who were deaf since they were born, they have never attended school, because they count of Kamengo has no schools for deaf. I believe there are more deaf people in the other villages that make up Kamengo. I also met kids with eye problems, when I asked, people told me its because of bugs, dirty water that is a major cause. Parents neglect taking their kids to hospitals because they have no money and believe the local herbs will heal their children. I also saw people who were crippled with no wheel chairs, children with big heads full of water that need attention.
Education Ffunvu village has only two primary schools and one secondary school where all children between age of 4 years and 16 years go for school. One of the schools is called Andelo Primary Infant School and they chare 35,000shs-40,000shs as school fees from primary 1 to primary 7. The other primary school is called Kamengo Grammar School. This is a little further from Ffunvu village. It means kids walk long distances to the school, but is has good teachers and better buildings. As regards to secondary school, I went and viited St. Mark Secondary School. They cahre 80,000shs for school fees, but and additional 50,000 as registration fees for candidate clases like s.4 and s.6. Most children don’t have school uniforms, those who have one have torn shirts and shorts. Untiformsa for primary kids costs 10,000shs for girls and 9,000shs for boys, but parents cannot afford, no school fees. Books are very hard to get, especially children in candidate classes, need lots of books and parents cannot afford. Kids walk long distance and this affects the kindergarten kids especially who spend lots of time on the way and some times they never make it to school. 90 percent of children did not have shoes on their feet, no pencils, no toys to play with like balls, ropes for girls. Teachers are demotivated.
Health Kamengo Ffunvu village has got a inadequate health clinic run by and old lady call SSebuyingo Florence. She’s a qualified mid-wife and she has helped lots of pregnant ladies. 90% of ladies have given birth from this house clinic. She charges a small amount of 10,000shs from every woman that comes to give birth. She has 2 extra rooms behind that house where she admits sick people, especially those ladies that come to give birth and need medical attention afterwards. She really needs help as regards to birthing kits. These village ladies come with nothing and she told me that one challenge she has is that sometimes she fails to protect new borns from getting HIV from their sick mothers. HIV is quite high in Ffunvu village, many men and women are drunkards, besides they cannot afford buying condoms as at times they fail to get money for food, so they don’t have any for condoms. The lady told me she needs help as in mattresses, sheets, gloves, basins, soap, and besides the inadequate facility needs to be buil well with at least ten beds. She actually asked for any volunteers. As I was talking to her bugs did bite me till today my skin is itchy. She needs to fumigate her clinic. She always pays a boda boda guy to take people with complicated cases. She receives a little fund from the county council at the end of the month to carry out that good work. Ffunvu village has a lot of Malaria cases, many die fo malaria, ania, ring worms, syphilis, skin problems due to bad dirty bedding, jiggers as a result of walking bear footed. I saw maggots in one of the mattresses which come as a result of too much urine in the bedding. Children have dental problems, like decays.
Elderly Like I said Ffunvu village has a good number of old. Many don’t have good shelter. Most of their children are married to drunkards and many run to the city for greener pasture and never return home to help the elderly. Many need wheel chairs, need eye glasses as they have poor sight. Many don’t have mattresses. Many go to bed at 6pm as they don’t have kerosene lights to keep them going in the night. Many have back problems and need ointments.
Girls Many girls are in their teenage age, and they have a problem of monthly menstruations. They don’t have sanitary towels, they use dirty clothes and end up with infections. They lack knickers, bras, clothes and many smell bad. They need deodorants.
Religion Many are Catholics and Protestants, but by my survey, they are willing to give up anything for Jesus Christ if we do something. We need to evangelize and let them know Jesus cares.
Activities Many rear an animal at least at home. Mainly pigs, goats and cows. Many depend on agriculture for sustainability. They gorw mainly cassava, maize, matooke. They love growing corn for sale and ginger. If at all possible we need to help them with seeds.
Ffunvu village have many single orphans, a few cases of double orphans, many youth have HIV and any help as regards to ARVs is welcome. We need also to come up with a feeding program for kids, as Katie Davis does it. Many women also do craft for survival though they lack market for their products. They manily do baskets and mats.
Many homes in Kamengo do not have toilets. I saw people using the bushes. The water source is a problem. Like the picture I sent before, they share wter source with animals. I still have itchy skin from that water. Many cannot afford things like soap, sugar mattresses, mosquito nets. Awaka needs to com in and help as in sponsoring kids to school, helping the medical clinic, school uniforms, books, shoes, eyeglasses for elderly, wheel chairs, immunizations, and ARVs. I thank you.
I hope this report moved you as it moved us. We are trying to get money together for a well for the village and to help with some of the medical issues quickly. We would then like to start a feeding program and school sponsorships for the children. This is a chance for those with an abundance to give to those in need. Would you be Jesus for someone today? someone a world away? someone you will never meet here on this earth, but maybe, just maybe in heaven one day?
Since we are just beginning Awaka, we do not have our non-profit status with the IRS yet. If you would like to make a donation anyway, it would be most appreciated. Please leave me a comment. We will have an Awaka website soon, with an easier way to donate and craft items you can buy. I just felt the need in Kamnego Ffunvu was great enough to start asking for help immediately. Thank you for your help.
A year ago today, we left Uganda. At the time I was so ready to get my children, my aunt and my self home. I am still holding a grudge against the Belgium airport and Newark airport. They didn't make it easy, but we made it home finally. It has been quite a year. We hit the ground running, as I went back to work 2 days after we got home. The kids have grown and changed and so have I. They have both grown over 6 inches taller. Andrew has put on 14 pounds and Willa Rae has put on 8. They learned to walk 2 weeks after we got home on the same day!!!! and haven't slowed down yet. They are talking, singing, laughing, giggling, drumming, and playing tornadoes. I can't think of what my life would be without them. It makes me cry to think of their birth mothers that no longer have them. I am looking forward to what the next year will bring. More growth and changes for us all. And as much as I was ready to leave Uganda, I want to return just as bad!!!!! I hope that will happen in the next year also.
The following was taken from Brandi's blog. She is a friend that I met through a Yahoo group. She led me to the Penners, who led me to Uganda and my children and my passion. The only way I can think to repay her is to join her group, a group of women who are answering the call of Jesus to be warriors and change the world. Join us too.
Ok, the WarriorGirl thing is taking it to a new level. We have a new YahooGroup. Feel free to join. Just go to yahoogroups.com and search "IamaWarriorGirl" and join! Here's more info about the concept if you've missed me talking about it here.
WarriorGirl is a silly name of a blog I wrote last year when I was studying Beth Moore. You see, like many of you, I had struggled for years over the kind of woman I was. I'm not mild and meek. I'm not a soccer mom who spends most of her days baking cookies for her kid's class (not that these are bad things!) but I'm the kind of soccer mom who hangs at the park with other moms and brings up sex-trafficking! I have a big personality and a loud mouth. I felt for a long time like I wasn't the proper Christian woman/wife/mom. Then, one night Beth Moore is teaching on Esther and she begins talking about how Esther is a warrior. In fact, she then takes us to Proverbs 31 and says that the same word used for the Proverbs 31 woman is also used for Gideon - the great warrior. That night, I felt like I understood for the first time - I am a WarriorGirl. I'm still a girl who loves her toenails painted and a great romantic comedy, but I've got some fight in me :-)
This silly blog post of mine took on a life of its own as other girls read it and responded. It turned into a phrase we use quite commonly and everywhere I go, I meet women who would characterize themselves as WarriorGirls.
What is a WarriorGirl - WarriorGirls are godly women who have a burning desire in them to fight against injustice. We aren't going to sit by while children die and suffer in abject poverty or oppression. We are standing up as moms, wives, sisters, women to make a difference in our world. This will look different for each one of us - the issues may be different - the areas of passion - and the ways we fight against injustice. All that matters is that we are passionately pursuing the God of justice and seeing His kingdom come in this world. We aren't apologizing anymore. Yep, we are girls - but we are also warriors :-)
That brings us to today - we wanted to start to form a place for community. Many WarriorGirls feel out of place in this world. As we fight injustice we can find that many people find us uncomfortable. This leaves many warriorgirls either abdicating the swords to be more palatable to the people around them or feeling extremely lonely. We wanted to form this group as a place we can encourage and challenge each other. Tell us about your passions, your causes....let's brainstorm together, let's support one another, let's cheer each other on and most of all - let's hit our knees together.
Most of us are involved in what we call iFast58, fasting and praying each Wednesday for the world's poor, hungry and oppressed as well as those that serve them. (email me privately for more info!) We also frequently set up prayer conference calls just for the warriorgirls to lift one another before the throne.
Thanks for joining us. Thanks for your passion for the poor. Thanks for not giving up your sword even though it may make you feel crazy at times :-) You are world changers and I'm thrilled and honored to be your friend and fellow WarriorGirl.
Now, go join the group and introduce yourself!!! Oh yeah, and feel free to spread the word to other warriorgirls out there. You can use any of this post you want in a blog or FB or write your own thoughts about being a WarriorGirl!
A year ago today, my Aunt and I left for Uganda. I left on the physical part of a journey that had already begun emotionally, mentally and spiritually. I would not have changed a minute of it. Not the roller coaster of emotions, hours stuck in Kampala traffic, or cold showers. I have finally managed to get our adoption story finished. It's long. I hope you enjoy it. To those of you who shared part of the journey, THANK YOU!!! My children and I are better people for knowing you. You are now family for life. If there is anyone out there who is considering adopting, Pray!! I hope this story helps your decision.
My adoption story began over 3 years ago. I felt God calling me to adopt. Not just to adopt, but to adopt from Africa. I met with my pastor and asked him 'How do you know the difference between God calling you to do something and loosing your mind?' His answer was to pray and to move forward, if doors opened it was Gods will and not mine and to continue to pray. That was the best advice I could have gotten. I started doing research and praying and was led to the country of Liberia. I found an agency that I wanted to work with and contacted them. They were doing a lot of humanitarian work that I thought was great. I made preliminary plans to help them with donations for the area school. There was also a chat group of people that had or were adopting through the agency that I joined. It was through this group that I later learned that the agency had some questionable practices and were being investigated. It became clear to me that this was not the agency or the country for me. It was through one of the women in the group however, that I was introduced to Jena and Keith Penner. When I contacted Jena, she told me about their experience. She also said they were going to do more work on the process. In the meantime I started raising money and praying, praying mostly. In February 2009 Keith returned to Uganda to do more work with orphanages and attorneys to see who would be willing to work with people on guardianships. When he came back with good news about Sanyu Babies Home, I kicked things into high gear. I started my home study in February and was told it would take 3 months. That did not fit in to my summer traveling time line. God stepped in and my home study was completed by the end of March. My I-600a approval also moved along quickly. I actually got my letter of approval on my birthday, May 12. During this time I was emailing Peter Nyombi and Barbara at Sanyu to make sure I had all of my documents and that traveling in May was a good idea. They both gave me the green light, so I started looking at flights. I was planning on leaving the first week in June after school was out. For some reason the price of airfare jumped about $500 from the end of May to the beginning of June. I prayed again and God told me to leave earlier. ( I know this airfare stuff doesn't seem important, but it is all about God's timing). My aunt Martha and I left Birmingham on a sunny Alabama morning and by lunch time we were in Houston(yes I know Houston was in the wrong direction, but it was the best flight we could get). We spent the evening flying to Amsterdam and arrived there in the early morning. We arrived in Entebbe late at night. I think we must have been the last ones off the plane, through the health check and visa lines. Thankfully our luggage all made it and best of all Godfrey was waiting on us. We finally got to the guest house at midnight. I took the coldest shower in my life and was so very grateful to have it. (First lesson of the guest house, you have to turn on the water heater.) We crashed into our beds and awoke a couple of hours later, we even beat the mosque singer up. We were greeted outside by some of the older kids in the orphanage and then I met with Barbara, the administrator of the orphanage, before we went to meet Peter. She told me there were only 3 girls in the age range I was hoping to adopt. She also said they had only been there a short time, I didn't know what that meant, but she said to let Peter know. We then went to meet Peter. The meeting with Peter went so quickly. I had been told that things would go so slowly in Africa. I gave him my paper work and he told me to go back to the orphanage and pick a child that day. WHAT!?!?!? Today?!?!? He explained, that because the girls had not been at the orphanage long, there was extra work that would take extra time, so we had to get started quickly. I had to get back to his office with all of the information on the child that afternoon. I think my mouth must have been hanging open at this point. So back to the orphanage we went. I met with Barbara again and explained that Peter wanted me to pick a child today. She had us taken to the classroom where I was shown the children that were available. I prayed that God would show me the child that was to be mine. I had been praying this for the last 4 months and now the time was here. Only two of the girls were in the room to begin with and I spent some time in prayer with both of them. Then they brought in Irene. She was so adorable. She ad on a rubbled dress with the lace trim coming off in places over sweat pants and nappy. She was completely bald and had the chubbiest cheeks you have ever seen. She had NO expression on her face at all. I continued to pray and god said "She is your daughter." So it was back to Barbara's office to tell her my decision. She then sent for Irene to be dressed. Off we went with Godfrey, and a social worker from the orphanage. The whole time we were out Irene's expression never changed. It was during this time we discovered that Irene had only arrived at the orphanage on Sunday. Here is where God's timing comes into play. Before I left the US there had been information going around that there were NO GIRLS AVAILABLE at Sanyu. Some people had suggested I wait and go later, but God's timing was perfect!!! After that whirlwind of activity it was a waiting game. We waited for all of the documents we needed and we waited for a court date. While we waited we worked at the orphanage. We helped in class and at meal times. Martha even helped organize the clothes closet at Sanyu. Everyday I grew closer to Irene. She was coming out of her shell more and more. We were in class one day when the brought in the saddest looking little boy. He was so weak all he could do was sit in the same spot while all of the other kids played around him. His name was Andrew. He had just gotten back from the hospital. Everyone said he had Sickle Cell Anemia. We began praying for his healing and for a family to come to take him to the US, where he could get the medical care he needed. No one came and we grew closer every day. About a year before I left, God had told me I would adopt 2 children, a girl and a boy. Because I didn't have the money and because it was against the law in Uganda I didn't think this would be possible. We continued to pray for a family for Andrew and God told me I was supposed to be his mother. I went and talked to Peter to see if he thought it was possible to get guardianship of Andrew because of his medical condition and he said he thought we had a case. I then asked Barbara's permission to seek guardianship for Andrew also. She said yes!!! so now to come up with the money. I can never thank my parents or friends enough for raising the money for Andrew's case. Peter filed the paper work and told us to get started on his blood tests. We went to the clinic for the tests and waited for the results. A few days later the results were in. Andrew was NOT Sickle Cell Anemic, not even a carrier for the condition!!!!!! I have never been so happy and so scared at the same time. He was healthy, but would I still be able to proceed with his case? I met with Peter again and he said we would proceed. In the mean time we went to court for Irene. We went into the judges chambers and sat while the lawyers and the judge did all of the talking. he told us to come back in a week for our ruling. A week later we returned. The judge granted me guardianship, but added that in the future, he wanted the children to have been in the orphanage for 6 months before they were adopted out. Once again it was the combination of joy and fear. Andrew had only been in the orphanage for 1 month. thankfully Peter said we would continue on with his case. So we prayed and worked and waited until Andrew's court date. This court appearance was a little more stressful, because the judge started saying he was going to deny the petition. Peter and he traded arguments, which included leaving Andrew in Uganda for 6 months(not a good plan from my point of view). At last the judge gave my aunt and I a opportunity to speak. We basically became the emotional wrecks we were and tearfully asked/begged for the honor to become Andrew's family. Thankfully the prayers and tears worked and he asked us to come back in 2 weeks for our ruling. Praise God, when we went back he granted me guardianship. Adding Andrew's case and waiting for visas delayed our travel plans. After a couple of flight changes and more time in airports than I ever want to spend again, we came home on August 3.
I would not trade on minute of the time I spent in Uganda. It allowed me to bond with my children, learn more about their beautiful country and to see the great needs that exist there. The people I met have not just become friends, but I consider them family. I can never thank them enough for the support they gave us during our time there.
Words cannot express how faithful God has been through out this process!!!! Seek God, listen to God, follow God and the blessings are so much better than you could ever imagine. His ways are higher than our ways!
When I approach something, I usually approach it with a 'what would Jesus do' or 'Christian' attitude. I try anyway. I can say that it doesn't always happen. I have a temper. Things rile me up(those moneychangers riled Jesus up too). But I do try to make the attempt. Now that doesn't mean I still don't make mistakes. I hope I am not sounding self-righteous, that is not my intent. I try to do the same when I am writing, reading, and commenting on blogs. As a 'blogger', I have come to realize, a lot more people read my blog than I ever thought would. It makes me very happy to know that family and friends around the world could keep up with my adoption journey and are still following my family's life. It makes me even more happy to know that I have picked up fans that are more interested in adopting now that they have read my blog. I hope that what I write encourages and informs, not just about adoption, but about living life. It is my responsibility as a Christian to 'share the good news'. The internet has given me a new forum to do that. I have posted blogs about my spiritual journey as well as my adoption journey(they are very closely tied). These blogs I hope help more people than my adoption blogs. I ask for comments. I need to know from people who have more experience and different experiences what they have learned. I guess it is the teacher in me also. Thanks to anyone who has left me a comment!! I can honestly say that I have not gotten any that I didn't post just because they didn't agree with me. I know I need correction sometimes. God uses it on His children, just as we should use it on ours. It should always be done in love, even if it is hard to think of it that way when it is happening. Now that being said, I hope nothing I have ever posted has hurt anyone, be it comment or blog. But I do have a responsibility as a Christian to let someone know if they might be travelling a dangerous path. We are to look out for one another, whether or not it is a fellow Christian or not. I am going to make up a PURELY HYPOTHETICAL SCENARIO. I have a friend who blogs. Her husband is in the military. They have lived all over the world, away from family and friends. I know this can be a very difficult life. She starts writing blogs about how her husband has been deployed and she really misses him. I try to support her and leave a comment on her blog that I am praying for her. She says thanks, and everyone is happy. Then I continue to read her blog posts and read that she develops a friendship with a man who's wife is deployed and he is feeling the same loneliness. Their children play sports together and they have started spending time together and she is so grateful for his company. I am happy that she has found someone to spend time with, but I might tell her that I am concerned about this 'friendship' and caution her to please be careful. I am not saying she is no longer a Christian, good mother or good wife. I am not attacking her character, just offering some Bible-based guidance. I would like to do this privately, but I don't have any other way of contacting her, so I leave a comment on her blog. I would do the same for a friend that lives in the same town as I do, why wouldn't I show concern for what a friend has put out for the entire world to see. I know that sometimes when you are in a situation you can't see what might be coming down the road. You are too busy dealing with what you have going on right now. I would hope that she would take the advice and consider what is going on, how it might affect her family and other military families. Now here is the question, Does my friend have the right to call into question my 'Christianity' because I have had the audacity to offer advice on something she has posted very publicly? Do others that read her blog have the right to attack me also? The answer is, that they can. But what is my reaction going to be? As a Christian, I shouldn't lash out. Fighting between Christians makes the devil happy. If he can get us fighting one another, he doesn't have to work so hard. We can do more damage to our witness than he ever could. Blogging is like speaking. Words, once they are out there, can not be taken back. You have a far larger audience also, unless of course you have your own talk show. So here is a little more advice from someone who has been there. Be careful what you say. Remember when you read something that you might not be reading it in the tone that it was written. Not everyone is going to agree with you, and if they don't you might want to find out why. You might learn something. I know my opinions of things have changed over the years. If someone doesn't agree with you, it doesn't mean that they are evil, they might actually care about you alot.
PLEASE be careful about what you say and write as a Christian. It does have eternal consequences.
I have been thinking a lot about earthly desires vs. spiritual desires. What are we desirous of here on earth? What should we be desiring eternally? I am afraid that I was disappointed in myself and Christians as a whole. Shouldn't we all be more concerned about things that are going to have eternal implications and not just during our time here on earth? I mean, our time here on earth is just a vapor, our bodies are just a tent. Spiritual things are going to have ETERNAL consequences!!!! So I have been asking myself a lot of questions. Some I got from blogs and even facebook. Some I got from my pastor. And some I believe came from God. -Why do we work so hard to have more things here on earth? -Are we on a mission to be wealthier or holier? -Do we need a bigger house? Are we going to use it to give foster kids or orphans or the homeless a place to stay? or are we going to use it to house more stuff we have to work more to buy? -Do we really need a new car? boat? camper? vacation home? Are they going to teach our children to be better Christians? Are they going to bring us closer to God? -How much money do we need? Do I need a years salary in savings? -Can my money work for others better than it can work for me? - If I am using what God gives me wisely do I need to worry about having $1 million before I retire? -What is the way I am living my life teaching my children? -Am I training them to be pro athletes or prayer warriors? -Are we trying to lift up ourselves or lift up Jesus? -Am I living a life that brings glory to God or glory to me? -What am I using my God-given talents for? -How much money are our churches spending on programs like Upward sports and VBS when there are hungry people in our neighborhoods? -Why will we do anything to save someone's physical life, but we won't share the gospel with them(save their spiritual life) -Wouldn't spending eternity with them be better than a few more years? -Do $300 jeans really fit better than $30 jeans? Couldn't that $270 buy groceries for a family in need for a month? -Do $500 shoes wear out any less than $50 shoes? Couldn't that $450 send a slum boy in Uganda to boarding school for a year? YES, food, shelter, clothing and education for a year.
Unfortunately we as Christians have largely succumbed to the world's marketing. Women should look like Paris Hilton and keep a schedule of perfectly planned 'Martha Stewart' events, not be a Proverbs 31 woman. Men are expected to work 80+ hours a week to provide all of the 'things' his family needs, not be the spiritual head of the home. We only worry about the immediate. What do I want right now? What can I have right now if I whip out the credit card? What can I have more of?
The big question is 'What can I do right now and for the rest of my life here on earth that will have eternal implications?' I am trying to come up with the answer to this one too. Leave me a comment and let me know what your answers are.
I have been writing down my adoption story in its entirety. I know it is posted in pieces, but I wanted to have it in one complete place. As I was writing(and continue to do so) I began to remember all of the things that I learned along the way. Some were personal lessons and some were learned just by observing others.
1. You can call yourself a Christian, but it is the way you treat others that proves it. You can not be a good example of a Christian and be selfish. You can't be stingy with those less fortunate than you and be a good example of a Christian. Remember the story of the widow's mite (Luke 21:1-4). If you are dealing with people who make about $20/day (or MONTH) and would do anything you ask them to do give them extra, not just money, but kind words, don't be demanding. Treat them as a friend not an employee. 2. Put yourself in the other guys shoes every once in a while. We are not entitled to ANYTHING. Think about the torture your heart would have gone through to give your child away, even if you knew it meant a better life for them. If you think you are having a hard time look around you; there are people that have it much harder. Don't get bent out of shape if you can't go shopping because your driver has to help someone take care of their sick child. You will live if you don't get one more pair of sandals or one more bead necklace. The child may not. 3. Follow the rules. There are times when all of us wish the rules were different. The truth is the rules are there for a purpose: To protect those who need protecting. If you break the rules someone will get hurt. It may not be you and it may not be now, but someone will get hurt. 4. Trusting in God can sometimes be hard. This is a very personal lesson. We want to know the plan and when every step is going to happen. God's plan is better than ours could ever be. De doesn't have to share it with us, we just have to trust. Don't worry, believe, and sit back and enjoy the ride. 5. Prayer works! Another very personal lesson. I have too many experiences with this to go into. I can't say it enough "COVER IT IN PRAYER!!!!!!" And by IT I mean everything. Things that you may thing are petty and minute still need to be covered in prayer. 6. Americans take so much for granted!!! We have it so good that it is sickening! Electricity, water, shelter, food. Instead of wasting money on things that don't matter, we should be doing more to help others. I am not talking about a free handout. I am talking about building wells so that a community can have clean drinking water, providing children with an education and adults with job training. We can do so much more than we are doing. 7. Waiting is not a bad thing. While you are waiting you can do all kinds of things. Pray, meditate on scripture, help at the orphanage, make friends with other adoptive parents, learn more about the country, learn more about the people taking care of your children. Look for ways to help others. it makes the waiting pass faster. 8. Sugar is better than vinegar. Being demanding and obnoxious might work if you are trying to return something without a receipt at Target, but it doesn't work with Ugandans. it makes you look petty and rude. It is also damaging to the adoption/guardianship process if you try to tell the Ugandan government they don't know how to take care of their country's children. 9. Children are a great gift and we should feel privileged to receive it. That's right, it is a privilege, not a right. Treat it that way. Countries don't have to let Americans come and adopt their children, it is a very special gift that should be cherished. Thank God every day for the opportunity to parent and ask for wisdom and guidance to do it. 10. Most important of all, let go and let God. We can not do anything by ourselves. It must be God's will or it will not happen. The adoption road is not easy, but it will be impossible if you are not in God's will. Don't proclaim your desires as begin God's desires unless you are sure they are. They will go unfulfilled.
I will post my adoption story later.
If anyone has any lessons that they learned, please leave me a comment.
Hi, I am Tanya (pronounced Tonya), I am single and have 2 children of my own that I adopted from Uganda. Both under the age of 2. What was I thinking?(I wasn't I was listening to God).
I am a first grade teacher.
I am very involved with my church.
I live in Alabama(ROLL TIDE!!!).