Tuesday, February 16, 2010

10Things I learned in Uganda. . . there are more but these are the most important

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.


Aly said...

Hey Tanya,

Thank you for your post. I wanted to add something I learned while in Mozambique, Africa.
** Love without limits, fear or contemplation. Do good to everyone.

I was often scared to show or tell people how much I really loved them or cared for them whether through a hug, a word, or a deed, but after spending time in a country where any moment may be your last, I found a renewed freedom to proclaim love with fervor. It's a nugget I try to live by now :)

Again, thanks for your post... the Ugandan country is so precious. It deserves to be cherished and respected.

Heather said...

Thank you! We are in the waiting process for adopting in Uganda! We are waiting to hear back from an orphanage, waiting to hear back from an attorney. AND PRAYING! This post is just what I needed today. So thank you!

Amy said...

Our trash is often someone else's treasure.
I had kept some plasticware from the plane ride to Uganda, and before I left I went to throw it away. My driver stopped me and asked if he could have it. It was pretty nice stuff- but every single person on every single plane uses it and tosses it. I bet it got at least a few months worth of use in Uganda before it broke. I have been really convicted about how I use things and what I throw out.