The end of July 2011 through a series of events the Lord placed on my heart a deep desire to adopt a child/children from Africa. Late September in the middle of the night He placed that same desire on Phil’s heart.
Here’s our story.
We started the end of September 2011. We ordered the packet and were told we needed a home study and a few other papers . We were told it took months to get these done...ours was finished in a few weeks.
Then we got a call from the orphanage the end of
November saying that we could come to do our 2 week
volunteering time, but at the time there were no
international children available for adoption. They said we would be at the top of the list and coming to do our 2 weeks volunteering time would make that official. Our plans were to come that way we’d be back before Christmas to spend with our children here in the states.
We were waiting for one paper to come in. (I couldn’t book our flights till we received that paper). came and with no paper still we decided to wait till after the
holidays. So we booked the tickets for . (Our paper came in the day I booked our January flights…) God had a plan!
January we packed and with much anticipation Kaitlin, Phil and I were off on our African adventure.
Before we even got out of the country (Chicago) our plane broke down . On the plane sitting behind us was an African lady who spoke no English. Phil tried to talk to her and after awhile she handed him her ticket. She was heading to the same destination we were so we smiled and showed her our ticket and told her that she could “pal” around with us. After a few hours of trying to figure out what was the best route to take we ended up spending the night in Chicago. We headed to a hotel with our little
“traveling buddy” with lots of smiles as to not scare her. Once we got to our rooms she showed us a paper that said she spoke no English and if there was an emergency to call her son in the states. ( She must have thought being in a hotel with strangers & not on a plane to Africa was an emergency—go figure..) So we called. After Phil explained what was going on to him , he then explained to her the plane situation and that we had to spend the night and fly out the next day.
So the time came to go to bed and she wouldn’t let go of me. After pointing to the beds we figured out that she didn’t understand why one of us wasn’t staying in her room. Nice of her to share, but after trying to explain that we’d be fine it dawned on me that she was probably worried we’d leave in the night and leave her stranded. So after another call to her son explaining to her that she could come get us in the morning whenever she wanted and that our flight didn’t leave till 3 in the afternoon, we all went to bed. The next morning we got something to eat and headed back to our hotel room -ALL of us- together, for about 6 hours, staring and smiling at each other. Finally the plane ride. She sat next to me and held my hand thru the whole plane ride. We arrived in London (not Brussels, where our luggage went) and waited a few more hours to fly out to Uganda…. In the mean time every security check we went thru our “traveling buddy” had to be patted down, checked and rechecked. I felt so bad for her so the next time we got taken back to the “room” where they act like they are going to drag you to jail I asked the security guard if she could pat me down too so my buddy didn’t feel selected out, so the security guard agreed and thought that was a nice gesture, and patted me down. As soon as the guard turned to let us out, my buddy took her fist and shook it at the lady. She didn’t like them messin’ with me. She held my hand and patted my leg the rest of the trip to reassure me it was going to be ok.
Oh well it was the thought that counted right?
In my journal—
Life is an adventure that God gives us. We can grab hold and enjoy the fact that God wants to use us or we can miss out and eventually loose our joy in life.
The joy in knowing that one day I will hopefully crawl to the thrown of Jesus, dragging my bag of crowns to lay at his feet for the things I were obedient in - to glorify HIM,... not to glorify me. The last thing I want to do is show up at his feet wearing his crown, taking all the glory. I want to hear well done my good and faithful servant. Not by anything we do or did, but in the fact that we have a gracious God that gives us adventures for Him, to glorify Him.
We finally arrived late in the night, walked off the plane with our traveling buddy, connected her with her daughter n law and headed out to find our driver... (with no luggage).
I cant even explain the drive from the airport to the orphanage but I’ve never been so car sick in my life. It’s about we are off to bed, which was a first time experience with a misquito net, but to tired to care.
Early the next morning with my world still spinning.
Kaitlin and Phil went to meet the kids without me. I joined them later to see a bunch of brutes supposing to be 2 years old or younger hanging on the gate… I think my eyes about fell out of my head and my thoughts went to my 9 yr old and the fact that I’d be carrying her on my hip instead to protect her from these giants. I think it was a toss up of the car sickness, flight, and malaria pill I was taking because within an hour they weren't so big.
Still being very queasy all I could do was sit and observe.. Kate handed me a little girl that was calm and quiet which was good, due to the fact that I had to concentrate on not getting sick.. we were a good match.
Some of you know this already but for weeks I had this
reoccurring dream that I wouldn’t know who God wanted us to bring home. So many people prayed for a clear sign. So, excited but scared, we entered our adventure of our first day...I was successful in not throwing up, and we all went to bed. Kaitie and I slept together in a very tiny bed under a mosquito net. I turned the cell phone light on to see what the stale frito smell was and a spider which was inside the net came crawling down to see us…... I hate spiders!
God has a sense of humor.
I got up a whole new person. With much excitement I headed out to serve with a smile on, ...just to have it wiped off my face. The “mama’s” as they called them were the caretakers. They were not the kind of mama’s I was use to.. I volunteered for everything, dishes, feedings, diapers, cleaning ...only to be ignored, turned down, shoved aside. So after being dismissed from the kitchen, I found a bench and sat to watch the kids. Then it hit me... I had never seen so much snot in my life. Vomiting came to thought but I quickly was distracted by a small child who had pulled herself up to lay her snotty head on my only pair of pants (yes still no luggage) but immediately recognized her as my “sittin” buddy from the day before, so I wiped her nose and pulled her up on my lap and the Lord began his work.
Journal Lesson #1
God had to get me calm and quiet when all I wanted to do was serve, work, and show Gods love. Thank you Jesus for rejection, fear, & being shoved away.
This little girl has a story. She had a large jagged cut on her arm that had been hand stitched together, not by someone who knew what they were doing either. The back of her head had been severely burned and behind her ear and down the side of her neck had a cut that had been stitched up as well. She was very small but something in her eyes, and face told me she was older than the 6 month size she was. She reached up and felt my face with her perfect hands all in slow motion as my heart broke over all the pain this little girl must have gone through. My throat choked down the urge to cry and she rested her head on my chest, slipped in 2 fingers to suck and went to sleep. I was hooked. Actually I was ready to come home, adventure over. I knew who God wanted us to have and so why torture ourselves any further......
Later that night after being thrown into the dinner and bed time routine of feeding, bathing and tossing 50 kids into their beds, we ate our dinner and crashed in our rooms to talk. Funny thing...we all had our experience with the little girl with the burns the past two days and we all 3 knew she was to be apart of our family. Now we needed to convince the main “mama” of our decision.
We scheduled a meeting with her the very next day and would you believe she wasn’t one bit appreciative of us doing her job.
Journal Lesson #2
Don’t have it all figured out on day 2 of your adventure and bypass any work the Lord has for you to do to get to the “prize”.
Actually, we never even got to mention that the Lord led her to us and that we had no doubt that she was the one. The Mama started right off with "don’t ask me about anyone just volunteer your time and if someone comes available I’ll let you know."
So... we went to work. Still not being excepted yet I put my smile back on and sang my way thru the dishes. Apparently there are different ways to do dishes in Africa, a right way and a wrong way...but that’s ok I “re” did them with a happy heart and eventually...on day 11 my dishwashing abilities made an impact. I got to share Jesus briefly while doing dishes correctly.
Nakiyinji is her African name, Rhonna is her given name by the
orphanage. (We will call her NaKiah Grace) once she gets home. Every morning I’d sneak in and get a smile during her breakfast. She is beautiful and I longed to hold her but every time I did one of the mamas would grab her by the arm and drag her away. I was so confused. Weren’t we here to bond, to serve and to get this process going?
Back to prayer.
Rhonna knew I couldn’t hold her. She would see me come in the room and would brighten up with a smile then hesitate like she was scoping out where the “mama” was. Eventually she would scoot herself up close enough to touch me. She’d put a hand on my leg or sit back to back to me.
After naptime it was free time. The mamas would take breaks and I could get my cuddles and squishes in. My favorite part of the day. But that lasted for only 3 days. morning I went to get my morning smile and she wasn’t there. I went ahead and did the dishes. Then went to her class. Kaitlin was holding her and Rhonna was burning up. I tried to get the mama to get the nurse but she said the nurse would be by later...2 hours later I just took her to find the nurse. She was so hot and limp. They took her to the hospital and returned with out her. She had malaria. For the next 3 days I loved on every other kid, did every dish shift and dove into the laundry.
night I decided to write the “mama” a letter. I showed Phil and Kate and we prayed and I put it on her desk...........And we wait.
Phil got involved in a street ministry with one of the adoptive
couples who's plan is to be there for 4 months. , , & they do a bible study and serve a meal to these homeless boys. we took a driver for the day and went out to Kisses from Kate, a feeding ministry. We sang and worshiped together, played and fed over 600 kids. What a wonderful experience and distraction. Kaitlin and I have been reading KATE"S book and it helped us understand a lot of the culture and the customs.
We went back to the orphanage and crashed. Cried myself to sleep, woke up and went out for an all day fun day with the kids. is a free day. So I sat on the mat with the little babies to keep watch that the “brutes” wouldn’t step on them. I felt a little hand on my back and soon a leg trying to wedge in . It was my Rhonna. I swooped her up , kisses in the neck and my heart filled with joy. She was still weak from the malaria but managed to find sanctuary in my lap for the day. The Lord is Good!
morning we were summoned in the office. Opps! I forgot I wrote the letter. Panic came to mind but quickly tossed that thought aside and decided to fight for my girl.
Phil and I went in scared of course and for a brief moment the mama talked and then asked “why Rhonna’. The only words I could think of was because God arranged it.
So let me tell you how Good God is. Rhonna arrived . Remember we were scheduled to come —the 17th...we would’ve missed her… Also remember the Mama didn’t have anyone to match us with then and was worried we’d be upset, so she said to come anyway. So after talking about the way God works..We told her we’d wait for Rhonna. Not to match us with anyone else because we knew she was for us. Mama agreed to start Rhonna’s process but with no promises.
Here’s the process:
First, they do a background check to try to reunite the family.
Then if that doesn’t work they try to get a Ugandian family to adopt them. Then if that doesn't work they try to find a family to foster them...then if all those fail they will agree to International adoptionAnd Yet Another way God works:
“If” she’s reunited with family, they could be arrested because of her abandonment, cuts and burns.
Since she is cut and burned Ugandan custom is that they at some time thought she had the an evil spirit in her and tried to get it out. The scars were enough to make any Ugandan not want her.
She wasn’t good enough to be fostered out because she brought
attention to herself by the scars and burns.
Ugandans pick children that match their coloring so they blend in. That way no one knows they aren't their own children. We were told that step moms can torture their step kids because it’s a reminder of the first mom/wife and that is probably what happened to Rhonna.
She was dumped by a pit latrine and someone found her and brought her to the orphanage.
What a Cinderella Story!
Her paperwork and background is being processed and our last few days were spent with hugs and kisses, tears and much prayer. was a bitter sweet day. Looking forward to our hugs from Izzy back at home and yet sadness of leaving our little girl alone here. We packed and said our good byes. We were allowed to bath her and spend some time with her alone before leaving. As we were walking back to eat and load up, Phil went in to the office. The mama stopped him and said. It’ll be soon. So the Lord gave us a glimpse of hope to fly home on .
So we wait, Pray and raise money. We’ve already met with the
Lawyer and turned in our paperwork. The court cost went from 8 hundred to 6 thousand. Not sure why, just that it’s a fact. So now we pray first for her background to clear which will make her ours legally. Then for court to go well, and we can raise the money needed. We pray she stays healthy. We pray for opportunities to share what the Lord is doing and let Him work.