Day 9 – Friday
Today was a fairly un-eventful day. We got up early to get Malachi/Mayer to his physical at the Surgery. His appt was at 9am. We aren’t far from their so we were out the door at 845 and was there by 9. We checked in and then waited. The doctor called us back about 930 am – so we didn’t wait long. It was a routine physical but there were a lot of other questions about his medical history we just didn’t know. We did have some medical records that Sister gave us, and the doctor helped us translate them – turns out that Mayer was in the hospital a lot in 2008. :( Poor guy! He had pneumonia several times as well as some sort of infection in his shoulder that got into the bone. From the records it shows they had to actually cut into his arm to relieve the infection. He was in the hospital in April, May, June & July of 2008.
His physical went well and he got the OK from the doctor to travel to the US as long as his TB comes back negative. That is what we needed this medical for – for his visa interview. His HIV test was negative, everything else we will test for when we get back to the US. The doctor looked at the spot on his arm where his TB test was administered. He said it looks fine, but we aren’t able to get the forms signed off until we come back tomorrow to get the TB test officially read. Hoping and praying it is negative!
After the Surgery we went back to the hotel for nap time and lunch. Sister Christine sent us a text during naptime and told us she was sick all night, just went to the doctor and found out she has malaria. She’s on bedrest at the convent receiving fluids.
After the nap and lunch we decided to go to the mall, as we needed a few things from the store, needed to go to the bank and wanted to look around at some of the stores. The mall here is called Garden City. It is similar to a mall in the US – a large building with lots and lots of stores. There are three or four stories full of stores, restaurants, a movie theatre, etc. Mayer had his first taste of ice cream there. He seemed to enjoy riding in his Ergo and just watching everything go by as we walked around. We tried to get him to play on the playground but he wasn’t having that at all! He also was not at all interested in riding in the cart at the grocery store. We were able to pick up the few things we needed and then headed back to the hotel. The rest of the evening consisted of playing, dinner, playing, bath and bed. Real exciting – I know. :)
At times, Mayer seems more and more comfortable with us every day. We are also seeing much more frustration and anger in him each day. When he gets mad he throws himself on the floor and cries. I’m at a bit of a loss at the best way to handle this – there are so many varying opinions. Do we just ignore him when he acts like that? On the other hand, I don’t want him to feel like we are ignoring him when our trust is still being built right now. I know what we’d do if he was a “normal” toddler in a normal parental relationship with us, but our relationship is so fragile and new I’m feeling a bit torn on what to do. I don’t want to give in to everything just to avoid a fit, I know we’re setting ourselves up for trouble later, but at the same time I don’t want to let him scream and bang his head on the floor for long periods of time either. I’m afraid someone is going to hear him and think we’re torturing the poor kid! People are suspicious of us anyway. (You should see some of the looks and comments we get! Adoption is not very common here and a lot of people don’t even seem to realize foreigners could adopt Ugandan children. I think many of them haven’t processed their opinions on the subject yet and we are their introduction to the idea.
Ok – more later.
Day 10 – Saturday
This morning we got up, had breakfast at the hotel dining room (love free breakfast buffets!) and headed over to the Surgery so that Malachi/Mayers TB test could be read. We got in quickly, the spot was measured and we got the diagnosis of non-reactive. Woo hoo! The doctor is signing off on his medical forms and sending them to the Embassy on Monday. What a relief to have that part of it done.
After the Surgery we headed back to the hotel. Again today, Mayer seems to be acting more and more angry at me. He is all about Keith now and directing his anger/frustrations at me. For example – Keith gave him a piece of bread. He was crumbling on the floor so I asked him to give it to me so I could put it in a bowl (he eats most of his food out of this bowl, so not a big deal) I showed him the bowl, and put the bread in there. The point five seconds it took was too much for him and he threw himself on the ground screaming and crying. I tried to talk to him and crouched down in front of him, he screamed and started scooting away from me. At this point he starts banging his head on the (tile) floor – pretty hard. Both Keith and I are afraid he is going to hurt himself so I pick him up. He is SO mad and is twisting trying to get out of my arms. I kneel down and set his feet on the floor. He pulls away from me so fast and runs to Keith. Keith comforts him and he stops crying. Example two: I ask him if he wants to come up on the bed . He starts to cry and runs away. Keith holds his hands out for him to come up on the bed – he comes up and scoots his body far away from me and as close to Keith as possible. Last night I tried to lay him in bed and he screamed for a long time. I went and got him out of bed (he stopped crying) and rocked him until he fell asleep. Tonight, I figured we’d have to do the same thing. I wanted Keith to be the bad guy (I don’t want to always seem like the bad guy to him!) so I asked Keith to lay him in bed and I would go rescue him later (me becoming the good guy). Keith laid him down and the kid didn’t make a peep. It is weird because most of the time he plays with me and hugs me and I carry him everwhere and he is happy about it. He gives me great smiles and highfives and generally we get a long GREAT. But then its like something hits him and I become the enemy. I do almost all of his feeding, changing, baths, etc. I carry him most of the time and we use the Ergo so we’re face to face so I can look him in the eyes, etc. I’m guessing he somehow feels threatened by me, thinking that I’m trying to replace the only “mom” he’s ever known – Sister Christine – because I’m doing these motherly duties. I’m not sure. I’m feeling a bit lost as to the best way to handle these type of situations. I don’t blame him. I don’t think anythings wrong with him. I know he’s very confused. We thought we’d see more of Sister this weekend (not sure if that would have helped or hurt more) but she’s down with Malaria so she hasn’t been around. Feel free to send me thoughts and suggestions, especially those that have been there and done that with adopted toddlers.
I hvaen’t had a chance to update our travel journel yet, but wanted to post and let everyone know that everything is going quite well here. Malachi saw the doctor today for the medical needed for his visa. He passed everything with flyng colors, except language, which we’ll deal with when we get home. He goes in tomorrow to get his TB test read, and if everything is OK then they will sign off on his medical form. So happy about that.
His adjustment is going really well. You can tell he’s more and more comfortable with us everyday. He is such a sweet, happy little guy most of the time, but has a heck of a temper when he doesn’t get what he wants. Sister Christine told us he was moody – and she’s right! I can’t publicly share pictures until after we get our ruling on Monday – can’t wait until I can share his little face with you all. He’s a cutie!
More soon. Thanks for the prayers.
Day 6: Wednesday
Oh my goodness. What a day. It started off great. Malachi/Mayor (we’re still calling him Mayor – haven’t started to include Malachi yet) woke up about 530am. I got him up, changed his diaper, sat him on the potty and then gave him breakfast. After breakfast we played for a little bit. About 730 or so we all laid down together on the bed and all three of us fell asleep! We slept until 11am when Sister Christine called and said she’d be over soon (for breakfast!). So we all got up and got ourselves ready for the day. Mayor was a little slow to warm up this morning – I think he was confused at first, waking up in a strange place. He got more and more comfortable as the morning went on. About 1230pm or so, Sister showed up. Mayor exclaimed “Ehh!” when he saw her walk in, but didn’t get up from playing with his toys. When it was time to go eat, I started to carry him downstairs but Sister took him from me and had him walk. That was the start of the downhill part of the day. I took over as we got closer to the restaurant and carried him in. He sat and ate with me most of the time and didn’t seem concerned about Sister or Auntie Patricia (his nanny who is here too) until he was done. Then Sister took him. He was very tired at that point and after she got him this time, he wanted nothing to do with me. I’m OK with that – I understand. Of course he prefers her to me! It is just a bit frustrating to see her doing things like let him crawl up 3 flights of filthy stairs on his hands and knees when I could have very easily carried him up. She’s a very sweet lady, but there are so many cultural differences. Sometimes I just have to bite my tongue! After we got back to the room, he got angry when Keith and I tried to interact with him, throwing things and getting mad. He just wanted to sit with her. She wanted him to go to sleep, but he cried when I put him in his crib, so she went and got him out and rocked him for about an hour. We finally gave up on sleep, as our lawyer was coming at 4pm and by this time it was getting close to that. Keith finally lured him out of Sister’s lap with some snacks (surprise, surprise!) and we were able to sit and play together for a while before our lawyer called and said he was right outside the gates. We went down to meet him. I carried Mayor downstairs and he, surprisingly, sat with me with no complaint during the entire meeting – even though Sister was right across the table.
The meeting with our lawyer went fine – he just told us what to expect tomorrow and told us some of the questions she might ask so we can work on the answers to them in our heads before we get there. Judges here are called “your Lordship” and he stressed that they expect the upmost respect. This lady holds the fate of our adoption in her hands, and I am SO NERVOUS. (did I say that already?)
As we were wrapping up the meeting, Mayor – who was standing beside my chair watching the busses go by – decided to poop. I knew that Sister was leaving with our lawyer so I figured that now would be a good time to sneak out so that Mayor didn’t have a cow when Sister left. We said goodbye and I told Mayor we needed to go change his diaper. He made a few whining noises as we walked away but was perfectly fine once we got back to the room. He was so happy and fun the rest of the night! You can tell he is really starting to get a lot more comfortable with us. Coming to sit with us, laughing, talking and interacting much more.
As we were getting ready to get Mayor ready for his bath, my mom calls with some devastating news. Keith’s sister, who has been battling cancer passed away. It was completely unexpected and has hit the family very hard. Keith’s mom stressed that he should NOT try to come home. She knows him well – one of the first things he said is “my head it telling me to go home”. He isn’t going to go but it is very hard being away from the family during this time. The funeral is Friday.
Mayor went to bed about 800pm or so. He went down easily and went to sleep quickly. We have a big day tomorrow. I better get to bed. I will try to write more soon.
Day 7 Thursday – Court Day
What a day. Again. We are all exhausted.
Neither of us slept well last night – I got went to sleep at 1am, awake at 2am, then asleep again at 430am and we got up at 730am to get ready for court. We were supposed to be at the court house at 9am, so we met our driver (a really nice guy we’ve been using name Muhammad) and Sister Christine out in front of the hotel at 845am. We drove through town and got to the court house at 9am. I was freaking out a bit – so nervous. Trying not to show it. We waited out front for a while, then our lawyer called and told us that we needed to go to a different building and he would meet us there. We started walking there, as it wasn’t too far. On our way to the other building we stopped and had passport/visa photos taken. It was nice to get that out of the way. Then we made it to the other building where our court hearing was being held. We sat for a while waiting. Our judge came in and walked by us. We all stood in respect as she walked by and said good morning. We waited a while longer. Our lawyer (who is really great, by the way – he has done such a good job and been so patient with us) went to check on our file? Or something? So he went back downstairs. 10 o’clock rolled around and Sister Christine started getting antsy – wondering where our lawyer was. It would NOT be good if we were called in and he wasn’t there. A few minutes later he came back and announced that there were a few issues but they should be OK. Talk about my nerves being shot – I was a mess. I held it inside the best I could and just kept praying that everything would be OK. The whole process is quite intimidating – especially when I feel like I have no clue what is going on or what we’re supposed to be doing.
Finally, we were called into the judges chambers. The actual hearing went fairly quickly. She asked a few questions to clarify some things in the paperwork, asked for our I71H (which I had, but didn’t have a copy of, only the original – she didn’t seem mad, she looked at the original and then asked us to make a copy and leave it for the file.) She never spoke directly to us, only through our lawyer and we didn’t need to speak except to say yes, that we had the I71H. It was intimidating but it was over quite quickly. Malachi/Mayor did pretty well, he was supposed to sit with me to show that we’re bonded. Of course, he still prefers Sister whenever she is near so we kept his back to her and kept him distracted the whole time by shoving little snacks in his mouth. It worked. He only started crying as we were leaving and had to put the snacks in the bag. It was OK though.
Our lawyer said he thinks everything went OK. She asked us to come back on Monday (!) for our ruling. That is when she will say yes or no. Our lawyer doesn’t think there will be any problem so we’re hopeful it will be a quick yes. Thank God. I know we had so many people praying – I’m so grateful it went well. If we get a yes on Monday – our lawyer thinks he could have the passport by Friday which means we may be able to have our visa appt early next week. We may be able to come home early – which would be awesome.
After we left the court house we went to the lawyers office for a minute, then we took Sister Christine out to lunch. Can’t remember the name of the place – Nandos maybe? It was good – chicken and burgers. Mayor was really good all this time but we could see him winding down and getting quite cranky. He hadn’t napped at all yet and was so tired. Sister was adamant that we needed to go to the Embassy and meet with someone there who would “register” our family and give us a visa appt. I wasn’t sure about this, but we figured we’d give it a shot. We got to the Embassy, but they wouldn’t let us in. We found out they only do those appts on Monday, Wednesday & Friday (I think – I’ll have to look at our paper) and you can’t get an appt until you have your ruling, passport and medical done. So that was a bummer that we made it over there for no reason, but that’s OK. We left the Embassy and decided since we were out we might as well go over to the Surgery and get Mayors TB test administered and get an appt for this coming week to see the doctor.
At this point Mayor was EXHAUSTED and fussy and it just wasn’t fun. We thought we’d be in and out quickly, but the “it’ll just take a few minutes” ended up taking several hours. We had to wait a long time to even get in. We finally got inside and got the paperwork started. When they administered the TB test, he jerked and they had to do it a second time. It was sad – he was so upset. :( They were able to get us in for the physical tomorrow morning – so it looks like we’ll be going back tomorrow at 9am . Everyone there is so very nice and really enjoyed Mayor, even though he wasn’t a very sociable little guy at the time. By time we left (about 215pm or so) he had just about had it. He was clinging to Sister and just generally very upset. We got a taxi and made our way back to the hotel. Keith decided to go with the driver to drop Sister off and then go get some money exchanged. Mayor and I came upstairs to the room. It is such a relief to be able to relax a little! Mayor was pretty distant and not his self. I think leaving Sister is upsetting for him and it takes him some time to relax again here. As exhausted as Mayor was, I couldn’t believe how he fought going to sleep! I finally just laid down on the bed with him laying on my chest and starting humming and patting his back. He finally stopped screaming, stuck his fingers in his mouth (just like Schnider used to – same fingers) and fell asleep. He’s asleep on the bed now. We’ll have to get him up for dinner and a sponge bath (can’t get his TB site wet) but I bet he’ll go right back to sleep tonight. It was a tiring day.
Thinking about what we did today– it doesn’t sound that exhausting, but the heat, nerves, energy, etc all make it very tiring. And I guess we didn’t get much sleep last night so that is probably part of it.
Our lawyer says he’ll stop by later this afternoon and check in regarding our plans. I have a general idea of what I’d like to see happen in my head. We’re planning to go to the medical exam at 9am tomorrow. Come back to the hotel, get our stuff, pick up Sister Christine and then head to Ibanda. It is a LONG drive – I’m hoping that Mayor will sleep in the car. We’ll visit the babies home and see where Mayor spent the first 2 years of his life. We’ll stay in Ibanda tomorrow night then come back to Kampala on Saturday. Sunday we’ll have the TB test read. (Please God, don’t let him have TB – it adds a LONG time to the process, 6 weeks I think) Monday we’ll get a ruling. Assuming it is a yes, we’ll be able to do some fun stuff that week – as the passport probably wouldn’t be ready until Friday. We’d like to go to Jinja, see the Nile, go to the museum, visit a friend in Entebbe, maybe go to the zoo? We’d love to go on Safari and see the animals, but all of the national parks are pretty far away. We’ll have to see what we can figure out, our lawyer really thinks we should do it if we can. If we can get the passport on Friday I’ll try to get a visa appt on Monday. Oh – that would be so awesome if it all works out that way!
Just to help others in the process and keep track of how much stuff costs – today we spent 30,000 UGX on food – that was to feed all of us lunch. We’ll eat in our room tonight, so no dinner. I can’t remember how many UGX our medical appt was but it came out to almost $70 USD. I’m not sure how much Keith paid the taxis today – I’ll have to ask him and find out.
Ok – better get off here and get this published. More later.
Day 5 – Tuesday – Meeting Malachi today
It is 10am. We just heard from our lawyer – Malachi will be here between 2 and 3pm! We have a meeting with our lawyer at 11:30am. He said he’ll call us when he gets here. I’m so nervous!
Well – its 12:15am. No sign of our lawyer yet. Time moves differently here. :) Keith is napping (he didn’t go to sleep until 530am and was up at 9am – yuck) and I’ve been sitting here playing solitaire. I am scared that I forgot some important paper that we need or something. I think I’ll look over our paperwork again.
Almost 1pm. Still no lawyer.
3:30pm – Our lawyer is here!
Meeting went well. There is some concern that our judge has been sick and may not show up for court. We’re hoping she feels well and everything goes smoothly on Thursday!
We have Malachi! Mid-meeting our lawyers phone rings. He says Sister and the baby are here! AHHHH!!! We are so nervous! Keith gets the video camera ready and our lawyer goes out to greet them. We see Sister walk in with no baby in her arms. I peer behind her and see another Auntie carrying our sweet boy. He is adorable. He looks tired. He is so much smaller than we imagined. We hug Sister and greet our little guy. He is wary of us and clings to his Auntie (caregiver from the orphanage). We pull out a couple of toys and try to entice him. He’s not interested in the stuffed dog but the toy truck he grabs. We talk to him for several minutes. I reach out for him and he pulls away. We decide to sit and chat for a while. Sister hold him while we are chatting. The lawyer and his assistant encourage me to try to hold him again. I go over and pick him up. He isn’t exactly happy but I pull a bag of toddler snacks out of my bag and he forgets all about the fact that I’m not his Auntie. He sat with me as everyone ate. When it was finally time to go to our room, Sister came up with us to help get him adjusted to the new surroundings. She stayed until about 530pm or so, then was able to sneak out while I had him distracted. He has done fine since she left.
What a sweetie this little guy is! He was very shy and quiet at first but as the evening progressed we started seeing more and more of his personality. They call him Mayor at the home so that’s what we’ve been calling him for the time being. He is just so sweet. He has the cutest little smile and those chubby cheeks! He is very heavy and solid. He has been playing trucks with us – repeating after us and saying “Voom Voom” as we push the trucks around. He walks well. He has been repeating a lot of what we say and whispers and talks to himself. He’s said a few things to us that we haven’t understood, so he definitely has some words. We found out he loves balls. He and Keith spent a long time bouncing a toddler size basketball back and forth. We tried feeding him a couple of different things – a rice and beans type meal was promptly spit back out. I tried a beef and potato type soup and he ate almost the entire thing. I was so glad that Amy told me what kind of sippy cups they use, he took right to the one we brought from home. Sister said it was exactly like the one he had at the orphanage – even the same color. :) Keith ran out to the store to get a potty – we found out that while he is still in diapers -he poops in the potty twice a day! No poop for us this evening but we’ll try again in the morning. After sitting on the potty we got jammies on. Sister said he hadn’t napped ALL DAY so he was very tired. We kissed him and laid him down in his pack n play like Sister said he usually goes to sleep. He didn’t cry or fuss at all. He moved around for a bit, then I went and patted his back a few times and he fell right asleep about 7:30pm. Hopefully he’ll sleep all night.
We are so thrilled he’s here with us. We were so nervous/excited all day we forgot to eat! It is eight PM and we’re just walking around in our room figuring out what to eat. Can’t wait to spend the day with him tomorrow getting to know him. Sister is coming back in the morning to have breakfast with us and see how he is doing.
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