Days 11 & 12

Day 11 – Sunday
Today was a down day – a day to relax. Sister was feeling much better and came over to visit. It actually went quite well while she was here. Mayer seemed more relaxed and less clingy to her. Seriously – he is a different kid when she’s here . When she’s gone he’s happy, playing, laughing and wants to spend time with us. When she’s here he is fussy, clingy (to her) and quiet. It has got to be so confusing for his little mind! He did do better though – no major tantrums. I have come to realize that many of his tantrums and simply because he is used to getting his way ALL THE TIME. Sister spoils him like crazy. The second he wants something all he does is pout his bottom lip, start whimpering and she’ll give it to him. Anything. She’ll say “quick, give it to him, he’s going to cry!”. I yi yi. We’ll have some rehabilitation coming once we get home. :) All the little guy knows is to whine and I get what I want.

Sister stayed for about 4 hours. Keith ran out to Uchumi (a grocery store here) to buy a couple of things. One which was the Ugandan equivalent of WD40. Our bathroom door squeaks really badly and startles Mayer out of sleep. I’m happy to report the Ugandan WD40 worked well – no more squeaky door. :)

Right now our room is a bit of a disaster. I ended up doing all our dirty laundry in the bathroom last night and its hanging around the room, bathroom and deck to dry. I am thanking God for our washing machine. Hand washing laundry is NOT FUN. My back was killing me by time I was done.

We didn’t go out today – well, Keith ran to the store but Mayer and I didn’t. We just spent the day having fun and hanging out. We ate at the Chinese restaurant in front of the hotel – YUMMY. Seriously – best sweet and sour chicken I’ve ever had. Made with all fresh ingredients, including fresh pineapple. I’ve been eating fresh pineapple like crazy here – it is SO GOOD. And Passion juice! Yum! Why don’t we have passion juice in the US? It is the best. Slightly different that the way they make it in Haiti, but close.

Oh – I forgot to mention yesterday – we sent a long time outside and it was great. We decided to go for a walk around the hotel grounds (they say they have 4 acres or something, but we didn’t see that much). We found a great big, sunny patch of grass and had a blast playing ball there. Mayer and Daddy played for about a hour while I basked in the sunshine. We sat together and picked grass blades, gathered leaves and watched butterflies. Then we found a spot by the fence (hotels are surrounded by large fences/gates/guards, etc) so we could watch the traffic circle in front of the hotel. Mayer loved watching the buses (can’t remember what he calls them, they have a name in his language) the boda bodas (motorcycle taxis) cars and pedestrians going by. It was a good time and so nice to be outside in the warm (OK – hot!) sunshine!
Found out that my new sister, Millen is arriving from Haiti today! What an exciting time! I wish I was there to see her first few days in America. What an enormous change this will be for her. She is 15 and has wanted to be a part of our family for a long time. Cant wait to hear about her reactions to everything new here in the US.
Off to bed. Tomorrow is our court ruling. I am somewhat nervous. At this point, there is nothing we can do to influence the decision. It’s been made, we just need to go hear it. Praying she looked favorably on our application and we’ll find out tomorrow that we’re officially parents!

Day 12 – Court Ruling

Today marks one week we’ve been in Uganda and is also the day of our court ruling. We’re getting dressed and ready to go. Wearing our nice dress clothes and making sure Mayer looks very “sharp” as they say here. :) Off we go!!!

Bummer – courts been postponed. We got to the courthouse about 1030am. Court was at 11am. When we arrived we were told that there was a meeting at the Embassy and that our case has been postponed until 2pm. We decided to head back to the hotel, let Mayer have his nap – eat lunch and then come back. Naptime didn’t go so well today. Mayer threw an enormous fit at naptime. Screaming, kicking, flailing. I couldn’t put him on the floor – he would be banging his head and hurting himself. I tried to set him on the bed but he kept flailing around so much he was going to flip off. So I had no choice but to hold him. I held him for about 5 minutes while he screamed and tried as hard as he could to get away from me. After a few minutes I told him again it was time to sleep and laid him down in the bed between Keith and I. He stopped crying immediately, rolled over, stuck his fingers in his mouth and was asleep in no time. It was stressful while it lasted. He only got about an hours sleep, because its now time to head back to the court house. Hope he isn’t too grumpy!

WE HAVE A SON! We are so excited – we got a favorable ruling today! I felt like kissing our lawyer, but restrained myself and just shook his hand and thanked him so much. We were all so relieved. I couldn’t hear much during the proceedings. We were sitting along the back wall of the room. Our lawyer sat in front of the judges desk at a table. She started reading off her ruling, we heard the works granted, guardianship, America, passport, etc. When we heard the word “granted” I let out a huge sigh of releif and gave Mayer a big squeeze. Sister poked me in the ribs and smiled big (nothing like a poke in the ribs when you’re trying to be respectful and quiet). Keith looked at me and smiled this relieved smile. I know I was grinning like a crazy person. As we were leaving I met the gaze of our judge and said “thank you, your Lordship”. She didn’t smile, but nodded. I hope she knows how much this means to us – how she has changed our lives and helped make a dream we’ve had for so long come true.

After we walked out – Mayer started throwing a fit because we had to take away a toy that belonged in the playroom at the courthouse. He screamed the whole way out. Oh well – its over now – he’s ours! Sister took him from me and he kept screaming. Usually he stops crying immediately when she picks him up, but this time she was the bad guy too, because she’s the one that put the toy away! We headed over to our lawyers office to talk about whats next. We also got to pay our lawyer – which lightened the amount of US cash we’re carrying around. It has been stressful having a large amount of cash on us in a place like this. I’ve never felt in danger at all here, but pickpockets and robberies are common. Some other adoptive families here were victims of an attempted drive by robbery last night – they weren’t hurt and the thieves didn’t get the purse, but it is scary all the same. We try to keep all our money, passports, valuable either on us or in the hotel safe at all times. Just to be safe.

While at the lawyers office we sat around for a while so he could meet with some other clients that had been waiting. Mayer did great. He’s really a very patient kid at times and can sit quietly for a long period of time if he has some snacks or toys. Keith decided to try to run to get something to drink. The lawyers secretary informed him if he wanted soda he had to take bottles to trade in. They wouldn’t sell him soda without bottles. They had some bottles at the office, so Keith took those and went out on the street to buy some soda. When he came back, successful, with three sodas – Sister told him he was Ugandan now. I guess all you have to do is learn how to trade in soda bottles for new drinks. :)

We had our sodas and waited some more – then our lawyer called us in. We were able to discuss the next steps in the process. The secretary was typing up a letter. This letter had to go back to the court house and the judge had to sign it. After she signs that we take it to the Minister of Gender and get a letter from them stating that we can apply for the child’s passport. After we get that letter we go to the passport office and apply for the passport. Then we wait for the passport to be done. Then we can get our visa interview at the US Embassy and go home! Our lawyer said this can take anywhere from days to weeks. He seems to think it will take about a week. We know we definitely have at least another week here, maybe two. It just depends on how quickly everything goes. Things have been going VERY fast so far (arrived Monday, baby on Tuesday, court on Thursday, medical done over the weekend, ruling on Monday) but we’ll just have to see about the rest of it.

After court we did a small tour of the University here where our lawyer went to school. It is HUGE, crowded and has some great views of the city. We came back to the hotel and ordered a celebratory dinner of pizza and chocolate cake from a pizza place. Their advertised “super fast” delivery took an hour and a half, but that’s OK. Time works differently here. :) I won’t even tell you how much it cost. (OK – $25 USD) but it was a celebration – so that was alright. Don’t think we’ll do it again though!

Mayer played so well this evening. He is loving his bath now and doesn’t want to get out when the water gets cold. I let him take the shampoo bottles out with him when it was time to get out – so he didn’t cry much, just a whimper. Bedtime went much smoother this evening – I think because we spent a lot of time preparing for it and warning him. We’re trying to get an evening routine down so he has an idea of when bedtime is going to be. After bath, lotion, jammies, stories – lights go out and bedtime. It worked fairly well today. A little bit of crying but not much. Not screaming fits, which made me happy.

Fred flew to Florida today and picked up Millen! I am so excited that Millen is coming home! My mom said they were to arrive in Ohio about 1pm there time. I haven’t heard if they have arrived yet. Hopefully soon…
I’m trying to think if I’m forgetting stuff I should be writing about. I haven’t talked much about actual Uganda and the people we’ve met. Everyone here at the hotel has been amazing. They are very curious about us and our relationship with Mayer but seem very open to the idea of adoption and think he’s just adorable (which he is!). One thing I’m having a hard time getting used to is the staring. I am used to the double takes in the states when people see us with the kids or when Schnider was with us. I’m used to being stared at or questioned in Haiti, but this here is a whole different ballgame. People here stare so openly – pointing, talking loudly about us, questioning. A guy on the street today literally ran into another person because he was staring over his shoulder at us as he was walking down the street. People would stop on the sidewalk and just stare at us. One waiter stood at our table for no less than 10 minutes – half the time just staring at us as we ate. It is very different. I know foreign adoption is a very new concept for many here, so we’re helping to pave the way a bit I guess!
While out walking on the streets today two women begging came up to us. They were both young, dirty, skinny (except from the pregnant belly on one) and obviously very poor. Both had tiny, malnourished, big eyed babies strapped to their backs. We gave them each 1000 UGX, which equals about 50 US cents. They were so excited and happy as they walked away. A bit later we saw them again across the street, they both still had big smiles and waved and thanked us. It warmed my heart and made me wish we could do more. We haven’t been to any of the orphanages or anything yet. It has been a whirlwind so far, we just haven’t had time. Hopefully we’ll have some time this coming week to visit and deliver some love and gifts for at least a few of Ugandans orphaned children.
More tomorrow.


5 Comments to “Days 11 & 12”

  1. Hallelujah Salem, a favorable ruling!!!! So happy for all of you, and so glad to hear that things are going so well!!!

  2. I have heard of using a ‘decoy’ wallet or purse. You put a small amount of cash in it and carry it in a pocket likely to be picked, you carry your real cash, id, etc. on a travel wallet inside your shirt or similar specialty wallet. Rick Steeves, a travel guru says he puts one in his front pocket and just laughs it off if some kid picks his decoy wallet…glad Mayer is settling into a routine…if you could do something similar at nap it might help, but some kids never like laying down to nap as much as bedtime…sounds like you are having a great time/bonding experience

  3. oh friend ! I’m tearing up as I read this…i’ve only known you a bit so far but I love reading your journey and see how its going and so glad he is your son and hearing about how your days are going there makes me long to be there with our child! Oh how I cannot wait!

  4. Congratulations!!!! Hugs and kisses to you all, see ya soon.

  5. Congrats! Knew it would go well…you two are such wonderful people who could deny you!
    We carried pouches in Guatemala – around our neck. Had room for passport, money, etc.
    We weren’t allowed to go outside hotel with our daughter though…it was too corrupt then…even the police were taking children and demanding $ for their return. I’m glad you got to go outside and play – bonding even more!

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