Day 51 – Friday
Wow, wow, WOW! Yesterday was an awesome, exhausting, emotionally draining day. But it was a great day. One of those days that makes you say, THIS is why I’m stuck here….
Keltie picked Mayer and I up after breakfast. We made a quick stop at the grocery store for wipes and money and then headed out to her place. We hung out at her house for a few hours and had lunch there. Jeremiah and Mayer did surprisingly well – no fighting today which was great. Mayer is in love with Maleah and chants her name now. It is very cute. After lunch we (Mayer, Keltie & I, her kids stayed home) headed to the RUHU orphanage. The kids were so excited to see us! They cheered and said “welcome back!” and hugged us. It was awesome to see and all those adorable little people. We had to wait for Patrick (the orphanage director) to get back from town so we hung out there for a little bit talking to and playing with the kids. We had some suckers and jump ropes which were passed out. The kids were very happy. I let one of the older boys (Simon) use my camera and he and two other boys had a blast taking photographs. The four of us went for a walk around their neighborhood so the boys could take pictures. It was great to be out and talking to people I would otherwise never have a chance to interact with. I don’t think they see many Mzungu out in these parts!
We saw Patrick go by on a Boda and so we turned around and headed back to the orphanage to meet up with him. I wrestled my camera from Simon, we gathered Hamani and we set off to Hamani’s home village so we could get him social history and find out if he would be able to be adopted.
Hamani was pretty upset about the whole journey and was very reserved the whole time. He seemed visibly frightened and withdrawn as we approached his village and got closer to his former home. Patrick had talked to Hamani about adoption and if that was something he might want. Hamani says he would like a new family and would like to be adopted. But we needed to make sure that whatever family he had left wasn’t able or willing to care for him and would be interested in adoption.
We approached the home of the woman we were told was his stepmother (but who was really his aunt by marriage). She greeted us and invited us into her home. Her home was a two room mud and stone structure with a dirt floor. We stepped inside the tiny, dark home. The heat was oppressive. As Patrick started speaking to this woman Hamani started silently crying. He was completely quiet with tears in his eyes the entire time we were there. We were able to hear more of Hamani’s heartbreaking story and (her version) of why he ended up living on the street. I won’t go into all of the details here, but it is/was clear that Hamani is in need of an adoptive family. I will write something up about Hamani soon, but if you know of anyone who may be interested in adopting a 10 year old boy that is HIV+, please email me and let me know.
After we left Hamani’s aunts house, Hamani seemed relieved that it was over. He was a bit more talkative and happy. He played with my camera on the way home and we were able to talk some about what type of family he would like to have if he is able to be adopted.
We headed back to the RUHU orphanage to drop Hamani off and pick up Rachel. Rachel (along with her sister Rhita) is another child that we are hoping to find an adoptive family for. Rachel is an incredibly sweet, gentle 10 year old girl that needs a mom so badly. We knew little about their story, only that their mother had passed away several years ago and that their father abandoned them. We headed to the village where Rachel and Rhita were found three years ago. The road into the village was treacherous and we had to walk the rest of the way in as we couldn’t get the car in. Rachel seemed apprehensive about what was happening and stayed close to Keltie the whole time. We first met with the woman who found the children and had tried to care for them. She did the best she could when she first found them, but this sweet woman has very little and is caring for six children of her own. When she realized she wasn’t able to care for them, she contacted Patrick and the children were admitted to the orphanage. Rachel and Rhita were one of the first children at the orphanage.
We spoke to this woman for a while and she told us this amazing story:
About a year after Patrick had taken Rachel and Rhita, the girls’ maternal aunt (Grace) had come to the village. She had heard that her sister had died and was looking for the children. The woman who gave the children to Patrick said that the children were in an orphanage. By this time the orphanage had moved from it’s original location and the woman had no idea how to contact Patrick or where the orphanage was. Aunt Grace was determined to find these children. She moved her family into the village where Rachel and Rhita came from, and said that someday the children would come back looking for relatives and she would be there when they came. This was TWO YEARS ago. Yesterday, Keltie, Patrick and I showed up at the village with Rachel and were able to reunite Aunt Grace with the niece she had waited so long to find. Two years….I can’t even imagine. It was a beautiful, amazing moment as we watched Grace sob and hug Rachel in happiness. She was so grateful and overjoyed to have found her niece. I feel so blessed to have been a part of that sweet reunion.
During all this Rachel was overwhelmed and emotional. Keltie took Rachel outside the home while we were able to speak to Grace regarding the girls situation. I had Patrick ask her if she wanted to care for the girls. She said that no, she couldn’t. I told her that we wanted what was best for the girls. I explained (with Patrick translating, as she spoke very little English) that there were two options, the girls could stay in Uganda and we could find sponsors to support them here or they may be able to be adopted. She said she would like the girls to be adopted and agreed to sign anything needed. I will write up more about the girls soon, but if you know anyone who is interested in adopting two very sweet, beautiful girls – please email me. The girls are about 7 and 10 years old.
By this time Keltie and Rachel had come back into the home. As we were talking Keltie got a text message. It was her husband letting her know that the one paper they have been waiting on for their adoption was delivered today!!!!! Keltie burst into tears and had to step outside. They have been waiting SO long to bring their kids home – over a year. The end is in sight now and I’m so thrilled for them. As we all stepped out of the home, Patrick explained to the two Ugandan ladies why Keltie was crying and they both hugged Keltie and said “Hallelujah!”. It was beautiful.
By time we got Rachel and Patrick back to the orphanage it was getting late. We headed back to Kampala, made a quick stop at Nackumatt for diapers and then Keltie dropped me off at the hotel. Mayer was exhausted. Completely and totally. It was a very full day for our sweet little guy! We ordered dinner as soon as we got here, ate and then he crashed. I followed not long after that.
So that was our adventures yesterday.
So for an adoption update:
Not a lot of news. I may be able to meet with someone next week who has the power to let me go home. This needs SERIOUS prayer. I will be pleading and begging with this person to let the families stuck here with their children go home. I will give more details as I get them but right now start praying that God will soften this persons heart and get them ready for me.
Thank you for your prayers, encouragement and support during this trying time in our lives. I can’t tell you how much we appreciate it!