One hour from now…

I meant to get up earlier and write more. Most days our children have been waking up at 6:30, already hot and sweaty. Last night, however, it was cool and raining. We all slept much better. We did not wake up until 8:00. It's now 9:00. In one hour, we have one of the most important moments of our lives. We have the ruling to find out if we will be Sarah's legal guardians. We found out if she will be a part of our family forever. I am one hour from hopefully having a daughter, a beautiful baby girl whom...

Another Saturday morning in Uganda

It was Saturday morning. I woke up to the sunlight flickering through our curtains. I had just slept through the night for the first time since leaving Seattle on Tuesday. We were staying at Namirembe Guest house, a hotel that perches high on a hill looking down at Kampala. During the day Kampala, the largest city and capital of Kampala, is bursting with some three million people going in different directions by foot, taxi, car and boda. The pollution is thick. Vehicles spew black exhaust. Children play around piles of burning trash. Women cook over charcoal fires. In the morning, as we sipped...

More than black and white

The last two weeks have been full of incredible contrasts: joy and despair, beauty and fiflth, hope and agony, wealth and poverty, order and chaos. We landed in Entebbe late at night. The final descent was over Lake Victoria, the massive body of water stretching from Uganda to Tanzania and Kenya. We saw almost no lights, no sign of civilization. As the airplane wheels touched the ground, the calm exploded into chaos. Though only two airplanes landed around 11 p.m. - our jet from London and a prop plane from Kigali, Rwanda - it took almost two hours for us to clear customs....

Leaving everything behind

Mark and I are going to Uganda in about a week. No, we are  not planning on bringing a little girl home on this trip. But yes, we are hoping that this trip will bring us one step closer to bringing our daughter home. About a week ago, Mark and I began to feel like God was telling us to go to Uganda. At first, this felt basically crazy. But somehow it made sense. We prayed. We talked to our close friends. We emailed our lawyer in Uganda. We called family to let them know we might be leaving the country soon....

Would you move into that neighborhood?

This morning, I described the neighborhood where little Song spent the first year of her life. After writing the blog, I felt the heaviness of my words. About ten years ago, my husband and I had the opportunity to spend a few months traveling in South Asia. We went to Pakistan and I remember driving through Karachi in a taxi, seeing the slums along the Layari river. The poverty there is as absolute as anywhere in the world. I remember the feeling of wearing a veil, peeking out the windows of our taxi, watching little children play in putrid water. When I...

Where to start?

Last night we went to a birthday party for a good friend. Monarch, a local Seattle band, was playing at the event, which was an intimate gathering of maybe twenty friends. The music was awesome and the company was even better. I was sharing with a few of my sweet friends about grieving for little Song while at the same time hoping for whomever God would have us adopt. We heard last week about six month old twins in Uganda who need an adoptive family. While the situation is complicated and I have no idea if we will be able to adopt...

Frustration

Over the last week, I have spent a lot of time thinking about my sweet three-year old's question: "Mama, why didn't we hurry?" All my little man knows is that our family was getting ready to go to Africa to adopt this sweet little girl and now she died. He knows Mom and Dad have had to do a lot of paperwork. He's been patient during homestudy visits, doctors appointments and dozens of trips to the post office. He remembers praying for Mom and Dad as we were making the decision to adopt when he was just two. Now he is...

Remember

It was an ordinary October day. I was driving my son to preschool, watching the golden sun flicker through the autumn leaves. The director of our adoption agency called. I could tell she was excited: "I have good news," she said. "I just heard from the orphanage and they have a fifteen month old girl." She went on to tell me what she knew about this little girl. She had only been at the orphanage for a month or two. She had been placed by her mom who was dying of AIDS. She was HIV+. I felt my heart pounding in my chest as I listened to the story....

How did we pick Africa?

Many of our friends are considering adoption. Several of them have asked how we decided to adopt from Africa, specifically Uganda. There are some practical reasons. Adopting from Africa is somewhat less expensive than adopting from Asia or Eastern Europe. Most adoptions from Africa take one or two years, while families adopting from China may way five or more. We have three biological kids, so while we considered adopting domestically, most agencies told us it would be difficult. So practically, Africa made sense. At least in some ways. In other ways, adopting a child from Africa is sort of crazy. It is...

Peace in the waiting

I have never been very good at waiting. Most of my life, I've been in a rush. I was born six weeks early. On the first day of fourth grade, I stood up and told my teacher that I was done with fourth grade. He believed me and I started fifth grade a few weeks later. I graduated high school at sixteen. I began dating my husband the week of Thanksgiving in 1999. We began to talk about getting married before Christmas, even though I was just seventeen. I graduated from college after just two and a half years and we were married when I...

Garage sale update!

This weekend, we had a garage sale fundraiser for our adoption. For the last two months, we've been asking friends and family to donate things they no longer needed. Friends, neighbors and even strangers filled our garage with clothes, furniture, music, books and all sorts of household goods. We took maybe five minivan loads to my parents' house and set up the sale. The sale went really well: over two days, we made more than $1,100!  Amazing!! The last time we had a garage sale, I think I made $74. Asher and Micah had a little lemonade stand and bake sale too. On Friday, the...

Fingerprints, part two

Mark and I officially began our adoption journey last June. One of our first tasks was to get our fingerprints done for a FBI background check. This background check is one of at least four required by law for parents who want to adopt. We mailed in our fingerprints in July and began waiting. We knew that it would take eight to 12 weeks for the background checks to come back. While we waited, we finished most of the rest of our home study. Summer turned into fall, our kids went back to school and then last week four manila envelopes arrived in...