It was cloudy this morning when we woke up but that didn't last long, it was clear and hot by midday. I woke up to some of my favorite faces (Alex Chao and Mary Hellstrom) on Skype before we had to head out for our meeting. We drove to the Action For Children office and sat down to meet with Lydia, a warm and compassionate woman, to talk about the process of adopting, as we see/experience it. She was asking where we were in the process and how she could help us while we waited. She sought feedback on what the process looks and feels like from our end and I was so encouraged by her openness to suggestions and ideas. She really wanted to do whatever she could to establish a system that is understood by all parties involved so that eventually they will have a program that is consistent and as predictable as it can be on their end. I really appreciated her open ear and for seeing the value of what we were sharing with her. I was comforted to know that she was in charge and that she was on our side so that if need be, she could make some calls and get things moving when we cannot. After our meeting she prayed a phrase that really blessed me. She said, "God we know that where you have said YES! no one can say NO! so please be with this family as they wait." It was a strong reminder to me that God said YES to this adoption a long time ago, it was me and Nathan that had to step into this part of His plan for our lives. We can't stop it, the Ugandan government can't stop it, our judge can't stop it- no one can. Because God said yes, no one can say no! Afterward I pulled Lydia aside and talked to her about Anita. She listened wholeheartedly and wrote down the information and right then and there assigned a counselor to call her. She then turned to me and asked if I wanted to be kept in the loop about their connection with her and I said, "That would be wonderful. Thank You!" So I should be told if anything happens with her and if/how they decide to help her. So I continue to be a part of that story. Then we went downtown to the Watoto Church office and boarded our ride to the Watoto Village of Suubi. My mom, Nathan and I were part of an international team that built two homes there in 2006. I wanted to go and see the homes and possibly meet the families that are now living there. Watoto is an organization that rescues orphans and places them in village communities made of home environments with a house mother, schools, medics etc within reach. There are typically 8 children per home and its amazing the amount of need there is for such a ministry. Anyway, alot has changed since we were there 4 years ago. Now there is a technical training school, schools for children 2-25, homes for the teachers/professors, dormitories etc. It was amazing how they have students learning a trade like welding, carpentry, sewing, cooking etc and use it to help sustain the village by providing roofs, cribs, clothing, and meals. Its grown so much (and its one of MANY Watoto villages in Uganda) that it has even been expanded to another section called Suubi 2! I was so impressed at how innovative and effective they are being with the ways they help these kids and provide them with families, an education and opportunities! When we drove up to the houses we built we could still see the pit latrine (hole in the ground bathroom) we used during our workdays but the picnic table our team ate at everyday was gone. We walked the paved, smooth sidewalks in front of the homes and admired the tailored grass and landscaping. It was just red dirt when we were here last. We saw the plaques naming the two homes Robyn House and Claire House in honor of the two girls from Canada that were killed and a foundation was started to pay respects to. That foundation funded the cost of building those homes and even some of the family and a friend came to help us build them. It was an unforgettable thing to be a part of all the way around! It was surreal to be there again 4 years later. We worked on the Claire house mainly so when we saw the door was open we met the house mother and one of the kids, Ivan and they showed us around. So cool to see a home you helped build be a place of refuge for a family. We got a picture with them, our driver, and our friend Claire (ironic eh?). We traveled back to the apartment and hung out for a few hours before heading to dinner with our new friend Natasha and her daughter (also being adopted from the same orphanage Jaydn came from) Deborah. We randomly met her in the mall a few days ago and she gave us her contact info and we wanted to talk with her since she is from the UK and apparently has been involved/volunteering off and on at the orphanage since 2005. She has known Jaydn since she was a baby and has pictures from her time there! It was so great to chat and hear about her experiences and story of adopting Deborah. Her daughter is 9 and Jaydn lit up when she saw her! Culturally the older kids often take care of the younger in a family or orphanage so it was obvious the connection these two had. It was so sweet to watch. I'm sure we will be spending more time with them over the next few weeks. We came home, drank our evening tea, Nathan soaked his feet and are now settled in for the night. Tomorrow we finalize the medical exam and hope to visit the place Jaydn was found before being brought to the police. The Byerly's leave tomorrow night so Im sure I will sneak in a few hugs with Joyce before she heads off to America for the first time! So happy for them!
Our interactions with Jaydn today have been phenomenal! She was playful, happy, talkative and obedient all day. I think I am starting to understand some of her "words" too. They are more like grunts but she is trying. Also she is repeating a lot more so we can tell she wants to talk to us more. She fell asleep on my lap on the way to Suubi which you know I loved! She is such a wonderful girl! Can't wait for her brother and sister to get to hug her too!
Well today marks one week we have been here. Keep praying that we only have 2 more and then get to head home. Hoping things pick up Tuesday when we get our official court ruling and we can start all the other stuff! We are still going to expect big things b/c "when God says YES! No one can say No!"