Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween from Uganda!

They don't really celebrate Halloween here, but we were able to get together with some great friends tonight who do.  It was so fun to walk into a house with several white Mommies and Daddies and mostly African babies.  Such a pretty sight!  We went to the mall earlier today, so Owen was a bit on the tired side.  He had a bite of chili but didn't like it.  He refused to spit it out...and he refused to swallow it.  I had to bribe him with a sucker and juice to get him to try to get rid of the food.  He ended up spitting the outside part of the beans into the cup...he reminds me of his sister when he does things like that!  :)  Josh and I have next halloween all figured out - Gracie and Owen's costumes are all picked out.  And I am so excited that next year, we will all be together.  We are missing little Miss Gracie tonight...Owen made friends with a little girl that resembled her and my heart melted...again.
Tomorrow is a REALLY big day!  Please pray that our visa appt goes flawlessly!!!  Hopefully, tomorrow we can post our expected arrival back home date.  We can't wait to get Owen's visa in hand and start the count down!  But, God is in control.  I trust him!  We have been so blessed with our process - such an amazing testimony of God's amazing grace.  We often say that we can't believe how fast it has been and why God allowed us to be the parents of Owen and get through this the way we have.  Grace is all we can come up with - HIS UNDESERVING LOVE.
By the way, if you are ever in Uganda and need a place to stay - I highly recommend Banda Inns.  They have been absolutely amazing here.  It is clean, has a beautiful lawn, the food is great, and the owners and staff have gone above and beyond in making us feel like we are at home (or as close as possible).  I really can't say enough great things about them.  Their hearts for the adoptive families here have been such a blessing.
 Remember when I said that Owen likes to play with cars and stack things too?  This is a good example.  Too funny!!!  Ritz crackers on a jeep....kept him busy for quite a while!
 This was such a beautiful sight, I had to take a pic.  Simply beautiful, right???
The Kampala roads have been making my tummy a little sick, so Owen and I have been riding in the front seat a lot.  There are no car seats in Uganda, so he sits in my lap.  Every time he gets in he makes faces at me in the side mirror.  He is so funny!  Had to take a pic.

To Our Sweet Owen,
You are really so funny.  You make these faces and noises that just crack me up.  And we really have been enjoying playing and laughing with you.  You are such an awesome, special, little man.  And handsome too!!! We are so excited to be yours.  And we thank God daily.
Love you more,


Saturday, October 30, 2010

Jinja Trip!

Today was a great day!  We were able to go to Jinja with some great friends and really enjoyed our time together!  Owen had a rough day yesterday and a rough night last night, so I was a little nervous.  But, he did really well (minus the 7 or so diapers we had to change, and 2 pants we had to get rid of EWW).  We both see some great strides in his getting comfortable with us and are excited to celebrate the little things that mean so much!  He is getting pretty fond of his Daddy!  This is what the day looked like, in no particular order:
 We got to go to this really pretty waterfall that the natives believe has healing powers.  Not too sure about that, but it did has this really cool bridge!
 When we were at the Nile there were monkeys!   I didn't want to leave Africa without seeing them, so I was very excited!  There were even Mommy monkeys with babies.  Gotta love that!  Owen loved them!
 This is Josh, myself, and Mr. Owen at the source of the Nile.  SO neat.  Josh even confirmed that it does flow North.  He has it on video - with a compass!
This was the waterfall with the cool bridge.
 The 3 of us at Bugajari Falls - though I may be spelling it wrong.  A friend paid a guy to go down with nothing but a jug...good thing he lived, huh Melissa???  Lol!  It actually looked kinda fun!
 Owen asleep with Mommy on our way back (after destroying our back up pants).  We had a really good time talking with some new adoptive friends!
 The boys!
When we got home, Mr. Owen had to copy everything I did...crossing his legs like Mommy and scratching his head like Mommy.  SO FUNNY!
My thinker...Joshua at the falls.  So peaceful, huh?  God is pretty awesome with his craftsmanship on these African water features!!!

Our friends have an amazing camera and an even more amazing ability to take photos, so we should have some really good ones coming up too!  The only thing missing was our Gracie!  We can't wait to show her the monkey pics - I think she will love them.  We did get to chat on the phone when we got home though.  And that always melts my heart.  Tomorrow we will visit a couple friend's (who are still in the process) babies for them and take some pics.  Can't wait!  Then Monday is our VISA appt!  So ready, but not trying to have any kind of grand expectations.  Though God has shown that he is bigger than any of this stuff already!!!

To Our Sweet Owen,
You felt so natural with us today.  I am noticing that you are trusting us more and allowing us to become closer to you.  I wish I could show you already that you can trust us.  We will always be here and always love you.  No matter what.  Sometimes you get nervous and I can tell that it is because you have been through so much.  But that is all behind you now sweet boy.  Your Daddy and I (along with everyone else who loves you) are going to make sure that you know that you are in this thing called life with lots of love and support.  I'm so proud of you baby boy.
Love you more,

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Doctor's Appt Update

We took Owen to the doctor today.  He had a very rough night - didn't sleep much.  They confirmed that he has a stomach bug (NASTY one poo...I mean and an upper respiratory viral infection.  We have 3 meds for him to take each 3 times daily.  Owen isn't really into taking meds, so this should be fun!  We learned that he weights 27.5 pounds!  He is getting to be such a big boy!  We have a cool pic that I will post as soon as I get it - they weigh the kids a little differently here.  SO funny.
We got him to take one round of meds tonight, but he has had a tough evening.  He seems to have a fever come and go pretty often and can't get comfortable.  We have been blown away with how awesome our Inn owners (Banda Inns in Uganda) have been.  They have been so helpful.  They said they had a cot, so we thought it may be better for our little man to sleep.  A lot of kids who come from orphanages have some "interesting" self soothing techniques.  Owen has been coughing himself awake, then trying to soothe himself back to sleep.  To soothe himself, he kicks his feet, pushing on something with them to feel that something is near by.  He also bangs his head - that's right...not even sissy head banging.  He about knocked Joshua out last night!  He also sucks his thumb sometimes.  We thought the cot may help him feel a little more enclosed like what he is used to.  They actually brought something more like a crib in and put it together for him (pic below).  Owen saw it, crawled across the bed and got in and has been doing much better.  Praise the Lord for this thing!!!  And please say some prayers that he feels better.  It is tough to see him this way.  Also, please pray for Gracie - she seems to be having a hard time with her ankle today too.  What I would do to be able to be in this room with BOTH my babies to love on them...
Still...God is good - all the time!  We have peace and know that God is with us - both in Uganda and with Gracie in McKinney.  My parents (and brother and sister) have truly been so amazing with her.  She is in great hands!  And we are thanking God daily for them and our friends and family helping out.
On a another note...we went back to the store with Owen today.  The one where he freaked out the first time.  And guess what!!!  He did GREAT!  He was happy and responded to us well.  He even sat in a high chair throughout lunch and ate.  Made this Mommy feel like progress is being made!!!  This was, of course, before he starting getting feverish this afternoon (not so easy to soothe him when he isn't feeling well), but progress is progress.  And I don't know many toddlers are easy to soothe when they are sick.
We will be sure to update in the morning with how things are going.  God bless and Good Night!
Owen and Mommy hanging out on the veranda!
 Owen's first experience with a high chair = successful!!!
 Had to share this pic.  Such a pretty flower at the Inn we are staying in!  They are everywhere on the grounds.
These are really pretty too - like Birds of Paradise hanging upside down.
Little Mr. Owen all passed out in his new crib/cot/bed.  Same height as the bed - so great.

To Our Sweet Owen,
I am so glad we were able to get you out of that babies home and into the Inn with us where there are so much less germs!  I know that your little body is strong and that you will get over this junk soon.  I can't wait for you to be completely healthy so that we can really enjoy our time together.  It does feel so good to see you growing attached to us and learning that we are here for you.  I don't know if you realize it yet - but you will soon.  We are always going to be here for you.  We will love you always.  There is nothing that you can ever do to change that.   I will spend the rest of my life (Daddy too) showing you that you don't have to be the only one to soothe yourself.  We have been blessed to do life TOGETHER!  And we thank God for you!
Love You More,

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

And he's...out.

My son just sang himself to sleep.  One second he was singing what seemed like an African version of "Happy Birthday"...then the next he is totally knocked out snoring.  This kid is so funny.  Really.  He was acting very...we will say...tired.  Ok, ok...he kept smacking me and laughing...but to Owen, that means "I'm tired Mommy."  So we came to bed.  I thought he would pass out early like last night, but he kept singing...and singing...and singing...then all of a sudden...he was done (like in mid phrase).  I have to say:  H*-e can keep a pretty good beat! 
We thought that he spoke English, but that is just not the case.  So, we have learned some of the key phrases.  I don't know how to spell them, so I will spare you the details, but we now know how to say "No", "No hit", "Potty" (not that it matters right now lol), "Come here", and "Thank you" in Lugandan.  Owen is also a little "strong willed" - which, as you probably already know, means he will fit in with the Willis Fam well! 
We have learned recently that he is NOT into dogs.  Not even a little bit, but we will work on that!  He does not like veggies - again, like his Daddy.  But, he LOVES to eat just about anything else.  He likes to hold my finger and lead me across the room.  He has the best laugh and I have a video of it, just trying to figure out how to upload the big file. 
He seemed better this morning, so we thought we would wait on the pediatrician (until we got back to the -states), but will be hitting them up first thing in the morning tomorrow.The cough is still there, especially at night time, and he has the WORST smelling gas and poop ever - again, like his Daddy (but worse believe it or not).  We think he may have a tummy bug, which is very common here in African babies homes (probably any orphanage). 
Josh worked hard all morning and got us an embassy appointment on Monday.  If all goes well (please pray), we could have Owen's VISA Wednesday and all fly home together.  I am terrified  of the plane ride home, so that would be great.  And I am SO ready to see Gracie - miss her tons.  TONS and TONS.
Here are some pics from the day!

 Headed to the market!
 Mr. Man eating breakfast.
You can't really tell, but this is Owen's OU shirt!

To Our Sweet Owen,
You have made me and everyone around us laugh several times today.  You have such a great sense of humor!  Good thing!  I see that I have work cut out for me too - but you are so much more than worth it!  Daddy and I have so much fun adding "son" to the end of everything we say to you.  Your sister skyped with us and saw you sleeping...she thought you were cute!  I love your singing, and I love your quirks.  You are perfect for us!!!
Love You More,

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Our First Night and Morning

Well, I am a mess (again) this morning...after reading all of  comments and posts.  I am wondering how I got to be so blessed to have all the friends and family that I have.  God is so good!!!  It warms my heart to know that Owen is not only loved so much by us, but by you guys too.  He has no idea what he is in for!!!  He had a bit of a rough night with coughing, but it was much better than I thought it would be!  I can't wait to see what he does when he wakes up and sees where he is!  That he is always going to be a part of our family. 
Per many requests, here are some stats on little Mr. Man:  He is approx (we don't really know for sure) 2.  Maybe a little under 2.  He is wearing (we think, don't have any right now) a size 6 shoe.  Though he sports a 7 and a half gracefully until we get him some! :)  He is also wearing a 2T for the most part.  His tummy is big (2T).  But his legs are still very small, so they are more like a 24 months size.  And no, he isn't potty trained like we thought.  He is a big fan of cars, trucks, or anything like that.  His fav toy right now is the ambulance we brought - just like his Daddy (again)!  He says "dee-dee dee-dee dee-dee" instead of  "honk honk" b/c the cars around here are much honking!  Lol.  He also is fun to watch play b/c for some reason he LOVES to carefuly, with so much softness, set things on top of his cars when he gently pushes them around.  The other day, he had 2 batteries, some water bottle wrappers, and another car on top of his ambulance and carefully pushed it around the room.  :)
Well, I hear him stirring!  We will be able to post pics now!  So, be on the look out!  We will be around the Inn today while Josh is running around to the lawyer and the Embassy.  Then off to the pedi to see about this cough!  Thank you for your prayers!!!

To Our Sweet Owen,
So ready for our first full day together!  You did so much better than I thought you would last are such a little trooper!  I don't want to wake you, but I can hardly wait for you to get up!!!  I'm going to surprise your Daddy by putting you in your OU shirt today...he will love it.  And I have his out too - cause I am sure he will want to put it on.  Your Nana and Papa and Gracie are busting at the seams to see you!!!

Love you more,

Owen Mukisa Willis

To Our Sweet Owen Mukisa,
You have been a member of our family since the day you were born!!!  Now, it is just such a blessing to have you become "official".  We praise our mighty, miracle working God for all he has done for us!!!  He even gave us a favorable ruling in writing so we could leave the babies home and have our first night out with you.  As I lay in bed next to you (while you snore just like your Daddy), your Daddy and I are talking about how different our lives were a short 6 months ago.  We had no idea what God had in store for us, but we are forever thankful that HE DID!!!  We love you so much son!  Can't wait to wake up next to your sweet face.  Happy Gotcha Day Sweet Boy!
Love you more,

Mommy and Owen (yes, he is working that pink shirt)
Daddy and Owen...they look alike!

Our first night together.

Our sweet boy in his firefighter PJs
To our friends and family members,
Thank you so much for your prayers and support.  They have carried us through the hard times and have made all the difference since the day we started this process.  We can't believe that God has blessed us with a son in less than 6 months.  He is blowing us away every day with blessings and opportunities for growth.  Please continue to keep us in your prayers as Josh and I go to try to get Owen's appointment for his VISA tomorrow.  This can be pretty tricky and is one of the scary hit or miss parts.  We miss Gracie so much and are ready for her to meet her brother and be together!  We are also going to bring Owen for an appointment with the pediatrician - he has a pretty nasty cough and is very congested.  For now, we praise the Lord for our official ruling that we are a family of 4!!!  We love each of you!

Monday, October 25, 2010

No ruling today...

Well, the judge was unable to attend court today, so we were unable to get our ruling.  That is the bad news.  The good news is that God has a purpose and a plan!  He knows what he is doing and I have spent lots of time today thinking of all the reasons he may have decided that today is not O's Gotcha day.  The other good news is that we get to go back tomorrow.  Hopefully, she will be able to rule then, and it will be favorable.
We are so ready to get away with O (to stay at another Inn), so we hope that we can get our ruling IN WRITING tomorrow as well.  This would be a miracle, but we know God is still in the miracle working business!
We have been overwhelmed with support and prayers from our friends and family.  We ask that you continue one more day (hopefully)!!!

To Our Sweet O,
God has a perfect plan for you sweet boy.  He knows exactly what he is doing.  We can't wait to share your beautiful face with your friends and family.  We are planning for your party tomorrow too!  We will provide the Mammas with rice and sugar to share and there will be cake!!!  I'm sure you will love cake!  You are a big fan of food in general.  I know you will miss you friends...there are so many of them and they all love you so much.  We know that you will make lots more new friends though.  We love you more than you could ever imagine.
Love you more,

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Every day is a new day...

I was so blessed to be able to go to Calvary Chapel Church this morning.  We went to the 10:00am service but walked in during the very last bit of the 8:00am service.  The moment I walked in, I knew that  I was exactly where God wanted me to be.  There have been many moments where I have felt the prescense of God...but I don't think I can remember one like this.
The music was...heavenly.  Seriously.  There was this perfect harmony.  I was moved to tears through out the entire service - which lasted 2 hours instead of our 1.  The music was so humbling.  There was a moment when I was feeling like I wasn't even worthy of singing with the people there.  They were praising God and thanking him over and over for all that he has given them.  These people have next to nothing.  And they were singing praises with such a genuine heart. Today I fell in ove with the people of Uganda.
I can see that little Mr. O is growing attached to Josh and I.  He loves to call Josh "Daddy".  And this evening when I had to leave for him to go to bed...he was so upset. He rested his head on my shoulder for the first time.  He started crying a lot...and the most amazing thing happened...I SOOTHED HIM.  He calmed down (briefly until I had to leave).  It was such a heart warming moment for me as Mom.
Tomorrow is court!!! Please pray for us!!!  Please pray that it goes as smoothly and quickly as God's will allows.
Love you all!

To Our Sweet O,
You are so amazing sweet boy.  No wonder the Mama's love you so much!  You laugh and smile so much more than I could have ever imagined.  You look me in the eye and my heart just melts.  Your Daddy and I can't wait to post your pics tomorrow.  We already have them picked out.  There were so many to pick are so handsome!!!

Love you more,

Friday, October 22, 2010

Our First Outing...Done.

Let me start this blog by saying that I am fully aware that it is like therapy for me.  And today...I feel like I need therapy. I go!
When we started this journey, I knew it would be tough.  But, the whole time...I kept thinking that God is making this miraculous.  He is fully capable...but we don't learn much that way, do we?  It is easy to go through journeys like this and not learn as much as we are able.  I learned a lot today.
The main thing that I learned is that I am not strong enough to do it.  I have to quit relying on myself to do things. God is able.  He is willing.  And he will get me through.  I see him do it for so many others.  Especially other adopting Moms...they have been so inspiring.
We took O to Garden City today.  We worked it out so that we could take him out to try on some shoes.  They didn't have any in his size...but I thought it would be fun.  It was NOT fun.  O was not having a good time.  He actually was upset the whole time.  It didn't take long to realize that we went for too much too fast.  It also didn't take long for me to throw in the towel and say it was time to go back.  He has been through so much.  I don't know that he has ever seen a mall type building before.  We are new...we are white on top of that!  He was scared.  He also doesn't really understand how to express his feelings.  So, when he gets upset...he just kind of freaks out.  He is such a little trooper though.  He also must have known I needed it b/c he gave me my first, unprompted kiss this evening.  And he laughed right afterward.  This boy...he melts me.
We also saw a little white girl walking in the mall about Gracie's age and I lost it.  I knew I would miss her...but I am being such a sissy!
We went back out and I almost got squished by a truck...but there was coffee afterward and life was good agian.  
And I also have to say that I find myself REALLY looking forward to the end of the day when I can come over to the internet place and see our friends and family supporting us.  Really.  Thank you so much.  I'm not sure if you realize how much it means to all of us.

To Our Sweet O,
Oh little gave me a run for my money today.  You have taught me so much already.  I don't think I would learn these things any other way.  And to have you kiss me all on your own at the end of the day was like the most amazing gracious gift you cold give.  You are such a trooper.  You have been through a lot and you smile and you laugh.  You amaze me.  I love you more than you will ever know.  I can't wait until you are able to know that I am here for you forever.  I am not going anywhere baby boy.

Love you more,

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Quick Update

Today was yet another lesson to be learned.  Josh and I went to the hospital to bring them the rest of the meds we brought to donate.  They were like kids in a candy store going through the crate.  It brought us such joy to see them so happy and preparing to use the stuff so soon.  We also got to hang out with the docs for a bit and sit in on a couple triage type sessions.  I learned that Ugandan people are tough!!!  
We went to visit the pediatrician friend that Josh has.  She was working in the AIDS clinic, which is dedicated to children and education on Wednesdays.  Destroyed.  Destroyed.  Destroyed is my heart...again.  The more time I spend here, the more I feel like I need to do something more for the people.  While we were sitting there waiting for our turn to talk to the pediatrician...I couldn't help but get choked up.  Josh was trying to help me out and I was trying to explain that I just feel like I should be doing more.  He reminded me that we are doing something.  And I know that we are...I just feel like we should do more.  We will see where the Lord leads us with that!
I told Josh "These people are looking at us like we are rich.  We have a hard time at home...paying the bills and stuff."  Josh replied:  "But, Courtney, we are rich."  And that just made my perspective change so much.  We are.  Most of us are.  
As for an update with little Mr. O:  He is well.  He is smiley and sweet and full of giggles.  We are really looking forward to getting him out with us on our own...but can't just yet.  He gave a little taste of the transition we are headed for when he bit me today.  He gets upset...he bites, pinches, or hits.  This is very common with children who are adopted.  This is how they all react to anything that upsets them.  They don't understand that there is another way to express their feelings.  We will teach him!  Time to finish reading "Toddler Adoption"!!!  Still can't wait to post some pics.  Hopefully after our ruling on Monday we will be able to!!!
Please continue to pray for a fast, successful ruling and visa appointment.  Also, continue to pray for the sick little boy - he is showing a little progress!!!  Also, there is a Canadian Mom here who is really stuck and is feeling very down.  She is adopting a little boy and has been told she needs to wait about 6 months for her visa.  
Thank you again for the support.  Today was long...and when I got online and saw the support our loved ones gave us...I got all kinds of emotional.  Gosh...we are just so blessed.

To Our Sweet O,
We love you so much!  It feels like we have known you forever.  You see us and smile.  You are such an incredible little man.  You have been through a lot and you are an inspiration to me.  Thank you for being you.  

Love you more,

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Court Update

God is so amazing.  I am not the same person I was when we started this process.  And I can feel the changing still taking place.  I am just so happy that I have a God who loves me so much and wants me to see through His eyes.  I don't deserve the perspective He is giving me....but I am covered in his grace.  And so blessed.  And I thank each of my friends and family for supporting us through this journey.
Court went pretty well!  The judge heard our case and our ruling is set for Monday.  Expect pics soon!!!  Can't post them now, unfortunately.  But we do have some amazing ones!!!  They don't appreciate noise in the court I had to leave with him.  He actually pitched a big enough fit that it required me leaving the entire building.  There are lots of details regarding the court hearing that I can't share yet, but will when we are able.  We would have loved an earlier court ruling date so that we could get O out of the babies home and with us all the time, but we know, AGAIN, that God has perfect timing!!!  STILL!!!  :)
The little boy who was sick made it through the night!  Praise the Lord!  They are doing lots of testing and brought him to the hospital today.  Please continue to pray for him.
Also, please pray a hedge of protection around O.  We want him healthy and well.  He is so much better, but does still have some healing to do.  We compared his first picture with him today...and it was crazy how different he looked.  We are so thankful that the babies home helped him so much.  There are so many kids there though...we want to be able to transition as soon as possible.  Judging by the fit he threw in court...we will probably have our hands full.  He is so funny though.  He smiles so much.  He reaches out for us.  He laughs out loud for the littlest thing.  They call all the ladies who work in the nursery "Mama' he calls me Mama already!  Lol.  He is working on saying Daddy.  Though they do speak a lot of English here...there are a lot of other languages mixed in and we will have some work on that too.  He isn't really speaking much and is actually a little younger than we originally though.  He will learn just fine though.  He is SO smart.  My Mom will be proud of his cognitive development and fine motor skills!!!  I am having fun just watching him.
We are truly enjoying our time with O.  He is just surprising us all the time as we learn more and more about him.  We are learning and learning and learning.
I am blown away by how used to the finer things in life I have become.  And I think it is good for me to be here for so many reasons.  I was disgusted with my thoughts when we arrived.  Such a snob.  I will not take for granted the things I have and the country I live in.
Please continue to pray for Gracie.  I long so much for us to be all together.  And I know that it is going to be a while.  After our court ruling, if it is as scheduled, we will still have to wait for our visa appt with the embassy - which we are hearing will be the biggest hurdle to overcome as far as a time frame.  I will probably have to stay while Josh goes.  Though God could totally work all of that out!!! Who knows...we could all be home in a week and a half...who knows!?!?

To our sweet O,

I thought you were too good to be true today.  I remember thinking that when Gracie was born too.  You are cracking me up!  You looked so handsome in your court outfit.  SO cute.  I love your smiles and your laugh.  You  make my heart fill with joy.  I can't wait to start our new life together as a family of 4.  I told you we would come for you!!!  Can't wait to see you in the morning.  Can't wait to see those arms stretching out for me!!!

Love you more,

Monday, October 18, 2010

Hello Son!!!

After a very bumpy 20 hour flight in - we finally made it to Kampala, Uganda!!!  We got in at about 9pm last night, and the drive in was quite adventerous.  Josh warned me about the driving and lack of street laws in Uganda...but I thought he was exagerating.  HE WASN'T.  I drove most of the way with my eyes closed.  What I did notice about the area at night is that the people were out and about pretty late.  It smelled like something was burning.  Was very loud.  And I REALLY missed Gracie.  Really.  Needless to say...I wasn't feeling the way I was expecting!  We met the guards and climbed up a long, steep staircase to our room.  There were mosquito nets, and open windows.  I was stressed about brushing my teeth with the gave up and went to bed.  I was scared...honestly.  So new.  It didn't help that we had to sleep right next to O's room and couldn't see him until morning.
I was exhausted but woke up at 3:30am for some reason.  I felt this weird, panic/sadness and I couldn't shake it.  I finally figured out that my Mom would tell me to read my I did.  I journaled and read and prayed.  And I felt much better.  All that was left was this Gracie sadness...and I couldn't help it.  Josh woke up...asked me to climb into his (twin) bed with him and snuggled me until I felt better.  I got back in my bed when I couldn't bear his snoring anymore (lol) and finished my journaling.  Finally feeling AT PEACE. about 4:30...was the rooster...cock a doodle doo!!!  And the mosque's call to prayer.  So loudly chanting something I couldn't understand.  SO early.  So...I haven't slept much in the past few days.  But I have prayed A LOT.
With the sunrise (which are beautiful here) came a fresh new perspective...and the ability to MEET OUR SON.  We had to go to his room early b/c we had to get to our lawyer's office.  We got in there...and saw about 50 of the most beautiful, stunning, amazing African orphans.  Seriously.  They are all so incredible.  Smiling...shining...loveable. my heart.  They are all so in need of love.  I decided that I was here to love on them too.
And then the Mamma's pointed out our O.  I was very nervous - but of course - there was no reason for it.  He smiled and laughed as we held him.  When Josh put him down...he even reached out for him.  He was upset when we had to leave and I couldn't help but wish we could take him with us.  But... we couldn't.
So we met with our lawyers.  And it went well.  We go O's birth certificate (with an estimated date of birth).  We hear that there will even be a couple people there to support us in court that have met O along his short journey of life.
We were also able to meet up with another adoptive Mom in Amsterdam and travel to and from our lawyers office together.  I can't even say how much peace it has brought to know a friend is there with us.  Especially one that has adopted from Uganda before!  We are so blessed by her friendship.
Then...came back to the babies home...walked around...almost got run over by a boda boda (motorcycle) locked in the bathroom (again).  There is no longer any water in the guest house (and we complained about not having hot water at first).  But all is OK b/c we get to go spend 3 hours with our little man!
He is amazing.  He fits in with us so well.  He is full of personality.  He is ours.  And he really is impressing me with his attitude.  You would think that he would have some sort of shyness with us considering what he has been through.  But, there was none of that.  He is just so friendly and sweet.  He is looking SO much healthier!  I got to love on him and he even loved on me back.  He is all that we hoped we could have.  It was tough leaving him tonight but we had to let him get some rest because we have COURT IN THE MORNING.
Please pray that court goes well.  That the judge sees our case and rules as quickly as possible.  We can't get O out of the babies home (away from the other kids who may be sick) until we get a favorable ruling.  Please pray that it goes well.  Flawless.  And quickly.
There is also a little boy who is sick at the babies home.  Josh is really concerned about him tonight.  Please pray for healing for this boy.
It was amazing to see the nurse administer some of the drugs to the kids immediately after donating them to the babies home.  Such a blessing!!!  Two of the kids were in need of one of the antibiotics we brought but were unable to get it yet due to funding.  So, that was awesome.
I have to add that the people of Uganda are easy to fall in love with.  They are kind and considerate.  So friendly.  And so different.  And I just love how God is the most amazing artist.
Must go...time is adding up! And internet costs by the minute here!  :)

To my sweet O,
I fell in love with you even more today.  I didn't think I could...but I did.  And you are just so amazing.  I long for our family of 4 to be together.  You are such an inspiration to me and your Daddy.  And everyone we know to be honest.  You are such a fighter.  And a lover.  Can't wait to see you again tomorrow.  Dress you in your court outfit.  You are gonna be sharp!

Love you more,

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Never the same...

I packed MY SON'S suitcase tonight.  Thoughts filled my mind.  How long are his legs?  How big is his foot?  How tall is he?  How much does he weigh?  Will the 2Ts fit?  Will the sound of this toy scare him?  Will he know that we love him?  Will he know that we aren't going to hurt him?  Will he be afraid of us?  Or will he just know that we belong to him?  And that he belongs to us?  And that we all belong to the most amazing, beautiful, awesome God?
I have a funny feeling that this trip is going to destroy me.  I am already on this intense, beautiful path of destruction.  It is like my eyes have been opened to this world of children who desire love so deeply.  My son has changed my life forever.  In so many ways.  I am just so honored that God picked me to be O's Mommy.  Really.
O has no idea what he is in for.  How much love is coming his way.  In a similar sense...I have no idea what I am in for either.  I don't know how long I am going to be there.  I don't know what it is like there.  I have never held O or even looked into his beautiful brown eyes.  I DO KNOW THAT EVERYTHING IS GOING TO BE MORE THAN OK.  I know that God has clearly lead us down this path and that he will be with us every step of the way.
Thank you for the prayers and for the support.  We most certainly would not be traveling to get our son if it weren't for the part that each of you played.  We are forever grateful for all that you have done for us and for O. I am leaving you with this video (posted below this post) that another (amazing) adoptive Mom brought to my attention tonight.  Really spoke to my heart tonight.

To our sweet O,
I'm coming for you son!  The time is almost here!  I pray that God is holding you and know that he is.  And soon, we will hold you!  Your Daddy and I are already talking about who gets to hold you first.  I think that since Dad got to hold Gracie first, that means this is my turn.  Gracie knows that we are coming to get you.  She is so excited and I can see how God is preparing her to be your big sister.  I long for our family of four to be together.  Hang in there sweet boy.  Mommy and Daddy are coming.  And soon you will be HOME.  The place where the Lord always intended you to be.

Love you more,

Amos Story - Music Video - Aaron Ivey

Monday, October 11, 2010

Leaving on a jet plane...

Well, it has come MUCH sooner than we thought it would!  The time has come for us to go get O!!!  We have a court date October 19th!!!  It has happened so fast that we really don't quite know what to do with ourselves.  Other than to say OK, of course!  It is not uncommon for the system to go this way with Uganda...just kinda have to roll with it.
God has really lead us to this point, so we know that wherever we plant our foot next, HE WILL BE RIGHT THERE WITH US.  And we are so very excited!!!  We aren't sure if we will fly out Thursday, Friday, or Saturday...depends on pricing.  
I will be able to update the blog (from what I hear) pretty regularly.  We will also have a phone there, but will likely be unable to use it often.  Josh will be with me for at least 2 weeks, then I will probably have to stay while he leaves.  There is really not way for us to know how the courts will go, not to mention the embassy timing.  But, we do know that God has perfect we will not worry!!!
We are also SO very thankful for the fact that a friend will be traveling at the same time as us.  She has the same court date, lawyer, and judge.  And this is her 2nd adoption in Uganda so she has already been very helpful.  This peace has already been a God send.  
I probably don't have to mention that I'm already dreading leaving Gracie.  REALLY.  Please pray about that!  I know she is in GREAT hands here with my parents.  It is just tough to think that I am going to be away from her for so long...and not even know how long.  
We have LOTS to do before Thursday...please pray that we get it all done.  We go tomorrow morning for our FBI Fingerprinting.  Please pray that our 171H (VERY important document) is processed in miracle timing.  
Also, please pray that the last bit of funding comes right on through.  God has been so good to us in this department...we know that he will provide!  
We can't wait to post pictures of our little man!!!  
Next time I post...I'll probably be in Uganda!!!  Woo hoo!!!

To our sweet O,
I know you have had a rough week.  But, hang in there little man!  We are coming for you and will hold you THIS WEEK!!!  I can't wait to see that sweet face.  I hear you like we will pack plenty of them! I also hear that your giggle has warmed many hearts already.  I can't wait to hear it myself.  I love you so much more than you could possibly know.  Your Daddy is beside himself.  It is funny to watch him talk about you.  He lights right on up.  Gracie says that when you get home she will love you and share with you.  We will see on the sharing part...  

Love you more,

Thursday, October 7, 2010

I think I can...I think I can...

When I was a little girl, my Mom would read me "The Little Engine That Could" and I would love it.  I actually remember reading it and thinking that anything was possible.  Now days...I can't figure out if I am just stubborn, dedicated, or determined...maybe a little hard headed.  Or maybe a little bit of all of those...
I definitely think that there have been moments in my life where this frame of mind has helped me.  It has helped me accomplish lots of things.  Really important ones.  Things for my family.  Things that the Lord has wanted me to accomplish.  And I am thankful that God gave me this frame of mind.
There have also been some more recent moments where I think this frame of mind is nothing but my desire to control situations...and their outcomes...and the time frame of these outcomes.  Over the past 3 or 4 years of my life God has taught me a lot.  One of these things is that I AM NOT IN CONTROL.  HE IS.  And that is a good thing...a GREAT thing.  He has plans to prosper me.  Not to harm me.  Plans for a hope and a future.  Jeremiah 29:11 says so!!!
So...why am I struggling with HIS TIMING?  Why do I want to do things on my own time frame?  This human nature of mine...really bugs me sometimes.  When I get overwhelmed lately...when I want to have O home and want to figure out what to do about Gracie's health...I have to audibly say to myself - "God.  I. Trust. You." I ask him to help me remember that he has a plan and ask for peace.  AND HE GIVES IT.  And I am just so thankful that I have a God who gives me peace in the midst of the storm.  When things are coming at us left, right, up, and down...I have peace.  All I have to do is ask him for it.  It is there for the taking...for YOU and for ME.
And...since God does have perfect timing...things will happen when they are supposed to.  We found out today that a judge has been assigned to our case.  This means that we should get a court date pretty soon.  Maybe even November.  YES...that means that we could be holding our sweet boy next month!  Though...I am fully aware that this is also not something we should count on... I can't wait to post our next big step in the process - the day we book our flight!!!

Here are some of our prayer requests:
  1.  That God would give us peace, guidance, and the ability to stay in the right frame of mind in the current battles we are facing daily.
  2.  That God would start to prepare Josh, myself, and Gracie for the time we are away in Uganda.  And Nana and Papa too - they will be taking care of Gracie while we are gone.
  3.  That the Lord would show us where to go for each next step - that HE would be our leader every step of the way.  And that we won't get in HIS way.
  4.  That O's medical testing will go flawlessly this week and that he will be 100% healthy.
  5.  That our final garage sale will go well this weekend.
  6.   That O will feel God's love and healing now and that he is being prepared for us.
  7.  That Gracie will get into the pediatric rheumatologist sooner than later.

We will have LOTS more as we go along.  I figured now would be a good time to start and I will update them as we go along through the process.

And some things to PRAISE THE LORD for too!!!
  1.  We are only about 2500.00 away from our goal!!!
  2.  Looks like a friend we have recently met through the Facebook Ugandan adoption group has the same judge, same lawyer, and same time frame as us.  It feels so good to know someone that we know will be there at the same time as us!!!
  3.  O is going to be seen by a doctor and tested this week!  Woo Hoo!  We have waited for along time for this!!!
  4.  The babies home O is in got all of our documents and they seem happy with us!
  5.  We have lots of medical supplies to bring to donate to the people of Uganda!

Thank you again for all of the support.  We have the best friend and family members and we thank God for each of you daily.
God bless you guys!!!

To our sweet O,
I wish I could hold your hand while they draw your blood and check you out this week.  I hope you can sense what is coming for you.  I find peace in knowing that God is holding you for us.  And I am just so honored that He picked us to be yours.  No more doctor's appointments without Mommy and Daddy.  We will be there for the next ones.  I will hold you soon.

Love you more,

I got this picture of Gracie and thought it would be fitting to leave you with it.  It cracks me up - perfect picture of our sweet Gracie.  The Ballerina Fire Extinguisher.  She is probably going to be so happy when O gets home...just so she can play princess while O plays with the fire trucks!  Lol.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Consider it pure joy...

When we started this journey about 3 months ago we knew it wouldn't be easy. We knew we would need to prepare ourselves for lots of things. Lots of challenges. Lots of "growth opportunity". Lots of...battle. We knew this journey would not be full of rainbows and butterflies. And it hasn't been. But up until this past week, I felt strong. Solid. Almost indestructable. I mean...seriously...we are moving along so much faster than we expected.
But this week...I have struggled. Really. I didn't realize the battle would be so...big. It felt like it was coming from all directions. And that's because it was. I am very blessed and have remembered that throughout all this. But still...just have felt so overwhelmed. I found myself having a really hard time finding the light in my every day.
It is such a strange conflict within myself. My SOUL has peace. My HEAD is a big, hazy mess.
A woman I have always looked up to (Mom) told me something and it hit home. She said "The only way you are going to win this one is on your knees and in the word".
So....these are the verses I used to get me through the muck.
Romans 5:3-5
"We also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perserverance; perserverance , character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us."
James 1:2-4
"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perserverance. Perserverance must finish it's work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything."

Today, however, has been a great day. I was really ready to get out of the haze and Josh was there to extend his hand to help pull me out. He was just what I needed to see what God was trying to tell me all week long. I LOVE how God uses Joshua these days!!! I feel more peace than I have in a long time! And honestly, our circumstances haven't really changed too much. Gracie is still waiting to get in to the doc, O is still half way across the world, and blah blah blah. I won't bore you with the rest.
What HAS happened today is this: I perservered. I hung in there. And God's promises are always truth. He is always there. Even in the muck. Regardless of what the muck is. There are so many other people out there with amazing attitudes. They are going through MUCH harder circumstances than we are. And they are totally reliant on God. And he gives them peace. Hope. Perserverance.
So...I will AGAIN trust my God. Why wouldn't I? He never fails.
Joshua also heard today that the babies home O is in got our paperwork. We are wiring some money this week and he will be checked out by a doctor next week! Praise the Lord! Results should be given within a week of the testing. Looking forward to that!
Gracie also has 100% healthy eyes! So, that is always a blessing. We will continue to check in every 3 months for a while to make sure her juvenile rheumatoid arthritis isn't effecting those pretty blue peepers. We are probably looking at a few months until she sees a pediatric rheumatologist to see what we are really looking at with her. We are sure God is using this time to teach us.
I have posted some of my favorite pics from the week. To our family and friends: Thanks for going through this with us! And a special thanks to my girlfriends - you know who you are - that kept me out of the nut house this week. Mom - I thank God for you every day. Thank you for being so amazing.

To my sweet O,
I look at your picture all the time. Today I looked at it and felt...different. I felt closer. I feel like I'm going to hold you sooner than I thought. And I can't wait!!! Those brown eyes reach out and grab my heart every time I look at you. I can't wait to see you face to face so you can see me. The Mom who will never hurt you. Always love you. No matter what. Your Daddy may be even more excited than me - if that's possible. And your big sister is getting impatient. She is ready for you to come HOME.
Love you more,

Gracie and Nana

Gracie at the eye doc - where she was a rock star once again!

P.S.:  Guess what O's room decor is going to be!!!  Yes, the same as the blog background.  It will be the best balance between low key and fire chic - in a boy way, of course. :)

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