As we communicated in our last blog post, the internet here is quite slow, so it is difficult sometimes just to even check email, let alone provide regular updates and upload photos. We have decided that when Joey returns to the States in a few days that we will then upload photos from our time so far in Uganda. For now you will have to pretend there are photos to go along with the text below. :)
Before we get into the highlights of our time in Uganda since our last blog post, we can finally announce on social media the names of our children, since we cleared the latest hurdle of the judge verbally ruling that we were their legal guardians!
- Jeremiah is four, his birthday is in November, and he came to GSF around his second birthday. He lives in the toddlers’ house at GSF and currently attends preschool here too. Though he was apparently really quiet until he started preschool about six months ago, he is now developing well in his language and confidence. We have seen some great progress even in our time here so far.
- Katie Miracle is two, and her birthday is in October. She came to GSF around when she was a week old. She lives in the babies’ house, and she is quite the little leader. She has a fun personality, is affectionate, and loves getting the attention of us. While we probably will end up calling her Katie, most of GSF has known her as Miracle up to this point.
Ok, so back to what’s been happening recently. On Tuesday, March 18, we had our first court appearance, which was the hearing, and during this appearance, the judge told us that our second court date, which would be our verbal ruling, would occur on Friday, March 28. Ten days at times seemed to fly by, but at other times, it seemed to crawl. Thankfully there is a wonderful team of missionaries here at GSF who are so hospitable and helped the time go by quicker. Daily visits to the babies’ house to see our daughter and her friends, and then to the toddlers’ house to see our son and his friends helped too.
Here’s a few of the things we were able to do during our ten day wait:
- Read to the toddlers some of the fun books we brought with us, as well as get to eat some meals with them – usually posho & beans or rice & beans.
- Taking some of the children from the babies’ home for a walk in the morning – they love getting to do this.
- Help some of the newer children at GSF go to the local hospital for immunizations.
- Spend time with Mark’s mom, aunt, and niece who came to visit for two weeks.
- Get to know a short term missions team who is here from a church in North Carolina.
- Attend a local seminary and meet some of the students who are nearly finished with their training to be pastors and specifically hear two of their testimonies (students at this seminary were from Uganda, Rwanda, South Sudan, and Kenya).
- Read and teach a song in the preschool class at the GSF school – 44 children in one small room with one teacher and one aide (and they behave so well too!)
- Going to the market and shopping for souvenirs in Jinja (and eat some good food and have some great coffee too).
- Take a boat ride on Lake Victoria and the Nile River – we were able to see the Source of the Nile marker and a lot of local wildlife.
- Attend Light of the World Church; what an experience to worship with mostly Africans; their church just this week finally installed a permanent roof and is in the process of paying off their land payment.
- Setting up an appointment and then going to the US Embassy in Kampala, and trying to fill out the required forms; the instructions were often more confusing that the forms.
- Seeing the village (not too far from GSF) and the home where our children were found before they were rescued and brought to GSF – unbelievable: we will post the stories in upcoming blog posts about the awful condition that our children were found; it truly is a miracle that they are even alive.
- Running with our son in the pouring down rain and playing with his friends on the playground – the toddlers also enjoyed some temporary tattoos we brought for them.
- Spending a morning with some of the missionary kids on their spring break and doing some cleanup work at Light of the World Church.
- Saying bye to Mark & Amy and their family, as they headed off for a week on a safari vacation; they were also gracious enough to let us stay in their home while they are away .
Friday, March 28 - The Ruling:
We left GSF at 8:30am to go to our second court appearance, the ruling. It was Claudia, our children, a driver, and us. Our children were a little nervous again in the car (remember this is only their second car ride in their life) for the 2 ½ hour ride to Kampala.
We arrived at the lawyer’s office, and he said we may not need to go to court, so we should wait at a local coffee shop for an update. The actual court time was noon. Around 12:30pm, we received a call from him to meet him back in his office and that he was finished in court. In his office he said the judge did read the entire ruling (a four page document) and as the judge read it, he was not sure which was she was going to rule. We are glad we were not there, as we would have been nervous wrecks. Anyways, the judge did rule in our favor, and she made is clear that the biological mom was not fit to be able to take care of the children!
We now wait for the written ruling from the judge, which will make us the official legal guardians of Jeremiah and Katie Miracle, and we will apply for their passports; this process should begin as soon as this Tuesday, April 1. Lord willing it takes about a week or so. Joey heads back to the States on Sunday (arrives home on Monday). While he is excited about seeing Zoe, Micah, and Caleb soon, he is not so excited to leave Sarah, Jeremiah, and Katie Miracle.
Please continue to pray for the following as we continue in this process:
- That the official written ruling arrives on Monday or Tuesday.
- That the passport filing and processing goes smoothly and that there would be no delays.
- That the upcoming US embassy process of interviews and visa applications goes smoothly and that there would be no delays.
- That we can secure flights for Joey to be able to return around the end of our time here and that we can all be on the same flights home.
- That our time apart will be smooth.
- That Sarah’s time with Jeremiah and Katie Miracle will be positive and their transition into their forever family will start well.
Blessings to you all!
Joey, Sarah, Zoe, Micah, Caleb, Jeremiah, & Katie Miracle