Since we started this blog one thing has become blatantly obvious. I’m a terrible blogger. There have been many, many changes since our last post. So I apologize in advance if this turns out to be a long post.
In the last post we touched on our immigration paperwork. We received our immigration approval from the USCIS for 2 children ages 0-5, no special needs. Shortly after receiving this we were placed on the official waiting list with Lifeline. After about a month of calling and e-mailing we found out that we were number 28 in line. I guess I should mention our previous frustrations with Lifeline. Before being placed on the list and what not we were beginning to get frustrated at the lack of communication we were receiving from them. At this point in time we were lucky to hear from them every couple months, and that was usually because we had called or e-mailed them requesting an update. We felt as though we had been lost in the system, like we were just another number and billing address. So when we heard that we were number 28 we were upset, but optimistic. We asked them how many referrals and court dates they had assigned in the last 6 months. Their reply was the straw that broke the camel’s back. We were informed that they had issued 6 referrals, and only one of them was for a child under the age of 6. So at this point we were looking at a wait of over 2 years.
At this point in time we were talking with a social worker about possibly being a pilot family for a new Uganda program with a different agency. This put us in position to make an extremely tough decision. The social worker we were talking to was one we trusted and wanted to work with before we signed up with Lifeline, but she happened to work with an agency that didn’t work with LDS (Mormon) families. We were informed that her husband was in the process of starting a Uganda pilot program with Across The World Adoptions. After a week of talking and some serious praying we made the decision to leave Lifeline and join up with Across The World Adoptions as one of the pilot families in their Uganda program. Unfortunately all the money that we had paid to Lifeline was nonrefundable, so we lost close to $5,000. This was hard, but we knew that being with an agency that we trust was worth it. We’re not just a number and a paycheck anymore. We talk with our social worker every few days, and are constantly being updated about how things are going with the courts in Uganda. I (Matt) personally felt relieved going with ATWA because they are much more structured on the Uganda side of things. We won’t be on our own to find housing and transportation. This was huge for me as I will only be in country for a few weeks, while Brooke will be staying the full 6-8 weeks.
Once signed on with ATWA we received our first referral within days! After a week of prayer, fasting, and more prayer we turned down the referral. We so badly wanted to give this sweet child a home, but we knew in our hearts that this was not our child. The next few days were rough, neither of us were a joy to be around. We knew they weren’t meant for us but we couldn’t help feeling like we had condemned this child to life of substandard living and care. Only our Heavenly Father knows what’s in store for the life of that child, but they will always have a place in our hearts and prayers.
It was close to two weeks before the next referral came in. To be honest, I was really nervous. I was excited at the possibility of seeing my child for the first time, but terrified of having to turn another orphan away. It was July 24th. Brooke and I were both at work and were patiently awaiting the referral. Brooke sent me a text that said, “I have pictures!” and immediately followed that text with a call. In her high pitch happy little squeal she said, “Oh my gosh hunny, I just love him so much!” A few min later the picture came through on my phone. I pulled over to the side of the road and just stared at my phone. We both knew that this was our son. The next few days were a blur as we rushed to complete the paperwork to meet the deadline for the new rules in Kampala. By the grace of God alone we were able to get the paperwork together and in country before the close of business 2 days later. This was an incredibly exciting moment for us, but as with most adoptions, joyous moments are followed by concern. We were excited to think that we would have our son home by Christmas, but terrified to think that we were $10,500 short of what we needed to accomplish that. We figured that if we scrapped our pennies over the next few months we could come up with roughly $6,400. Due to our income level we are ineligible to receive any adoption grants or loans. So we went to our local bank and looked into personal loans. After a few minutes of choking on interest levels, the loan office pointed out that we had roughly $14,000 in equity in Brooke’s car and that the refinance interest levels on vehicles was 2.99%. Far lower than any personal loan, or any low interest adoption loan for that matter. A few days later we refinanced our car and were given a 60 day no payment bonus and now have all that we need to finish the adoption. We are wrapping up our last fundraiser as we speak, in an attempt to reduce the size of the loan we had to take. Now onto the important stuff J Our little man.
Due to the privacy laws in Uganda we can only share his gender, age, and a little about his personality. He is a 4 year old boy and is just about the sweetest child ever. He is described as a sweet, shy boy who loves the children in his home. A few weeks ago we were able to send a photo album to him that had a few pictures of Brooke and I, the dogs, house, and his room. Once we are cleared for travel he will learn about us. We are hoping to find out here in the next few weeks when our actual court date is, but we were told to expect a late October/early November date. Until then we sit and wait. Stare at the pictures of our sweet little boy on our phones and play the, “I wonder what he’s doing now?” game. This has been such an incredible journey for us thus far and we feel incredibly blessed to have had minimal issues up to this point. We want to thank all of you so much for your actions and kind words. We truly could not have done this on our own. I will try to post more often so you don’t have to spend 4 hours at your computer. Thank you again.