To Uganda and Back (Part 2)

Apr
2013
05

posted by on Adoption

5 comments

I’ve told the story of this weird, brief little trip to Uganda so many times now, and the one thing that strikes me again each time I tell it is how evident God’s hand was and is in everything that’s happened. I find myself saying repeatedly, “we could not have planned this.” And it’s true.

I have never been more confident of the sovereignty of God, the perfection of His plans for His children, the moving of His Holy Spirit.

My time in Uganda was very brief, so this won’t be a long recounting of all that I learned about the country in my time there. Our primary purpose in visiting was to spend some time in an orphanage, meeting and caring for children. Though I will say that the little time I was able to spend with a Ugandan family was wonderful and I saw through a sleepy, over-travelled haze, both the beauty and the poverty of this country.

More than anything, I was reminded that Jesus Christ is the same Lord and Savior of His people no matter what language you speak or what culture you belong to. So in a weird way, I felt at home there.

It takes about 24 hours total of traveling to get to Entebbe, Uganda. No matter how you slice it, that is a long time and it is exhausting. But all that flying was actually one of the great things about this trip.

On the way there it provided me with hours to get to know my new friends and hear about their experiences with adoption. Adoption is very real in their lives and so it became very real to me as I heard their stories. I don’t know that I would have been as ready as I was to consider adopting these 2 children, our children (that is who they are to us already), had it not been for those conversations. God knew I needed to hear their stories.

On the return trip it afforded me hours upon hours to talk to God. To tell Him about my fears, my reservations, my hopes, my confusion. To hear from Him in return. He knew I needed that as well.

Since we arrived there so late at night, we went straight to the home of the man who runs the orphanage. His wife had prepared us a dinner, though it was midnight, and we sat and chatted briefly, but then went straight to bed.

I woke up the next morning feeling disoriented (my body was telling me it was 2:30am and I had just slept 6 hours induced by Tylenol PM). I can remember trying to pray but never quite getting through a full sentence without being distracted. But that’s OK, God knows our hearts when we don’t know what to say. And at that moment I was grateful for that fact.

We spent the morning with this family we stayed with. They made us a wonderful breakfast and I was able to hear the testimony of this man, a Pastor who loves his people, loves his family, loves children. But most of all loves Jesus. It was funny to chat some with his wife and watch her interact with her kids and think, our lives are really similar in a lot of ways! After breakfast we got to take a little tour of the land around their home. It’s very beautiful, with a view of Lake Victoria and crops growing and cows grazing.

Yet when we emerged from this safe haven to drive to the orphanage we could see that which is not so beautiful, the effects of extreme poverty and disease. People living in shacks or holes in the wall, trying to make a little money off the land to support themselves and probably several children. Yet on our drive we were met with smiles and waves. From what I can tell, Ugandans are very friendly.

We turned off of a main road onto a red dirt road that took us up a hill (Uganda is known for it’s rich red earth). The orphanage sits on this hillside, with a beautiful view that so starkly juxtaposes the sadness of so many children left without a home and family. There is one building, with the first story built and the second in progress, as well as a second foundation laid for another building. When we arrived there was a woman cooking over an open fire and another washing the childrens’ clothing in a bucket of water.

The building is surrounded by a concrete porch, where the children were all gathered, looking at us with curiosity and eagerness. We greeted them all and then sat down in some lawn chairs they insisted we sit in. The children sat on the floor.

Two children climbed into my lap, stroking my skin, touching my necklace, smiling shyly. One of these two, who will soon be my daughter, laid her head on my chest and remained that way for quite some time. She was wearing a boy’s sports jersey and her head, like all the other girls’, is shaved. But she was beautiful, nonetheless.

This Pastor and his wife went around and made the introductions and told us about all of the children, how long they had been there, who was related to whom, whether or not they were in the process of being adopted. He pointed to the girl I held in my arms and told me she was sister to one of their youngest boys, a stout, serious little guy who they have nicknamed “Bishop.” (Best. Nickname. Ever.).

Now the skies didn’t open up or anything, and I didn’t hear the audible voice of God in that moment, but the Spirit was moving in me at that moment. I simultaneously thought, “We have to come get these two children,” and “I’m not ready to adopt, yet.”

The little boy was familiar. We had received a picture of all of these children before I left and he stood out. Staring seriously at the camera while the other children smiled and waved. Josh actually said at one point, “I feel like he’s asking me to come get him.” So when I found out that this sweet, shy girl was his older sister, I knew. If we come to get him, we’re getting her, too.

At one point, while we were talking and playing with the children, I remember turning to this pastor’s wife and saying, “It’s hard to think of a reason not to adopt these children. But we’d be doubling what we have, and that seems crazy and hard.” She very simply responded, “It wouldn’t be so hard. You’d be surprised at how quickly they adapt. And four is not hard.”

When she said that I think the Lord began to open my eyes. To show me that my “hard” is not actually hard at all. Two children without parents, with no hope of a future – that is hard. And when I said hard, what I think I meant was uncomfortable. A stretch. Challenging. But when is it ever for our bad that God sends us a challenge that will stretch us?

We spent a few hours playing with the children, giving them some gifts, hearing them sing songs about Jesus (what a beautiful sound). We prayed for them and hugged them and then left, knowing that we needed to get some dinner and head back to the airport.

We had dinner, packed our things, and set off for yet another 24 hours of long flights and little sleep. Before we boarded our first flight in Entebbe, I was able to talk to call Josh and talk to him for about 5 minutes. I was exhausted, emotional, and confused. I told him about the kids, and I’m pretty sure I used the phrase “I don’t know…I just don’t know” about 30 times in those 5 minutes.

I’m so grateful for that super long flight that followed. Technically I should have slept that flight, but I probably only dozed for about an hour before waking up. God wanted me to talk it through with him. I prayed as I never have before.

I was open, I was honest. I told Him I was afraid. I told Him that I liked my comfortable life. I told Him I didn’t know if I would be a good mom to 2 more kids. In other words, I told Him, “I’m sinful. I need you to help me.”

And He did.

The wonderful thing about studying the Word of God is that it becomes a storehouse in your heart, and as I prayed, the Spirit opened the storehouse and I remembered all that I know to be true about God’s faithfulness, His goodness, His salvation, His plan. He answered my questions with His Word.

“The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.”

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

“You make known to me the path of life; in Your presence there is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”

There is no lasting joy to be had in treasuring comfort or ease or reputation or anything other than Christ. If I treasure Christ, I will treasure these children. If He’s calling me to be a mother to the orphan, then there is fulness of joy in it. Because where He calls us He is present with us.

It turned out to be a wonderful gift that Josh and I couldn’t talk to each other for a full day. Instead we turned to our heavenly Father. And when we were able to talk again, there was no hesitation. He had given us both such confidence and peace.

We’re ready. We rejoice that God works the way He does. We anticipate much joy in the coming season, though we know it comes with its challenges and struggles. But if there is more of Christ and less of us, we welcome it with open arms.

5 comments

  1. Rachel W.
  2. Marilyn Deem
  3. mesa

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