Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas in Uganda


We're three days from Christmas and as we prepare for such a festive holiday, we were curious how Ugandan's celebrate Christmas. I don't claim to be an expert on this topic, as there seems to be varying opinions on the web and we've never actually been to Uganda to experience this holiday. I expect it's somewhat like celebrations in America, depending on your culture, background, etc., traditions vary from family to family.

The picture above is a child that we sponsor through Compassion International. Several years ago, we sent extra money (above our monthly sponsorship) for a Christmas present. We expected he would buy toys, a soccer ball, something he really wanted. We received this picture, and he used the money to buy a suit for Christmas! How precious!!

In Uganda, most will not have Christmas trees. Most families don't have money to buy and exchange new shiny gifts. Instead, family and friends will gather together and celebrate the holiday together with a feast, many of them will also celebrate with a new outfit. For them, spending time together celebrating Christ's birth is the most important part of the holiday.

We found this article describing African Christmas a little more.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Waiting

As we approach Christmas, we seem to be in a time of waiting. We're waiting for our social worker to receive clearance on our Criminal History check, we're waiting for the USCIS to send us instructions to get our Biometric fingerprinting done, etc. In the mean time, we're trying to put as much information together for our Dossier as possible. The Dossier is all the paperwork that goes to our Ugandan lawyer to take before the court. Every lawyer/agency requires different information we're hearing, this is definitely no cookie-cutter process!

We got an email from our lawyer last week that she would be going to visit an orphanage and this would be an additional cost. This caught us by surprise as we understood it would be a flat rate for their services and a child referral (however, not unexpected!). We've emailed back and forth with her about this increase and she's going to try to cut some expenses and not travel to orphanages. Some orphanages will not talk to them over the phone or by email, they want an in person meeting which I can understand. We finally received another email that she was sending our profile over to an organization that may be able to help us. Again, we're waiting to see if they have any twins available for adoption.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Support

Through a group of people connecting and supporting each other, I found a Ugandan radio station! It's been fun listening, it's mostly music but some talk and they easily go from Luganda (I'm guessing) to English, it's fun to listen to!

On Saturday, Dec. 11, we received an I-797C, Notice of Action from the USCIS, this form basically told us that they've received our I-600A application & will be sending us an appointment time for our Biometrics (electronic fingerprinting). We must wait to receive the appointment notice before going.

On Monday, Dec. 13, we received another I-797C, Notice of Action. This one just stated that we haven't yet turned in our Home Study and it must be turned in within 1 year of our I-600A application. Hopefully we'll get it very soon!

We received an email from our lawyer yesterday telling us that our request for twins would be very difficult..."I do not want to say that it is impossible because all things are possible with God." These were very sweet words!

Friday, December 10, 2010

little things

Little things have happened over the last week:
December 1: email from lawyer recommends Aggie's Babies home, we send them an email.

December 2: hear about another lawyer who may have some children, we email her asking for more information. Received email from Aggie's. They have 7 families on the waiting list, ask for more information about us.

December 3: received email from lawyer with pictures & more information about the children, 2 older siblings & 1 infant, we help find forever homes for them.

December 4: emailed Aggie's Babies home back, asked to be put on the waiting list, haven't heard back from her but know she runs a business as well as helping with Aggie's.

December 6: received email confirmation from USCIS that they have received our I-600A application and we should receive a "Form I-797" in 7-10 days. I'm guessing this is the form that tells us when & where to get our biometric fingerprinting done. Just hope it doesn't get scheduled for when we'll be in Kansas City over the holidays!

December 7: We've decided on a lawyer & she has sent us a list of orphanages, tells us she has twins if none of those work out, we request more information about the twins.

December 8: We receive more information about the twins with a picture, sorry, can't post it or too many details on the internet. Call Uganda to tell them we want these babies!! She will contact the grandmother to find out if they are still available.

December 9: A Doctor friend of ours came by the church, and gave me a TB test, Flu shot and Yellow Fever vaccine...I'm ready to go to Uganda! Wes went hunting so he'll have to get his later.

December 10: we find out that 3 other families have inquired about the twins and it sounds like they are much further along in the process than we are. Our hearts break but we know they need a forever home and nourishment quickly. It doesn't sound like they are officially spoken for, just inquired about...we wait. We also took our cat and dog in for their rabies vaccines. Our cat needs to go on a diet and our dog is up to 150 lbs!

The Details
  • TB test result needs to go on the Physical form that's turned into Social Worker (we had already turned ours in without the TB & thought it could be a separate medical note)
  • Our Vet gave us a Rabies Vaccine Certificate, we had them reprint so both of our names on the certificate match what our passports say, just to avoid any possible delays
  • waiting is hard