Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Fun at bedtime

Prior to the arrival of Mia and Joey, we would put Kade to bed each night by, among other things, praying with him. It is always fun to hear him pray. With Mia and Joey, it is all the more adventurous.

At the orphanage the kids pray in the following manner, "hands together, eyes closed, bless our mommies, bless our daddies, bless our uncles, bless our aunties, bless the food, etc." Kade has picked this up. He prays like this, "thank you for the day, bless our uncles, bless our daddies, what else (Tim: bless our mommies), bless our mommies, what else (Tim: bless our aunties), bless our aunties, what else (Tim: amen), amen."

Rather than the normal general prayer, tonight Melody prayed specifically for each of her aunties from Amani she could remember. She prayed, "Bless our aunties, bless auntie Arielle, bless auntie Renee, bless auntie Rachel, etc." It was very sweet and showed the impact these volunteers have had on her short little life. Thanks.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Auntie Aydeedoh and the little Diva

In our household, when Joey is upset, Auntie Arielle becomes Auntie Aydeedoh. Sad to see him upset but funny to hear how he butchers Arielle's name. The kids' accents are pretty cute and the way they pronounce words is quite funny. Mia says suppagetti instead of spaghetti, pipah instead of piper, and Ayreeoh rather than Arielle. They speak good english and some lugandan because the mamas spoke that to them. Today we tried to get Mia to tell us what a lugandan word meant that she kept saying to Joey, but she couldn't. Arielle helped put together a good list of lugandan words that we can use to try to help them remember some of it.


As you can see, Mia has become a diva. She is so cute and has a lots of fun. She wanted to dress this way so that we could go to the mailbox. She enjoys all of her toys and constantly points out to us that she is going to "her house" when we are on our way home.


The three "bigger" kids in our family are getting along great. They have sharing issues (as mentioned in prior posts) but they really have a good time together. Kade has always loved playing with other kids and I often felt bad that there were not other kids for him to play with. Now he has two siblings that he loves to play with. Mia and Joey are overwhelmed by so much to do, but they seem to really enjoy having Kade around to show them the "ropes" of the Danger household. Please continue to pray for happy hearts in the kids that want to share with each other and think about the other first. There is a lot of selfishness, though I don't think that is anything foreign to any child or adult for that matter.

Monday, April 28, 2008

The first week!

Leala here:  Tomorrow will be one week since everyone made it home and it went fast!  I am soooo thankful to have had my mom out and Arielle out for the first week, it really helped with transition.  Joey and Mia are doing amazingly well considering that everything in their lives just radically changed!  They are back to a normal eating and sleeping routine.....minus the fact that Kaden has been waking up at 5:30 and then waking them up.  They are trying all kinds of new foods and doing very well with it.......usually better than Kaden!  They come to Tim and I and seem to really want our approval and attention!  Kaden is enjoying them but finding it difficult to share the toys and at times our attention.  There have been moments in the last week where we have continuous little fights that break out between Kaden and either Joey or Mia and I feel overwhelmed and want to cry and then there have been really sweet moments of the kids helping each other, holding hands, hugging and laughing that also make me want to cry!  Today, Joey realized that Arielle was going to be leaving and was crying.  Melody walked over to him and grabbed his hand and comforted him and stopped him from crying.  It was very sweet. 

Life definitely got busier but it is worth it and all of the kids are great!  There are soooooo many things to be thankful for and so many things that have gone way better than I expected!  Our days are becoming much more regimented for everyone's sanity and it is working pretty well.  The kids got shots (which Mia really hated) and I got stitches after cutting my finger with a bread knife while making dinner......when it squirted blood, Tim decided we should go to the E.R.  Thankfully Arielle and friends of ours were able to watch the kids!  Piper has been her same easy going, happy little self which I am really grateful for!  Kaden, Joey and Mia are currently sleeping in the same room until they get more settled.  Putting them to bed is really fun!  Bedtime usually involves story time, praying, singing some songs and then kissing them all good night!  

It was a crazy first week but it was a good week!

pictures




















Sleep is somewhat fleeting



The kids sleep really well.  They go to bed around 8pm each night and usually fall asleep relatively quickly.  Unfortunately, however, Kade wakes up around 530am and immediately jumps in bed with Joey and Mia to wake them up and play with them.  This inevitably leads to Leala and I having to wake up and attempt to marshall the three of them back to bed so they can get a little more sleep.  That doesn't work very well so the days now begin a little earlier than before.  

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Getting settled. . .

Things are going well with the kids.  As I write this, Joseph is throwing a fit on Arielle, Kade is yelling at the cat, and Melody is yelling for my attention and pointing out each family member in a picture next to the couch.  Wow!  Things may be a little hectic but all is good.  I am amazed at how well the kids seem to be adjusting.  They sleep well, nap well, eat well, are full of energy, and are moving more and more towards sharing.

Arielle has been a huge help.  Having her here has, I think, made it easier for the kids.  Melody and Joey have been calling Leala and I, mom and dad, respectively.  They have had no problem adjusting to the food.  And absolutely LOVE playing with all the toys we have.  Outings have gone well also.  The kids went to the doctor (you would not believe how Melody can scream), went to Chandler Fashion Park, went to Costco, and will go to church tomorrow.  The dvd player in the van is something of a wonder to them.

Leala is working hard to get them on a schedule so that life is more manageable for her as well as for the kids.

The cats absolutely scare the dickens out of the kids.  I know that our cats are vicious creatures . . .   but the fear that courses through Melody and Joey is incredible.  The first night or day the kids were home, Joey thought it would be fun to chase Jobe.  Jobe is not a creature that likes change and had already had a hard time with the new kids.  As Joey cornered Jobe, Jobe lashed out at him with a hiss and a bat of the paw.  I have never seen a child run with as much fear and lack of direction as Joey flaylingly shot away from our little cat.  Now whenever the cats come near, the kids aimlessly flee.  Wait until they meet grandma's two dogs, that will be a ton of fun.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Food for the mamas

Individuals at my firm not only provided crocs for all of the mamas, they also provided over $100 to be used for whatever would best serve the mamas.  I spoke with some of the volunteers and we believed they would be best served with beans and rice to take home to their families.  The money was sufficient to purchase 2 kilos of rice and 2 kilos of beans for each of the mamas.  This was over 300 pounds of food for the mamas.  They were ecstatic.  

My last night there I gave the food to the night mamas and as appreciation for what all of you did for them, they sang with me and prayed for myself and the kids.  It was a truly special time and one that I will never forget.  These women are so appreciative for any little thing.  In that situation, you really see that it is truly better to give than to receive.  It is a wonderful thing to know that you are providing essentials of life for people that work unbelievably hard and loved beyond how much they are appreciated.  

Please continue to pray for each of the 35 mamas at the orphanage.  They need your prayers.  They are faithful women that need energy to make it through the long days, patience with their families and kids, longsuffering for the conditions they live in, and endurance in their spiritual faith.

It is also important that you know about the mamas.  They told me that it is important to them that you know about them.  I told them I believe it is important that you know about them and how sacrificial and faithful they are.

Thank you from all the mamas as well as our family.

The trip home.

The trip home was really good.  Apart from a few unbelievable fits from each child, the flight was simple.  Joey often wanted to be held by Arielle, not a good thing when they have to have their seatbelts fastened.  Melody wanted to not sit next to me, not a good idea when we are not in the same rows.  Overall, it was much easier than we expected--apart from the stewardess making us move the kids around the plane on the first flight so they would stop screaming for the other passengers.

It was nice to be in England for a break.  Both flights were about 10 hours apiece and one long day with a shorter layover would not have been as good.  The break was nice.  The kids loved playing with the kids in England.  And customs was easy in England.  

It is one of the greatest feelings in the world to come back into the United States after being in undeveloped countries.  The US is a wonderful country full of opportunity and hope.  Uganda is a country that is truly at odds with the corruption that underlies so much of its political and governmental system.  Sadly, this inevitably leads to the opportunity for licentiousness in all aspects of those systems.

Customs was easy in the US and we are now going to proceed forward with the final adoption of the little ones.  Wonderful to have them as part of our family.

Thank you to everyone that prayed for us, encouraged us with your words and phone calls, told us you would be thinking of us as we went through this, interested in the process and wanted to talk with us about it, supported and made the mama's lives a little easier at the orphanage, and generally loved us through the process.  I am sure we will call on many of you for babysitting support.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

They are home and it has been a wonderful night!

Quick update for all of you who have been following our blog!  We waited and waited and waited at the airport and I think everyone was as much on pins and needles as I was........it seemed like forever!  Finally they came around the corner and Melody came and ran into my arms and gave me a hug.  I could not have been happier!  Then Joey let me hold him and carry him around the whole time at the airport and nuzzled his little head into my shoulder......it was great!  Melody was a little live wire and was talking with everyone,  she was excited to see her house, she loved her room and her bed.  Joey eventually smiled and laughed for me once we were home.  The kids eventually all went to sleep in the same room and we have a busy but happy house tonight!  It was wonderful to have family and friends to witness our reunion at the airport.......it really was a wondeful evening!  Thank you all for all of your love and support, I am overwhelmed in tonight in a very good way!

more pictures of the trip

video



Made it out of Uganda!!!


We are currently with friends in England. We made it out of Uganda with no problem and are now preparing for the final leg of this trip to America. Melody and Joey are playing with their newfound friends in England without hesitation. We will leave for the airport shortly and hope to arrive in Phoenix around 6pm tonight. The trip has been good apart from screaming fits by both kids on the plane and a little vomit at the very end. I can't complain.


Thank you all for your support. Great to be coming back to America.

Friday, April 18, 2008

The Post I have been waiting for!

Leala here: Tim called me at some early hour in the middle of the night to let me know, he has the visas!!!!!  He now has everything he needs to board the plane Monday morning and bring the kids home!  We officially began the process to adopt in April 2 years ago.  In many ways it has felt like a long 2 years and some points went by sooooo slowly but in the grand scheme of things it wasn't that long at all!  Two years and all of the hassle to get through the legal requirements and red tape is definitely not too long when I think about the fact that it means two little ones will now have a family and our family will forever be changed!  When I think about what this opportunity to adopt has meant to me, I am flooded with thoughts!  Although we may go through weeks, months or even years of acclimating to the sudden change in our family, I am certain that what the change it will bring in our family is invaluable!  As I look at Kaden and Piper and contemplate how much I love them...I cannot wait to begin getting to know Mia and Joey.......just as I do with Kaden and Piper, I can't wait to learn their laughs, cry's, what makes them giggle, what makes them sad, what they think is funny, what quirks they and all the other little things that make them into to unique kids that they!  Tuesday can't come soon enough.......even though the kids don't really know me yet and will probably be shy and eneasy, I can't wait to give them a hug, tell them I love them and just see their little faces!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

We have liftoff . . .

As Melody said many times today, she is coming to America. We finally made it through the passport office! Amazing it was done without bloodshed. "Made it through" still comprised two hours and one person going above and beyond to demand the passport be personally delivered to him at the front office. We received it and Melody spontaneously began yelling that we had the "passcort" and that she was coming to America. People were looking at her laughing and enjoying her joy. She wanted to tell everyone. We called mommy leala and Melody told her the same news. I took the phone back only to have it grabbed from my hand by Melody as she wanted to show mommy a helicopter (she called it a plane) that was flying over.


We thanked those that helped us and proceeded to the US embassy. At the embassy the consular representative said that he should be able to get the visas for us tomorrow and in time for us to fly home as scheduled. What a blessing and answer to prayers. We received a text message later in the day that the consular representative wanted to meet with us around 1130am on Friday presumably to give us the visas. He did not indicate anything was out of order in the paperwork and it looks like we will get the visas, have a quick weekend of packing and preparing to leave, and fly out Monday.


Our driver's name is Abdullah. Abdullah is a very nice man. He asked me today about my house in America. We had pictures to show Melody so that she could become more acquiainted so I showed him those pictures. He queried why there were no gates or courtyards on any of the houses in the pictures. He asked me, "Do you not have thieves in America?" To which I responded, "Oh we have thieves in America." He thought for a second and then asked, "Do you have mzungu (white person) thieves?" Of course I said "yes." He erupted in laughter and giggling in utter disbelief that we had mzungu thieves in America. We had a great laugh about it.


Tomorrow we will proceed to the embassy hopefully for visas. At that point, it is as sure a deal as it can be in Uganda. When we returned from the embassy, everyone was so excited. The mamas congratulated us and hugged us repeatedly. When Melody said goodnight to me, she gave me a hug and didn't want me to give her back to the volunteer to put her to bed. That was a great feeling as it was the first time that she wanted to stay with me. Joey was a pleasure today. He walked with me, held my hand, went to me when Ditte told him to, and even laid his head in my lap and gave me a hug when I was trying to get him to slap me five. Things could not be better right now. . . amazing what 24 hours can do in Uganda.


As always, your support and encouragement is appreciated. This would have been so much harder, if not impossible, without all of you. Thanks. Congrats to Todd and Jenny on leaving Uganda with two kids in tow.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

And I thought the DMV was frustrating . . .




Once again we were back at the passport office early in the morning. Although the office is only 82 km from Jinja, it takes about 2.5 hours because of traffic, frequent accidents, and roads that look like they were part of the world war bombings in europe. This morning we decided that Joey needs to get over his anxiety of me touching him, holding him, looking at him, breathing near him and generally doing anything in his general direction. This effort actually started last night with him screaming "Auntie" for over an hour. (naively we thought he would only scream for 10 minutes) He fought me, bit me, scratched me, and generally made it clear he did not want to be held. This morning he only screamed for 10 minutes and was silent. He rode the entire way to Kampala in my lap. Jump forward to the ride home. Ditte handed him to me and he did not make a peep. He sat with me and fell asleep within 10 minutes. Maybe we are making headway or maybe we exhausted him. The picture above pretty much sums up the day. As does the picture below. . .


Seriously, I will start by saying that things are well. I feel great, the weather is beautiful, the countryside we drive through twice every day is awesome, and things could always be worse. I am also learning a lot about the Ugandan people, language, history, and current politics. It is thoroughly interesting and I am blessed to be able to take part in it. That being said . . .
Today was by far the most frustrating so far. We arrived at passports early hoping to pick up Joey's but were told it was not ready. After spending two hours trying to track down why it had not been printed, we discovered that someone in the printing office (strong room) did not feel it should be printed without additional paperwork despite having been approved by the court, local government officials, passport control officers, and even persons involved with the NGO board. The strong room employee wanted it to go to the legal department for review. Who knew, lawyers would stand in our way--the whole lot of them should be at the bottom of the sea. (just kidding coworkers)

In order for legal to approve it, they wanted more paperwork. Before the legal department went to lunch, we spoke with the head and he understood what we needed to do. He instructed one of the other attorneys to do so and went to lunch. When he came back we had no luck with progress and remained at the same position. He again laid out to the other attorney what he wanted done and she began to move on it. We went to the passport control officer and were told that we had to locate Melody's file. (Note, Melody's passport was printed and in my possession.) To say we were stunned to find that they could not find Melody's file is an understatement. They could not. Eventually they found it and we were told to include the court order and ruling in Joey's file and then legal would sign off on it.

After having copies made of those orders (on a machine that has to be shut off and turned back on after every two copies) we went back to legal. The attorney was not satisfied and demanded that we include every document in Melody's file that is not in Joey's. True to what was asked we did so. This included many documents that were Melody-specific and for which we did not have copies for Joey because THEY LOST THEM. Nonetheless, we did as asked and returned to legal.
The attorney reviewed the file, including scouring the first four documents attached and not those that are Melody-specific, wrote a long letter to the strong room, we have been assured it will be printed and signed tonight and will be able to pick it up tomorrow. I hold my breath.
One of the most positive things of the day was that the consular representative to the embassy here in Uganda told us that if we could get the passports to him by 2pm tomorrow, he would still be able to get us visas in time for us to fly out on Monday. To hear of what can happen when you are on the plane ready to take off, please see the blog of another family that is here to adopt two children at http://www.jesusbabies.blogspot.com/.
We will continue to persevere and press-on and finish this process strong. I am hopeful, encouraged, and feel strengthened to continue on until we get those little kids back in the wonderful, only-place-like-it-in-the-world USA.
On that note, it is so interesting to be in an undeveloped country. Here everyone asks me for my contact information. They want my name and address so they can "stay in touch with me and learn how the children are doing." In fat, they want it so they can call to ask me to sponsor them to come to America--pay for them and be the name of the recommending person on their visas. I had 10 people today ask me for that information. It is quite difficult to tell people to their face you are not going to give it to them. . . I have gotten pretty good at it. One man shook my hand when we were standing in line for something. He then went to Ditte and told her that he would have to speak with me to be his sponsor because I shook his hand. I guess I will not be shaking anyone's hand tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Some pictures.










Passport pit to hell!


As the title implies, the Ugandan passport office is more akin to the seventh level of hell than any place I would actually like to be on this earth. Monday and today were virtually completely taken up by trying to get people to look for our files at the office.

On Monday we started at the US embassy to try to get the paperwork going. We were not able to wait long enough to meet with the consular representative and had to move on to the wonderful passport office. Once there we waited to meet out contact who had been helping us on Friday. To pass the time we played games such as: count how many times you are called mzungu (white person); see how many ants are crawling on you at one time; count how many people are staring at you at any one time; guess how many weeks it will take to get your passport; etc. In all seriousness, we had a wonderful lady help us on Friday who is very high ranking in the NGO office and with rank in the entire compound we were in. We did not have much direction on where to look for the passport applications and were told to leave and come back at 2pm. We decided to use this time to go back to the embassy.

We went back to the embassy and were told that we could see the consular representative at 2pm. (Note what time we had to be back at passports) They told us that if we could be back by 245pm we could see him but, otherwise, it would have to be the next (Tuesday) afternoon. We went to lunch and proceeded to the passport office at 2pm.

At the passport office we were told to come back at 3pm. We left to hurry to the embassy.

We arrived at the embassy and were eventually able to meet with the consular representative. He had briefly looked over our paperwork and told us that our files and that our rulings were fine. He told us that our attorney needed to include supplemental language in the future but that the rulings we had were fine. GREAT NEWS!!!! That was what I was afraid would be the hold-up. Apparently I had never considered the passport office. Thus we traveled back to the passport for our third visit of the day.

Once at passports we began speaking to anyone that would talk to us, begging for assistance, and trying to track down our files. It is really frustrating when someone directs you to speak to someone, you speak to them, and they yell at you for speaking to them. I cannot begin to count how many times my conversations began with "so and so told me to come and see you. I have no idea why. I cannot tell you how they are. I don't know what you do or who you are and I have no idea what I am doing right now. Can you please help me?" Eventually we were connected with the head of the front office. He was a very helpful man that was able to finally tell us that Melody's file was ready for printing but they could not find Joey's. We were to come back on Tuesday.

Now for Tuesday.
Obviously we began at the passport office at 11am because that is when our contact was set to arrive. Our contact has heart problems so she is unable to walk up and down the hill that we traversed many times, but her assistant, who had been out the prior few days, was in and was at our beck and call. We started out speaking to people about our passports, picked up Melody's for which there was much ooing and ahing from Melody and Joey, and had our newfound friend begin searching for the passports. There is a person called the passport control officer. Someone must have called ahead and told him we were coming because he was rude to us each and every time. He told us the passport went through his office to the strong room. We confirmed by two separate searches it was not there. I went to speak with him again and he assured it was probably in room 6--queries. I told him it was not there either and when Ditte had inquired they yelled at her saying, "why are you bothering me?!" Our search continued.

We came back to various people many times to see if anyone had found anything, each time being assured they have never lost a passport. I beg to differ.

Eventually, after 4 hours there, Ditte suggested we speak with the legal department. We met a very nice man that told us to make a copy of our receipt showing payment, fill out a new application, and take it to my bosom buddy the passport control officer. We did just that. While we were preparing these documents we found out that the file was nowhere to be found and confirmed lost. We went to the passport control officer and I immediately explained to him that the file was nowhere to be found, legal had told us to do this, and that we had no other options. He looked over the papers, scribbled a note to confirm the file number, and sent us to another office. We went to the next person, confirmed the file number was correct and proceeded to yet another office to review our documents. This man was not so nice to begin with.

We spoke with him for a long period of time and he finally gave us the paperwork we needed. He sent us back to the passport control officer with notes on how we should proceed next. Rather than take my paperwork and leave, I exercised a practice I had been using since my first day. I asked this man if he liked candy (sweeties). Of course, like everyone in Uganda, his face lit up like a child and he put his hand out. I gave him some jelly beans, bubble gum, and other candy. He became one of the nicest people we had met.

The Ugandans are wonderful people. They are generally kind, extremely giving, and for the most part meek. When they have authority, however, it seems to make them gruff, impatient, and for the most part rude. This man was initially this way. He barked at me for a response as to why I was in his office. I explained what had happened and that we had a temporary file. He asked who had reviewed it and I told him. Not one to be satisfied, he asked for the person's name--I had no idea. He said that I would need to go talk to this specific person. This is a good time for a brief sidenote on finding someone by name. They give you a first name. You find the first poor soul you can and ask for that person. They laugh and tell you there are four people with that name and begin suggesting last names, which obviously you don't know. You go in circles with them and they begin pointing you to offices of these so-named individuals. So it goes.

Back to the passport control officer. Amazingly, he approved the documents with no delay. He told our friend, however, that we would not get a passport without repaying because the bank's receipt was with the original, now lost, file. Ironically, he told her that we had to repay or find the original file. I cannot imagine how hard this must be for a poor Ugandan to make it through this process without the get the front of the line card we carry because of our skin color. We spoke with legal and he said that was ridiculous. The final place we saw that file was when it went to the strong room where the passports are printed. After this, I literally think I barely missed the step at the passport office that will take you directly to the underworld. It had to be there somewhere because it was sheer torture the entire time.

We were told to come back tomorrow to see if it had been printed. We will be back early because we have to allow time for our visas to be approved and completed.

Thank you again for all of you support and your prayers.

Monday, April 14, 2008

The Passports should be done on Tuesday

Leala here:  Typical for Uganda, the passports were not done.  One passport will be ready in the morning and one passport file is missing!  Tim will go back to the passport office tomorrow and hopefully they will be able to locate the missing file and finish it so that Tim can get the passports to the US embassy tomorrow afternoon.  The embassy takes 2 days (but has been known to do it quicker in a pinch) to get the visas done and they do not issue visas on Friday's.  So, we are hoping for the best, that the visas will be done on Thursday and travel plans will stay as they are!  

Saturday, April 12, 2008

The passports should be done on Monday!

Leala here again, this update is about Tim's progress in getting the passports and visas in order to get the kids home. Tim and Ditte, a volunteer from the orphanage, set out early Friday morning to get the letter signed a specific government official that would allow him to apply for Mia and Joey's passports. They arrived at the office when people should have been there and had to wait nearly 2 hours. In waiting, Tim called the lady he was to speak with who allegedly had authority to issue the letter he needed for the passports--and the only person with such authority. She told him she would not meet with him, that he had deal with the assistant commissioner, and many other things he could not understand because of her accent.

At the same time this was happening, Tim was treated rather rudely by the secretary for this department. She made it clear time and time again that Tim was not going to get what he needed that day.

Tim met with the assistant and explained the situation to him. He called the lady, yelled at her for not helping Tim and told him that Tim would be there on Monday and she would help him. Tim thanked him but Ditte said that they need the letter that day. He called someone at the passport office, asked who he had to write the letter to, wrote the letter, and gave Tim a contact there that would get him through the process quickly.

The rub with all of this great news was that he had to wait for the slightly mean secretary to type the letter--no small feat of patience. He waited and treated her to some candy while they waited. She became one of the nicest people they dealt with. Tim found out she had some children and gave her fruit snacks and candy to give to her children. By the end of Tim's time in the office, she told him that she believed he would have no problems with the passport and should give anyone that complained the phone number for the man that helped him and it would be taken care of.

Also at the time Tim was trying to win over the secretary, there was a riot very near the building. The taxi (matatu) drivers were rioting because they believe the police treat them unfairly. Unfortunately, the building Tim was in was directly behind the central police station and the location of the riot. Tim heard gun shots and shot video of the riot police assembling to fight the drivers. 1 person was killed in the riots and over 50 arrested. No taxis were on the road so it made transport much easier.

Tim used the contact at the passport office, was directed to one of the main people there, was taken directly to the passport control officer, and expedited through the process. After paying for the passports--see other entry regarding bank processes--Tim went back to try to make it through the next step. He met a lady that wanted to help him and she received a confirmation that if the passports were approved, they would be issued that day. Unfortunately, they had not been approved yet and Tim was told to come back on Monday morning to continue the process with new contacts he was told to have help him through.

It is incredible that this worked out with such quick time. We were doubtful we would even get the letter before the end of next week with all the hassle that this lady was causing Tim. It has been incredible to watch God work in this process.

Thank you again for all your prayers and support.

The Great Croc give away!

I see Leala posted this just after I did. I am sure you will enjoy it nonetheless.

Leala here....I am updating for Tim since he has been unable to update for a few days! On Thursday, Tim was able to distribute crocs to all of the uganda "mamas" that work at the orphanage taking care of the our kids and all of the rest! Tim said the ladies went crazy over the crocs, they were so excited!!!! One lady came up to Tim and told him she has been wanting some for a really long time and is not able to afford them. The ladies have seen them on some of the volunteers that have been at the orphanage as well as a few kids. Back in December, Tim brought a pair of hot pink ones for Melody. Melody's crocs were 2 to 3 sized too big but she loved them sooooooo much that she insisted on wearing them. After that day, every picture at the orphanage, I could easily spot my little girl b/c she was the one with the hot pink crocs that were way too big! Anyway, the women were very grateful for the shoes and it really made their day! Tim will put up some pictures as soon as he can. Thank you to everyone for helping these ladies in Africa!

Crocs were a smash!

The other day we distributed crocs that were donated by individuals at my office. Included with the crocs were bags of candy and treats. Sweets are an unbelievably big deal here with women saving ice cream to take home to give to their children. So there would be enough for their families, we included a full bag of jelly beans as well as some other treats for them.

The women were awed that they could try on different sizes to get a pair of shoes that actually fit. It is such a big deal to have shoes that many times they don't care if they fit. The women were able to each get a pair that fit them. You would not believe the fashion show that ensued shortly after the mamas got the crocs. It was also fun to watch grown women trade candy with one another like young school girls. I received many hugs, many thanks, and heaps of blessings for the people at my office for the most gracious gift. I can say that from my experiences here, it is likely those were the nicest things anyone had ever given these women.

Thank you to all. It is such a blessing to be able to see people with nothing so happy and thankful for things that we take for granted. It was also humbling to see these women--that have nothing--sharing the candy they were given with the orphans.

Thanks.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Speed Bumps

When we arrived yesterday we proceeded to the office of the official we had to meet with to give us the letter that will allow us to proceed forward with obtaining the passports for the kids. Unfortunately, the official has taken "leave" and is not officially working. He was in his office but would not help us because he was on "leave." He assured us, however, that a woman was coming that afternoon that we could wait for and she would be able to assist us with what we needed because she was filling in for him while he was on leave. We waited. The official's secretary told us that the woman was not coming that day and when she did come would not have the authority to give us what we need. After much convincing, we obtained the phone number for that woman and called her. She said she would review our file and would call us the next evening because she would not be in virtually the entire day. Now we wait.

On a lighter side. I had to pay a fee to register one of our documents. How that works in Uganda is for you to travel to a bank, pay the fee, and wait for a receipt. After I paid, I was told to sit down and wait to hear my name called. The person that was calling people's names was behind bulletproof glass, speaking quietly, and surrounded by about 25 Ugandans crammed up to the window waiting to hear their name called. I had previously been told that if you are not standing by the window you will not hear your name called. Oh how true. I stood by the window and waited. After a little while of not being able to understand a single thing that was being said, I heard my attorney's name called. I responded that he had sent me down and the woman asked for my paperwork. I handed it to her, she did something on the computer, and stated something in Lugandan. I obviously responded that I had no idea what she was saying and one of the men told me I had 20 more minutes to wait. I responded with, "5 minutes?" And was again told 20 minutes. So I stated, "Okay, 10 minutes." After waiting about 10 minutes, I handed the lady my paper again. With a frown she gruffly asked, "Have you heard your name called." I responded, "I can't really understand anything that you are saying or that is going on here. My name could have been a called a long time ago and I would have had no idea." She took my paper, handed it behind her and announced, "Find Mr. Timothy Danningah's paperwork so that he can leave." That, my friends, is the way to get your paperwork expedited in Uganda.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Made it!!!

I made it into Uganda this morning and was greeted at the airport by a normally shy Mel and a scared-to-death Joey. The great news is that yesterday the judge signed the ruling so that we can begin the passport process immediately. We met with the attorney and are now waiting in Kampala for some additional paperwork before heading to meet with the government official that will authorize us to proceed with the passport process.

The weather is nice--overcast, possibility of rain, and probably 89 degrees. The kids are doing great and have been very well behaved despite waking up at 4:30 am.

Thank you all for your prayers and support.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Getting ready to leave.

In getting ready to head to Uganda today, I called the attorney to speak with him about the court's ruling and when we could expect a court order that will allow us to move on in the process. I was told that the man that I have to meet with as the first step in this next process is taking a one month leave of absence and will not be in his office. A different family met with him this morning and he gave them the paperwork they sought . . . only after making them look at his law books and telling them they were not following the laws of Uganda. Although he will not be in his office, we were told that his secretary now has the authority to give us the paperwork we need. This seems positive because she will probably not give us as hard a time as he did the other family.

I can't wait to get out to Uganda to see some of our friends and get the process going. I will continue to update this blog when possible with pictures and text about what I am doing and how everything is coming together.

Thank you again for your prayers and support.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Welcome

This blog is designed to chronicle the adventures of the Danger family.  In particular, it is being started because we are in the process of adopting from Uganda and are just getting ready to go there and bring our two special children home.

We are so blessed to have the friends and family that we do that are not only supporting us in this most special endeavor, but are giving from their hearts to benefit those that we are going to be in contact with in Uganda.  We are so blessed.

This will be our third trip to Uganda and will involve lots of time at the orphanage playing with all of the kids there, spending time with Mia and Joey, meeting with government officials to get the process finished, and traveling home with the two little ones.

One of the American volunteers at the orphanage has agreed to accompany us home with the children to make the transition a little easier.  That is a real load off because I am pretty nervous about traveling that far with the two little ones.

Please pray that the officials that we meet with will expedite the process and push things through so that we can stay on the schedule we have laid out to bring them home.  You can also pray for the kids, probably most importantly, because this is going to be a really massive change for them -- the smells, sights, sounds, people, temperature, conditions, home, outdoors, other friends, and more are going to be so different for them.

Thank you for all your support.