I've been MIA the past few days, sorry about that! Let me blame my absence on a rancid batch of chapatis. Chapati is a Ugandan specialty which is a flat unleavened bread with some resemblance to a pita or tortilla. We had been enjoying chapatis with most of our meals upon arriving to Jinja but I assure you, from here on out, chapatis will not be garnishing my plate any longer! I cannot remember the last time I have felt so ill. Food poisoning is awful and I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy! I was bed ridden for a full day and night. Thank the Lord I was able to get up and walk around again this morning because...
... As we were sitting around eating breakfast Jackie got a call from Ricky telling us to get dressed and head to town as we needed to be in court asap. You should have seen our faces as we were all just waking up, enjoying the cool morning breeze while sipping a hot cup of tea not expecting to be in court until Friday afternoon - we leaped up and ran around like chickens with our heads cut off! We threw on a nice pair of clothes, gathered our documents (like passports and such) and flew out the door. On the way to the court house, we had to tract down Maisy's biological mother at her school as she needed to be present. Thankfully we found her no problem and she hopped in the car and we were off. Ricky was anxiously waiting for us outside the court building. When we arrived, we quickly shuffled our way through the halls and into the court room which was filled with long wooden benches - like you might find in a historical church. All the windows were paned, painted a dark green and swung open, allowing a nice cross breeze to circulate. In the front of the room sat the judge and the court clerk. The room quickly filled with men and women of all ages - mostly appearing for criminal charges. Andrew, Ricky, Janna, Mais'y birth mother, Maisy and I all sat in the very back row and listened quietly as case after case was brought forth. Two hours past and we hadn't yet been called. Finally, the judge declared a recess. Everyone filed out of the court room and Ricky said, "Ok, let's go, we must now visit the judges chambers". Although we were confused as to why we would need to go to the chambers if we hadn't spoken in the court room, we knew to keep quiet and so we did as Ricky said.
The court clerk filed us in to the judges chambers and we sat still as can be and as quite as a mouse. Ricky told us that it was a blessing that we got to be seen by the judge in her chambers because when she called the recess, she was supposed to get in a car and leave for the day.
Once the judge gave the "OK", our lawyer began explaining our case. The judge quickly interrupted and asked, "When do you think I will have the time to look at this file? I leave for Kampala tomorrow and have many other cases ahead of this one. I am going to have to pass this case on to the courts in Kampala...". We were all SILENT and white-faced on the outside but on the inside we were praying like mad. The lawyer continued to plea and managed to convince the judge to give us five more minutes of her time. She listened, asked some questions and by the end of the meeting her decision was: "Come back on Friday with the birth mother, the birth mother's uncle, a probation officer, a police officer and the founder of ISAC Kids (which is Ricky) and you can take your file to the court registrar and he will finalize this case". PRAISE JESUS!!! We now have an appointment Friday morning at 10:00 am with the court registrar and ALL people listed above must be present in order to receive our court order. Please be praying that we can locate all persons and that everyone cooperates. Anything can change in an instant with one tiny mistake but we are trusting God fully and know that He has brought us this far, He will take us the rest of the way - at His pace, His timing. So we continue to pray for peace, patience and understanding as we wait all of this out. The good news is that if all goes well on Friday, that will be the end of the court hearings - meaning we will only have ONE court hearing VS. two! That would be a huge answer to prayer as it would cut down on time frame and we could possibly get Maisy's visa sooner than expected.
After we finished up at the court house, we drove back home to grab some lunch and to freshen up and then headed out again - this time, to another village on the other side of town. Once again, the people were oh-so welcoming and genuine. The children greeted us by kneeling down before us and shaking our hands - they do this to show respect. One darling little girl maybe around the age of four or five came running up to us, arms open wide, sporting a very contagious grin. She was thrilled to see so many Mzungu vistors! We enjoyed some conversation with the women, handed out some gifts and spent some time in prayer. They prayed over Andrew, Maisy and I and for our adoption. Although we couldn't understand what they were saying, it was incredibly powerful and we felt the Holy Spirit among us. The women looked at us and said, "This child will go to the States". Jackie told us that when these particular women pray, they pray hard and long and they will even fast until they have an answer.
I'm not sure if you all understand this, but Maisy isn't ours as of yet. We have not gotten a court ruling and guardianship order, therefore, she is not legally under our custody and we cannot take her back to Oregon until we have these things. This is why we are seeking as many prayer warriors as possible as we continue to jump through all these government hoops! Continually we are seeing God's goodness through it all as He is blessing us left and right - for instance like this afternoon, being called to the judges chambers when she should have been done for the day. The Lord is constantly reminding us that He is in control as we see other cases like one today where another American appeared in court also hoping to adopt and is hearing bad news after bad news including being told her case is now being transferred to Kampala. Jackie said once your file is passed on to the courts in Kampala, things are a whole new ball game - documents are far more difficult to process. This particular woman according to Jackie and Ricky, has been in Jinja trying to get her court ruling since January. Our hearts break for this woman and we pray things look up for her! God has a plan for all of His children and sometimes we don't understand why things happen the way they do but it is so important to keep your focus on the Lord and to be grateful in ALL circumstances!