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Remembering Uganda: That Visa Step…

August 11, 2013

We are telling our adoption story by posting a series of emails that were sent while we were in Uganda in July & August of 2012. If you have made your way here because you are thinking about adopting from Uganda or are in the process, please know that the process is very different now than it was in 2012.

Sent August 11, 2012

For those of you who have gotten added to this update list recently, I am going to give a brief catch-up. Those of you who have been “in the loop” since the beginning, feel free to skip this part. If you feel you have been added to this email list in error and would prefer to not be on it, please just let me know, and I can remove you. No problem 🙂
Summary:
After 6 months of waiting for a court date, we got news on July 4th that we were given a court date by a Ugandan judge to hear our guardianship case. We furiously packed and got on a plane in Houston on July 6th and arrived in Kampala, Uganda very late on July 7th. We met our new children for the first time on July 8th and took them to the Kampala courthouse on July 10th, asking a judge to give us guardianship of them. On July 19th, we were given a positive verbal ruling, giving us guardianship of our new children. On July 30th, we picked up our written ruling and guardianship order, providing the physical and legal proof we needed to take steps to bring them home. At the same time that we picked up our ruling/guardianship order, we picked up our Ugandan passport for our new son, but we had to send our new daughter’s Ugandan passport back to immigration due to an error with her name. We picked up her corrected passport on August 2nd, providing us with the final thing we needed to take to the US embassy in Kampala for our visa interview. We went to our visa interview on Monday, August 6th. Even though all paperwork and witnesses necessary were present for this interview, our children’s visas were denied. Over the course of the next couple of days, we worked with our attorney and our social worker here in Kampala to try to persuade the embassy official to reconsider his decision to deny our children’s visas, but to no avail. Our case is now on its way to the USCIS office in Nairobi for review and we have been told to expect to be in-country 4-6 more weeks as we wait for a decision from USCIS. We have retained the services of a new attorney, who works for a non-profit organization called EACH (Equality for Adopted CHildren) in Washington DC whose purpose is to help adoptive families who find themselves in a situation like ours, and she is confident that she can help us get our visa issues resolved.

Update/Prayer Requests:
-Due to the overwhelming generosity of some family members, we have decided to stay at the hotel where we have lived for the last 30 days. We are so thankful that we are able to give our children a stable, predictable environment during this time, rather than having to uproot them again. We are praising the Lord for providing for us and for our children in this way.
-Tim visited with our Kampala social worker and attorney yesterday, in order to collect some of the documentation and evidence our new attorney asked us to collect for our case. We were able to collect some of what we needed, but our attorney needs to visit with the judge who gave our guardianship ruling in order to obtain the rest. He is hopeful he will be able to do this on Monday. We are praying this will be so. Please pray with us that the judge will be available on Monday and that our attorney can get from him everything we need to give to our new DC attorney for our case.
-It is unclear whether or not our file has left for Nairobi yet. We have learned that there are 6 families total (including us) whose files are being sent to Nairobi for review, and we have no idea where our case is in the stack. We are praying for whoever the person is who ends up reviewing our file, that God will give him/her eyes to see that our case is “clearly approvable” and that he/she will give instructions for our children’s visas to be issued quickly
-We changed our airline tickets (all six of them) to depart Uganda on August 28th. Obviously, this date does not fall within the 4-6 week timeline that we were told to expect for our case to be returned from Nairobi. The reason we chose that date is because my brother is getting married on September 2nd, and we are praying that God will miraculously intervene on our behalf to get us our kids’ visas in time so that we can ALL be at the wedding. Just the thought of missing my brother’s wedding brings tears to my eyes. We are pleading with the Lord to let our ENTIRE family be there to celebrate this special day. We know that while it is impossible for us to make that happen, it is totally possible with God. In fact, it is easy for Him. Will you please pray with us?
-Jude has been having a really hard time the last couple of days. Our normally happy, easy-going boy has been so sad, whiny and clingy. We thought that perhaps he was getting sick, but after two days of monitoring his temperature and not seeing any symptoms, we are starting to think he is grieving. He asks all the time for people that he loves (grandparents, aunts, friends, etc.), and even though we tell him we will see them as soon as we get back to Texas, we just don’t think he understands that we are going back, and he is grieving the loss of all these relationships. It is breaking our hearts, and we don’t know how to help him understand. Please pray that God will comfort his heart and somehow help his little 2-year-old mind comprehend that this time in Uganda really is going to come to an end and that he really will see everyone that he loves again soon.
Thank you so much for praying for us. We need it. We are weak and tired, and we are completely dependent on God to give us His power and strength for each day. And His grace daily proves to be sufficient (2 Cor 12). Praise Him.

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