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Remembering Uganda: A Final Plea

August 8, 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 8, 2012

This morning Tim spoke to the embassy official that he spoke to yesterday. She told him that “M” looked over the translated document and was still not satisfied that Nate and Naomi fit the definition of abandonment. He still wants to send our file to Nairobi for arbitration. PLEASE PRAY!!!!!!!!!!

Tim is on his way to the embassy right now with our social worker, “G.” Please pray God will allow them to get an audience with “M” (they do not have an appointment) and that God will use something that one of them says to stir “M’s” heart in our favor. Only God can do this. And His is powerful and mighty. Two visa denials cannot stop Him, if He chooses to act. PLEASE PRAY!!!!!!!!!

Remembering Uganda: A Plea

August 7, 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 7, 2012
I prayed 2 Chronicles 20:15 (“for the battle is not yours, but God’s”) over Tim this morning as he was preparing to leave for the embassy, pleading with God to fight for us and for our kids. Words cannot express how grateful I am to tell you that God heard and answered our requests:

-Our documents were stopped before they were sent to Nairobi.
-An embassy official agreed to look over our documents for a second time today, and when she did, she found the document our attorney told us must have been overlooked the first time, causing the determination that our kids do not fit the definition of “abandoned.” She translated this document (it was written in Luganda, possibly the reason it was overlooked), flagged it and will submit it to “M” (the official who did our interview yesterday) for review.

Praise Him, Praise Him, Praise Him, Praise Him!!!!!!!!!!!!

PLEASE CONTINUE TO PRAY:
-Since “M” is the one who denied our visas, he has to be the one to look over our case again and reconsider issuing our visas. There is still no procedure or protocol that obligates “M” to look over our case again before sending it to Nairobi. God will have to move his heart to have mercy on us, take a second look, grant a second interview and reconsider issuing us our visas.

The embassy official Tim talked to this morning said “M” is in non-immigrant visa interviews all morning, and he will not have a chance to look over our file until this afternoon. She said she would call us once she has talked to him. We will keep you posted.

God has proved over and over that He is powerful and able to bring about His plan and purposes for His children. We know it from how He has worked in redemptive history as recorded in His Word, and we know it from how He has worked all along in our adoption journey to bring us here to this point. I told our housekeeper “S” what was going on this morning, and she said, “Oh I will pray. I know nothing can be easy, but then everything is easy for God.” So true. This is not hard for God. Pray with us that He will continue to fight powerfully on our behalf.

Remembering Uganda: Sigh

August 6, 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 6, 2012
Our visas were denied today. Basically, the person who did our interview was not convinced, based on the paperwork and testimony presented, that our new children qualify for an adoption visa under the US law’s definition of abandonment. It was explained to us before we left the embassy that the procedure for visa denials is that our application would be sent to the USCIS processing center in Nairobi for review. This center takes 4-6 weeks to process reviews and make a determination from the time they receive our documents. To say we were disappointed by this news would be a huge understatement.

Upon leaving the embassy, we notified our agency about this turn of events, and the agency immediately began trying to contact our attorney, who is out of the country on vacation. Miraculously, they were able to get a hold of him, and he called us and assured us that he did a case like ours just last month and that it went through the embassy just fine. He said there has to be some misunderstanding, that the official who did our interview today must have overlooked something and that he will try to help us fix it. His first and most urgent instructions to us were notify the embassy to NOT send our documents to Nairobi. Because once the documents are gone, our attorney cannot help us.

We need prayer:
-that we can stop our documents before they get sent to Nairobi. We have sent emails, made phone calls, and Tim is going to the embassy very early tomorrow morning- all in an effort to stop our documents from leaving the country. Please pray that whoever is in charge of sending out packages will be notified to stop our case file before it leaves the embassy.
-that the person who did our interview today, “M,” would have mercy on us and agree to give us a second interview and take a second look at our file before sending it to Nairobi. There is nothing in procedure/protocol that indicates he should do this for us: he interviewed us, reviewed our paperwork and examined our witnesses, as he is obligated to do as an embassy official. All this led him to deny our visa. His job is done. Policy now dictates that he send our file to Nairobi for review. Pray that God would move his heart to break procedure and grant us a second interview.
We are thankful for:
-our interview was scheduled for 2pm, and we arrived for it at 1:30pm, as instructed. We didn’t get seen until after 3:30pm. I confess I was sinfully annoyed at the wait, with four kids under four during nap time, and yet as it turns out, the delayed interview was God’s grace: by the time the interview was over and our visas were denied, there was not time to send the documents to Nairobi that day. Which means we will have time to stop our documents before they leave the country.
-that our agency was able to reach our attorney who is out of the country on vacation, that our attorney has handled a case like ours before and knows what to do, and that he is willing to come back from vacation to help us get this worked out.
-that Eliza’s stomach bug passed quickly, as Jude’s did, and that so far no one else has gotten sick.
We will keep you updated as we learn more tomorrow. We are anticipating that Tim will be at the embassy for a good part of the day tomorrow, trying to get this worked out. Please pray for strength, grace and wisdom for him as he tries stop our documents and request a second interview. Pray for me as I care for 4 kids by myself.

Tim read this early this morning before he left for the embassy: “Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor the fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail, and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. God, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer’s; he makes me tread on my high places.” Habakkuk 3:17-19 We are begging God to make this true in our hearts: that He will help us to rejoice, take joy and find strength in Him.

Remembering Uganda: Sick

August 5, 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 5, 2012
Hi everyone,
Please pray for our family’s health. A few nights ago, Jude woke up in the middle of the night with vomiting and diarrhea. It passed quickly thankfully, and we thought it was an isolated event and all over. Well, Eliza woke up this morning with diarrhea and a few hours ago started vomiting. Please pray. We have our visa interview tomorrow afternoon, and we really don’t want to take a bunch of vomiting kids (or grown–ups, for that matter) to the US embassy tomorrow. Neither do we want to cancel our interview due to illness. Please pray that this stays contained to Eliza and Jude and passes quickly. And/or please pray that if this does bug does make it to the rest of us that it won’t take us out until after the interview tomorrow. Please pray for protection for Tim especially. Historically, his body has reacted very violently to vomit/diarrhea stomach bugs, like to the point of an ER trip for fainting/low blood pressure/dehydration. It has been a scary event the times it has happened before in the US, with easy access to medical care and medication. Just the thought of him getting this one while in a developing country tempts me (Sarah) to fear. We know our God is in control over all things, and that includes stomach viruses, and we are begging him to protect us, especially Tim, from this one. Please pray with us.

I know you already are, but please continue to pray for our visa interview tomorrow afternoon. It is at 2pm our time, so that’s 6am for y’all in central time. So all you early birds can be praying for us: that all our witnesses (including ourselves!!) will be able to make it, that it will go smoothly and that our visas will be granted without delay. We are so ready to come home.

Thanks so much for your prayers.

Remembering Uganda: Got it!

August 2, 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 2, 2012
We got Naomi’s passport today!! Corrected and ready to be turned in to the embassy!! The embassy is closed tomorrow because of Hilary Clinton’s visit, so we will turn the passport in on Monday morning, ahead of our Monday afternoon visa interview, so that they will have time to review the complete file before the interview. We are SO THANKFUL to have all we need to go to that interview on Monday!!!! And now we can rest easy and enjoy what (we hope) will be our last weekend in Uganda.

Please continue to pray for that visa interview on Monday. Our biggest concern is that our witnesses will not be available to attend the interview. They were all at court, so we really have no reason to think they won’t be there, but it’s always more concerning when there are so many “moving pieces” that have to come together just right. We know our God is big and powerful, though, and not limited by any one person’s schedule or availability, so we are praying that just as He brought them all to court when needed, He will bring them to the embassy for the interview as well.

We are giddy at the thought of getting on a plane to head home at this time next week. We are hopeful that it will happen, and asking the Lord to make it so, while at the same time not placing our hope in it. Please pray our hearts will continue to rest in whatever God’s plan is for us here, whether that includes a plane ride home this time next week or not.

Our friend “L” is making her way home with her son “E” as I write this. They have a 30-hour journey ahead of them with many stops and connections. Please pray for safe travels for them and for strength, endurance and patience for “L” and peace and rest for “E.”

Love and miss y’all SO SO much. Pass it on.

Remembering Uganda: Little by Little

August 1, 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 1, 2012

Today we got the orphanage forms we were waiting on!! Praise the Lord!! Day by day, we are collecting what we need to get ALL SIX of us home. We are so grateful!!

We have not yet received Naomi’s corrected passport, so we still need that in order to apply for her visa. Our attorney says we can pick it up at his office by noon tomorrow. Please pray it will indeed be there when we go by to get it.

Both our social worker and attorney here in Uganda have advised us to go ahead and try to go to the embassy tomorrow with all of our paperwork and request an interview, even without the corrected passport. We have a photocopy of the incorrect passport, and both these professionals said the embassy will likely agree to schedule us for an interview for tomorrow afternoon, with the understanding that we will bring the real, corrected passport with us to the interview.

Here is what we need you to pray for:
Pray that the embassy official we talk to early tomorrow morning will have mercy on us and agree to schedule us for a visa interview even though we do not have Naomi’s corrected passport in our possession yet
Pray that Naomi’s passport will indeed arrive at our attorney’s office tomorrow by noon, corrected and ready to be picked up
Pray that the witnesses for our case are able to make it to the visa interview tomorrow afternoon
Pray that the interview goes smoothly, that we have everything that we need to present for it, and that the visas will be granted
Pray that all four of our children will be content and pleasant during the interview, which will likely be scheduled for right in the middle of nap time.
Pray that our hearts will be peaceful and calm, confident in God’s power and faithfulness, even in the midst of all the craziness that will happen tomorrow
Pray that our hope will continue to be in the Lord, not in any of these people/places/things which we will interact with tomorrow.
Remember our friend “L” we asked you to pray for? Her visa was granted today!!! She will pick up her visa from the embassy tomorrow afternoon and fly home on Thursday afternoon. She and her new son “E” will arrive in Houston and be reunited with the rest of their family on Friday night!! We are SO THRILLED for them, and we want to thank you for praying for them. God, in his great mercy, granted our petition on their behalf, and we are praising Him for that tonight!!!

Remember Uganda: Extra Steps

July 30, 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 July 30, 2012
Hey everyone,
We got our written ruling today!! Our attorney found a kind-hearted soul to issue it for us, and we have it in our possession!! Praise the Lord!

Upon reviewing the written ruling and the children’s passports, our attorney found that Naomi’s name on the passport did not match her name exactly as it is written on the ruling. This is a big no-no, as the embassy will not accept a written ruling and passport on which the names are mismatched. Soooo…. Naomi’s passport went back to the passport office to be corrected. Our attorney said that since it is a simple typographical error, it should be easily corrected, and we can pick it up from his office tomorrow. Please pray that this will be the case. There are also some forms we need from the orphanage that were supposed to be ready today but were not. We are supposed to get those tomorrow as well. Again, please pray this will be the case. If we are able to get these last few items tomorrow, our plan is to go to the embassy on Wednesday morning to request a visa interview. We went in today and were told there are indeed some appointments open for Wednesday afternoon, if we have all our paperwork in order.

Please pray we will get our corrected passport and orphanage forms tomorrow so that we can go to the embassy on Wednesday morning, with all of our paperwork ready and complete. Please pray we are able to get one of the open appointments on Wednesday afternoon and that our witnesses are able to get to the interview at that time on Wednesday. Most of all, please pray that we will continue to place our hope and trust in the Lord, not in all of these details and circumstances working out “just right.”

Thanks so much. Love y’all. Pass it on. 🙂

PS- Can you please also pray for our friend here, “L”? She has been here alone with her new son “E” for nearly two weeks, since her husband and bio kids had to return home. She has her visa interview tomorrow (Tuesday) morning at 9am, which is 1am your time, so maybe just pray before you go to bed. 🙂 I know she is longing for her son’s visa to be granted so that her family can finally be reunited. Will you pray with us for that? Thanks so much.