I am finally here in Uganda with my family!!

So the week leading up to me leaving the U.S., was CRAZY! I had a list of things that I needed to accomplish before leaving, including shopping, getting my car smog checked for registration renewal, trying to prepare for my long term sub, and putting a last load of stuff into storage, all while trying to teach full time, coach, visit a few friends, and pack. Not to mention the cross-country meet I went to on Friday night and the family reunion I attended on Saturday right before getting dropped off at the airport Saturday evening to board the plane to Uganda. One of the best surprises was my mom and sister surprising me at the airport before I left (I didn't think I was going to get to see them before I left!) Although the last week felt like a whirlwind, I experienced so many blessings and so much support from friends and family, and I am finally here in Uganda with my family.

Leading up to this trip, Jamesdon and I have been so blessed to be part of such an amazing community, made up of family and friends that fully support us. It is crazy to think that with this trip comes so much uncertainty, yet we are so confident in God’s plan for Daniel’s life and we recognize that although there is uncertainty for us, God has it all figured out. Although we were not planning on this trip, God has spent the last 2 years allowing us to strengthen our marriage, our family, and become part of such an amazing community of people, in order to prepare us for this trip. He has also prepared many of you as our friends and family by letting you fall in love with Daniel the same way we did 4 years ago.

For those of you that do not know, I am a full-time Chemistry teacher at Beckman High School and the biggest blessing I personally received this week was from the staff and students at my school. On Friday, my last day at work before leaving, we had our Homecoming Assembly and in the middle of the assembly they put a picture up of me and my family and one of the ASB students gave a quick update on what was happening with my family. They asked me to come down so they could give me 3 big bags of stuff including snacks for the trip, toys for my little guys, and a target gift card. As I was walking down to the gym floor the cheers and support from the students was overwhelming, and yes I did cry a little! Throughout the day my students continued to show their support by bringing me cards, cupcakes, balloons, filling up my white-board with notes, all letting me know that I will be missed! On top of all of that, at the end of the day, I was given two cards from the staff and, knowing that my leave is entirely unpaid, they took up a collection for our family, to help support us while we are here and yes, I cried again! For those of you that are teachers, you know that teaching is a profession that does not allow for a significant amount of time spent with your co-workers and although this is true, I feel like I am absolutely supported by each and every person that I work with. It was absolutely overwhelming to know that I have so much support from my school as I embark on this adventure to finalize our adoption of Daniel.

With all of that said, I arrived here on Monday morning at 7:30 (Uganda time) which was 9:30pm Sunday night (California time) and hit the ground running! Well, not really running, I was completely exhausted, and feeling a little under the weather! Instead of going straight to our apartment, we decided to try to connect with some friends who are leaving for the U.S. on Tuesday, just to try to keep me going! We stopped off to get a bite to eat and then when we returned to the car it wouldn’t start…What a great welcome. Luckily we had friends who did not live far so I jumped on a matatu (taxi) with the boys (which they of course loved) and met up with our friends who happen to own a Japanese restaurant here and cooked us an amazing lunch and then let me crash on their couch for about 2 hours! So thankful that this is a place we know well and that we were able to get a hold of a mechanic who was very close by and was able to get the car running after a quick trip into the city and less than $25 worth of work. All that said, we never made it to our friends house we were intending to go to, but it was a great first day.

We are hoping to meet with the lawyer this week, but as of now, there are no updates about the court date. In the meantime, we are just enjoying being together as a family!

...:::One week down:::...

That’s right, we’ve been here just over a week and it seems like we’ve just arrived. But before I catch you up on our new status quo, let me catch you up on what life has looked like since leaving the good ol’ U-S-of-A! 

We left on Wednesday night from LAX on the 28th of August. At the airport, we had our last family meal which consisted of a delicacy of MacDonald’s and Panda Express! In spite of the food, we were able to enjoy our time together as a family!

Coryn and I learned from our previous time in Uganda that long goodbyes just make things harder, so when the time came, we kept things short and sweet. Through choked back tears, Coryn and I said goodbye to each other, and she squeezed Daniel and Nemo extra tight before we left. I waited till she was out of sight till I let the waterworks loose, which got me quite a few funny looks form the TSA agents, and she told me she opened the floodgates in the parking lot!

Hello goodbye London!
We got through security in what felt like the longest hour of my life. It was around quarter to nine and the boys were both falling apart! We were greeted at our gate with news of an hour delay. Yippee!!! Fortunately, when it came time to board, the aircrew took pity on my and let me board with the elite 1st classers!

If the security check was the longest hour of my life, then the flight itself was the longest 2 days! First off, Daniel was a champ! He slept, ate drank, and watched TV! He helped me with Nemo and probably had more patience then I did! Nehemiah on the other hand, was an altogether different story…

The cliche "wing shot"
The little guy didn’t want to eat anything, hated being buckled in his seat, couldn’t care less about the cartoons in front of him, and slept a cumulative total of 4 hours! That meant that I also got about 4 hours of sleep, which didn’t really help my ability to be patient!

We landed in Entebbe, Uganda Friday morning and were picked up by Tad. Tad and Christy Eckerle are good friends of ours both here, and in California, who are in the process of moving back to the US permanently. My plan was to go home with them for the day to help them pack and clean, but in reality I think I was little if any assistance. Jetlag hit me and the boys like a ton of bricks and to be honest, I barely remembered how we got to our new apt, or where in the city we even were! Thank God for Google maps!!!

Home sweet home
The next few days were pretty much a blur of sleep-deprived nights, attempts at helping the Eckerles who really were just helping me, trying to provision our apt, and reorienting myself to this crazy city! 

The neighborhood
On Wednesday, I met with our lawyer to see what, if any progress has been made with our case. The meeting was short, had moments of hope alongside uncertainty, and could be summarized by saying, “we could have a court date in a matter of days or months”.

Nemo's new balancing trick
The boys miss mom like crazy, but at least we’ve been able to have brief Skype conversations with her at least once a day via overpriced internet! I’ve tried to occupy myself with domestic tasks and finding ways to make our little flat a little more home-like before Coryn arrives, but as those distractions wane, I find I’m really starting to miss my beautiful girl! Not just her beauty, but her joyful, loving presence, that completes our home and fills where I lack. 

Pineapple is Daniel's favorite!
I’m listening to RH15 right now, which is one of the boys' faves, and the song “More” is reminding me that I have the triune God to lean on in all times!
“We cry more, we ask in faith, fill us now, have your way”


A window into our adventure that is UGANDA