Today we received the best Christmas present ever…a ruling from the Ugandan courts finalizing our adoption of Daniel. It is a little strange because now we can say that Daniel is officially our son, but anyone who knows our family, knows that Daniel was officially our son from the moment he came to live with us 3 years and 9 months ago… we just didn’t have the paper to prove it… now we do!!! It was a little difficult to explain to Daniel because this day doesn’t really validate anything for him, he has been our son as far back as he can remember! For that we are so thankful! We are also incredibly thankful for everyone at home that has continued to support us through prayer during this process.

So what’s next? While this is another huge step there is still paperwork to be filed in order to bring Daniel back to the US, but this time as a citizen. The one good thing is that the remaining paperwork will all be filed through the US Embassy and if they say it will take 2 weeks… it will take 2 weeks! Jamesdon and I were ready to jump in the car and leave for Kampala this weekend to file the paperwork, but quickly realized that Wednesday is Christmas and while the Embassy works on a slightly less-African timetable, like any red blooded American, they take off a day or two for Christmas . So we are going to patiently wait until Thursday (if we are able to get an appointment at the Embassy for Friday) or Sunday (if we don’t get an appointment until the following week). Once we file the paperwork with the US Embassy, we will have a better idea of when we will get to come home and start to make arrangements for that.

We are all looking forward to coming home and getting to share life with all of our wonderful friends and family.

We can’t wait  get home to see you all!

...:::Our Day in Court:::...

On Thursday we finally had our hearing to finalize Daniel’s adoption. We were so blessed to get our court date on this day because it was the last day our judge was taking any cases before going on holiday for a month. While this day had been highly anticipated and many preparations had been made to ensure success, there were still many potential issues.

On Wednesday we made the 7 hour drive down to Kampala. A few hours after we reached Kampala we received a call from our lawyer who was wanting to ensure that we had traveled with all our original documents…we hadn’t. Our file containing all of our original documents was packed away nicely in Gulu. In all fairness, when we submitted our court documents we were required to have certified / notarized copies of everything, which we assumed would take the place of our original documents. Jamesdon went straight to work trying to figure out how to get the documents down to Kampala. We had a plan! Jamesdon was going to have a friend in Gulu, go to the house (we had a left a key with him just in case) and get the documents, put them on a bus that was headed down to Kampala and we would pick them up from the bus station when they arrived. We did not feel completely confident putting so many original documents in the hand of a bus conductor, but it was the option that would get the documents to Kampala on time for the hearing. Well God had a different plan because when we left that morning, we made a last minute decision to add an additional lock to the front gate, and Jamesdon was the only one with the key. Our friends could not get into the house. We called the lawyer and he said “Let us pray that it is not an issue”. After waiting so long for a court date and then having to accept that if the judge did ask for the originals and we could not present them that it could postpone our case at least a month. So we prayed!

Later that evening, we continued to receive calls from our lawyer as he was trying to prepare for our hearing, and this added a lot of stress, trying to search for recommendation letters that were never sent to us directly. Needless to say, we didn’t sleep so well Wednesday night. On Thursday morning we woke up early only to find the power was out. One thing about court in Uganda, as I guess it is everywhere, you have to dress the part! The fact that Jamesdon did not have a 3 piece suit was bad enough but there is no way that he could go into the court room without ironing his shirt. No problem for Jamesdon though! He placed a frying pan upside down over the stove then put the iron on top of that heat up the iron enough to iron the shirt. Although it didn’t stay hot for long, he just repeated this over and over until he had his shirt and the boys shirts ironed. About an hour later they were all dressed and “looking smart”! Then Daniel and I prayed for the rain to at stop or least decrease in intensity by the time we had to leave and it did!

We piled in the car and drove into town to meet the lawyer, and soon after went into the waiting room where we spent the next hour and a half waiting to see the judge. (Considering we planned on being there all day, waiting an hour and a half was incredibly short). We would have waited longer, but our lawyer convinced the judge to hear our case before another family because our case was much simpler and would take a quarter of the time and the judge agreed. 

When we entered the court room, the judge made a very good impression being that she was quite friendly and personable. She started by asking Daniel questions like “ Who is that lady?” which Daniel answered “ My mama!” and “ What do you call that man?” and he answered “Daddy!” and who is that boy and he said “ My brother!”. The judge then commented on his certainty for each of those questions as if the answers were obvious. Lastly, she asked him if he was happy. With a big grin he responded “YES!” He still seemed a little confused about why she was asking him such silly questions. The judge continued to go through all the requirements that need to be met by us as his guardians and as we went through each one, the judge was very easy on us. One case being, that in order to finalize an in country adoption, we should have fostered Daniel in Uganda for 36 months. While we have exceeded the 36 months of fostering, we had not been in Uganda for that entire time, but the judge quickly recognized our fostering time as sufficient seeing that Daniel was receiving medical treatment in the US that could not have been provided in Uganda. Throughout the entire hearing, the judge never asked for an original document, Praise God!

As the court case was winding up and we had told the judge everything we could about our families story, she looked at me and Jamesdon and asked “Do you have any regrets?” This question brought unexpected emotions from both of us as we answered “Not even one!” Jamesdon then said “We would do it a thousand times over!”. After a few final details were recorded Daniel turns around and says something to Jamesdon that made him laugh out loud. Rightfully so, the judge wanted to know what Daniel had said that was so funny. Jamesdon responded “Daniel just asked, 'Daddy if you did it a thousand times, wouldn't mommy have a thousand babies!'” The judge was quite amused not only that he came up with that but that he had been listening to everything we had been saying. The judge had just discovered one of Daniel’s most infamous traits…he hears EVERYTHING! At the very end the judge thanked us for taking care of him and told us that she can see he is very well taken care of and is very happy! Jamesdon and I were able to leave court feeling an enormous weight lifted realizing that we are one step closer to legalizing what God put in place almost 4 years ago!

We are so thankful for all the people who have been praying for us! We definitely felt God’s hand in everything that took place in the court room. With that being said we would still ask that you continue to pray for the ruling to be given before the judge goes on holiday this coming Friday. The ruling is what we need to take to the embassy to begin all the paperwork to bring Daniel back to the US as a citizen. If the ruling does not come by Friday, we will have to wait until the middle to end of January to file the paperwork with the embassy, which would bring us home in February.

We definitely know that we will be spending Christmas and the New Year here in Uganda, but pray that we will be home by late January. While we have been super blessed and God has taken care of us through all of this, we had hoped to be home for the holidays. Because of our extended time here, we humbly ask that you prayerfully consider supporting our family financially through the duration of our time here.

Financial gifts are being handled by our good friend and can be sent to:

C/O Andrew Galbreath
354 Avocado Street #16
Costa Mesa,  CA  92627

Please make checks payable to "Jamesdon and/or Coryn Kissling"


A window into our adventure that is UGANDA