Friday, November 28, 2014

Oh how He loves us

Three weeks
It's been three weeks since we came to Uganda to add to our family. Some days it feels like we have been here a year and other days it seems to go fast. Today was a slower day, a hard day, a beautiful day and a renewal day. Today I cried. I cried from all the ups and downs, from the love I have for these two sweet, ornery boys and the pure love and heart wrenching pain I have for my son back home. I broke down and needed God to pick me back up and you know what, He did. He gave me a husband who loves me, who comforts me, He sent my mom across an ocean to be here on this day who understands and he gave me a new friend to laugh with. 
God took care of me today. 
Oh how He loves us!

Oh how I miss him and his sweet smile, his silliness and giant hugs. 

Maddox & Maverick 

Rain, such beautiful rain

Today it rained, the sun shown through the clouds and it rained. We got the call this afternoon that the boys passports were ready and we needed to get down to the passport office as soon as possible. It was almost 3 and traffic was horrible. We weren't sure we would make it.... But first let me back up and show you how God works.
Today was Friday and today was our girls shopping day, or so it was supposed to be. My mom arrived last night and so this morning when the boys went down for a nap, me, mom & Christine went on a walk to the bakery for some coffee and to show mom around. The sun was shining then and it was a beautiful morning. Our plans were to all go out shopping around 2 if we hadn't gotten word about passports by noon. We scheduled a driver (Charles- who is amazing) and he was to arrive at 2. We had called him late so he was further away then we realized and at 2:30 he still wasn't here. Also at 2:30 Joe got the call that our passports were ready after all and he and I needed to head to the office. By 3 Charles was here and away we went, we made it there in record time, even with crazy traffic, God made a way. But do you see? I was supposed to be out shopping with the ladies at 2, I wouldn't have been around and ready to go to the passport office, God held up Charles in traffic to make him late so that he could take us to the office instead of the women out shopping. His hand is in it all. 
So then the rain came. What a beautiful and freeing rain it was. I can't really explain it. We were running through the rain, pretty much the only people (and only muzungus around) running through the rain with huge smiles on our faces as we tried to figure out which tent to go to and pick up our passports. That rain on my face actually felt amazing. I am not one to like to run around in the rain in wet clothes and today I Loved it! 
We finally had or boys passports. 

Monday, November 17, 2014

Waiting, waiting, waiting

Now we wait. We wait for the written ruling to be given to our attorney and for the word that the passport office needs to see us. Then once the passports have been applied for we wait some more and pray. We requested our blue form today (before we got our passport). Currently that is working, that's not to say that could change again. After we get our blue form we head to IOM for the boys medical checks. Then when the medical checks and passports come back we ask for an appointment at the embassy for document check then request our last embassy appointment for the boys visas! Then we head home. It all seems "easy" but it all takes so much time and everything must be PERFECT.
So as we wait we are focusing on the boys health. We want to get them super healthy so we stay around the house a lot. They eat, play, poop, eat, sleep repeat. :) Once they are 110% we may try and venture out more. So for now we pray things move quickly and the boys get stronger & stronger. It also costs to hire a driver so we figured we would do more things when Patrick calls and we have to do adoption related things Togo to as well. When you hire a driver it is the same price for 1 hour as it is for the entire day, and It all adds up fast. 
So while the boys are taking their second nap if the day, we relax, I blog and drink my coffee. I'm still so super excited I found it and my cup! Ha if you know me you know I don't go far without it. 

Thank you all for your prayers! I've been fighting a cold so I'm now taking the cipro we brought so hopefully that will kick in soon. Other than that we are doing pretty good. Just missing Nolan. 

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Off to the clinic

Today we took the boys to the clinic for a check up. We had a medical student who owns a pharmacy come to the house to check out the boys the other day. He gave them a different antibiotic to help with their cough and some vitamins for them but he reccomended taking them to the clinic to get checked out. My sweet, bubbly, laughing Maddox just isn't himself. Maverick however has been showing us his true colors and has completely opened up to us. He now smiles all the time and laughs and talks to his brother. They both melt your heart. 

Maverick is ticklish under his chin.
Maddox likes to rub his eye lashes or mommy's  when he is tired. 

So we took them to the clinic and they got a check up (no fevers!) and a CBC test done to see if we could find anything there. The boys are both fighting a viral infection and are slightly anemic. The best thing for them now is rest and nutrition. Lots and lots of food and liquids. 

The thing with the boys, and we found this out on monday when we met with our attorney, is that they were in worse condition than we knew about. At one point in August, when we found out the boys were in the hospital, the baby home director called our attorney and told her that she thought she was going to lose one or both of the boys. They were in really bad condition. They were malnourished, being treated for malaria and simply just so weak. This is when we found out the boys were in the hospital but no one told us how bad it was. We had everyone we knew praying for the boys and after a few weeks they gained some strength back and left the hospital for the baby home. They were in the hospital 3 different times, that we know about, in 6 months. In June when they came into the baby home they were almost 9 months old and only weighed around 10 & 11 lbs. They were and are tiny but oh so mighty! They are fighters and they are still fighting now. Right now they weigh somewhere between 12 & 15 lbs. and they are growing. You can certainly see a difference in Maverick. He was so tiny. 
We are very thankful to everyone for all your prayers and thankful to God for keeping our boys alive and watching over them. One day I hope they look back and can see how Gods hands were on them. 
Please continue to pray for health for them both. 

Oh and on a different note- Joe rode his first boda boda today! I was so proud of him! We needed to get something to the clinic and the best and quickest way was by boda and he did it! I'm ready for it to be my turn. :) that and I want to try the grasshoppers. Things on my Uganda bucket list. 

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Court Day November 12, 2014

Another "wow, what a day" day :)
Today was court day. Our appointment was at 2:30 and our driver wanted to make sure we weren't late so he scheduled to pick us up at 1. 
So the morning was pretty laid back. The boys woke at 6:30, ate and we're back to sleep around 8 for about 30 minutes. Once they woke up we brought them downstairs to play while we finished breakfast. 
We sort of goofed off a bit too long and all of a sudden needed to get ready. As soon as I started to get ready the power went off. But you know, that's ok, I wasn't going to let that bother me, and I didn't really need power for anything anyway.  We got ready and since the traffic wasn't very bad our driver gave us more time to gather things and load up. We packed extra clothes for the boys just in case, formula, snacks, diapers, and water for us. Then we headed to the court house. When we arrived it certainly wasn't like anything I expected. There were guards at the front and then you waiting outside by the van until our attorney came and got us and told us we needed to hurry and get inside because he was ready for us and wanted to get us in quickly between another case. We ended up being in there only 20 minutes, we stood when he said our names and he asked us only one question- "where are you from in the US".  Joe answered and that was about all that was said from us. Our attorney is very good and she had everything prepared perfectly. They talked so quietly I couldn't really understand what was being said. After it was done he asked our attorney when we were going to leave. She explained to him that we would like this expedited because of the boys health and he asked us what day we would like the ruling and then said "would monday be fine?". Wow, um yes! I didn't really know if we were suppose to answer but I smiled and shook my head. After we said thank you (softly) and left.
Outside we talked with the 2 uncles and Hillary (the lady at the baby home). We took some pictures and talked about coming to visit the one uncle and grandma after we get the visas if we can...
That was it for us. Our attorney will pick up the written ruling monday (if all goes as planned) and we will legally have guardianship of the boys. Next we have to apply for passports and wait.
It was a good day! 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Relaxation day

Oh this was a much needed relaxation day. I was up from 3-5, boys woke at 6:30, ate and fell asleep until we all woke at 9! Wow! We missed breakfast but it was so nice to sleep in knowing there was nothing we had to do today but spend time with the boys. 
So once we got ready we hitched a ride with Herb & Harriet to the nearest bakery and walked back after. 
It was a beautiful morning! I still wasn't feeling the best but after a little something to eat and a walk back to the house, I was feeling much better! I also stopped taking my malaria medicine last night. It was making me feel gross and dizzy. I had lost my appetite so I was weak to top it off.  It just wasn't worth it. Here in Uganda they have medicine that can easily take care of it if I get sick. 
The sites along the way are simply amazing. Simplicity and friendly people! Joe is also now known as Salonga Joe. Which means father of twins. (I am Nalonga Natassia- mother of twins) 
Sites on our walk back
The gate to Herb & Ellens & the outside- our balcony is currently the second (& third) from the left (top)

It was a good day! Maverick has really stared to open up. He now smiles and laughs alongside his brother. Maddox was much quicker to get to smile. He gave us a smile on day two when I was pumping his legs. It was such a precious moment. I can't wait to show pictures of their beautiful smiles!
We have been learning so much about the boys the last few days. 

Maverick: he loves peach & blueberry puffs, bananas, and drinking his milk from a cup- not a bottle. He had been more quiet up until today. He will let me feed him anything. He is a big snuggler and cries when we put him down for naps if he isn't fully asleep. 

Maddox: he is not a big fan of puffs or bananas, although be ate one sunday, he hasn't touched it since. He does not like to be fed and always wants to do it himself. So much so that he will spit out whenever I put in his mouth, look at it and then possibly eat it. He loves to smile and we think he is going to be quite onery.

They are both changing so much! 
When we first got them they didn't make a sound. They just held on and snuggled up to us. Maverick was very cautious, Maddox was too but not as long. 
They were both sick the first few nights/days we had them and on the first night they had temperatures of 102 and Maverick shot up to 103 (rectal temp). It was a scary night. 
Thankfully they are slowly getting better.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

We finally meet!

Written 11.11.14
Wow, so much has happened since my last post. I was going to blog more but 1- my computer died and 2- I have been a bit busy. :) 
So let me start with the baby home. (11.8.14)  Even driving there it didn't seem real. The roads were rough and got even worse as we came close to the home. Once we arrived I saw a gate that I had seen before in pictures and I knew we were there. My heart started to pound and I was excited and nervous all at once. 
Oh the children. I wanted to love on each and every one of them. They were all so precious and beautiful. One of the first little boys I saw grabbed me, looked up and said "mamma". Oh my heart! I wanted to scoop him up and squeeze him but I also wanted to be careful and not confuse them. I honestly wasn't sure what to do. As we were greeter by all the kids they were calling us and asking us to come inside, this is where we thought the boys would be. Once we got into the tiny room inside, there were 3 couches and 2 chairs and we were told to sit. After a little bit Patrick informed us that they weren't expecting us until next Friday and they had taken the boys to the clinic to be checked out for a cough. So while we waited we just couldn't help but love on the kids. There were a couple of boys I wanted to find and meet and take pictures of, and wow, when you get your phone out to take pictures they all get so excited and we were swarmed with children. I have so many pictures of these beautiful kids. 

After we waited a while it got really warm inside and so we decided to step back outside and play while we waited for the boys to be brought to us. I had also packed some balloons for the kids and we asked if we could blow them up- I thought it might be best if I went in the van to blow them all up before we got them out- I got only 2 balloons blown up when I saw 2 caregivers walking in with the boys. I immediately stopped, threw the 2 balloons out and turned and starred- there they were. I almost froze. Our beautiful twin boys- and wow did they look a like. We greeted her and she turned to me and looked at this tiny baby and said "this is your momma" and handed me Wasswa. Time sort of stopped, they brought Kato over and Joe wanted to take him but asked if I wanted to hold both but I let him have one. It seemed only fair ;)
Again, I couldn't believe it. Here they were, one in my arms and one in Joe's. 
They asked us to come sit down so they could talk with us and also explain the clinic visit. They had medicine to give us for the boys and we wanted to thank them for caring for them for the last 6 months. There were tears, hugs, pictures and prayers. They children all gathered and prayed for Wasswa (Maverick) & Kato (Maddox) and they sang. It was beautiful. Joe then asked to pray as well before we left and there were more tears from this momma. 
We had our boys and we were allowed to take them with us. Oh, they did ask us when we had them if we wanted to take them today- neither one of us hesitate and we both, together, said yes. There was no way we were ever leaving them. Joe even said, if we can't take them today then we are staying the night there- they all laughed. 
It was a perfect afternoon and we were smittened. 
Now off to the store for formula & diapers. (We were told huggies are the best here- not pampers. So we have  huggies and later needed to buy 7 days. They both work fine.) 
We both agreed that it would have been better to have gone before we got the boys but we didn't know what size diaper or what formula to buy so we waited. It sure felt like it took forever at the store because all I wanted to do was get them back to the house and love on them. They snuggled right in and Kato fell asleep in my arms. 
This momma was in love! 

I have more to share and that will come later in another post and hopefully soon-- pictures :) 

The day we have been waiting so long for.

Our first full day here- Saturday November 8th
I cannot believe this day is here. Last night we arrived in Entebbe around 10:30pm and was met at the airport by our driver Patrick and our friends Kara & Melody. We came with gifts from home and they came bringing goodies for us. (Thank you!!!) :) After a short drive (maybe around 30 minutes) we arrived at our B&B, Alirikos. 
Patrick called the gate keeper and he let us in and the men (including Herb) helped us with our luggage. It was late so everyone was quiet but so friendly. We made it to our room, I unpacked some and we settled into our netted beds. Oh how Nolan would love his "tent" if he were here. We were both a little wired so we took a sleeping pill and started a movie on the iPad as we both fell asleep. 
As morning came, surprisingly enough we both slept in. I figured we would struggle to sleep, but that unisom did the trick. :) We talked to Patrick last night and knew that he wouldn't be back until 2 to take us to the baby home and meet the boys. So the morning has been filled with unpacking, an attempt at a bath, some breakfast and making new friends.  It's noon now and shortly lunch will be served. After lunch we need to venture out and get a few things (including a pre paid cell phone and Internet access). 
The day is here and our lives are about to change forever!!  We cannot wait to meet the twins.

A picture of our room and the beautiful view! 

Friday, November 7, 2014

Traveling note for Amsterdam

Traveling note to those adopting or traveling through Amsterdam. This might be an odd note and known to most, but it was not something we knew about. When landing in Amsterdam, you will go through security again before you can sit in your designated area and board. So don't order too much coffee or water because you will have to chug it or dump it if you don't have a lot of time between flights.

Fyi- Kristi, you walk from one end to another (depending on your gate) give yourself time with all the kiddos. ;) 

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Here we go

November 6, 2014
I have to say that it is really hard to put into words how I'm feeling today... This morning things were crazy, I hugged, kissed and said goodbye to my four year old without tears. I honestly felt kinda numb, and I felt guilty for it. There was so much going on, packing, double checking and loading. So, we said our goodbyes and headed to the airport shortly after he left. At check in we met a man who was adopted himself and another man who has two adopted children from the U.S. It was God speaking to us through them and it was awesome. We went through security fine, grabbed some food and after a while boarded our first plane. I still hadn't cried or really thought about what was happening... It wasn't until we started to taxi, I lost it. It's like I had nothing else I needed to do and my body just let go. There were tears for Nolan and the thought of not being there for him if he needed me and tears for Maverick & Maddox and how we are actually going to meet them soon. So many emotions all at once. I could do nothing but be held by Joe and cry. Thanking God for him and for allowing us to go on this journey. We are finally going to meet our twins!
We are blessed. 

Thank you all for the prayers! We can surely feel them! 

Now we relax in Detroit and wait for our next long flight to Amsterdam.