Wednesday, September 17, 2008

We Leave for Africa in 23 Days!!!

I don’t even know if we’ve told all of our closest friends about this trip yet, but, yes, as the subject line says, we are going to Africa in 23 days. It’s a long story, but the short of it is that Children’s Hope Chest (www.hopechest.org - I serve on their board) is taking a vision trip to Uganda and we are going to join them there. When I got a contract job this summer, we were going to save the money for a third adoption but decided instead to do this trip. So we have no agenda in going except to be with kids in Uganda and then our friends in Kenya. We’ll trust the money will be there when we adopt again.

I am actually speaking to about 70-80 pastors in our denomination about Hope Chest and the orphan care crisis on Oct 8, so we will be catching up to the group since they are all leaving on the 7th. We depart Seattle on the 10th, arrive into Kampala, Uganda at midnight on the 11th. We will then try to get a decent sleep, let the girls run around in the morning, and then depart mid-morning for Burigi, which is located at the mouth of the Nile. There is an orphanage there we are considering partnering with that has about 100 children. It is run by a Ugandan pastor. The rest of our group will have been there overnight, so we will join them there before departing for Soroti.

Soroti is about five hours north of Kampala. We will be staying in Soroti for two days with a group there that has a very strong and powerful ministry to widows – hospice, conference center, business enterprises. The government also asked them to take over a boarding school that has 90 children, over half of which are orphans. In addition, through their work with the widows they know of another 260 orphan-led households in the surrounding area, and estimates are that there are about 900 nearby. This particular organization does not know how to do orphan ministry and they’ve asked Children’s Hope Chest to come and consider working with them there. We will then return to Kampala on the evening of the 14th and the rest of the group will leave on the 15th. We will probably chill out as a family in Kampala for the day before going to Kenya on the 16th, where we will stay until the 25th.

For my Gordon friends, we will be hosted in Kenya by my dear, dear friend and college roommate Anne Ndunda. She and her husband and two kids have our entire week planned. We told them we just want to experience life with them and we want to see both the beauty and the pain of their country. Anne is so excited and has taken care of everything there, including a safari! So…..

We all had the joyous experience of getting our many vaccinations today. That was a very tough two hours for the girls. However, now we’ve got our Yellow Fever, Meningitis, Typhoid, etc. and we are good to go J It just makes the trip that much more real.

Prayer Requests –

*Health for our family as we travel

*Anna’s passport’s been expedited, but we are still nervous about it getting here on time

*Open hands and hearts for what God wants to show us in Africa

*The girls’ emotions as we spend time with other orphans

*Transportation from Kampala to Burigi/Soroti

*Discernment for Children’s Hope Chest to know where the best place is to partner when there are so many needs.

I doubt we will have internet access until we get to Nairobi, but we will try to blog about the trip when we can.

We are very excited. This is a dream come true. And the chance to see Anne again is such a gift.


Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Lian's First Day of Kindergarten

We can hardly believe that our beautiful little girl is now a kindergartner. It seems like just yesterday that we brought her home. I doubt that I am the only adoptive parent who feels slightly "jipped" in terms of the time we have at home with our children. Starting kindergarten has made me that much more aware that I didn't have her for her entire five years - only four, but they have been four wonderful, wonderful years and there are many more to come. A few friends had to remind me that she wasn't graduating high school, college or getting married - she was just starting kindergarten :) Yet, still...how did she grow up so fast?

It is a full-day program, but we started her half-day in order to ease her into the transition. By the third day, she really wanted to stay for the whole day. So we've done full day this Monday and Tuesday and while she is exhausted, she is so happy. She loves the playground, recess time, choice time (centers) and writing in her journal. She already has homework (very simple, but still it's homework) and has been great at getting that done each day.

Lian is also very blessed to have two of her good friends from church at her school - Emma and Bethany (see below).

Every night around the dinner table, we share our highs and lows of the day. Yesterday, Lian's high was that she got to hug her sister before she left for school. How precious is that? She also told me to remember that when I get lonely I just need to remember that I have an Anna. Don't worry, I told her, Anna will not let me forget. It has actually been wonderful with Anna. Even though she misses her "Jie Jie", she and I have had wonderful one on one time together.