In American Ugandan adoptive circles there are topics you always hear about:
what to pack
You also hear alot about Court.
Court is a Big Deal.
Looking back now I recognize that Court is The Most Important Step.
As a U.S. criminal-record-free citizen, I will be able to bring home an orphan.
I will be able to work through the details of packing.
I will figure out where to stay and when and with whom.
without the High Court of Ug@nda stamping my ruling favorably?
She'll never come home.
vent over-share about Court.
When things have not gone in the adoptive family's favor?
It gets heated.
I certainly will not be passing judgement on that since it was not my daughter's ruling that was handed down against my request. That would have been devestating. We were spared that.
But neither will I be sharing much about Court.
Court, as I said, is a Big Deal.
Something else American Ugandan adoptive parents know?
Speak kindly, demand less, try to NOT be" too American".
And blog smart.
Show gratitude to the nation who trusts you to raise one of Her children.
And we couldn't BE more grateful.
Day 2, early morning photo session with Mommy
before we headed off to Court
I realize these pictures are VERY Pink. Tough.
I love that this is the same baby who was so skeptical and reserved with us
only the afternoon before.
"Hello, Bear. Nice to meet you."
The Nile River!!!
After about 1.5 hours of driving, we arrived in Jinja, a lovely and blooming place
where we attended Court.
We changed our Rissa's clothes in the van as we arrived.
(We spent 10 hours in the van that day and several others, too.)
One of my favorites
Open-air corridors of the Courthouse.
I loved the bow.
Our attorney loved the bow.
Our Social Worker loved the bow.
Daddy veto'd the bow.
The "LC" (village chief) of the village where Rissa was born attended Court with us
to confirm her story.
His name was John.
He was clearly extremely proud of having a part in Rissa's story
and wanted pictures with her, asleep or not.
It was too cool.
At lunch at a cafe later, Rissa lazed around in her Daddy's arms.
After Court and a lunch break, we headed over to Jinja's
It was once sparkling waterfalls.
Now it is ----- water.
But still: we trekked down the (incredibly steep) hill steps and meandered and pondered things like:
"Wow, Moses was in a reed basket among rushes like these"...
"Wow, it's the longest river in the world"...
"Why does Mahatma Ghandi have a shrine here?"
(No joke. He does. He had his ashes partially sprinkled here. True story.)
This is The Source.
classic Ugandan polite manners on this sign:
"It is dangerous beyond this point"
....aaaand these are the shops you can buy stuff in while near The Source.
We considered a "boat ride on the Nile".
This was the boat.
There was a crocodile.
back in the van driving...and driving...and driving....
I know many of these pictures are redundant so forgive my indulgance.
I want to show how verdant and green Uganda countryside is
as opposed to Kampala's industry.
Plus, I print this blog annually for posterity so it's also my scrapbook for my children.
Bear with me, please.
....still driving...and driving...and driving...
These were some little boys in a village we stopped in.
I will never know their story.
They looked about Graham and Ethan's ages.
And they were holding hands.
And they had 3 mismatched shoes between them.
Back in Kampala, the following days...
note the difference in landscape?
THIS is why American hire knowledgable drivers.
Kampala traffic is overwhelming.
One of my favorites.
I love what Andrew captured, both between me and Rissa
and behind us outside as well.
schoolgirls in uniform in front of a billboard of the President
We stayed in the same guesthouse
for a few days with another Florida family who adopted 2 little girls,
Mercy and Lillian.
Rissa's and Lillian's birthdays are 3 days apart.
Photographing them side by side was precious!
Hugging via parental intervention.
Mommy Skype'ing with the boys at home.
I was over. it.
Can you tell?
"Enough, Andrew. C'mon. Seriously. Enough."