Monday, July 02, 2012

Uganda 2012: Faith and Hope

A running theme occurred during my trip to Africa:  Faith and Hope.  God could not be any clearer that through faith I can have hope, and little did I know that this was what I truly needed upon returning from Uganda.  But let me discuss something larger than what I had to deal with when I returned to the United States.

When I went to Uganda in 2009, the orphanage at Bukaleba was still in the process of being built, so to return to a fully functioning babies home was completely incredible.  Little did I know that I was going to fall in love with those kids.  And little did I know that I would continually pray about adopting two little girls I met at that orphanage.  I have not been led in either direction at the moment, but I continue to pray and seek God's direction on this.

The two girls I met just so happened to be named Faith and Hope.  Faith (about six years old) is the older sister of Hope (about 4 years old), and both of them have a chronic condition.  They have been at the orphanage for about two years after both their parents passed away.  Their mother died suddenly, and a few months later their dad passed away.  What one pastor told me was that they believed Faith and Hope's dad died of a drug overdose.  Since their father had worked for Arise Africa International as an electrician, the organization felt compelled to take Faith and Hope in and care for them at the orphanage.  The girls are well cared for by the nannies and aunties at the babies home, and they are getting the medical treatment they need.  What they may not get enough of, though, is love, that unconditional love that comes from family.  And let's be realistic, those aunties and nannies are caring for 54 orphans, they cannot invest their whole being into each of those kids, so adoption is necessary.  My heart aches when I think about what will happen when they finish secondary school at Bukaleba.  Will they be able to afford the medications they need?  Faith and Hope have been dealt a hard hand from birth; I need to constantly remind myself that God is in control and if I have faith, I am guaranteed to have hope.  I feel compelled to do more, though, for these two girls.  One evening, we brought Faith and Hope back to the guesthouse with us so the doctor could see them (thought the sisters might have had malaria), and I remember another team member holding Hope and as soon as I walked by, she reached both arms up and towards to me, similar to any child who wants their mother.  I believe the two things that scare me about the adoption process is that for starters I become an instant mom.  I get overwhelmed thinking about that.  And secondly, I'm single - does Uganda even consider single women in the adoption process?  I need some prayer warriors on this...
 
Faith - Age 6
Faith - Age 6

Hope - Age 4
Hope - Age 4
 
I also have mixed emotions about removing children from their home country and culture.  While many Ugandans don't have many physical possessions, they have so much more internally.  When I went to Walmart the day after getting back from Uganda, I almost had an anxiety attack because it was TOO much.  The vibrant colors in every direction, and all the choices - different products and brands - all at my fingertips.  Humbled and thankful?  Definitely.  But at the same time, in recent days, I have felt as if I don't have a true purpose here on earth.  Day after day I live the same story; my life is on repeat.  As a child, I used to dream about being Anne of Green Gables standing on the sand dunes of Prince Edward Island with the wind blowing through my hair.  All I could envision on this trip was me walking through the savannah in Uganda with Toto's song "Africa" in my head, and that I belonged there.  Coming back to the United States was much harder this time, but perhaps that is because I felt like I had a (greater) purpose in Uganda and I've gotten lost in the shuffle here.  

 
While my boyfriend and I have talked about adopting in the future, we have only talked about adopting older kids from the United States.  I have kept him in the loop concerning my thoughts and feelings about these two orphans in Uganda.  Something else God put on my heart a few months ago was becoming a court appointed special advocate (CASA) for children in Texas.  Court Appointed Special Advocates provide information to judges to "safeguard children and ensure that children are placed in safe, permanent homes as quickly as possible."  Now that I have a little bit more time since school is winding down for me, maybe this is just what I need to do.

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