Oli otya? (Luganda for "How are you?", a common greeting in Uganda)
We are beginning to learn Luganda, one of the most common languages spoken in Uganda (English is too, but we already know that). "Why?" you ask. Because, Lord willing we will be heading to Uganda soon to pick up our son!!!! :-) That's right, we have been matched with a child and accepted the referral!
"??!!!???!!!???" That's probably what you're thinking, right? Because that is pretty much what we thought. :) Well, here is the quick version of a long story......
So, there we were, sitting at number 12 on the waiting list (and we are still number 12...we'll get to that later) in February. Being at number 12, we figured it would be quite possibly years before we were matched with a child and received a referral. Then, out of the blue, on March 11, 2014, we received a request to send our homestudy to Uganda. Our international agency, Lifeline Children Services (fantastic agency by the way), had been working on getting things ironed out with a potential new partner in Uganda for quite a while, and our homestudy was going to be sent to that new partner, Oasis Children's Home. They had 3 boys that were potentially available for adoption, and requested homestudies for 3 families.
"HOLD UP!! How did you get to be one of the 3 families when we were number 12 on the waiting list?" That is a great question, and we are glad you asked. So, it turns out that there were 9 families on "hold" that were ahead of us on the waiting list. That means that for a myriad of reasons they were unable to be matched with a child and accept a subsequent referral (most likely many of the families were pregnant). So, we were simply next on the list of eligible families.
We were surprised to say the least.
Now, there is one big thing to note: there were no guarantees of being matched or referred or even of the children being legally adoptable. Lifeline (our international agency) doesn't give referrals until children are as close to 100% legally adoptable (that is orphaned), and that process can take months, at least 6 months most of the time. There was also the added unknown of this new partner, Oasis Children's Home, and the way they like to match children...no guarantees. All we knew is that there were 3 boys and 3 families being looked at, and that nothing goes as planned. :)
We figured it would be 6-8 months before we heard anything. And then maybe another 6-8 months before we could possibly go to Uganda. It was 1.5 months (April 29, 2014) when we heard HUGE news. We found out that Lifeline was going to be making a trip to Uganda to find out if ethical adoptions are still a possibility in Uganda. If they are not, that would mean program suspension, not closure, but suspension (we can talk about that with you if you are curious what that means). AND there is also a legal Act that is in the process of working its way through the court system in Uganda that would install a foster care type system that would probably eliminate all possibility of international adoptions. THAT is HUGE news.
Three options were given of possible routes if ethical adoption is deemed impossible or highly improbable and a suspension on the program occurs. Here is a summary of them.
1) Families can stay in the Uganda program and wait in case the suspension might be lifted.
2) Families can switch programs (that means leave the Uganda program adopt from a different country).
3) Our case might be unique...
At that point we were like, "Huh? Our case?". Yes, that is when we found out that we had been matched with a little boy! Would we accept this referral? Yes! The third option above included subsequent options due to our case being unique...interesting. :)
Anywho, a day or two later we found out that the little boy was about 9 months old and his name is John Luke. We received a picture of him from when he was taken in to Oasis Children's Home, and a few days later received an updated picture. Let's just say that he is cute. :)
There was a lot to do after receiving and accepting the referral. And, with the impending children's Act in Uganda, it seemed that it all needed to be done quickly. So many little bits to this that can only be described by saying that God is the one who is moving things as he sees fit, blowing up all kinds of probable timelines and situations, having probation officers and others in Uganda cooperate when they normally may not (kind of like when God moved in the hearts of the Persian Kings to rebuild Jerusalem recorded in the book of Ezra). It has definitely been crazy. :)
Now we are waiting for some paperwork to come to us so we can get it notarized and sent back so we can wait for a court date in Uganda. We are also waiting to hear from Lifeline regarding their findings in regards to ethical adoptions in Uganda. They will be making the trip May 29-June 7.
There are 3 main realities that come under 1 umbrella reality.
1) There is still no guarantee that this child will be a Svaleson. There is much that needs to happen for this to happen. It is even possible that we can go to Uganda, be legal guardians of John Luke for weeks, and then come home without him.
2) We are short on funds.
3) Everything that needs to happen can happen.
Those three fall under this one reality:
In all of this, no matter the outcome, God will be glorified. And THAT is what excites us most. As hard as it would be to have all of this fall through, or as hard as it would be to be parents of an adopted child, or as great as it would be if everything worked out, God WILL be praised by believers. And he IS working all things together for the good of those who love him and are called according to his purpose...to be conformed to the image of his Son. The reality that God will be glorified is what propels us to go forward, to follow him. And his glory brings a smile to our face and joy to our hearts. :-)
With all that said, here is our plan moving forward:
1) Be excited!..and grounded in reality.
2) Save as much money as we can.
3) Fill out more grant paperwork.
4) Learn Luganda.
There are a few other things we would like to share with you. So, look for some updates within the next 10 days or so!
Join with us in praising God! Join with us in worshiping Jesus Christ! Join with us in celebrating! Join with us in living for the glory of God's name because we have been united with him by his blood and Spirit! Join with us in ministering to others in Jesus' name! Join with us as we make disciples of the nations! Join with us in clinging to the promises of God in joy and in sorrow, the promises that we will be conformed to the image of the Son! And thank you for joining us!! :-)
Josh and Marissa Svaleson