At times, discernment can be a very hard thing. When we were told, on Thursday of last week, it would likely take 10 business days to process Jamil’s passport, we were shocked. Jay began problem solving. We made the decision to fly home on the following Tuesday night. We had talked to Jamil about the options. We would pray we would get his passport sooner. If we did, then we would adjust our plan. Monday, mid-afternoon, I said to Jamil that I really hoped we’d hear something about his passport. He said, “We will pray.” Monday, late afternoon, we received word that the passport had been approved and should be ready to pick on Wednesday. So, we decided we should postpone our flight. Again, we began planning our next steps. If we could get the numbers we needed from the passport, we could get online to get in line for the US Embassy for his needed visa. We could potentially be back to the States before another weekend passed. God is good, all the time God is good. With expectation in our hearts, we kept working on Jamil’s schoolwork, enjoying our time with Kate and Jemimah, and missing Jake, Jared, and Jayne. Since Jamil came to stay with us on June 5th, he has been very joyful, jovial, and teachable. The first time I saw a shift in this was the night of July 1st, when we took April to the airport. I didn’t realize it until later, but he was having a hard time with her departure. I came to realize this more fully, when he found out Jake, Jared, and Jayne would be flying home, without us, a couple of weeks ago. I asked him what was wrong, and he would only admit to having a headache. Later in the day of their departure, he acknowledged with a few tears that he was sad because they were leaving. We talked about it is okay to feel sad. We all do at times. God gave us emotions. My heart had broken the Tuesday before when I realized the judge was not yet willing to give us temporary guardianship of Jamil until our court file was more complete. After my tears subsided, I realized the judge did not close the door….he just needed more information before we could walk through it. As we quickly gathered information on our end and Jamil’s end, we were excited to know on Wednesday afternoon that our file was complete enough for him, and he would grant the written ruling the following Tuesday. Our attorney said both Jay and I would need to stay. So, the decision was made for the kid’s to travel without us. Previously as we contemplated their travel without one of us, we were torn and didn’t have peace for this. We never want to live with regret. If we sent them to the US by our choice alone, what if something happened?? The Lord had given us clear discernment, we should stay and they could leave. God is good all the time, all the time God is good.
The next 24 hours are chronicled in the blog “Waiting Here for You”. I have a couple of things that left an indelible mark, on me, from our scavenger hunt adventure. First, to hear Robina, Jamil’s mother, as she talked to her parents on the phone for the first time in a very long time. I could hear the excitement and rejoicing through the phone in each of her parent’s voices.
I was reminded of the story of the prodigal son. Second, Jamil had never met the relatives of his biological father. Upon returning from our adventure he said, “I have a really big family. I didn’t make it to see all of their houses.” The biggest imprint in my mind and heart is when we said goodbye to his mother, in Jinja, at the end of the day. I gave her a hug, she only shook Jamil’s hand.
When we returned to court on Tuesday, we were delayed again because of the new information our attorney presented from our scavenger hunt. The judge seemed pleased that we had gathered the information and verbally stated that he would grant us temporary guardianship, but he would need to add it to his written ruling. We must have the written ruling in order to apply for Jamil’s passport. Maybe, it would be ready the next morning. It was not. However, we were called on Thursday, it was ready and we could go to turn in the passport paperwork. Previously, passports might take 1 to 3 days. Now, at least 10 business days. What????? God is good all the time, all the time God is good. At this point, is when we decided to get back to the States and return when the paperwork was completed, and we were ready for the visa interview. Jamil would stay with Pastor Fred. Jamil feels very at home with Fred’s family. Actually, Jamil and I were going over the work he could do on his own from his books when the text came in saying his passport had been approved. It would be printed and signed, ready to pick on Wednesday. God is good all the time, God is good. So as I stated previously, we changed our flight and began to think through the possibility that we would all three fly home on early Saturday morning!! Tuesday, we went to the attorney’s office to gather a few documents we would need for the visa interview.
Tuesday night, as we returned to our guest house, Jamil informed me that he “was paining” around his closed eye. Only hours before, I had been asked, in a Facebook post, how he was feeling and had replied that he was feeling fine. We have been doing a lot of work on English and reading as well as math to fill our days.
One goal I’ve had is to help Jamil to catch up to the students his age in school. He is in P-3 (primary 3) and according to his birth certificate, he will turn 13 on the 17th of October. He is so very smart. He has a quick wit. He can speak several languages. I do not want him to lose this ability. We also want for him the same thing we desire for each of our children. We want him to follow the God’s will and call on his life. At this point, he wants to become a doctor. Remember, I said discernment can be hard? We knew, if Jamil’s tumor had returned we were to do everything we could to bring him to the US. Before we knew his tumor was back and we were in Palissa having a medical clinic at Jamil’s school, I was so proud of Jamil as I watched him become a translator for Jay and April. As he was doing this, I asked another translator to tell his grandfather who was standing there, how proud I was of Jamil. The translator did, then he began to laugh at Jamil’s grandfather’s response. I asked “What did he say?” He told me Jamil’s grandfather wanted to know if I was ready to take Jamil back with me? What????? This had never entered my mind. But, I must admit it did plant a seed. I started looking back to the Know More Orphans conference Jayne and I attended in Alabama. Why did we go?? I knew the reasons at the time, but could there be more? I have stated previously, “I would never be able to home school, yet here we go in the fall!” I’ve learned never to say never. Two things that resonated with me at the conference: One was a father of an 18 year old adopted son from an African country. As he had grown, this young man had made some painful choices for not only himself, but for his parents as well. He was now making better choices, but this dad wanted others to learn from their journey. He asked his son, “If there is one thing, you would have me tell these potential adopting parents, what would it be?” He told his dad, “Never take the child away from his culture.” This statement leads me two the second thing I took away. I was thankful that the conference didn’t define orphan care as adoption only. I was somewhat hesitant that I would walk away feeling guilty for not choosing adoption. Not so. But now, was Jamil’s grandfather serious? It did start a conversation in our family. One that we will continue to pray about and believe the Lord will give us the discernment in His timing. I must confess, I have no idea if we are to officially adopt Jamil or not. I can tell you in my heart, he is already part of our family.
I had a friend once tell me the Lord had shown her a veil in her future. He told her not to worry about what was behind it. She was to walk on the path that He had showed her at this time. We know the Lord has called us to bring Jamil to the US for treatment.
After our kids left to return to the USA, we had to change guest houses, due to another team coming to the one we had stayed in most recently, next to Gabba Community Church. Our friend, David Gitta, introduced us to Kate and Jemimah. They have a guest house that is just a short distance, around the bank of Lake Victoria, from the apartments that we stayed in back in 2012. I know God planned this move. Their guest house is a beautifully relaxing home and they became family to us. I think we needed time and wisdom from Kate to help Jamil transition from the culture he knows, to one that could potentially be overwhelming. She has been a valuable resource in this area. So we are planning for him to Skype call his family and David, at least once a week, while he is in the US, with us, to receive treatment. Our temporary guardianship orders forbid us to adopt Jamil, while he is in the US for medical treatment. Therefore, this process which we started June 5th, for guardianship, would start again, from square one, if we discern that adoption is God’s will. God is good all the time, and all the time God is good.
Kate, Jemimah, Jamil, Jay, and I went to dinner Wednesday night. It was very quiet as we sat through the first part of the meal. Jay received an email which made us realize we have no idea the time frame for the visa through the US Embassy, even after we get the passport. We were perplexed, as we knew that God had moved so many things forward miraculously, but we also realized that Jake, Jared, and Jayne had now been in the US for two weeks. Jake moves to Southwestern Oklahoma State in Weatherford on August 16th. Jay has some work shifts scheduled in the coming weeks. We have to get our homeschool curriculum organized, for August, for Jared and Jayne. What do we do now?? Kate encouraged me by reminding me we have been praying for God’s will. He has a plan and a purpose. Jay knew he must come home soon. I felt I was in a no win situation: to stay in Uganda, for God only knows how long, with Jamil as Jay returned to the States was weighing heavy on my heart. That was coupled with me missing our kids and the last couple of weeks, with Jake, before he moves to SWOSU. I decided to fast and pray on Thursday for clarity. God has always been so faithful to answer prayer, with such clarity, while I’ve been in Uganda. What and why was this so hard to know what to do??? Why did it seem He was so quiet and not so near? I know it only takes the faith of a mustard seed to move mountains. He’s already moved several during this process. I know He could still make everything fall into place. I was believing Him for this, knowing at the same time, He is the Alpha and Omega. His will, not mine. I don’t have to worry about the outcome, He’s in control. I was not okay with leaving and not okay with staying. I was tempted to question my faith. Thankfully, I decided to focus on the way out of that temptation, even if I didn’t understand it or feel like it. I had to consciously choose to do this. Thursday by midday, we still had heard nothing about Jamil’s passport. In fact, now the attorney was unsure if Jamil’s passport had even been printed or if we were waiting only for the needed signature. I received a message from Tana on facebook, asking me to please tell her that we had received the passport. When I let her know we hadn’t, she shared she had seen on a news website that the computer data base, of the US, for passports and global visas had a glitch, thus slowing down the ability, all over the world, to permit visas. Seriously??? When we looked it up, we discovered one country alone had a backlog of over 50,000 visas to be processed. The article stated it would cause hardship for many. You think? God is good all the time, all the time God is good. That little nugget of glorious information is what the Lord used to break my stalemate. Jay and I were to come back to the States and one, or both of us, will return once the paperwork is processed and we have an appointment for the visa interview. The Lord was now clear. Yet, my heart hurts to leave. We found out we could fly early Friday morning instead of waiting until Saturday morning. As Jamil and I went over his books and work for him to do during the next couple of weeks, he was so quiet. We talked about knowing we can trust God and His plan. Tears and hugs followed. I’ve blogged before that Proverbs 3:5-6 is my life verse. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your path straight.” As the Lord teaches me by gently pealing back another layer in our relationship together, to trust Him no matter what, I realize that “straight” isn’t necessarily a straight line. It can be very bumpy and curvy like the roads in Uganda. But, it means He will show His plan by yieldi discernment in His time, not mine. I can trust by faith, not feelings, that He is in control, when it would seem He might not be. So, I started this blog in London and am finishing it as we are flying to DFW, without Jamil, at this time. As I type these words, my eyes are blurred with tears. But, I don’t have to worry what others might say or think, as I abide in Him. He wins! By faith I trust He will receive all the glory! He never said our path was easy, but I can trust He is guiding me down it. I miss Jamil already!
Continuing to prepare for Due Season,
Continuing to prepare for Due Season,