Holloway Nation

 

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A couple weeks ago, my assistant, Caroline Smith, came by and took some pictures of me and my family.  If you know anything about our life here, you know how hard it can be to nail all of us down at one time.  It’s even harder trying to get us to all look at the camera at the same time.  That’s why we love that Caroline was able to just come over to our home and take photos of us while we were hanging out.  It feels more real for our family that way.  If you’re interested in using her as a designer or photographer, you can check out her work here.

Livin’ and Learnin’

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Never a dull moment in our family

I wanted to just give everyone an overall update on where things are.  First of all, we cannot express as a family how grateful we are for the overwhelming support.  It has made this journey exponentially easier and more encouraging.  Thanks, and please hang in here with us until we are home.

I thought it might be helpful to give you a brief order of deadlines and decisions that must be made to get the kids home.

First, we had our court date.  Many of you prayed and the judge ruled favorably.  This was a ruling for guardianship, but it is temporary until a written ruling can be obtained.  This takes a couple of weeks, and it is what we are waiting on now.  A few days after the court date, we received an official court ruling that is then written out, and signed by the judge.  We are waiting now for the signing.  It is on his desk, so please pray he will do this quickly.

Once this is done, we are clear to take the ruling and apply for passports with Ugandan Immigration.  Once we apply, we wait until they call us with the passports.  This can take anywhere from three days to three weeks.  We obviously are praying for this to go quickly.  Average time has been around a week for the other families we have spoken with.

When we have the passports in our hands, we can go to have medical clearance for the kids.  This is about a one-week process, consisting of a general exam and TB test, and then an approval is sent to the US embassy.

Once the exams are complete, we will apply for an appointment with the embassy to have all of our documents reviewed.  This is where a lot of people run into trouble, as the pile of documents is huge and there can’t be a single mistake or discrepancy.  We have met people who were hung up in country for weeks and even months because of a wrong date on a document, or a misspelled word, or any other number of things.  We will have to go through these documents with a fine-toothed comb before we go for our review.  We still have quite a bit of paperwork to do through each stage of this process.  We cannot afford to mess those up.  For those of you who know Little and me, this is our biggest weak spot.  We are both horrible administratively.  Pray we are vigilant in this area.

Once we have been cleared at the document review, we are given a visa appointment for the kids’ passports, which will be two days after document review, then called in two days later for a final exit interview.  Once that is complete, we are given all we need to leave the country.

In summary:

  1. Court date and initial custody granted (Birth fathers present)
  2. Official verbal judge’s ruling (1 week)
  3. Official written judge’s ruling (what we are waiting for now)
  4. Passport applications
  5. Passports issued (Can be 3 days up to 3 weeks)
  6. Medical exams (one week)
  7. Document review (3 to 7 days)
  8. Visa applications (2 days)
  9. Exit interview at Embassy with birth fathers present. (one day)

Hope this isn’t too confusing.  A lot of steps, I know.  If we get the passports applied for this week, and then the medicals and document review goes well, we are looking at about three more weeks in country.  I will travel home on March 5-6 and be in the U.S. for about 10 days.  This would put me back in country here just in time for the final two steps.  Please pray this all runs smoothly!

We could be home by late March if all is well.  In the meantime, we could not be more convinced that we are in God’s will here.  We are learning much and seeing new life in these two little ones.  Our three older ones are doing an amazing job, and we couldn’t be more thankful for them.

Thanks again for all the prayer support.  We will keep you posted.

Trying to Love Like Jesus

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We are learning a lot on this journey.  Adoption is always hard.  Adoption is always worth the fight.  We didn’t come in here with any preconceived or romanticized ideas.  We knew it would be hard.  The long days of waiting for the next appointment.  The attachment issues.  The task of giving love to someone who has never experienced it, and may not always want it.  But as the saying goes, “The reward is worth the risk.”

This evening, our new daughter was standing alone in the yard, in the dark, crying softly.  Kilby found her, and brought her to me.  As I held her and stroked her hair and gently wiped her tears, I told her the things I would tell either of my other daughters.  “I love you.” “Jesus loves you.”  “It will be okay.”  I spoke Psalm 23 over her, and made up a song and sung to her.  And then it dawned on me, ”You can cry as long as you want to.”  You don’t have to stop crying.

In a culture of survivial, I wonder if she has ever felt the freedom to cry.  Or, maybe, she has spent a lot of nights crying herself to sleep.  I don’t know.  I don’t speak the same earthly language as her, and I am not sure she would have given me answers to those questions even if she could.  The language barrier was shattered by gentle hands, soft words, and tight squeezes, and  hopefully the love of an earthly father that reflects a God she will soon know.  After half an hour, Little took her to her bed, and rubbed her little scarred belly and arms until she slept.  Now, she is peacefully resting, and I have to believe feeling a little more secure.

Loving someone who doesn’t understand your love is as good a picture of the Gospel as I have ever seen.