Ever since we started dating, we had talked about pursuing adoption, some day. But in 2014, we started thinking about starting a family. We started praying, asking God what He wanted us to do. We both felt a strong sense that we were to pursue adoption as our first route. Our family had ties to Africa, so we knew we wanted to pursue an international adoption, with no specific country in mind yet.
We decided on Uganda and made our way through not one, not two, but three different agencies before completing our adoption. The first one closed down due to corruption (which we found out is unfortunately, very common), and while we were happy with our second agency, our wait time was still at about 3 years. A friend from church (who was also working with the small agency they adopted through) had just brought home two kids from Uganda reached out and asked us why things were taking so long, since she knew that there were kids available to be adopted. Because this was a smaller agency, the cost to start with this agency was about the same as it would be for us to finish with the larger one.
We made the switch and about a month later we got our referral for two sisters. We were over the moon, so excited about picturing our lives with these two. After a few weeks, the final investigation was done and we found out the girls were not adoptable. We were crushed. A few weeks later, we received another referral for a brother and sister. We guarded our hearts this time and waited for the investigation to complete. Through that investigation, an uncle of the kids came forward and said he didn't want them to be adopted (but wouldn't take care of them himself). Again, we were waiting. A few weeks later, we received another referral. A brother and sister, we guarded our hearts through the investigation. When that came back clear, we chose to do another investigation.
All came back clear and we began moving forward, registering with the high courts in Uganda. We had a court date for May 2016, which got moved to June. The day before we left Uganda passed a law that said you had to live in Uganda before you could adopt. We had no idea where that left us, so we boarded the plane to the unknown. We spent three weeks in Uganda, and went to court for legal guardianship. We had to leave the kids behind, for what was much longer than we anticipated. Fortunately, we had been grandfathered into the old law, and did not need to move to Uganda. Eight months later after our court date, in February 2017, we were headed back to Uganda on one-way tickets, with legal guardianship and permission from the U.S. Embassy to proceed with obtaining visas for the kids. For three weeks, we went back and forth, waiting for the Embassy to approve us. It was hard. Living and (first time) parenting in a foreign country was hard. Three weeks later, we obtained visas and boarded a plane home.
We arrived home on March 2, 2017 and just celebrated our "one-year here"! It has been the most wonderful and challenging year and we wouldn't trade it for anything. Saul is 9 (almost 10) and Peruth is 7. The first photo is from our trip to Uganda in February 2017 and the second is last fall.