After a two hour court session this morning, the judge of the family court gave her verbal approval for us to be legal guardians of Janet and Lemu. The lawyer said to the judge, "My lord, I pray you'll grant this application," to which the judge answered, "I grant it straight away!" Though we won't get the official documents for another couple of weeks, this statement means we can take the girls home to the US to see our family and friends. And that makes us (and the girls) very happy.
We can't thank enough those who've been praying for us and for this day. We've really felt God's peace leading up to this moment. Yesterday we met with the lawyers and relatives (Alice, the girl's mother, their aunt, and four Ik uncles), and that went better than expected. The relatives seemed calm and confident, much more so than last year. They seemed to be enjoying themselves in Kampala and happy with the travel and accommodations they were provided with. (They are eager to get home, though, and plan to get on the overnight bus to Karamoja tonight.)
Then this morning, after a bit of a long wait, we were called in to see the judge. She interviewed all of us: Alice, Zachary, Lojore, Hillary, Terrill, Amber...she even talked to Janet and Lemu. When she asked Alice if she was happy with the arrangement, Alice said she was happy when we brought the girls to see her. So as hard as that can be, I think we will continue to do that as long as we can. The uncles all answered favorably; it seemed to be a big plus that they all mentioned that we had been personal friends of Lochiyo Gabriel (the girls' deceased father). The judge was impressed with the girls' English skills, as well as my knowledge of Ik (so she said!). She asked me to translate the sentence "God is my Savior" into Ik and write it down for her. So I wrote Mita Nyakuj'a Yeetesiama nci on a sheet of paper and handed it to her. She had me read it and then asked one of the Ik men what I was saying! Zachary said, "God...uh...is my...savior." Phew! This was important because it demonstrated our commitment to the Ik people, their language and culture, and the passing on of that culture to Janet and Lemu. Another thing that was key was the fact that we've lived here for years and plan to keep living here for more years. As the judge said, we're practically "Ugandan, at least by association."
Before we knew it, she smiled and indicated several times that she had already made up her mind to grant us legal guardianship then and there, even though normally the ruling comes much later. So we all thanked her, walked out, and began to marvel at God's favor. And for that, we want to thank all of you who have been praying for us. It really couldn't have gone any better. We also thank our friend Grace Halland for being there with us this morning and offering her moral support. We're reminded how we are all pawns in the great game God is playing to win the world for himself. God has positioned Amber and me for the sake of these two Ik girls, and we pray they will make themselves available to Him throughout their lives. This court date wasn't about me and Amber, more so about Janet & Lemu...but ultimately it was for the glory of God as he builds his kingdom one soul at a time. What a privilege it is to be a part of that incredible process. Praise God with us!
Tuesday, May 6, 2014
Please do forgive the random nature of some of my (Amber's) blogs. We rarely have good enough internet in Timu to get pictures loaded, and then I find I have weeks worth of pictures (life events) that I've never posted. So...when I get to reliable internet, I post away...seemingly without rhyme or reason. But I do it for all of you who are interested in what our life looks like, so do forgive.
Some evenings we take walks as a family. Many times, we have tag-alongs. The two kids to my left are the girls' cousins, Kitella and Jeshua.
Lemu needed help unwrapping her baby stroller. Janet needed help not being jealous. Thankfully, these girls are wonderful at sharing.