We leave in 18 days. I cannot believe it. It still feels like a dream to me.
I have ALWAYS wanted to go to Africa, though what I always imagined is a lot different than this reality. I imagined safaris and beautiful animals. While we may see some of these beautiful animals, it will be in a very different way. No safaris. Just real African life.
Ryan, Colt, and I will leave on December 19th from Atlanta. We will then fly to Amsterdam, then on to Entebbe, Uganda. We will not get to Entebbe until 10 p.m. local time on December 20th. There will be many hours spent traveling, just the three of us. No guide. No help. I ask that you pray for us, especially Colt. This will be a brand new adventure and I worry about him handling it well.
Once we get to Uganda, we will travel from Entebbe to Kampala - the capital city of Uganda. This is where our work will begin. We will be working with an American family and their ministry called Benjamin House.
You probably already know, but the orphan situation in Uganda is dire. There are SO many orphans. Many are orphans because they lost their parents to death, but many are orphans by abandonment. It's a vicious cycle - orphans are growing up not knowing a family, then becoming pregnant themselves and becoming parents, but because they were raised in orphanages or institutions, they don't know what it means to be a parent. They eventually abandon their children simply because they don't know how to be a mom or dad. Or maybe they can't afford to keep them so they give them up to an institution, hoping they'll get better care there. It's an ugly cycle.
Benjamin House is working to break the cycle. They are not an orphanage, they are a family restoration ministry. They are working to teach these people about love and about families. They're teaching them how to be part of a family and what a Godly family looks like. They're trying to get to the actual root of the problem and trying to solve it - one person at a time.
Please take a few minutes and watch this video. This is where we are going.
We will be doing whatever they need us to do, helping/teaching/loving these people. We are NOT going to be bringing home a child - I have had a lot of people think that. I am sorry if I made it seem that way.
Speaking of the adoption - we are kind of in a holding place. It isn't about adoption, it is more about Haiti. From what we're being told now, to adopt from Haiti will take approximately 5-6 YEARS. That is devastating and we are not wanting to wait that long. We are open to domestic adoption, BUT our agency is very quick to tell us that with domestic adoptions, adoptive parents are MANY and babies are FEW. With international adoption, adoptive parents are FEW but children are MANY. So, we are reassessing our country options, but not abandoning adoption. We want a child and Colt desperately wants a sibling, but I don't think I can wait 6 years to do it.
Back to Uganda - we will be there through Christmas and return on December 28th. Colt has about 15 blankets to take with him (mentioned in the previous blog post) and I think that's probably all we can carry with us at this point. Thank you to everyone that has donated a blanket! Ryan is going back to Uganda for ten days in February and may be able to take more with him then. Also, I have a feeling this will only be the first of many trips to Benjamin House. I feel a strong calling there.
Please pray for us as we prepare to travel, pray for our safety and our health (so many diseases! so many shots!), pray for Colt and the culture shock he is going to face, and pray that we can touch people's lives and be a blessing to them. Also pray that God gets all the glory for this trip and it doesn't become about the Doolittles, but about our Father above.