Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4

Sunday, December 2, 2007

How much joy can be in one place?

We are here!!!!!!! Yesterday we arrived in Entebbe around 3pm, paid for our visas, and then exited through a tunnel of people. I felt like it was the paparazzi...people had their faces pressed up against the glass looking into the airport, and we had taxi drivers trying to convince us that we needed them, not our driver, to take us to Amani. We had a hard time convincing them otherwise because our driver was not there. We were a little panicked, but the taxi driver let us use his phone, and we were finally united with our driver--and we got the best one there is. Abdulla, was very kind, generous (he stopped at the grocery store to buy us bottled water--which was his own idea), and answered our million ongoing questions. Half the time we were in silent awe just soaking everything in, other times we couldnt stop talking. It is so fun experiencing everything in context, not just through pictures and stories. Putting the smells, the sounds, and the scenery all together creates such an experience. It is incredible here. It took us about 4 hours to get to Amani from the airport because of traffic. Along the drive, we saw the funniest thing...there are shops everywhere...and one of those shops had art for of the giant paintings was of an American flag and Bill Clinton!
We pulled up to the gates of Amani Baby Cottage around 7pm. We were told that they would keep the babies up for us and wait for our arrival. We pulled in through the gates, and were greeted by many excited mamas who were so welcoming. The name given to me by all the mamas is "Mama Christopher" or "Mama Priscilla" (Priscilla is Katie's given name at birth). There is another Katie in Baby 1 Room so they have to call her Priscilla. We had one of the other families video tape us walking into the baby cottage. We went into Baby Room 2 where Christopher was sleeping with 10 other children. The mamas flipped on the lights, pulled up the mosquito netting, and lovingly yanked Christopher by the arm up out of his sound sleep and said, "Christopher, your Mama" and put him in my arms. He was adjusting to the light and trying to figure out where he was. He had his little hand gripped tightly to my shirt. I immediately started kissing his head and cheek and held him close. He laid his face against my chest and shoulder, just snuggling. I had tears of joy sliding down my cheek. Then the mamas brought Katie to us (she sleeps in a different room) and handed her to Todd. She went right to him. After soaking it all in, and loving every moment of it, Todd and I traded kids. And then we saw a very specific answered prayer. Katie reached for Todd. So there was Todd holding both kids. It was the best picture in the world. He then started bouncing them up and down, and they loved it. They were laughing, smiling, giggling, and loving every second. We were laughing in delight. After an hour, we put Christopher and Katie back to bed, and I got to stroke Katie's head and rub her belly, as she fell asleep. We then left for the Hotel Triangle where we are staying. It is gorgeous here. Our room looks out over the lake and we went to sleep to the sounds of frogs and crickets and awoke to birds singing and roosters crowing. We had a great breakfast and walked to the Baby Cottage. Again we were greeted with big hugs from all the mamas and were ushered into Christopher and Katie's room. They immediately came to us and gave us big smiles and giggles. The kids wake up at 6:30, get bathed and put back into their cribs. They then get ready for breakfast at 8am. Christopher eats his porridge out of a "big boy" cup. We were amazed to see 11 kids under age 2 drinking out of cups and there were no spills! In Katie's room she was getting ready for her porridge out of a sippy cup. When she gets excited and wants something, her legs start bouncing and she starts flapping her arms. We left to go put our stuff upstairs in the living quarters (which are very nice) and returned downstairs later for play time. When I walked in, I was literally attacked by children. I think I had four or five on me all wanting to be held, climbing up my shirt and back. Katie wanted to be held, and then when Todd walked in she crawled over to him. When we walked into Christopher's room, he was already sitting in their snack circle. He immediately got up with a smile and walked over to Todd with his arms reaching up, so he could be picked up. We are enjoying every second. Both C and K look very healthy. Christopher is walking and is strong. Katie is thinner, more petite looking, and is standing and walking along things as she holds on. She has a mouth full of teeth and resembles her sister Sage--because the exact same front tooth is chipped! Her skin and hair is soft and smells so good. Her cheeks are so kissable. Christopher is more solid and his hair is thicker. He is so cuddly.
I had wondered what it would feel like as their mother. Would it be an instant bond or would it come over time. The way I can explain it is when you are in the hospital after the delivery of a child, and they place the newborn baby in your arms. It felt like that--instant love, attachment, and bond. I could not stop kissing them. They are my children. We wish Jaden, Kellen and Sage could be here. They would love it. The kids would have so much fun with them. The toddler room is a high energy room, where every single child came running up to us yelling Auntie, Uncle, and giving us hugs, wanting to be held, and saying, "I want to go home with you." Break my heart, maybe we can get one or two more?!? Just kidding, I will just start picking out ones for Lacey, Erryn, and Ariel!! Lacey--Weiss is a cutie. He was climbing the triple bunk bed this morning in his tidy whities. His underwear was a bit big, though and it kept falling down, he had to keep reaching behind as he climbed to give them a tug. He is adorable. The kids are all so loving, and they love Jesus. All the mamas are so good with the kids and teach them about Jesus. It is such a great place. The scenery is beautiful. I wish you could all be here with us experiencing it alongside us. We will have lots of pictures and video to share. We are still trying to figure out how to download that stuff. Hopefully soon! We love you, and miss you, but God has us in His hands. We are safe and well. Keep praying for health (my stomach was really upset yesterday just from the travelling and lack of sleep) I am feeling better today.
Jaden, Kellen, and Sage, thank you for your notes to us. I loved getting them on the computer. Thank you for your prayers. God is answering them. We will bring you each a surprise. Have fun with Grammy! Make sure you give her quiet time! Thank you for watering the tree and I am excited to find your hidden pickles. Have lots of fun, we will be home soon. Oh, we also found our picture that we made for the babies this summer hanging up. Katie held the picture and she pointed to Jaden, Kellen and Sage's picture. They love you and cant wait to meet you.
Lord, thank you for your awesome power and love for us. You are so good to us and lavish us with blessings. We love you and praise you for your beautiful creation of people and nature. May you be glorified. Amen.
Sorry if this post was a little jumbled and hard to read, I am a bit overwhelmed!
Love you and miss you!


Lacey Nicole said...

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again REJOICE!!Congratulations!! I am so glad the time has finally come!! Oh I am in awe...speechless...God is so good!! He brings together all things for the good of those who love him. Wow!! I can't think of a better way to start my day. I must get ready for Church and will surely be writing more later on. I love you all and may Gods blessing be over you in the days to come(as I know it will be). Hug those precious little one. We love you!!!
Those who plan what is good find love and faithfulness.
proverbs 14:22
Jordan, Lacey , Ryen, and Peyton

Jenn said...

JEnny and TOdd

I don't think I'll be crying any harder when I pick up my own little girlies in Ethiopia. Praise God, he is so so good.

It has been amazing to be able to watch your journey to your children...thank you for your faith!! You are such an inspiration!

As cold waters to a thirsty soul,
so is good news from a far country."
Proverbs 25.25

Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life. -Proverbs 13:12

"I will say to the north, Give up; and to the south, Keep not back: bring my sons from far, and my daughters from the ends of the earth;
Even every one that is called by my name: for I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him." Isaiah 43:6-7

~Many many blessings~

aakoenig said...

Hey Todd and Jenny,
WOW!! How absolutely amazing to hear of your experience. I may not have the exact scene in my head, but I can just picture how it all played out. Todd, just what you wanted with Katie reaching toward you. What a blessing that must have been. I am just in awe of everything God has orchestrated for your trip and placed everything in the right place and time. May His blessing keep pouring out to you for your faithfulness in this journey.
We will keep praying for "that" miracle and your health.
Aaron and Ariel

Beth said...

Great to hear that you are there and have met my new grandchildren. We have been praying for your travels.

Everything in IN is fine. Grandpa is in rehab and about the same.

I am anxious to see pictures of my new grandbabies! Our grandchildren population could double by the end of the year!

Take care and enjoy!

Love, MOM

lundmanzoo said...

YA HOO! Don't you just love it all. Mukama yay bazubway! (spelled here for pronunciation) Praise the Lord! Deke and I are here at home reading this at 3pm, after being away for open house and after church with your mom.(She told me there was a new blog, I could hardly wait to get to it!) All the kids are doing great. Jadyn is much more relaxed and seems back to his-self. We are so excited to hear all you have to share. We know God will take care of all things in His time! Wow have we ever learned that one this year! Deke wants to know if you have mastered the boda-boda while hanging on to the kids yet? Ha! We are dying to see your pics! Our prayers are following you on this adventure! We love you both! Deke and Erryn

lundmanzoo said...

P.S. are you still staying at the Triangle or did you move in to the upstairs of the cottage?

Grandpa said...

Oh God bless you both, it has taken me most of the day to dry my tears and put together my thoughts. I can relate so much to you, figuring out; how is it possible to have instant love for these children? When we adopted Kimmy, I remember praying and asking God how will the love come, is it possible for me and mom to love this new baby right away like we did when Jenny was born? I had a fear, because I just thought it would have to take time. But, it was so instant that I could not believe it. The only way I can explain it when people have asked is; it is the same "high" but there's just a little difference in the delivery method. Either way, our children are a gift from God and each part of the "delivery" is a miracle. It sounds so exciting for both you & Todd and all the mamas and leaders of Amani Baby Cottage; to witness first hand the work of our amazing God! I can relate with something else with you Jenny, the passion that God places in our hearts to have that magnificant drive to accomplish a task that we don't even quite know where we are going. You demonstrated a drive for this before you had ever seen these babies and before you ever knew it would actually be two. It was placed in both your & Todd's hearts by Jesus. I have said the same thing about myself with our ministry; it was God that placed it in my heart to help these children, because I have not had the chance to visit our Children's Center yet. I too am waiting to see my children. It is amazing to me, I don't try to figure it out anymore, I just want to glorify God to see Him work through all of us, that's why it is so important for us to tell our stories!
Well, give lots of love to my newest grandchildren.
I Love you both so much,

Penner said...

Hi Todd and Jenny,
This is your old neighbor, Laura! I just received your Christmas letter and realized that you are in Africa right now, so right away I prayed for you, not knowing exactly what to pray for. Then I decided to check out the blog and you moved me to tears! What a journey you have been on and how sweet it must be to finally be there with your babies! It makes you realize that some of our selfish desires and dreams really do not matter if it is not in the will of the Lord! May God bless you for your obedience! You are an inspiration. We may need your assistance in the future with our own adoption. We are slowly being stirred toward that direction.
We miss you guys and we love you! And oh yes, I was happy to see the babies in IU attire!! Keep it on them. Ha! Go Hoosiers!