The fatherless and the widows who live in your towns may come and eat and be satisfied, and so that the LORD your God may bless you in all the work of your hands. Dueteronomy 14:29

~ Silas and Naomi are HOME from Uganda ~

31 January 2011

First Sight

We finally got a modem today so we could have internet at the house we are staying in, so we have 3 VERY full days to write about, however right now, all that matters is telling you about our 2 new beautiful children and our first visits with each of them.

I hear the rumble of the diesel van pulling through the iron gates that secure our little “compound” as our driver Membiro takes Craig into town for more bananas, mangoes, eggs, and toilet paper. I’m lying on our bed under a transparent tent listening to the chorus of birds waft through the window with the cool morning breeze. Alexa, Noah, Maela, and little Danise (a precious little almost-2-year old Ugandan whose parents live inside the compound and serve our family) are playing with a beach ball in the spacious yard, hedged by large bushes which hide the brash barb wire fencing. The day began with a beautiful pink, yellow and orange sunrise at 6:45am and we are fervently praying for the judge who is supposed to determine our court date today. So as I continue to ask for the Lord’s mercy, peace, and blessing over this man this morning, I’ll share with you about what God has done for our family.

family "tourist" photo at the equator... a little embarrisn, but hey!  you gotta do it right!

We didn’t arrive in Mbarara until mid-evening Saturday (the typically 4 hour drive took us 7 with many suitcases piled on top of the van and our sweet driver who wanted to drive slowly so we could see the wildlife…which incidentally decided not to make many appearances for us. More about what we saw and experienced of this curious country later…) So we strived to pray and be patient as our hearts leapt ahead of the vehicle towards our children, each mile bringing us closer to holding the little ones we had so longed for. I can truthfully say waves of emotion rolled through the windshield and washed over me, alternately giddy excitement, overwhelming relief that we were finally here, and utter fear that something might still go wrong. I was thankful to be sitting in the middle row where no one could see the goofy grin, tears, and nail biting.

“Have I not commanded you be strong and courageous? Do NOT be terrified; do NOT be discouraged; for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go!” Joshua 1:9

A dear friend sent me this verse the day we left – thank you, Lord for promising your presence to us…even in AFRICA!

I ran this verse through my mind over and over as we drove and the waves subsided to gentle tides, much more manageable and I no longer felt like I was going to drown in the sea of emotion that was overtaking me.

PEACE… perfect PEACE!

Babies we are coming!

Finally, we drove into our yard (we’ll share all about the tremendous blessing of this home with you too), embraced our dear friends, the Kehns, quickly unloaded the van, toured the house, and headed straight over to see our baby girl.

so excited to finally be doing to see Abi-sista

Abi lives with her foster mom, “Auntie” Tricia just a little over 5 mintues down the road. Memburio graciously started back up the van and took us to her. As we pulled through the gate at Tricia’s house my whole body tingled and my hairs stood up with goose-bumps despite the warm, balmy evening temperature. We were finally going to hold our precious little girl! We knocked softly at the door, suspecting she might already be asleep. A tired Tricia greeted us and we hugged gently, like very old friends who understood one another’s pain yet had such very different futures.

not really sure what to do with myself!

Tricia is from the UK, she has lived and served in Uganda for 8 years, working to fund tuition for children to attend school (education is so very valuable here) and providing formula and other needs for young and single mothers. She is a warrior and her heart and body bear the battle scars. She is in constant and very intense pain as her hip is severely deteriorated and she needs a replacement badly. Next month Tricia will return to the UK and have her surgery and seek the Lord for His direction in her life. She has loving and devotedly cared for our baby girl for nearly 5 months now, beginning with a hospital stay that saved Abi’s life. They are very bonded and we respect, admire and will be eternally grateful to Tricia for what she has done for our daughter. Tricia is dreading the moment Abi comes to stay with us permanently, and we too anticipate this long awaited day with so much sadness for them both. It is going to be incredibly difficult; please pray for both Tricia and Abi during this time of transition.

As we entered her very comfortable home, my eyes went straight to the black stroller in the corner of the living room and the chubby brown legs poking out from under a blanket which draped over her upper body and face. She was sleeping soundly. Maela who was in my arms saw her too and immediately shouted, “Abi-Sista!” and scrambled down to rush to see the baby she had only cuddled on the computer screen. I could hardly believe what my eyes were seeing; it was like my brain couldn’t comprehend my heart’s response to the first sight of my daughter and I was overcome. My chest heaved with big gasps for air and tears began to stream down my face. Craig came to my side and Tricia joined us as well. She removed the veil over her face and we laid our eyes on our gorgeous baby girl for the first time. Nothing could have prepared me for that moment. We each put a hand of gratefulness and understanding on Tricia’s shoulder and the three of us stood there, staring at the baby we all loved so dearly and cried.

Maela’s incessant kisses on poor Abi’s tummy, hands and feet eventually woke her up. She blinked and fluttered at the soft light of the room, and then her eyes fixed on me. We gazed at each other for a moment and then those full beautiful lips that I have wanted to kiss for so long, parted into a gentle smile and we both giggled a bit. She then looked at her daddy with the same expression, but her attention was stolen by the little blond bouncing pigtails of her sister as Maela clambered and climbed all over the strolling desperately trying to kiss those lips. Abi let out a squeal of delight and we all burst into laughter.

Tricia picked her up and handed her to me. I pressed the warm, round little body against mine and closed my eyes.

“Hello, baby. I’m your Mommy.”

She cooed and nuzzled into my neck a little as I breathed in her sweet smell and felt her soft, tiny afro against my cheek for the first time. Her skin is so soft and smooth, different from the peach-fuzz feel Noah and Maela had, but absolutely perfect. She fit in my arms like a glove. Even though she wasn’t made IN me, we were made for each other.

Noah and Maela could wait no longer to get their hands and lips on their little sister so I sat down on the couch and Maela promptly climbed up next to me demanding, “Abi-sista, lap!” After a forced ‘please’, I set Abi, who nearly covered Maela’s little torso, on her lap. Maela lovingly wrapped her arms around her baby sister and began kissing her very full cheeks. Abi turned her head to face Maela and began kissing back. The two little girls embraced and kissed mouth to mouth for several minutes.

Maela occasionally received a big lick across her face too, which inevitably brought laughs from the entire room. The four tiny front teeth which had newly appeared from Abi’s pink gums made a sudden appearance and Maela yelled, “Bite!” A slightly red circle on Maela’s cheek told the tale, and we assured her that Abi meant no harm, to which Maela quickly responded, “It’s ok, Abi-sista. No bite.” Abi squealed with delight and they began a conversation of gibberish which only they could interpret, but it was evident to all of us that these two would be inseparable. Abi gave Maela’s hair a firm yank, to which Maela only responded by taking Abi’s hand and gently moving it up and down her own cheek, whispering, “soft, Abi-sista, soft.” Craig and I were astounded. Our little, rough and tumble 2 year old was already teaching her baby sister how to be gentle and forgiving.

God has intervened and done a super-natural work in our children to prepare them for us…our prayer for some time now. He answered and has shown favor on us.

We have visited Abi every day now for 3 days, a little longer each day. Tonight I got to walk around with her outside, feed her a bottle for the first time and stare at her round cheeks until she fell asleep on my chest. We each gave her a good night kiss and then I laid her down in her bassinet and tore myself away from her side.

Tomorrow we get to pick her up at 11 and bring her home with us until 5! I cannot wait to have that little girl near me all day, carry her everywhere, and be a part of her life! Each day we will increase the time as long as she does well, and hopefully keep her overnight very soon.

Maela woke up this morning and said, “Abi-sista. Get that baby home!”

I could not have said it better myself, dear. Father God, please, get that baby home!

Mae's first bath in a basin...African style.  Do you think she likes it?  This little girl has been challenged by the amount of dirt here.  She likes to be clean!  And I mean no dirt between her toes...she checks!  So we are having quite the time watching her frivilous efforts to keep her self dirt-free.

Alexa playing with a sweet girl at the babie's home.  She has been an incredible gift to our family (thank you, Braithwaties for entrusting her to us!  She is safe and well.)  We are so thankful she is hear and it has been an inspiration to watch her serve and love while we are here.

As we sit here in the dark, no power and no water tonight, the reality of life in Uganda and it’s harshness settles in just a bit more…more later on what we have seen, heard and experienced of life for Ugandans and the oh so very small things that create a new world for them.


  1. breathtaking, tear-pouring amazingness.

  2. so I sat down to read this in the school computer lab..didnt expect to be choking back tears. praise God, he is faithful, he is good, he is worthy!

  3. Oh my goodness...your writing and pictures make me feel like I was right there at your first meeting with Abi and it gives me happy chills all over!! She is sooooo precious! Praying that she will be home with you very soon!!

  4. I echo what Annie said - thanks for allowing those of us praying and interceding on your behalf a glimpse into this precious family time with Abi. I am amazed at how God has prepared Maela and Noah for just such a time as this. The photo of Maela and Abi holding hands is so precious and I can so picture Maela teaching Abi to be gentle. So very precious. Praising God for what He is doing!

  5. So happy for you! I pray that everything moves smoothly for you from here out! Looking forward to reading more about your amazing journey!! Your children were all made for eachother! They are so sweet!

  6. tears. she is SO beautiful. that little abi-girl is so precious. God is so good. tears and more tears.


  7. My eyes and face are so red and puffy from crying tears of joy. Little Maela now a big sister is such a beautiful sight to see. I will now be praying for Tricia as well.The Lord is doing amazing work and I thank you so much for keeping us all posted..Sending our continued love and prayers...And the pictures are such a wonderful bonus:) Your family is gorgeous!!!xoxoxo

  8. Oh what sweetness! I am glad Maela is enjoying being a big sista. Hugs!

  9. So incredible. My heart leapt with joy reading this. I am SO happy that your family is together :) Blessings!