36 hours after arriving in Uganda, we had our day in court. It was a long day that started by us getting up and dressing in our best at 5:20am. Nine of us loaded in to a 5 passenger SUV and headed in to Kampala. The boys sat in the back on my lap while Matt rode in the front. There are advantages to being tall. The way traffic moves through the city is minimally organized chaos! The smell of diesel, gasoline, and more (I'll spare you the details) poured through the open windows as we moved in and out of tight spots.
After dropping off four of the passengers in various locations throughout the city, we quickly arrived at a small restaurant for breakfast. We asked the boys what they wanted for breakfast. Silly us. One. They don't speak English much. Two. They had never had an opportunity to pick breakfast. Three. They had never been to a restaurant. Thankfully, the pastor/orphanage director/amazing guide of those coming to adopt (we will call him Mr. R) ordered them sausage, omelet, toast, and a juice to split. You would have thought that the juice was a milkshake. They sucked it down quickly... too quickly. I didn't mind ordering them a second one though to have with their food!
Breakfast was over and we headed to the courthouse. We sat down in a good size room with lots of chairs after going through armed security. There we sat and sat and sat. We did puzzles with the boys. We colored. We waited some more. Then, he arrived. Their father. He was the adult version in looks of Isaac, but the leanness of John. They were instructed to go to him and then instructed to kneel. Which they did, but not enthusiastically. We were asked by Mr. R if we had any questions for their father. I was completely unprepared for that and could come up with nothing at that moment. We shared some beef jerky with Mr. R, our lawyer, and their father as we sat and chatted. They spoke in Luganda to one another for a few minutes and then it was quiet. It was now early afternoon. We still had not been seen. The boys fell asleep and we all began to doze off. Just as we got comfortable, it was our turn!
Half asleep, we rushed all together up the stairs toward what I expected to be a court room and then we entered the judges office. We sat. He questioned the father first. It was in Luganda, but sometimes the words are hard to hear even in another language. The words he said to them and the reaction of my oldest son brought me to tears. He was telling them what was happening. He then spoke to us directly. His words full of understanding and conviction. He smiled as our families became forever connected at that moment. Then, it was my turn. The judge only questioned me and not Matt. He was less than thrilled that I was married to Matt at 17. He was less than thrilled that I was burdening my husband with more children. The questions and statements seemed silly and almost crazy, but I know the judge was looking to see if our hearts were in it. Thankfully, he saw that in the tears I had cried just minutes before and wasn't any harder than that on me. It was nice that the judge took the time after my questioning to explain Buganda (the collection of tribes under a central king) and the culture of our sons. I will never forget that!
The judge ended by telling us that our ruling would be read in a week and half. It seemed a long time to wait, but the way he said made me feel certain it would be in our favor and it was. He would give us verbal guardianship and a verbal court order stating that we were to raise these boys as our own in America on November 19th! Thank the Lord for His favor!