We have been blessed to have Henry with us this weekend after we picked him up from school on Saturday at the end of his first term at the top secondary school in Uganda. While we don’t have his grades yet, he worked very hard and gave his very best against the top students in the country. He was near the top of his class on the only paper he has gotten back so far (in Physics). On Saturday morning, our kids gave Henry a swimming lesson at our pool (he is learning to swim). On Saturday afternoon, we took him to see the first movie he has ever seen at a theater. It was supposed to be The Hunger Games, but the theater didn’t get it yet, so we saw Lorax instead. To call it a poor substitute would be charitable.
If The Hunger Games is not released here next weekend, I’m afraid I will be “forced” to resume my pirating adventures.
Tomorrow, we are getting up early and taking Henry home. On the way, however, we are going to spend some time in Masindi where Henry and I met — at the juvenile prison where Henry spent nearly two years of his life. More on that visit in the next day or two.
But today’s post is about a very different homecoming – one that we (and many of you) have been praying about for several weeks. Tomorrow (Monday), Lindsey Doyle is bringing Eden Hannah home. I posted about the Doyles previously here. Briefly, Eden’s birth mother is mentally ill and does not have even a minor grasp on reality. Eden wasn’t expected to live after she was found, but was nursed back to health by a couple of American nurses before she was matched with the Doyles. After several weeks in Uganda, the Doyles were granted legal guardianship over baby Eden in November. Unfortunately, however, the US Embassy in Uganda sent their case to the Nairobi Embassy for further evaluation. While the matter was pending in Nairobi, the Doyles had to return to Nashville to wait. Eden was overwhelmed with love and protection by a remarkable family in Jinja while the Doyles waited for a ruling from Nairobi. Unfortunately, the ruling came back unfavorable – the Nairobi office issued a Notice of Intent to Deny the visa application. The problem revolved around the language used in the Ugandan judge’s legal guardianship order and its relation to American visa law. Nothing was intrinsically wrong with the order – it said all of the right things for all of the right reasons – but the mental illness of the mother was not addressed in a way that allowed the US Embassy officials to determine that US laws were met.
It is very difficult to get a revised ruling in Uganda in the less than a year, if ever. After lots of prayer and a little well-timed encouragement at a God-orchestrated unofficial meeting, a new order was issued in time to meet the response deadline to the Embassy’s Notice of Intent to Deny. We were all thrilled when on Monday, the US Embassy changed its position and issued its final decision – VISA APPLICATION GRANTED.
Lots of tears of celebration.
As I write this post, Lindsey and Eden are here at our apartment having a sleepover.
Tomorrow morning, they pick up their visa and tomorrow evening, they fly home to the rest of their family. Praise God. Thanks for all of your prayers on their behalf.