Travel day 18 (Dec.13th)

Today is the day!!!!!!  The day I get Lucas’ visa!!  We go HOME *hopefully*!!  I can’t even believe it.  We had been in touch with our travel agency, who has been amazing in helping adoptive families get cheaper airfare, and our travel agent said that he could get us on a flight home TONIGHT if we wanted to do that.  Oh my goodness…YES!  Wow!!  So we booked it and got our flight itinerary leaving at midnight that night from Entebbe, Uganda!  Midnight is the typical flight time leaving Uganda-just in case you’re wondering.  🙂

So all day I was on pins and needles getting ready to leave, and anxiously awaiting our Visa pickup appointment at 4pm, although we will be there by 3pm.  I am just hoping and praying that Freda actually does have our Visa ready like she said it would be today, I’m nervous.  We are putting a lot of hope in having it in our hands today since we booked flights home already!  I’ve never heard of anyone being called and told to come pick up their visa the next day and it not be ready, so I’m pretty confident, but there is still always a chance there is an issue or something happen and it isn’t ready, so I’m a bit nervous, especially because of our ups and downs in dealing with the Embassy last week.

Since this is our last-oh my goodness…LAST day in Uganda, I am trying to think of everything and anything else we should do before leaving!  More crafts/souvenirs…?  Yes, I could always use more of those!!!  So away we go to the craft market!  I am so glad we went because I got some of my favorite things from that last minute craft market extravaganza…like the boys drums!

I got some other neat things, like my “Mzungu” t-shirt, and favorite bead necklaces.

After the craft market, it was time to go to the Embassy and pick up the VISA!!!!!!!  Oh I hope we get it….I’m just so nervous that now that we have solid plans to leave TONIGHT that we won’t get it in our hands today.  I am just in shock that the process has moved this fast for us so far, I guess I’m not completely convinced that it’s going to be all said and done in 2 1/2 weeks (which is how long the process has been for us while we were in the country…so far).  So I show up at the Embassy about an hour before I was told to be there, and wait.  Soon, another family shows up who had received the phone call to come pick up their visa as well, and then shortly after another family.  It was just us waiting in the waiting room.  I’m reliving in my head what happened the other day at the Embassy, us sitting there with the other families and watching Freda come out and hand all of them their visa’s and she didn’t have ours.  Heartbreak.  Worry.  Fear we would never come home.

Then…at 4:20pm, Freda walks out!!!!!  Ok, this is the moment….

She hands one of the family theirs, the other family theirs, and then turns to us and I see an envelope just like the other families in her hand and she pauses and smiles at me and hands me OURS!!!  She handed me Lucas VISA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  IT IS IN MY HANDS!!!!!!  We have it and I sighed a huge sigh of relief!  This is just absolutely incredible that the process has gone this fast, we got the visa today, and we are going home tonight.  I can’t wait to bring our little boy home, and be together as a family with daddy and Aiden back home.  We are SOOOO EXCITED!!!!  Lucas has no idea what’s going on, but he can tell I’m excited, so he is just as excited with me, not having a clue why or what’s to come!  Sweet boy!!

As a celebration, we had to go back ONE MORE TIME to our FAVORITE restaurant in all of Uganda…Tuhende’s Safari Lounge….the BEST steak I have ever EVER had.  The entire 4 course meal including an amazing piece of steak, was a total of $6.  Here is the menu:

After a delicious meal at the best restaurant in Uganda, it was time to go back to the guesthouse, finish packing, and say our goodbyes.

I am beginning to get a little sad now about leaving.

I will miss this place.  the people.  the food.  the smells.

I know it doesn’t make sense, as hard as you push to get back home, and as excited as I am to get back home, and how many things I miss about home, I will really miss Uganda.  Even though he is on to such a better life, it is still hard to know that you are taking this little boy away from all he has ever known and how terrified and unsure, and scared he will be.  How upside down his world will continue to be, and has been since he left the orphanage.  Oh, and all the many “mzungu’s” that will be everywhere in America, and how even the people will look foreign to him.  I’m sad for him, but on the other hand I am so so excited for him and all that God has in store for him in his life.  No more pain, no more abuse, no more starving, no more of being unloved.

I try my best to tell him what is happening but he doesn’t understand.  I am the only thing in his world that has been constant from day 1 of meeting him.  He clings to me like glue.  I am his world, and he makes that clear.  When he is unsure, he is comforted because I am there.  It’s an amazing feeling, and incredible to first hand witness the bond we have silently created.  To see that this child who has been through so much pain and abuse in his life able to attach and bond with someone despite the suffering he has been through is just remarkable to his character.  One one hand, this is an incredible feeling, but on the other hand, it’s hard to see him be so scared and that I am his whole world.  I want him to discover who HE is, what makes HIM happy, that he doesn’t have to look for my approval to play with a toy or eat a bite of food, that he is free to be him, to be a child.  I look forward to the day when he is a carefree, silly, playful, happy little boy who’s world feels secure, and he knows he is loved.  It will come.  For now…we pack to get ready to come home!  One thing at a time.  🙂

We pull up to Adonai guesthouse after dinner, which by the way has had power on consistently the past 3 nights!!  It’s just beginning to get dark outside as we are pulling up to the guesthouse.  We notice there aren’t any lights on inside.  Oh no.  Yeah…so yeah….the power is out.  GREAT.  The one night we really NEED to have power to pack for our journey back to America, and there is no power so we have no lights to see to pack.  So here I am with a flashlight between by knees trying to pack our suitcases and wrangle an almost 3 year old.  Fun.  I decide that Lucas and I better take a quick shower (even if it is in the dark-with no hot water) since this will be our last opportunity to take one for the next two days while we’re traveling half way across the world.  After our showers, which felt so nice, I continue packing and getting ready and I’m a mess trying to get everything together.  I’ve got things spread out all over the place, and for an extremely organized person this is just agony.  I decide that I don’t have time, or the ability (in the pitch black dark) to worry about organization.  As hard as it is for me to ignore non-organization, I had no choice.  Gosh I’m regretting not doing this earlier!  I should have stayed here packing instead of going to the craft market this morning!  It just didn’t feel final until I had that darn visa in my hand, and then we just HAD to go to Tuhende’s before we left, so there just wasn’t enough time in the day.  🙂   That’s ok, looking back, I wouldn’t have traded what we did on our last day for the craziness that packing was AT ALL, so it all worked out in the end, non-organization and all!  🙂

Needless to say, but the time I got downstairs the shower was completely worthless because I was sweating my butt off.  It was HOT.  It is sooo hot in Uganda.  Hot. Hot. Hot.  Hot like nothing I’ve ever felt before.  Anyway, it was hot and I was sweating and “packing” in the dark was finally done, and now it was time for goodbyes.  It was sad.  I cried.  The staff at the guesthouse had become our friends.  Godfrey was there to say goodbye as well, these were our new friends.  Friends we would never forget.

When you go through a journey like this, people who are with you in the midst of it somehow grab a hold of your heartstrings a bit and there is a connection there that no one else has.  It’s hard to say goodbye to them.  I was glad we had a little more time in the car with Steven as he drove us to Entebbe, to the airport.  Steven would be the one person it would be really hard to say goodbye to, he had been there with us from day 1.  Lucas was ready for bed, and fell asleep in my arms in the car on the way to the airport.  I was thankful for that.  Poor baby had no idea what was happening and was overwhelmed.  We chatted with Steven and enjoyed the ride to the airport that seemed to go by too fast.

We said goodbye to Steven, and I took one last breath of Ugandan air, and away we went inside the airport.  Chaos.  Wow.  People everywhere.  We have so many bags.  Lucas wakes up and is terrified and upset.  I try to comfort him as I’m trying to help my cousin with the millions of bags we (I) have, and as I’m trying to figure out where we go next.  It’s chaos.  It’s close to midnight and we’re tired, and did I mention sweaty and hot!?  This was not our best moment during the trip.  Grouchiness had awoken.  The only thing keeping us happy and going is that we are going back HOME!  lol

We finally get our boarding passes and our bags checked, thank God.  Less bags, we are happy campers!  Although we did have the maximum amount of carry-on’s you could have, and away we go to immigration to go into the gate areas.  I’m nervous.  This is what I was warned about, to make sure we had enough copies of our court paperwork to hand out to every airport official who asked for it, in particular the Ugandan immigration, and to not let them open the brown envelope that the Embassy gives you (only in the U.S. at Homeland Security Immigration can they open it-if it’s opened before then, you have to go back to UG and start the process over again-yes I’m dead serious).  I’m nervous, what if I make a mistake?  What if I hand the sealed envelope to the wrong official?  What if I don’t have enough copies?  What if someone who’s not supposed to see those documents gets our information from them and tries to steal our identity?  Yes, I’m a worry wart.  How can you tell?  🙂 Long story short, we make it through Ugandan immigration just fine, nothing to worry about, I was prepared and had more than enough of what paperwork they needed.  They took our fingerprints, looked at my passport, looked at Lucas Ugandan passport, Visa, and paperwork, and off we went.

It’s now close to midnight and we’re sitting on the plane an hour and a half later, and getting ready for take off…

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