Travel Day 2 (Nov.27th)

We wake up after sleeping deep, and we realize quickly we are not in our own bed.  Oh my gosh…we’re in Uganda.  Immediately I think about those wild dogs…poor dog, I hope that one who got hurt is ok.  I get up out of my sleep sac and under the mosquito netting and look in the mirror, THIS is what I see:

Oh Lovely.  Yes, I have an afro.  You can’t see it too well in the pic, but my hair literally is like a lion’s mane, it’s crazy ridiculous huge!  I seriously can’t believe the humidity here!  Lord, what on earth am I going to do with my hair here?!  (Yes, I’m extremely embarrassed to post this pic, but I just had to show you how HUMID it is there!)

After a very cold and quick shower, I am clean and it feels good.  I step out and already start sweating from the humidity and hotness.  Oh wonderful.  Then, I try to blow dry my hair, uh yeah…this isn’t working.  There is not enough power to pull my low voltage travel blow dryer.  GREAT.  So now what am I going to do!?  Alright, pony tail and headband it is.  Guess I just wasted $16 on a travel blow dryer cause it isn’t gonna work here.  Ok, I’m definitely already home sick and wondering how the heck I’m gonna do this for a month or more.  I’m so glad Roger is here to help me through the culture shock.  Focus on something positive…we are going to meet our boy TODAY!!!  The day we have been praying for for years is finally HERE, TODAY!!!!  🙂

We had breakfast at the guesthouse, we met the staff there, they are sweet girls, quiet and very kind.  Wendy (my cousin) is already up and in the living area.  Oh I’m so glad she’s here.  Familiar faces is soooo comforting.  She can tell I’m in culture shock.  She’s a trooper and doing alright.  What’s wrong with me!?   Why can’t I be ok, I was prepared, I knew this was going to be different and hard.  I guess I just had higher expectations, I have no idea.  They were all fine, ok, Erin, get WITH IT.  Everything is gonna be alright!   🙂  So breakfast was good, we had eggs, tea, coffee (with some Starbucks instant coffee Wendy brought-YUM!) and some sausage.  Not the regular sausage you and I know.  But this:

It’s like pink/red.  I have no idea what it is, or what’s in it.  We didn’t ask either.  It was salty, and it tasted good actually.  I still don’t want to know what it is.   It’s just sausage.  We ate it.  A lot of it actually while we were there.  I still don’t want to know what’s in it.

ANYWAY.  So after breakfast, we waited for Steven to come pick us up so we could go meet Lucas!!  Which by the way, I have to tell you something cool about our little boy’s name.  His given name in the orphanage and his Ugandan Birth Certificate is actually:  Roger!  Can you believe it!?  Roger!  Well actually they add an “s” on the end of it in Uganda, so it’s Rogers!  The same name as his daddy!  We couldn’t announce that until now, but isn’t that just the coolest!?  Meant to be huh!?  🙂  So cool!  So everyone there obviously knows and calls him by “Rogers”.  We started by calling him Lucas-Rogers.  His full name is Lucas Rogers Akandwanaho Bell.  (more about Akandwanaho later)

Steven is here and away we go!  On our way to meet our little dude!!   We are driving, on our way there, and we just can’t believe it.  We are so excited, scared, nervous, and trying to be prepared for what kind of reaction he will have.  When you’re adopting, and you think about meeting your child for the first time, you have in your head some fairy tale version of running up to your child and they just instantly know who you are and come running into your arms with a huge smile saying “Mommy” “Daddy” you’re here, “I love you”!!!!  Yeah…that’s not how it went AT ALL.  Quite the opposite actually.  I mean, I knew it wasn’t going to be like the fairy tale version you have in your head, but I wasn’t quite prepared for the way it went either…oh gosh.  So we walk up to the house where he is staying with a sweet foster family who took care of him for about a month until we got there so he could get some medical treatment and get out of the orphanage, and we look into the house and I BRIEFLY see his face!  Ah!  There he is, I just saw him!  He’s real!  It’s like his picture I had looked at and memorized a thousand times over had come to life!  Roger and I hold hands and walk in the house together.  I’m first.  He’s there, in the back of the room.  Apprehensive and scared.  I have a little blue cookie monster stuffed animal for him in my hand.  I bend down and am about 2 ft. away from him and I have tears in my eyes and I say hello and reach out cookie monster to him.  Roger is behind me and said hello too.  Lucas-Rogers SCREAMED and cried in terror and ran to his foster dad!  Oh gosh!  Ok, THAT isn’t what I had planned.  Poor guy.  I don’t know exactly why he is crying, just scared I guess.  His foster dad picks him up and sits down.  We sit down close to him.  We’re in a small room, their house.  Two beds on either side of the room and lawn chairs on the wall.  Lucas-Rogers and the foster dad are sitting in one of the chairs, Roger in the other, and me on the bed closest to Roger.  Lucas-Rogers is starring at us, crying.  Poor guy.  His foster dad said he is scared of me, the color of my skin.  My. heart. broke.  He is scared of the color of my skin.  Oh my gosh.  I never thought about that.  I’m some scary white ghost.  I’m his mommy.  I’m his mommy and he is scared of me.  I’m so sad.  I want to burst out in tears.  I’m dying inside.  Roger reached out his hand to touch him, he pulled away.  I reached my hand out to touch him and he screamed.  Ok, not yet.  Not yet.  I can’t explain exactly how it felt to be judged for the color of your skin, I don’t know if “judged” is the right word to explain those feelings, but looked at as scary for the color of your skin, I can’t explain how that felt exactly.  It was awful.  But in that moment, I felt something that I think God wanted to teach me, that I know I will remember for the rest of my life.  To prepare me to be HIS mother.  I’m grateful for how it began.  I don’t know exactly why yet, but I know it was for a purpose and I’m okay with that.  One day I’ll know.

What seemed like a long time, was actually only a few minutes.  Lucas-Rogers calmed down, starred at us, and fell asleep.

We soaked in his features while he slept and talked to his foster dad awhile.  Then we came up with a plan to have his foster mom (who he was most attached to) come with us for a while to run a few errands to ease the transition of them to us.  It was a wise choice.  Going to a quiet place (like back to the guesthouse) might be a little overwhelming at first anyway.  We went to the cell phone store and got a Ugandan cell phone, and to the grocery store to buy his foster family some groceries as a thank you gift.  During the car ride, Lucas-Rogers starred at us, it was a very surreal time.  It was as if he was looking deeper into us, knowing that we were something more, something deeper, and he reached out to touch his daddy’s hand.  It was amazing.  Trust.  Love.  That’s all I can say to describe that moment.

Within one hour, he reached out for me.  I held him tight.  I silently told him he is safe.  He is loved.  He has a home.  We are always going to take care of him.  We are his mommy and daddy.  It was surreal, and just pure bliss.  I cried silent tears of joy.  The salt from my tears stung my eyes.  It was amazing.  Pure joy.  God’s holy hand touching our hearts in that very moment.

We fell in love with our new little boy.

We are smitten with him.  We spent the rest of the day looking him over head to toe, memorizing every ounce of his being.  Taking him all in.  Bonding.  Playing.  Trying to get him to smile.  Talking to him.  Telling him who we are.  Telling him he is safe.  He is loved.

Here is our first picture together:

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4 Responses to Travel Day 2 (Nov.27th)

  1. Jennifer Dugan says:

    Beautiful erin. So much similarity to having a baby, you welcomed him into your family perfectly!

  2. Beka says:

    Oh Erin, I can’t even imagine! I love your family picture at the bottom. After you talked about the color of your skin, I love the realization that your black and white photo goes from lightest to darkest, from your face down to Lucas’ face. It’s like one brushstroke of the same color paint. You all blend beautifully ;).

    I also can’t imagine Lucas’ own culture shock of coming to the United States–filled with many colors! Probably a wonderful thing for him and his transition/adaptability to our country for you to be light-skinned. I think it might be a blessing, though heart-breaking for you on your first meeting.

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