Archive for December, 2010
It is hard to know exactly what life with three kids will be like since it has also been the holidays. We have had plenty of family around to help. There is always someone wanting to hold Kai, play with Jayce or Beckhem, and even help straighten up the mess of living with three kids and not having had time to put away all of the Christmas presents yet. But I can already tell that things are going to be CRAZY! Crazy, in a great way, of course. But I definitely am feeling the whole out-numbered thing. The laundry is piling up, the dishes are overflowing, and the toys are everywhere! I can honestly say, though, that I couldn’t be happier. I think the boys are adjusting well to Kai. Jayce is great with her. He plays with her and even wants to help feed her or get things for her to make her happy. Beckhem likes to kiss her or try and give her things (often things she shouldn’t have), but in general he is still more interested in Mickey Mouse than his new sister. He also is still getting used to not being the baby and always being able to sit on my lap, ect. He seems to be handling it pretty well though and we haven’t had too many melt downs yet. Kai is doing awesome. She is sleeping great, all night long. She is not a big napper, but I will take sleeping at night over naps any day. She eats very well. Whatever I give her, she will eat. She is usually a very happy baby. She is crawling all over and getting into everything. She is not too thrilled with me if I try and put her down on the floor with toys, though, so that I can go do something. She seems to know when I really need to go get something done because that is usually when she screams and cries to be held Then, other times, I can put her down and she is happy to crawl and play. We could not be happier with the way she has adjusted. It has actually been easier than we were anticipating (after reading many different blogs and taking classes, I was expecting things to be really hard for a while.) Everyone who meets Kai loves her immediately. Not only is she so stinkin cute, but she is usually more than happy to give out big smiles to anyone giving her attention. The family loves her so much and I think there are already some who would be more than happy to go over to Uganda and come home with their own little one! So, who knows, we will pray and see and maybe Kai will have some new Ugandan family members in the future….
So, I received some feedback that my last post was all about food. True, yes. Anyone who knows me, though, should not be surprised. Eating is always one of my priorities and I was always checking out other blogs before we went to find out what to eat and where to go. We did do other things while in Uganda, though, besides eat.
National Theater-This is the name of (or at least what they were calling) the market that we shopped at a few different times. It was the best place that I saw to buy souvenirs. Everything was pretty reasonable and it was all negotiable. Just be sure to ask for the non-mzungu price. I may have overpaid on some items but when I did the math and figured it out in U.S. dollars, it was all very affordable and usually just downright cheap. Personally, I liked the Nativity scenes best (not sure if they always have so many or if it was because it was so close to Christmas.) I bought a few outfits for Kai. One that would fit her now and a few to grow into. Wooden african animals, scarves, beads, jewelry, artwork, sandals, t-shirts, bowls, and purses were just a few of the many options available at this market.
Paraa Hotel/ Safari-We ended up going here and to the falls. Originally, we planned to go to Queen Elizabeth National Park but it just did not work out that way. The safari was great. We saw giraffes, elephants, hippos, baboons, antelope, buffalo, crocodiles, and various birds. It was amazing to see these animals out in the wild It made for a great memory and experience. That being said, it was exhausting. The trip from Kampala is at least 7 hours and some of that time is on VERY bad roads. When you have three children in the car (and you have already done one long road trip a few days before for court) it is a little much. We only stayed one night. So, the next day after doing several hours of safari and driving to the falls, we had to do the same 7-8 hour road trip back to Kampala! We were in the car ALL day long! I am glad we did it, but I would recommend spending at least 2 nights to break up the long trip. The Paraa Hotel is very nice and the food is excellent there. They also have a great pool area. So, if you can afford it and have the time, I would extend your time here.
Silver City Mall-They have a grocery store, restaurants, and some shops right in the mall. Banana boat has some nice craft items (similar to what you find at the market.) There is a pretty decent shoe store upstairs and a big department store that has some nice clothes in it but is very expensive. It was fun to look and kill sometime here, but probably not the place you would want to spend your money.
Embassy-Believe it or not, this is where you will be spending a lot of time (or at least one of you will be.) It is best to not have a phone or any electronics on you when you go since they will make you leave it in a locker while you are inside anyway. The main waiting area is air conditioned (yay!), has nice, typical American bathrooms, and has filtered water to drink (great for making bottles too.) One day we had to spend pretty much the whole day here with three kids. They let us hang out outside, which was very nice and great for the kids to run around and play. The ladies who worked there and with us were wonderful. They were friendly and helpful and did everything they could to help us get everything done in a timely manner so that we could get Kai’s visa.
If you are headed to Mbarara for court or Ibanda to visit an orphanage, you have to stop at the equator. There is a great spot for taking pictures and a coffee shop (with bathrooms right there. It broke up the trip for us and was a pleasant surprise.
As I think of more things, I will try and post…
We are so excited to be back home with our new little daughter, Kai Kemigisha Harvey! She is beautiful, cuddly, nosy, active, and so sweet. We are so blessed to have her as part of our family. It is such an amazing blessing to have her here for her first Christmas, and we are so relieved to be back so that we can celebrate altogether as a family. Our time in Uganda was amazing, stressful, fun, and life-changing. I was unable to post because of lack of internet at times, our busy schedule while there, and also confidentiality for Kai and the process in general. I do want to post on our experience though and want to share some info. that will be helpful for anyone who may be traveling to Uganda in the near future (whether for adoption or not.)
First of all, we stayed at Emmaus guest house in Kampala. We really enjoyed our time there and felt very safe. We were there with another family (who we now consider good friends) and our friend and social worker. We enjoyed the setup because we had our own room and bathroom, but then could socialize in the main living area, eating area, and beautiful outside area when we wanted. We had the choice of eating in for dinner, which we did two times and really enjoyed. It was very reasonably priced (about 6-7 U.S. dollars per person) and safe and yummy to eat. Breakfast was included. They would make pancakes, eggs, or french toast for us. Toast, bananas, cereal, tea, and juice were always available. I pretty much stuck with the toast and jelly and the french toast was okay too. If you are a coffee lover, then you may be disappointed. They only had instant coffee, and even after we bought coffee for them to make for us, it was not that great. Overall, though, we would recommend Emmaus for the price (50,000 shillings a person-twenty some US dollars a night), location, and facilities. We had hot showers almost every day and we had internet connection most of the time (some days not at all and sometimes not in the mornings.)
Caffe Roma-a definite favorite! We could walk there from Emmaus and the food was very good. We ate there several times while in Uganda for lunch or dinner (they are closed on Mondays.) The pizza is really good and so is the spinach ravioli. The best thing, though, was the garlic bread and red sauce. If in Uganda, definitely eat here!
Hotel International-we could also walk here from Emmaus. They have a beautiful outside restaurant with mostly “chinese” food. It was not a favorite but it is a definite option. It was very cheap to eat there and while I didn’t love everything there was enough that I liked that it would be worth going at least once. The spring rolls, fried rice, nan, and sweet and sour chicken (although not what I expected) were all good and I would order them again.
Cafe Java-Excellent! We did not eat here for any meals, although you can (it’s a little pricey), but we went for chocolate milkshakes, smoothies, and lattes. They also have a really good chocolate filled pastry. This place is nice and everything I tried was really good.
The pastry/coffee shop by the embassy (I can’t remember the name)-Also had a really good chocolate pastry and good coffee. The bread looked great too although we didn’t try it.
The Red Lantern-chinese restaurant-Very beautiful but the food was not very good. If you only want to eat rice and spring rolls then you would be fine. But the chicken dinners we tried were not that impressive.
Spurs-I was not a fan. I split the fajitas but didn’t end up eating very much of the meal. I also tried the burger, which was okay but not anything amazing. The soup was okay. Maybe if you order something else, you would be okay.
Sam’s (behind SAS)-This was one of the more expensive places we tried (so maybe after a positive court ruling or getting your visa interview appt We ordered steaks (with pepper sauce) and they were very good. We all ordered them well done just to be safe and enjoyed them. I have heard the milkshakes are also very good here, but we were too full! Also the nan was good here too!
Okay, Kai is crying so I need to stop writing for now. Hope this info. will be helpful to some who may be traveling to Uganda in the future. If you have any more questions about these places please let me know! I will be posting more about our trip in the future!
We are traveling early tomorrow to head to Mbarara where we will go to Kai’s original orphanage and then have court the next day. It is a far trip and we will be spending the night there. We are a little nervous but pretty optimistic that court t will go well. We will be happy once it is over and we have a positive ruling. Our biggest concern right now it getting an embassy appointment (our adoption interview) and then getting our visa back in a timely manner. We have had a few reasons to be concerned like the fact that they told us they only issue the visas on Fridays and that they are not making any appointments until the 20th. If all of this is true (which according to the website and what others are telling us it isn’t) then we would not be getting home until after the new year-which is not good. We are wanting to be home for Christmas (obviously) and were told we should be. With the holidays, the embassy will be closed the two fridays following the 20th so we wouldn’t be able to get our visa until the friday after. This, of course, does not seem likely. If we have all our paperwork in order, we should be able to make an appointment right away and get our visa on the 17th, which is a Friday. Or even before because according to the website they issue visas within 24 hrs and nobody was aware of this Friday only thing that they just told us about. So, we will see. We definitely need everyone’s prayers in this matter. We are staying positive right now, but it will get very frustrating if we get stuck here unnecesarily with all or the paperwork done and the only thing stopping us is a few made up rules from the embassy. We will do everything in our power to be home for Christmas and are hoping we have nice people working with us who want to help us get home asap. So, pray, pray, pray! And just to let everyone know, we are having a great time. We are here with another family and our social worker and we are all getting along really well. We are enjoying spending time together and laughing a lot! We hope to do a safari or a day trip to jinja…which will probably happen this weekend when the embassy is closed and we can’t do anything with that anyway. I will probably not be writing until we get back from court and hopefully by then Kai will officially be ours and I can put up some pics of this lovely girl! Until next time…
Today we got to go get our beautiful little girl. She is soooo cute! She is even smaller than I thought and she has the prettiest little face. She came right to both of us and didnt even cry (we were anticipating some screaming.) She loves to be held which is fine with us. She had a little fever so we ended up taking her to a doctor, in a hospital close to where we are staying. They did a blood test and we waited around forever, but it was a nice relief to know she does not have malaria. He said she has a small viral infection and we should just give her medicine to reduce the fever. We also got some medicine for a rash she has behind her ear that bothers her. She took formula today which was great since she has been on regular milk. We didn’t know if she would like it. She also had some peaches (baby food) and did pretty well with that. Her blood test showed that her iron is low so we hope to give her vitamins and lots of formula to help with that. She is doing great though and we are so happy to have her. She is sleeping now and we are hoping for a great night. I will try to write back again but this is the first time we have had internet access and I don’t know that it will happen again Please continue to pray for court and for success with getting the visa appointment and processed in a timely manner at the embassy. Until next time…
So, it is still surreal to me that we are leaving for Uganda tomorrow. Even though there is a ton of luggage stacked up by the front door, I can’t believe we are actually going TOMORROW! It is crazy. We have been waiting for so long, and I was getting pretty good at waiting. The actual leaving part is pretty hard. I never really thought about being that upset when leaving. Of course, I knew I would miss my boys but I didn’t know that I would cry every time I even tried to talk to anyone about leaving. I think it has a lot to do with not knowing for sure how long we will be gone. The unknown makes it even scarier, especially when you have two sweet boys back home waiting for you. So, please, please pray for us tomorrow when saying goodbye because it is very hard for us leaving the boys. We know that they will be very well taken care of and will have a ton of fun getting ready for Christmas with my parents and doing all sorts of fun holiday activities…but it is still hard to leave them. I know once we get going and especially once we get there safely, I will feel so much better and will be so excited to finally see and hold Kai that I won’t be feeling sad, but goodbyes have always been hard for me. We will be meeting Kai on Saturday Dec. 4th at 10 a.m. (which is 2 a.m. our time. We will be 8 hrs ahead while in Uganda.) So pray that this goes well and that she isn’t too scared of us. We are hoping she will bond quickly and that we will learn her schedule (and get the hang of the whole bottle formula thing-since we never did it with the boys.) Our court date is Dec. 8th, but it is quite a drive away so we will be leaving early the day before and traveling. We will get to visit the orphanage that Kai was first brought to and we are looking forward to meeting the kids (some of them have already been matched with families and we will be able to take pics for them Pray that on Dec. 8th everything goes smoothly. Not only are we having our hearing, but another family who will be traveling with us who are adopting a little boy and a little girl will have their hearing that day as well. So, please pray for us and this family and the judge. He has said he will have the court orders ready within 48 hrs, which is great news-if that happens. So pray that is does actually happen. Once we have the court order along with a bunch of other paperwork, we can set up an appointment at the embassy to get the visa. This is what we are most concerned about and are going to try and set up an appointment in advance on Friday (although they usually do not do this until you have all the paperwork.) If all goes well with the embassy, and they give us a decent appointment date then we will be able to come home! We are praying for a very quick process and are hoping to come home before our scheduled return flight of Dec. 22. Jayson needs to be home for work asap, and we of course are just anxious to have her home and have our family all together! Thanks everyone for your support and prayers! We really do appreciate it and it is very encouraging to us as we prepare to leave tomorrow. We will try to update often, but with the common power outages in Uganda may not be able to as much as we’d like. I will also be trying to access facebook. I won’t be able to post any pics until after we get a positive court ruling, but once I get that I will be putting up pics of Kai. Next time I write, we will most likely be in Uganda (or at least traveling there…)