Greetings from Uganda! (PLEASE READ TO THE END)
As excited as that greeting is, and as thankful as we are for all of you, the past 8 months without you have been tough. For those of you that already know our story, you know we have been pursuing this adoption since 2016. For those of you who might not know as much, we have been trying to adopt our daughter, Edisa, for over 3 years now. It has been a long road. We spent 2016 meeting with lawyers in Uganda, and navigating through different adoption agencies based in the US. We made our first payments towards this adoption in 2017. Many of you have been with us through this journey since then, and we appreciate each of you so much. Most of 2017 was spent waiting for an investigation to be completed to determine Edisa's eligibility for adoption. Prior to that investigation, we were told that Edisa's parents were dead. By the end of 2017, the investigation revealed that both of her parents were indeed alive. We learned that her father lived only 10 minutes down the road from her, and her mother had moved to Kenya 7 years prior. That was quite the surprise, but the investigator went on to find each of them, and they both willingly signed over their parental rights to us. At the time, we thought that would be the biggest hurdle this process would bring.
We were told from the beginning that this process could require us to live in Uganda "for up to 1 year" to foster our daughter and to finalize the process. We were also told that the courts in Uganda could make exceptions to that. If you know us, you know it didn't matter one way or the other. We love Edisa and we want to be her parents. We committed without hesitation and we have been going full force ever since. Throughout 2018, we held multiple fundraisers to help raise money for our adoption. So many of you supported us throughout these fundraisers and some of you even planned a few of them! We were amazed by how our friends and family showed up for us, and how God continued to show up throughout the entire process! To call the entire thing miraculous is an understatement, and we are doing our best right now to remember how God showed up in those moments. Throughout that time, we were able to raise close to $38,000. Majority of that has gone to cover adoption specific costs, such as the application fee ($500), the orientation fee ($2,000), the dossier phase ($4,000), the referral phase ($7,500), foreign fees and NCA fees ($6,500) the initial home study plus a home study update since we’ve been in Uganda ($3,000), the initial investigation ($1,500), an added investigation to find her parents ($500), and airfare to get us here ($2,000). This has totaled $27,500. This does not include the costs of being in country. On the cost sheet below, the estimated costs for transportation, living, and eating in country are estimated for a 1-month period totaling $4,130. We have been in Uganda for 8 months now. If that estimation was accurate for 1 month, we would have spent $33,040 so far in just living expenses here! If we add that to the expenses we have paid our agency, we would have paid over $60,500 by now! Luckily, the estimation for cost of living on this sheet is much higher than we have been spending per month here. Thank God! Realistically, living expenses here have been around $1,089/month. This includes our rent ($250), utilities ($100), school fees ($235), groceries ($250), gas ($104), maintenance on our stupid car that keeps breaking ($100), and an extra ($50) for us to do something that gives us some sort of normalcy here.
Since January, we have felt pretty confident that our adoption would be finalized and we would be back in America as a family of three by Christmas 2019. We were assigned a court date in September, and we were told that the process after that usually takes between 2 and 3 months before we would be home. We were excited about that and really felt like God had aligned everything to work out that way. We had raised just enough money to stay here up until the beginning of December and it seemed like everything was coming together perfectly. That was until yesterday. Now, you might be surprised to hear this, but not everybody in this world supports adoption. As a matter of fact, there might be some people reading this that are rooting against us in this process. Don’t worry, we fully believe that God is bigger than them. Our family of 3 appeared in front of the judge yesterday after being here for 8 months. We had high hopes that court would go smoothly and that within the month we would be working with the US Embassy to get everything in order for our family to return to America by Christmas. I am going to be very vague here, but feel free to email or message any questions you might have for us. Court did not go well. Things did not go as we had hoped or as we had planned. The judge was not pleased with our case and made some pretty harsh accusations. We are unsure where this came from and our team is navigating it to the best of their abilities. After dismissing our case temporarily, the judge agreed to allow us to appear in court again in November. We aren’t really sure what to expect when we go back to court. We will continue to pray and hope for the best.
Now what? Now, we are planting our feet in the ground and getting our game faces on. Yesterday shook Lydia and I pretty hard. We want to bring our little girl home to America. We want her to meet our family and our friends, and we want her to see how awesome America is. A friend of ours asked Edisa yesterday if she was sad, and Edisa said, “No? Why would I be sad? I have parents.” We are here because we love Edisa and she has never had parents before. We are her parents. We are here to love her and to give her stability and consistency for the first time of her life. We are remembering our priority here, and that is to be this sweet little girl’s parents and to love her and to show her that we will not abandon her when things get hard. We are digging in and gritting our teeth, and doing our best to get ready for whatever comes next. We are sharing this as an attempt to raise additional funds to cover our living expenses while we are here. Though we are praying to return home as a family as soon as possible, we are thinking a reasonable expectation for our return is March 2020. We are hoping to raise $6,000. We are so thankful for the love and support all of you have given us throughout this process, and we really miss you all. If you can’t support us financially don’t worry, but please please please send some prayers our way. If you don’t believe in God and you don’t pray, well, I’m asking you to pray to Jesus for us anyways and I hope you’re willing to do that for us!
Robbie, Lydia, and Edisa Plants