In 2007 I spent approximately 6 months in Uganda. It was there that I met Nathanial. He arrived at Amani on the 9th July 2007 along with 3 other children: Isaiah and Holly.
Nathanial was found abandoned in a dustbin, suffering from Kwashiikor.
(Kwashiorkor is a type of malnutrition with controversial causes, but it is commonly believed to be caused by insufficient protein intake. It usually affects children aged 1–4 years, although it also occurs in older children and adults. Symptoms of kwashiorkor include a swollen abdomen known as a pot belly, as well as reddish discoloration of the hair and depigmented skin and weight loss.)
I first considered adoption in the summer of 2006. I have always wanted to adopt, but always knew that it wouldn't happen at least untill I was married. In the summer I meet Duane also from Amani. At that time, I didn't know that a family had been found for Duane, but I realise now that God had been preparing my heart for adoption when I first met Duane. (Duane, is now living in USA with his wonderful family and brother also from Amani - Joseph).
This was part of my blog entry for 08/09/07:
"I’ve been thinking a lot about adoption recently, not whether I am going to do it or not, because I know that it is something I am definitely going to do, but when, how soon is too soon? All these amazing kids here who have no family, no hope. The only hope in their lives is being adopted or fostered. It upsets me that kids like Sophia – who has AIDS, cant be adopted outside of Uganda – it upsets me that she probably will never be adopted because not many people within Uganda would want to adopt a child who had AIDS and pay for all the medical expenses. There are so many kids who need adopting in Uganda however the government make it so difficult for people to adopt. I went to the embassy in Kampala on Monday, because I heard of one British case where a couple had attained legal guardianship of a child and then taken that child back to the UK on a visiting visa, cutting out the whole living in Uganda for three years procedure. They were unable to comment on any particular case, and as far as they could tell me the law regarding adoption between the UK and Uganda haven’t changed. I still have my heart set on adoption, but there are so many things to think about. I guess I still have time, I’m not that old yet! I wont adopt until I now that it is what God wants me to do. So I guess I am just praying and waiting on him for an answer!"
I'm not sure when I started to get the feeling that I should adopt Nathanial but here is my a short note I wrote on the 12/9/07:
"Feel like God is def. wanting me 2 adopt Nathanial!! Will talk to Danyne - have spoken to Holly, all fine.
Nathanial-Elliot (sthg Lugandan) Coad :)
I feel so weird and crazy about this but def. feel like it's the right thing to do!
Wow! 24 and single mum! "
(Deut. 10 v 12 - 13)
After realising that God wanted me to adopt, I went through a period of doubt and questioning. I decided then that I would spend time in God's presence and wait on him for ultimate confirmation. It took a while - I don't know wether that was because I knew that for me and at this particular time adoption didn't seem right - so instead of seeking God's will - I was not really listening, or because I didn't want to hear a 'yes'!
In any case, God did finally get through to me.
I was tossing and turning one night, unable to sleep. I was wondering how on earth can I be a single Mum? How on earth will I be able to provide for my child? How can I live in Uganda for 3 years? So many doubting questions going through my mind. I felt overwhelmed, I felt incompetent, I felt unworthy. I remember my Dad telling me one time, that when unable to sleep, try reading your bible - God might be trying to tell you something - so I did. I turned to this verse:
" I am guiding you in the way of wisdom, and I am leading you on the right path.
Nothing will hold you back, you will not be overwhelmed."
- Proverbs 4 v 11-12
and immediately I was filled with peace and assurance that this was God's will.
Prior to all of this, when I was still thinking through the logistics of it all, I travelled with Amy to the British Embassy/High Commision in Kampala, to ask them how adoption would work, how I could get Nathanial to the UK, how soon and wether they could comment on a previous adoption case I has heard about. Well, all in all they weren't a lot of help really!
However, we meet at the Embassy two very nice gentlemen, who later invited us to have a coffee at the Kampala shopping centre. They both worked for a company which is attempting to improve Uganda's roads and where teaching people how to use this new pot-hole filling machine! Anyway, before we left, one of the men said he wanted to pray with us both, after hearing that Amy was adopting and that I was considering it. They left us both with this bible verse:
" The Lord himself will go before you. He will be with you. Don't be afraid and don't worry."
- Deuteronomy 31 v 8
Some other verses I read which helped:
"Depend on the Lord in whatever you do, and your plans will succeed."
- Proverbs 16 v 3
"People may make plans in their mind, but the Lord decides what they will do."
- Proverbs 16 v 9
" ...and whoever trusts the Lord will be happy>"
- Proverbs 16 v 20
"People throw lots to make a decision, but the answer comes from the Lord."
- Proverbs 16 v 33
Proverbs was in general a very useful book to read!!!
""I say this because I know what I am planning for you" says the Lord.
" I have good plans for you, not plans to hurt you. I will give you hope and a good future.
Then you will call my name. You will come to me and pray to me, and I will listen to you.
You will search for me with all your heart, you will find me.""
- Jeremiah 29 v 11 - 13