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Last night was one of the toughest nights in the history of our family. Alethia and I took Tasha, Rainy, and Zeke to the Entebbe airport to see them off. The goodbye was incredibly hard. Alethia knew something was up as we drove toward Entebbe, but she was confused as to what exactly was going on. We walked together as far as security would allow us. We prayed together. We hugged. We kissed. We said goodbye. Alethia clung to Tasha for dear life, not wanting to release her mother. Finally, the time came for me to take Alethia from Tasha, and I had to literally pry her away from her sobbing mother. Alethia screamed and cried as well, perhaps feeling like her one shot at having a real mother to love and care for her was being physically stripped away from her.

She calmed down pretty quickly as I held her, consoled and reassured her of her mommy’s love. We watched through the glass as the three of them moved through security and on to the ticket counter. After a few minutes they were out of sight, and we headed back to our vehicle.

I held her in my lap as we drove away from the airport and away from the opportunity that was supposed to be all of ours–the opportunity to go home. As I tried to hold it together and ask God for the one thousandth time, “why?” Alethia began humming herself to sleep. I couldn’t make out the tune at first, but as she got louder I was able to distinguish it. She was humming a common African praise song called “Higher, Higher.” The words simply say, “Higher, higher, (they pronounce it “Hiya, Hiya”) lift Jesus higher.” And “Lower, lower, lower Satan lower.” It was in that moment that the Holy Spirit of God reminded me that there is a reason and a purpose to all of this–that God will be lifted higher through this, that His name will be made famous, and that the enemy, who has already been defeated, will yet be brought lower.

I sat there, with tears streaming down my face, thanking God for that gentle reminder and for the gift of the Comforter whose presence I felt in such a tangible way.

Now, we’re back at the Emmaus Guest House in Kampala, just Alethia and me. She’s busy playing with her dolls as I write. Tomorrow I’ll try once again to plead our case at the US Embassy to see if perhaps they’ve overlooked even the smallest of details that might prove helpful. Alethia’s been asking for mommy alot. And I just keep reminding her of mommy’s love for her. I’d be lying if I said that I’ve been doing a good job of holding it together. I’ve been wiping the tears pretty good. Not just because we were all supposed to be on that plane together and I miss my family. But because my heart aches for this little girl, who, unless a miracle happens at the USCIS headquarters in Nairobi, will never have a mom and dad to love her. Will never know the joy of being a part of the God-ordained institution of the family. Well, she knew it for 9 weeks. And I’m still praying and holding out hope that those 9 weeks will one day turn into 9 years and then 90 years. I’m still waiting for that miracle.

I’ll continue to keep you posted as much as I can from the Uganda side, as Tasha I’m sure will update from the U.S. side. Thanks so much, everyone, for your love, prayers and support through all of our highs and lows. We love you more than you know.

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