It’s been over a week now that Alethia and I have been together without the rest of the family. We’ve shared some sweet memories together. Our morning routine is probably my favorite. She continues to wake up with the sun, but since the other kids are not around, she lets me sleep … for a few extra minutes anyway. Eventually her impatience gets the best of her and she begins to roll on top of me, grab my face with her hands and pull me close. A few minutes later, she hops on my stomach and begins bouncing on it like a trampoline (a move that I’m positive she stole from watching Cai and Zeke). Soon that leads to an all-out wrestling match and then we’re both up for the day.

I wish I could say that the bonding time we’ve shared has been completely absent of sadness and uncertainty. But the reality is, it’s been tough. Don’t misunderstand. The bonding time itself has been amazing. And I’m incredibly thankful for this time I’ve had with her. But I can’t push aside the ever-nagging thoughts of whether I’m simply delaying the inevitable. The fear that we will never be able to take her home has continued to plague me, and has at times caused me to put up protective walls around my heart for fear of loving her too much. I know when I begin to do that because she senses me pulling away, and she doesn’t understand why. Fear begins to fill her eyes.  She begins acting out and likewise pulls away from me. I know it’s wrong. And I know that I need to have my heart completely open to her, regardless of whether she becomes our forever-daughter or not. For now, she IS my daughter, and the only appropriate way to interact with her during this season is for me to be completely open, transparent and available to her as her daddy.

I’m praying that God’s grace would overlook the multitude of my insecurities and fears and cause Alethia’s little heart to be protected from all of the chaos that surrounds her. I simply cannot imagine what is going through her little mind right now. There’s probably no way to fully know the depth of her understanding into the situation, but there’s no doubt she knows something is up. She cries herself to sleep if I don’t lay with her (she’s never done this before). She is in a constant search for maternal love, climbing up into the lap of any kind-looking lady who will give her time and attention. She’s become quite attached to Beverly Carroll, my pastor’s wife who has been here for the past few days. The timing of her arrival could not have been more perfect. Beverly has been incredibly sweet and gracious to allow Alethia to interrupt her day at a moment’s notice. In fact, Bev has gone out of her way to spend time with her, connecting with her on a very deep heart level. And I’m so thankful. Yes, Alethia and I have had some amazing father-daughter time, but she’s desperately craving a mother’s love.

We continue to ask for your prayers as Tasha and I seek legal council from some amazing people in the US. The attorney in DC who has agreed to help us knows the Ugandan adoption system very well, and knows most of the employees at the USCIS office in Nairobi as well. I’m pleased to announce that she’s very optimistic of our case–an optimism that we were desperate for in the midst of a very negative situation. Tomorrow, I’m heading back to Kampala to talk with our Ugandan attorney to make sure all of my T’s are crossed and I’s are dotted before I leave the country (I’ll post anything helpful that I uncover for those of you in the same boat as we are). Since we do have legal guardianship of our sweet girl, I want to make sure that I do everything legally expected and required of me before I depart for home … without my daughter. Lord, help me!