Now that you know why we chose to adopt internationally rather than locally, you may be wondering, WHY UGANDA? (if our plans to adopt are news to you, read this post.)
Or maybe I should start with “Where in the world is Uganda?” I’ll share some of what I’ve learned: Uganda is just above the equator, in Africa. It shares borders with Rwanda, Taznania, Kenya, Sudan, and the Congo. There has been a tremendous amount of unrest in Sudan and the Congo, which has sent refugees streaming into Uganda.
Uganda is about the size of Oregon. But where Oregon’s population is 3.8 million, Uganda’s is 30.9 million. I’ve read various statistics on the number of orphans in Uganda – mostly between 2 and 3 million. But even that number is just those identified – living in orphanages. It’s likely as many as another million are living on the streets and not accounted for in the statistics.
If you’re super interested, you can read the US State Department’s notes on Uganda. It’s interesting, but kind of depressing. If you’re one who complains a lot about government here in the states, reading about Uganda’s history might make you a little more thankful to be living here…it did for me (not that I’m one to complain, I hope!)
OK, on to “Why Uganda?” When we originally started to seriously consider and pray about adopting (a year or so ago), we were interested in India and Rwanda (at the time, I thought Uganda wasn’t a possibility.) As I did more research, I discovered that it is next to impossible to get a younger child from India. They do have gazillions of orphans, but adoption from there is difficult. We’re open to an older child, but prefer younger than Tobin, rather than between the 2 boys. That left me very interested in Rwanda, but Rwanda has shut down adoptions because they are working toward qualifying for adoption under the Hague Convention. This a good thing in the long run – it will be safer and more stable to adopt from Rwanda, and hopefully there will be more protection from corruption. But that process can take up to 5 years, so I hurt for this generation of orphans in Rwanda.
In the meantime, we heard that some friends of ours from church were in the process of adopting independently from Uganda. They’d been a part of a vision trip with the missions committee, hoping to identify an orphanage that was ethical and could use a connection with a Western church. Their hope was to figure out if independent adoption was a viable option and the process, so that if other families from our church are interested, they can follow in those steps. They have since completed the adoption process, and their daughter is the little cutie we babysit several days a week. Such a blessing.
As we met with them and asked questions – and learned that the process of adopting independently can be $5,000 - $10,00 less than through an agency – Matt’s first question was, “Why wouldn’t we do this?”
So that landed us in Uganda – a country I am falling in love with. Whether or not we’re able to adopt from Uganda (we’re trying to keep open hands through this process, not knowing what the Lord has for us, and knowing adoption is filled with unknowns), I feel the Lord leading us to be involved there. Assuming our 5th Meyer does turn out to be Ugandan, we would like to maintain a lifetime connection and commitment to the people and culture of Uganda.
If you’re interested in knowing more about life and ministry in Uganda, here are a couple of the ministries I’ve been following (neither of these are adoption-related, they are working relief for children and orphans IN Uganda):