Today, I think, this blog earned it’s name.
Macy and Owen woke up at 4am. #weloveyoujetlag
I asked them to go back to sleep, but we arent really sure if they did (I sure did though). By 7am their room was filled with uproarous laughter and it was clear it was time to wake up. So we did. To no power in the whole house.
Morning routine still went smoothly, and it was looking like we were going to be on track for our 9am pick up when, at 8:55, Macy announced that she didn’t feel well and proceeded to throw up. The whole time she threw up, she kept saying, “I’m not sick, I’m not sick. I want to go pick up brother and sister.” At least she was right.
We change clothes, mop up the floor (with the precious few towels we have here) and get ready once again. We depart the house only 20 minutes late. I feel good.
The hope for the morning was to go pick up the kids, say final goodbyes at the children’s home, head to the hospital (kids have been pretty sick for a long time and at one point hospitalized for 4 days. they are not better and clearly need some drugs and more medical attention, so we were hoping to take care of that), then we were to meet our lawyer at 12 for a briefing for our court date on Friday. Seems easy, right?! We thought so.
I don’t think it’s possible to paint a picture for you of what traffic in the Kampala area is like. They call it a “jam” but let me tell you, its the craziest traffic I’ve ever seen. I’ll try to take a picture of it for you instead of describing it here. Let’s just say, for a drive that should take 10 minutes we are allotting 2 hours (per our drivers recommendation) on Friday because we can’t be late. Seriously. 2 hours.
So today, we sat in a “jam” on the way to the children’s home. Macy and Owen were exhausted by this time already, and we had to make a couple stops for errands on the way. Gotta love grumpy kids on errands.
When we got to the children’s home, everyone was in good spirits though and we grabbed “brother and sister,” took some final photos, and said our goodbyes.
Another traffic jam. No time for the hospital (dang it), we go straight to the court briefing with the lawyer, Dorah.
Dorah is LEGIT. Sharp, thorough, strong (yet so kind), and very calm. She’s done an amazing job with the details of our case, and gave us a good idea of what to expect. We leave encouraged, and very hungry.
Before we can eat though, we are taken for our first family portrait. This was a surprise to me, but apparently it is required for court. We had brought a change of clothes for the twins (thankfully!), but the unfortunate part was that Macy and Owen REALLY wanted to “twin” with the twins on their first day together and I didn’t think I had any reason to stop them, so as it turns out, for our first family portrait we are that family that has their kids dressed the same. #neverthoughtidseetheday Not only were they matching, but they were wearing super heroes and minnie mouse. Awesome. Look forward to that picture. It’s getting hung up in the house for sure.
Right across the “mall” from the portrait studio was a nice Indian restaurant. We were hungry and it’s placement seemed to be too perfect, so we decided our first family meal would be there. This was one of the highlights of the day.
Those of you who know me know I LOVE the table, and this was about as good as it gets. The twins seemed to think everything (even the water) was the tastiest treat and in very short supply. It was crazy watching the things we have read about and been trained on happen before our eyes, with our own kids. It’s no small deal to be deprived of food at a young age and to learn how to survive without enough and to have to fend for yourself when food is put out. Both of our kids definitely have some issues with food as a result. When we picked up the kids, little girl had her fists clenched for the first hour. I thought maybe she was nervous or anxious, but upon further investigation I discovered she was clutching a piece of corn. Saving the corn for later? I decided to test my theory and got out some puffs I had packed. I gave them to her and, sure enough, she surrendered the piece of corn. I was thrilled (!), and then she saved a puff. She held the puff until she got her hands on her lunch, and saved the last thing at lunch into our car ride (where she fell asleep and dropped it). Both kids ate unimaginable amounts of food, drank as much water as they could get, and didn’t want Macy or Owen ANYWHERE near their plates (for threat they might steal). It was happy and sad all at the same time. Happy thinking about giving their bodies good food, sad to realize the reality they have experienced and it’s implications on their little lives. We used the wisdom from our social worker and navigated the meal pretty well, I think. It was a beautiful lunch.
Turns out pediatricians here don’t like to work after 2pm. So we didn’t get to do the health check up. Instead we went to do some “cultural training” that we need to do before our court date. We went to a Mandela National Stadium and the kids got to run around on the field and then watch a team practice. Good pictures coming from that too.
More “jams”, then a stop for a tour at a museum. Got ourselves educated on soil, ancient tools, origin of civilization, musical instruments, China’s relationship with Uganda and even some tours of traditional Ugandan huts. The highlight of this stop was when I got to teach Macy how to use one of those porcelain squatting toilets (think, hole in the ground, not a seat to sit on). She was a champ.
5pm and its “jam” time and dinner time, and we are not close to home. We stop, get a little wi-fi (big thrill when you aren’t expecting it), have another family meal (again, the twins eat a ton, but are much less anxious about it already). Macy is proclaiming she’s not feeling well again, and is a tired, emotional mess. Owen has already fallen asleep twice in the car. So, we go grocery shopping. All of us. Seems like a good thing to do in a foreign country on your first day as a family of 6 when everyone is tired and out of their element and it’s past bed time, right? It does when you need food for breakfast the next morning and you don’t have a car to go out and get something later. So, we went. Another unforgettable experience (we sure to attract a lot of attention when we walk around here).
Sit in one last “jam” on the way home (you’d have thought it was Friday night with the amount of people out), all 4 kids (plus Tyra) fall asleep. Everyone wants to lean on mom and dad, we happily juggle 4 little sleepy heads through stop and go traffic. I’m tired, but thankful and soaking it all in. I know that when we get home we are going to have an issue. 4 kids to bathe, all of them having just been woken from a deep sleep, all of them wanting mom and dad, one with a poopy diaper, and two that have no idea where we are and that we really can’t put down much yet. Again, I think we are almost going to make it when the one with the poopy diaper proceeds to pee and poop all over the bed while I’m changing his diaper. Smelly mess. Totally inconvenient. We also find out at this time that the bathtub leaks all over the floor. Two major clean ups, 4 tired kids, and 2 kids that have no clue where they are (check that: 4 kids that have no clue where we are, ha).
Somehow, we get cleaned up and get everyone happily to bed (albeit late). We clean, re-tell the best stories of the day, laugh, and now, blog.
As I write, the twins are sleeping soundly in cribs near the bed. I still can’t believe it. Such a gift. Even all the craziness of today- total gift and great memories. I’d do it again, say, tomorrow?
Oh, and the house got fumigated today, so we had to move all our food, twice. #ilovethisadventure
Addendum: the photos promised above that I was unable to post at the time
The 10am wakeup
The surprise family portrait session (still makes me laugh thinking about it)
Macy and Owen playing on the field at the National Stadium where the Cranes play