It’ 9:10 p.m. here as I type this. It’s 2:10 p.m. back home. My daughter is sleeping in the room she is sharing with her Grandma. My son is sleeping in the room that he is sharing with Janelle and I.
Yup, that last sentence really just happened. Our son, Moses Andrew Prenkert is in our custody.
For traveling with a 3 year old, our flights went really well getting here. Katylynn slept for at least half of 2 out of the 3 flights. On our second leg (Amsterdam to Nairobi) the KLM staff loved her. We got in to Uganda at 11:00 p.m. last night and somehow fit all our luggage into the car.
Our main coordinator here, Dorah, then informed us that our first two choices for housing had no availability, and our third choice was going to be $50 more per night than originally planned. She had arranged another option and we decided to go for that. It’s a nice little 2 bedroom apartment with open main room. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have a pool like the others did. Fortunately, we get free passes to a country club that has a fantastic pool, play area, workout machines, hot tubs and saunas.
We crashed then had to get going very early to breakfast (about a 5 minute walk from our apartment). We were then picked up by Dorah and headed to the Action For Children Headquarters for Orientation and laying out the agenda for our remaining 2 weeks (hopefully) here. It was there we were informed that the plan was for Moses to come and be with us today! From there, we hopped in the vehicle and made the trek to Moses’ home for the past year and 10 months.
Katylynn and mom were both a hit at the Care Center. The kids were incredibly intrigued by Katylynn’s pale skin and light hair. They also found about everything she said to be absolutely hilarious. Mom was a hit, I think, because those her age are a rarity in Uganda… and I’m not saying my mom is ancient. A Civil War, AIDS epidemic, and Malaria will do that to a country.
We had a great time with the staff and kids at the Care Center. When we got a quiet time together, I let Katylynn know that all the boys and girls we were playing with didn’t have Mommies or Daddies. She struggled to understand this, but when I told her that was why people like us are coming to be mommies and daddies to the kids, I think something clicked (actually I know it clicked, evidenced by the fact she prayed for all the boys and girls that we met, that they would all get mommies and daddies). We have the most precious picture of Katylynn walking hand in hand with a little guy who is actually named Junior.
Grandma and Katylynn kept a decent distance from Moses while at the Care Center, just to make sure he could get reconnected to us and to not freak him out. He cried right when we arrived, but calmed down quickly and was good to go the rest of the time.
It came time for us to leave the Care Center. Tears were not at a shortage, on either parties ends. The staff at the Care Center cried mixed tears of joy and sorrow.
Tears of joy to see “One Less”.
Tears of sorrow to have to say goodbye to one they had loved, cared for, and parented for the past 20+ months.
Our tears were mainly joy. Yet, there is a level of empathy an deep appreciation you have to have for those who have stood in the gap to allow today to happen.
Both kids slept the whole ride back to our apartment. When we arrived, Moses was awake and good to go, but Katylynn had another 1 ½ of sleep. Mom and Janelle took off to do some grocery shopping while I got a little one on one time with my boy. When Katylynn woke up, the two had their first play time together… rolling the ball and coloring. Moses was extremely comfortable with her and really livened up through the afternoon. We started talking back and forth (he in Lugandan and I in English).
Janelle and Mom arrived back after a 45 min. drive to the grocery store and a 5 min. drive back (traffic, T.I.A.). We ate our first supper as a family (Spaghetti) and then the kids zonked out. We’re trying to actually get a little more settled in now.
So, to summarize... in the past 24 hours, Katylynn has spent her first moments in another country, mom met her grandson for the first time, Katylynn met her brother for the first time, we saw Moses for the first time in two months, and at the end of the day, the Prenkert family became in the flesh what we have been emotionally and spiritually for quite some time... a family of 4!