6 hour trip and why everything is negotiable here...
We are back from a 6 hour trip to Dar. In short: Took early ferry. Puked. Again. Same story there. Walked to the office of Social services and big surprise our social worker AND the commissioner were both out of the office. We told the woman working in the office we would wait for them to return and we hunkered down and prepped for some epic waiting as if often the case here. Amazingly we had convinced some fabulous friends to watch the girls for the day so we could wait without entertaining kids in the dark and narrow hallway where we have spent many an hour waiting, praying, reading, being frustrated, and learning to trust. That was a good idea y'all. We were among many folks also waiting for their chance and there was no room for us both so I sat on a broken chair at the end of the long hallway while Jason sat just outside the office making sure it was known "We are still here!" We both started praying that the commissioner would return despite what we had been told (appointments just do not happen here and he was supposedly gone for a long time at a meeting). But within 20 minutes he appeared! Ever been shocked God answered your prayer so exactly? We were! And thankful.
After some more waiting as the folks on the seats next to us slowly went in one by one it was our turn. He remembered us and we explained why we had come. We were able to offer a solution to the issue that is preventing us from adopting due to the recent law change. We are open to getting dual residency or possibly moving to Dar for a time and he seemed favorable to that although he still thought of some other objections that might creep up now. He is very cautious because as we have learned the last commissioner was known for shady deals and not doing his job so this commissioner is afraid of bending the rules or sticking his neck out even when maybe he should. But I respect that he wants to do his job well and does care about the children. He promised to contact the ministry's lawyer and ask the needed questions and get back to us which may or may not happen. We will need to follow up and wait again.
But what I want to share is this: God was there in that meeting. We were able to be honest and offer what we felt we were willing to do to allow the adoption to continue and we did not have to lie or mislead him at all as some have advised we do to make the problem "go away." We shared our heart with him and said we really feel God wants us to adopt and so we want to follow up and understand if this is no longer possible here as it may affect our ability to stay. We felt peace that we had taken the small step we felt Him leading us to and now we wait and pray and rely on Him in whatever is next. If I am honest I float between moments of complete certainty and trust and moments of weepy-ness and feeling overwhelmed with doubt that this could all work out somehow. It is still insane to me how difficult this process is when there are thousands of orphans that need homes. I started to cry reading an email from an orphanage director this morning begging someone to take a little boy she might have to turn away because even the not so great orphanages are full. Begging for people willing to take him and love him. I want to scream "We are!!" but for now the answer is wait. Doing what He wants is rarely easy and I have learned that and know that even though there is heartbreak, waiting, difficulty there is also joy and abundance. I must trust that He has a good purpose for this all. I will trust in that amidst the waiting and uncertainty. God's plan is for good even when I struggle to see it.
And now for something much less serious but too good to forget.....
After our meeting and grabbing lunch we walked to a clinic where I heard there was an orthodontist! Short back story necessary to appreciate this story.....a few months back my permanent lower retainer that was holding my formerly scary rows of shark teeth in place since getting my braces off came loose on one side and after a couple days of cutting my mouth whenever I ate I hacked the thing off with a razor. Not the best option I know but an option for one who lives in the absence of all things dental care. Over the last few months I have noticed the shift and my devious teeth wanting to go back to their former shark teeth glory (or lack there of). A dentist here advised me that there is ONE orthodontist from India in Tanzania and I could get an appointment with her. Score! We arrived early for the appointment and within 20 minutes I had a new lower retainer. Over the phone I had asked the price and after being told 690,000 shillings (about 500 bucks) I asked if there was anyway to lower the price and she said no problem and lowered the fee to 250,000 shillings (the fee for aid workers and poor folks). Still a bit pricey but nothing compared to getting braces again if I ignore the problem (and remember the shark teeth...seriously, not pretty!). When it came time to pay we realized that after paying for lunch we were short fund-age and Jason was going to run to an ATM but when he asked the nurse she said the ATM's were pretty far and instead asked exactly how much we had. We counted every shilling and came up with 170,000 to which she replied "ok, pay 150,000 shillings." Seriously, I love this place. EVERYTHING is negotiable! Even a retainer! We used our last 20,000 shillings to get a taxi to the airport to head home. The flight was 30 minutes from taking off and as we sat in traffic we could not help laughing as our driver said with God's help we will make it. We agreed and laughed about how much we have changed in 3 years. That situation would have made me worry, sweat, and cry probably in that order a few years back but we have learned to live "inshallah" for sure. It is really the only way to maintain sanity. In the end we arrived 3 minutes before the take-off time and even though everyone was already on board we talked them into letting us run to the plane on the runway, jump on, and we made it! We touched down 25 minutes later on our island and started walking home (since we had not 1 shilling to our name at this point) until Jason greeted a man walking to his car and asked for a lift home. He happily agreed and we arrived home a few minutes later. Awesome.
So I am reminded there are so many things I love about this place. Thanks for everyone who sent a note, prayed, and thought of us...more to come on this journey.