Judith's 16th Birthday
Breakfast in bed to celebrate the big day.
We want to thank those of you who were praying for our visa situation for Judith and Elijah! We trust that God was in that process and for some reason, it wasn’t our time. We were denied visas for them this past Thursday… it was a very sad day in the Gaede house! Our plans were to travel with our 2 new family members to America in early July, at which time they would meet our family and friends and we would hit our fundraising efforts hard. We are now unsure about our plans to travel to America, as we don’t want to leave Judith and Elijah behind.So, we find ourselves waiting… and trusting.
We are trusting that God will faithfully provide as we follow Him into South Sudan and beyond. We thought He would do this through our efforts in coming to America this summer to speak, share the vision and fundraise. It became apparent to us once again that God does not need our speaking and fundraising to accomplish what He wants to accomplish.
I believe most of you heard about the fact that our adoption of Judith went through. It was an amazing miracle, and it
was such a privilege to watch God work that one out as only He could. If you want to read about that amazing story, you can scroll down to the bottom of this blog and read it in full detail. Needless to say, we are so grateful that Judith is officially ours and look forward to the adventures God has for the 6 of us!
God is rockin’ in South Sudan! So much so, that we are very eager to bring this program to a couple of other very hurting areas. We are excited about the fact that a young woman by the name of Chloe is joining our Tutapona team. She had been working in the Gulu area and has a huge heart for the Acholi people and those suffering from the devastation of war. She had the opportunity to travel with Carl to visit our program in South Sudan and fell in love with the vision. She comes from Texas and is eager to spread the word about the work of God through Tutapona to that area. Please pray for her efforts and that above all, God alone would be glorified!
This is a short update but we wanted to let you all know where things were at – as I know the plan was for us to see many of you this summer. Thank you so incredibly much for your continued prayers! We sure need and appreciate them – we ONLY want to spend our time, talent, and treasures where God deems them most helpful and we NEED His wisdom.
With much love,
Adoption Story follows:
I am not sure if you were aware, but Ugandan law states that you must foster a child 3 years before you can adopt that child. We went to the US Embassy on Friday, May 19th, with the hopes of filing a form that would allow us to adopt Judith in the future - hoping by 17 and a half, as we would have had her 3 years by then. Of course, she is family now, and if God ever calls us back to the US, we want to be able to take her and Elijah with us! I had just met with a friend the day before, who has adopted older Ugandan children, and she told me that if I don't get a specific form submitted to the US Embassy before Judith turns 16, we will never be able to adopt her. After 5 hours at the Embassy, we realized that we cannot even file that form here in Kampala, it needs to be sent to the US with death certificates of her parents (which we didn't have) and other items. The only other way we could see Judith become a US citizen in the future, was to adopt her before she turns 16... these were our options. This was six days before her 16th
birthday. Getting a court date usually takes months, and a ruling can take even longer. It was Friday afternoon, and we had until Wednesday to get the court date, have the hearing and receive the RULING!
We immediately called our lawyer and asked if this was possible. "It'll cost you" he said "but I think there could be some possibility." He told us that we needed death certificates (which we would have to retrieve from Gulu - 5-6 hours away), a maternal relative needed to be present and a paternal relative needed to be present. Judith knew nothing of her father or his relatives. He fled from her life before she was born and she had no idea when he died. These relatives would need to be willing to take a bus down from Gulu and sit with us through the hearing. Judith's aunt and a dear Acholi friend graciously helped us with retrieving death certificates and locating a paternal relative. He was working and had a sick child in the hospital - unsure if he could come. On Monday, we all waited to hear if the hearing would be scheduled for Tuesday or Wednesday - these relatives, located in Gulu, needed to know when to board the bus. On Monday night at 7:30 pm, we finally heard that we would have our hearing at 12pm the next day. Judith's relatives boarded the bus at 9pm to arrive at 3 am. Only the bus broke down, and they had to sit outside the bus for 4 hours! They arrived at 7:30 am.
We went to court on Tuesday and waited until 3pm to see the judge. I felt a lot of peace about this hearing. I knew that many people were praying, and trusted the fact that we had left this with God and whatever the outcome was, there was reason for it - it was His will. The Judge practically refused to look at us and proceeded to tell us his viewpoint of our situation. He told us that he thinks our only desire in this adoption is to have Judith's baby and a convenient helper to take care of him. In addition he stated that we just wanted "a cheap houseworker" that we can take back to the US with us. He stated that if we really wanted to care for this girl, we would have her in "the best, most expensive boarding school that Uganda has to offer." My stomach churned! When he allowed Judith to approach the stand, he accused her of horrible things and refused to believe that she was raped and fell pregnant just from that "one time." He accused her of being a promiscuous girl running around with many boys and finally getting caught. He also said she should just go marry the father of the child.
After I spoke, and while Judith was speaking, I was thinking "Why didn't I say...?" And "If only Judith would say..." But I heard God speak to my spirit "It doesn't matter what you say!" Grace and Emma were in the courtroom being so patient and I began consoling myself at various times in Grace's doodle pad "Jesus is mighty!" "He is ultimate Ruler over this situation" "When Jesus says 'Yes' nobody can say 'No.'"
He never asked Carl to come forward and after Judith and I tried to plead our case, he said that there are just too many inconsistencies with this case and he's not believing he has enough evidence to support this adoption. Carl repeatedly asked the attorney to request permission to speak, but the lawyer kept motioning that he couldn't. Regardless, Carl spoke up and asked the judge if he could speak. The judge agreed and Carl eloquently defended homeschooling, and our desire in this adoption. Carl also addressed the judges concerns about why people try to adopt.
The judge listened without saying a word, and then began writing... for 1 hour! When he was finished writing, he spoke and said something to the effect of "I don't think that we should waste anymore of anyone's time. I understand that you are trying to do a kind gesture, but sometimes we don't receive outcomes we desire... we must in those times place our hands over our heavy hearts... today for the petition for adoption of Piloya Lakica Judith, I rule in favor of the adoption."
A MIRACLE!!! Only by God's grace, and to His glory alone! We are the grateful, legal parents of our beautiful Judith!
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