About a bazillion of you have written and asked about adoption from Uganda....FINALLY! - here's the skinny, from our personal experience.
Uganda does not "do" adoption....at least not the way that China or other countries do it...
Infact if you go back and read early posts (Julyish) when Dw was in Uganda, I had googled Ugandan Adoption and found that they require a person to live in Uganda for three years prior. BUT there is a loophole and that is where we fit in. What Uganda DOES allow is for you to be granted guardianship (by the High Court of Uganda) so the child(ren) can come to the United States (probably other countries too) with the understanding that your intent is to adopt them once they are here. I know, doesn't make alot of sense really, but that's how they do it, and so it works!
Our attorney in Uganda is a member of Parliament and very experienced and definitely a Christian...infact he kept telling me the day that I was at his office and he had the signed, court order from the Judge, "This is a true miracle. Look at all these other files, they are all waiting for her to write her decision, but she has not yet done that. With you - she has already done that and why you found such favor with her, I do not know - but this is a true miracle from God! To then get the passports already - that is also a true miracle from God!!"
Peter told me each time I was in his office exactly what we needed to be praying for also! He would say, "This is what you need to pray for...." That was pretty sweet in my opinion.
I feel like I need to do a disclaimer....I hate, hate, hate hearing people say, "How much did they cost you?" (referring to any of our kids adoptions) While "cost" is supposedly a factor, how can we ever put a cost on a human being? We prefer to call it a 'ransom'....Our kids are of infinite value to us and our heavenly father...and so although there was money involved, lets just humor me and call it their "ransom"....K?
The start of the adoption has to be that you find a child you want to adopt. Peter, our lawyer, said that there are lots of baby homes in Uganda, but only a few that have such a good reputation. There have been problems with other homes of child selling, etc., but the baby home we found Elizabeth and Elijah at is one of the oldest (if not the oldest) baby home in Kampala. It is run by the Anglican Church of England and has a splendid reputation. The court recognizes their excellent reputation and that was definitely in our favor.
To find a child one must go to Uganda and look at places like Sanyu Babies Home (where Elizabeth and Elijah were.) And there are plenty of kids there to go around - trust me!! There is another home that Peter mentioned, but I will have to ask him again what the name was....it also has a very good reputation.
Anyway, back in July Dw found Elijah and decided to go see an attorney about him. ((If you are unfamiliar with the story, please read it under Important Posts on the Right Column. It will probably take about 20 minutes to read it. Starting with Our Wild Adventure Part 1.)) Anyway, he chose Peter because he was a Christian, was well-respected and had a good reputation, as well as being a member of Parliament.
After seeing him the first time, Peter told him to come back with Barbara (the Baby Home director). Dw had already asked if Elijah was available for adoption. There are a few children who are not available. For instance...Sharon's mother is in prison and so when she gets out she is supposed to come get her. There were brand new newborn twins there when I was there. Their mom had died in childbirth and their father, a very educated man, was unable to care for them as newborns, but came regularly to see them and hopes to bring them home one day. So there are some exceptions, but there are many, many children available. I will post more pictures soon!
Since it is only a baby home they only stay there until about age 3. At that point they are moved to a big orphanage and are never allowed to be adopted. My prayer is that many of you will feel called to Africa to adopt and that we have "Orphan Planes" bringing little ones home....Yippee Jesus!!
After that meeting with both Peter and Barbara, we wired money to Peter to get the adoption (ransom) started. For the record, prices in Uganda, although their "dollar" is shillings, they are not cheap. Nothing that I came across would I say was "cheap"....
When we were in China, souvenirs were 'cheap'....food, etc., all stuff was very reasonable....but Uganda, although not outrageously expensive, was not cheap either. Which, I was surprised...I thought things would be "cheap".
Anyway, since we are figuring up adoption costs here, there is also the airfare that it took to get Dw to Africa in the first place.
BOTH parents to did NOT need to be present at any point. Dw only came to Africa while I was there because of the paperwork - but you can learn from our ignorance and save one of you the trip. =)
Once Dw was back in the States we prayed lots about what to do. When it was apparent that the Lord was directing us to move forward we did our homestudy. Actually, since we had just (literally) finished Jubilee's homestudy we were able to just do an updated one. But the cost of the homestudy ($400 to update) has to be figured in to the big ransom picture. We also had to file our I-600 and get fingerprinted.
The airfare for me and Emma and Graham needsto then be added in. Obviously, add in whatever amount depending on how many will go. Our roundtrip airfare was somewhere around $2,400 each. We had the return flight for Elizabeth and a minimal fee for Elijah because he was under two and was considered a "lap baby".
When I went to see Peter the morning after I got there I had to give him his additional attorney fees and court costs. I carryed this all in cash in my little front pouch that hung around my neck. I also carried our three passports there.
On a humorous note: the little pouch was bulging and I wore it low because I didn't want it scratching my upper anatomy =) so it was more upper belly bulge really. On one of the fights someone who stopped to talk to me said, "Can I just ask you - are you pregnant?" I am laughing as I type this....I dressed up with a group of ladies a couple of months ago to pretend I was pregnant...if you missed that you can see it - complete with pictures here. But when this passenger asked me "are you pregnant?" I gasped (can you believe her guts when I had never seen her before) and laughed and said, "NO! Well I am adopting three kids - so maybe that counts!!!??!!" Hey, if I was pregnant and adopting three I probably would be declared certifiably insane!! And it probably could make the cover of the National Enquirer or something. But really...didn't it take guts to ask me that when that woman didn't even know me?? WOW!! Actually I should have said, "Oh my gosh?! Can you tell? Please don't tell my husband - please don't! It's going to be a surprise!" *giggle*
Attorney Fees: Between $4,000 - $5,000/child
Homestudy: Whatever your local agency charges you...
Room/Board: $80/night (breakfast & dinner were included) We stayed at Sanyu Babies home in a guest house.
Court costs & filing cost in Kampala: $1500.00
VISA Application: $500.00/child (approx)
Airfare: $2400. - to meet child
Airfare: $2400 - to go do paperwork and bring child home
Airfare: for child
Drivers: $500.00 ($25/day for small car)
Internet: $5/day - a MUST! =)
Ugandan Guide: $30/day
Cup of Coffee on Regular Basis w/chocolate cookies from Aroma: comparable to US
Attorney Fees: United States to process adoption (have no clue, we haven't called one yet)
Look in your child's eyes when they are safe with a mommy/daddy: Priceless!!
I will post this and please feel free to link back to my post from your blog. I may think of something I have forgotten and will update the ransom total if need be.
Dw and I feel that it could be that Dw will go and talk to Peter, as well as another attorney to see if the process can be streamlined. We also believe that if you are interested in going with him in June to Uganda (he is leading a team) you can meet the children and have an idea of what it is all like. First spots are being offered to our church and then we will update on how many spots remain.
If you have more questions, please feel free to write me at email on sidebar: APlaceCalledSimplicty@yahoo.com