It’s Entebbe, Uganda’s port of entry and departure, and we’re almost on a plane over the ocean and back to our home, the one where you can’t wear a t-shirt outside during this time of year.
And on the table in front of me is an African news magazine with a picture of Nelson Mandela, because this is the week that it was. Mandela died and the world mourned, even as it got in a tizzy over the so-called Selfie of the American Prez.
So this magazine is on the table and I’m writing and it’s Anne Murray singing in the background because I have just a minute to myself at this western sort of place before we all, all of five of us, get on a plane.
And while nobody here knows what a snowbird is, let alone who Anne Murray is, it’s all okay, even more than okay, because Nelson Mandela is smiling up at me and I suppose now I’ll always associate his face with the day Hannah finally saw the judge.
Yes, yesterday, Hannah, after a 20-month delay, saw the judge. We all got dressed up and drove the 90 minutes to the court in Jinja – again – but this time it went as it always should have.
The judge, in fact, didn’t even greet us. Didn’t say hello. Didn’t ask a question. Didn’t comment on Hannah. Didn’t ask who anyone — mom, dad, these other kids — were. Nothing. Just poured through the papers put in front of him by his clerk and mumbled to our lawyer and said, ‘fine,’ and he’ll have a closer look.
So we drove home. But not before stopping at a street-side newsstand and picking up this magazine with Nelson Mandela on the front. And not before knowing that it’s looking good at this point, that in January, just after Hannah turns 8, she’ll likely be officially in our family, this after already being with us for more than four years.
There is more to share about Hannah and the miracle of this story, how we, My Bride and I, were praying that if God would ever grant us a Ugandan girl to adopt that we would surely name her Hannah. And then later, in the orphanage, how this little Ugandan girl – this girl with the saddest face anyone could imagine – came up to us and tapped me on the side of the leg and looked up at me.
There she was, this little Ugandan girl with the sad face, and I looked down. And we asked who she was, and then we were told that this little girl was, in fact, named Hannah and she was dumped in a Ugandan hospital a few weeks after her birth and nobody really knows much more.
And yesterday, on the way home from court we picked up this magazine with Nelson Mandela. Just after court. Just after Liz, who has been studying Mandela in school, rhymed off a few Mandela quotes.
“It always seems to be impossible until it is done,” is one of them.
We’ll remember that one too, with the magazine cover.
And how we then flew off for our first Christmas home in five years. And how Hannah came and laughed in the snow.
And how there was a star above that symbolized so much more, and that Hannah is a child of Him, actually. And, like with any child, we’ve just been given this one for a while. And how that’s okay too.