adjusting well

July 8, 2009 - 7 Responses

(Jill)  We are happy to report a great several days at home with the kiddos.  We have had some internet trouble so we haven’t been blogging.  Adam’s mother was here for the weekend and was a huge help.  We were able to completely unpack, do all laundry, get settled, and enjoy great meals.  Thanks, Deborah!  Ruthie apparently thinks much of nana’s cooking as we often heard, “nana, dis is good!”  We have enjoyed some fun times with friends and family swimming, eating, and enjoying lots of “firsts.”  Ruthie and Silas even braved the diving board on Saturday. After a little hesitation initially, they were loving it. When we arrived home on Thursday night it was like Christmas in July with lots of gifts awaiting in the den.  The kids have been occupied with playing games, riding scooters, running through the sprinkler, putting on lipstick, washing baby dolls, playing with train sets and just exploring.  Ruthie and Silas have been so outgoing with everyone they are meeting.  They are playful and fun-loving and have enjoyed meeting new friends.  They are acting like they have lived here forever!  Pretty amazing.  I am sure there will be rough patches but we have been surprised by their adaptability.  

Ruthie began her tutoring today. I think we are going to start her in Kindergarten at P.C.S. She has been through the first grade in Uganda but with still a bit of a language barrier we will start at the beginning in kindergarten.  Today I am making Dr. and dentist appt’s and then off to play with friends.

We took the kids to the movies yesterday (“Up”) and everyone enjoyed it.  After that, we did a bit of shopping as Silas needed some new undies due to his healthy “baby got back.” I haven’t ventured out on my own yet with all four but the time is coming. 

We were so excited for Aunt Gwen, Uncle Todd, Pryce, and Knox to visit yesterday! Everyone had a ball playing in the rain puddles and catching up on hugs and kisses.

safe and sound

July 3, 2009 - 11 Responses

(Jill)  Hello, everyone!  We are praising the Lord for bringing us all home together which was truly a miracle only He could do! We are thrilled to say we arrived home last night safe and sound and have had a FABULOUS night’s sleep! (Adam and I hadn’t slept or showered since Tues. night) The kids got a few hours here and there on the plane.  It is amazing what some quietness and a nice comfy mattress will do for you.  Sleeping on a hard foam board will not be missed.  We were reflecting on the way home about the creature comforts we were most looking forward to:  good coffee with half and half, honey bran muffins for breakfast, McDonald’s diet coke, sonic ice, high speed internet, water you can brush your teeth with, fabric softener,washers and dryers, dishwashers, clean air to breath, and traffic laws.  The list could go on and on but needless to say we are thoroughly enjoying this blessed holiday weekend, reflecting on the blessings of life in America.  What we missed the most was the love, fellowship and comfort of friends and family.  You can live without all the creature comforts of this world and it truly doesn’t matter if you have Jesus and loved ones.  We are so thankful for the love and encouragement you have shown to us through this journey! 

Ruthie and Silas are in continual amazement (and a little over stimulation) over all these new experiences.  We have let them tear the house apart this morning, exploring.  They are having a ball playing, singing and dancing.  Ruthie just keeps asking, “mom, what is dis?”  Hilarious. We are hoping to post some pictures very soon (I know I keep saying this).  We need to replace our stolen camera first!  We will keep updating this post.  Adam is back to work tomorrow and Ruthie is going to start some tutoring next week to get some basics before school starts.  We will have many Dr. and Dentist visits to keep us busy for a while as well.  We are so thankful to be home and settling in. We continue to covet your prayers.  

Happy 4th of July!

God Did It

July 2, 2009 - 16 Responses

(Adam)  I’ll do my best to bring you up to speed.  Jill and I have been praying that God would accomplish whatever would bring Him the most honor through this entire process.  Therefore, why should I be surprised at the following events:  We spent our last day in Kampala, Wednesday, doing a little last minute gift buying.  We arrived at the US Embassy to get J and S Visas. Our appointment was for 3PM.  We hung around the Embassy waiting for the Visas until around 5PM.  Imagine our surprise when the Consular informs us that the Visas were hung up in Washington DC and that they might not be ready in time.  “No problem”, she says, “You guys can leave and have J and S brought to you at a later date!”  Big problem.  We have been praying that all 6 Hodge’s would be on that plane to the US.

I sent Jill and the kids back to the Resort to pack “in faith” believing that we would be on that plane at 11:30PM.  I spent the next several hours in prayer.  I asked God to bring Himself the most honor regardless of the outcome of this new trial.  He gave me significant peace that all 6 of us would be on that plane.  The Consular had told me that if the Visas had not arrived by 7:30PM, then we probably wouldn’t make it.  I’m sure it is no surprise to you that the Visas were placed in my hand at 7:30PM!

The next 2 hours were a chaotic blurr of oncoming cars as our taxi driver sped to the airport, mostly in the wrong lane.  We made it in one piece and on to the plane for a departure at 11:30PM.  The plane had been delayed for one hour(no doubt).  As I waited for those Visas at the US Embassy, I was laughing to myself knowing that God was going to deliver those Visas at the “midnight hour”.  He did it.  Only He could have done it.  That is why He waited so long.  He wanted to let everyone know that this adoption, these Visas, this entire experience was and always has been under His control.  Boy, am I glad it was.  

Thank you Father for bringing much glory to your holy name through my adoption as your son and through the adoption of J and S as our children.  We now sit in Amsterdam and will arrive in New Orleans at 5:30PM today.  To God be all the glory, great things He alone has done.

Thank you for accompanying us on this journey.  Stay tuned for the “rest of the story” over the next 20 years or so.

P.S. New names are the following:

Ruthie Juliet Tendo Hodge and Silas Stuart Bukenya Hodge.  Quite a mouthful.  We will call them Ruthie and Silas.

Psalm 100

June 30, 2009 - 26 Responses

“Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth.  Worship the LORD with gladness;  come before him with joyful songs.  Know that the LORD is God.  It is he who made us, and we are his;  we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.  Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise;  give thanks to him and praise his name.  For the LORD is good and his love endures forever;  his faithfulness continues through all generations.”

We met with the US Embassy today and received some very encouraging news.  The Consular believed that all paper work was in order and that the Visas should go through without a problem.  Juliet and Stuart’s Visas should be ready at 3PM tomorrow.  Our flight takes off at 10:30PM tomorrow night.

Needless to say, we were a bit excited.  Thank you to all who have been praying for this moment.  We will update the post one last time tomorrow while in the country of Uganda.  Then, it’s off to the USA.  If you have spent any significant time away from the US, you realize what a wonderful country we are privileged to live in.  Truly, God has blessed America.  Therefore, we must be a blessing to the nations in His wonderful name.

May God continue to bless America.

prayer and the sovereignty of God

June 29, 2009 - 6 Responses

(Jill)  Many things can be said about how God has grown us through this process.  We have learned to be entirely dependent on him in so many ways because we have had control over so little.  The prayers of so many have sustained us and brought comfort to us on a daily basis.  When presenting our requests to God, I have pondered, “what exactly is the role of prayer in the life of a believer if God’s sovereign will is going to be done in all things?”

 In one of the most spiritually nurturing books I have ever read, Desiring God, John Piper sheds some light on the topic of prayer.  If God’s purpose is to glorify himself through the working together of all things, and all things happen “…according to the counsel of his will,” how then do our prayers fit into this purpose?

 Piper says, “prayer is the essential activity of waiting on God -acknowledging our helplessness and His power, calling upon Him for help, seeking His counsel. Since his purpose in the world is to be exalted for His mercy, it is evident why prayer is so often commanded by God.  Prayer is the antidote for the disease of self-confidence, which opposes God’s goal of getting glory by working for those who wait for Him.” So, by not humbly depending on God through prayer through presenting our requests to Him, we rob God of an opportunity to glorify himself by showing mercy.  We also rob ourselves of the opportunity to gain further trust in God, to increase our faith in him, to be strenghened by deeper fellowship with him, and to enjoy being the benefactor of His mercy and grace.

Does this mean that we always get what we ask for?  Of coarse not.  We must pray according to God’s will just as Jesus prayed in the garden before the crucifixion, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me.  Nevertheless, not my will, but yours be done.” (Luke 22:42). As painful as this was for God the Father to kill his one and only son, he had a greater purpose in Christ’s crucifixion, the salvation of men.  I am thankful Christ submitted to the grand plan that God set forth.  So, we must pray according to God’s will and accept any “no” answer we may receive as God’s greater good for us as individuals and for His glory.  

Romans 11:33-36  “Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God!  How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!  For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?  Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid? For from him and through him and to him are all things.  To him be glory forever. Amen”

“Lord, according to your will, will you please allow Juliet and Stuart to be our children.  Will you please allow their visas to be processed without an investigation tomorrow. Would you grant us favor in the eyes of the U.S. Embassy so that we may be given acceptance of the kids’ visas and a very speedy process. Lord, we would love to ALL return to the U.S on Wednesday night if it be in your best interest.  Thank you for who you are and whatever you see fit to do.”

enjoying the Lord’s day

June 28, 2009 - 4 Responses

(Jill) Hey, all!  We are happy to report no major drama today!  I was doing some heavy praying during the kids’ horseback riding lessons given our track record for the month.  All went well.  We had plans of getting some good pics with our alternate camera but the battery died just in time.  

We had an incredible time of worship and encouragement at Watoto church again today.  We are beginning to feel like regulars.  Adam and I did mention the fact that we will never complain about Temple Baptist Church’s frigid temperatures again (normally we have some numbness of the extremities). No A.C. at Watoto with thousands of people literally sitting on top of each other.  The smell was not pleasant, sweat everywhere.  We are grateful for A.C. and deodorant in the states.  The message was exactly what we needed- Acts 27 and the apostle Paul’s shipwreck.  It was about our response and perspective on our earthly trials. Timely.  I left refreshed and refocused.  I haven’t written on here in the last few days because I would have been a hypocrite- sounding all “happy clappy christian” when I had a couple of days of pouty baby syndrome.  I am pulling it back together by God’s grace.  

Hopefully we will be landing on American soil Thursday evening.  This will truly be a miracle but that is what we are asking for.  Also, please pray for Jebb.  He has had the most difficulty with stomach issues and has eaten very little all month.  He has lost a lot of weight.  Pray that he will regain his appetite and enjoy food again soon.  Thanks!

Love from Africa.

Just a note

June 27, 2009 - 9 Responses

(Adam)  Not much happening our way.  That is a good thing.  We will stay at Speke Resort until we leave Africa.  We had a good night of sleep last night with much appreciated peace and quiet.  We have had an opportunity over the last few days to visit with the directors of the adoption agency that we have been using.   The  directors of Lifeline Children’s Services in Birmingham, AL have been here since Thursday.  It has been great having them here for encouragement and support.

We found out today that we cannot transfer our airline tickets to another airline.  Unfortunately, we had to forfeit the tickets that we had paid for previously.  I did book 6 one way tickets through another airline for Wednesday at 10PM.  We will arrive in New Orleans at 5:30PM on Thursday.  

Our meeting with the Embassy is scheduled for Tuesday 8AM.  Please pray that the Visas will be granted and processed in time for our flight.  If not, Landry, Jebb, and I will fly home leaving Jill, J, and S to follow when possible.  While we don’t want this to happen, we trust God in His sovereignty.

Over these last two days, we have received many emails and even a phone call from missionaries and pastors that we have never met.  These people are either in Uganda or have significant contacts and friends in Africa.  Thank you to those of you whom I am speaking of.  We appreciate your interest and prayers.  It is an honor to be the recipient of your time, prayers, and concern.  In addition, to those back in the states who have encouraged us, THANK YOU.

Regarding the robbery, we are dealing with it.  We did lose all of our pictures from the beginning of the adoption to yesterday.  The thieves took the camera as well as the computer on which they were stored.  I had put the pictures of J and S family on a CD in order to make copies.  We had taken these photos the day of our visit to the village and had intended to give copies to the family.  Thankfully, we do have these for J and S.

Keep praying.

What a Day!

June 26, 2009 - 14 Responses

(Adam)  What a day!  What a day!  Where do I begin?  OK.  The beginning.  This morning at 5AM, I was awakened to the sound of what I thought was Landry getting water in the kitchen.  I decided to get up and help her so that she wouldn’t spill.  Most of you know my OCD issues.  Anyway, you can imagine my surprise to walk into the living room to find two men standing there.  Oh yeah, men that I didn’t know, holding my belongings in their arms.  I screamed like a woman in labor.  Apparently, my scream was so embarrassing, that they ran out the balcony door and leapt off of the second floor balcony right away.  As a door prize they took our laptop computer, camera, binoculars, and a couple of back-packs.  Needless to say, it was not a pleasant wake up call.  I much prefer to wake up to the Muslim prayers blaring over the loud speakers at 5:30.  Seriously, we were quite shaken.  We have moved out of that apartment and have decided to stay at Speke Resort for the remainder of our time in Africa.

That brings me to part 2.  We arrived at the Embassy this AM fresh off the heals of our little encounter only to be told that we could have an appointment to REVIEW our case on Tuesday.  We were quite disappointed.  However, none of this is a surprise to our great God.  He knew all of this would take place.  Nothing takes Him off guard.  He is not worried.  In fact, His word still holds true when it reads “Rejoice in the Lord always.  I will say it again:  REJOICE.” Philippians 4:4.  Don’t get me wrong.  I’m not super Christian.  I don’t feel much like rejoicing.  Does that mean that I am excused?  Lord, someone broke into my apartment…my Visas weren’t granted…I’m done with this place.  Sorry.  No excuses.

Thank you Father for your hand of protection upon me and my family as we slept this AM while 2 men climbed in through a window and violated our home.  Thank you that J and S Visas weren’t rejected today.  Thank you that we have so many friends and strangers loving us and praying for us.  Lord, you are awesome.

Please pray that J and S Visas will be granted AND issued on Tuesday.  This would be a miracle.  I must leave by Wednesday at the very latest.  You can’t adopt 2 children when you don’t have a job.  Pray that the Hodge 6 will be on a plane bound for USA on Wednesday.  Thanks to all for your calls, emails, replies.  God has used you more than we can express with letters.

tomorrow is a BIG day!

June 25, 2009 - 13 Responses

(Jill)  O.K., passports arrived an hour ago, we are rejoicing!  Hearts beating fast from both excitement and nerves.  Apparently, the man who was supposed to sign the passports has been out of the country and they have been sitting around the office for a while.  They were able to obtain someone elses signature today. It is 7:00 pm here so we did not make it to the Embassy today.  Our taxi is picking our crew up in the morning at 6:15 am so we can be there when they open.  We DO NOT  have an appointment and are praying that they we will see us and hear our case anyway.  Again, you all know how touch and go this situation is.  Hopefully tomorrow will be very telling of where we go from here.  Hopefully it is back to Mississippi with 4 children!  God is faithful no matter what.  He is not surprised by any of this and is not up in Heaven wringing his hands with anxiety over what will occur.  We are trying to be imitators of that.

A friend sent us a very encouraging scripture yesterday from the book of Daniel.  I read it again this morning. Daniel 2:20-22 says, “…Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, to whom belong wisdom and might.  He changes times and seasons; he removes kings and sets up kings; he gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding; he reveals deep and hidden things; he knows what is in the darkness, and the light dwells with him.”

Our God is so AWESOME!!!!  He is in control! Pray hard!

keep praying

June 25, 2009 - 6 Responses

(Jill)  It is 10:20 am and still no passports.  Please keep praying!  We will keep you posted as we are able.