Christmas in Uganda was so special. I got to forgo the snow and freezing temperatures, I spent time with many dearly loved people and I surprised two young girls.
I’d like to introduce you to two members of my Ugandan family, Jamila and Gertrude. These girls come from families that can’t afford to pay for their education. So my house mother, Mama Nissi, has paid for their schooling, room and board in exchange that they do chores around the household.
I can’t describe these two enough. They are sassy, silly, playful, inquisitive and smart. Jamila is always telling me stories and Gertrude is so thoughtful.
I wanted to make Christmas special for them in particular. And, I knew just what to give them. There were two things they kept asking me about. They wanted apples and they wanted to go swimming.
I wish you could have seen their grins. Jamila’s face lit up as she opened her gifts and Gertrude couldn’t stop smiling. Instantly they tried on their swimming clothes and shared their apples with everyone in our “family.”
When we got to the pool, the two transformed into fish. Jamila actually knew how to swim a little, which is super uncommon for girls in Uganda. She explained to me that, in her village, sometimes the kids would sneak away to the river and go swimming.
Gertrude enjoyed the water and took a few lessons from me but played it safe in the shallow waters.
After I got too cold from swimming with the girls, I decided to snap a few photos to share with the family. I stood on a bridge overlooking the pool unable to stop smiling at those girls. My heart was so full.
You see, in between chores and school (which starts at 7 a.m. and goes until 5 p.m.), these girls don’t get a chance to play or simply be a kid. Here, I got to see them simply be children: splashing, jumping, and laughing without a care in the world.
Every few minutes they’d turn to look at me and make sure I was still watching them. You bet I was. I wanted to give them every bit of attention and love that every other kid gets.
And then a thought popped into my mind. “This must be what being a parent is like.”
I can definitely understand why some parents spoil their children. You want to give your child everything, even the whole world out of love for them. It got me thinking about a conversation I had had once about adoption.
I once was close to someone that was so disgusted by the idea of adoption. “But, they aren’t your real children. They don’t even look like you. It’s not the same as having your own kids.”
I disagreed then and I still disagree today.
It doesn’t matter what your child looks like. What matters is the love, the bond you have with them and the person that you raise them to be. Looks are so external and unimportant.
I can say that because I grew up always feeling less than beautiful. It wasn’t until God redefined beauty in my eyes that I saw the truth. Beauty is internal, not external. In fact, in most definitions it is used to describe qualities of a person, not their appearance.
Moreover, adoption is the perfect picture of God’s love for us. We ARE His adopted children. That doesn’t mean he loves us less or treats us differently. In fact, it makes adoption more special.
“But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive full rights of sons. Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” So you are no longer a slave, but a son; and since you are a son, God has made you also an heir.” Galatians 4:4-7
I mean that’s the whole idea that we are all related, right? We are all children of God, brothers and sisters in Christ because of our adoption. And because of our adoption, though we have done nothing to deserve it, God has made us His heirs, granting us eternal life with Him.
Beautiful, isn’t it?
As we wrapped up our time swimming (I literally had to drag the girls out), I couldn’t help but thank God for this sweet day of play and the beauty of our mismatched Ugandan family. The family I live with is made of people unrelated and from all over. But we are bonded together here as a family of believers that cares for each other. I wouldn’t want it any other way.
What are your thoughts on our adoption through Christ? Or adoption in general? I’d love to hear from you!
With Love from Uganda,
P.S. Some of you might be wondering where I am right now.
Wasn’t Becca supposed to be back from Uganda on February 2nd?
Well, I’ve had the joy to extend my stay until the end of April. My time in Uganda has been so sweet, life-giving and healing. I’m currently in the process of applying for some exciting opportunities. I’ll ask that you pray hard for me. I’m up against some huge impossibilities but I know that God makes all things possible.