OFY Cares Blog

Back in June, 2014 one of OFY’s adoptive parents from a few years back contacted me and said that our agency was selected by her church to be the recipient of their ‘Loose Bills’ program for the month of July, 2014. I was invited to speak at their Saturday evening and Sunday morning services and describe what we are doing at OFY. I particularly emphasized our current efforts in Uganda.

What happens is that the church leaders gather the loose bills given by the congregation in the weekly collection plate/basket for the month and then turn that sum of money over to the designated organization. I recently received the contribution from the congregation of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church and was overwhelmed by their generosity!

So there I was sitting in the guesthouse room having just bid goodbye to my two traveling companions…my ‘security blanket’ as they left for Jinja. I was remaining for an extra day by myself for an appointment I had set up with an attorney. I was trying to decide whether or not to return to the orphanage at the bottom of the hill to volunteer again. I was a bit hesitant because I had dealt with 30 three-and-four year olds the previous day helping them eat dinner, shower, go to the bathroom, put on their pajamas and get them into bed. It was absolute chaos, and to be honest with you, I wasn’t looking forward to doing it again. You can imagine with that many children, someone is always unhappy or crying.

I have told the following story verbally to many people who talk to me about my experiences in Uganda. I thought it was about time that I put it in writing. My only concern it that it will be too long. I have to break it up into two parts. So, here’s Part I.

My two friends and I arrived in Kampala on a Saturday afternoon in February, 2013. It was my first trip and we were staying at a ‘guesthouse’ at the top of a steep hill. At the base of that hill was a ‘babies home,’ an orphanage, caring for about 50 children ranging in age from newborn to 5 years old. We went down in the late afternoon/early evening to volunteer watching the children and assist the paid staff with some of their duties.

When you are a “Mzungu,” a white person in Uganda, you are seen as a wealthy individual. You are rich in the eyes of a Ugandan. And truthfully, you are wealthy; very wealthy compared to the average Ugandan.

Ugandans will pay attention to you…they wonder why you are in their country. Are you there to help them? Are you volunteering toward a humanitarian effort? Are you adopting one of their children? Any number of other questions pops into their minds. Most Ugandans are very friendly and will talk to you if you are polite with them and begin by greeting them. The attention that Ugandans spend upon us Mzungus fuels our natural tendency to be proud of who we are and what we can do with our resources.

Often one of the largest obstacles for families who are considering international adoption is the cost. At OFY we understand that funding an adoption, especially an international adoption, is very expensive. While many individuals and couples have the desire, skills and resources to care for a child, the initial costs keep them from adopting.  Although the expenses can seem overwhelming, we are committed to helping families explore options to make adoption more affordable.  Fortunately, there are some funding sources available to help with the cost of adoption. 


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