Tuesday, 16 March 2010
>I thought it was over.
Knowing our judge was very detailed and particular, I was ready for him to find little details and inconsistencies in our case. I was ready for him to pick some things apart and ask for corrected documents. But I was not ready for this.
After a couple minor points on some documentation, the judge started in on the real point he wanted to make. I felt the fear creeping up the back of my throat when he set down our papers and said, “This is where I have a big problem.” Everyone started speaking in Lugandan, but this much I understood: He didn’t believe people’s statements. He threatened to make an example of it by calling the police and putting Benjamin’s biological father in jail. He told our lawyer not to bring any more cases like this before him again.
In America, it happens all the time. A surviving biological parent wishes to relinquish his rights to his child. He believes it’s in his best interest, or he simply has no desire to raise the child. It’s considered a loving act in most cases.
But in Uganda, it’s a criminal offense to “run away from your responsibilities” as they see it. I’m not sure if he was trying to scare the father and make a point, or terrify us, but as they say in Africa:it was very “hot” in there.
Afterward, our lawyer said the judge was in a good mood today.
In the end, he said that these are “internal issues” that they are working out, and he’s not going to hold us responsible for them. He said to us, “don’t worry.” This means that the ruling, set for March 10th, should be positive.
I should feel elated, but I’m exhausted. My heart still races when I think of sitting in court and watching everything fall apart, so I thought. My son, and our family, was hanging in the balance and there was nothing that I could do about it. It was one of the most terrifying moments of my life. I thought that was it: we’d have to go home without Benjamin.
Jesus was with me, and he heard my whispered prayers and calmed my pounding heart. I would have fallen completely apart without him. I know I was being held. We’re thanking God for his grace and peace today.