Sunday, December 5, 2010

We are HOME...Part III

If you'd like to start at "Part HERE!

This trip was life-changing.  Not only did we meet our child and get to hold her for the first time, but we had soo many experiences in just a few short days that will stay with me for the rest of my life!  And sometime soon (hopefully) we will be told of our second date to return.  It is looking like January 24th could be a possibility if our agency can get all of the paperwork together before then.  We are praying that this is it. :0)

 You wanna hear the juicy details about the court hearing?  WELL.....we were prepared with respectful, dressy clothes to honor our judge, the country  of Ethiopia, our daughter and her birth parents.  We got all of our info in line so we wouldn't disappoint "her highness" with the wrong answers.  And we showed up on-time.  Well, close to on-time. :0)  I don't think anything ever happens in a specific amount of time in Ethiopia, and everyone will remind you of that.  Our driver obviously didn't get the message.  We were due in court at 9:00 and our driver came to get us about 8:45...hardly enough time to cross the city.  If I felt car-sick any day, this would be the one.  He drove soo fast and furious I thought I might lose it.  

You see in Ethiopia there seem to be no rules either.  If this car needs to get from point "A" to point "B", it will get there, even if it cuts in front of other cars with a split second notice.  And the other driver will just honk his little horn--"beep, beep", and they wave at each other politely and move over.  I learned after the second, maybe third day that these weren't the mean honks that we get back home, where you see "the finger" from across the way.  No, these are courtesy honks, which seem to say "excuse me, I'm to the left and you are too far over" and the wave means, "oh, pardon me....I didn't see you there and I would LOVE to move just a tinsy bit to let you through".  Seriously.  That's how it is.  And it works.  It seems chaotic and it makes me sick, but it's functional.  It really is.  Only a couple of times did we see a little fender-bender.  And once we had to be "untangled" from a mess of cars all going their separate directions, but there was no way to get out.  If only we had soo much respect and love for each other in America.  
And patience. we showed up at the court house past 9:00 a little worried that perhaps we were passed over, but it was very quiet for awhile.  (FYI, there are no pictures allowed inside/outside the courthouse or government buildings)  Then people started to come in.  I think their lawyers got the memo saying that 9:00 really meant 10:00.  Cause she really didn't even start until then and even 20 minutes after that people still poured in.  It was a fairly small room, with the judges "chambers" being like a filing/storage closet.  I guess I some how had the vision that we would actually be in a court-room of some kind...not soo much.  This really did make it easier to settle the nerves a little though.  We had been told by families before us that there was no need to stress about anything and it all happens very quickly.  But there is always the worry that the judge may decide to ask us the dreaded question "How will you handle identity issues when the child is older?"  That's the one I was soo unsettled about.  I mean, I have ideas of what we will do, but to explain that to her before she rolled her eyes when my response was too long.....well, a little nervous about that.  So...after a good half hour to hour later we were called in with our lawyer and we sat against a west wall, with her on the North end...not even facing each other!  Wow!  And she spoke ever-so-quietly...especially with all of the noise coming from the other side of the door (not all adopting families were as respectful as ours--sadly, and they were hushed several times by the court-clerk).  She asked a series of about 6 questions like, "Have you met your child before court today?, Do you still want to adopt this child after meeting her?,   Do you have other children and are they happy about this adoption?, Will you try to keep her culture a part of your child's upbringing? (this was the only time it wasn't YES or NO....she said ""This is very important that she keeps her culture"".)  And then the best part of all.......
"Then she is yours".  
Tears welled up and fell and Dic and I hugged.  I can't remember how we got from one room to the next...I was floating.  I never imagined it would ever happen!  All-in-all it took about 60 seconds, and just like that it was over.  We were officially the proud parents of a little girl...a beautiful little girl!  Our lives would be changed forever.  We hugged the other adopting family and headed back down to the van.  With tears still going we exchanged hand-shakes and hugs with our lawyer and driver (he dressed up soo nicely for our hearing--soo sweet).  And off we went.  As he played "God is Good, All the Time" on his radio. 

 After court we were taken back to the Care Center where our little miss was patiently awaiting our arrival.  By this time she knew our faces and voices and they say she asks for us.  She came down the stairs wearing the sweetest little striped dress and a hair-bow that one of the other moms let her keep.  Little angel.  But this day we could tell she was different.  She was tired.  All of the kids seemed to be tired.  Late party?  Hard night?  I don't know, but she was not the little girl we had spent time with before.  All I wanted to do was put her out of her misery and take her to bed.  She went through the motions with us throwing balls and bouncing balloons.  I even tried to pick her up and rock her, but I think she was worried she would miss something.  I just wish we had learned more Amharic prior too.  We pulled out our list of words, but I wished at that moment I could speak it fluently for her sake.  I asked many times for the words to express myself, but phrases are very difficult.  Uggh.  So I just sang.  She loved it and smiled.  I know that's one thing that will be my saving-grace when she's all out of umph on the plane ride home.  She loves music.  

Soon enough it was time to say goodbye and we took her up to her room for a nap.  Our last time we would see her for a couple of months.  She gave us both big hugs and kisses and crawled into her bed.  I wish I knew how to tell her we would see her again....that this wasn't the end.  That this goodbye wouldn't be forever.  That one day soon we would be together, as a family.  That we would love her just like her birth family did, just like her nannies did.  That her mommy and daddy love her to the moon and back already. 
I wish there were a way to 
get her to understand that soo many great, new things would
be happening very soon.  We will be back.  Oh Lord, please don't let her heart 
be broken one more time thinking that we were gone for good.  Please keep us in her heart.  Let her know that the pictures we left behind are of the people who will take care of her for the rest of her life.  Tell her we love her when we can't.  Is that too much to ask? 

I miss her more now than ever.  But I wasn't broken-hearted that day.  I knew that she was being cared for with love, in abundance.  She loves the people there and she tells them so...I heard it.  I don't worry because I know she is in a great place.  But I miss her.  Dic misses her.  The boys miss her.  We pray that it won't be long and she can fill that void in our hearts.  
~She is the missing piece to our puzzle, 
and we our hers.~

 My Baby Girl.....soon.


Sharon said...

She has the same hair as my Lily!

Amanda said...

Oh my gosh, I am bawling! I am so happy for your family and for this sweet little girl that will have the privilege of growing up in your home, loved so deeply by you and your family. I pray that things move quickly and that you can bring her home very soon.

There was an error in this gadget

music player