The next few posts will be about our trip to Ethiopia for court
Thursday March 8th, 2012 was a special day for us. After months of paperwork, staring at a picture, and dreaming of our little girl, we had an appointment with the Ethiopian Adoption Judge. We would be interviewed by her, and if all went well, named the legal parents of B.
This is the side of adoption that most people see. The newness, the bringing the baby home. The excitement, and the new found hope for the child. This is a side that we experienced in 2009, and it was wonderful.
But there is another side....
On that same morning, just abut when we were supposed to leave for court, an Ethiopian-Muslim woman and her four kids arrived at out Guest House. The kids were clean, well fed, very polite, and very friendly. Because of that, no one gave it a second thought. The waitress made them breakfast, and they ate it quietly, and went outside to play soccer with the other foreigners who were there.
But soon we heard the real story from the Ethiopian employees. This lady's husband had died the month before, she had no money, and in fact was there to relinquish her children. She was waiting for the In-Country Coordinator (who was at the courthouse with us) to take the children to the care center. She was planning to say good-bye to her children. At the same time we welcomed ours. We came back after court, and saw she and the children were still there. Both the Mom and children had stopped crying, resigned to their fate.
When we walked into court, it was not a traditional courtroom. It was essentially a DMV waiting room, off the Judge's chambers. We all sat in chairs that ran along the wall. While were devouring the police reports and background of our girl, we were oblivious to the Ethiopian women who were being called one by one in the same Judge's chambers that we were scheduled for. We soon realized that each woman was being called in to tell the Judge that they wanted to place their child for adoption. They were all crying, and had the same empty look that the Mother at our hotel had.
We saw the tears in their eyes, while at the same time we had tears in ours. Theirs were of sadness, and grief for the children they were leaving behind. Ours were of joy, and excitement for the future.
In our adoption classes we have to take, we talk about the triangle, the three points being the child, the birth family, and the adoptive family. The triangle shows what all three parties gain and loose from the process of adoption. But we tend to only look at the good and ignore the fact that we celebrate only because another family grieves; our joy comes only because of another's tragedy.
Fortunately, the woman with the four kids, ended up not relinquishing them. The Coordinator sat down with her, and discovered her major need was money. Clearly she had the ability to care for them, if only she had the money. So our agency told them that instead of sending the kids to America, they will have someone from American sponsor them to give them the money they need each month to survive. The family began their long journey home--a journey the Mom had expected to take by herself.
So while we celebrate and welcome a new daughter into our family,
our prayer is that we will always remember the sacrifice of a family in a small city in Ethiopia.