Ethiopian Adoption Court Trip: Day Four

*Sorry for the lack of pictures, but I can’t post pictures of the kids in the orphanage, even if they’re going to soon be mine.  Also, I’m struggling with this post.  It was such an epic moment and I haven’t quite processed everything yet, plus it’s challenging to know what should be posted publicly vs. shared privately or not at all.  This post feels a little anticlimactic, but this is what happened.  More to come in the next few days.  

This morning we had breakfast with Amy and Brad and then left for the orphanage!

What a mix of emotions pulling up to the gate.  At this point we had talked to several people who had met our kids and had heard quite a bit about them.  We were excited and nervous to meet the kids who we would soon call our own.

We saw them as soon as the gate swung open.  We walked over to hug and kiss them.  The boy, who is more outgoing and affectionate, returned them with a huge smile.  The girl, who is quieter, received them happily.  I picked her up and carried her around for a while.  One of the staff scolded me (worried about me carrying her while being pregnant) but I thought “I missed out on carrying her for four years…I’m going to carry her all I can now.”

We gave them the photo albums we had made.  They looked through them excitedly, pointing to the pictures and naming “Dad, mom, brother.”  They are so sweet when they say these words.  They’re not confident with their English, and they say English words quietly but with a look of accomplishment. The boy kept kissing the pictures.

Communication is going to be an issue for a while, as the kids know very very little English.  They can’t even sing along to the alphabet song or name basic words.  I think I said this last time, but it’s really hitting me what an adjustment these kids have ahead of them.  It’s weird to think this 8-year-old who can’t say his ABCs will be starting 2nd grade in a few months.

But you know what the universal language is?  Electronics!  Those kids stole our phones and cameras and would not put them down.  I had about 50,000 thumbprint pictures and videos to delete afterwards.  They loved looking at pictures of Wiggles, giggling at his videos and kissing his image.  The kids are great with helping out with the younger guys.

They showed us where they slept.  This orphanage is not really an orphanage, it is called a transition home.  Kids go here when they have families but the process is being finalized.  It is nicer than the orphanage they’ve spent the past year in and they seem to have better hygiene here, but there is not a lot for them to do.  They are the oldest kids here and are not in school, so their days are long and boring.  There’s no staff engaging them.  No sing along songs.  There are a few balls, several random toys, and a TV that’s constantly on.  That’s all they have to fill their days with, over and over again.

Later they ate lunch- spaghetti- and we played ball before we had to leave.  It was hard saying good-bye.  It’s just so impossible for these kids to understand what is going on.  At 4 and 8, these kids have some idea what’s happening but there’s just no way for their little minds to fully get it.  And after all the instability and insecurity of their lives, it just didn’t feel right leaving so soon after we got there.  Luckily we still have a lot of time to spend with them before we leave for the States.

Going into today, I was worried about what would happen if we didn’t attach to these kids.  What if they didn’t seem like a good fit for our family, or what if they didn’t seem to like us?  Those worries were erased after about 3 minutes.  I know we will have challenges.  I know the transition isn’t going to be seamless, and it might be harder on one kid than the other.  But I have absolutely no doubts that these are the kids meant to be in our forever family, and I can’t wait to bring them home!

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