Orginally written November 20th 2013
We only had one plan for today: Spend quality time with our kiddos.
We slept in a little- our bodies are finally adjusted- and had breakfast at the guest house. Then our driver brought us to the transition home. I filmed part of the ride there. Traffic wasn’t crazy today (by Ethiopian standards) but I wanted to show what life is like here. Just outside the transition home walls are beggars, wild dogs, wild donkeys, mud covered roads, and shanty shops by the hundreds. The poverty here has really affected me. Of course I expected to see it- we are in a developing country- but I did not expect it to be so prevalent in the capital city.
We walked in and the kids came out to greet us. We learned that they were upset and confused yesterday when we left. Our boy is emotional, dealing with his hurts outwardly. Our girl processes things internally. After we left our boy told the director that his birth mom told him that she loves him but is going to give him to two people who also love him and will raise him. But then those people left him too. At eight years old, he’s old enough to sort of understand what’s going on, but cannot begin to process why or know that his current situation is temporary. How could he? He has not had a single person in his entire life that has not left.
You wouldn’t know this from casually meeting him, though. He smiles easily and loves people. Our electronics were a hit again. I have some games on my phone for Wiggles that they couldn’t get enough of. Our girl started to come out of her shell. I realized that her quiet personality isn’t going to fight with the other children for attention, so in this environment she often is on the sidelines. But when you make an effort to engage her, when you show her attention and affection, she starts to smile and relax. She’s dealt with her short but hard life by building a brick wall around her little heart, and I cannot wait to start breaking it down.
All day today, our boy would point at each of the four of us and then point over the gate, saying “America” in his shy English. This is heartwarming and heartbreaking. It’s very apparent he’s ready to come home with us NOW. I can’t blame him. This home beats his past living conditions but it is no place for a kid to live. He knows he’s going to America with us, but he can’t understand he won’t be anytime soon.
The husband and I went into the office to do some paperwork while the kids were eating lunch. We kissed them and told them we would be right back. When we came back about 10 minutes later, our boy’s shoulders were heaving with grief.
It’s so hard to be here knowing that we’re leaving in a few days. All I want to do is scoop them up, kiss their tears away, and tell them that we’re here and that we’re never leaving again. But I can’t do that because it’s not true. We are leaving again. We’re leaving for weeks. There’s a lot that happens in those weeks, but they can’t understand that. All they will know is that yet another adult has left them behind. Those weeks will be filled with busy days for the husband and me, but not for them. Those weeks will be full of long empty days for them, nothing to do except kick the same ball, play with the same toys, shrug off the same toddlers, all within the same four walls.
Adoption is hard.
The husband and I are getting a little antsy. Brad and Amy, the other couple adopting through our agency, have left, so we are alone in the guest house. We are only at the transition home a few hours a day. Today we were there from about 10-2. Then we went to the Hilton to use the Internet and walk around. We were back at the guest house by 6. We’re dependent on drivers so we can’t just go somewhere. There’s no internet at the house and only a few English-speaking tv channels. The nights are long and boring; we’re wishing we brought cards or something to entertain us. Tonight I ran up and down the stairs just to have something to do.
Tomorrow (11.21) we go to court to make this adoption final (in the Ethiopian government’s eyes anyway)!