Here’s a great thing about living in America: Things work.
Cars go where they are supposed to go. Packages get delivered where they’re supposed to get delivered. Water comes out when you turn the faucet, electricity doesn’t randomly go out, and when you order a Sprite they don’t bring you a Coke.
This is not true in many developing countries, Ethiopia included. I LOVE my children’s birth country, but goodness it’s frustrating when things don’t work as they’re supposed to.
You have to do updates several times during the first year after you adopt from Ethiopia. The social worker comes over, we hang out, and then she goes home and writes about how wonderful the kids are. While she’s writing we have to gather pictures of the kids, tape them to a piece of paper just so, and then send 3 copies back to our adoption agency. The agency keeps one, one goes to the Ministry of Women’s Affairs that oversees adoption in Ethiopia, and one goes back to the orphanage so the birth family can access it. Every time we’ve sent one of these reports, I’ve included printed pictures that our kids’ families can take back with them, along with some drawings and writings from the kids.
You might remember our adoption was a bit messy. Our kids’ birth mom loves her kids and although she willingly relinquished them- something we had to make very sure of- it was a hard decision for her. When we met her I looked into her tear-stained eyes and promised myself that I would take good care of her kids and that I would keep her updated on them. This is a promise I was, and am, serious about.
A couple of months ago I came across the direct contact info for their orphanage. I emailed the director and, long story short, realized HE HAD NEVER RECEIVED OUR PACKAGES!
Here’s what went down from there:
- I’M SO MAD I’M GOING TO MURDER OUR AGENCY!
- It’s probably not our agency’s fault, you know how the mail system works there.
- Let’s ask him for the address so I can send him packages directly
- Found out that the area he’s from literally has no street addresses.
- Call our local DSL to see if they can deliver to a small village in Ethiopia with just a name and contact number. Sounds odd, but things work differently there.
- Cry thinking about this poor birth mom who has heard zero from us in nearly two years.
- Become DETERMINED to get her some sort of update, asap
So I start connecting with my adoption network and find out that many of them have dealt with this too. Their solution? They hire a searcher. Although Ethiopia’s system seems foreign and complicated to me, there are plenty of people who get it and they make a living for themselves by tracking people down.
We already had experience with a searcher. You might remember we had to hire one back when our case got complicated. I emailed her immediately to see if she could help us with this case. This would be ideal because she has already tracked down our birth family once, so it’s easier (and cheaper) for her to simply deliver things and take pictures now. Simple solution, right?
Except that after replying to my first couple of emails she’s went cold. I haven’t heard from her in days and I can’t get these pictures sent over quick enough. I just keep thinking about their poor birth mother, wondering what on Earth happened to her babies. If she could only see how tall they are, how long Diva’s hair is, how bright Smiles’s smile is. If she could only know they’re both reading, that Smiles knows how to multiply, that Diva spends hours drawing princess pictures. If she could only know that they are happy and healthy. I have failed by this measure. I must figure this out asap!