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Saturday, March 10, 2012

One year ago today....

....we officially became parents. Here is the story of that day:

That morning I woke up and immediately had the worst case of butterflies I think I have ever had. The plan was to go to court in the morning and then after court we would have a chance to visit with the boys' birth dad, who I will call J. I don't know what I was more nervous about....meeting J and talking with him (through translators, of course) or going to court. The night before court (well, it might have been a couple nights before, I can't remember that part) we had received a DVD of the investigation that AWAA had conducted on their own to make sure that the boys were in fact orphans. Because of that DVD, we knew what J looked like.  That morning the first thing we did was meet with Duni, who is the attorney for AWAA in Ethiopia. She met with us to let us know what to expect, what the next steps were if we passed and if we didn't pass, and to give us some basic instructions on how to address the judge, etc. She said that she had been asked to send over her files so she knew that at least one of us would pass court. Sometime mid morning we got the call to go. I remember riding to the court house (which we had passed on many occasions and didn't even know it) wondering if we would be one of the family's who would pass or if we would have to wait longer. Our plan all along was for me to stay in Ethiopia until I could bring the boys home, but if we didn't pass court by the time Garth left, I was probably going to go home then too since I couldn't stay there indefinitely. When we got to the court house we got to walk up what seemed like 100 flights of stairs (in actuality it was only 4) and we were led to this room filled with adopting parents as well as birth family members. The first time I saw J I remember what a shock it was to see him right there....in the same room as us....and he had no idea who we were. Birth family members had to be at court to tell the judge that they were unable to care for their children and that they were voluntarily giving up their parental rights. J had some other family members with him which I was glad about because he was about to do the hardest thing imaginable and I wanted him to have some support from family when it was over. I remember looking at him thinking "You are amazing. You love your boys so much that you are willing to let strangers from another country raise them for you since you are unable to." I still tear up when I think of J. Anyway, the room that we were in was PACKED full of people. Duni said that she had never seen it that packed before. Literally there was standing room only. They did have benches along the walls, but there was no space left to sit on them. I don't remember how long we stood there...trying to act nonchalant all the while my stomach is lurching like I was on a really loooooooooooooooong roller coaster, but finally our names were called along with other families in our group. When we went into the judge's chambers, 3 other families went in with us (all from AWAA). We all sat on some chairs that were in there. Garth and I sat fairly close to the judge. She was very soft-spoken and it was kind of hard to hear her. She asked us several questions like have we met our kids, have we researched Ethiopia, do we have other friends who have adopted from Ethiopia before back home, do we understand that once we pass court they are ours and we can't "give them back." Of course we said yes to all of them. After we finished answering her questions, she told one of the other families whether they passed (I don't remember who it was so I can't remember if they passed or not) and then she said "Jagiso and Simon's paperwork is all complete. Congratulations, they are yours." At that moment, I think my head exploded. My mind was spinning and I was thinking "I am a MOM! I am a MOM! I am a MOM!" I don't know what was said after that. When we were all dismissed, as soon as I got out into the bigger room I started crying. I'm not talking a few tears quietly streaming down my face, I was BAWLING. Garth then grabbed me and said "What did she say? Did we pass?" I told you she was hard to hear. I tried to use my inside voice, but I'm pretty sure I screamed "WE PASSED!" We were ushered out of the room, back down the stairs (which seemed to fly by this time) and we headed back to Yebsabi to get ready for our meeting with J. I was obviously ecstatic about passing court (as you can tell by the video below) but I was also grieving. Grieving for the big change the boys were going to have to make, grieving for J who just put his trust in 2 complete strangers to raise his boys, and grieving the loss of his family. We went back to our room to wait for the phone call that let us know that J was ready for us. I don't remember how long we waited, but it didn't seem very long. The meeting was very informative and heartbreaking. We were able to video tape the session so the boys can see it later. It was again hard to hear because they are soft-spoken and there were other families having their birth family interviews as well so there were chairs scraping on the floor, other people talking, etc. But, it was wonderful. Following the visit with us, J was then going to get to go back to the transition home to say good-bye to the boys one last time. We were also able to get that videotaped by one of the guides, Yonas. I admit I was a little nervous about this meeting, but I know that it was necessary for J to have closure. Later that day when we went to visit the boys it was a whole new feeling because I knew that they were ours FOREVER! It was an incredible feeling. Every day since then has been better and better and I can't believe I've been a mom for a whole year now. I've said it before and I'll say it again...Being a mom is the BEST JOB EVER!

video


2 comments:

  1. If I would let them, the tears are ready to roll after reading this!!! It has been a joy being on your Facebook postings and seeing the experiences of the boys that have been "firsts"...sledding in the snow, etc.

    They are truly darling, you and your husband are so exceedingly overjoyed and the boys are obviously receiving that love from you both... deep within.

    I have a friend, I am going to send your blog site to. She and her husband lost their invitro twin daughters soon after birth. They have tried invitro once again but this time not with good results. They are in their early 40's. Are they too old to do this?

    (((HUGS))) to all and praying that you and your mom are having a wonderful time at the women's retreat together.

    GOD bless you all,

    Margus

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Margus, you are SO SWEET! No, early 40s isn't too late. Garth was 43 when we started the process.

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Today I Kissed an Angel

Today I kissed an angel. I knew it from the start. The first time my angel smiled at me; I gave away my heart.

Today I kissed an angel; This angel child of mine. Though not of my creation, My child by God's design.

Today I kissed an angel. My heart is dancing wild; Our family, by a miracle; Blessed by our angel child.

All I Really Want by Steven Curtis Chapman