We have been home 2 weeks as of yesterday.
We thought we’d feel sad with the wait in between, but we don’t. We feel great. That orphanage, those people, good people. I feel like my heart is put to rest. With our adoption from Russia there were three waits, the first one months long without knowing when we’d be invited back for court.
We’ve already been to court.
But don’t worry, while in Istanbul I realized that I hadn’t brought clothes for court, “Danggit!!! I forgot!” I told Andrew. He just smiled. I am not a details person, which is always fine, things work out. While in Ethiopia we walked into a mall-ish type place and I went into a store, which I remember being called ‘Fancy Lady,’ but I could be remembering that wrong.
I grabbed the hangered shoulder of a mustard yellow blouse with cream colored polka dots. “Perfect!” I said to Andrew…who shook his head at me. The gorgeous Ethiopian store worker? She shook her head at me. What happened to sales? Wait–no, what happened to–wasn’t there a time in my life when I was stylish and could pick out cute clothes? Perhaps that time has passed.
They helped me find some navy blue pin-striped deal and we called it a day, “I LOVE it!” they both told me. Ok then. You’re welcome.
On the way to court, we got stuck in traffic. The two lane rode, somehow had both lanes going south. So us and the other northbound suckers just sat there. I watched all the people out my window, holding hands, arms around each other, babies wrapped in brightly colored but dusty cloth on their mama’s backs. “This happens sometimes,” Fekadu told us as he honked the horn. I held onto my stomach, my poor stomach, why had I brushed my teeth in the Turkish airport!?
We arrived at court, all our other friends were there, the ones adopting from the same little room as us who you become close to real quick, “Oh, is that an extra cracker you have, may I?” “YES!” Needs and sharing from our little supplies make strangers into family real quick.
We crowded into a little room and sat on hard wood benches. So different from Russia, so many families waiting at once, people smiling, people nervous. Some of the men who work at the orphanage sitting there, smiling and talking to each other. A family smashed in next to us was very nervous, I contemplated sharing the lavender oil in my purse, but sometimes people just aren’t into that sort of thing. But I offered anyways, and she accepted, looking relieved. Oh man, lavender smells good anytime, but in a third world country, with the traffic fumes flowing, it’s like breath of the gods. We were all drenching ourselves, and conversation turned light, happy.
We shared about the successes of our adopted children at home.
We popped up, “Oh, us.” The nervous family looked nervous again.
We walked into a small room, and were greeted my a serious man. Serious in Ethiopia means a casual smile the entire time, just a little less bubbly, but kind. Serious in Russia means death eyes to match their frown, but doesn’t negate kindness
“You know people who have adopted from Ethiopia?”
“You live in an area with diversity?”
“You have met the child?”
“Do you love her?”
Oh jeez buddy, “Yes,” we said as we looked at each other and gripped our hands together, tears slipping down my face.
He smiled kindly at us, “That’s good,” he said.
And we were done.
5 minutes? What happened to the two hour grilling like last time?
Proud parents. Four children, one little girl, sweet as pie, now our own.
We walked back into the bench room and hugged some friends.
We traveled back to the orphanage for one more visit and one of the moms told us, “Did you know that in that room with us was the MoWa leader?”
“What!?” we all said.
MoWa is the group of people who decides when you can visit your child. They have slowed down the entire process adding months and months onto every adoptive family. How many times that name had been in my pleading prayers.
“Yeah, he was asking our driver, ‘Why are all these people crying and hugging,’ and our driver told him that we all love our children so much and it’s a big day for us.” Apparently he was stunned. I think I’ll take that as a good thing.
We arrived at the orphanage and scooped up a happy, squealing girl, so excited to see us.
Watching the trash collectors
We went out to lunch at Lucy, where the bones were found. It was gorgeous, a lush gazebo.
These two guys may look cool, but they are such softies and will do anything to make any of the children in the orphanage smile. Grace and kindness flowing from them like a river.
After we finished our meal, it was time for the afternoon rain. We sat under an awning, and a man approached us. He had his family with him, teenaged, sweet white and brown children, he told us they had adopted years ago and they were here as a heritage trip. He spoke some kind, encouraging words to us.
“Are you a pastor?” I asked him.
He looked at me surprised, “Yes, I am, how did you know?”
“You’re encouraging and a good speaker.”
“Well, I mean, I could have been a pharmaceutical salesmen, right?”
We sat under the eves with Fekadu as the rain cleared up before heading back to the car.
“We have nothing but time here,” Fekadu smiled.
We drove up to the green mountains once the rain cleared up, green forever, above and below. At the bottom was 7,000ft above sea level. Ethiopian Olympic athletes train on this mountain. Half way up, we looked down to a sea of tree tops, lush and alive. Drenched in sunlight, the air fresh.
We saw woman after woman carrying a small forest piled on their backs and walking by foot down the curving road.
“For fifteen cents,” Fekadu told us. It must take most of a day to collect and haul it all. It was what the poorest of the poor did. We’d see their faces, strain and focus etched in their eyes, sweat streaming down their faces.
While exploring the palace we met the sweetest shepherd boy. Like all the people here, he was kind and giving, a lightness in his eyes showing he cared about people.
“Why is everyone just so kind here?” we always ask.
Fekadu shrugged his shoulders and smiled.
At the bottom of the mountain, we visited the Former Fuel Workers Rehabilitation Center. A missionary family has set up a loom cottage where the women can weave hand made scarves and sell them for decent, livable wages instead of carrying those piles of trees. Creating a new life for themselves and their families. We are SO into this, this is one of the biggest things to us. We grabbed so many darn scarves, bought them all up. The best investment.
We visited Mo’s church for the service…we could hear it blocks away in the dark as we approached. As we walked up, the scene was different, people were spilling out onto the sidewalk, standing room only. We contemplated staying outside, but really wanted to see Mo. We snaked our way inside, and tried to find standing room. Mo was up there preaching with a full band filling the room with music and his preaching, the man was on fire, people closed their eyes, taking in the words, hearing of God’s love. All the people across the rows were holding hands with each other and singing. Andrew and I were too shy to hold hands, and stood, taking it all in.
Oh, I forgot to show you my court shirt. Are you as impressed as Andrew and the sales lady were? Perhaps the 80s are back.
Our final goodbye.
When dew slides down the sleepy grass, when pools of sunlight spill onto the wood planked floor, when the warm dust kicks up behind the hooves of the lambs–glowing as it swirls in the sun, when you stare up at the stars and wait, remember what we told you, and let each memory guide your heart to know, ‘We love you to the moon and back, look up to the moon and know our love for you.’ Our love is around you, even now when you don’t see us, you can feel us. Even in the dust, even in the moon, even in the stars.
We are here with you.