Countdown to court

Only five weeks until we embrace Meseret and Kamise for the first time. Again, the surreal will finally become real. So many fears have been realized, in deep waters of terror we have waded. God took us by the hand and led us to the river’s edge, then asked us to step into the current. Trembling, we did so. Where my eyes saw a current sweep us into the river, my soul saw we were enfolded by the Father, the Son and the Spirit. Though there have been some moments of floating...trusting;  more often I have  thrashed in the current. Afraid. When the discomfort engulfs me, I finally tune into the Father's voice, “Be still and know that I am God.” Easier said than done. Unless I possessed a vision of God that was true rather than the god of my imaginings. Each time the water calmed after tumultuous rapids, my vision of my Father was a little less tarred. A little bit closer to who He says He is. How He's let me thrash to exhaustion, in order to tantalize me with rest. My flesh resists death.

Dennis was able to meet with Sue (our agent) for a few minutes on Friday and she walked him through the path we will trod the next 30 days.

Within the next week or two,  our girls are to be transferred from Kamashi to Addis Ababa. With a jeepful of orphans, they will make the 14-hour ride on dirt roads to the capital of Ethiopia. Sue said nausea and vomit will abound. Their bodies are unaccustomed to motion and all the kids will be losing their breakfast, which may have been a small portion of onions and flatbread. Onions and injhira flatbread. Their daily portion at the Kamashi orphanage. Our agent is anxious to move them to Addis because they’ll have more food for their malnourished bodies. Even a banana.

The thought brought tears. As the tears rolled down my cheeks, I was engulfed in a wave of fear that there won’t be enough for a family of 7. Enough space. Enough food. Enough money. Enough energy. Enough capacity. Enough patience. Enough. And I remembered the voices of loving and committed friends and family, expressing concern that adopting the girls will jeapodize our current family’s future. A small portion of onions and a piece of flatbread is their portion. Perspective washed over me as the tears continued to roll down my cheeks. Onions and a piece of injhira. We are pigs at the trough.

I had shopped at my favorite market 3 days earlier, indulging in summer’s bountiful crop of peaches, raspberries, nectarines, plums, strawberries, blueberries and vegetables of every color. Then I picked up an applewood smoked chicken in their meat market. Cole and I found a bench at one of the store’s picnic tables and I devoured a warm drumstick while he enjoyed a hot dog and ice cream cone. There is more than enough.

On October 18th, Meseret and Kamise’s father will appear in court (if all goes as hoped). It is his day to relinquish his rights as their father to the Ethiopian court system. As the words left Dennis’s lips, a flood of emotion burst from within my heart. I wept, uncontrollably. I can’t fathom what it would require to give up my children to an unknown family across the world. What loss and hardship brings one to this place?

Following his court appointment, their father is taken to the transition orphanage to tell his girls good-bye. Another flood burst forth into uncontrollable weeping. This is our daughter’s story. At 7 and 9, how does a heart stay present to receive such loss. First their mother whose breath was taken from her, then their father who chose to give them away while he still has breath.

Meseret and Kamise will have just over two weeks in the transition orphanage to see white people arrive and embrace their friends, love on their friends. Then take their friends away forever. Sue shared this will be their first idea of adoption forming. By the time we arrive, she said it’s likely they’ll be incredibly excited to see us. They will hardly be able to wait for their white mom and dad to embrace them and take them away. They might even rush us out of the orphanage, fearing we’ll choose someone other than them to take away. I was filled with an inkling of hope at this news. It would be more than lavish for them to be excited to meet us.

October 30th, the morning after our arrival into Addis, we will be taken to the orphanage to retrieve our girls. Is this really happening, God? Is this really my life over the next 5 weeks? Still too surreal to be true. We will spend 3 days together, communicating through our bodies, hoping to connect with their hearts, but will be satisfied to figure out how to know when they need to relieve themselves or meet their basic needs.

The morning of October 31st, we will be taken with several other adoptive parents to our court appointment. Thinking we’d appear in a court room with some sort of formality, Sue shared it’s not anything like our imaginings. We will file into a room with other parents, answer a few questions from the judge about whether or not we want these children, how we’ll instill their Ethiopian heritage into them and I don’t know what else. Then the judge will make his judgment. Short and to the point.

We’ll enjoy one more day with our girls, then take them back to the orphanage, with the promise of our return. I can’t imagine how my arms will agree to walk away empty. How my body will board planes for another 24 hours to return to our life of abundance in the US, leaving our daughters behind evades me as well. God, with each step on this path, I taste a little bit more of how you ache for us to return to your embrace, where life is abundant. And the promise of your return. The sweetness of that reality just grew sweeter.