Ethiopia Court Trip day 3

What a full and wonderful and tension-filled day. Right now my heart is so heavy as I think of Cole struggling so deeply during our time away. I read an email from Virginia today saying that Cole has been struggling emotionally since we left. He melted down and wept three times yesterday because he misses us so. He's also losing the two single women who are his Orlando aunties as they both move away within 4 weeks of each other. And only God knows what is stirring in him concerning the adoption. I also heard of Keegan's care for Cole and my heart was delighted. My heart broke reading Virginia's letter. I longed to comfort him and hear about the deep stirrings in his soul. And I’m in Ethiopia needing to attend and begin attaching to our daughters here. My heart is burdened for our beautifully relational son. This season is filled with such loss for us and so much ache amidst the joy of gaining two sisters/daughters.

Today is a picture of the bittersweetness of life. We awoke early to ready ourselves for our court date. More eggs for breakfast. Definitely a staple here. At 8:30, we had Yonnatn tell Kamise why we were leaving with Meseret and wouldn’t be able to take her with us to court. Her face saddened and she ran to her room and buried her face in her bed. I laid down beside her and lifted her chin, pointing to look into my eyes. Big elephant tears turned her deep brown eyes glassy. “Kamise, we love you and we are coming back for you. We love you. We love you.” I held her as tears filled my eyes. Then Dennis held her. We walked out the door leaving her in the care of one of the precious housekeepers/cooks at the Addis Flower Guest House.

We were briefed by Dereje, CCI’s director in Ethiopia, on what to expect when we sat before the judge. Then we walked into a large square room whose walls were lined with chairs, which were stuffed with people there for one of two purposes. To relinquish their children or family member. To adopt one of the relinquished or abandoned. On the right side of the room were 8 white faces which lit up as if they recognized us when we walked through the doors. For the next hour we joined hearts with these 4 other CCI adoptive parents. Meseret ran to embrace two of her best friends from Kamashi, whose forever parents live in Kentucky.

Suddenly we were being ushered into a small room and seated around the edges before the judge. She asked us a short list of questions: Have we completed our cross-cultural training? Are we aware of the possibility of identity crisis our children may face in the future? Are we aware that the verdict is irrevocable once made? Have we connected with other adoptive families of Ethiopian children in our cities? Etc. Then she turned to Meseret and conversed with her for a few minutes: Do you know these people are wanting to be your mother and father? Do you want to go live with them in America? And a host of others I don’t know about. After doing the same with Meseret’s friends, the judge turned to us and said, “Your case is complete and has passed court.”

What? Just like that? Everything was in her hands that was required? A year of labor and we have suddenly given birth. I let out an interjection! and at the same time was aware of how surreal this journey remains. These are our daughters. Betrothed to them in March and after a long roller-coaster ride, our “case passed court.” We don’t know them. They don’t know us. Yet we have chosen to love them for their sakes, not our own. At times I think I should be feeling stronger emotion than I am. Then I remind myself this has been a choice of surrender from the first dip of our feet into this river. A choice to respond to God's leading us to care for orphans and the oppressed.

We spent the afternoon with the Miller’s from Nashville, TN and their 3 and 4 grade daughters, Parker and Emory. Shopping at the market, a trip to the Museum of Ethiopian History, ending with a view of Addis from a point high on a hill on the outskirts of the city.

Tomorrow we spend one final day with our girls, return them to the Transition House in the evening and head to the airport to catch another 24 hrs. of flight over several oceans, seas and continents to our little community in Orlando. There, we will go back to life as usual. Another day of homeschooling. Continued preparation on Mes and Kam's room. Thanksgiving, Birthdays, Christmas, New Years. We will await an embassy date. Our agent said not to expect one till January when Dennis spoke with her on the phone tonight. That will be okay. They are in loving hands with precious friends. If anything is sinking more deeply into my soul on this adoption path, it is that the Father's timing is perfect and good.

Until I return to Orlando,

the up and down mother of five