The next few days after we arrived are somewhat of a blur. Part of my problem is writing when I should be writing. Writing to remember specific details after the end of the day seems to be my problem. Nevertheless, the thing that I remember most is seeing Fitsum.
With that being said, the other event that stands out, and was the entire reason for our trip, was our court appearance. Court in Ethiopia is a little different than court in the U.S. We had our court date scheduled by ourselves as there wasn’t anyone else from our adoption agency making a court appearance. We were somewhat hopeful that we would pass court and be able to bring Fitsum to the hotel, maybe not that day, but in a couple of days.
We eventually learned that this wasn’t the case.
Sweet Sweet and I had planed on her staying in Ethiopia for the interim time period from this trip to the time we would be at embassy, which we thought would be about a month. We had packed food, toys, clothes, and other things to try to plan for Sweet Sweet to be in Addis for an entire month.
When we got to court, it was a little strange. All of the parents of the families looking to adopt are in one room. There are occasions when the room is supposedly packed, but the day we were there it wasn’t too bad. This is basically a cattle call and you go see the judge when they call the name of the orphanage your child is from. I have to do this in some courts, so that part wasn’t new to me. The waiting was the toughest part as the only thing running through your mind was praying that the paperwork was in order and the judge would sign the order approving our adoption.
Finally, we were called, after maybe an hour or so of waiting. Not too bad. The judge was very nice, she spoke English and she asked us simple questions about if we were ready to adopt and ready to adopt and have a multi-cultural family. We were told that our paperwork was in order, but we were lacking a letter of recommendation from the agency that is the investigative arm for the adoption process in Ethiopia. We were told by families that we had met on the plane ride over that this agency was about three weeks behind and their adoption agency told them not to expect to pass. We were also told that we could ask the judge questions and so we asked the judge as to time-frame for those letters to appear and she said that it was three weeks, but when we told her that Sweet Sweet was staying, she said we could ask this agency to hurry so the letters would get there quicker.
Our representative in court did not speak English and when what the judge told us was translated to the representative, he shook his head. The agency would hurry for no one, and we had heard that this was true. They were behind at least three weeks and should expect that sort of delay, perhaps longer.
We were okay with the delay in the end. That’s not to say that you want to leave your child, but seeing the excellent living conditions and the thought that Fitsum would be well taken care of despite us leaving, I think we felt much better about the situation than we initially thought. He was not just receiving excellent care and plenty of food, but he was also receiving plenty of love at the transition home. The nannies absolutely love the children, not just Fitsum. They all expend a tremendous amount of time and energy for the toddlers and this is not one of those situations where I think that they were caring for the children just because we were there.
It was genuine and it is incredibly appreciated.
One final story to this post. Every afternoon, the nannies would pull out receiving blankets to entertain the toddlers. They would all want to wear them on their head and they would want you to tie them either in the front or the back (they didn’t care, just as long as it was on their head). They would take them off and want you to put them on their head again. It struck me how little children need to be entertained. It’s amazing how much the toddlers loved these blankets and it was absolutely incredible to sit on the floor and have these toddlers sit on your lap and ask that you put a headband on their head.
It was truly good times.