One of the great pleasures of this adoption, has been the friendships I have begun to build with other families who are also adopting from Ethiopia. Not usually one to be into the latest technology, I have now become an avid fan of Facebook and blogging and my beloved Yahoo!groups.
Having a group of people who are having the same hopes, dreams, frustrations, set-backs and questions you are is comforting. We have proven to be a great support group for each other, praying for each others needs, cheering each other on when we pass court and looking forward to finally being able to meet some of these families when you travel together to bring your children home.
As each new group of families prepares to travel, they coordinate taking care packages for families who wait, and most of them have a blog which the rest of us "stalk" shamelessly waiting for information, hints about when the next batch of referrals might be coming, and in anticipation of the day when it will be our turn.
One of the families that went before us was at the transition home when some newly arrived orphans were being brought from the orphanage. This is Karen Wistrom's description (their blog is family-from-afar.blogspot.com) of that day:
A short time later, Rachel and Barret pulled into the courtyard with 5 children in the back seat. Rachel looked a little distressed, and as she got out she asked for help from the nannies. One child had thrown up in the back seat and another was crying in fear. (By the way, Rachel and Barret are truly 2 of the most outstanding people with a passion for children and for Africa. They are devoted to these kids!!! Rachel is so calm and she empathizes with your feelings and emotions and goes out of her way to make this experience as smooth as possible. And she is just as beautiful on the outside as she is on the inside. You can't help instantly connecting with her and genuinely loving and appreciating her!!!)
So these 5 orphan children step out of the vehicle and they cluster together in fear. They are in a new place with no family and they are scared. Several started crying immediately and it was just heartbreaking. I was able to take one little girl into my arms and she melted into my shoulder and just sobbed. Another little girl cried louder in fear of me until a nanny scooped her up and brought her inside. A little boy held his sister to him and whispered his name to me and then the tears started flowing from his eyes. I grabbed him and his sister too and just wept with them and held them. Two of the children did not speak Amheric and could not be consoled. Finally Fortuna figured out that they spoke "Tigris" (?) and she was able to communicate with them. Meti (the little mother) came up and consoled and talked to each one and slowly the other children approached and touched or said some soothing words to them. I got the impression that the other kids could remember feeling this very same way.
This was truly the most heartbreaking situation I have witnessed here yet, and within about an hour, most of the new kids had already started playing with the other kids and climbing all over the grown-ups. Jay had one of the new kids on his lap much of the time. One of the new little girls was still silently crying big tears as we were preparing to leave, but she was snuggled securely on a nannies lap. These 5 kids (3 girls and 2 boys) were between the ages of 3 - 6 and the families that receive these referrals in the coming month or so will be blessed. I was blessed to have been here as they arrived and to be able to offer some comfort.
I wept as I read that post. It has haunted me ever since. My heart broke for those children. I could imagine nothing more terrifying than to be pulled away from everything you know (even if it was a life of starvation, abandonment, or the death of your parents) and brought to a completely foreign place, especially if you arrive there to find that no one speaks your language.
For me, adoption is a happy thing. It is something that I have wanted to be a part of for years. Rosie is the culmination of years of praying and dreaming and waiting. But, it is important that I not forget that there are two sides to adoption. One is full of happiness, second chances, a new family for someone who has none, and holds great promise for the future. But, those second chances and my joy comes at a great cost to someone else. Before there was the joy of a new addition to our family, there was the heartbreak of a father who died, and a mother who had to accept the reality that she was dying and unless she gave her child up, than her child would die too.
Rosie's future is bright. She will be fed and loved and cared for and will not have to grow up knowing only poverty, starvation and the pain of watching both of your parents die. But, that doesn't mean that those aspects of her life are any less real or a part of what she has come from.
Each child who enters the transition home comes with their own unique story of loss. It is something I was aware of and didn't take lightly, but Karen's post made it so personal. I have thought of those children often, and have wondered how they are, how they were adjusting, and who their families were going to be. I have prayed that God would comfort them and show them His plan for their lives, even when it all seems so senseless.
Last night, when I logged onto my Yahoo chat group, I had a post from the Wistroms. They, too have wondered about and prayed for those children. And as this last batch of families have passed court and been able to share photos and names of our children online, the Wistrom family has now been able to see each of the children they met that day become part of a family.
And, they wanted me to know that Rosie was one of those children. In fact, each of those 5 children that the Wistroms met that day will become part of a forever family next week when the families that I am travelling with arrive in Ethiopia.
How fitting that the child whose story broke my heart that day and who I have prayed for since is my own sweet Rosie. I can't wait for next week!