Monday, March 22, 2010

Day 6, Addis

The next morning we got ready and headed straight to the care center, River hanging back, still not turning a corner yet. Fortunately, as sad as River was to not be participating in the activities, and more disappointed yet to not have met his new siblings, he was keeping occupied with his movies, games, and books. The compound was gated, with guards and nannies who checked in on him, so we felt comfortable leaving him in the secure setting. As we pulled down the drive to the care center we saw that all of the older children were huddled at the gate. I quickly spotted Krem, and when he spotted us his smile grew wide once again and he ran between the other children trying to get the best view. I got off and held his hand through the gate until the doors were opened and he was once again scooped up into Daddy's arms. I quickly changed shoes and ran up to scoop up my girl. She seemed much more comfortable and was soon interacting with me in a playful manner. We went downstairs to play, but with the many other children who continuously pulled us down to smother our faces in kisses or try to climb Nate calling 'Daddy!, Daddy!', we were soon looking for a more quiet corner. As much as I would have liked to sit down and play and snuggle with the other children who obviously were in need of loving attention, we were trying hard to concentrate on ours, and Krem's face glowed proudly with that fact. We consoled ourselves with the thought that most of these children were being matched with other families soon to come and lovingly scoop them up as well. Peering into their beautiful faces, we saw how easily it would be to fall in love with any one of them. Some were decorated with the beautifying scarring that is performed in most of Ethiopia, which Krem has- two notches at each sides of his eyes- and other with scars across their eyelids, which is said to be a folk remedy to ward off eye infection. All of the children adored my unusually pudgy Hirut, and would pull her down to lavishly coat her face in kisses. Judging by the size of my chunky baby, and the sizes of the ones who will need to do some cathching up, I'd swear she was secretly stealing their food like the town bully. :) We found a quiet corner and played with our kiddos for the next couple of hours, then headed back to the guesthouse for lunch. River seemed to be up and though his stomach was not the best, he managed to down a bit of oatmeal- a good sign. In the afternoon we went to the main office to meet with social workers, prepare the remainder of paperwork, and to watch a DVD. The DVD was specially made for Krem and Hirut, explaining to them their early life in the rural southern Ethiopian countryside. The social worker team and film crew actually travelled to the place that was their home to film! It was amazing to see and we were very touched by the thorough investigation and work that has been put into our children's early lives. Often in adoption the information is scarce, and you find yourself wishing you had more to share with your children as they grow and ask more questions. On a side note, as the adoptive parents, we are said to be the 'guardians of their information', and are to hold it carefully, answering questions as they ask until they are old enough to understand and digest their whole story. This information that we receive is not ours to share, it is theirs, and if they choose to share their story later, then it will be their choice. For this reason we will not be writing about the circumstances of why our children came to be a part of our family, but rather from the point they came to us and onward. Another little blurb I just have to add on this subject is that though this is a very beautiful and joyous time for our family to be meeting these two souls who will be a part of our family forever, it is coming from the hardships that another has had to face. In most cases, when Birthparents made the decision to relinquish their children to an orphanage it does not come lightly. It most always comes from a place of deep love- knowing that life will be a struggle in their family, and wanting so much more for their children. In Africa, at times the decision comes from a dire situation in which a birth parent dies, and it is not possible for the remaining parent to work and keep children in their home. Often the extended families will help, but in many cases these extended families are stretched so thin for resources it is virtually impossible to take on feeding another mouth. When the child(ren) are placed into care, the loss of a child in the greater family is felt by everyone, especially in Africa where families often live in units of huts close together and are with each other on a daily basis. As a mother, I am thankful for our family's ability to provide for our children, and cannot imagine facing such a difficult decision. For this reason, the adoption of all of our children into our family has been a joyous and simultaneously grievous event. I thank my lucky stars to share my life with my children, and I ache for the fact that others out there in this wide world are grieving the loss of my children who I get the priviledge to enjoy and love and nurture. That evening we laid low, and went to bed early- the next day was to start early and stretch long.

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