(You can click on the photos to make them larger.)
I couldn't sleep past 4:30 am because I wanted to be sure to wake up early enough to spend some time with Hadassah before we left for court. I guess I thought that the babies and nannies would be up at the crack of dawn, but the door to the nursery didn't open until 7:30.
Rachel and I both walked in at the same time to get our girls and both babies were soaked from a wet diaper. The babies are given bottles all night long to keep them all quiet.
Jay and I washed Hadassah off on a towel on the bed and then stuck her in the bathroom sink to rinse her off. She loved it.
Hadassah after her sink bath. Eating baby food from us for the first time. Playing.
We took Hadassah to Sarah so that we could head out for our court appointment. Sarah acted as if it had been days (not minutes) since she had seen her. So sweet. Dereje (our attorney) and Zebene (the owner of the guest house) drove all of us to the court appointment. Jay, Mark, Lynn and I all road with Zebene.
Our buddy at the guest house cleaning the car before we took off. Donkeys in the city. Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. I didn't mean to get this photo, but it's a picture of a lady crawling because she has polio - we saw people with polio everywhere.
When we got to the court house, we walked up about 3 or 4 floors to a waiting room with chairs lining the walls. In the room was a birth mom who had placed her child for adoption. She left with a brave face on, but wiping tears.
When our name was called, I was nervous, but also very sure that we were going to pass that very day. The judge, who sat behind a desk covered in mounds of paperwork, asked us a few questions to which we all nodded our heads, "Yes." Then she said, "Melat?" Jay and I raised our hands, expecting to answer another question. Instead, she told us that there was one more hoop we would have jump through before our case was finalized. Then she said that everyone else had passed. We were in shock. Not only did we not pass court, but the hoop was major and could mean that Hadassah would never be ours. Dereje pulled us aside as soon as we got out of the courthouse and filled us in on a lot of what was going on. That's where we learned about Hadassah's history. I held it together until we all got back in the car to head to Dereje's office.
People have asked if adoption is anything like giving birth. I can say that the love we have for Hadassah is the same that we have for all 3 kids who were born to us. But the process is far from it. It's hard to muster up hope anymore. If you equate it to pregnancy, it would be a lot like having miscarriage after miscarriage - wondering if you were ever going to have the child you dreamed of. And to hope means that your heart might be crushed one more time. Just like you don't hear about all of the miscarriages a couple might go through, you won't hear the whole story behind an adoption until it's over because it's just too painful to talk about sometimes. And then leaving your child behind after having met them is a lot like leaving a child in NICU. While I have had a miscarriage, NICU was fortunately never on our radar. But leaving Hadassah halfway across the world without knowing when she'll be home is awful.
Don't think that we wouldn't go through all of this all over again to bring Hadassah home, but that's a peek into my heart. I'm sure every adoption is different, but this is what a lot of people we know who are adopting are going through. And we have a baby...the families adopting older kids need our prayers. Orphans go through more than most of us could ever imagine. And then to have to leave them one more time is a terrible thing. But we eagerly wait and pray. As Rachel Marshman said, "Lots of celebration is going on in the midst of lots of tragedy." We'll rejoice with each family who brings an orphan into their family.
The 3 of us right before court. Jay handing Dereje our FINAL paperwork...HALLELUJAH!!
At Dereje's office, he spoke with each family to tell us the history of our children. It was so interesting to sit and listen to all of the stories. Each one was very different.
After that meeting, Jay and I went to Kaldi's (which is like a Starbucks) with the Taylors and Marshmans. We drank coffee and had lunch and laughed quite a bit. All of us kept saying that to have gone through this process alone would have been so bleak compared to walking through the adoption with community. And what a great group of friends we made. Speaking of, the Marshmans are best friends with Jay's best friend from high school, Tory Giddens and his wife Kedra. And the Taylors are very good friends with one of our friends from Dallas, Anne MacDonald (who visited Hadassah about 3 weeks before we went to ET). Small, small world.
Us with the Taylors at Kaldi's. Jeff and Jay with the girls. Us with the Marshmans.
We got back to find a very happy Hadassah, who was quite ready for a nap.
After her nap, Hadassah played and ate some rice and squash. The nannies have been feeding her vegetables once a day. It was so funny to feed her and watch her be satisfied before the food was all gone. If anyone knows our children well, you know that as babies, they would cry so hard when the food was all gone.
Playing in Daddy's arms. She is such a happy baby.
Kate and Hadassah. Flying with Mommy.
The rest of the afternoon was spent playing and bonding. She started getting really tired at about 6:00, so I dressed her in her pj's and went to ask the nanny if she could sleep in the nursery again. I had two interpreters with me and everyone agreed that letting Hadassah stay where she was used to staying would be so helpful for her. I agreed and was so glad because we want to help Hadassah out as much as we can with transitioning.
She loves to fake cough, blow spit bubbles, and hit toys on the floor or table to make noise.
Sweet Hewitt making coffee.
We watched our sweet new friends leave precious Kate behind so that they can board an airplane and finish the waiting game. Watching them go through the goodbyes made me realize how real leaving Hadassah is about to become.
Jeff, Rachel, and Kate. One last snuggle before saying "goodbye".
The guest house staff bought a goat, killed it, cleaned it, and cooked it. We ate it. Well, some of us ate it. That's a story for another day.
The poor goat. Party time.
Tomorrow night we have to leave. When I fed Hadassah a bottle today, she stared into my eyes and touched my face. I don't know what she felt, but that is the moment my heart truly bonded to her. She is ours forever, I just wish we didn't have to leave. What a dreadful thing to do to a daddy, mommy, and child.
On a lighter note, we get to go to the market tomorrow.