Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Girl Who Likes Zippers and Velcro (and shares Patty's Humor)

Many of you know that when Kevin and I arrived in Addis, there was some confusion and our little man had not been brought up into the city yet.  This was actually an answer to prayer because we hadn't fully decided if we would go down to the area he had been living or not, and this confirmed, we had to go to pick him up. 

It turned out to be a terrifying drive, but a totally enriching experience.  The caregivers were awesome, we were able to take them much needed supplies and the children were just awesome.  Let me say that again, the children were AWESOME!  Here's a sign that they made that we think shows why:

When we arrived it looked like a relaxing day were the kids were just being kids, and as soon as they saw the van, it was time to sing and rejoice and be excited, for someone's Mommy and Daddy had arrived.

Now remember we were traveling with two guards and a translator, so I jokingly called it our "entourage." The children started singing about Isaac's Mommy and Daddy along with the caregivers.  (Isaac's name is pronounced e-sock in Ahmaric) so if I ever call him that, it's because that is what we were calling him there.

And then...The person who looked just like the photos we had received...arrived...wearing a bright pink shirt with ruffles, light blue shoes, some brown pants with a pink stripe and a TERRIFIED look.

They tried to hand him to Kevin, and you would have thought we were hyenas.  Now, one thing about me, is that I am the queen of inappropriate giggles and you guessed it, I started laughing.  Hysterically.  How ironic that we should travel 20,000 miles and a terrifying drive that we felt was miraculous to live through, and then the main man, the person we traveled to see was NOT happy to see us.  And then there was a little girl who shared my humor.  Here name is spelled different, but let's just call her Iris.  A beauty, 3-5 years old with a rich and cheerful laugh.  I had a friend!

Now, in the many books we have read about adoption and "attachment" we knew Isaac's reaction was a good sign, because it means he has built healthy relationships with his caregivers and he wasn't willing to run up to just anyone.  It took about two hours and some serious patience, and then he decided to warm up to Kevin.  And then we went through a much shorter process, but an upsetting process of him transferring to me.  We learned that he really liked to be talked to and point out things in the courtyard (what little guy doesn't like that kind of attention?).

He decided to get down and take us on a tour of the place.  It was actually pretty fun.  Especially to know his favorite place is where all of the boys go to the bathroom (early potty-trainer I hope!).

So then the chorus of Isaac's Momma and Isaac's Ba Ba (Daddy) started again and the children all sang and then they pulled the children and caregivers away and the orphanage director arrived.  Some how the little girl who shared my humor stayed and hung out with us, and she and Kevin started playing a game.  We were wearing REI/The North Face, clothes with a ton of velcro and zippers and she would unzip or unvelcro a pocket and then giggle and let Kevin figure out which pocket.  I got some gorgeous pictures of her and Kevin and just her. I will never be able to post these, but hopefully I can share these with people in person.

So in the change of surroundings they started just calling us Momma and Ba Ba.  And little Iris got confused.  She thought we were her parents.  Oh my goodness, it was heart wrenching, and how do you respond to an orphan who thinks you are her parents?  I started correcting her when she called us that and telling her we were Isaac's parents, but I was fighting back the tears.

So we met with the orphanage director, went through Isaac's records and then it was time for us to head back to the city and take Isaac to the Foster Home. I asked if Iris had parents and with the language barrier I got a mixed answer.  The good byes for the caregivers, nurses and orphanage director were very emotional and very difficult.  Seeing how much they cared for Isaac, it felt like we were doing the wrong thing. But knowing they were at their capacity and there were many children in the area who were waiting to be placed there, everyone knew this was the right decision, just a tough one to follow through on.  Oh, but parenting is really about the follow through, right?

I might add that our guards played with the other children and turned from tough guys into teddy bears about two minutes after we arrived.  But when it was time to go, the tough guys showed up again.  And, one slight problem, Iris jumped in the van and was ready to go with us.

I think I cried for the first half of our trip as I remember seeing the caregivers pulling her out of the van screaming for her Momma and Ba Ba.  Isaac pretty much slept in Kevin's arms the whole time, and Kevin was tense and freaked out by the driving.  I was just feeling the cause of the orphan like never before.

So immediately after we dropped Isaac off at the foster home it started with the massive rains and I'm not really sure the driver could see two feet in front of the van.  In the process of getting back into the van, I cut my leg on a rusty bar (thank you tetanus shot) because I couldn't even see two feet in front of me (and according to Kevin I am a class A klutz).

We got back to the guest house and shared about our day with our fellow guests, and that night we discussed what had happened with Iris.  We both knew that God had presented us with this situation in order for us to respond.  And respond we did.  We asked every person with the agency and the orphanage if she had parents.  We got mixed answers, and the day we returned to the US, we called our agency and asked about her status.

And as far as attaching with Isaac, it got better each day we were there.  I'm sure I'll post more details about that later.

Yesterday, we found out that Iris has parents, and they came in right after us and moved her to the Foster Home, so we may see her again!  Praise God! 

We feel like God presented us with the option to test us and see if we were willing to put our plans on hold for what He would have for us.  We feel like this situation confirms our call to the cause of the orphans.  We are not sure what this looks like in the long term, but we know that God knew we were Isaac's parents long before anyone else did.  We know that there are millions of children without parents worldwide and we know that God has given us a glimpse into what needs there are.  According to the Ethiopian Program director there, he said that International Adoption doesn't even address the increased pace of needs in their country.  There needs to be a long term solution, but as of right now, no one has that solution.

And we know that "The Girl Who Likes Zippers and Velcro" will not fall far from our hearts.

Let my heart be broken by the things that break the heart of God.” ~Mother Teresa

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