Adoption is all about waiting.
We wait for home study appointments. Dossiers. Notaries. Secretary of States. Referrals. Courtdates. Rescheduled court dates. Travel dates. Waiting, waiting, waiting. UGH!
Just as we were waiting; so were our children. I can remember when we were discussing with Shimellis and Crystal when they would tell the kids they were being adopted. I wanted it to be just the right time. Kalkidan and Michael, their cousins, had just been picked up by my hero, Susan. These 4 cousins were so close. They were like siblings. They lived with Grandma. They came to Hope together. I often think about how scared that must have been. What a bad day that must have been for all of them. They lived at Hope together. From what I hear, our kids cried and cried when Kalkidan and Michael were picked up. Josh even refused to come out and say goodbye. (hey once I wrote that, I thought about my last post about his previous coping mechanisms of withdraw... isn't it great when things come together in your mind...?) So the decision was made that the kids would find out we were coming to get them around the same time Kalkidan and Michael were picked up. I can remember us struggling with this, as we weren't even done with our home study yet; we didn't have any idea how long it would be before we would be able to pick them up. Time moves so slowly, especially when you're a child, waiting for a family. God forbid, what if for some weird reason, we weren't approved? How would I live with myself knowing that we gave them false hope of a future?
Last night as I was taking Jameson's braids out (2 hour ordeal of hair!), we had a great conversation about waiting. Doing hair seems to be a really great time to talk to her as she gets so relaxed when you do her hair. She really opens up. She's just like me. She's practically falling asleep half way through. Anyway, we were looking at the picture on the wall of my bedroom, which is an 8X10 of I guess what we would call her referral picture. It's actually a picture my friend Julie took of her when she picked up her baby at Hope in June 2007. We were talking about the picture and about the orphanage. I asked her to tell me what it was like to find out about us and to wait for us. Here is what she said:
"I came home from school one day and I'm very tired and they give me your baby doll. They say, you have family."
"I was so happy. I think I must be sleeping... ah... dreaming."
"So I ask, is my family coming today? And they say no. Then I ask the next day, is my family coming today? And they say no, and then the next day, I ask, is my family coming today? Finally they say, no, not yet. Quit asking!"
*( this was funny because I know how persistent she is and I bet she drove them CRAZY!)
When I asked her about looking at the photo album we sent them, she told me they would always look at all the pictures and how they wouldn't put the album down. When we picked them up, I was so grateful that they had the album still. The album and the baby doll. They had moved from Faithe to the new house at Hope, and I was so afraid the album would be lost. I didn't care about the clothes. The kids who remain need the clothes. Our kids have plenty here. So that's what they came with... a baby doll, and a photo album along with the clothes on their backs. She had memorized ALL the details of every single picture. She talked about the clothes Jaiden and Justine were wearing in the picture. After she got home, when she saw the sweater Jaiden was wearing in the picture, she said, "Oh, I remember that. I tell my friends, when I get to America, I'm wearing that." And she did.
I tried to get her to tell me about what she was feeling during that time, but I think those emotions are just too hard to put into words of a second language at such a young age.
She remembers getting new clothes and toys. She remembers giving some of her toys to her very best friends Kalkidan and Dagemawit.
When I asked her about the day we finally arrived, she said that when she woke up that day, someone told her "today is the day your family is coming."
I've posted about this before, but the day we met our kids was worth the wait. As soon as our car entered the gates of the compound, both kids came running out, climbing into the car, hugging and kissing us, saying, "mom, dad." It doesn't get any better than that. I am a planner and I have to admit that I could not have planned that moment any better than they did. She remembers it. She remembers the wait. She remembers those she left behind. She's glad the wait is finally over.