I had no idea it had been so long since I posted. Life got so incredibly crazy for a while, and I was keeping Facebook updated, but not this blog. It might take me a while to get everything up to date, but I’ll see what I can do to keep it from dragging on for too long. I’ll just whet your appetite enough to make you want to see the movie or read the book, okay?
Our adoption journey was fraught with complications. While it took no longer than a normal adoption (18 months is pretty normal these days), it was really . . . um . . . challenging. People said to me that they had friends with adoptions like ours, but I highly doubt that. Thankfully something like ours is not very common. If it were common, no one would pursue international adoptions.
There are many things that I won’t discuss on this blog, at least not for a while. One family we befriended is still fighting to bring their kids home, and until they are all on US soil we are going to keep the lid on many of the details. So let’s rewind a bit . . .
As you all know, the orphanage where Little Dude had originally been was closed over the summer. All of the children were transferred to an undisclosed location. It took us 4 weeks to find out where they were. We were able to get our court hearing scheduled for the last day before the 9 week closure (due to rainy season). As it turns out, our hearings (ours and the other 4 families) were the last ones that were held for “confiscated” children. We made it just in the nick of time. We passed court, but were not permitted to get our children, as is normally the process. Instead, we begged the regional authority to be given custody of our legal children, but we were denied. Because of one daring, caring social worker, we were able to get a precious, short visit with our kids. That visit was not without incident, however. We were given the wrong child, and it took some time to find our little Little Dude. It was gut-wrenching.
Upon our return home, we were told to wait. We waited as patiently as we could, but soon became too restless. By Labor Day weekend we had enough. We contacted Senators Casey and Toomey and Congressman Holden. All were wonderfully responsive, but Holden’s office was awesome. (Thanks to R.R. for that hook-up!) Though they were unable to truly do anything, they submitted inquiry after inquiry on our behalf. They called me whenever they got a response from anyone, even if it was a non-response. They were awesome.
Despite those efforts, though, nothing happened. Meetings continued in Ethiopia with no resolution to this mess. The kids were still being held. Kids were dying of measles, food-borne illness and who knows what else. The last thing we heard was that Little Dude was in the hospital in August after we left, but we couldn’t find out why and had no idea whether he was okay. We were beyond frustrated.
Finally in mid-October the Ethiopian courts reopened and it seemed like progress might be made. It’s at this point where I will be skipping lots of details, but the story will go on . . .
With some new help, we started on a new path. Things looked hopeful at first, but then we were told that the kids were confiscated again and were in another undisclosed location. Our hearts sank for the eleventy billionth time. Thankfully it turned out that the information was incorrect. However, during that verification process we and one other family were told that our kids had most likely passed away. For an entire week we were thinking (and denying) that our children were dead. It was horrible. Up until that point we had only seen Little Dude in photos, two videos of less a couple of minutes, and for one precious hour while he was sleepy. We had, though, already considered him as our son and had dreams for him, so the news was crushing. We realized how deep our love was for him at that point. As you all know, that information turned out to be false – thank God.
While his status was uncertain, we were still pushing for the release of the kids. We were hopeful that our efforts were not in vain. We knew that the kids were going to be released on a particular day, so S decided to fly over to make sure that Little Dude – the correct Little Dude – was alive and well. 36 hours later he was on a plane.
S spent 15 days as a full-time daddy to Little Dude. He didn’t know that would be the case, and had very few things with him. He befriended the women who worked at the guest house, and learned quickly. Father and son bonded and had lots of fun. Thanks to the iPhone and iPad we were able to chat via FaceTime every day. I cherished those moments – every one of them. I missed S and wanted him to come home, but didn’t want to lose those chats with Little Dude.
S returned home after leaving Little Dude at a different orphanage. I can’t even imagine how hard that was. I have been home pretty much full time with Little Dude for two weeks now, and I don’t want to leave him for even a half a day. To have to put him in the hands of complete strangers and not know when I’m coming back? I’d be a total wreck.
Thankfully the time apart wasn’t all that long. I was able to fly back to Ethiopia on December 19th – just over two weeks after S came home – and picked up Little Dude on December 20th. Little Dude and I flew home on the 22nd/23rd. He was a gem while we traveled, but I’ll save the rest for another entry.
TTFN . . . Ta Ta For Now!