Being Sheep

"I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep."John 10:14-15

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Ethiopia Journal, Day 5

Ethiopia, Day 5

Today is the day we pick up N!

We first headed to the Bethany office to fill out our forms for the embassy date and meet with the social worker and nurse. On the way, Abel received a very shocking phone call. He came over to us and said,

“Well, I have a surprise. Your birthmom has been found and will be at the Bethany office today!”

We were shocked! We had hoped to travel to meet N's birth mom, but the social workers were unable to locate her, so we didn't go. We were very disappointed, but resigned to the fact that we would not meet her. And now we find out she's already in the city to meet us!

We were so nervous. What do you say to the woman who gave birth to your son? Who cared for him for several months? Who obviously loves him?

What words are there to say thank you, but we're so very sorry for the circumstances that forced you to relinquish him for adoption?

After filling out our forms and meeting with the social worker, it was time.

We were brought out to the lawn surrounded by flowers and sat on small stools.

And then she came. We stood and hugged her, and tried to convey how much we love N through that hug.

We all sat down and the social worker asked us what questions we had. And my mind went blank. We were not expecting to meet her that day, and we found we didn't know what to say!

She asked about us and our family, and she told us her hopes and dreams for N, which include him having lots of toys and learning to play soccer. She said that when he grows up she hopes he will help other children like him.

We told her how much we already love him, and she also reaffirmed how much she loves him. (This boy is very loved!) She wants him to know of her love and that she just isn't able to care for him. (For privacy reasons, we won't go into the reasons she is unable to care for him, but suffice it to say it's poverty beyond what we can imagine, along with several other factors.)

It was such an emotional meeting, and yet none of us cried. (That came later for me... and then the tears wouldn't stop.) We promised to send pictures to her as soon as we are able, and we said goodbye.

I don't know if we will ever meet again, but our hearts are connected forever.

After that very emotional meeting, we went out to lunch. Thankfully my stomach was feeling much better, so I was able to eat a bit.

We then went to pick up our children!

We crammed ourselves into a room where there were some chairs set up. One of the workers brought in some more chairs, then a table, cake and a large knife.

The children from the orphanage filed in. Each child being adopted that day was brought in one at a time while the other children clapped in rhythm. Once the child was placed in his parent's arms, applause broke out! After the kids were all with their parents, the other children from the orphanage sang songs for us.

It was then time to cut the enormous cake! Each child had a turn to cut (with parent's help!). Everyone then enjoyed their cake and soda.

I gave N a few tiny bites and he wasn't too sure he liked it. He did really want my Coke, though! That of course did not happen—haha!

We all piled back into the van (it was much more full this time!) and drove to the guest house. N watched everything out his window. He didn't want to miss out on anything! I could tell he was getting tired, but hoped he would wait to fall asleep until we got there. He did.

Once we arrived we made a bottle for him. To our surprise, he seemed to know exactly what to do with it! (At his orphanage babies are fed with small cups rather than bottles.) He only drank about an ounce before he was asleep.

Is there anything better than holding a sleeping baby?!

After his nap we went down for dinner. We fed him another bottle, and this time he drank the entire thing! He then proceeded to spit up the entire thing—all over me, the chair, and the floor. He only got a little bit on himself, of course. (I think this officially makes me his mom?)

But after that he was such a happy guy! He played and laughed and we had so much fun. When he started to get cranky, we headed upstairs and Steve rocked him to sleep. He's now just as cute as a button fast asleep in his crib. I'd better get some sleep, too!

Daddy's Note:

We met your birth mother today. How shall I describe her? Very quiet, soft-spoken. (To us, at least.) She is short, a little shorter than your mom, with long hair wrapped into a bun.

We didn't know what to say to her, what to tell her, what to ask her. We were so nervous!

I think you weren't so sure of Mom and I when we first got you. You preferred to look around at whoever was loudest or moving the most. After your first nap was another story entirely! You were laughing with us, playing with us, and we finally heard you get loud! Dadadada!

After playing for a while, it was time for supper. Mom fed you first, then I got to. For some odd reason, Mom thought I might want to give you to her after she finished eating. Ha! As if I would want my turn holding you to be shortened, silly.

Some of the other parents thought it was only because we had just gotten you today. Ha! Just ask Mom, I like holding my boys. If 7 isn't too old for snuggling, then 8 months is certainly fair game! (By the way, A is 7 now, and I still don't ever really want to let go, though I am occasionally willing.)

I got to rock you to sleep tonight. It was marvelous!

Oh my son, you are so cute and I love you. So you know: Mom will say that you snore.


Waiting for the ceremony to begin...

The cake!

I think I remember this guy...

Hi, Mama!

I'll take some Coke, please.

Back to the guest house for my first bottle and a nap!

And now, bed.

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