So many people have asked about our adoption journey that I thought I would write a post covering what we have experienced so far. I feel that it is so hard to put in words for people to comprehend what it is like, unless they have walked on the same path, but I will give it my best try.
For us, the decision to adopt was a seed that grew and was nurtured over many years. To get to the point of signing a contract with an agency, I feel it was a lot of hope, some blind ignorance of the emotional investment and a lot of faith that this is the walk God wants our family to take. After signing on with our agency, we were in the paper chase stage. This is the stage where you become like a robot and complete page after page of information along with international adoption training for your social worker and then for your dossier. I remember that Russ would become so frustrated. He felt like I was obsessed with the adoption and it seemed like I had no doubts. The truth is, there is so much work to be done that one becomes like an unfeeling machine, narrowly focusing on completing the task at hand. Don't let me kid you, the doubts were there. I just didn't let them show. I wondered if this choice would negatively affect our marriage and our children or if I could love a child that isn't mine. Also, am I prepared enough to be able to successfully parent a special needs multicultural family? In the adoption community, every international adoption is considered special needs. It was the belief that this is a walk of faith that kept me sane and moving forward.
Once we received our referral and you see all the pictures of your child, everything changes. Your heart slowly starts to open up while your mind is telling you to stay detached, since he isn't truly yours until the court grants custody to you. Then, we were waiting for the Southern Mowa office to write his Mowa letter so we could be submitted to court before court closure. As the beginning of July, there was no word on when we would receive this letter. Court closure was looming closer, with the distinct possibility of not being able to see our child until October at the earliest. Your heart can no longer listen to the rationale of one's mind. At this point, we were completely in love with Kef and knew we didn't want to have any regrets. Russ was so gracious to agree to fly over to Ethiopia at the end of his business trip to the Czech Republic to check on him. I needed to know that he was ok, in case we had to wait until the end of October for a court date.
Finally, we were able to fly over for court and I was able to meet this amazing little boy. When we arrived at the foster home to meet him, it seemed like it took them forever to bring him to us. I guess he was sleeping and they had to wake him. :( When they placed him in my arms, he looked completely shell shocked and I felt nothing. All that kept going through my head was fake it, until it is real. It was such a blessing that Kef recognized Russ and we were able to play pass the baby until he became used to me. Thankfully, it didn't take long for me to fall completely and hopelessly in love with him. After that day, Russ complained that I was hogging the baby and I never let him hold Kef. Leaving him behind, even in the excellent care of the foster home and his nannies, was one of the hardest things I have every done. I can't imagine the pain of the person who had to leave Kef behind, as I only loved on him for a week. I knew I would be coming back for him and would have the comfort of weekly updates. This person knew they would never see him grow or know what happened to him. It is indescribable the emotions one has when you realize that this incredible blessing is due to the great sorrow and sacrifice of another.
The most incredible part of the journey so far, is how amazing the blessings have been. It has been greater than we could have ever imagined. The greatest gift we have been given, besides Kefyalew, are the relationships we have gained, the amazing stories we have heard and the miracles we have witnessed. This is what makes the journey so amazing, fulfilling and worth it. Going over to Ethiopia has changed who we are forever. We will never be the same. I know a lot of people have commented on how lucky Kefyalew is to have us, but we believe deeply in our hearts that we are the lucky and blessed ones to have him. What ever the future holds, I 'm so glad we took this leap of faith. I know the path less traveled will be the most exciting and rewarding in the end. If God calls us to walk this road again in the future, we would do it in a heartbeat.