Thursday, December 29, 2011

Monday in Ethiopia: The Day She Became Ours

Justin and I both woke up before 5 am on Monday morning. We felt very rested and couldn't fall back asleep. We were so excited and a little nervous about our court appointment. We met the Smith's for breakfast and it turns out they both got up very early, as well. We were all anxious to get to court.

When we got to court we met our case worker. We introduced ourselves and he gave us a little overview of what to expect. We waited in a room with many other adoptive families and birth families. There were way more people than seats in this room, so we stood up most of the time. There were signs all over the room that said "Silence" in different languages. Some people talked softly, but for the most part we were all just quietly looking around. We waited for about 2 hours and it seemed much longer than that.

I started to get very nervous as we waited. The door to the judge's office would open and they called a name. Every time the door open all eyes and ears were on the person calling out names. I thought they would never call our name.

Around 11:00 they finally called the name of our orphanage and we, the Smiths, and our case worker went into the small room. We sat down and the judge asked who was who. We told her and then she asked us a few simple questions.

Judge: Do you have any children?
Us: Yes
Judge: Do they know about the adoption?
Us: Yes
Judge: Are your children ok with the fact that you are adopting from Ethiopia? (or something along these lines)
Us: Yes
Judge: Have you learned about Ethiopia?
Us: Yes
Judge: Do you plan to teach your child about where they come from?
Us: Yes
Judge: Do you know other families adopting from Ethiopia?
Us: Yes
Judge: Have you met the child you are planning to adopt?
Us: Yes
Judge: Do you realize that this adoption is irreversible?
Us: Yes
Judge: Do you want to adopt the child?
Us: Yes
Judge: Ok, all of your paperwork is in order and they are all yours.

Just like that, we became a family of five. It was so surreal. I could not believe my ears.
We were all so happy and as we left the court room and came outside we couldn't help, but all hug each other. We even hugged our case worker who probably thought we were crazy. Justin and I took our first picture as parents of three.

After court we went to eat at an Italian restaurant and then we went to the market.
I think our market experience was a little unusual, because we only went to one shop. None of us complained though, because we were able to get what we needed and we were all so anxious to get back to our kids.

When we got to Hannah's Hope I was so happy to see Mia. She had just taken her bath and smelled like lotion. It was such a sweet smell. She was ready to play.
One of her favorite things to do while we were there was to hold Justin's hand and walk all around the court yard. She would say, "Papa" and then he repeated her and this went on for a while. It was so cute. She loves her Daddy so much! I really think she is going to be quite the Daddy's girl and this is fine with him.
Justin is such a good dad to our boys and I always knew he would be a great daddy to a little girl, too. He attempted to play the guitar for her. One of the strings broke as soon as he started playing. She loves music and her daddy does too. They are a match made in heaven, these two!
After we walked, danced, and played on the swings, our little girl was exhausted. She let me hold her for a long time. I took her into the baby room where she just let me hold her quietly. It was so sweet. Justin came in and sat beside us, and she just nestled her head into him. It was a great moment for all of us.
You can tell from this picture how exhausted we all were. It had been a really long, but really good, day. A part of me was hoping if we just sat quiet enough in this room, no one would come and tell us it was time to go. Unfortunately, this was not the case, and our snuggle time was cut short. We took her upstairs and gave her to her special mothers. Fortunately, there were no tears this time.

When we got back to the hotel, I became very overwhelmed with emotion and exhaustion. I couldn't believe that she was really our daughter. I also couldn't wrap my mind around the fact that we had to say goodbye and leave her there the very next day. I knew that Tuesday was going to be the hardest day.


  1. I almost cried reading this. It must obviously be a match made in heaven. Paula M.

  2. LOVE testifying - YES WE WANT THIS CHILD - nothing like it in the whole world!!! :)

  3. "Just like that, we became a family of five."---- Gave me goosebumps. Praise God!