Thursday, June 10, 2010

Ethiopia (Orphanage & Birth Family Meeting)

I want to back track a minute bc I wanted to do a separate post on our orphanage/ birth family visit.

So, while we were in Awassa we visited Ajuuja (M*'s original orphanage). I was amazed and thankful when the gates opened into a bright and clean courtyard. I was beyond impressed with the care the children were receiving and with the owners of the orphanage themselves. They were such kind people who genuinely LOVED each child that was or had been there.

The children were separated by age, and they took us to visit each age group. I remember being surprised at the children because they were all so much healthier and happier than I would have imagined. The owners also took us to meet our child's nanny (the one that is on day staff), visit the bed they slept in and answer any questions. They had a beautiful coffee ceremony for us and they talked about the orphanage and their mission. After the coffee ceremony was when the nerves really started to kick in because we all knew the next step was the birth family meeting.

We feel so blessed that we were given the opportunity to meet Sweet M*'s birth father (Aba in Sidamese). The meeting was hard, uncomfortable, gut wrenching, heart breaking and joyous all at once. It was one of those moments where well... I guess you would say it was an out of body experience. I am so thankful for the little bits of information we learned and more importantly for the video and pictures we have to share with Shea. I know they will mean a lot of different things to him through out his life.

Something I did not know I would gain was the feeling of peace. After meeting with M*'s Aba I knew this decision was a last resort and I really felt like our whole process was ethical which I always worried about before. It is hard to be wrapped up in this thing called "international adoption". Like everything in life there are very bad things that can and really do happen. It is not something we as adoptive parents can turn our heads on and just forget about. And, it is also our job to educate those around us about the positives that come out of international adoption. That not every story is a bad one like the media likes to convey. That is a heavy burden that I am still trying to wade through and figure out. I would love to say that I have a quick answer and a witty response to the comments we receive... but truth is I don't.


Kristin said...

I have been following your blog and love all of the info that you are presenting from your trip! It looks like it was amazing. We just got on our agency's waitlist in March and unexpectedly got a referral on Monday for a 20 month old!! We are still in shock but SO excited! I would love to connect with you about "toddler adoption" and hear anything that you'd recommend, now having him home. Thanks!

Mary said...

Such a great description of the emotions and feelings involved in meeting the birth family and touring Ajuuja. You echo all of my sentiments, Amber -- so well said. And it's great to see the pics of all your beautiful kiddos together!!

Karen Phillips said...

oh, i did not realize you got to meet him. i'm so glad! love the new pics! i sent a friend to your blog (they are currently waiting to go get their 3 year old little girl in ET)...i told her you might be a good resource for adopting a child that age and any unexpected issues that you might have had...anyway, thx for sharing! love hearing your stories!