At the very start of our adoption (wow, over four years ago) I asked our in-house social worker if it would be possible to contact another “Been There Done That” (BTDT) family. The myriad of questions was overwhelming but to simply shoot a couple their way was to say the least: helpful. I vowed to return the favour once we were in the same place as them…a pay-it-forward sort of deal. Being a resource, I knew could be invaluable and it would cost nothing. Why wouldn’t I!? Regardless of everything we endured, journeyed, and fought our way through, the end result (FIVE) is priceless and I would – with many words of warning and pearls of wisdom – wholeheartedly encourage those who felt lead, to press on (or begin) this path to family! It is nothing short of a miracle in so many ways.
And so I did just that…asked that our family’s name be passed along to anyone who may have questions about adoption, specifically Ethiopian adoption, court or pick up trips, culture, etc. Tips and tricks to navigate through any part of the journey we can offer would likely be helpful at the least and possibly a friendship made along the way would be fantastic, was my thought process.
When we were picking Makeda up on the final day and in the final moments at the orphanage, through a scene I will never forget until the day I die, we met a young girl. Through the cries, the anguish of the nannies and sorrow (with what I will discern as hope and joy, though in those moments strongly overshadowed), a young girl entered the room. She sat beside Elizabeth and touched Makeda. In turn she came over and sat by me.
Quietly, silently, she sat.
She was beautiful.
In those few short moments, I etched her face, her eyes, hair, skin, lips, size, demeanour…I took note of it all. Some of that detail consciously and some, I have recently realized was there subconsciously awaiting the key.
It was quickly explained to us that she had loved on, helped care for, played with, taken pleasure in befriending Makeda. She’d taken on a “big sister” sort of role. Ironically, she was a younger sister and she and her (biological) older sister were waiting to be referred to a Canadian family. She was sweet and gentle and just…peaceful. She emanated wisdom and the manner with which she simply sat there beside me lead me to believe she was at peace with what was going on – regardless of how much she truly understood. Evidently wise beyond her four short years, she was the sort of soul one never ever forgets.
When instructed to do so, she walked over to Makeda (being held by Elizabeth) and kissed her. Gently. She touched her legs, caressed her shoulder and gazed at her.
I was shown the adoptive family’s (to-be) name and tried with all I could to memorize it. I didn’t know their whereabouts…that wasn’t a part of the documentation to which I was privy. I swore I wouldn’t forget their names.
But I did.
The day was overwhelming.
Those few moments perhaps comparable to those moments of flurry and haste and joy and exhaustion and confusion and overwhelming qualities comparable to the seconds during which a child enters the world. As much as it all seems clear at the time, it is not.
I forgot the family (who didn’t yet know they were matched) this girl and her sister would one day join.
But I didn’t forget her.
I forgot her name.
But I didn’t forget that soul.
Last week we were in California with family. For the week we vegged out by the pool, soaked in the warm rays, swam, shopped (just a wee bit), relaxed, laughed. I got an email the second or third day in. Our in-house social worker had a family nearing their court date who had a couple questions before they travelled. She wanted my permission to pass my name along.
Of course!, I email replied back.
The next day I received an email from the family preparing to travel. Their surname was included in the subject line. I couldn’t place it but it struck a chord deep within. I replied to their questions and included a few of my own at the end. I shared a wee bit of the story above…not even knowing from which orphanage their children (two girls…) were referred. But I felt that nudge to share.
And in return I was sent something which confirmed my suspicions.
And which caused me to rejoice.
And which affirmed again that this…ALL OF THIS…every painful moment in waiting…each day…it ALL happened for a reason. Our child…she is MEANT to be ours. Their girls…they are MEANT to be with them.
And Makeda will again meet and forever be connected with a sister…not a biological one but as close as you can get…from Ethiopia. Her birth home. Her birth city. This bond. And this little girl, who will know and remember Makeda (Mihret to her) will be comforted to know that there is a wee one she knows well waiting for her in her new home-to-be.
I believe Makeda was meant to be a part of our family, this family. I believe these girls are meant to be a part of their new family. Specifically. I don’t necessarily believe specifically in the Red Thread but I do whole heartedly believe we have our own Red Thread.
And this has all happened for a reason and in this time. In it’s own time.
In His Time.
This is continually proved.