Friday, June 25, 2010

Introducing Aben!

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Reflections On Court

As one of the first AWAA families to attend court, many have asked about my experience and the experience of the other familiy I traveled with, the Johnsons. Ethiopian Court seems a big mystery to adoptive families because few have attended. With the new Ethiopian ruling requiring court travel, this is about to change. All families will attend court.
Hopefully, this will shed some light on what families can expect. Disclaimer: One thing I have learned in this adoption process is that change is guaranteed. AMEN! I'll share my experience, but it might not take the mystery out of court. Thankfully, the Ancient of Days is always ruling in the heavenlies.

My court date was scheduled for Monday, May 31st, 2010. No specific time. "Sometime in the morning," I was told. T, my AWAA guide and now friend, shared, "We will wait at the Guest House for a phone call around 9:30, and if they are ready, we will head to the court building." I was given the option to walk or drive to court. Knowing it was a short distance from the Guest House, I chose to walk. For me it was a great choice. I had so much nervous energy that the walk was needed to clear my thoughts and burn off the nervousness. After about 5 minutes, T and I entered the court building. The elevator was out of use so we hiked up three flights of stairs (or was it 2?). There were many Ethiopians waiting in a sitting room, and a line zigzaged through the hallway. T found the representative from the orphange, Kingdom Vision, where Abenezer was originally placed. I thought we were in for a long, hour-or-more wait based on the number of people waiting. After about 20 minutes, we were called past all of the people into a small room. The judge was ready for us.
She sat behind a desk at one end of the office. Chairs lined the 2 other walls of the office. I sat near the judge. Abenezer's biological father sat next to me. T and the Kingdom Vision representative were also in the room. The judge didn't have a gavel or wear a robe. She was dressed in a head covering, skirt, and shirt. I wore slacks, a blouse, cotton jacket and flats.
The judge spoke in amharic and english. She asked Abenezer's biological father several questions. Nothing was translated. She then switched to english and asked me a series of questions.
"Why are you adopting? Why did you chose Ethiopia? Do you plan on having other children? How have you prepared yourself for transracial adoption? Have you had training on transracial adoption?" I tried to be as straight forward and brief with my answers, so as not to give the judge any reason to question me further. After the questions, she said everything was in place and now we would wait. The four of us stood and walked out of the court room and into the crowded waiting room, thankful it was over. Abenezer's biological father was willing to talk, so we headed downstairs to a "cafe" in the building's parking lot. I'll share about this incredible meeting in another post.
I didn't know until later that Duni and the AWAA court attorney would still meet with the judge to finalize the hearing. Because Keith was not present, the Power of Attorney was still needed. This will be different for all families traveling under the new ruling. Around 11:45 the same morning, we were driving to do a little shopping and then heading to Kid's Care. T's phone rang as it does about a thousand times a day. He hung up and turned around with a smile. "You passed court!" Sara Johnson screamed. I could barely whisper audibly, "Thank you, Lord, for this gift." My heart was doing back flips and singing the Hallelujah chorus as I smiled through the tears. Once again, God left me speechless.
The LORD has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy. Psalm 126:3

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Early Hour Prayer Session

Around 3 am, I searched for my glasses on the nightstand and peered at the alarm clock across the room. I was past the point of pretending to be in between sleep. After a bowl of Kashi cereal, I settled in my green armchair with my bible and Beth Moore's Praying God's Word.
I quickly found what God wanted to share with me.

"Your way is in the whirlwind and the storm, and clouds are the dust of Your feet." Nahum 1:3

My lesson again. God called me to wait, wait, wait until I firmly fixed my eyes on Him. At last I gave up "doing" on my own. I acknowledged my exhaustion from trying to figure out the wait and His timing. Strength began to form as I waited without knowing the when but fully knowing the who. Then He moved like a whirlwind, so suddenly, that I knew it was Him. Five weeks from passing court (the first court date), I am returning to bring Abenezer home. I never anticipated such a quick turn around trip. This time I get to share the expereince with Keith. I know I don't deserve, didn't earn, this favor and stand thankful. I can't explain why some families have seen so many unsuccessful court dates or delays with Embassy clearance. I am praying for those families as they wait for the Whirlwind.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Bringing Ben Home!

This time there is no dust to blow off my passport. I just returned it to it's folder in my cabinet. Of course, I am happy to bring it out again and earn another collector's stamp on it's pages. ETHIOPIA in fading blue ink. AWAA called us this morning with the news. My heart was racing as I played phone tag with Teresa Spencer from AWAA and my husband.
We are cleared for travel from July 3rd to July 9th. Our embassy date is July 7th. At long last, we will bring Abenezer home. As I have said before, this adoption process has been a lesson in waiting. This is the sweetest lesson though. After being asked to wait, wait, wait, God moves in a whirlwind, and we can only hang on for the ride.
I have vowed to spend the next couple of weeks backtracking to record the events of court and my first few days with my baby boy.
Thank you, Jesus, for this incredible gift at just the right time. Thank you, friends, for your many prayers and encouragement. You are all precious to me! Abenezer, I am ready to gaze into your big beautiful eyes again. We are bringing you home!