Remind me to never break the law in Africa. I endured the Ghanaian judicial system today and will wholeheartedly remain a law-abiding visitor for the duration of our stay because I never want to have to go back to that awful place again…
It was miserably hot. The sweat drip, drip, dripped down my back the entire time. I know most of you back home think I am being a whiner for saying that since it is freezing cold there. But let me reassure you, it is not a comfortable hot. It is a stifling, sticky, sucks-every-ounce-of-energy-out-of-you hot. (I know…Complain, complain, complain…)
We’d waited for what seemed like decades for them to call us in. Then right there in front of everyone some guy walked in and started handing the clerk folded up Cedis and giving secret handshakes or something. The clerk put that guy’s case file before our case file and then started showing them to the judge’s chamber. I was fuming mad! But I knew it would look bad if the lone white chick in the room stood up and started pontificating about the injustice occurring right before our very eyes. So I put my head in my hands, bit my lip and prayed my heart out. I was having such a wild and crazy cocktail of emotions at that moment, I had to just close my eyes and find a happy place.
Anyway, we didn’t enjoy court, but are very happy about the outcome.
I hesitate to tell you about the rest of the day because most of this blog has been so positive. The kids were almost distant and even rebuffed us at one point when we tried to tuck them in. Whoa, we weren’t expecting that kind of reaction to becoming a family. But we talked to Brandie tonight (who is adopting two of Courage and Delight’s friends). She reassured us that all of the hard stuff begins today. We had to have like 75 hours of Adoption Education to be considered suitable adoptive parents (okay, 75 hours may be an exaggeration, but it felt like it some days). Today, we start practicing all of those things we learned. It is not starting out well. I had such visions of sugar plums about our first day as a family. But really, what was I expecting? These kids have known us for 7 days. They want to trust us, and I’d like to think they are starting to. But they have got to be so completely terrified right now. “What is going to happen to me, where in the world am I going, who in the heck are these people?”
I miss Emily, Abby and Colt so much I can’t even stand it anymore. I don’t think that’s helping my heavy heart, either. But, if one of them were having a hard time right now, I’d look ‘em square in the eye and ask, “what am I going to say?” They’d say, “I know Mom, I CAN DO HARD THINGS.” Maybe it’s appropriate tonight to practice what I preach to them all the time. I think I am going to get it in vinyl on the wall when I get home.
I feel a little silly, and perhaps a tad naïve to have thought this would be like a fairy tale. But in fairness to Courage and Delight, I owe it to them to muster up every last drop of physical, emotional and spiritual strength I have and just love them. Period. No matter what, never allow them to wonder if I love them or not. Not even for a second…
I’m grateful for how this process has strengthened my relationship with my Heavenly Father. I have learned how to truly pour my heart out to Him and then be still and listen for the answers. They always come and I’m always glad. Lucky for me, and all of us, tomorrow is a new day. J
And now a word from “John White”
Once again, Jenny pretty much summed up the day. It was a difficult one to say the least. Court was exactly as she described. When we went into the chambers to see the judge (I’m embarrassed to say it, but all I could think of was “Jabba the Hut”). In the end, I felt bad for thinking those thoughts when she very kindly said she approved us for a “Full and Complete” Adoption Decree. The other option is one I don’t completely understand but it’s called a Partial Adoption and is kind of like a trial adoption. It could be reversed if the court doesn’t find you to be good parents. I’m just glad that we won’t have to deal with that down the road.
There was also another American Family there at court the same time as us adopting two children. They are from North Dakota. We didn’t really talk to them much at all, because we were so caught up in what we were doing today. They are staying in the same hotel only in the room above us. I’m sure we will have a chance to talk to them before we leave.
Jenny and I left the orphanage early tonight (7:30) and didn’t even tuck Delight in. She was just ignoring us and we both had a difficult time with it.
Ok, I’m not going to sugar coat any of this because if I do than I won’t have an accurate record of this first visit.
Delight was being kind of a brat and it hurt both of our feelings. I think that subconsciously we both were thinking, “OK, you little SNOT! If you knew the Hell we have gone through today to make this all work, you wouldn’t be acting like this.”
So, that is about it. Those are the words that were going through our minds. Then as we walked home, we stopped by a gas station that was kind of like a convenience store. (nice little desert oasis we discovered tonight.) We got a couple sodas to bring back to the hotel. As I have been pondering this evening’s events, I have huge feelings of guilt for not going up to tuck her in. I really do love her so much, and I know what is happening. When we were studying for our home study in the beginning of all this we had to watch a series of DVD’s by a man named Bryan Post, who talked about Attachment Disorder. He talked about the “FEAR” that exists in the hearts and minds of these children. Brandie reminded me of this when we talked tonight. When they ask for something and we say “NO!!!”, and then they pout, then that is just pouting like any other kid. But when they act like that for no apparent reason, it is truly a way that they are dealing with the incredible fear that has been built up inside of them. Like I have said previously, we don’t know the background of these kids, we only know that for them to be here, it must have been pretty terrible. They have literally been through hell, and are getting a second chance. When we got here, it was easy for them and us. It was so nice to give all the hugs and say the “I love you”s but when all the emotions of that wonderful first meeting subside, we are left with all the bottled up anger and fear. They want to trust us. They want to believe us when we say we will never leave them. But, they have trusted people before who abandoned them. I think that Delight had such a euphoric experience after court finally realizing that she will be part of a forever family she had a huge let down when reality set in and she knew that we will be leaving in one week, and she will once again be alone for at least eight more weeks while we wait for visas, passports, and immigration paperwork. These kids are little time bombs of pain and anger that are just waiting to explode. I almost embrace the idea of that happening because I know that when it does it will begin a great healing process. This is some pretty hard stuff. It makes my head spin just thinking about it. It is now 11:40 at night and I am so tempted to walk back to the orphanage and go up to her room, kneel down on the bottom bunk where she sleeps and wake her up to tell her I love her. I am still contemplating that. Well, it will be another day tomorrow and I think after a good night’s sleep, both of us will be better prepared to love them through this first hiccup.