Franklin Five

Let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. 1 John 3:18

Monday, August 16, 2010

Court Date

us with Yonas

The McKims, Job, and us

The day of our court appointment is one I will never forget. I awoke early that morning excited yet anxious about what the day held. Before the two trip rule, you only had a 50% chance of passing court the first time. Everyone was assuring me that since the two trip rule went into affect, most families were passing court the first time. I really wanted to pass because if we didn't pass this time, we'd have to wait until October to have our second court date.

Needless to say, I was ready to have this behind us. It actually was a really neat experience, and I'm so glad I was there to experience it. The further along in this process we get, the more I am appreciative of the two trip rule.

Around 9am, a lovely Ethiopian woman who is an America World coordinator met us in the lobby and gave us a brief orientation about what we might expect in court. She escorted us to the court house. Job, our trusty America World travel coordinator, the McKims, another couple adopting that met their son the same day we met Lidiyanna, and Yonas, another member of the America World staff went with us as well. We arrived at the court house and went into a not-so-large room full of adoptive parents and birth relatives waiting for their court appointment. We stood and talked waiting for our time to come. We ended up waiting about an hour and a half which turned out to be the most difficult part of the day.

Once our time finally came, Tim and I entered a small room where the judge sat at her desk. I sat down next to a man that I later realized was Lidiyanna's birth father. The judge asked him a few questions through a translator. Then, she turned to us. I had told Tim ahead of time that he was to be the one to answer all the questions. It was such an intense moment that all I could do was nod and gulp back the lump forming in my throat. She asked Tim if we had any children at home, if they were excited, if we had a support system at home, and if we had met Lidiyanna and still wished to adopt her. I wanted to jump up and down and shout, "Yes!", but I simply nodded with a smile on my face. Then, she literally said, "She's all yours." At that point, I was so relieved and overjoyed, I could not hold back the tears. We stood to go, and at that moment of such elation for me, I realized the quiet and kind man next to me was letting go of his youngest child forever. Talk about a humbling moment.

We left the court house and made our way back to the guest house where we would meet with the birth father. We had been told ahead of time that this was an option if we wanted to do so, and we gladly embraced the opportunity to speak with this man that would forever be linked to our lives. We had come up with a list of questions and things we wanted to say.

It was a very surreal moment as we sat down with Yonahs, another translator, and the birth father. I don't want to go into much detail because Tim and I feel this is Lidiyanna's story to learn and to tell when she's ready. I will say that my heart was so softened towards this man across the table from me, and I felt so much love for him. He had the same kind, big eyes that my daughter has, and I just wanted to soak up every moment that I could with him. I have so much respect for him, and I will tell Lidiyanna that her first daddy was a man she can admire and be proud of. At the end of the conversation, we shook his hand and then we embraced. I got a wonderful picture of Lidiyanna's two daddies hugging, and her birth father had the brightest, toothiest grin on his face. I will always treasure that picture, and I hope it will be special to Lidiyanna as well.

After such an overwhelming yet joyful day, we were taken out to a traditional Ethiopian dinner with the other families in our group. It was truly a time of celebration, and I felt like I could finally relax. Lidiyanna was now our daughter, and my heart was so full.

The dinner was yummy and consisted of injera, a flat, pancake-like bread that was used to scoop up the meat, veggies, and beans. After the dinner was served, some dancers came out on stage and performed tradition Ethiopian dancing. It was amazing to watch, but the best part was when they went out into the audience. Several people in our group were chosen to dance, and Tim was one of them! He was a very good sport unlike me who was glued to my seat. Below is a picture of my friend, Neiva, who had been with us at the court date earlier that day. What a great way to end a great day! Tim and I both feel into bed later that night.

1 comment:

KatieJones said...

Oh Jo I am so glad you share your journey with us on the blog. I love reading about Lidyanna and I am so happy for your family!