30 May 2011
journaling ethiopia: day three.
tuesday morning. court day.
i rose just past five thirty, showered and spent a ridiculous amount of time before the mirror trying to master the shirt tucking trick. (i am a compulsive non-tucker; the tucking, more than anything, attests to the gravity of this day’s events.)
following another gorgeous spread of breakfast that i was too nervous to eat, i wheezed up four flights of stairs to grab my bag for our 7:30 am pick-up.
now, most days i’m hardly one to blink twice at a creative interpretation of time, as i too hail from a land of 7:30 means we may or may not be there by 9. this day, however, was not most days. i was more than a little anxious coming up on 8am with nary a driver in sight, but fortunately they popped up just a few minutes later, and we dieseled off for the holt office.
once there we were all-too-briefly primed for court (aka, don’t give your passports directly to the judge; no answer is wrong), then given our mile high binders of paperwork—all the documents relevant to our case, painstakingly gathered, authenticated, translated over the past twenty months. the collaborative grit and labor carrying us to this court hearing was astounding.
we piled back into the van, wove through town, the internal butterflies morphing into starlings and then belugas. soon we were tempting claustrophobia in an elevator that opened on the third floor of the court building and the hardest hour of the trip.
anything i say here will be insufficient, but i need to at least restate the obvious: adoption is rife with antitheses. you have, on the one hand, a family awash with the miracle of a child soon in our home. and yet the very fact that this child needs a second family is steeped in loss.
after twelve successive eternities of waiting, our jittery contingent of families (plus exceptionally calm lawyer) was called into the court chamber. the judge addressed us together, asking questions that we answered as a group. i loved sitting next to mike--he answered with gusto, his heart huge and pinned to his sleeve.
the hearing spanned less than five minutes; three of us were told that all of our paperwork had arrived, while one family was given a second court date. the range of emotion was brutal.
the rest of the day was injera and coffee roasting, wandering streetside shops, repacking and showers, a final group barbecue (in a word: amazing) in the guest house hut. then the twenty-eight hours of van-plane-plane-plane-car rides home.
we pulled in to a house in full swing, todd’s mom managing homework and laundry and dinner with aplomb. i was spent, wrung dry of emotion, in desperate need of a shower and two days of sleep, and itching to turn around and do it all again.