We were submitted to court in early May, and we've successfully completed our first Ethiopian court date! This is the hearing where either the birth parent/family or finder would appear in the Ethiopian courts. On May 30, this occurred, and all those who needed to be there were present. Some of you prayed with us on that night, and we are so grateful for your love and support.
Our next step is to get final approval from MOWA (the social services agency in Ethiopia) who will provide "comments" for our case. Once positive comments are provided, we will be scheduled for an adoptive parent court date. This means that we will FINALLY get to travel to Ethiopia and meet our son. We will appear in court, and if all goes well, the judge will sign a decree and the little man with the big dimples will officially be a part of our family.
What is our timeline for travel, you ask? Good question. Currently there doesn't seem to be a common timeline. Some families are getting stuck for weeks or months at this point. And others seems to be sliding right through with travel times about a month out from their first court dates. Either way, we will likely only have a couple of weeks notice, or less, before we travel. We hope and pray that we will hear something this week. It's certainly possible.
Unfortunately, we don't get to bring him home on this trip. We will come back home for about a month while his new birth certificate and passport are generated. We'll then return for an appointment to the US embassy in Ethiopia for a visa, and then we get to bring our boy home.
Sound complicated? Lord have mercy, it is. Trying to understand this process start to finish has commandeered the majority of my brain cells for 4 plus years. And the rules change. And when you've got them down they change again.
Me? I'm just anxious to get this kid home. I have a one track mind.
Wes: What do you want to do tonight?
Me: The only thing in the world I want to do tonight is go to Ethiopia.
Wes: Where do you want to go tonight?
Me: The only place in the world I want to go right now is Ethiopia.
Wes: What do you want to eat tonight?
Me: Ethiopian food. In Ethiopia.
When we started this process in 2010, we were told it would be an 18 month ordeal. Now 4 years later, making any sort of timeline seems almost silly. However, I do have the habit of setting short term goals for the length of time that ideally (and realistically) any particular step might take. But dates on a calendar seem now arbitrary and cold. Our adoption certainly hasn't flowed that way. Specific dates have been mostly meaningless. "Next week," they tell us, "Soon."
So a few months ago, toward the beginnings of spring, as the leaves were just coming onto the trees, I went outside and pointed to the tall Cottonwood in our backyard. "Before the cotton is off that tree, God," I prayed, "Let us know about our travel date before the cotton is off that tree."
The cotton really began to fly the week of our first court date. And because the cotton has to COME off the tree before it can BE off the tree, I was so excited about it. It felt like wheels in motion as the first layer of cotton covered our lives, swirling and twirling into heaps of white.
God's promises floating down in airy wisps. Covering us. Covering everything in layers of his grace like summer snow. Soft and insistent.
"I am here, I am working," He whispered in the gently falling seeds of promise.
"See the movement? I am moving. I AM movement," He spoke into the dancing heart-shaped leaves and fluttering cotton.
"Do you see the promise? The potential in that tiny seed? Can you see how I make vast bountiful trees out of tiny specs of potential? Anemic hopes into dreams fulfilled?"
And we spent afternoons in a hammock getting covered in the stuff. Like grace falling. I couldn't keep it off of me if I wanted to! Fat fluffy piles of God's promises covering our little world.
This week the cotton is nearly gone from our tree. A few stubborn pods remain, but with summer storms in the forecast, I don't think that they will be there long. I don't know if we will get our travel date like I'd hoped before the last wisp of cotton blows off that tree. But I do know that God continues to teach me in the longings, in the wantings, and in the achings.
And He me sends me His love on the breeze of a cottonwood.