.Ethiopia, day 3 - Court.
It has been exactly a month since court..... Oh, I was super nervous on court day. I really didn't want to go without Aaron, I was so glad that Mandie was there to help me settle down.
with Jimmy and Rachel..... they love "F" so much!
Before the actual court appointment we had a whole morning of driving. No joke, most of our time that morning was spent in the car. First we went to AHOPE where we got to pick up "F" and bring him with us to our friends ministry center, No Ordinary Love Ministries. I don't think they usually let families do this but as I have a long connection with AHOPE and "F" has a connection with Jimmy and Rachel at NOLM they were fine letting us go and visit friends together.
This turned out to be a huge blessing. "F" was so excited to get out of the orphanage and show us around. On the way to NOLM we passed his school and he was super happy to be able to show it to us and point it out. It was one of our first family moments....."mom that is my school"......where I truly felt like his mom. I was proud of him for being a student there and being willing to open up enough to show me. It told me that school is important for him and for that I am grateful.
Once at NOLM we talked with Jimmy and Rachel while "F" participated in the childrens ministry which was happening at the time. You all Jimmy & Rachel ROCK. I am not even making that up at all. When they first came to Addis they were visiting orphanages and helping in that area of ministry. Now they are helping girls and boys reunite with their families. These children that are getting reunited have been exploited and go to Jimmy and Rachel because they have no where else to turn. The work they do has God's glory written all over it!
all dressed up for court :)
After NOLM we dropped "F" back off at AHOPE and then headed to court. Once there we waited for a representative from my agency to come. When he did we were ushered into the waiting area where the room was filled with other families. I sat in the front with Levi while everyone else starred at me. In that moment I prayed that I wouldn't have to feed Levi during the next hour. I was already being starred at enough for bringing a baby to court. Sitting in front facing the crowd didn't help. Thankfully only two groups went before we were called into the room. Thank you babies for helping us get through everything fast!
Once in the court room another family joined us as well..... they were our friends Carol and Jonathan. Our agencies and the judge didn't know that we knew each other but we did. The judge first addressed Jonathan and when he answered he stood up and said, "yes your honor", which eased the tension that was heavily upon us. The judge chuckled told him to sit down and then addressed me with the same question. I don't even know what the question was as I was giggling about Jonathan and how he stood. We went back and forth with questions for a little while. Have you meet the child you wish to adopt? Yes. Have you learned about the culture? Yes. Do you know other adoptive families at home? Yes........ At the end the judge told Jonathan & Carol and myself that all our papers were there. Both of our families had passed court! We both left that room with a son added to each family! It was a huge relief.
I had tears in my eyes all the way down the stairs, it is an overwhelming feeling to be told that you have passed court and the child you have prayed months for is legally yours. The only thing I could do was cry. Then we got in the car and the funniest moment on our trip happened. Mandie looked at me and said, "so this is what passing court feels like (she didn't pass when she went for her son), Congratulations!!!!" I turned to her in complete shock, horror, excitement, relief, fear, and joy and said, "oh my God, I have 5 kids!". Haha. It all hit me at once and it was an extremely funny moment for the both of us.
So yes. My friends. I officially have 5 kids. I am sure the fear and terror will come in various times of parenting them all. For now though, I am missing my sweet boy and am excited to bring him home.