It’s been a whirlwind of a 24 hours. We received a call yesterday morning that we needed to be in Ethiopia in time to appear in court Friday morning. That meant pushing our departure up by 3 days. We rushed around yesterday getting papers notarized, starting to pack, and gathering donations ministry friends. Because of our Embassy interview dates, we will still be returning on the day planned which gives us a nice long time in-country with T but more time away from PJ, Mia, and Ty. Sigh…it’s not easy having your kids on separate continents.
Anyway here are the answers to your burning questions
When do you arrive and can we meet you at the airport?
We will arrive Friday but have chosen to make an unceremonial entrance. We know everyone will be tired and in culture shock and want to minimize the stress on John and Kayla. We will be driving ourselves home…not even our kids will greet us there.
Will you have T?
I wish. We will be able to return to Ethiopia to pick her up after she passes court and she completes the immigration process.
Why so many hoops to jump through when you’re just trying to give a kid a family?
I hear you. You know and we know that we just want the best for the kids. Unfortunately not everyone is in our boat. As frustrating as it is, we are trying to respect the process as it was put in place to protect the children (and the families). We know the kids are in a safe place while they wait for us which is better than some can say. We’re super thankful for that.
When can we meet them?
We will be laying really low the first couple weeks. Almost everything in their lives will be completely new. We also want to give them as much low key settling in as possible before our fall school schedule starts. If you’re a close family friend or family and want to come for a brief visit, just let us know and we’ll see how everyone is doing and let you know when a good time is. Don’t be offended if we ask you to postpone it for a while.
How can we help?
First, just pray for us. We are jumping off the deep end into the unknown.
Practically, meals would be a great help. We don’t know what John and Kayla will like but with this many people in the house, chances are someone will eat whatever you bring. It doesn’t even have to be enough for everyone. If you bring a meal, we may just ask that you drop and run. If that happens, we’ll give you a rain check for a longer visit as soon as everyone is ready.
John and Kayla will come with nothing. We have not bought a ton of stuff for them because we want them to be able to pick out what they like. Small gift cards to Target, Old Navy, or Sears/Lands End would be helpful as well. Other than that, please do not give gifts to the kids without checking with us first.
Other tips on adoption ettiquette:
- While we are blessed to know quite a bit history on each of the kids, we want them to be owners of their story since they own nothing else when they come to us. They will tell their story publicly as they feel led but please don’t ask them or us questions about their past, their parents, their health status, or why they were available for adoption. If you do ask, we’re not offended but also don’t want you to be offended if we decline to answer. If you happen to know any of those from conversations with us, please keep the information confidential to respect Kayla and John.
- Please don’t tell them or us how lucky they are to have a family. We are a flawed family with limited patience and resources just like everyone else, and in the end we will probably be far more blessed by their presence in our lives than visa versa. There will also be days that they probably won’t like us and that is okay too.
- PC correctness is usually not in my vocabulary but we have chosen to only distinguish our children by how they came into our family when necessary. When we do distinguish, we call PJ and Mia “bio” kids…not “real” or “natural.”
- Neither Kayla nor John have a lot of English but both are very bright and literate in their native language of Amharic. Speaking to them in clear, simple English or using charades is great. If they don’t understand you, repeating yourself slower and louder won’t help. Try to reword instead.