I’ve gotten a lot of face-to-face and written inquiries about where we are at with Acacia and the adoption process. I wanted to give a quick update.
Our court date, in which we consented to adopt Acacia and accept her as a permanent member of our family, took place on July 8th. It was quick, to the point, and so efficient it almost baffled me that we had to be there in person. Regardless, we made the trip, had an amazing, eye-popping, heart-warming experience, and happily acknowledged that this “irreversible adoption was forever in the eyes of the law” before an incredibly serious judge.
Then I cried, not from joy, but from the knowledge that we had to say goodbye for what suddenly felt like a very long time. The approval letter will come in approximately 3 weeks, they said. We could go back another 6 weeks after that, they told us. So, about 2 1/2 months. It didn’t seem like a very long time. Not until I left.
I had planned to write a letter to Acacia on the plane ride home. Something that I could give her on a later birthday; something that explained as much as I could possibly gather about where she was from and what I knew of her life thus far, and explained how it felt to meet her. But I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t even think about her without feeling absolute grief. It took many days before I could look at any pictures or watch any videos we took. I liken it to giving birth, and having to leave the hospital without your baby. The feeling is no different, and I never could have believed that until now.
Today marks 3 weeks since our court date. I’ve had ups and downs. Zinnia has made it bearable. She’s such a bright light in my world, and even in moments of sheer tantrum, I haven’t taken her for granted for one second since we returned. I have also learned that the love for one child cannot make up for the feelings of loss of another. As much as Zinnia is the perfect daughter, she does not replace the void of Acacia. Again, I wouldn’t have believed it could be so hard had I not met Acacia already. I guess, in some ways, it’s a good thing to learn: I love that kid as my own, official or not.
Still… that official part is pivotal in getting her home. The Ethiopian courts close in a week or two. We need that letter before closure, or else we won’t get it until they reopen in October. Two months could turn into five. It’s the worst case scenario for us, but a scenario none-the-less.
In closing, please keep us in your thoughts this week as we hope for good news. Saturday, 8/6, is Acacia’s first birthday, and it’s all I can do to hope that she receives the (official) gift of a family. I have created an “event” on Facebook with the thought that I can save a copy of her virtual birthday party. I know, it’s a little silly sounding, but I think it may mean something to her someday, to know that she was thought of by multiple people on a big day in her life, regardless of where she was. Please click attend & send her a birthday wish on Saturday if you can. 🙂