Wednesday, June 15, 2011

June 8: Court! Basketball! Oh, My!

The long-awaited day finally arrived.  We all dressed nicely, though I'm sad to report that I neglected to have a family photo taken.  Other things on my mind, I guess.  Woops.  Despite my repeated confirmations the day before about the time of our departure, the driver was running late.  And so it goes.  We were soon on our way. 

I have to say, the courthouse was not at all how I pictured it.  I didn't think it would be a fancy building, but I did have some basic expectations about the grandeur of it.  It did not live up to those expectations.  It looked like every other tallish building in the city, with not much to indicate that it was a courthouse other than a sign out front.  We met with our attorney, passed through security, and climbed three flights of stairs.  I think we checked in (or at least stopped to say something to a woman behind a desk), and then we proceeded to the waiting area, which is essentially a medium-sized room with chairs lining the walls.  There were still some seats available when we arrived, so we were lucky enough to have a place to sit during the wait.  There were some birth families waiting to testify, as well as many other adopting families and attorneys.  There looked to be three or four other families who had brought small children to court with them.  One little girl came over to read books with Dinkeneh and Sisaye, which helped to pass the time. 

After about an hour or so of waiting, I struck up a conversation with a couple who had just come out of the judge's chambers.  They confirmed that their MOWA letter wasn't there, but that everything else had gone well.  By this point, Chris and I understood that it was highly unlikely our letter would be there, but it was still disappointing to see families without letters.  And to be honest, I was still holding on to hope that some how, some way, our letter would be there.

After about two and a half hours of waiting, we were called into the judge's chambers.  She asked Dinkeneh and Sisaye how old they were, though she only got a whispered response from Dinkeneh; Sisaye didn't even open her mouth.  The judge asked whether they had started asking questions about Ethiopia, whether they knew they were going to have two new siblings, whether they were accepting of the new additions, whether we had met T and A and intended to welcome them into our family.  That was honestly it.  Aside from the age questions directed at Dinkeneh and Sisaye, everything else required a "yes" or "no" response.

And then came the nauseating part:  Yes, she was approving us for the adoption of T and A, and would sign the court soon as she received our approval letter from MOWA.  Even though we were prepared for that outcome, it was still difficult and extremely disappointing to hear. 

We exited the judge's chambers and began peppering our attorney with questions.  Before I convey what he said, let me just say:  nobody ever really seems to know what the heck is actually going on with Ethiopian adoptions and MOWA.  I can repeat what we were told, but it's only one attorney's position, and I've heard lots of different positions over the last couple of weeks.  Everything from the firm 5 letter slowdown, to there being staff out on vacation and maternity leave, to the court issuing a directive to MOWA to continue producing letters, to MOWA actually continuing to work at normal capacity.  So who the heck knows.  Our attorney indicated that about two weeks ago, MOWA began providing a schedule for the letters.  Our letter is scheduled to be submitted to the Ethiopian courts on June 29th.  Whether this actually happens or not...well, like I said:  Who knows? 

For the time being, we anxiously await the arrival of our MOWA letter.

How could any news possibly top court news?  Well, June 8th was also the day Dinkeneh's basketball goal was delivered from the blacksmith (ironsmith? metal worker?) and mounted to the guest house retaining wall.  There was much rejoicing by all.


Jolene Shrock said...

I am so sorry to hear that you did not get your MOWA letter... So frustrating! I am excited for your family! Hopefully the letter will get there SOON and you can bring those babies home! We just brought our daughter and son home mid March, making us a family of 5. All three of ours are adopted from Ethiopia.

Mark and Sarah said...

What a little legacy that little D is going to leave in Ethiopia with that piece-o-metal! Very cool.

konjochild said...

I “know” you via the forum & Mama Papaya. Thanks so much for sharing the details of your visit. Friends are heading to ET in 3 days for court and I’m going to send this to them. And I hope to visit next year with my babe.

Much joy & congratulations on welcoming A&T to your family!
~ Cindy

Anonymous said...

Well, I am so sorry the letter wasn't there. But still good to know that you "passed" court. Will you be able to stay in E until the letter arrives? Can you go see the babies while you wait?

Stefani said...

So sorry about your MOWA letter! How frustrating! But also very exciting that the Judge gave her approval!

Cindy said...

Sweet Hoop!!

Jane said...

Sweet!! Can we get a picture of the hoop in action?