Meeting Milo – Day 5

March 22nd, 2010

Sunday, March 22.

Today we were up way too early. We made sandwiches, dressed in nice clothes and boarded the bus for the 3-4 hour drive south to Hosanna.

Many of the children in the care center were born in the Southern region of the country. This is where they were relinquished into care. After a short stay (a couple weeks or a month or so…I think it varies case to case) the children are transferred to the care center in Addis Ababa where they wait for their new family.

Addis is a typical city – busy roads, lots of buildings, college, schools, museums, hotels, people, shops and restaurants everywhere.

The Hosanna area is not. It’s what you picture when someone says, “Ethiopia.” It’s round mud huts. It’s people walking cattle down the road. It’s farm fields. It’s people collecting water in yellow cans from almost dry rivers.
hut 1 cattle
hut 2 false banana

We made this trip for several reasons.

  • To see where our children came from
  • To see some of the projects (like the bakery and school) our money was helping fund.

CHSFS School

  • To see the orphanage and meet the nannies who cared for him before he came to Hosanna

Mussie 1 Nanny Mussie 2

  • And most importantly to meet people who were significant to his life in Ethiopia.

International adoptions in Ethiopia are unique because they are not completely closed adoptions. Adoptive families are able to meet people who were a part of their child’s life. For each family this could mean something different. Some people meet the birth mother, some the birth father. Others meet aunts or uncles or grandparents. Some meet all of those people. Some people meet an older sister or brother who cared for the child after parents have passed away. Some meet the man or woman who found their child.

The meetings are emotional to say the least. What do you say to a person who is giving you a child? You want to ask a thousand questions but at the same time all you want to say is “thank you” over and over again.

Who we met and the information exchanges is something we’ve decided to tell Milo before we tell anyone else. And we are going to let him decide who gets to know this information. It’s not a secret or something we are hiding from people, it’s simply part of his life – his story – that is completely his. We want him to have ownership over that piece of his life.

After we finished our meeting we had our picture taken so they could take a picture of Kevin and I home. We write a yearly update that includes pictures and it is sent to the offices in Hosanna and they have access to those letters and pictures if they wish.

A little later there was an entrustment ceremony. The meeting was emotional but this….welll, I’ve never cried so hard in my life. All of these special people are on one side of the room and the adoptive parents on the other. They said a prayer for us and we did the same to them. There was much crying and hugging and kissing and then it was time to go.

We got back to the guest houses around dinner time. And we were all overwhelmed and exhausted. Since we had power that night, we decided to do something that required zero thinking. So our group watched School of Rock. Nothing like a little Jack Black to lighten the mood.

You’ll notice I said nothing about Milo…the care center is closed on Sunday. It’s the only day we didn’t get to see our baby.

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