On a hot pink post-it on my computer, I have written our daughter’s mother’s name and its meaning. It means, “You are the whole world.” Try thinking about that a little bit and not crying.
(My name means “bitter.” Kind of a step down from “You are the whole world.” I offer this as comic relief so you can stop crying.)
We presented our hope for me to stay in Ethiopia to our agency on Monday. Their answer was something along the lines of most likely no, but we’ll at least talk about it and let you know. In essence, I was told that it might not be a good idea for me to see Nola regularly if I stay*, and our consultant pointed out that it would be very hard to be in the country and not see my daughter. And besides, they’d had a terrible experience with a family who had tried the same thing, and they really don’t think it’s a great idea. I agreed with her, and responded with assurances that we trust the agency’s judgment as far as how they’d like to handle things. Except that later I didn’t agree with her exactly about everything. I do think it would be very hard to be in the country and not see Nola. But I also think it would be just as hard to fly all the way back to the US to wait. So we are waiting to hear what the agency has to say, and then we will consider our options. All of our options, including me staying in Ethiopia. As Liz pointed out in her comment on my last post, the agency has every right to tell me if and how much I can see Nola, but they cannot tell me what I am allowed to do on my own in the interim. Even if I won’t be able to see Nola at all, I think it is a good idea to stay. It is unlikely that we will have an opportunity quite like this again, and staying would allow me to both learn about my daughter’s country and also give back by volunteering. Four to six or even eight weeks is a lot of time I could give away to someone who needs it. Jarod and I discussed it, and we very much want that to be a possibility.
We will still, of course, do exactly as our agency instructs in regards to our daughter. We love our agency, and we are so grateful for the policies they have in place in order to protect children and make the process as good as it can possibly be for everyone involved. One of the reasons we chose this agency is that we feel that they do all they can to protect children and families, and if what they feel would best serve our daughter is that we would not see her between court and embassy dates, we will trust their judgment. The end. No further questions asked. They want what is best for our daughter, and we want what is best for our daughter, and so we are in agreement. The end.
*I may be mistaken, but I’m not sure that the idea of me caring for Nola on my own in Ethiopia is even being considered as an option. I understand this, and I have to accept that it is very difficult to explain to those who don’t know me well that I really would be fine caring for a small person in a developing nation. I am not exactly the usual adoptive parent traveler, and I’m pretty sure no one really knows what to do with the me. How would they explain that to other adoptive parents? “Well, Mary has assured us that she’s quite accustomed to bucket baths and waking up with giant insects on her head, not to mention finding help in the middle of the night when some foolish teenagers left their tent unzipped and ended up with a giant centipede inside. Also there was that one time she threw up out the window of a bus in Pakistan and still helped unload luggage an hour later. She’s fine.” It would be a little hard, see? Oh, well.