I should have known. I had spent the evening before looking for a scarf. I needed one. Obviously. My planned outfit consisted of black pants and a mostly black shirt with some white on the sleeves. I found a little shop with a friendly and helpful owner. He showed me the bags of scarves. Black, white, red. I bought it. I did not take it out of the bag.
I’m not so into labels of any kind. In fact, I hate to admit this, but I’m sort of a reverse label snob. Second hand store shopping in the back alleys of Istanbul = clearly awesome. Gucci, Prada, OthersIdon’tknow = clearly not awesome.
I took the scarf out of the bag, placed it next to my outfit. I noticed it had odd patterns, “Tommy, look it has checkers and circles and stuff…”
Tommy laughed and explained to me that Gucci, Prada, Couch and more were all over my scarf.
Not thrilled. I wore the scarf anyway. I needed to wear a scarf. Obviously.
While getting ready, I was nervous. Nervous.
When I looked in the mirror that morning, I thought about how silly I am, how I wished I was braver. I took a deep breath and decided that I was a little bit brave just for standing in front of the mirror, half way around the world from home and for wearing that scarf. Hoping with every cell that all the pieces would come together to let us become A’s parents. We have fallen in love and now have so much to lose.
We were told that there were some paperwork issues with the area of Ethiopia A is from. Our agency assured us that they were not concerned and it looked like it would be cleared up very quickly. Any day. I expected not to pass court until the issue was resolved. I was ready for that. It would be resolved any day. We have been waiting for months, just a few days.
We were told to follow her into the room. The judge was beautiful. More beautiful than most models. She asked us a few questions. Yes, we have met A. Yes, we have taken classes. Yes, we understand this is final. YES. Please. YES.
“A’s ___ (birth family member) did not come. I have set a new date for Jan. __th.”
We were done. No, we were not awarded custody of A. It would be at least one more month. We would go home without being able to count down until Embassy. We would go home and wait. We will not be able to celebrate with A. We are not her mom and dad.
These are parts that I dislike.
The part that I hate is that we would not be able to meet A’s birth family member. We would not be able to ask questions. As a mother I felt like such a failure. Now I have no answers for both of my children. Yes, A will remember, but the mind changes memories, especially when you are very young. She deserves to know. Everything.
By the time I reached the hall, tears fell. As the tears fell, I wished again with all of my heart that I was braver. I looked around at the brave women and men and aunts and grandparents. The people who were here to do something a zillion times braver and harder than anything I will ever have to do. They were here to give up custody of their children. Instead of this stopping my tears, it just powered them. It was too much. A kind Ethiopian man looked at me and said, “It will be ok.”
After court we went to visit beautiful A.
Judah told us, “I love A so much. I want her to come live at our house.”
We do too, baby. We do too.