June 01, 2010

Tuesday, April 27 – Forever Family Day – Part 1

Tuesday morning, we got up and got ready to head to the care center.  This was it.  The final day for Noah to be at the care center.  I knew this was going to be an emotional day, but I had no idea how emotional. 

When we arrived at the care center, we all went into the main gathering area instead of walking up to get our babies as we normally did.  Everyone was anxious to get their hands on their kids, but first we were going to meet with Noah’s social worker and nanny.  When we were finally called, we went outside and met on the patio area.  We asked questions to the nanny about his sleeping, eating, and daily habits.  It was nice to be able to talk to the person who had cared for him for the past few months. 

When everyone had finished meeting with the nannies, we gathered back together.  The nannies went upstairs and we sat back down in the living area.  There were chairs on one side of the room, and then a group of the older children came down and sat on small chairs on the elevated area.  For a while, it was just us staring at the kids and the kids staring at us.  We weren’t really sure what the kids were doing there, but we assumed it had something to do with the goodbye ceremony. 

After several minutes, Garland told some of the other parents, that we should sing some American kid songs to the kids.  Everyone agreed that sounded like a good plan, so we started singing songs to them.  Their faces lit up and the smiles that came were absolutely priceless.  It is one of our most memorable moments of the trip.  We sang Mary Had a Little Lamb, Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes, Wheels on the Bus, and many other songs.  After singing a few songs, we were discussing what song to sing.  Someone said we should do Old McDonald.  About the time we started to sing it, the kids started singing it in Amharic (VERY) loudly!  It was SO cute!  The camera crew from our agency was their to film the goodbye ceremony, but they ended up filming the singing as well.  Afterwards, they said that in all the groups of parents that have come through, that is the first time anyone had sang to the kids like that. 

After several songs, the social workers came down and said it was time to start the goodbye ceremony.  Then about that time, we started seeing the nannies coming down the stairs.  Both the nannies and the children were dressed in traditional Ethiopian outfits.  The tears started flowing right then.  It was very overwhelming to know that today was the day that Noah would be ours forever. 

The nannies all came down and sat in front of the older children.  A few words were said by the social workers and then they asked if anyone wanted to say anything to the nannies.  Several adoptive parents got up and offered thanks to the social workers, nannies, and care center staff for taking care of our kids so well.  Then we all stood in a circle and a pastor offered a prayer in Amharic, and then one of our travel mates, offered a prayer in English.  I thought the trip to Hossana was the most emotional  point of the trip, but the goodbye ceremony may have topped it.  After the prayers, the nannies handed the children over to us. 




I couldn’t stop crying.  I was a mess.  Just holding Noah and knowing that we never had to give him back…that he was ours forever.  All the years of waiting were finally over.  It was just a very emotional experience. 

After we had Noah, the social workers gave us a card that was written to Noah from the nannies.  Just about the time, I thought I was done crying, they handing me that card and I lost it again.  To top it off, the camera crew was filming all of this.  I look like a blubbering idiot on the video. 

The final part of the goodbye ceremony, each child was to get their handprint put into a book that the care center keeps.  Each page of the book is dedicated to each child who has been given a forever family.  The kids on the stage would chant a name, and that family would take their child up to get the red handprint put into the book.  When it came our turn, they chanted “Dawit!  Dawit!!  Dawit!!!”  (DAH-weet) which is Noah’s Ethiopian name. 

After the handprint, the social workers brought out a large cake for us all to eat.  Then it was time to go.  The final goodbye to the care center.  We are so thankful for the care that Noah received there.  He was so well taken care of and loved.  It was obvious from the tears we saw from some of the nannies. 

We left the care center, and went to the guest house.  After lunch we went for our Embassy appointment.  More on that in the next post.


The Gotch 5 said...

So cool!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This will be such and awesome thing for Noah to read when he gets older. We need to get in and see him soon, I need a Noah fix!!!!

Holli said...

Julie I should just cut and paste! yours is so much better. I can barely remember my name right now so I had to just go off the pictures of what happen those days!!!
So happy that you are a family and that Noah has a mommy and daddy FOREVER!!!