Let me start back at the beginning of this amazing day... The three families in our travel group all met downstairs in the lobby at 8:30 to be ready for whenever the judge would call us in. We had been told the day before that it would most likely be an early morning court appointment, so we were all nervous, excited, and ready to go! One of our guides, Job, came in on his cell phone and said that the judge would not see us until 2:00pm. What a disappointment. I was so ready for court and didn't think I'd have the patience to wait all day. Job said that the birth families were in court giving their consent at this time and then would be coming to the guest house where we were staying to meet with us.
We had been so anxiously anticipating this moment. Last night our adoption agency gave us a DVD interview with our son's birthmother, so that we could be prepared for this meeting. They had also advised us to prepare about 5 questions we wanted to ask. The story of Elias's birth and adoption are his alone and are not details that we will share publicly. But we will say that meeting his birth mother was incredibly emotional. We hugged and cried together. We talked and shared (through two different translators) and even took a few pictures together. We were beyond grateful for this opportunity, and we hope that this will be an invaluable gift to our son in the future.
After our birth family meetings, our travel group went out to lunch. I was incredibly nervous at this point for our court appointment. I just wanted to know the outcome. It was finally time to leave and we headed into the court building. When we arrived, the judge was not there yet, so we all waited outside of her office. The film crew was there and spent time interviewing each of our families on our feelings and expectations.
The judge arrived around 2:15 and called our family in first. The film crew was allowed unprecedented access and was allowed in the room with us. The judge began by asking us questions such as how we had prepared for becoming an interracial family, had we discussed the adoption with our biological children and how did they feel about it, had we taken any training on international adoption, and did we understand that Ethiopian adoptions were irrevocable? We were so nervous as we answered each of her questions. Very quietly and very quickly she then said the following words that forever changed our lives... "All of your documents are here. They are in order, and he is yours." Just like that. He was our son! Charlie and I instantly burst into tears and fell into each other's arms for what felt like an eternity. It was an incredible moment that I will never, ever forget. "He is yours!!" The words we had been longing to hear since we began this journey 15 months ago. We walked out of the room and shared our news with our travel group. We all hugged and cried together! Even the film crew was moved to tears! There was such joy and rejoicing!! It will forever be one of our greatest life moments.
Unfortunately, the other two families in our group had missing documents in their files and did not pass court. We were absolutely heart-broken for them and we all shared in their disappointment.
After court we were able to go visit Elias at the transition home. We couldn't wait to tell him the news that he was now a Herwehe, but he didn't seem quite as excited as we were! : ) He is warming up to us more and more each day, and is feeling so much more comfortable around us. I love seeing him every day and the bonding that's taking place! We are oh, so in love with this precious boy! He is absolutely perfect for our family, and there is no doubt God chose him for us and us for him... we are so grateful to now be a forever family!!!
Thank you so much for all of your prayers for this day!!