Tuesday, December 21, 2010

We PASSED!!!

How can we even begin to put into words how good it feels to finally call Nathanel our son! What a gift from God he is to us. We cannot wait to continue to get to know him better and to bring him home hopefully sometime in February!! Here's how it all unfolded…

Today did not go as originally planned, but instead went much better! This morning we planned to go shopping and arrive at the courthouse around 1:00 p.m. to wait our turn with the judge. However, around 10:30 we got the call from Woudneh {our adoption agency's In-Country Director} to come to court right away. Thankfully, we were driving to a shop not too far from the court so we were able to make it very quickly. When we got to court we were told that our cases would be heard early. The waiting room was packed with other adoptive families and also birth families waiting to relinquish their rights. Not but about 5 or 10 minutes after we arrived, we heard Nathanel's orphanage get called and saw a group of birth parents go back to meet with the judge. We immediately began speculating if Natty's birth mom might be in the group, and picked out one young woman in particular that we thought it might be. A few minutes later, after the birth parents were dismissed, our names were called along with 2 other families from our agency. We went back together to meet with the judge and had our court interview together in a group. This was a surprise to us because we hadn't heard of the judge doing this before. {Turns out she had a 1:00 p.m. meeting that popped up so she needed to finish her cases early so she decided to hold group interviews for the first time.}

We were asked about 5 yes or no questions, and the judge said that she would receive a report later in the day to finish our adoptions. We all left the room a little confused and disappointed. We were under the impression that we did not pass yet but were still waiting on some paperwork. After the rest of our agency's families were called back, Woudneh told us that we were finished. As we all walked down the hall long-faced, Woudneh asked us what was wrong and we said that we weren't sure if we had passed court or not. He immediately got a huge smile on his face and assured us that we had passed!! He said that the judge just had to write up her final report and send it on later in the day, but the kids were ours. SUCH A RELIEF!!! Tears definitely flowed and we knew that it was finally time to celebrate.

After we left the courthouse, we were taken to a local branch of Natty's orphanage and were told that we would have a chance to meet his birth mom there. Two other families were also meeting their birth families at the same place and their birth families were already at the orphanage when we arrived. However, Nathanel's birth mom was not. We began to worry that she was not going to show up and were both pretty disappointed until we heard a knock at the gate about 15 minutes later. As the gate opened, we saw the same beautiful, young woman that we thought could possibly be his mom from court. Our translator greeted her and told her who we were, and we had several hugs and lots of tears. We thanked her and she thanked us, and it was a moment that we will cherish forever! We were able to get some photos of her and hope to be able to share as much as possible about her with Nathanel as he grows up. As we had expected, she is very young but also a very wonderful person! We loved getting to spend time with her and wished it was easier to communicate to her our love and adoration for her. We gave her the photo album we put together of pictures of Nathanel and ourselves, and she cried as she thumbed through the pages. I don't think she was expecting it at all so I'm so glad we came prepared!

After finishing up our meeting with her, our group loaded back in the van and headed to the beautiful restaurant in the Sheraton Hotel in downtown Addis for a celebratory lunch.  Everyone was so thrilled and it was just a great time to talk about how grateful we are for God's provision and direction throughout this crazy process. Plus, we couldn't ask for a better group of people to be experiencing this with! We had a great lunch, were able to call home, and update facebook with the good news. We were so thrilled, but were even more excited knowing that Nathanel was on his way to the transition home as we were having lunch. When we finished up, we continued a little bit more of our shopping but we were much more anxious to finally make it back to the transition house to see the kids.

When we got back to the transition house where we are staying, our little guy was hanging out in his new {temporary!!} crib waiting for us to come for a visit. He even brought us a present…our first stinky diaper J After a quick, and very grumpy, bath, he was ready to visit for a while. Ryan and I took turns passing him back and forth, and we were excited to see that his disposition eventually changed and he seemed much more relaxed with us. We know we have a long way to go with attachment when we get him home, but we can't wait to get started! We already love him so much and can't wait for him to fully understand that we are his forever mommy and daddy. We said good night to him and left him with his new nanny for bedtime and were whisked away to a traditional Ethiopian meal at a local restaurant. The restaurant was complete with a lot of traditional dancing and singing so we had quite the cultural experience! We are now back at the transition house and ready for some much needed sleep. Tomorrow and Thursday, our main priority is to get as much time as possible in with our sweet son before heading home. He is such a sweet baby and we are so proud to finally and officially be able to call him our son!!

Attached are some pictures from the last few days…

Thanks again for all your prayers, love and encouragement. We love you and will be seeing you soon.

Welcome to the family, Greer Nathanel Sweeney!!

~Ryan & Lesli


10 comments:

Stunning- said...

Congrats!!!

What a handsome addition to your family - you are so blessed!

Lexilooo said...

How wonderful, so many congratulations to you and your family!

Jamie said...

Welcome Greer!
how sweet of you to have a wonderful gift for his mom- I know she will cherish that photo album! Oh so happy for you!
Hooray! Congrats! Words can't be expressed enough!!

ARMSTRONG ADVENTURES said...

Crying tears of joy!!! Congratulations! What a sweet family.

Barry and Amy said...

Praise the Lord!! So very excited for you!

Stacy said...

What a wonderful Christmas blessing. He is beautiful...congratulations!

Heather said...

Congratulations!!! He's precious Lesli! :) Continuing to pray for your growing family!

my life: said...

See...why do I have to be crying on my keyboard for a family I don't know!!!! :0)
Oh yeah...because I have adopted and KNOW that feeling. :0)
SO SO SO happy for you ALL!!!

Amber said...

Merry Christmas!!!!! He is SO good.

Greer, you are a DOLL!! And I love the first pic with your daddy and the last pic with your mommy. LOVE!!!! Congratulations and here's to a wonderful life as a forever family!!!!!!!!

So happy.


Hugs & Prayers
AmberK

Anonymous said...

wendi