Long before we had ever actually contemplated adopting children, I can remember thinking that international adoption must be so much easier than a domestic one because you would never have to deal with the child's birth family. Boy, does that seem dumb now. Or maybe just extremely naive... anyway, I was wrong. Birth family matters a lot, as we discovered along the way, and by time we actually brought our daughters home, I was in quite a turmoil over the lack of information we had regarding their history and their family. You could say I was obsessed. Luckily, through the grace of God and the help of some lovely new friends, we were able to find the birth family, culminating in this day:
We were able to meet with the twins' birth mother, their great aunt, aunt, little cousin, various neighbors and dogs for lunch and coffee in the house where the twins spent most of their baby and toddler years. We were so amazed at how accurate their memories of this place are, despite the young age at which they left. I feel so much peace after conversing with all of these women and sharing with them how Candace Selam and Sarah Fikir have grown and how much we love them.
Through our current agency, we were also able to meet with Feyissa Thomas' birth father after our court hearing. He was a very quiet and unassuming person, and the meeting was very emotional for everyone. We could see how much he loves his son, and we did our best to express how much we would love him too, and that we would always make sure that he stayed in his son's heart.
These people aren't strangers who we hope to never see again... they are part of our family; just a part that lives far away. Although they won't be involved in the day to day aspects of our children's lives, we want our children to treasure them, love them and respect them. We plan to take them back to Ethiopia to visit and hope to keep their birth land and families alive in their hearts.
There is not enough thanks in the world for the Stutzman family, the Meyer family and dear, dear sweet and wonderful Yosi for making this a reality for us.