A couple weeks ago a co-worker of mine mentioned that she had seen an article in our local paper about another couple adopting from Ethiopia. Although this person has never steered me wrong at the office, my 'baloney alarm' went off immediately. First of all, "local Ethiopian news" is a complete oxymoron out here. Secondly, although it doesn't happen as often as it used to, good-natured folks would catch wind of some Africa story (usually adoption related but not always) and tell us about the one detail they kinda remembered.
Stuff like this:
"Hey Gardner, where are your kids from again? Africa, right?"
"I think the Jones's went on a mission trip to Africa back in the mid-eighties. It might have been to Ethiopia. You should ask them about it."
"..." "Um... ok, I'll do that."
And thus my friend is now freed from all that bottled up "I-know-something-about-Africa tension" and I am left trying to figure out if I even know who the Jones are (or were?).
I know this comes with the territory. You tell people you work with computers, you get computer woes. Expecting moms get TMI on other peoples pregnancies. Doctors hear medical stories, etc, etc... I'm not knocking the intention, just the execution. And honestly, most of the people I come in contact with these day are now pretty informed and/or invested in my family, making it a non-issue. Oh, and on a related note, I've been pleasantly surprised at how many folks have been pronouncing my children's names correctly lately. I don't want you folks to think I didn't notice. Kudos!
So anyway, since most of the second-hand adoption stories have petered out, I was really skeptical to hear this report about a newspaper article involving a local international adoption. And not just an African adoption, but an Ethiopian adoption. And not just an Ethiopian adoption, but an older Ethiopian adoption. And not just that but the adoption of a 6 year old girl!?
I call shenanigans. Surely you've mistaken someone else's story for, say uh, maybe, MINE.
So I jumped on the ol' internet and 30 seconds later found this article. In case the link disappears, it's about a family in our neighboring county who has been matched with their 6 year old daughter in Ethiopia. They're waiting for the call to come get her.
Click Here for the Article
I promptly went back to my coworker and apologized for ever doubting her. The next thing I did was write the reporter a hurried email that sounded more like an insecure freshman botching a date than a viable invitation. It went something like, "Dear Mr. Stanley, I'd like to meet those people you interviewed. So if, like, they want to, you know, get together or something, that'd be cool, but you know, if they, like, don't, then, that's cool too. I totally understand." I probably could have just posted, "OMG, ME TOO!!!" in the articles comment section and been more coherent, but fortunately Mr. Stanley was able to cut to the chase and relay my contact info.
Two days later I received an email from them excited to hear from us and thirsty for information. I did my best not to spew too much advice, and I only shared Chris's and my first reactions after reading the article.
-I told them to start their cardio workouts now. The 8000 ft. elevation of Addis Ababa can be a show stopper. If I could do one thing differently, that I had any control over, I'd have hit the treadmill harder.
-Chris suggested trying to get a picture of the inside of their child's mouth so a dentist could give them a better approximation of her age.
I hope things work out and we can get together sometime. I'd love to tell them that story I heard about the Jones from the mid eighties...