Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Merry Christmas (Really...)

Now that I've had a chance to sleep, let me apologize for my very negative post yesterday. God is always faithful to his children, including me. Setbacks are never easy to take, and I think it's just especially difficult at Christmas time. This journey has not been a very easy one, but it has not been without joy either. And when we finally get her home, I know without a shadow of a doubt that this will all be worth it, and I'm sure I'd do it all over again.
Thank you for your continued thoughts, prayers, and comments. It's encouraging to have others come along with us on this journey. Travis and I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas and a wonderful year to come!

Monday, December 22, 2008

No Hope Tonight

This post won't be very eloquent or long (and I apologize in advance for my crappy mood...it is not directed at you!). We received some bad news today from our agency. Wait times are increasing all around, especially for infant girls. Instead of our original 7-9 months, we're now looking at 9-11 months, with a possibility of running more to 11 months. Our hearts are broken, and to be very honest, I can't find very much hope right now. We thought we were coming down the home stretch. Instead, it's very likely that unless things in Ethiopia change, we could be looking at April for a referral and not traveling until July. There is always a possibility that things could speed up, but I'm not banking on it.
Now, we know that things could always be worse. I mean, Abraham and Sarah waited 10 years from the time God led them out of Ur until they had Jacob. Hannah waited for many long years until God gave her Samuel. Joseph was wrongly imprisoned for 7 years in Egypt. I know that God has a plan and all things happen for a reason. I know all those things. But I am so sick of hearing people say them to me; it doesn't make this any easier. I am done waiting.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

7 months and World AIDS Day

Today marks 7 months since our dossier left the United States and made its way to Ethiopia. This is also significant as the referral time line for a baby girl is projected at 7-9 months. We know, though, that the wait is not yet over. There are still 9 (or maybe more we don't know about) families ahead of us. We are hoping that AWAA will still get to refer children to the February and March families before Christmas, which would put us significantly closer to the top of the list.
That being said, I wanted to share another important date with you. Yesterday, December 1, was World AIDS Day. This pandemic disease has become more and more relevant to us as we learn more about Ethiopia. I began reading a new book last week titled There Is No Me Without You by Melissa Fay Greene. The book is written by an American journalist who discovered an Ethiopian woman named Haregewoin Teferra who is defying all social codes and mores by trying to rescue the AIDS orphans in Ethiopia. This woman's journey and subsequent mission is sobering, humbling, and eye opening. AIDS is destroying an entire generation in Africa while we Westerners haven't a clue. I feel ashamed by our lack of knowledge and action. If you have any desire to learn more about my daughter's culture and country, please read this book. I can't tell you how much I have been touched by Haregewoin's life and story; I promise you won't be disappointed.
I want to leave you with a brief selection from this book.
Waiting in a clinic for the result of an HIV blood test, or for a child's blood test, is the archetypal experience of modern Africans.
The patient waiting for results may imagine that the outside world-the industrialized democracies of the West-once alerted to the terrible situation here, will ride to the rescue. Because how could people know and not help?
A few may suspect that the outside world has been fully informed, for there has been no shortage of experts. In fact, extensive documentation has been collected and collated, graphed and disseminated.
Stephen Lewis calls the voluble hobnobbing of experts on the subjects of global health and orphans "speakathons"; they "give credence," he writes, "to the proposition that if you talk about something for long enough, the illusion will be created that progress is being made...And I suppose there has been some progress in the world of reports, analyses, figures, tables, diagrams, and at least a thousand PowerPoint presentations, not to overlook throbbing intellectual rumination, but very little progress that's discernible in the lives of orphaned and vulnerable children on the ground."
The African patient, waiting for test results, discovers that the outside world, while not completely indifferent, is not going to intervene to save his or her life, or the child's.

Around the world, a few fantastically popular television shows strike me as bizarrely playful versions of contemporaneous darker scenes.
On American Idol and its many knockoffs, singing contestants wait for verdicts issued by seated judges. "Yes, you go on to the next round," they may hear; "See you tomorrow," or "No, your competition is over," "America has voted," "Your journey ends here." Viewers phone in votes for their favorites. In other shows, individuals fight for survival on island expeditions until they are voted off the show, off the island, by their erstwhile comrades. The last man or woman standing is crowned "the survivor."
These programs are "reality shows."
In Africa, by the hundreds and thousands and millions, but one by one, a person sits in a clinic waiting room, jumpy or still, feeling fine or feeling nauseous, coughing or not coughing. Or she squats outside in the dirt yard, holding her head in her hand, occasionally looking up and calling to her children not to wander too far. Each waits to hear his or her name called. Inside the examining room, a doctor or nurse or nurse's aide examine a slip of paper and looks up. The eyes speak first.
Negative: You advance to the next round. See you tomorrow.
Positive: America has voted. Your journey ends here.
There are no television cameras.
No viewers at home are cheering or weeping.
No viewers at home phoned in their individual votes. Most never knew anything was at stake.
"I have heard there are treatments," a woman will whisper.
"Not in our country," the doctor will say with a sad smile.
"Does it mean I will die soon?" a man will ask.
"Yes, I'm afraid that is what it means."
"I thought perhaps I just had a cold."
"No, I'm afraid not."
"Thank you, Doctor."