What to start with? So much to say…
I’ll start by putting you out of your misery. Yes, we have her passport. And yes, it’s already at the Canadian High Commission.
Lest you think it was that simple, sit back with a cup of tea.
Tuesday morning, we were up, packed and driving into Maseru by 7:30am. We drove to the passport office, only to be told that they would be done at noon. To get that bit of info took much longer than to type. We then found out from our lawyer, that we were missing one of our court orders. Greeaaat. Good timing to let us know that. Sigh…
We got that semi sorted out and as I was going through the paperwork, found a pretty big typo. Ick. The lawyer ran off to get it corrected, while the clock ticked on. At this point it was 10:30am, the time of our party at Beautiful Gate. Between the rep, the lawyer and us, we checked all the paperwork to make sure there were no more mistakes.
Cue dashing off to Beautiful Gate, late. On the way there, we remembered that we were supposed to be bringing the head social worker with us. Turn around, battle traffic, pick her up. Picture our rep slamming his head into his steering wheel by now.
Arrived at Beautiful Gate and heard the most wonderful singing, greeting us. We walked in very late, to a room full of staff singing their hearts out. I’ve heard about the ceremony that takes place here, but trust me when I say there isn’t a dry eye, it’s true. Even the staunchest men were sniveling.
It was an amazing, stunning moment. Each house mother got to take the child, talk about them, formally say good bye, and hand them back to us. I get weepy just typing this. After this, there were other speeches and events, most importantly, the eating of cake! I had the opportunity to serve Joy’s house mother her cake. The founders of Beautiful Gate gave each child a scrap book of their time there, a quilt, and a teddy. They spoke words to all of us. This was especially sweet as this was the last good bye ceremony they will take part in and we have met them before.
Afterwards I had the opportunity to spend some time in the memorial at Beautiful Gate for the children who have died over the years. I was bawling. There is a plaque to a little baby girl with the same name as our daughter who died of HIV. It just felt so frustrating and futile that these babies had to die. Most of them under a year old. This felt especially touching to me as after reading Joy’s medical records, and talking to her nurse. She could have died several times. The nurse and house mother refer to Joy as their miracle child.
I also got to talk to the social worker at Beautiful Gate about Joy’s history, and it was wonderful. She is a lovely person and cares about, and knows all the children.
We then dashed off to the passport office, to catch them before we closed for lunch. We waited in the hallway, and finally our rep came out. He was holding passports, but had a grim look on his face. Before he said a word, I counted that we were short a passport.
Sometimes, like in that moment, I gotta wonder if we are cursed with the most rotten luck in Africa.
We ran up to the director of passports, office to find that he was in a meeting and then would be gone to lunch. We were told to come back at 3pm for his approval to have the passport printed.
I may have kind of snapped. In a German, stubborn sort of way.
I told the receptionist, ‘I will wait here until he comes out from his meeting.’
Her: ‘She can’t wait.’
Me: I will wait.
Her: She can’t wait.
This continued as my rep looked ready to die.
Apparently this sheer force of will works once in awhile because the application was approved in 5 minutes and we were told to pick up the passport at 3.
We then told the other Canadian families to go. That there was enough time for them to get to Pretoria before dark. One family, that we have become super close too, refused to leave us.
Sniff, sniff…they have my heart.
At 3:40, we finally got her passport, sans mistakes. I made all the staff laugh by kissing it. We got through the Lesotho border by 4:30 and into Pretoria by 10pm. And that included getting lost for about 45 minutes. Mind you, the average speed that the two gentlemen driving maintained, was 145km/hour. Average.
Up early this morning to drop off her application at the Canadian High Commission with no hitches, except that the only person who does the adoption files is gone for the rest of the week. Uh-huh. Yup, they are. Of course they are. Grrr…
Silver lining, we were told that we would get a call on Monday or Tuesday.
Pray us home, peeps.
We are making the most of this Pretoria time. Planning some family outings and getting in some rest time. Visiting with dear friends and hanging with new ones.
I just am ready to get my family united. I worry about my babies back at home. Rationally I know that they are fine, but I want to be with them. I am unbelievably grateful for the support network that is allowing us to stay here longer.
Love from Pretoria. Where the grass is green and the laundry is cheap.