Flashbacks are fun stories or memories from our paperchase phase that never made it to the blog.
Once families are "Gladney Approved" (when the Home Study is finished), they are assigned a Caseworker. Our Caseworker is Sara, and we love her. I'm sure there are many things a caseworker does that I don't know about, but the one thing she will do that is super important to me is that she is the one who will call us when we receive our referral. She will tell us all about our little one - if it's a boy or a girl, how hold he/she is, all about his/her story, health information, etc. OH! And pictures - she'll send us pictures! (OK, I'm back. Got lost in a nice little daydream about how great that day will be!)
Anyway, once we were Gladney Approved, Sara wanted to have a call with us so she could get to know us and talk about some specific preferences or expectations we might have. We talked for an hour and there's a lot I don't remember about that call, but a couple of things REALLY stuck with me that I wanted to share....
I don't know what the actual percentage is, but it turns out there are lots of children whose real birthdays Gladney never really knows. An obvious reason is if the child is abandoned. If somebody just leaves a baby where someone else will find it, there is no way to know exactly when the child was born. A doctor willl guess at the age of the baby and a "birthday" will be determined based on the approximate age. So, if a baby is abandoned today, and a doctor estimates it to be about 3 months old, then it's "birthday" would be April 28.
Another reason that was not as obvious to me is that not all Ethiopians keep track of time like we do. If an aunt places a baby for adoption, she might not even remember the date he was born. She might say he's 5 months old, when it's clear to everyone that he cannot possibly be that old. BUT, because the aunt says he's 5 months old, then his official "birthday" becomes February 28.
Isnt' that crazy?! I've had to come to terms with the fact that we may never really know our child's actual birthday. I'm sure for a lot of people that's not a big deal, but I've really grieved that (and still am) for him/her. I know that we AND our child will GAIN so much through this adoption, but almost every day I'm reminded of so much that our child will lose. I want him/her to know as much as possible about Ethiopia and their life before they came to live with us that it just makes me so sad that they might not ever know something as (seemingly) simple as what day they were born.
Before we talked to Sara, we hadn't given much thought to what our child's story might be. And, other than thinking I probably wouldn't post it on the blog for the world to read, I hadn't really thought about not sharing it with people - even our close friends and family. But talking to Sara that day helped us understand that a) it's our child's story; and b) it's our job above all to protect our child. Maybe the details of his/her story shouldn't be everybody's business. And really, that makes a lot of sense to me. Think about it: would you want everybody to know all the gory details of your life before you could really understand them? Of course not!
Obviously, as this point, we don't know what our child's story will be, so we really have no way of knowing how much of the story we'll share, and with whom we'll share it. But we hope that if you are a close friend or family member, and we don't share with you all of the details of how our child was orphaned, that you'll understand it's because it's our child's story and we want him/her to know the details first - it's NOT because we don't love or trust you. The most important thing is that we will have a new little member of our family to LOVE!
I think that's enough of the "heavy" for tonight. Happy Wednesday!