Today was our day to travel down south and visit with the birth family of our boys – we are going to keep our impressions of this visit offline, so that we can discuss the experience with the boys when they’re ready.
Our visit was joined with that of another family whose birth family was in the same vicinity, and we ended up spending a lot of time with this couple. At the end of the day, we returned to the largest city in the region, Awassa, where we met up with the third family travelling with us that day, who had gone in a different direction to visit their child’s family. We shared dinner and impressions together, and Ron got into an interesting discussion with the third dad, a fundamentalist Christian who is committed to protecting his children from the idea of evolution, among other things – at the end of the night, they agreed to disagree, but it was a friendly discussion, and Ron and I were both impressed that he was able to listen, even if he wasn’t ready to accept that the science makes sense.
One thing that impressed me was that each family had a markedly different experience of meeting their respective birth families – and my suspicion I that those differences were influenced in large part by the expectations of the adopting family more than by real differences in circumstances. I would go into specifics except that I want to respect everyone’s privacy and personal story, but I do think that this is a general phenomenon – each of us goes through life molding the experience that we WILL have by our preconceptions of what the experience will be.
We were all exhausted, but none of us were sleeping terribly well yet – still suffering jet lag. The next morning, we had an early breakfast, and then the drivers picked us up for the ride home. We had a brief detour to visit a fishing area and a small game park (only saw some impala). I know that I was keen to get back to see the kids…especially Sadi, who I was afraid would be confused by our missing a day of playing with him…but, thanks again, I’m sure to the excellent care and attention of the orphanage staff, he was fine when we got back.