Now that we had our adoption agency picked out, all of the craziness started. We (and by we, I mean I) had to stay up late every night trying to get all of the paperwork done. We had to be fingerprinted and then fingerprinted again. We had to write letters to Ethiopia explaining to them why we wanted to adopt one of their children. We had to get physicals and shots. The list goes on and on. Finally, we got our approval letter from immigration and we could choose our new child. Yes, I said choose. We had to go through pictures and short bios of all of the available children at the orphanage. It was like going through the toy catalog at Christmas. The "shopping" for a kid was very strange. How do we pick? There were short videos of all of the children to try to help, but it was still extremely hard to look at these kids who have barely developed a personality and decide which one will fit best into our family. We had to narrow it down somehow. We decided we would chose a boy. Girls are much easier to find adoptive families for. We already had 2 girls and 1 boy, so it all made sense. Ok, so now what. We've narrowed it down to only those with external plumbing, but that was just the beginning. Now we watched videos and read bios of all of the available boys. They were all under 1 year old. What is there to know about them?? After watching the videos a few times, I decided I would make the decision to rule out "the screamer". This kid screamed the entire video. He clearly wanted nothing to do with the white woman holding him for the camera. After a few more rounds of dismissals, David had his "favorite" and I had mine. They weren't the same. Eventually, we got to a point were we had to call the staff at the adoption agency and say "help!!" They knew these children, or had at least met them...they could help, right? Well, immediately she said, "there is this little 9 month old boy named Obsa who has won over the hearts of all of the staff at the orphanage. He has a great little personality." Wait a minute, I thought to myself...Obsa? "The screamer?" I asked her in shock. "Oh, that's just because he has stranger anxiety," she assured me. Stranger anxiety was a good thing. It was proof that he had attached to someone and would, therefore, be much less likely to have Reactive Attachment Disorder (a condition where the child never learned to bond to anyone and may never know how - leads to severe behavioral issues). RAD was a major concern for us, so I was happy to have some assurance on that end. When she spoke of him, I could sense the true feelings of affection for him. It was almost as if she lit up when she told me about him. That was all the sign I needed. I was looking for something - anything - to make one child stick out from the rest. This was it! After David did his whole "patience" thing, we made the decision. Obsa Birhanu would be our son. As an interesting side note, the name "Obsa" means "patience". I later decided that next time I would choose a child who's name means "instant gratification".
Obsa's mother died in childbirth and his father could not care for him. He tried, for 2 months, to keep his boy alive, but without breast milk, the prognosis was grim. He could not afford formula. His son was literally wilting away. He knew he had to do something so he decided to give him up for adoption. He was brought to the orphanage very malnourished and thin. They were worried he wasn't going to make it for awhile. He's a strong willed boy though (don't we know it!) and he pulled through. They pumped him full of high calorie formula and he plumped right up. In fact, he was down right chubby! It seems that he was very happy in the first orphanage. At least for a time, there were just 2 other babies (his same age) and 4 nannies. They were like a family. Yes, I did try to talk Dave into also adopting the other 2 children. He basically asked me if I was high, but said I could inquire about the possibility of adopting the other little boy. This was because the other boy just so happened to be the "second runner up" (I hate talking about a human being like that!!!) when we chose Obsa, so I was able to convince him that I had to ask. Since they already told us that the rule was only related children could be adopted at the same time, he was confident that they would tell me no and we could move on. Well, I am a very convincing person and I explained that the boys were like brothers because they spent nearly their whole lives, thus far, together (they were over a year at this point). They should stay together! They said they needed to get back to me. This was a huge red flag to David. They didn't say no right away? They might actually say yes! He finally decided he had to sit me down and explain the reasons we could not move forward with this. We would have 5 kids 6 years old and younger. That would be a lot. So, I called the agency and told them "sike...just kidding!" They understood. It really is best to introduce one child at a time into the family. I can attest to that now.