Some news to share this week with you readers: my adoption ‘passed court’! As I think I mentioned in previous posts, adoption in the West African country I am adopting from is by judicial order. When I was last there (Christmas 2009), I appointed a lawyer and power of attorney, so I didn’t have to travel down for the actual case—knowing that I would need the money saved on airfares for the paperwork to come.
Of course I feel elated, joyful and somewhat terrified—that old adage 'be careful what you wish for' is on loop in my head. Schools, the language issue, adjustment teething problems…the future is a minefield.
But first of course I have to get her here. Over the next couple of months I need to get her a new birth certificate (with my surname), a passport and then a visa for ‘reagrupación familiar’ from the Spanish embassy in her country, possibility the hardest step of all: the ‘sin precedent’ element of expats in Spain adopting from foreign countries generally means an unhelpful, if not hostile reception at this stage from the foreign consuls, who at the end of the road, have the uppermost hand in the entire adoption process. And all this in an African country whose wheels of bureaucracy moves at a snail’s pace. Oh, and did I mention that over the next few months I will be haemorrhaging money for all this?
But hey, looking back at how far I’ve come, I know I just have to take it one step at a time. She’s my daughter, my responsibility and no surly official is going to keep us apart.
My new daughter just rang me to wish me a happy Mother’s Day (celebrated down there on the second Sunday in May, same as my own country). I am in close contact with the director of the orphanage she is in and she organised the call. My little girl had to attend the court hearing, twice in fact, as the first time it was adjourned. She went with my power of attorney (who also works for the orphanage) and sat there in a hot courtroom for hours waiting. Apparently she was asked by the judge if she wanted to come and live with me, to which she replied, ‘Oh yes, I like Aunty Meredith toooo much.” To which the whole court broke out laughing.
So my little girl has made me a mother, and I thank her from the bottom of my heart for that. When speaking to my own mother for Mother’s Day she seemed as shell-shocked as I at the news—and is understandably proud of what I have done. But does it have more merit than having bio kids? I don’t think so. Children come to into your life in different ways, and whichever way it happens, their impact is extraordinary.