Today I went to some people whose help I need. I asked why something simple was taking so long. On Thursday (last week), they had told me that someone was traveling. On Friday, they said person was "trying". Saturday and Sunday everyone was off. On Monday they were "sick".
Today was Tuesday.
On Tuesday I was pissed.
I respectfully demanded an answer. And what I was told shocked me. Cut me. Enraged me. There was "no news" because the offices were closed for two months due to the election (which will be in May).
I stopped dead in my tracks and started pretty much yelling. "You mean to tell me you have been LYING to me?!?!?! I fight for this child for FOUR YEARS and you see me here, with him, for the SIXTH trip, and you are LYING to me?!?!?! You told me LAST WEEK that someone was at least working on it and now you're telling that office has been empty this WHOLE TIME?!?!?! WHAT IS THE NAME OF THE PERSON WE NEED???? I AM GOING TO ______________ AND I WILL GET WHAT IS NEEDED MYSELF!!!!!"
The person took a step backwards picked up the phone. They were nervous. I was FURIOUS. I started crying, hot angry tears. I GLARED at them with a look that my siblings know means danger and leaned forward, anger radiating from my body. They started dialing. "Yes, yes, maybe it's better, yes, you should be the one to go to ______________."
And then I lost it. "YOU'VE BEEN NEEDING *this* FROM ___________________ SINCE LAST AUGUST AND LAST AUGUST I WAS HERE AND TOLD YOU I WOULD GO MYSELF AND YOU TOLD ME NO! *insert various reasons they had given me* I TOLD YOU I WOULD GO EIGHT DAYS AGO WHEN I GOT HERE AND YOU SAID NO, IT WOULD NOT HELP IF I WENT AND YOU WOULD HELP ME AND SEND SOMEONE TO DO IT!!! (In said _______________ a different language is spoken.) YOU WOULDN'T LET ME GO (saying I would hurt the case and lose my child) AND NOW, AFTER I HAVE BEEN HERE EIGHT DAYS AND CHANGED MY FLIGHTS, YOU ARE TELLING ME IT'S BETTER IF I GO?!?! YOU LIED TO ME!!!!!!!! I AM AT THE END OF MY TRIP!!!! I DON'T HAVE ENOUGH TIME NOW!!!! HOW CAN YOU STAND THERE BEFORE GOD AND LIE TO ME!!!! YOU ARE HURTING MY SON!!!! HE IS AN INNOCENT CHILD AND YOU ARE DESTROYING HIM!!!! I'M GOING TO ___________________ (seven hours away by car......no flights) MYSELF AND I WILL FIND THEM IF I HAVE TO STOP EVERY PERSON IN THE CITY AND ASK THEM WHAT THEIR NAME IS!!!!!!"
They stared at me, disbelief and more than a little fear written across their face. "Hold on," they said, "Let me talk to _________ (someone high up)."
They got up and ran to another office. I sat for about one-millionth of a second and then I flipped. I totally lost control and didn't think at all. I jumped to my feet, grabbed my purse (a big, heavy bag specifically for here) and THREW IT across the room. They heard the sickening thud it made as it hit a desk and fell to the floor. Then I stomped out of the room and stormed into the neighboring office, right past the person who had been "helping" me and marched straight up to the person who COULD help me. They both stared at me silently, open-mouthed in shock.
"Take me to the government!!!" I said firmly. "Take me. I HAVE to go. I am coming to you directly, and without fear. TAKE ME. I am not going to stop."
The person stared up at me for a long moment. I stared back, unflinching. Unapologetic. Unmoving. I didn't even blink. And then they laughed. "I like you, Mary," they said. "You are a Jegna (warrior, the Amharic word that I draw on my wrist every day) for sure. Let me text someone and see if they will see us." They gave me the dismissal nod. I just stood straighter and refused to break eye contact.
I got a nod. Then they sent a message and received an affirmative response. The person looked back up at me. "Do you want to go now or later?"
I picked up my purse.
As we were walking out of the office, I stopped and grabbed some paper. I wrote Micah a letter.
Micah, I love you. You are smart. You are special. I love you so much. Love, Mom
I gave it to the first person. "Please give this to Micah," I said. "He can't read," they answered. "Yes he can," I said. "He can read this. I taught him. I promised him I would come today and he HAS to know I was here. He can read this. Please give it to him."
We left. We drove a long ways, to somewhere I have never been. We went to an official building, and through security. The security guards loved me because I spoke no English to them, only Amharic, and they saw my Jegna pen-tattoo.
We went up to an important official's office and waited. I had been wanting to come here, to plead my case to the government. I had a letter ready, my speech, an appropriate business attire. But today I was in jeans and a black shirt, my black hair long and straight, hanging down. My face was streaked with tears, and I'm sure my eyes were wild.
The person spoke with them in Amharic for a long time. The men would stare at me and then listen, stare and listen. I couldn't understand what was said. But I sat straight and tall and when they would look at me, I'd look right back. I wanted to speak for myself but I didn't want to be disrespectful. This was clearly a "man's" world, it was not my country. I didn't know what the rules were. But I didn't care about the eye contact. I wanted them to know I was a fighter. That I wasn't scared. That I was unstoppable.
So I stared right back. Not menacingly. Not threatening. But firm. Unbending. JEGNA.
Finally one of them turned to me and asked me in English to tell him why I was here.
I answered him in Amharic.
Both officials started. I told them (I am told my Amharic accent is perfect), in their one of their own languages that I wanted to adopt Micah. That he was deaf and had no language of education. That he was alone. That I had three children, two deaf, who were successful and happy, and I showed them pictures and videos. I gave them my letter.
They were smiling now and when I had finished they slapped me on the shoulder. "This is a strong woman," they said. "She is brave to come here to this office and fight for this child." "A very strong woman," the other agreed.
I flashed my wrist at them. JEGNA. Warrior/brave in Amharic. They gasped and laughed. "Who did that for you???" they asked. "I did it myself," I answered. They laughed again, "Amazing! We like you."
We gave them a ride and the entire time they would point to objects to see if I knew the Amharic names. I did. They would ask me questions in Amharic. I would answer. They began teaching me phrases in different Ethiopian dialects.
At the end of the ride, the last man touched my shoulder. "There are things we must discuss with *the person who brought me* and problems to solve, but when this paperwork comes to us, we will sign it for you." He nodded at me, and I saw in his eyes that he was on my side. I touched my heart and told him thank you in Amharic and then I kissed his hand (the greatest symbol of heartfelt thanks here). He pressed my hand between his and said "It's not problem." And then told me he and his wife would love to have coffee or dinner with me. (JESUS, YOU ARE AWESOME!!!!)
The person who had brought me was happy and I was pumped. I asked them to bring me back to the orphanage because I wanted to see Micah and show him that I kept my promise. It was late and then we were stuck in traffic but we made it by 7:30pm. I ran through the building searching for Micah. A little boy (who is hearing) that I play with every day and give gum to, ran up to me. Even though I speak Amharic to him daily, he thinks I am deaf like Micah and he always tries to sign to me. It's adorable. I was headed in one direction and he wagged his finger at me, telling me no. Then he grabbed my hand and pulled me somewhere else. To Micah. I squeezed him in a huge hug. Then the little boy tugged on my shirt and made a sign for gum. (He makes a cigarette type motion and then chews the air as fast as he can. It makes me giggle every time.) "Masticka?" I asked him (the Amharic word for gum. He just made his sign again and I laughed.
Micah was so happy to see me. I could tell he had been wondering where I was. I told him, "See??? I promised I would come today!!!" and he would giggle and smile at me. I let him and his two friends play Angry Birds on my phone and then Micah took pictures of me while I was being silly.
I went to dinner and came back to the guesthouse. I was happy. I was feeling positive. And then I got some news that rocked my world. Remember when I did something yesterday and it was good (sorry to be cryptic)? Well, it turned out to be worthless and maybe showing that some bad things had happened. And all of a sudden my son was on the line again and I began to cry. Because my son is alone and without communication and if this *thing* were useless then my time here was worthless in regards to helping Micah. My heart began to break and I started sobbing. I cried for maybe ten minutes and then jumped up and ran to the bathroom to wash my face.
Now is not the time to cry. It is not over. I am still here. God is on my side. Crying won't help Micah.
I turned on some music to distract and comfort me:
Close your eyes,
Have no fear,
The monsters gone,
He's on the run and your mommy's here,
Before you go to sleep,
Say a little prayer,
Every day in every way,
It's getting better and better,
Out in the sky, flying away,
I can hardly wait,
To see you to home someday,
But I guess we'll both,
Just have to be patient,
Yes it's a long way to go,
But in the meantime.......