I woke up after sleeping a blissful 9 hours. Haven't done that in ages. I got ready slowly and enjoyed the fact that I was able to do this. Otherwise I would start missing my 4 kids at home and one little one that is just 30 minutes away from me.
I keep thinking about Afua and if she knows I am so close. That I am doing everything within my power to be with her and get to her. I wish I could talk about all of that (some day) but getting custody of her today is not guaranteed. We will have to ask, plead and maybe even beg to get her out today.
Around 10 am Patrick will be here and we will go to Afua's orphanage.
Day 2 continued...(not gotcha day)
Patrick and I went to Afua's orphanage. We were instructed to sit and wait and she would be brought to us. It is a familiar routine they do and visitors are not allowed to observe any of the children's care areas. After some time, her auntie was carrying her, walked right passed us into the manageress to make sure she would approve of her appearance and then unceremoniously she handed Afua to me. I noticed that she had grown in the last 7 months, taller and heavier. She was smiling as I'm sure she knew she could have some one on one human interaction.
We went to sit outside under the shade of a tree and I observed that Afua had a lot of high muscle tone all over her body. Her ankle were stiff, her back was stiff and she kept arching her back uncomfortably. She was also suffering from a cold and we kept having to wipe her nose. While we were visiting, we received a call that we should go meet with the person who could give us custody of her. So we said goodbye and went to the office.
The meeting did not go well. The person in charge wanted to intimidate me, thinking because I was a woman I would not dare to speak to him. He also assumed I had never adopted or been to his country and he learned that neither was true very quickly :) He started with an immediate "no" but after I gave him all the reasons I should have custody of my legal child, he finally said he would think about it. He also stated I could visit Afua anytime I wanted for however long I wanted to bond with her. He asked that our power of attorney (POA) come and see him to discuss the custody issue.
We returned to the orphanage and they didn't let me see her. So much for the bonding promised to me just a few minutes earlier. My heart sank. I really thought common sense would prevail, but it was not the case. In a culture where bribes are a common way to negotiate (and many Americans are willing to participate in great amounts), those who opt not to participate are at a disadvantage. I know that adoptive families have one focus: to get their children home. But there is a bigger picture that we all contribute into with our action, inaction and how we conduct business in general. My first full day back, and I had my fill of the current adoption climate here.
After the conclusion of our adoption business and no chance of seeing Afua again, it was time to visit good friends. It was so good to see auntie Comfort, Mary, Lucy and Audrey. Lots of children were there too and I felt like it was the perfect place to end the day. Auntie Comfort was our lifeline since Erics last visit to Ghana as she would visit Afua weekly and it is because of those visits that she received better care. I don't know if I can ever express to her what those visits meant to me as we waited. I often wondered if the orphanage would let us know if Afua was sick or if something happened to her. We found out the hard way to they would not, and having Comforts presence there made a world of difference.
Precious, Lucy, Audrey and me
Overall, today was a bust. I felt like I need to fight for everything and this trip isn't going to be easy. The positive is that I am IN Ghana, close to my girl and surrounded by the most caring people who love my girl as much as I do.