Wednesday, March 09, 2011

The Whole Story - Leaving

(Thank you all for bearing with me! I'm getting there!  This is part 8, so if you would like to catch up, just click on the titles for An Intro, Getting There, Meeting Ernest, Still Day One, The Choice, Annie, and Lystra)

Almost immediately after meeting with Lystra that eventful Thursday morning, we decided we needed to further express our concerns about adoption Ernest to the orphanage director, Annie. She rather coolly welcomed Danny, my parents and me into her living room, where we sat down to a discussion that would forever alter our lives, and the life of a precious little boy.
While being careful not to implicate Lystra and further compromise her position at Kondanoni Children’s Home, we rehashed the obvious: Ernest is not at all the healthy, thriving little boy Annie had so vividly described to us. We reminded her of our responsibility to the children God had already blessed us with, and the tremendous level of lifetime care Ernest would demand. We expressed our doubts whether we would be able to adequately provide that for him. We admitted just how incredibly exhausted we were, both physically and emotionally. We asked her if we might be able to take some time to go to Lilongwe to rest, get counsel, be comforted by our friends, and try to determine what God’s plan was in all of this.
I was in tears. Danny was in tears. My mom was in tears. I’m pretty sure even my dad was in tears. Annie was completely void of emotion. She sat there with as much interest and expression as she might have been if we were discussing the weather. Now it’s one thing to see a woman cry and not respond with some level of compassion. In my opinion, it takes a completely different level of callousness to fail to react to an obviously broken man. Yet Annie’s only response was to continue to maintain that there was nothing at all unusual about a 3 year old who doesn’t even babble. She said “it’s your decision” as if it was no big deal for anyone either way. Nevermind the fact that we’d travelled halfway around the world to joyfully welcome a new member of our family. Nevermind the possibility that a little boy would grow up without the love of a mama and daddy.
We expressed again our desire to step back from the situation – at least for the weekend, since our court date wasn’t until the following Monday - to give ourselves the best opportunity to make a wise choice. Annie agreed, but quickly pointed out that we owed her for two night’s lodging in the orphanage guest house. The four of us stepped outside, Danny pulled out $120, and he and my dad went back inside to settle up with Annie.
It is for that particular part of the encounter that I’m grateful I was not present. As Danny handed her the money, she angrily insisted “You know what your decision is going to be. If you choose to drag this out, you’re just going to cost me more money!” As he’s stated since, it’s hard for Danny to hold his anger in check on the freeway, let alone in the face of the woman who has put his family through so much unnecessary pain. Yet God graciously held Danny’s tongue in that moment. He begged her not to press us for a decision, but ultimately told her that if she was going to insist, our answer must be “no.”
Within moments, we had Kondi’s car packed to the gills. Lystra came over to give us a tearful send-off. We hugged her, hopped in, and made the painful drive down the dirt path away from Ernest and our dreams of what might have been. God’s grace had sustained us thus far, and we had no doubt he would carry us safely into the loving arms of our dear friends just 150 miles away. 

6 comments:

Nancy said...

I don't have any adequate words for you. I'm so very sorry. Earnest is in my prayers today. You are too.
Thank you so much for sharing your story. It's important to hear.
nancy

Julie said...

I've been reading each installment and I just can't even image being in that position. So sad for everyone involved.

Anonymous said...

Makes me sad all over again but knowing Ernest is in a wonderful place and well-loved gives us peace in your very wise decision. Mom and Dad

Leveta said...

My words echo what the others have said. I can't imagine having to make the decisions you all have had to make. My prayers are for you and that your hearts will heal, for Ernest to be given that family that God has for him, and for the Godly woman who was honest with you and for the heart of the orphange director.I feel she is in more desperate need of prayer than she knows.
Leveta

By the Brook said...

I'm crying just thinking about it all. Thanking God for His providence throughout!

Rebekah said...

I'm finally getting caught up with your story, and tears are streaming. Such a hard thing for you all. I'm praying for your family, and for Ernest and the people in his orphanage tonight. I'm so thankful for the wise counsel of the good friends and family you have surrounding you.