My Life Is Crazy Too is a series of reader submissions. Your life is a story. This is your opportunity to share about life, love, and mommyhood to provide understanding, hope, and compassion in the unique situations each of us face every day. If you would like to submit a story to this series, please email me. Today’s guest is, Courtney Hammons.
I am a Christ follower, wife, daughter, sister, non-profit founder, blogger, orphan awareness advocate, business owner, speaker and mom. My greatest role has been the opportunity to walk this path to motherhood.
Tariku James is my precious 9-year-old from the Kembata region of Southern Ethiopia – an area 12 hours outside the capital of Addis Ababa. That is where his story began a story that is his to tell one day. Tewdros Joshua is my amazing 8-year-old from Addis Ababa Ethiopia. And like Tariku has his own story to tell one day.
I am here to share the story of how 2 boys became my sons.
Tariku and Tewdros met in our adoption agencies transition home shortly after Tewdros lost his hearing due to illness. It is in this transition home that I would meet both of these boys on Aug 3, 2010. What I did not know at that time is the amazing story the Lord had already weaved for our family.
It was on Aug 3rd that we were to take custody of Tariku – we had passed court month’s prior and were now in Ethiopia to go before the Embassy and bring our son home. So on Aug 9th 2010, I left Ethiopia with my sweet Tariku and headed back to America as a family of 3. And while we moved along and connected as a family, Tariku would ask often, “when is Tewdros coming home?” For weeks I would tell him that Tewdros has his own family.
Tariku would take the clothes he had grown out of and place them back on the shelf and simply ask “when is Tewdros coming home?” He never got upset he just simply asked. Now I was just trying to figure out this whole being a mom thing with a 5-year-old and the prospect of adding to our family was NOT on the top of my list at this point and yet “when is Tewdros coming home?” was becoming a very familiar question in our house.
I talked with my husband and I talked with the adoption agency and asked A LOT of questions. I talked to Bill Wilkerson Institute at Vanderbilt and I talked to Brentwood Baptist Deaf Church and social workers and parents of deaf children. And when all the talking and asking questions was done – it came down to simply saying YES to God and to HIS plan for our family.
So a mere 8 ½ weeks after being home with Tariku and completely through HIS plan we were able to officially accept the referral of Tewdros. What should have been months of re-working paperwork actually ended up being hours since we were on HIS plan Jesus had already had the paperwork done.
We NEVER noticed our original paperwork had us approved for multiple children AND special needs (our I-171H was also approved to meet the requests of Tewdros). The judge requested our presence in Addis Ababa Ethiopia on Nov 23, 2010 – Just a mere 111 days since we had first met Tewdros.
And in Dec of 2010, I could officially answer Tariku’s question – When is Tewdros Coming Home?
The boys have been home now a little over 3 ½ years – it is as though they were never apart. They both love school and sports and are thriving as brothers. Because of their fierce loyalty to Ethiopia and each other, it has led to the inception of a non-profit to assist other deaf children, who like Tewdros use their hands to speak.
As an adoption advocate, I want to point you to the best sources to learn more about the adoption process at any stage in your journey. If you would like to personally talk to a “rock star” adoption coordinator, please contact my friend in real life, Randi Shetley.
I am Randi Shetley, Ethiopia Program Director for International Family Services. I get to unite orphans with their forever families. Best. Job. Ever. I am married to my Prince Charming and have 5 children (three were born in Ethiopia). As an adoptive momma myself, I am able to help families through the roller coaster of adoption with empathy and compassion. I know the importance of communication and try to make myself available to my families and answer questions as quickly as possible. If you have questions about adoption (international or domestic), I would love to talk to you! firstname.lastname@example.org Let me know that Mama Kiki (that’s me) sent you!
We learned that orphans are easier to ignore before you know their names. They are easier to ignore before you see their faces. It is easier to pretend they’re not real before you hold them in your arms. But once you do, everything changes. David Platt