continued from Part I
Mr. Sintayew was a nice, great man who on any other day we could have spent a long time with in conversation. But now was NOT that time and the customary goodbyes could not end soon enough.
We loaded into the car...Ollie on Josh's lap in the front seat...and we started again on the unfamiliar road.
I searched each corner for the right turn. I knew for sure I would recognize it from the hundreds of times I had seen it on the video from someone else's travels. And there...like a dream...was the familiar sign. Surely this couldn't be real! We turned off the pavement onto an ally-like road filled with potholes from the new rains. Past the high walls of compounds, a mechanic nailing sheet metal onto the front of a taxi, children with their herd of goats and large piercing eyes; finally, around another corner and into my view comes the blue gate of Toukoul.
A small boy (maybe aged 3 years) with worn clothing and bare feet plays in the side ally next to the gate. I wonder if he would rather be on the guarded side of the gate playing with the other children. What does he think of the commotion coming from the other side? What does he think of us or the countless other families who come alone and leave with a child just like him?
My thoughts are interrupted by the "honk honk" communication of African compounds. Slowly...like a dream...the gate is opened and I find the new sights around me eerily familiar. But I am here. A few children play in the courtyard and lazy guards give friendly nods to yet another adoptive family. The day for them is average. In my mind, it is a celebrated holiday!
Still unsure how the driver thing works, we ask our driver if he can wait. "Of course! Of course! I be here all time." Okay...taken care of...now what?
The office seems like a likely place to start so we head for the door...glancing around and making it obvious that it is our first time. Of course, everyone but us knows just what to do and we are shown into a room with a lady who is on the phone. Once her conversation is finished, she smiles and raises her eyebrows, allowing us the opportunity to speak.
"Yes, yes, you are the Yoders...you are here for Geda? Okay."
"Josh...you better have the camera ready. We want to be ready!"
Oliver fusses and Josh informs me of the obvious that filming will be a little difficult at the moment. I take the camera and position my fingers for quick action if the moment comes.
Waiting...waiting...another phone call...
A small girl (about 6) comes into the room and is drawn instantly to the camera. We play around with it for a few minutes...her favorite part is zooming all the way onto the secretary. She laughs. Soon she is waved away and we are told we can go into the family room to wait. Okay...I can relax my grip on the camera.
We enter the room. We are the only ones here. We wait. I bounce and pace...this time I know it is not from the gallons of liquid residing in my bladder...the moment is almost here. The feeling is utterly surreal.
To be continued...