Sunday, February 22, 2009

Overwhelming Grief

On Tuesday, February 16th, Sharon at CHI called to give us the horrific news.

Our baby girl had passed away on Valentine's Day from sepsis. There was nothing they could do. This is the first time this has happened to CHI's Ethiopia team.

I have to say I have not felt such deep, soul-wrenching grief since Bella was diagnosed at one week old with her Congenital Nephrotic Syndrome.

Even as I write this, almost a week later, I cannot stop the tears from flowing. It is hard to describe, but from the moment I saw Tigist's photo, I was her Mama.

As simple and profound as that.

But grief is not all I have felt, I have also felt quite angry. When we signed a contract with CHI, we were told we did not have to redo our dossier or home study, and yet, that was exactly what we had to do which set us back four more months. We were referred the wrong baby at Christmas time. And now this. I am fully aware that these setbacks were not intentional in any way, but I do wish that CHI would just take some responsibility for their part in it all.

As a result of Tigist's death, we also lost our court date. We will receive another referral in the next week or two, but then again, will have to wait yet another month for a court date.

Very discouraging, to say the least.

So what does one do with despair? Well, you lean into it when needed, and lean out of it with a lot of willpower. I spend a lot of time talking to God, screaming, wailing, all of it. Martin and I are spending a lot of time hugging each other, hugging our daughter, sharing this journey together.

This week at our home group we are going to have a little memorial service for Tigist. We are creating a little memory box for her which will include her death certificate and the address where she is buried. We hope to visit it when we are in Ethiopia this spring. I also continue to pray for her biological mom who abandoned her as I cannot imagine that would be easy for ANY mom to do.

As you may have noticed, we are referring to our baby girl in heaven as Tigist. That was her legal name. Had we appeared before the court, her name would have been changed to Abeni. We are reserving the right to give the daughter we actually do bring home this name and want to honor Tigist for who she is, where she lived and died.

And now we pray for strength. Strength to mourn and somehow, by God's grace, still be able to celebrate that new referral when it arrive. To somehow, by God's grace, be able to embrace this new baby girl as our daughter. That is just something that is supernatural.

As simple and profound as that.