As a pre-condition to accepting adopted children, parents are given several days to review medical records and ask questions. M and E are described as perfectly healthy, but undernourished, children. E, although she is 24 months old, has no hair. M, over 4 years old, weighs only 28 pounds. We are told the Mother died from complications of giving birth to E. The father cared for the girls for about a year, but then he died from Tuberculosis. Then the Aunts banded together to care for the girls, and carried on bravely for about a year, until they determined there was just not enough food to go around, and the girls might lead better lives with families that can afford to care for them.
It is so sad. We are truly torn between utter sadness for the plight of this poor family and utter joy that we are fortunate enough to care for M and E. It is with a profound sense of stewardship and deep gratitude to their birth parents that we accept responsibility for loving M and E. We will honor the memory of their parents and teach them to do the same.
We learn the origins of their names. M's name is the Amharic word for the holy water in which new Christians are baptized and E's name is the Amharic word for the ashes that Christians use on Ash Wednesday. Apparently the birth family has a strong Christian faith. We will do out best to continue that tradition.