Friday, February 12
We were excited to get up and at ‘em early for the sake of getting Tisetso’s passport and doing the noting of the adoption. We met the Sareela family and three social workers at the Wandisa / Wybrow Oliver offices. Once again, we were headed to the Home Affairs office in Khayelitsha. It helped knowing what to expect this time around. When we arrived, we walked through the security section and headed upstairs (we hadn’t been on the second floor before). Upstairs we met with an official who looked over our paperwork and noted the adoption. This was when we also officially noted Tisetso’s name change.
As to his name, we had always been open to keeping our child’s name. We did pick out an English name as we’ve heard of older kids wanting to push everything from their life from before the adoption out of the picture, including their name. Tisetso is the exception to this way of thinking. It worked out well because I was going to have a hard time shifting to another name!
The name we had picked out for Tisetso was "Knox." We actually considered it about two years ago and have loved it ever since. The name is after one of my favorite theologians, John Knox. He was an amazing man who lived during the 1500s in Scotland. He loved God and did great things for the Gospel. We knew we’d keep "Knox" and "Tisetso" in his name. If he wanted a new name, his name would be Knox Tisetso Malcolm. Because he wanted to keep his name, we’ve changed his name to Tisetso Knox Malcolm. We hope and pray he grows up to be an amazing man, just like his namesake.
After noting the adoption, we headed back downstairs to pick up his passport. After about 15 minutes of waiting for our number to be called, everyone who was waiting (about 20 people) except for the adoptive families got up and rushed the counter. It was slightly alarming. We didn’t know what was happening. One of the social workers got up and checked out what was going on. Apparently the workers had decided to speed everything along. They took everyone’s number, went in the back, then grabbed the passports.
We got his passport quickly! And he has his bowtie in the photo!! And his scuba diving skulls t-shirt. It was a banner day for his stylist.
We had to get fingerprinted upstairs after we got his passport. Our fingers covered in ink, we mashed them down on paper, sealing our adoption paperwork. It was neat because we got to meet a French family that Wandisa and Wybrow Oliver are working with while doing our fingerprints.
It was while we were being fingerprinted that we heard the most gut-wrenching sound. It was, hands down, the worst sound I’ve ever heard. It was a woman in another part of the building wailing because she found out (from the officials in the building) that her daughter had been killed in a hit and run that morning. Even now, my heart aches to think of the sound and that poor woman. It was overwhelming how the pain of this woman filled the building. I’ve never heard grief like this, but it was such a powerful sound, I could not help but grieve with that woman. I will never forget her pain.
When it was time to go, we prepared Tisetso for the sound to get louder as we went down the stairs to the ground level. He nodded that he understood and walked quickly to get out of the building. While walking out to our car, the social worker told us that in the African culture, grief is expressed through wailing and trembling. She said that it’s actually a healthier way to process the pain of grief than how the Western culture deals with it—by holding it in and stretching it out.
After a sober drive home, we made sandwiches and prayed for the woman. We didn’t know her name or face, but she needed comfort.
In front of our apartment there are some awesome tidal pools that form every day. I figured it was about time to check them out. I basically had to drag Tisetso outside with me. I am sure my nature ADD had him apprehensive about being at tidal pools with me. It ended up being a great time for me, when I didn’t hear the pleas of my son to go back inside and play with his Legos. He did not enjoy it. Tisetso’s apprehension of nature extended to tiny hermit crabs, star fish, and fish. He did not like the tidal pools. After heading back at the brisk pace he was setting, I decided I’d go tomorrow by myself.
We did a little school after the tidal pools. Tisetso enjoyed writing letters using an app and, when school was done, played with his Legos. Brian and I worked on where we would stay for the next few days. We decided to fly to Johannesburg on Monday and booked our tickets. The two big things we wanted to do were Stellenbosch (a town largely filled with wineries and shops) and Robben Island (were Mandela was imprisoned). We planned to do Stellenbosch on Saturday and Robben Island on Sunday. While working on plans, we found out we could stay in our current apartment until Monday, which is a huge blessing. We won’t have to pack up to go to a hotel just to unpack and pack again before flying out.
After a slow afternoon, we headed to supper with Rose (our social worker) and Ronel (the assistant to the lawyers at Wybrow Oliver). We had extended the invitation for dinner to everyone, but because of the short notice, most people were unable to make it. It ended up being a wonderful time with Rose and Ronal. We enjoyed getting to know them better and hearing about how they ended up at the agency. Brian got snails on bone marrow for an appetizer and I got pasta (my love language), which is surprisingly hard to get around here (because my son only wants KFC or burgers).
After we had said goodbye and gotten home, Tisetso told us how his leg was really hurting. The way he described it, we thought it might be a pulled muscle from playing, but we didn’t want to take any chances. Thankfully, we have a contact at Comer Medical in Chicago who was on call to field any medical questions we may have while here. After a few emails back and forth, we decided to monitor it over the next few days and go from there.
It was a big day! With passport in hand, we only have to do our visa interview on Tuesday (February 16) in Johannesburg. I can feel home getting closer!