A sweet, sweet friend that also happens to be a (post-adoptive) AAI Ghana family posted THIS BLOG POST today. I have to admit H, you had me in tears.
I've tried to keep a brave face on about the closing of Eban House. I know it was the most right thing we could do with the heap of gray choices we had. Social Welfare made it clear they didn't want adoption agencies intimately involved in the running of a children's home, large foster home, etc. (whatever name we want to put on it). I say that I want our program to run completely within the recommendations of officials in Ghana. It was much harder to actually do that when it came to Eban House. I didn't want to give Eban up.
Three years ago I was very excited to be given the opportunity to help set up AAI's Ghana program. But I was *MOST* excited to be involved in the setting up of an awesome children's home. Not only did several AAI staff invest a lot of time into setting up the infrastructure and administration of the home, but the agency spent a LOT of money to set up and maintain the home when there was absolutely NO guarantee that we would ever complete a single adoption. People don't get to see the behind-the-scenes of an agency. And sadly, lots of folks assume that the behind the scenes of an agency is focused on profit and gain. I wish that people could see ONE DAY behind the scenes of a truly good agency. Did Merrily (our director) ever put pressure on me or our Ghana staff to do a certain number of adoptions in order to recuperate all of the money invested in the home? No. Never. If anything was ever needed for Eban House, AAI found a way to make it happen. The adoption fees charged funded many of the needs of Eban House, but not even close to all of the needs. AAI met those needs. I can't tell you how much this meant to me as an employee of AAI, but also as a parent to an Eban House kid!
It wasn't just a house. It wasn't just another children's home. It was the place where my daughter blossomed into the young lady that she is. She was withering away before she came to Eban. She left Eban House a confident, spunky, HEALTHY child. Even though I've talked about the money part, what really makes a difference is the LOVE part. My daughter was loved. To Muna, and Cece, and Auntie Comfort, and Auntie Ruth, thank you. Thank you for keeping my daughter alive. Thank you for loving the hurt and sick and beaten down children who entered those gates--unconditionally. Thank you for helping them blossom.
As I move forward...as our program moves forward...I try to look at all of the good things to come. Financial sense says that we can do a lot more humanitarian aid in Ghana without the expense of running a children's home. Our adoptive families' fees will go further and do "more" good. But it's still hard to come to terms with this loss. Because it wasn't just a house. It was a home. Not just the home for those children, but in many ways it was my home in Ghana. After a hot, chaotic day I could walk into those gates, see the children's faces, and feel safe. Eban was my soft place to fall. Now it's gone.
My daughter has lost the only home she remembers in Ghana. And in some ways, I've lost my home too. I keep thinking about my down time during the upcoming trip. On the days when I don't have anything official to go, what will I do? Just hang out in my hotel room? What a waste. I've never really missed my kids too terribly in Ghana, and have always attributed that to the fact that I always got my daily allotment of kid hugs. =-) I have a feeling I will miss my kids more on this upcoming trip than I ever have before. I'm sure it will work out. I'm sure I will find a new way to "be" in Ghana. It just feels scary and sad.
Sorry for the disjointed post. Still processing....