Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Alexander's Surprise

We arrived at the AFAA house today at 11am. We stepped out of the vehicle and were greeted by a thin, well-dressed man. Sue introduced herself, "Hi, I'm Sue." He replied, "I'm Alexander." I was still in the Jeep and thought, "Oh my god, it's THAT Alexander!"

The next words out of Sue's mouth were, "I'm Abegail and Emmanuel's mother."

"Yes, Sue...that's Alexander!"

After the surprise wore off we had a wonderful conversation. He was a very polite man with nothing but the best of intentions for his children. He spent $50 just to take a cab to the house and meet us. He arrived at 9am so that he wouldn't miss us.

We spent about 90 minutes talking about our respective families, Liberia, and both our hopes for the children.

Alexander has high hopes for these two. "With a good education, they could be a doctor. Or even a journalist." Sue and I both laughed at that. A doctor?? Is that considered good???

He said they were raised Methodist and he was happy we would continue to raise them in the Church.

Alexander has had a very difficult time finding work. He is no different than 80% of the Liberian population. He is a farmer and a contractor. He does odd jobs to pay for the basics...but is several months behind in his rent. He still supports 4 other children.

We talked about life in Liberia. He and his family walked far from Monrovia in order to escape the war and the Rebels. He feared that he would have either been killed or forced to join them. Either way, he was convinced he would not have been here today to meet us and see his kids off.

He and the entire family will meet us at the airport on Friday. He wants to say goodbye one last time and get some pictures of the family together. We agreed.

Sue and I had talked about the possibility of meeting Alexander at some point. Sue wanted to...and I was nervous. I feared that he would just want money and would threaten to "pull his kids" if we did not either support him financially or take one more of his children (there was once talk of him giving up Aaron, 10). Sue was really interested to learn the family history. Luckily we were able to gather than Abegail is allergic to snakes!! Whew.

NOTE TO PROSPECTIVE PARENTS...you will want to talk about the possibility before you arrive, if you are coming. There are other families who have shared this experience. Just because you may not want to meet the father/mother doesn't mean they won't just show up. Have a plan on how to handle this.

He did ask for money. We said no. (child trafficking not a good thing to be accused of) But he wasn't persistent and he was very kind towards us and his children. "You don't know me at all, but you still agreed to help me raise my kids."

If he arrives at the airport as we expect he will...we will be paying him for his cab fares and back rent ($40/mo) but we will do this in front of an AFAA representative and NOT in front of the children. We don't want them to think their Dad sold his kids. He will be grateful and for A & E's family, it's the least we can do.



Nancy said...

I couldn't post anything yesterday because my heart was too full and anguished. Alexander's story is heartwrenching and a painful reminder of the heartbreak that is Liberia. You wrote that he said maybe one of his kids might be a doctor and you smiled at each other asking if that would be a good thing. Well, in a country ravaged by the mutilations of war, to say nothing of the deaths, the tragedies that they all know about in abundance, like Georgette's sister bleeding to death, the lack of hospitals and medicine, and the rampant disease in Liberia, having your child become a doctor must be something like having the Second Messiah in your family. A country whose loving parents see the only hope for their children being to give them to famlies a 'billion' miles away, must be the ultimate sacrifice. I wanted you to know that I will keep Alexander and all of Liberia's parents in my heart and prayers always, because I don't need to tell you that you two and Abegail and Emmanuel have been there already for a long time. God bless you for givig Alexander hope for his chldren.

Anonymous said...

Aunt Nancy has such a special way of saying things that are in my heart and mind as well.
Have you had a chance to contact (phone) with Dr. George Carew at the United Methodist University of Liberia? I am eager to hear more about the University.
Dr. Carew should be one who receives a Virtual Money card so I can be supportive to him and his wife in their mission there. Are there others who have received the money cards? Let me know so I can get the cash loaded onto them.
Love to our new grand kids, Abegail and Emmanuel!
Grandpa Arthur