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.