It’s just past 6 in the morning and Hannah is eating her toast and yoghurt, and from behind her I put my one hand on her shoulder, and then my other hand on her head, and I throw my own head back and then in a sort of bellowing loud voice I start into it all.
“And then the Good Lord looked down!” I said. “And He said, ‘And now, NOW, ladies and gentlemen, I am going to make … HANNAH!”
Hannah gets all warm.
“Now we don’t know much about Hannah’s mother,” I continued, shaking my head. “No, no, not much at all.”
Hannah gets warmer.
“But we know that for one reason or another, some very good reason that only the Lord Himself knows, Hannah was brought to a hospital. Someone – maybe it was Hannah’s mother herself, or maybe it was somebody else; maybe Hannah’s mother even died — knew that Hannah would get good care there, that there was no other place for her.
“And this is where she got her name … HANNAH!
“And the Lord knew that she had special needs.
“Special needs?” pipes in Liz, laughing. “Hannah’s not special needs.”
“You know what I mean,” I say. “Special needs. She had no mother, no family.
“And so Hannah was then brought to one of the best orphanages in all of Uganda. And there she did many things. And once in a while she’d see the other children walk away hand-in-hand with their new mums and dads, and they’d leave that fine orphanage forever, but she never did this herself.
“And then, then, one day Mister Thom and Dr. Jean came along to that place. And little Hannah walked up to them and tapped the tall guy on the side of his leg. And he looked down and said to the worker, ‘What, I say WHAT is this girl’s name?!
“And she said, ‘This girl’s name is Hannah.’
“And Dr. Jean said, ‘Did you say Anna or Hannah?’
“And she said ‘It’s … HANNAH!’
“What would you have done if it was Anna? Would you have still gotten her?” (This, from the older, pipsqueak sister, again.)
But it was … HANNAH!
And so The Story goes. And I’ll never tire of telling it. And Hannah will never tire of hearing it.
Because we all have A Story and we all need to know it and we all need to hear it and appreciate Our Own Story through what can be the noise of the world out there.
What makes Hannah’s story just for her, and just for us, is that my wife and I, long before we met this little girl at this Ugandan orphanage – it was at our kitchen table back in Hamilton, in fact – had prayed for a little Ugandan girl to adopt, one we could then name Hannah, a very specific name for a very specific reason.
And we never found that Hannah. Instead this girl already named Hannah found us. She has been with us more than four years now, bringing to us her own version of fun.
Today, January 10, is Hannah’s birthday. Or at least it’s as close an approximation as we can make to her birthday.
Today Hannah is 8. And so she got it, again: The Story.
But there’s more. Faithful Reader knows that there has been a delay of almost two years in finalizing her adoption. This is another story and a very African story at that and prayers, often from others (thank you), have gone up for that too.
The delay has been at the very least (some quick math here) 541 days.
Last month we finally got a very long-awaited Ugandan court appearance. And today we got a call from our lawyer.
Today. On Hannah’s birthday. Not long after I did The Story. This is when the lawyer called with the news that a justice of the Ugandan high court just minutes previously finally, formally and completely approved this adoption.
Of course this now means all sorts of things, all sorts of good things, for Hannah’s future, not the least of which will eventually be Canadian citizenship and a Canadian passport.
Did I mention it was Hannah’s birthday today?
And so The Story continues.
And next year, when I tell it at the breakfast table, I will have to add the new part about not just the long, long wait, but the big phone call on … of all days …