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Santa Claus came a little early for one local couple. He traveled farther than the North Pole for this delivery.
Anita and Matthew Pinkston recently spent nearly a month in Africa to adopt their new family member, Malachi Moise Pinkston.
It took over two years to finalize the adoption, but the Pinkstons now have Malachi in their arms.
“We feel extremely blessed,” Anita said via email Monday night. “Only people who have been where we were two years ago understand that you are ‘happy’ to hear cries in the night, and the words ‘momma’ and ‘daddy’ at any time of the day.”
Malachi celebrated his third birthday in Africa with his new family.
He spent the first part of his life in an orphanage, where he likely never celebrated a birthday.
The Pinkstons celebrated at the hotel, where Malachi and some of his friends from the orphanage, who were also being adopted, played with balloons and ate birthday cake.
Malachi has two friends from the orphanage that live relatively close. One now resides in Indianapolis, another in Maryland.
Anita said the family plans to keep in contact with Malachi’s friends via Skype, a video chat program on the Internet.
Anita said Malachi is like any other three-year-old boy, with the exception that he speaks little English.
His native language is Kinyarwanda.
The Pinkstons work with Malachi throughout the day to sharpen his English-speaking skills.
Besides a different language, there are other differences in the new place Malachi calls home.
Matthew said traffic is chaotic in Kigali.
“No stop lights. No stop signs,” he said. “You pretty much run to get across the road, at your own risk.”
Cattle is also herded by shepherds and not kept in fences in Kigali.
Often times those herds are right next to busy roads.
“Going back to the airport, on the interstate, right in the median, right in the middle, there’s a whole herd of cows,” Matthew said.
Anita said that Kigali was a clean city.
“They don’t allow plastic bags at all,” she said.
Matthew said citizens are required to help clean.
“The last Saturday of the month they shut down from six in the morning until 11 a.m. They shut down the roads. You’re not allowed to drive,” he said. “One person from every household is required to come out and help work, help come out and clean the streets.”
The Pinkstons spent two weeks inKigali to pick up Malachi, then spent another week in Nairobi, Kenya, to obtain his Visa.
They endured a 13-hour flight to Africa, and spent 17-hours coming back home.
“While the travel is complete, we have quite a bit of paperwork to complete in the next two years,” Anita said via email. “So, while we don’t have to worry about the logistics of time off work, travel, we do have deadlines to meet.”
The travel, paperwork and culture shock are nothing to the reward they received when they met their new son, however.
“We can not put into words what it felt like when we first laid eyes on Malachi,” she said. “If you are a parent, it’s like you seeing your child for the first time as they came out of the womb.”
Malachi arrived home on Nov. 5.