Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Thursday in Ethiopia

Thursday started out with a trip to the market, which I think was mostly a tourist stop, but nonetheless we were able to purchase some super cute things for our kids.
We got two outfits for each of the kids to grow into.

We also got a few cute toys.
I got some beautiful scarves, paper bead necklaces, and a traditional coffee ceremony dress. After shopping we had lunch at a delicious Italian restaurant that had a beautiful art gallery, Makush in it. After lunch we had a short stop at the hotel and headed back to Hannah's Hope for an afternoon with our babies. When we arrived our kids were napping. It was so precious to walk in and see their sweet heads resting on their pillows. I was able to place my hands on each child and pray for them. That quiet moment was so perfect and so beautiful to reflect on the months... years really, of waiting and praying for our child(ren) in Ethiopia. It was somewhat surreal, we were finally there staring at our little loves. Such a blessed miracle.
I'm realizing now that I should have journaled while I was there, but I just couldn't seem to do it. I was exhausted and emotionally overwhelmed. As I look back the days are starting to blur together. It must have been on Wednesday, but our kids stayed up through their nap time and we had sweet family time. Our precious children were too tired to stay awake all afternoon and each of us got special snuggle time. Little man was snuggled up to me in the wrap, I tucked my iPod in the pouch and played "Hey Jude" he fell asleep almost immediately.
Dave was holding our little miss when she snuggled up closer and rested her head on his shoulder and fell asleep too. These moments were so perfect. Oh how I miss my babies.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Wednesday In Ethiopia

Our second day in Ethiopia was Wednesday August 3rd. We got to spend the majority of the day with our sweet little loves. Each moment was precious and as the day continued the kids became more comfortable with us. We are so blessed that they are in our family.
Wednesday evening we got to attend an Ethiopian cultural dinner. It was so delicious. Ethiopian food is seriously one of my favorites! The dances were amazing too.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Where do I even begin?

We have been home for five days now. I had planned to start writing about our trip to Ethiopia right away. I'd like to blame it on jet lag, but that is entirely not true... in fact, it has been a blessing of just the opposite. Since our return from ET we have had a great schedule of early mornings and productive work days. I am home full time, getting ready for the kids and loving it. Honestly, I think my writing procrastination has come from the acceptance of my inability to accurately portray the experience through my writing... especially since we can't post pictures of their faces until everything is finalized. There has also been a mourning time in my heart. My mind and heart are trying to process the reality that my children are 8000 miles away, I can't hold them, whisper I love you in their ears, or be certain that they understand we are coming back; this breaks my mama heart.
I could keep writing about boring and sad things, but I know you have really been waiting to hear about the trip and the KIDS... the amazing, beautiful, funny, precious, sweet incredible kids!
Day One
August 2nd
We left Denver on July 31st and flew to Washington D.C.
After an overnight in D.C. we boarded a plane to Ethiopia! Here we are before take off.
After 13 hours we finally arrived in Addis Ababa at about 8am local time.
We were taken by a driver to our hotel. Here are the first things we saw as we traveled to the hotel. (... taken from inside a van with my phone)

Upon checking in we were handed an itinerary for the week. It said that we would be picked up in just two hours and taken to Hannah's Hope. Exhausted and excited we went to our room to prepare for meeting our kids for the very first time. (as if you can really prepare for that) We packed some toys, activities, candy, and a headband for our girl.
The hotel is very close to Hannah's Hope. We soon arrived at the gate and my eyes began to water. This is it... we are about to meet our children. Words can not describe the feeling unless you've been there yourself.
We walked in and were asked who our child or children were. A few minutes later a precious and scared little girl holding the hand of a caregiver walked up to us... our daughter, even more beautiful than the pictures we had seen was standing there with giant brown eyes looking up at us. A moment later our son was brought to us, in the arms of another caregiver he too looked a bit frightened. He was placed in Dave's arms. I knelt down to our daughter and gestured to ask her if I could hold her. I picked her up and hugged her as tears streamed down my face. WE ARE A FAMILY. I looked at Dave and we each hugged the precious child in our arms and kissed the head of the one in the other's arms.
We took the kids into a room to get to know each other. There is of course a language barrier between us and the kids, but also the kids and the caregivers. Our kids are from a region where a different language is spoken than Amharic, that of the caregivers and staff at HH. We opened the bag and pulled out a sucker for each kid... yes I know promoting cavities while coaxing our children to sit in our laps... bad parents right? Seriously though, it was recommended and worked like a charm! We opened the books that I had made for each of the kids. I had scrapbooked photos of them, us, and our home. Our girl was very interested in the book and pointed at every picture. She would point to our faces on the picture and then to us.... so sweet. The little man loved being held close.
I pulled a headband that I'd made out of the bag and showed it to our daughter she smiled and nodded yes for me to put it on her. I took a picture and showed it to her on the camera. She had the greatest grin.
Very quickly we learned that she is silly, smart, and sweet! He is shy, sweet, and loves to eat.
On that first day we got to spend about six hours with them, falling so in love with who they are and rejoicing in God's beautiful plan for our family.
Keep reading and I will keep writing tomorrow.