Friday, April 22, 2011

Our journey to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to bring our daughter home.....PART I

waiting to board in Rapid City, SD

the next leg to Amsterdam, Holland

I decided it was about time I write about our journey across the world to bring our beautiful daughter home.  It has been almost 3 months since we returned home and every second is consumed with something new.  Maybe most people are "over" needing to hear the story.  It surely won't be as long as it would have been had I written the first week.  While I was there I failed to journal anything (either trip) and so all I have now is my memory. 

flying over the Nile River at sunset--beautiful

landing in Khartoum, Africa

Just like the past year, this trip was a whirlwind of emotions.
And one thing that I never failed to do throughout this journey was to pray to God, in loving thanks and to ask for guidance (and of course to speed things along :0).
 My Faith grew leaps and bounds throughout this amazing time (as if you all couldn't tell).
almost there

familiar at last

The night (planes typically land at about 11:00p.m.) we stepped off the plane in Addis Ababa I felt like I was home.  Like home in a sense that I recognized the smells and the sights and the people and looked forward to seeing my friends again.  Although THIS time the smells weren't as strong and the car ride didn't make me sick.  I do believe that all of the prayers we received throughout the world for health helped me this trip.  Not once did I even feel nauseated.....not once.  Even the trip south to Durame that I had been warned about was  absolutely painless.

It was soo great to see all of our adopting friends again (most of us flew in at the same time) and we began the party.  The next day (Friday) we all got in the mini-bus and went to an orientation at the Holt office to fill out paperwork for embassy, etc.  We were then taken to a beautiful restaurant high on a hill that showed the whole city beneath our feet. 
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Faces of Ethiopia restaurant with friends, Eric & Lori

our friend Mariah, whom we traveled with, and her mama

friends Mike & Stephanie

the rest of the crew--Garrett & Angie, Justin & Amanda

Tyler & Heather

Next we were taken to be reunited with our kiddos......FINALLY!

hearts are pounding

 I can't even tell you how nervous and excited I was to see my baby girl again.......and to see her reaction to us.

I remember seeing two little girls with hands held by a nanny.  Was THIS her?  No......THIS little girl had her hair all tied back in tiny little braids.  I didn't even recognize her.  And then she smiled.  And that twinkle in her eye.  Oh dear God......this WAS her!  THIS was my child who had grown like two inches in the two very long months we had waited for each other.
 I knew she was pretty, but she was unbelievably gorgeous!  And SHE didn't have to be told where her parents were.....she spotted us right away and came running in, right into her daddy's arms.

 She was nervous--maybe just overwhelmed by the amount of people and attention.  She sticks her tongue up under her lower lip when she's trying not to smile (just like our boys always have--these types of things validate her being OUR child)).  We spent 2 hours (maybe more) with her that day.  All the families in one semi-small space with all of our kiddos playing on the floor. 
Mike and Stephanie with their twin boys

Jolie and baby girl

Heather & Tyler and their little man

Garrett , Angie and Aregash's little friend

Amanda, Justin and their sweet siblings

Mariah and Mason

Sister Elsa (the head nurse at this care center) came over and told us what a lovely child she is.  Always a smile on her face....always very sweet and loving to the other children and babies.  And then the director of the center chimed in.  He told us that every day that we were gone, (it was right about 2 months between trips) Aregash would ask "Is my family coming today?".  He may have even rolled his eyes a little like it was beginning to irritate him.  But can you imagine waiting and longing for someone you've met only once in your life?  I felt sad and honored at the same time.  She HAD remembered us!  She WAS looking at the photo book we left for her!  She was truly excited to be a part of our family.  And then he told me that when all of the children were gathered together, Aregash would tell them to come and she would point to a picture on the wall.  She would say, "This is what my mother looks like" (the children call all women MOMMY and he said she said it differently about me--sniff).  I asked him what the picture was.  He said it was a Disney photo....of Cinderella.  I wanted to cry.  I mean who WOULDN'T want their child to think they look like Cinderella, right?  It gave me just a glance of what she must have felt for me the first time we met.  And every second we were with her she had her arms wrapped snuggly around our if to say "I am never letting you go".

I can't remember how she reacted that first day that we had to leave her, but it didn't seem it had been explained to her that we were returning the next day.
 And we did, of course :0)

~to be continued very soon........


momintraining said...

I absolutely LOVE the story about her pointing to Cinderella as her mommy. That is priceless and precious and one of the sweetest things I have ever heard!

JonesEthiopia said...

Love the pictures in this post. I know exactly what you meant when you said stepping out of the airport, it felt like you were coming home. I feel the same way. After all, half my family was born in Ethiopia-- so it is "home" in a lot of ways. I miss it every day.

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