Sunday, March 11, 2012

Ethiopia Trip One: He's Yours!

Monday morning was long-anticipated as it was the day we would be going to court. Both Will and I woke up around 1:45 am, and I ended up having a long chat with one of the AGCI mamas downstairs for a couple of hours in the middle of the night. It was hard to sleep when we knew that it was SUCH a big day for us!

 It is hard to explain the emotions that I was going through in the middle of the night. Thankfulness at being in Ethiopia, aching for my son even though he was only a few miles away (I miss him more now that I know him more!), anxiousness over court and pleading with God for our journey to be over soon, etc. It was a long night of praying and thinking.

Finally, it was time to go to court. Our driver Danny picked us up and we could see that traffic was extremely more difficult on the weekdays. It was a long, bumpy drive in the back of the van and I fought carsickness from the heat, dust, and bumpiness (ok and maybe nerves too). We had to pick up a few people that were involved in our court process. We drove up to our court building and walked up several flights of stairs. We were ushered into a waiting room that had "SILENT" written on the walls. Still, it seemed that there was a buzz of conversation from other families. There were birth families and adoptive families in the room, it was a humbling experience. Within five minutes of waiting, despite the fact that there was probably 30 people waiting in the room, we were called before the judge. We went into a tiny office where a woman behind a desk asked us a few simple questions (have you met your son? Are you prepared to adopt? Have you educated yourself on interracial adoption? Do you realize that today will make this adoption full and final, it cannot be reversed?). We answered a hearty YES and I fought tears as I thought of the beauty of it! She quietly said, "well, he's all yours!" and we were quickly escorted down the stairs again. It was just a few moments of time and yet it was monumental. WE ARE PARENTS! Little "B" is now our son legally.

Will and I went to the van and just let our tears happen. It was such a beautiful moment as we praised God for His faithfulness, that B was now Israel and no longer an orphan. He has a legal mom and dad, praise HIM!

We were thankful that we were done with court so quickly, because that meant the rest of the morning could happen a little faster and maybe we would get more time at Hannah's Hope! Danny took us to a market and dropped us off. He gave us instructions to call him when we were done shopping. We spent about two hours shopping and finally our driver came to get us. We got some good deals and were pleased with our interactions with the Ethiopians- they all seemed to be so caring and kind to us. Throughout our entire trip, the Ethiopians would sincerely ask "What do you think of Ethiopia?" and want to know if we were enjoying it.

Our loot from Day 2 of Shopping!

When it was time to go we noticed a lot more people begging. It is illegal to give money to beggars in Ethiopia. We've seen homeless people in America, and it definitely has humbled us and broken our hearts. However, seeing the women with their infant children begging absolutely crushed me. All I could think of was, what if this is what Israel's birthmother had to do? What if this is why so many children become orphans, because no one cares for these young moms? It was so, so sad and I wish that I knew how to care for them. It definitely increased my prayer life for these women who so desperately need to have physical and spiritual needs met.

After the market, Danny took us to the Italian restaurant that all traveling families go to. It was great food, but at that point we were so anxious to get back to Hannah's Hope! Our schedule said that after lunch we were to have a period of "rest" and be picked up at 3:00 to have a brief hour with our son. We convinced Danny that we didn't need rest (even though we got less than 2 hours sleep the night before) and he called the orphanage and confirmed that we could go early :). After lunch, we dropped our shopping loot off at the hotel and headed back to Hannah's Hope!

When we got to Hannah's Hope, a special mother was holding Israel because he wouldn't rest and it was nap time. Will and I took turns holding him and he slept well in our arms. Talk about heart-melting stuff! He is so, so sweet.

When he woke up he was happy and so playful! We got some great time with him when he laid on his back and looked up at us. He loves to talk to us! We took him upstairs for bath time and were able to give him a bath. He was so funny when he was taking a bath- his face sort of zoned out and he seemed to not want it to stop, haha. We laid him down on the changing table after we towel dried him and he just talked and smiled at us. We got some incredible video showcasing his many expressions and it was ADORABLE! We love this boy!!! We also were able to weigh and measure him. He is 26 inches long, his head measures 16 inches, and he weighs 13 pounds, 11 ounces. :) We also brought clothes for him and noticed that the 3-6 month pants were HUGE on him, but a 3 month outfit fit him perfectly. We love our tiny little man!

Daddy changing a diaper!

We sat on the couch in his bedroom and the other kids put on quite the show for us. (I am very pleased to say that 2 of his roommates are coming home to their forever families this month! Both families just got embassy clearance! Yay Stanleys and Smiths!). Two of the toddler boys were showing off their dancing and clapping skills and loved to wear Will's hat backwards. It was so funny! I could tell how much the special mothers loved on the kids in their room. They all clearly love Israel and I got some awesome pictures of them making him smile. It puts my heart to rest a bit.

What is it about a baby in footed pajamas that makes him cuddlier? I don't know but I love it!

When it was time to leave, we had very full hearts. It was such an amazing day! We had dinner in the hotel and then sat in the lobby with our computers for a while. I ended up staying downstairs and chatting with Erin, another AGCI mom, for hours about adoption and ministry. It was so good for my heart to have another mom to work through the experience with.

That night, Will and I knew that we needed to rest after days of not sleeping well. We took sleeping pills and slept a full night- from 10pm- 7am, praise God!


  1. Love reading about your wonderful trip! And love hearing how you love Ethiopia - it's truly an amazing place! God is so good!

  2. Love reading this Bekah!!! Makes me miss Ethiopia so much! And every glimpse of Israel is perfect and precious!!!!!


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