Friday, March 9, 2012

Ethiopia Trip One: Meetya!

As mentioned on our first post about the trip, we didn't get much sleep the night we got into Ethiopia. We woke up at 2:30 am (after going to bed at midnight) and watched the clock until it was 6:30 and we could go down to breakfast. We had some DELICIOUS coffee and a very random breakfast from the buffet. (We later learned more of what to eat, but the first day we didn't really know what all was offered). I started to feel a bit sick so we went upstairs and laid down for about thirty minutes. At 8:45, we headed downstairs to wait for our driver (he wasn't supposed to come until 9:30, and that is when he showed up- we just wanted to be prepared!). It was a very slow 45 minutes as we waited for Danny to come and get us. The drive to Hannah's Hope is only about five minutes, and it was awesome to see Ethiopia in the daytime. It is beautiful!

We drove through those famous Hannah's Hope black gates, and I was in awe that we were finally here! One of the office workers walked us upstairs to the green elephant room where Israel was sitting in his special mother's lap. All I can say for the meeting is it was so JOYFUL! We immediately recognized our little man, and he was so incredibly sweet.




The special mothers took the other children outside so we had a few minutes alone with Israel. We held him and took a few pictures, and he was a little stunned. He didn't cry but just couldn't figure out who we were. After a while, a special mother came and got us and we went outside where all of the babies were sunbathing and playing in bumbos and bouncy seats. Some of the bigger babies were eating, and watching the care the children get was awesome. I immediately recognized several of the kids that were my friends' babies.


We were able to feed Israel a bottle and snuggle him in the sunshine. He is so cute! We couldn't get over it, we were actually holding our son! We brought a blanket for him to use while we were there- we had been sleeping with it for a month so it smelled like us. The special mothers wrapped him up in it every day while we were there!

Soon it was naptime, and all the babies went inside. I was again amazed at the special mothers and how they can get so many kids to sleep at the same time! Israel wasn't going to sleep in our arms, so a special mother took him and before we knew it, he was out! She put him down in a moses basket and he slept for the next two hours.



Our driver came, right on schedule, to pick us up at 12:30. Israel was still sleeping so we asked if we could stay longer (we brought snacks for lunch).  Since Israel was still asleep, we walked around Hannah's Hope and took some pictures and played with some of the older kids. They were SO sweet and we were heartbroken to return to the US and find that some of those kids were waiting children (no families matched them). Now that we know them, it makes "waiting children" so much more real- those kids need families!

We also were able to give one of the children an album that her mother gave us to pass along- it had pictures of her, her adopted family (parents, siblings) and her new house. To see the joy on her face when she saw those pictures will be forever etched on my heart. The other children were genuinely excited for her to have a family and they all wanted to touch the pictures and laugh with her over the joy of having a family. It brings me to tears just now as I recall that day. Later, we saw little A holding her book as she was eating! She was gripping it so tight.

We went back to check on Israel and Almaz, the director of Hannah's Hope, came to say hello to us in the nap room. Israel woke up and he was SO happy! He spent a little time in each of our arms, we fed him a bottle, and then we put him on the floor to stretch out and play. He was so smiley and sweet- we got some great videos of him talking to us!

We played with him for a long time, and soon it was bath time for all the babies. We went back upstairs to the elephant room where he sleeps, and were able to give him a bath! Changing his diaper and giving him a bath were such a blessing because it made me feel like I was doing REAL MOM things! Little man LOVES to be naked, he rewards us with talking and smiling when we lay him down and strip him, haha. He is so skinny and sweet. We love his skin and seeing his adorable features in person. He is completely kissable and never protested to our many kisses!

After bath time, the driver came to get us. We went back to the hotel and took a 20 minute nap before heading downstairs to send some pictures to families who are waiting to meet their children. It was a privilege to be able to do that for other families, since we have needed those pictures so much!

We had an emotional prayer time that night, thanking God for the gift of our son and for an amazing first day. We love our little man so much and can't wait to have more time with him!


5 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing your experience... sounds wonderful! Praise God :-)

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  2. Awwww! So precious! I love reading all the details of meeting your adorable son!!!

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  3. so beautiful and amazing. I have been so looking forward to your recaps to hear about how everything went, and so we can all live vicariously through you of course!!! praying for a speedy embassy and your heart during this difficult last stretch of waiting

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  4. Wow! How awesome! So happy for you guys!! :)

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  5. This is a beautiful recollection of your meetya day! I am excited to hear more about Ethiopia and your darling son.

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