Wednesday November 7th
We landed in Dubai on Wednesday morning November 7th their time—still middle of the night at home-- and having missed the entire presidential election coverage, we hurried to find a paper with the details of the outcome. It was a pretty weird feeling knowing that such a big event was happening at home and having no access to information, although I have to say it was really nice to miss all the media drama. By the time we returned home, not a political ad could be found and our mail box was pleasantly empty.
|Waiting to board our flight in Dubai for Addis.|
|Our attempt of capturing the Dubai sky line.|
As we boarded our flight to Addis Ababa, my stomach was in knots as I anticipated seeing our baby again and introducing him to his daddy and big brother. The four hours seemed to crawl by, but we finally landed around 1:30 in the afternoon.
We got our visas, went through customs, gathered up our luggage (it all made it!) and then out to meet our driver. I saw Beniam’s familiar face, inquired about any more families coming and when we could go to the care center. There was another family that we had to pick up, so we dropped our luggage at the guest house, said hello to the staff and then we were off on our bumpy ride through the crowded streets of Addis to see our baby.
When we returned home from our trip, we all piled into our twelve passenger van, windows up, air conditioning on, everybody securely fastened in their age appropriate safety restraints and Nick and I were instantly back in our own little world-unaware of the sights and sounds and smells around us.
The difference is actually more shocking when returning home from Africa. As we looked around, driving along in orderly lanes at a safe distance from those driving around us, we realized there were very few people walking on the sidewalks around us. In fact, there was very little interaction between people at all. I made the comment that our friends in Ethiopia would be shocked at what a bubble we all live in.
It is this sense of community that I miss the most when we leave Ethiopia.
As we pulled up to the gates of the care center, the feeling is almost surreal. You picture it over and over again in your head-what it will be like to finally enter these gate to bring your child home for good—and now here we stood, just feet away from our new son.
The sweetest little boy peeked under the gate to greet us as one of the nannies opened it to let us in. The dearest people work here—caring so lovingly day after day for children they will love for a time, all the while knowing they will one day place them into the arms of their parents. It is a beautiful and selfless job and we are blessed that all of our children received such great care while they waited to join our family. It is always my pleasure to bring pictures of our kids and our friends' kids at home back to the nannies so they can see how much they have grown and that they are doing well. The nannies treasure these pictures.
As we ducked underneath the hanging laundry and headed over to the baby room, we immediately spotted our little Eli. He was crawling right for us towards the door. As his nannies encouraged him to come, he paused several times, turning his head away from us bashfully and then crawling a little farther.
I got down on the floor and scooped him up and he laid his precious little head on my shoulder and took it all in. He was definitely a little more skeptical of us then he was three months earlier when I was there for court. He wasn’t giving up any smiles quite yet and you could tell he was a little unsure of things, but he never cried.
|Love at first sight!|
|Eli and his nanny.|
We had plans to have dinner with our dear friend Fikre that night and we were excited to see him and for Caleb to meet him. He took us to a great restaurant-one I hadn’t been to before and I ordered my favorite-shiro and injera with a delicious orange Mirinda—kind of like Fanta, but way better. I don’t know how many Mirindas Caleb ended up drinking on our trip—but I do know he had more soda on that trip than the whole year combined—he was living large.
|Don't let this sweet picture fool you--he didn't stay like this for long.|
That first night with Eli was a challenge-he was fussy most of the night and up every couple of hours—we found out the next day that he had saved up his teething for mommy and presented us with his first shiny white tooth! I didn't really mind being up all night with him—that’s what I had prayed for-to have my baby in my arms, so I can’t complain about a sleepless night.