Monday, December 3, 2012

Ethiopia November 2012 Day 2

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.

This was Caleb’s first real look at the city and you could see his mind processing all the sights and sounds and smells that are unique to Addis Ababa.  Having been five times in the past three years, it’s interesting how familiar it all seems, but also how the stark differences between the US and Ethiopia seem less shocking now than when we first experienced them.  The cows and donkeys crossing the street and herds of goat and sheep for sale on the side of the road, no traffic lights-horns always honking, people-beautiful people- everywhere, some making their homes on the streets as others hurry off to their daily obligations, children walking hand in hand to school in their treasured uniforms, the smog of diesel engines as the day’s work begins-it surrounds you.  Riding in the van, windows down, you are a part of it all—and you feel it. You feel the community, the sense of pride in their country, the progress that is being made, but also the pain and desperation that many experience as they struggle daily for life.

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. 

meeting daddy
Love at first sight!
 The best thing was seeing him interact with his nanny.  She could get him to smile in an instant and laugh a full belly laugh.  You could see the love between him.  I can’t imagine how hard it is for them to love babies and kids and let them go.  We are so thankful for the care he received.
Eli and his nanny.
 Caleb had a great time playing with the older boys.  And before we knew it, it was time to head back to the guest house.

 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.

Tomorrow-our Embassy appointment to officially finalize everything!

1 comment:

  1. What a beautiful memoir of your trip to get your son. It brought tears to my eyes. Love what you are doing. :)