We are back from our first trip to Ethiopia. I have to say I am speechless in many ways. I don't even know where to even start with our story. What an amazing journey we have already had! I can't wait to go back and bring my daughter home!
Day 1 - We flew into Addis Ababa, Ethiopia after a 26 hour flight. Needless to say, we were exhausted! We were picked up from the airport and taken to the Riviera hotel with 2 other couples from our agency. Our room was nice and to our suprise we had hot water.
Day 2 - We met our beautiful baby girl. She is just precious! Baby E was easy to smile and giggle. Within minutes of meeting her, I was holding her; C was playing with her and she would giggle and talk to her daddy. It was so amazing to hold, see, and talk to this little girl that we have been praying for for nearly two years. She is just such a blessing! I am so thankful that God choose us to be her parents.
Day 3 - Last night due to jet lag and I think our baby high, we didn't sleep. Well, I slept for 2 hours and C didn't sleep at all. We went down for breakfast at 7:30am and then left for Hannah's Hope at 9:30. When we arrived all of the children were outside. Baby E's special mother was giving her a bottle and immediately gave her to us to finish her bottle and lay her down for a nap. Today we were able to watch E with her special mother, who does a great job. If we were holding Baby E and her special mother would walk by, the baby would immediately light up and start to babble to get her attention. It is so good to know that Baby E has bonded with her special mother and that her special mother loves her. This was easy to see when they interacted.
We spent nearly 4 hours today at HH. We were able to see a lot of E's day. We gave her bottles, changed her, and gave her a bath, which she loved. After our visit we returned to the hotel and took a much needed nap. In the evening we had our cultural dinner, which included a traditional Ethiopian meal and dancing. This was so much fun!
Day 4 -Today was a verybusy day. We were picked up fr om the hotel at 8:30 and heading to court. At court we appeared before a judge, an Orthodox Christian woman, who asked us questions about our baby. This was a very easy process. The only words we had to utter was 'yes.'The judge even spoke English. We passed! Baby E is legally ours, now we must wait for our U.S. embassy appointment. We are praying God will grant us the December 27th date. After court we went shopping. We wanted to buy E many gifts to celebrate from her "gotcha day" to her wedding present. We left with many beautiful gifts for years to come for our precious little girl. After shoppping we eat at an Italian restaurant, which are very common in Ethiopia due to a large Italian population. The food here was all homemade and delicious. This restaurant also sold Ethiopia art work created by local Ethiopian artists. We purchased an unique painting of Addis Ababa here. We then visited the orphange our baby was brought to before HH; it currently housed 53 children. It was full of small rooms lined with beds. There was one decent sized play room. The children were not afraid of strangers; they would come up and just want a hug or to be held. As I set in the playroom holding a child while hugging as many I could, I wanted to cry. This was difficult knowing none of these children had families yet. It was overwhelming seeing all of the children. I just prayed over any child that I touch that God would bring them a family to love them very soon. Finally we were able to Hannah's Hope for a quick visit. This was a very quick visit we had about 15 minutes to play with our daughter. Then back to the hotel for supper and to skype with our son. The internet wasn't very reliable, but we were able to skype with our son every day, which was great.
Day 5 - Today we had to say goodbye to our daughter for a few weeks; our hearts were breaking. I was able to have an incredible conversation with her special mother, which I will never forget. She is such a sweet person, who I know takes excellent care for our daughter. Before we left, Wasse was in the room, he speaks Amharic and English, so he was our interpretor. C and I know that God is going to protect E for us. We will be back to Ethiopia soon to bring her home. Leaving her behind was not easy and is still not. She is part of our lives and will be from now on. I didn't change my watch from Ethiopian time, so that I may look and have an idea of what E is doing at the time, whether sleeping, playing outside, or taking a bath. I know our time to be reunited as a family will come soon. I continue to pray that God will give us strength and peace during this time.