One year ago today we landed in Ethiopia to bring our daughter home. We traveled for just over 17 hours. I think I only slept for about 2 hours the entire flight; I couldn't wait to be reunited with my daughter. I knew every moment I was closer and closer to my child.
We landed in Ethiopia around noon. Our agency told us a few days before we left that we wouldn't be reunited with our child until the day after we arrived in Ethiopia. I thought I would be able to rest when at the hotel. I was wrong.
When we arrived at the hotel, we were handed our itinerary. It stated that we would be taken to HH and we would be bring our child back to the hotel with us that day! I was SO EXCITED!!! My baby would be in my arms in a matter of hours! No more nights without my sweet baby girl. Then the panic set in....I hadn't slept for over 24 hours....what if she is frightened and cries all night?
My husband and I checked into our room. He took a nap so at least one of us would be coherent if Little Miss would have a rough night. I prepared everything for our first night with our little girl. Bottles in place, formula unpacked, pacifiers, diapers, blankets, toys, etc. Then I packed the diaper bag. Before we knew it we were on our way to HH, the last time we would make the trip without our little girl, no more goodbyes or "see you soons." I would be able to tell her the waiting is over it is time to go home.
We entered HH and the gates closed behind us. We had been separated by an ocean; now just walls. My body was shaking, my eyes were full of tears, I knew I would not be able to utter a word without turning into a blubbering mess. Within moments she would be in my arms. We entered the baby's playroom. I was scanning the room for my baby girl. I couldn't find her. 15-20 babies were in the room where was my little one? I skipped over the babies with little or no hair, knowing my baby had a head full. Then a nanny signaled me and pointed to my precious little girl. There she was..my beautiful baby girl. Another nanny was sitting in a green chair rocking and giving her a bottle; Little Miss was sleeping. Her hair was pulled into many little pigtails. The nanny handed her to me. Finally in my arms again! The wait was over!
She was sleeping. (A bit anti-climatic) Little Miss woke us within the hour and immediately smiled. It was almost like she remembered us. All smiles. What an amazing day it was!
But, that was just the beginning of this journey we are on. Little Miss has been with us for a year today and has given us so many smiles every day. Words cannot express how blessed I am to have the privilege to raise this beautiful little girl.
Happy "Gotcha Day" to my Little Miss!
(BTW - no reason to worry about no sleep. We all sleep just fine those first few nights in Ethiopia! Mommy, Daddy and baby)