Saturday, September 10, 2011

Ethiopia Day 4

(written on the actual 4th day of our trip)

Today was a really good day. Eramais took us to Tomoca Kaffee for some more Ethiopian coffee, and that was really fun. We invited him to join us, and he was really pleased. :) He's such a great guy and has been so helpful. If you ever come to Addis, you need to call Hope Adoption and ask for Eramais' number. I guarantee you he would love to drive you, and he'll make your experience great.

After Tomoca, he drove us up to a high point in the city so we could get some good city view pictures. It's also an area with lots of big houses (we're talking houses that cost over $3,000 USD to rent per month!). Crazy. I posted some pictures from this little excursion. The weather was so awesome up on the hill - cool breeze. Everywhere we go there are children, and they just flock to us and look up and stare. So precious. We had a really good conversation about Jesus with Eramais as well. He is an Ethiopian Orthodox Christian, which differs from the Protestant Christians here (most of the Hope staff are Protestant). He explained some of the differences - it's comparable to Catholicism, but Eramais doesn't really buy all of those parts. He said he believes only in the Jesus of the Bible. If you add anything or take anything away from that, he has no part in it.

After this, it was time to see our little Buster boy at Hope. He was still napping, but we both really enjoy the time with the office staff at Hope while we wait for him to wake up. I think we all get more and more comfortable with each other each day. The language barrier is less and less of an issue...and the bond of Jesus Christ can overcome any barrier anyway. So, we had another nice time visiting. Plus, one of Abe's little friends (Elazar or Alazar...not sure which spelling) was awake and hanging out with us in the office. He's really taken to us and we enjoy him. He is actually going home next week with his forever family. How exciting!!! I wish we could meet them. He will be a complete blessing...sweet little boy.

We had some really good time with Abe today. He recognizes us very readily now, and he reaches for us when the caretakers hand him over. He's still not saying our names or really talking much, but he's showing other signs of attachment. He wants us to hold him and be with him the entire time. He's very curious and extremely smart...he likes to use his hands. We sang "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" to him today and he seemed to like that. He keeps his head really close to mine, and loves to hold on tight to Daddy. He's such a little cuddlebunny! Ugh, we love that!!! We also hummed a little "Lord of the Rings" theme music to him...I mean, hey, he's gotta learn sometime...might as well begin now, right? "Train up a child in the way he should go...." Hahaha. :)

It was harder for me to leave him today when we had to go. We stayed almost until closing. Another American family arrived today and our driver is also driving them, so we got to stay later. I can't believe we have to leave him tomorrow, and we have no idea when we're coming back. We just PRAY that he will remember us. We are leaving a picture of us with Hope, and I'm confident they'll show it to him each day and say "Mommy and Daddy." They are so great. We'll also bring back another of the same Scentsy Buddy with us the next trip so he'll hopefully associate us with the one he already has.Please pray for this time that we'll be apart...the next trip will be hard enough on all of us. We just hope that we don't have to start completely over with attaching and bonding too. in everything, it's all in God's most capable and loving hands. He is so good to us.

Not sure if we'll get to write tomorrow...we're still trying to plan out our day before we leave for the airport. Our plane takes off from Addis around 2:50pm Texas time (10:50pm Addis). It's about 7 hours, then we have a 5 hour layover in Frankfurt. The 2nd flight takes off around 3:30am Texas time and will arrive in Dallas around 2:30pm. Ugh, already dreading the exhaustion....but hopefully I'll sleep A LOT on the planes. I plan to take more meds this time, not necessarily for the anxiety but to really help me sleep. It's a long trip. Please pray for our safety, for smooth flights and layover, and that I will do even better on these flights than I did on the way over. Also, pray for a good last day with Abe tomorrow. I'm about to cry thinking about leaving my precious little boy...oh, how we will miss him! But, soon we'll be united as a family forever. Cannot wait!

We love you and miss you! Cannot wait to see you soon! Selam! (peace!)

Ethiopia Day 3

(written on the actual 3rd day of our trip)

Whew! What a day! Today started with court. Our appointment was at 9:00am, so we got there at about 8:45, because you know, you don't want to be late to court in a foreign country. Well...apparently the judge doesn't feel the same way. Our driver, Eramais, said she's always late and it drives him crazy. :) I don't know what time she got there, but we waited 2 hours in the waiting room, which continued to get more and more crowded. There were many locals there as well as many adoptive families from other countries - Germany, Italy, US. For a while we were the only Americans in the waiting room, and the swell of foreign languages was getting a little overwhelming, and then all of a sudden 4 people walked in wit

h American accents. We heard a big "Good morning!" that was finished off with a big ole American smile, and I thought I was going to cry! There was a couple from WI and a man from NE and a woman from MI. They were very friendly (man, you really can tell the difference between Europeans and Americans when you're in a foreign country), and they were also believers. So nice to meet brothers

and sisters in Christ. Slowly the crowd started dwindling as the judge began seeing cases. We finally got called in, and we were in her office for literally 2 minutes! Really? We had heard it was quick and easy, but that was an understatement. She asks a few questions: Do you have children of your own? Have you had training for international adoption? Are you ready for this to be permanent? Then that's it. She said we should just be waiting on our letter of recommendation from MOWA...this could take a few weeks (or more, or less).

While at court, we met the manager of Faith Children's Home
(Adane's orphanage). His name is Yacob (Jacob), and he is also a brother in Christ. You could see Jesus in him immediately - what a neat guy. We three became instant friends. After court our driver took us, Yacob, and Etabes to visit Faith. That was really neat. It's actually very nice for an Ethiopian orphanage. The children seem happy and they are WELL cared for. They get education, have access to healthcare, and there is a good caretaker to child ratio. When we walked down the stairs to see the older children, Yacob had them sing for us. :) We didn't have time to catch it on video, but it was so sweet. There are about 65 children in the orphanage...we are SO thankful that Adane spent his time there. It's probably the best situation he could have been in. Our God is GOOD. We hope Adane (Abe) will one day see God's hand at work even in his difficult beginnings. The orphanage has MANY needs...we exchanged email addresses and plan to make the needs known to our amazing church family (whom we praised to Yacob), and
we're confident that Lake Ridge and our friends can help make a difference for these wonderful people of God doing His work in Addis.

After Faith, we stopped at a museum in Addis to kill some time while Adane and the kiddos were having their nap. It was interesting…but we are pretty ready to get back to American culture. Then we headed to Hope to see Abe (yes, I know I am using his names interchangeably…I have a feeling that will continue for a while). He was still napping…that kid can sleep through a hurricane, I think. We got to chat for quite a while with one of the male workers - Tamarat. He is awesome too! Another brother in Christ. We had some great conversations…he hopes to come to America or Canada one day. He studied applied physics at one of the universities here – really intelligent guy, and also super friendly, and he loves the children. These are some of the greatest people I’ve ever met. We had another cup of Ethiopian coffee (SOOOOOOOOOOOOOO GOOOOOOOOOOD!!!!), and enjoyed laughing and exchanging stories about our different cultures. It’s funny…they have never heard of Mexican food. We had to explain what a taco is.

And finally, we got to visit with Abe. It was kind of a weird day…he was really attached to us physically – always wanting to be held by one of us. But at the same time, he was pretty despondent. We think it’s because he wasn’t feeling well. He may have some sort of respiratory infection or a cold or allergies…his nose is always running, eyes watering and glassy, kind of a thick cough…it’s that way with all of the kids. I think once he gets here and has an opportunity for better nutrition, healthcare, etc. he’ll start to perk up. We’re thankful for every visit though. And, we had one really big breakthrough today – he let us feed him! One of the workers just handed us his bowl when it was time for the kids to eat, and he ate from me and then Ben no questions asked. That was AWESOME. Also, he LOVES his Scentsy Buddy monkey that we brought him. He’s more and more attached to it every day.

So, there’s always a lot of good with the not so great…it’s part of the process, and we are learning to adjust expectations. We are praying for the Lord to knit that bond between the three of us and sustain it. We trust Him with EVERYTHING. It really is our only option, isn’t it? Wow, we’ve learned so much. I pray we apply these lessons to everything in our lives going forward. GOD IS IN CONTROL. HE CREATES ALL THINGS AND SUSTAINS ALL THINGS. HE HAS A PLAN. IT IS A PLAN FOR OUR GOOD. WE GET TO GLORIFY HIM. HE LOVES US. OBEDIENCE IS WHAT IS REQUIRED. So many good lessons.

Anyway, this was a long note…thank you for praying for us! We appreciate and covet your continued prayers. Also pray for the other families here this week for court and to pick up their children…we are seeing both, and our hearts go out to them. We love you all and miss you greatly!