I woke at dawn to all sorts of new sounds, the call to prayer, a man who yells YIIIIIIIIIIIIPPP as he walks up and down the rough dirt road selling mops, brooms and buckets and a pack of donkeys trotting in front of the guest house. We were told last night that we would go to lunch with all the other families in-country and THEN go meet our kids, the idea of this drove both Jill and I crazy. We both know enough about Ethiopia time to realize right away that if this happened there would be NO WAY to go pick up her two little ones from their orphanage. Jill’s agency lets you take the kids back to your guest house (GH) with you for the week where my agency requires you to go to the transition home (TH) each day to visit until you pass court. When Craig and I were down stairs having a delicious breakfast I overheard that a van was leaving at 9:30 for our TH, I scarfed down my food and flew up the stairs to make sure everyone was ready to be in that van, no way I was waiting till after lunch to meet R and S!!!!!!
We all piled into the 9:30 van, Jill, Craig, Maddie, Kelli and I. As we made the ½ hour drive I thought I was pretty calm and collected but Craig pulled his hand away from mine and asked me kindly to stop rubbing my thumb across the top of it, the skin was getting raw from the friction. It was at this point that I realized my toes were numb from having them curled up in my shoes, I took a few calming breaths as we sorted out cameras, flips and bloggies but my stomach dropped as Jill squealed with excitement when she recognized how close we were. We drove down the worst road I have ever been on in my life, if you could even call it a road at all. Sharp rock, giant pot holes, dust, goats, people and dogs all crowding the way. We pulled up to a massive metal gate and the driver honked the horn and a guard opened the gate and we drove into the complex. Right away I saw THE STAIRS. The same ones I have seen in all the other families meetcha day videos, the stairs you walk up and wait at as they bring our new children out to meet us. I worked hard at being composed and calm as we crawled out of the van and made our way up the four marble steps. It wasn’t long until I could see two little faces down the dark hallway that led straight to Craig and I. Sada had a smile on his face and his eyes were cautious but the excitement showed anyways and Roza held on tightly to the Nannny carrying her wide eyes and definitely a little scared. I took Roza out of the arms of her Nanny as Craig bent down to greet Sada and at that moment we were holding our children in OUR ARMS and at that moment I knew it had all been worth it.
We spent the rest of the morning getting to know the kids, playing on a blanket and looking through photo albums we had brought each of them. Sada’s shy side started to show until other kids from the TH came around then he was all about protecting HIS PROPERTY which included Craig and I. Jill and Kelli took pictures and videos, played with the other kids and handed out candy and it seemed all too quick that it was time for us to leave for lunch and let the kids have a nap.
I had to laugh when we sat down at the lunch table at a local restaurant and started looking over the menu, it was Mexican food. I whispered to Craig “I can’t believe we just flew ½ way around the world to a new place with new foods and our first meal out is Mexican.” We settled in and placed our orders and at this point Jill became the nervous wreck! A driver was coming at the end of lunch to pick her, Kelli and Maddie up to drive them to her children’s orphanage. Lunch took FOREVER!!!!!! That’s just the way it is here in Ethiopia. If we had not been in such tight seating arrangements I’m pretty sure Jill’s chair would have fallen over when she was told that her driver had arrived and she jumped up from the table. In a flash she had Maddie and Kelli were out the door and a while later we were back in the van headed back to the TH to be with Roza and Sada again.
By the end of the afternoon I was exhausted and as we made our way up the 65 steps to our 3rd floor guest room I was dragging but then I heard the sound of Jill’s kids laughing from our room. It was so much fun to walk in to the disaster of kid stuff all over the place and to see not only the smiling faces of two beautiful new faces that will forever be in my life but the face of their Mommy grinning twice as big! I can’t imagine a better way to end such a remarkable day.