Well, of course it is hard to put in words the emotion you have when finally meeting your children…but I will try. Of course I was nervous, but actually more excited than nervous versus when we first met Eyob last year. We arrived in Adama and found a nice hotel, put our luggage in our rooms and then quickly left to find the orphanage. The people at the front desk did not even know what an orphanage was—then we explained to them what it was and our driver called the orphanage to get directions. After a long conversation he said “road is closed to orphanage” huh?? We can’t get there?? But then he continued with “they are coming here” Again, huh? Are the girls coming here? That would be kind of weird to meet at a hotel, but ok. But no, a person from the orphanage was coming here to show us how to get there, since it was hard.
Well, this is Africa—so I knew it may be a while until this person came here, so maybe we should eat something, even though it was 10:30 am….so we ordered some fries and some cake/bread. Well, of course the guy came, so we left our food half eaten and followed this man to the orphanage. Sure enough they were redoing roads, so we had to take these really poor rocky roads to get there—I felt bad for Getchou’s (our driver) van having to go on these roads. But then we see a really nice place in the midst of a new construction area—at the same time there was not such nice areas and trash everywhere—very weird—but again, not surprising here in Ethiopia to have one place super nice and the next place is a shack.
We pull up to the gates and the girls were on the front porch. They came down the stairs and of course I immediately start to cry and I cannot even recall who I hugged first—maybe A. But after individual hugs, the 3 of us hugged for a long time and they also hugged and kissed Grandma. Getchou took pics for us. The girls are so very sweet….they just kept saying “I love you Mom” and constantly hugging and kissing. They were also saying this to Grandma—but mostly to me. So we went into a room to visit. I showed the girls the video that Mark made for them and they immediately said “Dad!” and then as they would see things in the video, they would repeat what he would say in the video (he gave them sort of a home tour). They were also excited to see Eyob and Ty in the video. They opened their many gifts. They were so thankful for each thing they received…never being greedy or tearing into things. Aunt Jenny—they loved all of their things from you—especially the picture, so they could see who you were and they do have Godparents here, so they explained that is who you are. For those that have travelled to Ethiopia and know how affectionate and no knowledge of personal space they have here—well, our girls take this trait to the test—and I dare to say they are the most affectionate girls ever. They were literally on top of me, petting me, always an arm around me, or holding my hand….I do not think I will lose them in the airport, as they are glued to me. I guess I do not have to worry about not seeing A smile much in pics…she is just more reserve than S. We had a good time playing Candy Land and Chutes and Ladders with one another. Their friend is also at this orphanage with them, and she stuck with us, as well, for much of our time. We then asked if we could take them out to lunch and we could! I felt horrible when we could not also take my friend’s little girl—but since she was not ours, we could not and I understood—but I cried, as she cried.
So off we went to lunch at our hotel—as we did not know much of what was around here. Oh—a funny thing they said as we were still first meeting was the girls said I was late!! Yes—already calling me out on being late (which we never set a time)—but they thought I should have been there sooner!! It was funny. So anyways….then we went in the van and of course all 3 of us had to sit in the same seat…so we sat in the way back and giggled as we were rocking around on the bumpy roads. Mind you—one of them had their arm around me, and I am holding hands with the other and it is a zillion degrees outside! Much warmer here, since we are in a valley in Adama. We walked in the restaurant hand in hand—S had my back pack on, because of course they would not let me carry it. They looked a little overwhelmed and uncomfortable at the nice restaurant—I am glad we were the only ones there. Getchou helped them decide what to order and they had tibs with injera and we ordered a pizza. Conversation was minimal—as they still do not speak very much English. There was a tv on –some kind of weird Kurt Russel movie that they seemed glued to (in engish)—but since Getchou was watching, I did ask them to turn it off. Our pizza was kind of weird gross…but it sufficed.
Mom stayed at the hotel and I went back with the girls. We had lots of fun drawing pictures, then getting stickers and crosses out—they did not want to decorate the crosses, but they wanted to put the stickers on their faces—so I asked if we could include all of the little ones and they loved it. Kathleen gave us her Polaroid and the kids loved it!! The girls were also taking pics with my camera. They were poking fun of S as she was always kissing me on my cheek in pics. We got out one of the Velcro mitt games I brought and they were playing in the courtyard. There were no tears as we left—as I will be back in the morning. They are proud of the English words that they do know (which is very minimal) and S came to the van to tell me “God bless you”. Oh—they already had my heart before I met them—but this is sweet frosting on the cake.
The orphanage director seems very kind and caring to all of the children there…even though they are lacking in supplies…using cloths for diapers for little tiny babies and having the young 1-3 yr olds sitting on potties—but hey, that works in a lot of countries…so why not here, right? They looked too cute all lined up on their potty seats. So thankful our girls are there—and that it is a smaller place, but with room to play outside and inside. They said 39 children were there….and they have 4 nannies on each 12hr shift. OK—I need to get to bed—as I was falling asleep in the van on the way back to orphanage the 2nd time I went!! Emotionally exhausting day, I think. Just in awe how awesome God has weaved our family together. And Ali—your Gete is precious and misses her family—I cannot wait to show you pics and talk to you. I just want to scoop her up and take her home to you—you know I would if I could. But could all of us live in the same city, so we don’t have to separate the 3 musketeers??