Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Our Trip to Durame

The trip to Durame was incredible. Durame is in the South, near where our daughter was born, and where she was in care for a few months before going to Addis. The countryside of Ethiopia is absolutely stunning. Green, lush, mountainous, beautiful. The poverty at times was overwhelming. The people are happy. Smiles. Many smiles.
One of my favorite pictures...they must have just gotten
out of school. They saw our two vans and came running.
On one of our stops along the way for a potty break, this sweet boy came out of the fields (we were not in any village so it was a surprise to him and to us). I can only imagine what he was thinking to see two vans full of white people out in the middle of no where. Each of us was so compelled to give him something, anything. It was the best feeling to see him smile. He waved to us until we could no longer see him waving. We all imagined what story he would tell his family.
Durame....the view from our hotel.
The pictures don't do it justice.
The 27-year old doctor from the Sinshicho clinic. The only doctor at the clinic that serves 250,000 people. The people in the surrounding villages raised $300,000 US dollars to start it. Our agency (Holt) currently funds it. While there, we met 3 patients recovering from life-threatening diseases. Diseases, like malaria.
All were going to be fine.
The clinic is committed to keeping families together. They are raising funds to add a surgery unit. Today, if someone needs surgery they have to travel 34 km (no car) to reach a hospital. We were told many people choose to just return home and pray. Here is a link to Holt's site that is raising money for the new surgery clinic in case you are inclined to help.
So much to absorb. It was all overwhelming and changed my perspective forever. More to come on our visit at the Care Center in Durame...

Friday, June 25, 2010

Meeting Our Daughter

The previous night I woke up countless times. It was hard for me to sleep knowing she was right next door. You could literally see the rooms where the children slept right from our hotel rooms. I was so anxious to see her face. I had run through this day so many times in my mind it was hard to believe it was actually here. My heart was racing as we entered the gate to the Care Center. We climbed the spiral staircase and it all felt surreal. We first had to listen to instructions of how the meeting was going to play out. They would bring the children down one by one and you had to guess which child was yours (I think they thought it would be funny). I sat there and my hands were shaking I was so excited. The thought ran through my mind, what if I don't recognize her? How bad would it be if I didn't recognize her face after staring at it hundreds of times? But then I saw her at the top of the staircase with her nanny. There was no question it was her. The beautiful daughter we already loved but had never met. Finally in our arms. It couldn't have played out more perfectly.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

We're home!

Introducing Etagegn (Etta) Jane!
We are so glad to be home with her. She's happy, we're happy. The trip was absolutely amazing...I'm still trying to wrap my brain around all we saw and experienced. Some of it I'll not be able to put into words. I'll be writing more but for now, here are a few pictures!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

We're Leaving to Bring Her Home!

So we leave tomorrow to meet Etagegn (Etta) Jane. I can't believe it's actually happening. So the next time I post, we will be home and loving all over her! Thank you to each and every one of you who has been such a huge support to us along the way. We've been blessed.

Friday, June 4, 2010

What We'll be Doing

After almost 20 hours of flying (that is not factoring in layovers), we'll arrive in Ethiopia where we'll stay for one week. We arrive late on Thursday, June 10 and go to our hotel, which is directly next to the Care Center. Friday morning (hopefully early or I will lose my mind) we will get to meet Etta for the first time. I'm preparing myself for what it will be like for her....she really will have no idea who we are and may very well want nothing to do with us (which will not be easy since all I'll want to do is scoop her up and love all over her!). We may have to really ease into it. And from what I hear, the nannies are great about doing just that. We get to spend a little time with her Friday morning and then probably get to return Friday afternoon. Saturday we will get to spend some more time at the Care Center getting to know each other even more (I expect to glean as much as possible from the she likes to fall asleep, what she likes to eat, what makes her happy....). Sunday morning we will leave very early in the a.m. to Southern Ethiopia to a place called Durame. This is where Etta spent a great deal of her time in care. It is not where she lived prior to being relinquished but apparently it is very similar. We really hope we will get to meet her birthparent. I have so much I want to learn for Etta's sake. We come back to Addis Monday and get to spend time with Etta again in the afternoon. There is a chance we will get to take custody on Monday. I think some of it may depend on how bonding is going. Tuesday morning is when we go to the US Embassy for our Visa interview. Parents take custody of their children after the Embassy appointment if they didn't get to the evening before. I think the rest of the time is pretty much spent in the hotel...which means good quality time with each other. We leave to come home late Thursday night and arrive home Friday, June 18. I can't believe the time is almost here. I've got some serious mixed emotions these days....can't wait to go meet our daughter and bring her home. Sad and anxious about leaving our boys. They will have a ball, it's just me that will have a hard time. I wish we could bring them with us, but it just does not make sense, on so many levels. So here we are! We are sure feeling ready to be all together as a family of 5.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

One Week from Today....

We will be on a plane to Addis to bring home our daughter! It is all feeling a bit surreal still. I feel so fortunate because Sarah is over there right now and has been filling me in on everything (we've been able to talk, e-mail and IM while she's been there!) so I'm feeling pretty well prepared. Everything is packed except for Ryan's and my clothes. One suitcase is Etta's stuff, two are donations to Holt and AHOPE, and then one for Ryan and me. I stare at Etta's picture all the time and am so anxious to actually get to hold her. Sarah has not been able to see her again (she was going to try one more time). I'm so thankful we'll be there soon. Our lives are feeling super crazy at the moment between preparing for our trip, a major remodel effort, and work. It will all get done, right? And if not, I won't care because we will be on a trip of a lifetime!