Monday, July 26, 2010

Our Final Days in Ethiopia

This will be the last journeling of our time in Ethiopia. The day after taking custody, we visited the US Embassy for our Visa appointment. The interview with the Officer was only a few minutes and then you have it - approval to bring your child home with you. We felt relief....after a year and a half of countless steps, hoops to jump through, and anxiety-ridden nights, there was nothing that would get in the way of us bringing home our daughter.

The next day we returned to the Care Center for the Farewell Ceremony. We were wondering how Etagegn would feel returning. It went perfectly. The ceremony was beautiful. Sister Martha spoke to us about their hopes and wishes for these children - these children who they love willingly and unconditionally. It was an opportunity for them to say goodbye.



Etta had only been at this Care Center for less than a month so we weren't sure if she had a special nanny. She did. She lit up when she saw her. Her nanny lit up too. And this is why our daughter shows so much love. She felt loved. I can only imagine how hard it would be - to care so deeply for a child until their family comes to take them home. One of our Travel Group friends asked Sister Martha how they can do it. She said it's because they believe it's their calling. They are meant to do this. And it shows. There were tears shed by all. Tears of gratitude. Tears of sadness for a loss of a relationship.
Tears of joy for what is to come.



Etagegn had a peace to her. It was as if she knew everything was going to be alright.

These are the wonderful Moms in our Travel Group. I am so thankful to have experienced it with them.


I really don't think I can put into words all that we saw, felt, experienced while in Ethiopia. It was amazing. Overwhelming. A gift of a lifetime. What I will remember most is the people. They are the warmest, most friendly, affectionate people I have ever known. They are gracious. They are happy. Our daughter will grow up being proud of her heritage. There is so much to be proud of.



It was the best feeling in the world to see our boys. It's good to be home.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

She's All Ours!

We returned from Durame and were so anxious to see her. It had been two days and we weren't sure how she was going to react to us. No more goodbyes...this was the night we could take custody.

We went over to the Care Center a bit earlier than we were supposed to (I couldn't wait any longer) and we went to find her in her room. I looked in and saw her sitting on the floor. She immediately smiled at me. I scooped her up and held her tight. We were so happy she seemed so content to be with us.

She attached to me quickly....I called her my little koala bear. I only put her down to use the bathroom, and even then there were tears. Thank God for Ergos. You could tell she was totally into Ryan, but wanted a little space between them at first. We had expected she would only attach  to one of us at first and since she only had female caregivers, it made sense it was me. She lit up when she would see Ryan though and she liked to play ball with him. It was fun to watch their relationship unfold. Of course it only took a few days home and then she was just as attached to Ryan as me.
 
Right after we saw her

Getting ready to leave

Leaving the Care Center
This look is one we see often...so excited about life.

We learned just how much she could eat!


We spent a lot of time outside since we couldn't leave the Hotel grounds with Etagegn...the Care Center is right behind us in this picture.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Back to Our Time in Ethiopia

When in Durame, we got to meet Etagegn's birthparent. We are not sharing the specifics of why she came into care; that is her story. Her story for her to choose to tell when she's older. The opportunity to meet her birthparent was truly a gift. Intense. Wonderful. Sad. Hugely important for us to have answers to her questions. We feel honored to be raising her and will always honor her birthfamily.

After the birthfamily meetings, we visited the Care Center in Durame where Etagegn spent most of her time. There were many children there, all beautiful, all in loving arms. I don't know if there were any of us from the travel group that didn't at least think about adopting again after seeing the children (no, at this point we are thinking 3 is perfect for us! :-)
The head nurse Remove Formatting from selection

Etagegn's bed



The loving nannies

The nannies and nurses are always smiling, loving all over the children. They are inspirational to see. They are passionate about these children and it shows. As the head nurse said to me, "it is our privilege to care for them." It's no wonder these children thrive in care.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Joyful

She is.


In some ways it seems like we just got home and other times it feels like we've always been a family. Etagegn sparkles. As for what she's learned since being home...a lot. She is fully walking on her own now and says at least 10 English words. She understands a lot of what we say and surprises us with all she knows. She's full of joy. Each day brings new learnings and more laughter. We love being a family of five. Life is good.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Special Friends

Bereket and Etagegn

This is my good friend Sarah's sweet baby girl. She is a year younger than Etagegn and they were in the same Care Center...loved by the same nurses and nannies. I am so thankful to have been on this journey with Sarah. She was a huge support to me and I love that our children will grow up together.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Home Two Weeks





I'll take a break from blogging about the trip to write about what's happened in the last two weeks since we've been home. Etagegn is an absolute joy. Her transition amazes us. She is so well-attached to us and the boys, and is such a happy girl. I read all the attachment books I could get my hands on but so far, I'm needing none of them. She is bright and joyful, and also very strong-willed :-) She loves playing with her brothers and they sure are into her. They have been so great with her...so far no jealousy. Nothing seems to phase her and she holds her own. It's been so fun watching her explore and discover.

The most challenging of our time home has been lack of sleep and getting sick. We all caught the flu (except for Etta) the first week home. Then this past week she's been battling an ear infection and really bad eye infection. She's had 4 visits to the doctor in the last 5 days...this for a girl who does not like any stranger touching her! I felt so bad for her.

The adjustment to 3 kids is not a breeze, especially with a 3 year-old who is in testing mode, but we are sure feeling fortunate that it's going so well. Thanks to our family and friends who have helped us out so much!