Well, 31 hours after leaving our home in Idaho we arrived in the capital city of Addis Ababa to meet our sweet son! Our flights were thankfully uneventful, which is always a plus when traveling! The kids did great! Jarod was pretty stuffed up and started coughing our last leg, but other than that everything went smoothly.
I love how God works and shows up even in the simplicity of life. Along our journey to Africa, we met some pretty awesome people. On the way to DC, we met a grandma to 2 beautiful Ethiopian children who had been home for 2 years. She was so incredibly excited for us and was telling everyone around her that we were headed to Ethiopia to meet our son! It was so sweet! In Frankfurt, we got to ride a bus out and board the plane. On the bus ride out, I met a lady that works at the US Embassy in Addis. She was excited for us also and wished us the best of luck! On our last leg from Frankfurt to Addis, we met 2 families that have court the day before us! They are with a different agency than us but were both adopting older kids. It was neat to hear their story and share our own.
We made it through getting our Visas, exchanging money, getting our luggage, and through customs MUCH smoother than I ever thought we would! We got to our guest house, unpacked a little, took showers and went to bed!
I slept great for about 3 hours, at which time my mind and heart started reeling of what today was all about! We were going to meet our son! I was going to get to hold him and give him kisses and love on him! When you get up that early, the morning seems to drag on. The kids awoke, we had breakfast, and waited around for 10:30 to roll around so we could head off to church. We had a great time worshipping at a pretty westernized church. Jarod wasn't feeling well and I was dragging from getting no sleep for the last 3 days. We stopped at the Drug Store and got some cough medicine for Jarod on our way to lunch! Food was yummy but we were a pretty sad looking group. Josh was the only one feeling energized and ready to go. At one point, all the kids and I had our heads laid down on the table resting! Jet lag is no fun - especially when you are gearing up for the most exciting moment that you have been waiting over a year for. We ordered WAY to much food - Josh was the only one who really ate anything! We ordered some soda for the caffeine and sugar and hoped it would energize us enough for what was to come!
We drove a short distance across town to a small alley with the famous "America World" sign and gate out front. I knew this was it - we were going to meet him, hug him, love on him!! We drove in and there were lots of older kids all over! They usually aren't at the baby transition home - where families meet up and spend time with their kiddos - but on Sundays they bring the older kids over for a few hours. We could hear the kids buzzing - they were saying his name. They all knew why we were there and who we were there for. There aren't any other families from our agency in country so our awesome guide and driver took over the cameras and we took our positions....
Our guide came back a minute later and said we had taken so long at church and lunch and so they had walked our little man back to the other transition home. It breaks my heart to think that he was all ready to meet us, only to come and wait and wait, then leave without us ever arriving! I bet his heart was crushed! They said it would just be a minute and instead of them coming out of the house and meeting us on the porch, our son came through the America World gates!
He came in the door hesitantly with his nanny. He slowly walked over to us and let us each give him hugs. He leaned into his daddy and just stood there a little stunned! This is a huge moment for a little guy to handle! We took our first family pic together and then busted out the backpack with all the goodies! He was excited to look through everything - and I mean EVERYTHING - he grabbed and looked through every pocket of the backpack, the camera bag, and my purse!
He kicked the soccer ball around for a little while, but he was pretty unsure of all that was going on. The older kids were all there which was pretty overwhelming for him I think. He was pretty reserved. He sat down and got out the activity pack that Grandma Bobbi packed him and quickly went from one thing to the next. He told me the color of the crayon he was using - only sometimes - he is NOT one to play the repeat game or answer if he doesn't want to - he definately has a stubborn and defiant side to him - he should fit in well with the family!
Stickers were a HUGE hit!! I can't wait to show pics - - he took them off and put them all over his face!!! I mean all over - cheeks, hands, forehead, nose, eyes, chin, ears - then he started on each of us. He called a couple of friends over and passed some stickers out to them also. He LOVED his soccer ball, but didn't necessarily want to play soccer. He did NOT, however, want anyone else to play soccer with his ball either! He sat on it most of the time. At one point, he got up and started dribbling the ball and then did a figure 8 between his legs - - - OH MY!!!!!! SO excited for my little sport star!
The older kids left after a while and we were able to focus on our little man. He did much better playing and responding to us when it was just us! Before he was just fluttering from one thing to another, one person to another, and didn't really know what to focus his mind on!
He is beyond sweet and his smile is even MORE adorable than the pics we got of him! He loves his brothers and sister and was even asking for "Noh" (Noah) toward the end of the afternoon! We get to spend all day with him tomorrow and I'm excited to see him open up even more! It will be early to bed for us - hoping the jetlag wears off by morning so we can keep up with our kids - ALL 4 of them!!
We witness a miracle every time a child enters into life. But those who make their journey home across time and miles, growing within the hearts of those who wait to love them, are carried on the wings of destiny and placed among us by God's very own hands.
~ Kristi Larson ~
~ Kristi Larson ~
Not flesh of my flesh, Nor bone of my bone, But still miraculously my own. Never forget for a single minute, You didn't grow under my heart - but in it!
~ Fleur Conkling Heylinger ~