Monday, July 12, 2010

Looking back at our trip to ET.

Our trip to pick up Addis was one that I met with great anticipation and a fair bit of apprehension.  Not unlike our other Ethiopian adoption experience, I was concerned about how our little girl would react to her new surroundings, how she would adjust after leaving the only home she has ever known, and what she would think of Sara and I. 

After our well documented and very enjoyable trip to Dubai, we were off to meet Addis.  We were greeted with poor weather in Ethiopia, which was the theme for the week as during the winter months it rains every day.  Not a light shower, a very heavy downpour that doesn't like to let up.

Shortly after arriving and getting settled into our hotel, we were picked up along with two other families who were also off to meet their new children.  Our first stop was at an orphanage we visited last year as well.  For me, there is nothing more enjoyable and at the same time heart wrenching than visiting with the very sweet children living at El Olam.  The kids are incredible.  They are so sweet, so beautiful, so innocent, and so much fun to spend time with.  One little girl and one older boy who we met last year stole our hearts again.  It was bittersweet to see them.  On one hand we were glad to get to know them all over again, and on the other hand it deeply saddened me to know that another year had gone by and they had not been one of the lucky ones that had been adopted.  I just love all of the kids there and had such a fantastic time interacting with each of them.  I miss each of them already.

After that visit, we made one other stop at our agency's transition house, the house that children stay at while waiting for their families to come pick them up, and then we were off to Miskaye.  The drive to meet Addis seemed like it was taking forever, which was only amplified by the fact that we were involved in a minor traffic accident on the way there.  We were warmly greeted by the older children at the orphanage who sang us songs before we made our way in to meet our beautiful baby.  Once in the baby room the workers played a little game with us where we had to pick which one was Addy.  We were searching for the big hair that we had seem from the pictures and neither of us was able to locate it.  Low and behold, they had recently shaved her head because of an illness.  I would be lying if I said that didn't really disappoint me.  But she was beautiful nonetheless. 

The rest of the week was honestly a bit of a blur.  Addy was not a big fan of me.  Presumably, she had never been around many men, so the sight of me, the sound of my voice, the mere fact that I was in the same room as her caused her to cry for the first few days.  It was rough.  She was comfortable with Sara, although she never wanted to be put down.  Sara pretty much had to hold her at all times.  It was taxing on both of us, but we made our way through it. 

In my dreams, I pictured this fantastic moment when we met each of our children.  The moment where Parker jumps into our arms, where Lleyton and Addy smiled and laughed and cooed at the first sight of us.  That didn't really ever happen.  Each meeting was unique.  Lleyton was very sick when we first met him.  Parker seemed very scared when being introduced to us.  And Addy just seemed very apprehensive about me.  With all of that being true, each one of them blossomed into the child that we dreamed of.  Parker is crazy smart and adores his siblings.  Lleyton is the most entertaining kid we could have imagined, and Addy is simply irresistible.

I could write for days about our experiences.  I did my best to keep a journal from our trip, but it is a little long winded for the blog.  So here are some of my observations and memories from our trip to meet little Addy.

  • Ethiopian coffee is very strong.  I am not a coffee drinker but gave it a shot while at dinner at some friends of ours parents house in Addis.  After two teaspoons of sugar and some Coffeemate, I liked the taste.
  • We love Ethiopian food, but ate mostly Italian food while in country.  Out of the fear of getting sick, we stuck to a pretty simple menu of pizza and spaghetti.
  • Ethiopians are incredibly hospitable.
  • The poverty that exists in Ethiopia is gut wrenching.
  • Fly Emirates.  It is the best airline in the world.
  • Dubai's international airport is the nicest we have ever traveled through.
  • Addis is probably confused about what her name is.  At any moment I may call her any of the following names:
    • Addis
    • Lidya
    • Addis Lidya
    • Addy
    • Lidy
    • Addy Lids
    • Liddy Lou
    • Baby Sister 
  • Traffic in Ethiopia is insane.  I consider myself a good driver and would not be willing to get behind the wheel over there.
  • I find it hard to say no to people begging for money in Ethiopia. 
  • Ethiopians can dance.
  • I wish I had a smaller camera at times, because I found myself not wanting to lug around our big camera on this trip.  Hence, we didn't get alot of pictures during our time in Ethiopia. 
  • Having an infant again is rather daunting.  I kind of liked being past the diaper changing and bottle feeding. 
  • I like lentils.
  • I don't enjoy being away from my boys for extended periods of time.  I missed the heck out of them.
  • Riding in the back seat of a late model van through the streets of Ethiopia is not good for one's stomach.  The roads are in dire need of some tender loving care, which accompanied by a very uncomfortable van leads to some touchy moments.  Add in the constant barrage of deisel fumes and it is a lethal combo.
  • The Internet in Ethiopia in pretty much nonexistent, hence no posts while we were there.
  • I love my kiddos to no end.

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