Yes, I know it's been almost an entire month since I posted last, and I don't know that many people are even bothering to check here anymore, but I am determined to finish posting through our week in Ethiopia!
Thursday was an interesting day for us. By this time we had our luggage and were able to get everything delivered. This was also the day that it was clear that Isaiah didn't want anything to do with mommy.
Thursday morning all of the traveling families loaded into our vans to go visit the first orphanage, Kids' Care. We drove into the court yard and saw the beautiful old buildings, and were greeted by some amazing, beautiful, and happy children! We passed out many granola bars, crackers and balloons. On a whim on one of my last shopping trips before we left for Ethiopia, I had picked up some punching balloons and some rocket balloons. Well, the rocket balloons were a HIT! Basically long, thin balloons that you blow up w/ a little pump and then let them go whistling and flying into the air - so fun and the kids were going crazy!
We met this guy working at Kid's Care. He could care less about the Colts, but we still had to get a picture with him in his Colts shirt :o)
I walked into one of the baby rooms inside the buildings. We were only allowed to take pictures in the courtyard, so there were no pictures in here. I started blowing up some beach balls and sea creatures and handing them to the children. There was one very petite little girl sitting on the floor who kept shaking her head at me with her bottom lip sticking out. The nannies there didn't speak English, but they let me know that she wanted a toy. So I blew one up and handed it to her. What happened next happened so quickly - I handed her the toy which she immediately and forcefully tossed away, scooting on her tush over to me where she stood upright (I didn't think she could stand up) with her hands in the air to me. I picked her up and she immediately clasped both hands on the collar of my shirt. I tried to ask the nannies about her, and from what I understand, they said she was seven. I said, "seven months" and they said, "no, years!" I was amazed. She looked no bigger than a 2 year old, and a petite 2 at that. She continued shaking her head w/ her lower lip jutting out, and one nanny said "she want go to America". I can't even type this here without the tears coming. I've heard many parents say it, but you want to take every child home. You want to help more.
After we had a fun time visiting with the children, one of the head nannies there prepared us a traditional coffee ceremony, which was basically sitting in a circle and being served very strong, black coffee in tiny tea cups along with popcorn that tastes like kettle corn - pretty good actually! It is very humbling, when they have so little, to sit and be served by them. I'm wearing a Kid's Care t-shirt right now that we bought while we were there - they sell them to help with their needs at the orphanage.
After this visit, we all went back to an art gallery for lunch. After lunch, whichever families wanted to, split into two vans to visit one of two orphanages. We were scheduled to meet with Isaiah's birth mom at Kingdom Vision International - the orphanage where Isaiah lived before he was taken to our agency's transition home. It was a tough choice, but we decided that I would have to do this by myself. We didn't want for Isaiah to be further traumatized if he caught a glimpse of his birth mom, and we knew it would be better for me to meet with her mom-to-mom, than Joe. I won't get into details here on this meeting, but it was absolutely one of the best and hardest things I have ever done. I would do it over a thousand times for Isaiah, but for me . . . . We were able to get a picture of her that we will put in a file for when Isaiah is older and starting to wonder about where he came from.
We spent our last evening in Ethiopia in the guest house. Realistically, since we were so emotionally and physically maxed out, and in a different time zone, and waking wide awake every morning between 3:30-5 a.m., most evenings, we ate dinner and crashed. We did stay up a little later this night to finish packing up. An amazing day.
All in all, even given the horrendous hassle of the luggage issues, as I look back, and as other families travel and I see their pictures . . . I miss Ethiopia. Our trip was hard . . . really, really, REALLY hard . . . but I'd do it again in a minute.
One of my absolute favorite pictures from our week in Ethiopia - when we left Kid's Care . . .