We are here!!! It has been a year and a half since we started this process and we are finally here. Let me tell you a little bit about our trip and then tell you about our first day in Ethiopia. So you know we were stuck in Frankfurt, Germany (if not, read all about it here). After our first canceled flight the day before we came with high hopes that we would get out the next day, with small fears that we wouldn’t. Those fears rose a bit after we got to the airport.
We sat for a while at our gate (2 1/2 hours early) and after some time noticed that no one was coming to the gate. Then a couple said something about the gate being changed. So we all walked across to the other side of the airport and got to our new gate. It was a small room downstairs filled with people. We were told immediately that although our flight was scheduled at 1:15PM we would have an update at 2PM as to whether or not we would be flying out that day. They seemed to have high hopes still though. 2PM came and went and at 2:45PM they told us they should have something at 3:40PM (odd time to say they would have an update). After the last update the wave of tiredness swept over our whole family and we fell asleep in our chairs. Jeanne-Ann woke me up and I felt like I was in one of those movies where there is haziness and lack of understanding of the situation around you. That slow motion sensed swarmed my foggy mind. I groggily walked up to the counter to check on something and at 3:45PM they announced that we would get on the plane at 4:30PM and the place erupted in cheers. I had been wanting to update everyone but internet cost about $10 per hour and I didn’t need it that bad. Then I saw the guy behind me in line checking facebook on his iPhone and asked if I could get on twitter for a moment. I was on and off in 30 seconds with a quick update to let everyone know we were leaving and then we headed for the plane.
It took some time to get everyone one and in the air but we finally lifted off. It was about 7 hours of in air time. We watched a couple of movies and then went to sleep as best we could, which was not much. It was a large plane that sat 2 then 4 then 2 again. We had a middle row of 4 to ourselves. That was nice. The bathrooms were down the stairs. We all thought that was pretty cool.
We landed at 3:30AM and walked through customs and waited a long time for our bags. Nine bags were underneath plus our carry ons. We looked a little ridiculous with all that luggage, but we had several of them filled with diapers and food, etc. For the kids as well as cases filled with donations. Much of it we will not bring back with us. Sammy and Balcha were there to pick us up and we headed for Weygoss Guest House. We got in and to our rooms on the 3rd floor (which is actually 4 flights of stairs as you have to go up a flight to get to the 1st floor). We have great rooms with a balcony, but more on the rooms in another post.
We slept for about 2 hours and then got up, ate some breakfast and called Sintayehu, our lawyer. He called back and told us we could meet the kids at 3PM. Jeanne-Ann was saying that this was good as we could relax for the day and take our time and then get over to Tokoul. Sintayehu didn’t wait 30 seconds before he called us back and told us we could get in right away! My stomach dropped and we called our driver and headed to the orphanage.
The drive was about 20 minutes or so and we saw a good deal of the landscape here. The people are beautiful and very friendly. As we pulled up to the dirt road Tokoul is on I immediately recognized it from the pics Josh and Bex had shown us as well as many a video we have seen on youtube from people’s “meetcha” days. This was it. It was happening. We were ushered in to the visiting room that was also familiar to me and we waited. The air was thick with anticipation. It may have been 10 minutes, but it seemed like forever! I wanted to have some friends we had met through Krista (former Dove employee) over facebook come and take pics and video and we were going to exchange that offer with them, but everything happened so quickly that we never got a chance to get online.
Then I heard them...the nannies around the corner. In walked the first nanny with Haakon Tarekayehu and then immediately behind her was another nanny with Nyah Tigist! They were real! They ARE real! It didn’t take .03 seconds before the tears broke through their natural dam. I held Nyah and Jeanne-Ann held Haakon. I squeezed her and kissed her. She is MY daughter!!! I have 2 daughters and 2 sons!!! This is crazy. My mind raced all over the place and yet all I could think about was these precious ones. Kynzi and Karston were in charge of video. They did OK. We will post those videos after we get custody of the children. Until we have custody we can not post any pics or videos of them.
After a while Jeanne-Ann and I traded and I held Haakon. These 2 children are so beautiful. Haakon cried pretty much the whole time. I think that is a good thing. He is bonded to his nannies and we are strangers. Nyah was very chill. She just kind of checked us all out with her big beautiful eyes. It was a surreal 2 hour period. Time seemed to just be all floaty. I can’t explain it any better than that. Kynzi and Karston each held them and loved on them a lot. It was awesome to see that. Karston has been over the moon excited to hold his little brother. Ha has plans to teach this boy how to play every sport in the world. Kynzi plans to mother these kids like crazy. I love how excited they are about their siblings.
We held them. We loved them. We cooed at them. We talked and sang and laughed and cried. So many emotions. So good for my soul. At one point I was holding Haakon and he fell asleep. Sweat formed as our skin touched. His forehead glistened and he slept. This felt so right.
After 2 hours of cuddling and pictures and passing them back and forth we heard the steps of the nannies around the corner and it was time to say goodbye. My heart was full and ached at the same time. I didn’t want to say goodbye, but I knew I would get to see them tomorrow again. The first thing we did when we got back to the guest house was look through all the pictures. We relived every moment and talked about it over and over. What a morning it was.
There is more to the day, but that’s it for now. I know many of you have been asking for updates and so I wanted to make sure I got you the best one in a looooooong time!
(PS. Pics will come later. Takes a long time to load)