June 10, 2009

Part 2 - Journey to Ethiopia

Tuesday - May 26th:
We ate breakfast at our guesthouse which consisted of bread, meat & cheese, sweet honey made by Zeyede, the best scrambled eggs in the world, coffee, and fresh squeezed orange juice. Yummm, I miss that... Tesfu picked us up early. We drove to the HOH guesthouse to pick up the other families which now included Nathan & Stefany and their baby Jordan; we all headed to the Lion Zoo.



The lions were beautiful but it was so sad to see them just lying in empty cages. No grass, rocks, trees, water...nothing. They had a male and female lion in each cage. There were also a few other animals including monkeys and a very pretty animal that looked like a deer with stripes. They had a beautiful garden with bright flowers. The best part about the Lion Zoo was the garden and trees. You don't see many tress, grass, or flowers in Addis. We then went to the Hilton where we could use the Internet. Our cell phones were not working and we had not been in contact with any family since before we left for Ethiopia early Sunday morning. In knew at this point my family would be worried sick. I sent an email to my family letting them know we had arrived, we were safe, and Nathan was doing great! I later found out that my parents were freaking out and my Dad had passport in hand ready to board a plane for Ethiopia to come find us. :) The Hilton was like being back in the U.S.; there were lots of American tourists, businessmen, and other adopting families. Nathan did great while at the Zoo and Hilton. He loved hanging out in the Baby Bjorn and I think he likes being on the go. He did seem to zone out while in the car and around lots of unfamiliar faces & places. Once back at the house he would get more active and vocal. We ate lunch at the HOH guesthouse; all meals there consisted of lots of veggies, a little meat, and usually a rice or pasta. The food was good and healthy! Nick and I both lost 5 lbs while in Ethiopia, but not due to lack of food just eating healthier. After lunch we met with Teseguy to get paperwork ready for our Visa appt at the U.S. Embassy the next day. We then had the remainder of the afternoon to hang out and relax. We crashed Nathan & Stefany's room and enjoyed hanging out, watching movies, and episodes of "The Office". After dinner we headed back to our guesthouse. That night I started feeling so sick and nauseous. I think it was a combination of the high altitude and smog that did me in. Another sleepless night...



Wednesday - May 27th:
Again Tesfu picked us up early after breakfast and we headed off to meet the other families at the House of Hope, the HOH where the kids are! YAY! I was so excited. I had 9 kids to take pics of and one very special little guy to meet. Teseguy's assistant walked around with us to help me find the babies I needed to take pics of. There was room after room of babies. Each tiny room was lined with cribs and there was just enough room for the nannies to walk through the middle. It was REALLY crowded once we were all in there trying to play with the babies and take pics. It was kind of a weird situation. The nannies were very nervous around the cameras and did not want anyone picking up the babies. Plus we were really rushed about making it difficult to spend adequate time with each baby and take good pics. Every single baby stole my heart, they were all so beautiful and I wish I had known which family each child belonged to. I loved to make them smile, touch their hair, and hold their little hands. It was just such a beautiful day and an experience like no other. I only wish I had more time... We came to one tiny room and I recognized "The Adams twins". I knew Nathan had been in the same room as them, it hit me! This is Nathan's room, this is his bed, OMG this is HIS nanny. I turned to face her and realized she was crying. She took "Naty" and hugged him tight trying to hide her face to keep me from seeing her cry. I hugged her and thanked her, I am not sure how much she understood. I just bawled, Nick was tearing up; it was such a difficult and emotional time. I knew how much she loved him and knew her heart was breaking, my heart was breaking for her. It makes me cry now just thinking about that day and his beautiful nanny. I wish I had learned more Amharic so I could have thanked her properly.



Minutes later we were rushed on to the next room as I tried my best meet the remaining babies while wiping tears off my face. As soon as we got back in the van I started bawling again and just could not stop. We went back to the HOH guesthouse, quickly ate lunch, and changed clothes for our Visa appt.
I felt like a zombie while driving to the Embassy. I was emotionally and physically drained and still felt nauseous. I was afraid I would either pass out or throw up. The U.S. Embassy was scary. You can not take any pictures even close to the embassy and go through several security checkpoints before being allowed in. Everyone is squished into a hot room and you wait for your name to be called. The room was filled to the rim with adopting families. It was neat to see all the precious children and meet the other families from the U.S. Finally it was our turn. A really mean white American lady interviewed us at a bank teller type window. We almost screwed up one question and when she asked about the birth parents I told her that he was found abandoned in Sebeta, she freaked out and acted like she had never heard of Sebeta. She even kept Teseguy after our appt to question him more about it. Later I looked at the very documents that lady had handed me which included his birth certificate and all official court documents. Guess what all of those documents said his place of birth is? Sebeta!!! What an idiot... I think she just wanted to be mean. BTW, Sebeta is a small city south-west of Addis Ababa in the Oromia region. By the time we made it out of there my stress level was at an all time high. We got in the van and everyone was so quiet. That mean lady had given each of us a problem of some sort, but we all passed, that was what mattered most. We could now breath a sigh of relief and prepare for our trip home. While waiting in the van a few young boys, street children I am sure, approached the van excited to see us. One boy came to the open window and was blowing kisses at Elias and waving goodbye, it was such a beautiful thing to see and it made me tear up. I will never forget that young boy, who had nothing but the tattered clothing he was wearing and was covered in sand from head to toe, blowing kisses to that baby through the window. That is an image that will forever be sketched into my mind and my heart. We returned back to the HOH guesthouse for dinner and then back to our own guesthouse. This was the end of a VERY exhausting day!



More to come, Nathan is awake and it is lunch time! :)

6 comments:

Missy said...

The details in your updates make me soo excited for our trip!!! Just need our referral first...LOL!!

Brad and Fran Hoagland said...

I really appreciate the way you describe things realistically. You were emotionally touched many times, and other times scared encountering rude mean people. Theres the beautiful gardens at the lion zoo, and the stinky polluted air that makes you nauseous. It is really preparing me for our trip. Cannot wait to read more.

Meg DeZutti said...

WONDERFUL details. And keep those Nathan pictures comin'...he is a dream!

courtney rose said...

Thank you so much for putting all this down. It's really a beautiful journal- really and truly.

Roxanne Sonnenschein said...

Thanks so much for the detailed accounts of your trip. It is preparing me .. even though the wait for a court date is excruciating!!!! I especially liked how you mentioned having to meet a 'very special little guy'!!! Thanks so much for everything Sherry. You are truly a special person in our adoption journey! -Roxanne

Roxanne Sonnenschein said...

Wow .... reading your post from a year ago, still brings tears to my eyes ... all tears of joy!!! That 'special little guy' is THRIVING and loving life to the fullest!!!!!!!! Thanks so much Sherry!