May 25, 2010

Ethiopia Day 1 - Meeting Nathan!

Over the next week I will recap the events of our week in Ethiopia. Since I never finished my blog journal after we got home my plan is to do it now.

As we circled over Addis Ababa I could not help but get all choked up looking out the window, knowing Nathan was out there somewhere. We were there!!! We were in Ethiopia!!! I was pretty nervous going through the airport. I knew little Amharic and was armed with my translation book. We made it through the process of getting our visa and exchanged money. When we entered the room to get our luggage it was very crowded and busy! The owner of the guest house we were staying at was going to be there to pick us up, I had only corresponded with him through email and had no clue what he looked like. As we walked out people flocked to us and thankfully we quickly found Zeyede's smiling face holding a sign with our name on it. He took our luggage to his van and we were off. Driving through the streets of Addis is quite an experience. There is no method to the madness. Cars and people are everywhere! There are goats in the medians, donkeys walking down the road, everyone honking and yelling. People walk so close to vehicles as they cross the street and you think for sure they will get run over. It makes New York traffic look like a piece of cake in comparison.

The guesthouse was nice and the staff was amazing! It was a large house surrounded by a huge gated wall and barbed wire. Sounds odd right? That is standard in Ethiopia. UN officials were staying at the house next door and there were several armed guards at all times. Our room was small with a balcony overlooking the garden area and quiet little dirt road. We walked with Zeyede to a small shop and he treated us to a cup of Ethiopian coffee YUM! We LOVE Zeyede! He owns and operates the guest house as well as a touring service and made the BEST honey ever. We received a call that our driver from the House of Hope would be picking us up soon to go meet Nathan! We freshened up and before we knew it a little red car pulled up at the gates.

I am so nervous...just didn't know what to expect. We pull into the gates of the House of Hope. It is an amazing sight! Rows of childrens clothing and cloth diapers are strung up to dry. Everyone is peering over the balcony and through the windows at us. We are led into the office where we meet Teseguy, the director. We speak to him briefly and he tells us his wife has gone to get Nathan ready for us! Right Now?!?!? Suddenly she walks in the door and everything becomes a blur. Nick grabs the camera and thinks he is tapping but he forgot to push record... I try to push back the tears as I hold him, cuddle him, and check him out from head to toe. AMAZING! He is plump, healthy, and breath taking beautiful! A few minutes after Nathan was placed in my arms we were handed a bottle, brief feeding instructions, and back in the car we went. That was IT?!?! Like, I don't need to sign him out or something? We were taken to the guest house part of the HOH and given a room to relax in and spend some time with Nathan. I had worried about him possibly crying, being scared of us, or how well he would bond to me but God's hand was surely at work. He went to us willingly and bonded almost immediately. Not long after we settled into the room he fell asleep in Nick's arms. So sweet! It was like Nathan had been waiting on us and we were finally there and he was exhausted and at peace. He knew that was were he belonged. We ate dinner with another family that had arrived earlier in the day and then headed back to our guesthouse. Once in the room I changed Nathans clothes and finally got a good look at him. His cute personality really came out then as he cooed, smiled, and stretched out on the bed. By this point we had not slept or showered in days. Unfortunately we got very little sleep that night. Every move Nathan made I was jumping up; trying to figure out his schedule and getting to know his signs and what he needed when. You would think Addis would be quiet at night, wrong. There was a night club down the street that played loud music ALL night EVERY night. There were people moving about the guesthouse at all hours making loud noises. UGGGG Now I knew why people recommended we pack ear plugs!

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