This is a list of What He Knew Versus What He Has Learned. It is fun to read this list. Sweet memories are invaluable. Ethiopia holds a special place in our hearts. Yet, having him home is the best feeling ever.
Dhera Part 2. The next place, we stopped at, was an older lady. I’m not sure if she lived alone, or not, but she was GORGEOUS! You could see the story of her life in her face. I wish I had a picture that would do her justice, but nothing could do her justice.
Dhera Part 1 Tuesday, December 5
This is a day that I will NEVER forget. I have put off blogging about this because it was a very personal journey for me. One that is etched in my heart and mind, forever. The images, the people…beauty and sadness wrapped up into one.
We were greeted, by Abinet, first thing in the morning. Such a sweet way to wake up. We got up, got dressed and headed down to breakfast. Abinet had another drs appt, for his physical…the day prior was just for his TB skin test. We knew he would be gone, all day, so we didn’t hesitate to say yes to Betty in taking us to Dhera.
Sunday, December 3. This is a summer of Day 3 and Day 4 in Ethiopia. This day was spent playing with the kids. Also, holding precious babies, eating delicious food, napping, and getting to know our sweet sweet son. Other than just being with my son, the highlight was seeing Betty, Dagim, Yodahe, Hermon, and Bealem. I missed Betty so very badly was thrilled to see her and the children. Honestly, she was Abinet’s mommy for 13 mths. Dagim came and played with him, often. I am forever grateful for them and for their love and support.
We come down to breakfast and find Abinet peaking in the door. Thankfully, Woudneh is there, as well. However, we had to leave early. The embassy is on the other side of the city. Also, with the 10,000 extra people, traffic was horrible.
We ate breakfast and gave Abinet some juice and some toast. Woudneh wanted to know if we had confirmation from Embassy and we didn’t. All we had was their intention to see us. There was not a solidified time :/ Woudneh made some calls and he said that it should be okay if it isn’t, then to have them call Woudneh. Panic. We didn’t have confirmation and Woudneh would not be going with us. However, he was sending one of his workers…whom we had never met :/
To ease my nerves, sweet Betty came. I just love her. We piled up in the van with Ashu, a wonderful driver (I’m sure I butchered the spelling of his name). Betty asked if we had bags, in case of vomit. Uhm, my thought was heck no…I don’t do vomit. Panic, again. She got us a couple of bags and sent us on our way. Abinet was not thrilled about the seatbelt and the I was thrilled about the knowledge that he hadn’t been in a vehicle in over a year and had just eaten.
Traffic was beyond horrible and the fumes are hard. I kept the window open and eventually. He kept pulling at his seatbelt and looking at me to save him. I told Big Daddy that I felt he was fixing to puke and before we could get the bag open, projectile…..out and all over him. We stopped, to pick up Abenezer, just as I was dry heaving to myself.
I kept my head turned and tried to pull out my supply of wipes and toilet paper. *note to self: toilet paper sticks to vomity clothes, don’t do that again.* We set off again, and luckily, the embassy wasn’t too far from Woudneh’s office. I was kicking myself at A)not holding the bag tight enough and B) not bringing him some extra clothes. Ashu said not to worry, that he would clean it all up. He was amazing.
We got to the embassy and wiped off the chunks. The wind was blowing, a bit, so I know that Abinet was cool. We got in, no trouble and waiting for our number to be called. It was number 400. The sign was on number 143 :/ Big Daddy took Abinet to the bathroom and to attempt to clean him up.
We weren’t sure where our interview would be held…at the window or behind closed doors. We sat by a play area and Abinet was perked up enough to go and play. Abenezer was called up to the front and when he came back he said there was a problem…that Abinet’s medical had expired and that they could not issue his visa until that was done.
They finally called us up, explained the situation and said that we needed to get him into the office, today. He had to have a TB skin test and that takes 48-72 hrs to process and we were leaving on Thursday.
She asked us a few questions and then she shared what the interview contained with Abinet’s birth mom, Tadelech. It hurts my heart. Her sacrifice and where she and the other children might be today. We are shown his passport and then told that we couldn’t have anything else until after his medical.
We head out, feeling anxious and relieved, all at the same time. On the side of the road, we stopped. A lovely woman came up to take Abinet to the office, with Abenezer and they were heading to the clinic. We couldn’t go with him, so Ashu took us back to the transition house.
and then we took a nap. We ate lunch, loved on the other children and attempted to skype and email. We didn’t leave the transition house other than for Big Daddy and the Bambricks who walked down to a market to get some bottled water.
Abinet didn’t return until about 4:30p, so he had had a long long day. We immediately took him upstairs and cleaned him up and changed his pants. Let’s just say, he didn’t want to wear the puke pants (understandably) and he didn’t want to wear the pants that he had on, from the transition house. He wanted a new clean pair of pants.
Big Daddy wasn’t back, yet, so I had to deal with a serious meltdown over these pants. I didn’t have enough for the rest of the week and the pants that he had had on were clean. He fought me and threw himself on the floor. Then, he walked around with his pants half on and half off. He is a strong little sucker and he was not happy. Lots and lots of big tears. He was exhausted and it showed.
This was of him trying to get his pants off. He wouldn’t let me take any other pics…he kept turning his head. Finally, Big Daddy got back and I informed him that “his son” was having a moment and he needed to deal with it. This is how that played out:
Saturday, December 3. Day 2 Ethiopia
We began circling Bole, ET. My heart rate was up and nerves were kicking in. Would he remember me? Would he be frightened? What was I walking into? The not so nice seat lady was trying to be encouraging.
We got off the plane and we blew through immigration and found our bags. So thankful that they made it…relief. We move through the crowd of people waiting for their loved ones and we realize that our Woudneh, wasn’t there. We couldn’t find him. Panic didn’t even have a chance to ensue because when we looked up, there he was! So very excited to see our friend. Abinet looked wonderful and his smile is that of a happy man, who loves his job.
He told us that George W was in town. Also, there were about 10,000 extra people. So the motels were booked, restaurants were booked, and traffic was way worse. The police were everywhere, as well as, military people. He was right. We saw more police officers than ever. I think, the last trip, we saw 1 officer. There were a few military people surrounding the local park. This time, they were everywhere. They were carrying big guns. The traffic was atrocious. That part, I totally didn’t miss.
Woudneh said that Abinet was excited, but that he was still unsure if Woudneh was telling the truth. He told us to be sure and give us our cameras, so he could take pictures/video.
West Sands Transition house isn’t that far from Bole. We turned the corner and the gates opened. There as a guest house and behind was where the kids stay. There were no children…anywhere. Quite different from the orphanage where they are everywhere and climbing all over you, as soon as you pull in.
I look to my right and see the nannies walking out of a room in the transition house. They had Abinet, in hand, walking with them. He was wearing white pants, shoes, Oxford and pullover vest. He was carrying a bouquet of fresh flowers. His smile was all over his face and I heard Woudneh say “don’t get out yet”. I heard him, but didn’t listen 🙂 I jumped out and sat on the ground. Abinet ran to my arms and joy…I can’t even express the joy that I felt. I thanked the nurses/nannies but I couldn’t keep my eyes off of him. He was beautiful.
We, eventually, went into the transition and explored the items that we brought. He was so tickled to see the toys and the coloring book, but his favorite was the zhu zhu pet. He really liked that. We sat down to eat breakfast, which was delicious. It was a veggie omelet, toast and fresh bread. He thoroughly enjoyed trying on every.single.item of clothing and then having us try on our clothes LOL
We went outside and commenced to play. Lots of playing. He played football with his friend Meron, while I took pictures. I also had the pleasure of loving on Habtamu, Meseka, and Selam. They are a group of 3 yr olds. So stinkin’ cute. We also met another family, the Bambrick’s. They have adopted 2 9 mth old kids, a boy, and a girl and were awaiting clearance to travel home from the embassy. They were beginning their second week in ET. It was nice to get to know them and their children.
We helped the kiddoes get ready for lunch and sat with them while eating their injera and red sauce. Meron (12) was a HUGE help with Selam (the nanny). Abinet said the prayer and it was precious. I have no idea what he said, but he did and it blessed my heart to know that they are teaching the children about the love of God and how to be thankful, for even the smallest things. Our lunch was amazingly good. Such good cooks, at the transition house. After lunch, is nap….which Big Daddy and I indulged in, as well. Earplugs and Ambien make for a lovely nap.
After a nap, was more playtime and getting to know our son. We are blessed to have a comedian, sportsman, and an eater LOL We enjoyed meeting the nannies, holding some babies and playing with our son. The only thing that could’ve made this day better, was if my other 5 kiddos could’ve been there.
Friday, December 2. Filled with anticipation, excitement, a bit o vomit, and some diarrhea. Got our bags packed, checked and rechecked. Everything ready. Still, no firm confirmation for our appt with Embassy. I had a list of things for Big Daddy to do. He didn’t do most of what was on my list, but he did manage to go to Walmart, so for that, I was thankful.
About 12, my friend came to pick up my 3 Littles. I had asked her to stay, for a while, because my sanity was at risk, therefore the children were at risk, as was Big Daddy’s person. I think I had hit an all-time psychotic moment when she got here. My saving grace, at the moment. Luckily, she didn’t mind staying and when Big Daddy called for the 413th time, he was pleased to hear that she was able to stick around and wait for him.
He finally gets home and my only request was for the downstairs toilet to be fixed. I didn’t want to have to worry about it and I didn’t want our house guests to not be able to flush. He said that he had it covered and that a friend would fix it. Uhm, that doesn’t fly with me. I don’t want to depend on others to fix something I had asked him to fix. My stress level must’ve been really evident because he said that it shouldn’t take long and he’ll get it done. Praise God.
While he was trying to hurry with that, our ride pulled up. So, a friend here to get Littles, big girls still here because another friend wasn’t home for them to go to her house, the ride was here, the toilet was screwed up, the phone was ringing. My head was pounding.
“Ride” friend was gracious enough to help with the toilet. Littles left with a girlfriend. Big girls helped haul stuff downstairs and had talked to another friend about when she would be home. We were ready. The car was loaded up….goodbyes were said. Tears were shed.
Off we go. We stopped at Clarksville, at the Hobby Lobby to pick up the one request that my Betty had asked for us to bring to ET. Amazingly enough, we had time, Steve was willing to stop, we completed that task. We were headed off, again, to the Nashville. It was a completely uneventful trip. We got to the airport and got in and out of security with no problems (other than the fingernail polish remover that got confiscated).
So, we sit, we make phone calls, send texts and wait. The plane ride was straight through, no stopping in Rome. We sat in the center of the plane, next to a strange woman, who wasn’t the friendliest person, ever. She did, however, get more friendly when I offered her an Ambien to help her sleep 🙂 I slept some, not a lot. It is hard to sleep when there is nothing to rest your head-on. Big Daddy stayed awake the whole time. Bless his heart.
A really good thing was the fact that we had a large selection of movies (adults and kids) and games on a front screen. That helped tremendously. It was quite warm, on the plane, but the food was decent.
Blogging from Ethiopia. We made it! A long, smelly flight….fumes…..traffic jams……then…..perfection. We pulled into the transition home, there was no one in sight. I looked up and here comes my boy. Dressed in his finest, holding the hand of a beloved nanny and in the other hand a bouquet of flowers.
The only way it could’ve been better was if the rest of the children were here. In time, we will all be together and our new normal will begin.
He walked up to me with this grin across his face that, I swear, was brighter than the sun. Thanks to the Son for making this all happen. To Him be all the glory and the praise. We loved, I cried, we hugged, then he noticed Big Daddy and went to him. It was beautiful. Woudneh got it all on the camcorder and took pictures of us. I have been told by many nannies that they will be so sad to see him go, but are so thankful that we have come for him. He has been a stable here, in the Transition home…he was the first child to “break in” the new place.
We have played, hard. We have tried EVERYTHING on in our suitcase. Lotion exploded, that brought him joy and he lotioned himself up. We’ve played with toys and for now, the zhu zhu is the favorite.
Embassy went…well…I’ll blog about that later….for now, I will go love on the kids that are here and wait for my boy to get back from the doctor.
Vicki…totally blogged…be proud of me!
Love to all my kids holding down the fort and all my family and friends who are helping and praying for us.
Blessings to you all!
Here I am, Preparing for Rain. Although it is clear that we aren’t traveling on Friday. I am confident that we will be traveling in a week 🙂
In an effort to keep my sanity, I’m nesting. I’ve cleaned the whole house, twice and I’m sure to clean it lots more before we actually leave because…well…I have kids and they are messy. I mean *really* messy. Even when they are clean and not here, they still, somehow/someway make a mess.
I have been cooking. Some for tomorrow, since we are hosting Thanksgiving but most for the weeks to come when I may not have any brain cells left after Abinet comes home. I haven’t done a 1/3 of what I want to do, but I have a wonderful start.
His bed is partly up. His clothes are hung, but we are unsure of his size. It is a process.
Tomorrow marks the birth of my first child….she is a beauty and I adore her. She will be 16. Sweet 16. The age of dating, the age of driving, the age of getting small jobs…..16….where has the time gone? Her gifts are bought, the tears are being held at bay and I sit in awe of the wonderful young woman that she has become. She loves to read, knit, crochet, sign, sing, be goofy. She is self-taught in all those areas, including piano.
She was late in everything that she did…she was 9 days late in coming into this world. Amazingly enough, she didn’t crawl until she was a year old and didn’t walk until she was 14 mths old. Finally, she cut her first tooth at 13 mths old. She is always a day late and a dollar short. However, she did learn the alphabet by the time she was 15 mths old. Also, she was able to spell her name. She was reading books by the time she was 3 and she hasn’t stopped. Her heart is HUGE. She has a passion for missions and making God known to all who will listen to her. She is big into Looney Tunes, Little House on the Praire and most recently the Mummy movies LOL
The day she was born, was the day I learned what true and unconditional love was…..I’m blessed to be her mom and I’m excited to see what the future holds for my precious precious girl. Tomorrow, I will post a picture of her…………..then you can all sit in awe of the gorgeousness that I get to call my own 🙂
Blessings while I still am Preparing for Rain.
What a WHIRLWIND! HE IS COMING HOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Praise be to God. We are so thankful that He has opened our eyes, our hearts and our minds to adopt.
Yesterday, I got a call at 9:15 am and it was immigration. They said that they received our addendum, they received the mother’s birth letter (blessings and prayers for her) and they received PART of my income verification, but not the one part that they need. Ugh.
I jumped up, told her I was on it. When I called, I was blessed to speak with the same person I’d been speaking to for the last few days. It was then that I explained, again, the situation. She transferred me to her supervisor. Her supervisor was on it like white on rice. It was sent.
Got another call from immigration stating that the documents that were in hand were too faded to read. She asked if we had the originals…which we don’t. I told her that I was on it. I called my agency, Sheila called her right-hand person (Angela)…and Angela worked her magic. Made all the documents bright and shiny, rescanned them and we got them sent to immigration.
I called immigration to confirm that everything was sent and I actually spoke to my officer (which is not so easy a task). She has been WONDERFUL with our case and our family. I asked her if everything was received and she said: “yes, your packet is done.” I just kind of sat there and said: “what packet, I don’t understand.”
She stated that it was our APPROVAL packet and that we were approved. I just sat there, then I balled…it was loud and really really ugly. All I could say was THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU. She was pretty pitiful too. She kept saying “Oh, Brandi, please don’t cry….please don’t cry, your son is coming home, please don’t cry.” I couldn’t get out any more words other than “must go to husband.”
I wanted to be so coy about the whole thing and attempt to not let the girls know till I told Big Daddy first. well, that plan went out the window. I stood at the top of the stairs…screaming for them. They blow up there asking what is wrong and I screamed WE ARE APPROVED…there was lots of yelling, crying, praising Jesus and hugging going on.
My next thought was “he needs undies and socks…we have none.” It is amazing what can go through a person’s mind. I told them to get dressed, we were going to daddy. That drive took FOREVER. We finally got there (no coat and flip-flops for one girl; no socks or teeth brushed for another girl; and I looked like I had been run over by a train). I got into HR and asked to see Big Daddy. The girl behind the desk said “this must be an emergency….you look really upset” LOL She even escorted me to a conference room. Big Daddy walked in ….. I told him…..it was beautiful.
We have a tentative flight schedule, tentative keep the kids’ schedule and Big Daddy bought my boy some undies and socks 😉
Yesterday’s verse of the day. This verse has filtered throughout the last 13 mths. It was first told to me by a precious lady in my Wednesday group. She would say over and over that what God brought me too…He will be faithful to bring me through. The night before we got approval…another wonderful friend emailed me stating the same thing. Before approval, I went to post something and that was my verse. I knew yesterday would be the day for a miracle.
God has changed me. He has begun the healing in our family. Also, He has revealed that shortcuts are not His will. Then, I need to be patient and wait on Him rather than try and control the situation. Finally, He has revealed to me that all things come together for His good. He is good.
Arise for Children and Lifeline for advocating and pushing. Woudneh…Betty….there are no words for the feelings I have in my heart for you two. Thank you for loving on my boy while we have fought. To all who have prayed, financially supported, encouraged and loved us while we cried…..I’m forever grateful.
God is good.…now off to pack.