April 28, 2008

Our Kids

Today we met our kids! First, we had to endure the morning. The day is set up so that we spend the morning shopping, eat lunch as a group, THEN get to meet our children. It’s almost like torture!

We spent the morning at a shopping area--open storefronts with aggressive salespeople trying to convince you to purchase an Ethiopian souvenir from them. After passing the store, some of the more aggressive sellers might even trail after you with a particularly delightful item offering a lower price with each step you take. Seth and I did a bit of damage there—we successfully purchased traditional Ethiopian outfits for each of our children and other gifts for our family. I hope to buy enough to give both Josiah and Salomae gifts on their gotcha day each year until they are 18. That would require more gift buying than I think I’m authorized by the money carrier (aka Seth). We did pretty well. Seth is a haggler, and I personally think he borders on lunacy with his haggling. Even if you didn’t try to barter, the prices are so low to us, we would be getting a ‘good deal’.

After lunch at the Garden Paradise, we drove to the transition home. Every parent seemed to be a bundle of nervous energy. I was terrified that Fetya would freak out when she saw us. Or be disappointed. Or cry. Or run away. Or…insert ridiculous worrisome thought here. We videoed the trip down the road to the famous green doors at the transition home. I fully expected Fetya to meet the van at the gate. The Heinrich’s daughter, Selam, ran ONTO the bus when the gate opened. She threw her arms around Alice and hugged her. We looked outside, loads of big kids, but no Fetya. We walked into the home’s complex and still no Fetya. Finally, Rachel went inside the home and found her. She came out and I started bawling. She was saying, “Mommy, Daddy!” She was in my arms and reached out to touch Seth’s face. Me? Still bawling. She’s smaller than we imagined—but looks like she eats well (if you catch my drift). Fortuna, the nurse at the home, said that last night Fetya kept asking where her Mommy was. She pestered Fortuna and became so upset that Fortuna decided to “call Fetya’s Mommy”. She called the house phone from her cell phone. When the nanny answered, she pretended to be me and told Fetya that “I will be there tomorrow. I will come to see you tomorrow.” I guess that worked, until this morning when the pestering started anew. She was SO excited to see us. She mixed us up a little, calling me ‘daddy’ and Seth ‘Mommy’.

After Fetya came out, Yohannes’ nanny (each baby has a special nanny in charge of them) brought him out. I bawled…again. She didn’t pass him off immediately, I was holding Fetya, so Seth timidly put his hands out for him. He’s precious! The nannies had ‘fixed’ his hair so the curls on top all flipped the same direction from the middle of his head—a God given Mohawk! He seemed pretty uncertain at first, puckering his forehead and pursing his lips. By the end of the afternoon, he was laughing at us—though still prefers his nanny. They were visibly upset when we arrived, since they have taken such care with these children for so long. I held Yohannes and pretty soon he just fell asleep on my shoulder.

We played and played with the older kids. I took pictures and videos—as much as I could manage with interruptions. If you are an AWAA family with a referral, please leave me a comment (if you haven’t already told me) giving us permission to take pictures of your kiddo. Tomorrow Jill and I are going to get busy with photos for everyone who is waiting…in an organized fashion. I have clips of this baby or that child (I even videoed some of the nannies’ children by mistake!) and aren’t sure who they match up with. I promise we will get it all straight tomorrow!

When Fetya had enough of the bubbles, bouncy balls, balloons, and play dough (all a huge hit with all of the kids), she pulled me over to the big green gate and opened it. Then she gibbered off something in Amharic, obviously intending for me to take her to the van and GO. When Fortuna explained that she wasn’t leaving today, she went into panic mode. This girl has been SPOILED. She climbed into my arms and didn’t want to get down. I think she was hoping I’d forget that I was holding her and just leave! My knack for putting kids to sleep worked on her too, she went limp about 10 minutes afterwards. I laid her down and realized that my arms are going to be in pain after this week. Yohannes has got to be the biggest baby at the home—he can’t fit into the clothes I sent last month!

I’m going to try to download the video from this afternoon. Neither the Coen’s, nor us have capabilities to download photos onto our blogs. When I blew up the camera charger, I blew up our only chance to download photos. We are taking plenty of pictures, but just can’t post them until we get home. Frustrating, I know. BUT I hope that this video will work.

Tomorrow we are going to bring the kids home. Fetya is an absolute hurricane of energy and this hotel room is going to get small very fast. Yohannes seems to be a very easy going baby. I’m nervous but so excited to finally have the kids with US. Thank you for your prayers—this experience has been amazing this far.


HawkOsky said...

I've been checking the computer all day in anticipation of this post. So good to hear things went well. Not surprised at Seth's bartering ability or your waterworks. Soak it all in. Our week in Ethiopia was one of the best of our lives!

Too bad about the camera. Does your video camera take still pictures? Some do. If so, the download to your laptop should be pretty simple.

Jori said...

So HAPPY for you!!!! YAE!! She came running to you; God is so GOOD!! CONGRATS on this wonderful beginning!!! :)
Blessings, Jori
WFR 02/19 either x2

Sherry said...

We're so excited for you. I was soaking in every word! We will continue to pray for good health and a smooth transition in the coming days.

Sherry Semlow

K.P. said...

You have my permission to find my baby if they will let you. We are not "official" yet, but were told "early" this week. Tomorrow is Tuesday, so that ends "early" for me. Maybe you will know something before I do.

Love the stories. You tell them so well. Thanks for taking the time to share with those of us living through you this week! Praising God for you and your beautiful family!

I hope the rest of the week is happy and healthy and smooth.

Kathleen Moles

Andrea said...

Oh my, beautiful! I was HANGING on every word. I love the unfolding of Fetya meeting you and wanting to leave with you. We are praying for you and are so thankful for you video-ing everything in sight, can't wait to see.....even the nannies children, that made me laugh so hard. I can't wait to see your children with you and hear of your transition.


Danica said...

guys, I'm so glad everything is going great. What an awesome experience! I got all goosebumby when I was reading about Fetya being so excited and eager to love on her new mommy and daddy. I know that had to have been a great feeling for everyone. I can't wait for you guys to be home but enjoy your week there with the little ones. I love you guys!

small world said...

We have not received our "official" referral yet, but we are waiting for two of those
kids...a 17 month old baby boy and a 9 year old little girl!!! I can't stand it!!! Please, Please take some pictures if you can!We thought maybe today would be the day.Duni had said 3-4 weeks until our referral came and it has now been 4 and a half! We are praying for tommorrow. Thank you so much for your beautiful post!
Theresa WFR(impatiently)

Vicki P. said...

Oh Apryl, Thank You so much for taking time to share your day with us! Naturally began laughing, wondering how you haggle with people who dont' speak English ... or maybe they know enough English to haggle? But when I read about your coming to the Home and meeting your daughter, then your son . . well, I'm still crying!! What a special memory and I feel humbled that you shared it! "Lord, thank you so much for such a loving couple, willing to open their hearts to these two children. Thank You for allowing them the blessing to raise them under Your supervision. God they are such God-fearing parents, seeking You always. May they always continue in that path and may these children come to know You personally at an early age. Thank you so much for preparing Fetya's heart for Apryl and Seth. Thank You for their meeting being one that is always going to be a sweet memory of love and union. Please, God, be with the nannies today as they say goodbye to "their kids". Comfort them. Lord remind them what an awesome job they're doing . . help them feel the pride and joy that comes from a job well done. Soften the hearts of those that come in contact with the books of John and Romans. Lord, speak through Your word to the souls of those that read it. Thank You for the miracle of adoption and for the means to adopt. God be with the Harbaugh's and the other families as they finish their journey. God use the Harbaugh's to be a witness to other adopting families. May the rest of this week be as special as yesterday. Be with the kids and grandma and grandpa as they await the reunion of their family. Keep 'em safe and help their time to be special, too. In Jesus' name, Amen." Guys, we love you, and we're praying fervently for you to have a great time and get back here safe!!!

Rara and Papop said...

To Mommy and Daddy,
From Ev: It's cool that you got to see the kids yesterday.
From Eli: i like it when you said Fetya was a bundle of energy.
From Ella: I love my brother and sister comin.
XOXOXOXO From us all
We LOVE you all!

Zack & Rebecca Caldwell said...

I loved reading this post- how precious your children are! Can't wait to hear more!

Rob & Candy said...

I am weeping... thank you for sharing with us.

shawn and tisha said...

Your kids sound wonderful!!! I'm so excited for you guys!

Thanks for sharing with all of us and being willing to take pictures for the referral families! :) I sent an email saying that I would love some pictures of our little guy. I hope you got it. :)


Penny Smith said...

WOW!! How wonderful!!

You don't have a card reader in your laptop? Or a cardreader attached through the USB? Hmmm... there aren't any Wal-marts there?? :) Just teasing!

I am SO bummed-No pictures-WHAT!! :)

Thank you for sharing your story! I am so in awe of your faithfulness!

Team Dragovich said...

This is all too exciting! I'm soaking in every word!!

Carpenters said...

Thank you so much for sharing your special day! How precious that Salomae didn't want you to leave without her. I can't wait to see Josiah's Mohawk. I agree with Tracy, enjoy the week!

With Love,

Cindy Foote said...

Thank you for all the details! You children are AMAZING!! So happy for you.
Blessings - The Footes
(fellow AWAA/ET family)