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.