Monday, August 31, 2009
Thursday, August 20, 2009
At the Goodbye Ceremony, the nannies brought the children in wearing traditional clothes. The nannies also wore traditional clothing. The families circled the nannies, while they prayed in Amharic. It was a sad feeling to then be taking the children from the nannies who had obviously shown them so much love & affection. Handprints were made of each child for rememberance. Next was the cake cutting. By tradition, the 2 oldest children cut the cake. There were a lot of tears.
We returned with the kids to the guest house for lunch. After lunch, we loaded ino the "Magic Bus" for the trip to the Embassy for the children's US Immigrant Visas. While time consuming, the process was fairly smooth. The rest of the day, we spent time relaxing with OUR kids.
I will have to see if there are any pictures from the Goodbye Ceremony I can copy and paste here. We were not able to take any, as cameras are not allowed in the Care Center. Cameras/Electronics are also not allowed at the Embassy.
Tired mom giving Sid his bedtime bottle:
Sunday, August 16, 2009
While this trip is to pick up our children, it is also about learning about their history, Ethiopian culture & lifestyle. The afternoon was spent on a shopping outing. We went to an open air market. It was quite crowded, the people in the shops were trying to get passers by to shop in their store, and people would approach you trying to sell various items. Adults with things like maps & sunglasses, children selling packs of gum & tissues. While it is expected to barter a bit at these shops, I always find that a difficult task when I feel so blessed. It was a very interesting experience. A little intimidating, too. Below are pictures from the Merkado, the largest market in Africa. This is NOT where we shopped, but they took us through so we could see it.
Saturday, August 15, 2009
We roamed the guest house driveway and terrace momentarily, wondering which door of which building would lead to the dining room (building B, the long stairway, FYI). I was really excited to see that they were serving pancakes for breakfast, because I thought that Micheal would like that. Sadly, he was still in that "settling in" mode, and didn't eat much.
After breakfast, we boarded the bus to head to the CHS Office. There, we climbed the stairs to the 4th floor (numbering: Ground, 1, 2, ...) for the beginning of our orientation. It was short, but seemed long as we were waiting to meet our children.
We then headed over to meet the kids. All families waited nervously for their child's name to be called. When they called Sidamo's name, we followed the Social Worker & the camera man up the stairs to his room. I am sure I started crying on the first step, and I was nervously trying to keep the provided slip on shoes from falling off my feet.
We walked into Sid's room, and one of the nannies handed him to Pete (I think I was trying to set Michael down). Pete handed Sid to me. It was a wonderful moment. Sid is such a content baby, and while obviously concerned, he did not cry or push us away. We posed for the agency photgraphers to snap some photos (we are not allowed to bring cameras to the care center), then we were able to take Sid downstairs to the common room to play. The common room was scattered with parents anxiously waiting to meet their little ones, and other families just united for the first time.
After playing, we took Sid back to his room for lunch. We got to help feed him the very first day! After feeding Sid, it was time for us to go back to the guest house for lunch. The rest of the day was filled with more orientation, then more precious time with our beautiful Sid.
We arrived at the Guest House around 11 pm. Ato Girma pointed us in the general direction of our assigned rooms, and the families all headed off to get settled in. We went to our assigned room, A6. The room is tan, and dimly lit. Outside is cool and damp, and so is our room. There are thick, warm blankets on the bed, as well as a traditional looking Ethiopian bedspread. The following description of the room is primarily for the benefit of future travellers. This room has a private entry. There are slide on shoes provided in the room. It is a large room with a double bed (what we would call a queen bed in the US), a single bed, and a crib in the corner. There are 3 locking cabinets. There is plenty of space to lay out all of your suitcases. There is a private bathroom. The floor is pretty much always damp feeling in the rainy season. The shower has an on demand water heater, there is no hot water for the sink. Also, there is no shower curtain--there is a hand held sprayer, so you can hold it and spray yourself (helps to keep the water from getting all over the bathroom). Sleeping was difficult the first night, and we had to get up at 6 am on Friday morning.
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Next up: 24 hours of travel with the busiest baby we have ever seen (or, How do you do a 2 person diaper change in an airplane lavatory?).....
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Sunday, August 9, 2009
We made it to Ethiopia safe and sound. We got to spend quite a bit of time with Sidamo Friday. He is doing great! He is crawling, and starting to "cruise". It is obvious the nannies all love him very much!
Michael is doing great, too. He was sad that we couldn't bring Sid back with us on the very first day. He keeps saying, I love my baby brother. What a sweetheart.
Today we went to Hosanna. It was a long and emotional trip. Much more to share, but right now, I have to share this computer!
Love to all,
Paula, Pete, & Michael