Monday, January 31, 2011

Trip 1 - Day 4 Court

It will be 2 weeks ago tomorrow that we attended our first court date.  We got up that morning thinking that we would spend the morning at Hannah's Hope and then attend court in the afternoon, but also realizing after what happened with the families the day before, our court time might change.  We went downstairs to wait for our ride and soon found out that, yes, our court time was changed and we would be going straight there in the morning.  I was nervous only because I wasn't sure what to expect.  I didn't have any fear of "not passing".  The traffic in Ethiopia is something I've never experienced!  It seems like there are no "rules of the road" and it's just "survival of the fittest".  I'm so glad I wasn't driving.  It's incredible to me that there are not more accidents, but all went well and we arrived for our court appointment safely and on time. 

We walked up four flights of stairs to a waiting room, filled with people, sitting and standing along the four walls and spilling into the center as all the wall space was filled.  There we waited and waited some more as some people were called to another room and then would leave after 5 - 10 minutes.  Waiting....can you believe it?  That seems to have become the theme word for this whole process.  We were finally called...and not just B and me, but our whole group at one time...six families.  We entered a small room with the judge sitting at her desk at the opposite end of the room.  She went through a series of about five yes or no questions to which we all answered at the same time and that was it.  There was then some conversation between the judge and the person from AGCI with us, to which he was then looking through his calendar, and then it was over.  We were ushered back into the big room where we were all asking, "what just happened??"  It was then that we found out that we did not pass.  A piece of paper that MOWA was supposed to send to court, did not get sent..  So we were scheduled for another court date...February 4th.  Over 2 weeks away!!!Sadness and disappointment slowly crept into my heart...which I am still dealing with...some days more than others.  Fortunately, three of the families got rescheduled for today.  I'm sad we still have to wait until Friday, but praying that MOWA letter has made it to court and those three families pass today.  I don't want anybody feeling the way I do right now.

After court, we were able to go back to Hannah's Hope. R's birthmom attended court the same day and AGCI was able to arrange for us to meet her.  What a blessing.  Yes, I was nervous, not sure how I would handle it or what exactly I would say.  But as soon as I walked in the room, all I felt was a deep love and respect for this woman.  She had chosen to give R life and then had made a huge sacrifice of letting her go.  I won't go into any details, as this is R's story to share some day if she chooses.

We were then able to spend the afternoon with R...we are so blessed.  She is so full of life.  So full of entertainer.  She knows how to make everyone laugh...amazing for a little one so young.  It felt so good to smile and laugh after such an emotional morning.  We love her so much!

Although it's very hard to wait AGAIN, I will choose today to trust God and His timing.  He has all the details worked out.  I love a schedule...I love to have each minute planned out...but sometimes my "plan" is not His.  You'd think that I'd have learned that by now through this whole process...but I'm a slow learner...very slow.

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.  Reinhold Niebuhr

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths.  Prov. 3:5,6

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Trip 1 - Day 3

This was the one day we had nothing on our schedule.  Our whole group actually loaded in the vans to head over to Hannah's Hope to spend some time with our kiddos.  Half of our group was scheduled to go to court in the afternoon.  When we walked in the gates of HH, all the babies are in the court yard.  It didn't take long to find R sitting in a bumbo.  If R were not in this, she would be all over the place.  She knows how to get places with her army crawl!  A  few minutes after we arrived, the staff at HH got a call saying that the group that was scheduled to go to court in the afternoon, needed to leave right away as their court time had been changed.  And the rest of us were told that we needed to go shopping (one of the activities they plan for us) because they were not sure we would have time to go another time.  So after saying a quick "hi" and "bye" to R, we were off to the market.

It was so different than shopping here at home.  Each shop was no bigger than my walk-in closet with merchandise covering the walls, floor to ceiling.  Some shops were so small that you could walk in, do a 360 and you'd see everything. Every shop had pretty much the same thing and there were no prices on any items.  So we would ask the shop owner how much they wanted for an item we were interested in and then we could barter, which I'm not very good at.  It also paid off not to buy anything until we had looked in every shop and talked to many about prices because some shop owners would start at a lower price than others.   I was amazed at how good their English was.  We ended up only buying a couple dresses for R and something for each of our kiddos at home. 

After shopping, we went back to the hotel for lunch and then were able to return to Hannah's Hope.  We got to spend some more time with R.  We got to read books.  R loves to turn the pages!  And we just played.  R has the best belly laugh and smiles most of the time.  She loves to bounce and is constantly jabbering and making noises.  We will not have a quiet house when we finally get to bring her home...which is perfect for us!  We also got to spend some time with the older kiddos at Hannah's Hope.  They are all so sweet.  We brought a basketball with us and Bill had fun spinning the ball for them and then helping the kids do it too.  We would like to bring them all home with us!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Trip 1 - Day 2

We were so excited to get to Hannah's Hope to see R again and spend as much time as possible with her.  We started out our day with a meeting with the director of Hannah's Hope to fill some paperwork and then we were scheduled to spend time with our little ones until 1pm, which I was so sad about having so little time there.  But as we started to figure out quickly, schedules are not in concrete in Ethiopia.  We were able to spend most of the afternoon with R.  We got her feed her solids, which I found out was a mixture of rice cereal, carrots, sweet potatoes, and flax seed.  We also got to give her a bath.  She loves baths!  She splashed and fun!  She even would tip her head back when I would pour water over her - so smart!!!  I also got to feed her a sweet!! It seemed like she was used to holding her own bottle, but I think she really enjoyed me holding it for her and singing to her.  She really studies our mouths when we talk and often tries to mimic the sounds we make.  She also loves to grab our noses and play with my hair.  We love her so much already.  I refuse to let my mind think about the fact that we will have to leave in a few days.

After our time at HH, we were then able to visit Bethzatha, an orphanage that R and many other children that come to HH have spent some time at.  There were so many beautiful children there. We came right before their supper time, so the older children (probably ages 2 - 9yrs) were all in this cramped little room, with the younger ones sitting around a long table and the older ones sitting along the wall and a couple other small tables.  They were so excited to see us.  They all longed to be held and loved.  If we could have brought them all home, we would have.  Bill and I spent a lot of time just loving on those little ones, not wanting to have to leave them, praying that each one of them will find their forever family soon...knowing in that moment, we would need to do their voice.  Before we left, we were able to run up and peek into the infant room...precious little ones.
The next thing we had planned for the day was our cultural dinner. What a great experience!  We were able to experience Ethiopian food, music, and dancing.  A lot of the food is spicy so I was not able to eat a lot of it, but there were several things that I was able to eat.  It was a great day with many memories that I will some day be able to share with R.

Monday, January 24, 2011

A Glimpse At Our Trip To Ethiopia

Day 1 - We started our day off getting up at 3am to catch our flight out of Chicago at 6am.  We had driven up to Chicago the night before so we wouldn't have to get up even earlier.  Our flight left Chicago on time and before we knew it, we were in Washington DC!  After a couple hours of waiting, we were finally on our plane to ET.  The fun thing was that there were 2 families from AGCI sitting right behind us and another a few more rows back.  After a long flight, we arrived in Addis Ababa around 8:45am and found there were 2 more AGCI families on our flight!  We were able to get through customs and get our luggage pretty easily and were on our way to the hotel.  After checking in, we got our schedules for the week and were disappointed to find out we wouldn't be going to HH.  But as we started to learn throughout the week, the schedules aren't always set in stone.  Wass showed up and told us he'd take us over to Hannah's Hope around 2PM.  JOY!!!  So much nervous energy!  We took our bags up to our rooms and got ready to go meet our daughter.  It's a short drive to Hannah's Hope and we were finally there...standing outside the gates.

It wasn't long before we got to walk up the marble steps to R's room.  We walked in and there she was!!!!

She greeted us with the biggest smile and then started to jabber and squeal.  Everything about her is beautiful...her smile, her eyes, her nose, her cheeks, her tiny little hands and feet, her curls....  O how I wish I could show more....

We spent the next couple hours with her and the time flew.  I couldn't believe when we heard it was time to leave.  Oh how I wish we could take her with us. But then it was off to rest for another full day.

Friday, January 21, 2011

We Made It Home

We are home from Ethiopia.  It's so hard to describe how I feel right now.  I so missed our children at home and am so happy to be back home with them, but part of my heart is back in Ethiopia.  I really wish we could have brought our baby girl home.  Leaving her there on Wednesday was probably the hardest thing I've ever had to do.  One thing I have learned through this whole process is to put my trust in my Heavenly Father.  I know He will watch over her and I know He has brought her to a place (Hannah's Hope) where she is loved and will get the best care until we can return.  I know all that, but honestly, my heart still hurts and longs for her to be home. 

It was a wonderful trip and I will try to post about our trip a little each day.  Ethiopia was wonderful.  The people are beautiful and kind.  We got to experience and see many things.  The reason for this trip was to meet our daughter and go to court.  Unfortunately, we did not pass court.  Actually, WE passed court, but a piece of paper from MOWA (Ministry of Women's Affairs) did not get delivered to court so our court date was rescheduled for February 4th.  We do not have to be there for that date.   Please pray that the letter gets to the courts and we pass and get a quick embassy date.  I want to bring R home ASAP!