Ethiopia Day 1~ Picture of the boys at the bottom
Well, we arrived in Addis Ababa Ethiopia late last night and traveling went really well with no long delays or luggage hassles. We were so tired by the time we got to our hotel but we were also too excited to sleep right away. I stayed awake thinking of what the next day would bring. We would be picked up and taken to Hannah’s Hope to meet our boys for the first time. I didn’t really know what to expect. Would the boys pay attention to us or would we be just another white couple coming and going? Would they want to be held or would they shy away at any attempt to show them affection. We really did not know what kind of emotions we would encounter for both us as well as our boys.
10:30 am our driver “D” was in the hotel lobby to take us to HH. There is another sweet couple here as well for their first trip court appointment and they were preparing to meet their little baby girl for the first time. We were all so excited as we climbed into the van. The drive to HH was only about 7-10 minutes from our hotel which was nice because I was already getting so inpatient to get to the boys.
We turned onto a bumpy road and soon saw the infamous black gate separating us from HH. This was the gate I had seen so many times in pictures and videos from other adoptive families over the past 2 years. My heart must have been pounding at 150 beats per minute as we drove into the courtyard. As the van drove in we immediately saw young kids running towards the van to greet us. Our driver asked who is getting “B”? “We are” Andrew and I said. The van door swung open and we saw our son Noah "b" looking up at us with the most precious eyes and hand extended up to us. I think I was so overwhelmed by emotion that I kind of froze for a few seconds. It seemed like it took Andrew and I forever to climb down out of the van to greet him. Noah (B) immediately warmed us to us as if he already knew that we his parents coming for him. From all the referral pictures we had seen we were expecting him to be much bigger but he is actually quite small. He is suppose to be around 2 ½ or 3 but he was wearing sizes 18 and 24 months.
After playing ball with Noah for a couple minutes, Andrew picked him up and “D” showed us where all the babies were being cared for. As we approached the courtyard area in the shade we immediately knew who Colton ("U") was amongst the other babies. He was sitting in his little baby chair on the mat just smiling away. I rushed to him and picked him up! He took a quick look at me and then proceeded to lay his head down on my chest and snuggled into me. My heart was melting more and more by the minute. It was an unbelievable feeling to finally be holding our sons in our arms. Such as answer to prayer that they warmed up so quickly!
We spent the next almost 4 hours just holding them and playing with toys. Noah loved the stickers we brought and soon Andrew was covered in them. Noah would put a sticker on Andrew and then put one on himself in the same location. He also knows a few English numbers and letter and he counted the stickers “ one-two-three” as he placed them on daddy! Noah really attached himself to Andrew right away and after playing for a while he fell asleep in Andrew’s arms. When one of the special mothers tried to take him away for nap time, Noah pushed her away and buried his head into Andrew’s chest. This was so encouraging to see the bonding already taking place. While Noah napped, I held Colton and fed him his bottle. As he sucked on his bottle he looked up at me with wonderful eye contact for quite awhile with a very content look on his face. He is such a happy baby and has the most infectious smile. Colton can sit with a little help and can roll over but has not started to crawl yet. We think he is about 7 months but he was wearing 12 month pants. He has definitely been well nourished and appears to enjoy all his bottles.
The time went by so fast and before we knew it our time to leave for the day had come. We managed to squeeze out a little more time but we needed to be sensitive to keeping the boys on their nap and eating schedules as much as possible as well. I carried Noah up to his bunk bed and tried to hand him to the special mother. He wrapped his legs around my wait and started crying. He didn’t want me to put him down and apparently didn’t want another nap either. It was so hard to leave him there while he was crying and I felt myself tearing up as I walked to the stairs. I know that this is a small glimpse of what is to come when we have to leave Ethiopia without them on this first trip. I can’t even think about it without getting so emotional.
Well, as difficult as it was, we came back to the hotel for a bit of a rest and ate some Ethiopian food in the hotel restaurant. I can’t say enough how much we both LOVE Doro Wat and injera. Andrew and I then decided to venture out into the community a bit and had a walk through some of the streets where people were selling mostly food items and plastic sandals. Then back to the hotel for some emailing and updates.
Well tomorrow we have some HH orientation and we will fill out our I-600 forms. We will of course have more time with our boys as well!
We could only post one because of the internet connection. We cannot post their faces on the internet until they are legally ours but take our word for it they are stinking cute!