Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Ethiopia Trip Journal Day 7 - Embassy Appointment

MB woke with a smile on his face and exploring to do. Though I'm quite sure he pushed every single button and knob and opened every single cubby, drawer and door yesterday, the process started over this morning. So far he is such a happy little boy. He looks to Renny and Zoom for how to do everything. Zoom was less than excited about the sleeping arrangements as MB has a habit of rolling to Zoom's side and basically laying on top of him. I explained that MB's been sleeping in a toddler bed with another little boy for two years and snuggling is just what he's used to. Zoom showed an enormous amount of patience with his new little brother in the nights that followed.

Our embassy appointment was this afternoon, and was completely different from when we went through this with Taz. The embassy has moved to an incredibly nice, new building complete with a flushing toilet and TP (fancy, shmancy people). The process took about a tenth of the time it did two years ago, and I was pleasantly surprised to be in and out of there in less than 45 minutes.

On the way back to the hotel Zoom saw his first naked woman, and it. is. all. he. can. talk. about. She was on a crowded street corner, yelling wildly and waving a stick. There was no missing her. I had a nice long talk with the kids about mental illness, compassion and suffering which had the sole effect of absolutely nothing. I could have talked myself blue in the face and, unless I was willing to take my clothes off and wave a stick, pretty sure there was no getting through to them. If you don't want your kids to hear all about the screaming naked lady, you might want to avoid our family for a few months.

The rest of the day was spent chilling at the hotel, pushing buttons and taking pictures. MB's in love with my camera and I am now the proud owner of at least 680 pictures of his backpack and shoes.  I'm pretty sure this kid can out-eat every single person in my family, and I'm seriously afraid he's going to puke all over somebody.  I tried to have the English speaking waiters translate to him that he does not have to clean his plate and that there will be plenty of food in a little while, but I don't think they understood what I was trying to tell them.

Things are winding down and I'm really starting to miss my two babies at home.  I cannot wait to see these two beautiful brothers together ... at last.

Our hotel balcony has an amazing view of the city, which is where I took most of the pictures below.

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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Ethiopia Trip Journal Day 6 - The Whole Reason We're Here

Today was a big day and in my memory it goes down as two or three days. Our time in Ethiopia thus far has been amazing.  But today - today, is the reason for it all.

Mr T and I have spent a decent amount of time trying to prepare Renny and Zoom for what it will be like in the orphanage. I'm glad we did, because as soon as we walked in, the kids attacked them with hugs and kisses, hair braids and pat-downs. They had MB in another room, the photographer wanting to make a grand gesture of him being led into us. As he walked down the stairs, he looked so scared. We were sitting on the floor and they led him to my lap. I put my hand on his chest and his little heart was beating so hard and so fast, I tought it might bust out of his chest. I told myself then and there that if I ever lacked compassion during the days and struggles that are sure to come, I will think back to this moment and surely any mercy, patience and compassion that was lacking would be renewed.

It was a long, big day. The kids bonded instantly with MB, and Renny soaked up the attention and authority she seemed to warrant in this place. She played games with the younger girls and handed out stickers. They all fought (quite literally - there were punches involved) over who would hold her hand or who she would pick up next. She was in heaven.  Zoom, my most outgoing child, was right at home, playing games and making friends.  I am so proud of both my kids and how they handled themselves this day.

After lunch, we headed back to the care center for MB's farewell ceremony. There were songs, games and goodbyes. I had assumed MB would be sad to say goodbye and leery of entering his new life with four perfect strangers. But honestly, he couldn't really get out of the door fast enough. As soon as we were back from lunch, he began gathering all the things we had brought into his new favorite posession, his borsa (backpack). I was a little disappointed by how routine and non-emotional were his goodbyes. He has been in this care center for a year and a half, and quite honestly, the nanny's goodbyes for Taz two years ago seemed a lot more heart felt, and he had only been there for a few months. Maybe it's the difference between a baby and a 5 year-old, or maybe it's the difference in staff?? Either way, I was sad that more people were not more sad to say goodbye to my precious little boy.

The car ride back to the hotel was filled with big eyes and big smiles. He seems to be a fearless little man, and plays it cool all the way. We spent the rest of the day/evening just relaxing and getting to know one another, tub splashing and rope showing.  I'm so glad we brought Renny and Zoom.  They seem to be making this transition so much easier on us MB.

And for pictures ...


Sunday, February 26, 2012

When You're Too Tired For Words

You just post pictures ...

It's been a rough week.  Not necessarily anything shockingly harder than expected, but I anticipated pretty hard.  Sometimes intellectually preparing for really hard is different than living it.

This boy and these brothers ... as hard as it is, it's worth it ...

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Friday, February 24, 2012

Ethiopia Trip Journal Day 5 - Happy Valentine's Day

I woke around midnight to the sickening feeling that Zoom's stomach flu from last week, rumored to have an incubation period of exactly seven days, had followed me to another continent. Sure enough, the next 28 hours of horror would confirm. Our guides were supposed to pick us up at 9 a.m. for another day of touring, and then head back to Addis.

Needless to say, we skipped the touring, which is a shame because I was so looking forward to seeing Bisheftu Crater Lake. I won't go into great detail about the drive cus I like to keep it classy around here, but let's just say that I had two choices: Multiple bondings with a longhorn steer by the side of a very busy highway or a bucket made from a cut open water bottle. Happy Valentine's Day honey - can you hold my hair?  I'm sure there are worse places than a Southern Ethiopia road trip to get the stomach flu, but for the life of me I can't think of any.

On a side note - did you know Valentine's Day is big in Ethiopia? Who knew right, but red and flowers were everywhere. When we checked into our hotel there were flower petals on our beds though given the above mentioned drive, neither of us were feeling particularly frisky.

I took no pictures this day. But, since I have amazing pictures coming out my wazzoo (in my humble opinion), I'll throw some in here that didn't make the cut in any of the other posts.

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