We've safely arrived in Addis Ababa. The flight was as bad as it seems with the 24 hours of travel stretching to 34 as we waited for a visa (1 1/2 hours), waited to get our luggage (1/2 hour) and got through "customs" (one x-ray machine and no clear line or direction... "single pile" line as Lee calls it).

We met the children today and that was as awesome as you imagine. There was another couple adopting older children as well as us, so we got to go 1st because our children were all crowding around the door as we came in. Yordanos cried and wept and hugged me around my neck for a long time. Habtamu and Lee hugged, then we all switched. The children were overwhelmed of course and it took awhile to warm up to us. We spent several hours with them and the other adopting families. Sometimes I took pictures of other people with their babies, and I'd turn around and I didn't know where my children were. I said to Lee, "Um, we're not very good at this! Where are our children?" Lest you think they were off playing in the street, the Transition Center is a walled in barb-wired compound, so there were not that many places to go. The children always came back to us with hugs, and kisses from Yordanos. She's a great hugger and kisser. I could get used to that.

They have been learning English, so they were very proud to write out letters and numbers for us on the magna-doodles we got them. I think they understand a bit more than they probably let on. We got to meet their teacher who said they are very good students. We got to see some of their workbooks and their writing is pretty good! Lee spelled out BANANA on Habtamu's magna-doodle and then Habtamu spelled it out for Yordanos who wrote it on hers.

Everybody loves Y and H. It will be sad for the nannies to say good-bye. The older kids there don't have one particular nanny like the babies sometimes do. Lots of nannies called out to Yordanos when she did something they didn't like. Mostly it was when she'd copy something I just did... for example, I kissed her up her arm in 4 places, and then she pushed my sleeve up and did the same. They said something to her about that.

Nurse Fortuna, the administrator of the TC, said that Y&H's aunt (H&Y's mother's sister) just called and would we be willing to meet her. We said of course! After a little bit she said the aunt could come right now. Yikes. The meeting went well... lots of hand gestures. She hugged and kissed my neck a bunch of times, and patted her heart while saying "ow, ow, ow" (That's "yes, yes, yes.") We got pictures with her and the children. Also with them was their mother's aunt and their mother's cousin. The children handled it well. I'm not sure how well Y knows them. H was a little down? confused? The aunt held his face in her hands and admonished him with something, pointing at him and then me and kissing his face a bunch of times.

A couple hours into our visit the children were calling us Mommy and Daddy and leading us by the hand to show us their world.

More later. I'm not able to get to my blog here, so I'm having Uncle Paul do it for us. Thanks Paul!


Katherine said...

Chris and Lee, I'm so happy for you! And the kids! I wasn't sure if you were able to post anything there, but I've been checking every day!

the Steiger's said...

We all had to get through the pain at the airport. Kind of funny looking back now.
Your kids are so sweet. We had a great time with them when we were in Addis almost 3 months ago!!! At that time they did not speek any english. If you want some pictures of them from our visit let me know.

Bethany Taylor said...

Your post is overwhelming to me. My husband Joshua and I have just decided to adopt 2 children instead of an infant. Seeing the beautiful pictures of H & Y bring tears to my eyes! And how kind of God to allow some of their Ethiopian family to meet you. We are praying for you!

Jori said...

Pure Joy!! Thank you so much for sharing; what a blessings! Honestly, can't wait for it to be our turn.
Blessings, Jori

Ann said...

So happy for you and so excited to see a post of what is going on so very far away...enjoy the rest of your time there and happy travels as you journey home as a family!

Anonymous said...

Congratulations Mom and Dad! with love from Aunt Roberta and Uncle John and kids. Grandma sends her love, too; she's glad to be "great grandma." We continue to pray for you and hope you have a wonderful week getting to know each other.

Ali BG said...

HOORAY! Yordanos is even more beautiful standing next to her mommy. :)

Nicola said...

I'm so overwhelmed with joy for you guys! Delighted to see the pictures of the two of you _with_ Habtamu and Yordanos. As I read your posts I kept going back and forth between crying and laughing with joy for you all (which made a bit of a mess, eh). ;D You are constantly in our prayers.

Much love,
Nicola :)

The McEvil One said...

My mom asked if you & Lee had left for Africa, so I sent her the pictures...she called back 20 minutes later & I could tell SHE had been crying!!!

Your smiles really tell the story...

Carpenters said...

I'm so happy for you all. What a beautiful day! Congratulations!

With Love,

shawn and tisha said...

Wow! How amazing that you were able to meet some of your children's ET family. Thanks for sharing your experience!