Saturday, May 26, 2012

Ethiopia Day 1 & 2

We had such an unbelievable experience in Ethiopia! We had an amazing 6 days that will forever change our hearts and we long for the day when we will soon return...

We arrived in Ethiopia on Wednesday night at 10pm. After a 19 hour flight with an 8 hour time change, we had just enough energy to check-in to our guest lodge and walk down the street  to grab a pizza at Bruno's, which ended up being one of our favorite places to eat. When we got back to the guest lodge, we were welcomed with a power outage (in true Ethiopian style). Thank goodness we listened and brought a flashlight. I looked at Jordan and said, "This is Africa." We went to sleep with such anticipation, knowing the next day we would be meeting our precious boy for the very first time.

Here are some pictures from our guest lodge and the streets of Bole in Addis Ababa. We loved this friendly neighborhood and all the local eateries and shops around it.

The view from our room at Afro Land Lodge. To the left are families' homes,
and along the streets are shops and local businesses. And, of course, everywhere
 you look is the beautiful Ethiopian background of mountains and
clouds that go for days.
Jordan on the lodge rooftop. I am in love with this man!
"You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains will burst
 into song before you, and all the trees in the fields will clap their hands."
Isaiah 55:12


The produce stand on the corner.
The local hangout.
Love how affectionate everyone is towards one another!
Everywhere you turned there were people embracing each other.
Ethiopian woman preparing a meal for her family at her home.
We enjoyed getting a bird's eye view into people's day to day lives.
Enjoyed watching the neighborhood children play at their homes.
They were so incredibly cute! 
Ethiopian woman washing dishes.
These women work so hard from sun up to sun down whether it be washing
and hanging out laundry, preparing and cleaning up meals, or taking care of
their children. 

Friday morning came around quickly. We woke up to a wonderful breakfast  prepared by the guest lodge with some amazing coffee! (puts my morning coffee at home to shame) Before we knew it, we were told by the front desk that our CWA driver had arrived to take us to the orphanage to meet our son. We were the first of 3 families picked up that were also in Ethiopia meeting their children for the first time. It was such a relief meeting other families that were in the exact same position as we were, and it was great to be able to share our feelings about everything going on! We couldn't have asked for better families to travel with and walk along beside us through this part of our journey. I will never forget traveling the streets of Ethiopia. The traffic is absolutely crazy, and the streets are filled with people.


Imagine NYC traffic without traffic lights, stop signs, unmarked roads,
and people and donkeys everywhere you look!
The driver kept telling me to close my eyes!

Typical Ethiopian building. Everything was so colorful!
The streets of Ethiopia.
Almost to Acacia Village, the orphanage of our sweet boy.
Everywhere you looked the scenery was breathtaking.

We arrived at Acacia Village and were greeted by a few of the nannies that took care of our boy. We were escorted into a play area, and the reality hit me all at once that after 2 years of praying and waiting and longing and holding on to God's promise, we were FINALLY going to hold and love on our sweet boy in just a few moments. A little boy that had no idea how much he had been prayed for and how much he was already loved. A little boy that God set apart before he was even formed in his mother's womb. As we stood there in anticipation the nanny walked in with our sweet boy in her arms. He had just woken up from his morning nap and just looked at us intently with those big brown eyes, and I immediately stretched out my arms and embraced my precious baby boy for the very first time. I had waited for so long for this one moment, and it was so worth it, I would have waited a million more. He was very warm towards us and kept laying his head on my shoulder. I love that he loves to cuddle! We walked into the playroom and played on the floor with him. All I could do was just watch him with amazement that I was here in this moment. We made the most precious memories that morning of introducing him to his momma and his daddy! I absolutely adored watching Jordan become a father once again and falling in love with his son.

"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart;
I appointed you as a prophet to the nations." Jeremiah 1:5

"I will not leave you as orphans; I will come for you." John 14:18
After awhile of playing and getting acquainted with our son we were taken on a tour of the beautiful Acacia Village. We were able to meet all of the nannies that were caring for our sons, and I felt so relieved seeing them interact with him with such love and kindness. And as if my heart wasn't full enough, we were introduced to all of the other children waiting for families that lived at the village. We got to interact and play with all of the children there, love on them, and get a glimpse of their daily routine. I was so overwhelmed with emotion, but was also trying to take in every little thing about our boy...his smile, his giggles, what he liked to eat, how he liked to sleep, how he liked to be held, what toys he liked to play with, and so forth and so forth.

Beautiful acacia tree outside the orphanage.

Beautiful Ethiopian scenery from Acacia Village.

Next, it was lunchtime, so we were invited into the dining area to feed our baby and a coffee ceremony. We noticed a lot of Ethiopians serve popcorn with their coffee. I loved that! Jordan was holding our boy as we were feeding him, and he looked up at Jordan's eyes and just close his eyes and fell right to sleep. It was the most precious thing. We were able to cuddle him a little while longer and then walked him to his room and lay him down into his crib. The entire room was full of little infants sleeping in their cribs. It was so quiet and peaceful! I didn't want to leave, but I leaned over and gave our sweet sleeping boy a goodbye kiss knowing that I would see him again in a couple of days. Our hearts were completely overflowing! We had fallen in love with precious little thing, and we were just in such amazement that God chose and entrusted us to be this sweet boy's parents. There was nothing better than seeing my husband overflowing with love for this sweet child. It made me fall in love with him all over again.

That night, we had quite the adventure in a taxi cab trying to find the Island Breeze restaurant that we were meeting up at with the other families. Luckily, when we were about to tell the cab driver to take us back to the guest lodge, Jordan looked up and saw the restaurant. That night we also discovered that Ethiopia is a place where the streets have no names, so google map really doesn't help when it comes to directions. It was so great to be able to talk with the other families about meeting our children for the first time and experiencing something that not too many people get to experience.

We went to bed that night, so in awe of God and His plan and His journey that He laid out for us, and in awe of the joy and love that came flowing into our lives by walking His path. Our hearts were full and it was just two days in. We had no idea what was ahead of us and how this place and these people would take a piece of our hearts and always be a part of us.

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