Wednesday, August 11, 2010

What to say, what to say...

I have been going over and over again on what I can write on our first trip to Ethiopia. And the only words I can think to describe the trip are: immense joy, beautiful country, intense sorrow, gorgeous culture and people.

We slipped into the pace of Ethiopia with ease. We arrived at night, exhausted after such a long trip, without our luggage but we didn't really care. We were in Ethiopia, and we were about to meet our son! We fell into our beds, not even noticing what time it was (probably around 11:00 pm Ethiopia time).

We woke up to the sound of barking dogs, and calls to prayer. With a quick rub to the eyes, we remembered where we were at. And that we were about to meet our son! We hurried and got ready, ate breakfast as fast as we could, listened to the introduction, and headed for the bus. Little did we know the bus would take us only one block away. We stood in front of a building that was in the backyard (basically) of the guest house we were just at. We sat and stared in amazement at the little clothes dangling in the air, we marveled at the loud noise of children's squeals coming from inside, we fought for rubber shoes (we couldn't wear our own into the care center) so that we could get inside.

When we entered, the older children were patiently (well, more impatiently) waiting to play with all of the visitors. The baby's were tucked away in a back room. We kept watching baby's brought by with blankets over their heads. I felt like I was reading the book "Old Hat, New Hat". After the first baby goes by I said "too big", the second gets carried past I said "too small"...

Finally, we are given the chance to go back and meet the infants. We walk in the room, and Trent points to the first baby in the room and says (questioningly) "I think this might be our guy?" I looked really closely at the baby (who did have hair like our baby), and said "really?" I was a little taken aback, because it didn't like Habsisa at ALL! The nanny then asked "who are you looking for?" We say Habsisa's name, and she says "oh, Habsisa's back here, he's back here". Sure enough, there is our son! He was one of the kidlets that was on his tummy playing on the floor, in the back of the room.

I didn't want to scare him, so the nanny rolled him over and I just said "Hi guy!" And did the tears come? No! We got a BIG smile! We tickled his tummy, he laughed. We tickled his feet, he laughed. The Nanny picked him up and threw him in the air, and he gave a huge squeal of excitement. I finally got the nerve to pick him up...

He fit perfectly! I just melted, and then I stroked his hair (I did this a lot), and I kissed his head, and I just took it all in... My son... In my arms... Oh, it was perfect. And then Trent had to ruin it (of course) because he HAD to hold his son too... Jerk... Trent fell in love right away. He just had this goofy smile on his face that I usually only see around Emme. We fought over him, until he fell asleep. I got the honors to hold him while he slept, because Trent wanted to go play with the older kids. The Nanny loved that he wanted to go play, and shooed him out the door.

Our time was short with him, but I savored every moment. After lunch, we reviewed his Life Story video. Wow, is all I can say. The grief that my son will have is going to be immense. This video is a sacred way to explain his story. It makes me wonder when he will start asking the hard questions, and how we will answer...

The second day started just as the first, we met him again and spent two hours with him. He was happy, then tired. I held him again while he slept. It was perfect. We had to say good bye to our children this day. I didn't think it was going to be too hard... It was horrible. I didn't think I would attach to him so quickly. I still miss him every day, and I am so ready to go back to Ethiopia to bring him home!

The third day was full of shopping, and touring the city. It was a day full of taking in the Ethiopian culture. What a beautiful city, and I can't wait to go back. Yes, there is poverty; but there is also beautiful green plants all over; the weather is absolutely perfect (even in the rainy season); and so many happy people ready to practice their English by just saying "Hello".

The fourth day was the BIG day. We went to meet with the judge. She was a soft spoken, beautiful Ethiopian woman. She asked us 7 questions. Questions about our daughter at home, questions about how we are preparing to bring him home, questions about our connection to the Ethiopian community, and then she asked if we met him. Before I could answer Trent said "Yes we have Your Honor, and he is PERFECT". Tears came to my eyes, and I had to look down at my lap. She asked if we understood that this adoption was absolute, and we would not have a chance to back out of this adoption. We said "Yes we do, Your Honor". She just looked up at us and said "well then, he is all yours".

Oh my... That is all I can say about my reaction. The ugly cry was right there, so I mumbled "thank you, Your Honor" and ran out the door. Everyone was waiting outside (including birth family members that were there to relinquish their rights), and I was just in shock. The events of the week came down on me and I started to shake and cry. People came over to make sure that everything was okay. I just mumbled "uh huh" and kept crying. Trent was sitting there all cool and collected... Jerk (I can say it again, because he IS a big ole jerk)...

The rest of the trip flew by with ease. We enjoyed our surroundings, and our company. We have so many stories to share on the people we traveled with, the experiences we never thought we would experience, and the immense joy we had in seeing our son's face! But I feel that I have gone on long enough!

If I think of more stories to share, I will quickly write them out! Sorry that this is a kind of "quick" overview of our trip. You see, we were told to expect 6-8 weeks between the two trips. But I was a little surprised on my third day home, I was talking to our specialist, and she said that we will be going back on...

AUGUST 27th!!!

Yes, that is three weeks in between the two trips! We will be home on September 4th, can you believe it!! So I have been trying to write about our trip, get our travel arragnements ready, get his clothes ready, pack for him, organize toys, wash bottles, get paperwork together, clean, organize Emme's playroom, get Emme back on a schedule, and eat/drink/sleep... And I'm exhausted! I wonder how much MORE tired I will be with two kiddo's at home!

We will keep you posted!


  1. Katie, I am so excited for you and your family! It is such an awesome story and experience. You brought tear to my eyes...I will be thinking about you and praying for you as your family grows and you bring your new son home!

  2. So happy for you guys! I can't believe you get to go back and get him so soon! It all worked out great! Congrats and we can't wait to meet him!

  3. Thank you for sharing details of the trip and meeting your son, I had goosebumps! It is good to know what to look forward to. Good luck packing and organizing, he will be home soon!

  4. Thank you for sharing, Katie. I can't wait to hear more about your trip and can't wait to meet Leo! I'm about to leave work and I once again have tears in my eyes after reading your words. I can just feel your emotions coming through. Oh and can I just say that I'm beginning to think the date August 27 is a lucky day. Why???.....because you'll be flying to Ethiopia while Habtamu and I celebrate our 5 year anniversary! Now I will never forget the day you flew to bring your son home! Give Emme a hug from Leah and let's talk before you leave! Hugs,


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  6. Katie, this brings tears to my eyes because I'm so HAPPY for you! It couldn't be happening to better people! Big big love!