Monday, February 21, 2011

Ethiopia


Before leaving for Ethiopia on the 8th we promised many of our friends that we would faithfully update our blog while we were gone. Well, we've been home for four days and I'm just now writing a blog. Sorry. This is partly due to poor internet connection in Ethiopia. But only partly. So here is how our little trip went...

As many of you know, we took 3 day layover in Rome on the way to Ethiopia. If any of you are considering doing this on your way for an adoption, we would urge you to reconsider. Don't get me wrong, Rome was lovely. We visited the Trevi Fountain, saw the Colosseum, climbed the Spanish Steps, toured the Vatican, spent way more money than we intended to spend, and have nothing but pictures to show for it.






So what do we regret about this trip? The whole time we were there, we were wishing we were in Ethiopia. Several times a day we would say "48 hours before we leave to see our boy... 36 hours... 24 hours"!

Another reason these two destinations didn't jive for us, is that luxury and poverty don't mix. The lavishness of Rome and the devastation that is Ehtiopia, made us sick. Sick. Oh, to take the thousands of dollars spent in Rome and give them to the helpless mother sitting on the side of the road with her dying child. Or the orphanages overflowing with children that need medical attention but may never get it. There are millions of people in this beautiful country that are hungry, homeless, and helpless. We knew this going into our trip. We saw pictures, read statistics, and felt urged to invest in this beautiful place and it's people. But until we stood in it and looked them in the eyes, we didn't understand.





So upon arrival in Ethiopia, late Saturday night, we settled into our hotel room at the Panorama (will stay there next time, and the next, and the next) and tried to make ourselves go to sleep amidst the excitement. We woke up the next morning anxious to go to Hope and meet our sweet boy. We were told by Hope that we could see our boy all day everyday while we were there. We went down to the hotel lobby to call the Hope manager in Ethiopia to tell them that we were coming and make arrangements for our driver. After hours of calling to no avail we decided to find our own driver and go see a few sights in Addis, until we could go see Silas. The hotel found us a driver named Ashew (I know, I know... God bless you). We will not be surprised to find out one day that Ashew was an angel! He spoke english wonderfully, drove cautiously, and knew the city well. After a trip to the National Museum and Ethiopian Orthodox Church, we went back to the hotel to call again. We finally got in touch with Hope, only to find out that they were closed for the day. Boo. He said we could come by on Monday morning. So we made the best of the night by going to a traditional Ethiopian restaurant.




The next day we arrived at the Hope transition home (where our son lives) at 9am. However, we did not know he lived there. We thought that this was the office and that we would go to the orphanage where Silas was later. We quickly realized that this was not only the Hope office but also where the children being adopted through Hope live. We sat in a little office waiting on the manager to get there. All of the sudden, without any warning at all, our little boy walked around the corner. We laughed, cried, and scared our sweet baby to death, I'm sure. He sat in our laps, a bit uncertain of who we were and why we cared so much for him. Soon after, two other adoptive families arrived from their court date and we all had a traditional coffee ceremony together celebrating our new families. Silas warmed up to us in a matter of minutes. He is very shy. Super snuggley. And almost instantly a daddy's boy.

We stayed there, just holding him until lunch and nap time, when we let him go and do his thing, while we went and got ourselves some lunch. We came back in the afternoon to play with him and the 4 other big kids. In the transition home there were 5 big kids and 6 babies. We brought a few toys with us (a ball & some plastic animals) and you would have thought that we brought bicycles and ponies. Everybody had a great time playing and we can't wait to show you pictures of our fun afternoon.

That evening one of the Hope employees came to tell us that the next day was a national holiday and we would not be able to go to court. After I had a 5 second panic attack, he said we would be able to go to court the next day. Thank goodness I booked our flight on the night of the 16th and not the morning!

The next day we were excited to spend the day with our boy since our court date was delayed. However, Hope neglected to tell us that they would not be open for this extremely important holiday, that no one remembered until the night before. So we spent another day with our precious driver and tour guide, getting to know this awesome country that gave us our son. Although we were sad that things didn't go the way we had expected, we considered this a blessing. We felt like this time away from Silas helped us prepare for leaving him the next day.

Wednesday morning, our driver took us to the court house. We were nervous that we would not pass court that day, because other families from our agency had been missing paperwork and not passed earlier in the week. Little did we know, many more things were waiting inside that would cause us even more heart ache. Our attorney from Hope was an hour late. As the judge started calling people back, we knew we would be turned away if our attorney was not there. Thankfully we were at the end of the list and he made it there in time for our hearing. Also while waiting on our hearing we had the amazing, unexpected honor of meeting our son's first mother. No one had told us that birth families now attended court the same day as adoptive families. The story of our time with her that day is one we will cherish and save for Silas. He deserves to hear this story first and tell it to whom he choses. She was a precious lady who loves him very much. She loved him enough to give him up. I wonder if I can say the same of myself with my children.

Then we went into court. It didn't go as well as we had hoped. The judge asked us a few expected questions, and then said "As soon as I get the one missing paper, he's yours". I could have gone for just a plain "he's yours". So we will hopefully have passed sometime this week. At that time we will be able to post pictures of him.

We were able to spend the rest of the day with Silas. Playing. Coloring. Snuggling. Heaven.



We then had to say our goodbyes. This wasn't as hard as we expected. His home there is very nice where he has lots of good friends and caregivers to take care of him and love him. Before we left, Silas called us mommy and daddy and told us that he loved us (in amharic). We will hang on these words until he is back in our arms.

Now we just have to get his visa appointment and go back to get him. Hopefully that will just be a couple of weeks, but could be as long a two months. While we are ready to claw our way back to him, we have learned even more on this trip that our Father's timing is perfect. If we had ordained this trip, it would have been much different, but we would have missed out on God's best for our family. Thankfully He who placed our family on different sides of the world, has ordained the day that we will be together. Thankfully His ways are not our ways. They are much higher.