The recurring theme that continued to play out on our trip to Ethiopia was God taking us to the top of the mountain. Literally we did climb a mountain in Lalibela. That mountain top was simply a physical illustration of the heights we soared as we basked in our Father’s great love and grace to us on our adventure in Ethiopia. You may have wondered just when I was going to post travel stories? I do want to share more travel details but not in this post. Since we arrived home six days ago I have been wrestling with just how to share what happened in Ethiopia. I don’t feel like I can do the story justice but can’t wait any longer to tell you the great things the Lord has done for us.
We couldn’t wait to meet our new children once there in Addis. We were away from them the few days we spent in Lalibela, but other than that we visited each of them daily. Assefa at AHOPE, Edelawit at KM (Kidane Mehret) and also visiting other orphanages as time allowed. Assefa is a tiny thing still. We found ourselves spending hours just watching him sleep. When awake we delighted to catch his baby smiles and carry on long conversations with our own silliness and his soft cooing. As the only little baby at AHOPE he is adored and doted on by the staff. I was happy they were so willing to share him with his new mom and dad!
Across town we’d go visit Edelawit. We were surprised by her loveliness. Her photos of course had been darling, but in person we found her beautiful, really stunning. She is very shy and timid though. She seems to be such a frightened little girl. Our hearts just broke for her. As we found out more about how sick she had been and how far she still as to go in her recovery, it just made us want to desperately get her home as soon as possible. She is not 2-3 years as we thought but rather 4-5 years old. She doesn’t really speak, walks haltingly, and can’t climb stairs by herself. But a year ago when she came to KM they thought she would die. She spent months just staring out at the world with blank eyes. She has come a long way and we can thank the care at KM for that. Edelawit seemed close to a few special caregivers. Mostly she was scared to death of us, but would at times feel comfortable enough to play and sit by us, even on our laps once in awhile. Then something would spook her and she would become hysterical, screaming inconsolably so hard she vomited. Poor, poor little girl!
Among the orphanages we had been visiting were the children’s home run by Gladney adoption agency. Right before we left for Ethiopia we found out about a little Down Syndrome toddler named Gezehegn in their care. We hooked up with their in country staff on Wednesday. We were very impressed with Ryan and later when we met Belay. Their children’s home are far from the center of Addis to the farthest east side of the city. It was a long drive (about an hour) but worth it. It was so nice to be away from the dust and smog. The homes are beautiful with grass in the yards and stop signs in the streets (first I’ve ever seen in Ethiopia). Ryan gave a full blown tour and we met dozens of gorgeous babies including some with special needs I will be advocating for. I can not begin to describe what it was like when we finally met Gezehegn. We fell instantly head over heals and over the moon in love. I had known somehow when we first heard about him that he would be our son someday. Mike knew it the second he laid eyes on him and Gezehegn looked up at Mike and said “hi”. Ryan asked us before he had to leave if we wanted him. “YES!!” We knew and Gladney knew we would have to wait until we got Assefa and Edelawit home to adopt Gezehegn. We were floored and thrilled to pieces they were willing to wait for us and allow us to pursue this cutie! We made plans to visit him every day of our remaining time in Ethiopia.