Sunday, October 24, 2010

Ethiopia-Days 3 & 4

Wednesday morning was our court appointment.  Woudneh had told us he wanted to leave early so that we could get right in and not have to wait a long time.  We were all anxious to get it over with.  Up until that morning, I hadn't allowed myself to think about not passing.  My nervousness was really from not knowing what to expect.  I also knew this would decide if we could move on the next step of getting an embassy appointment.  When we arrived, we went into this small building and rode the elevator to the third floor.  We walked into the room, and it was already full of adoptive couples waiting.  We thought we would be there a long time waiting but it went by quickly.  The clerk began calling out names for people to go in to see the judge.  We just sat there watching them come out one at a time.  We noticed that they all came out smiling and celebrating.  I was thinking, okay hopefully they don't give out only so many "passes" a day.  J/K  We also sat there watching birth mothers come in to give up their rights.  Wow, I had a hard time holding in all my tears.  If any of you know me well, you know I cry a lot.  Sad, happy, angry, nervous...It doesn't take much to get me going.
We were the last couple to be called from our group.  The Crums and the Veals both received good news, and the clerk came out and called for us.  The judge was very young and pretty.  She asked us to sit and she began asking us some questions.  She had a very gentle tone and smiled.  I had already decided that I was going to let Vince answer for us.  I was too afraid that once I began to speak, I would begin crying and not be able to stop.  She asked us how many biological children we have and if they are happy about us adopting.  She also asked if we had studied the Ethiopian culture and had the necessary training.  She also asked if we had met our sons.  After answering everything, she looked at us and smiled and said "Congratulations, they are yours"!  It was such a relief!  I immediately began to cry.   Such a joyous time!  We knew at that point that  Yonas and Yosef were officially our children. 

The front of the building

Not a very good picture, but we were giving the thumbs up!
Ready to celebrate

We spent all day Wednesday driving all over Addis and was able to see some amazing things.   Woudneh was a wonderful host.  We had an amazing time with him.  Here are some pictures of our day.

Addis University

This was a Christian Orthodox church at the top of a mountain.  It is over 150 years old.  I didn't get any good pictures from the inside, but it was beautiful.  All of the walls were hand painted with pictures from stories and people of  the Bible.  We had a tour guide that led us through the church and explained a lot of the history.

Vince taking his turn at playing the drums in the church.  This was our tour guide along with Eric.  He led us in a time of singing and chants and let us play the instruments. 

We ate lunch at the Sheraton Hotel.  It was very nice!

The food was really good

Ethiopia's take on Starbucks

I don't have any pictures of our shopping that day, but we all enjoyed it.  Woudneh knows exactly where to go and helped us with prices dealing with all the people on the street.  It is difficult to have people come up to you asking for money knowing that you cannot give them anything.  Woudneh told us that our driver could be ticketed if any of us were to give money.  It is also not the best thing to do because you will be swarmed with people once they see you give something.  I never felt unsafe just sad really.  Especially when you see mothers with their children. 

That evening we went to Woudneh's home for dinner.  We got to spend time with his wife and children.  Oh, how we fell in love with them.  It was such a special time.  I wish I had pictures, but our camera battery decided to give out earlier in the day. 

Thursday we were able to spend more time shopping while the Crums and the Veals went back to their orphanage.  Woudneh took us around.   At one point while we were waiting for Woudneh we went to a cafe called Frullato's.  It was fun to sit in there and listen to everyone around us talking, not having a clue as to what they were saying.  Hopefully they weren't talking about us!

Later that afternoon, we visited a dentist who is a friend of Woudneh's.  His family happened to be there for an appointment, so we did get some pictures.  Unfortunately I didn't get a good picture of his wife.

This was our group with our driver, Yonas.  I loved driving around Addis.  The following is something I wrote in my journal while riding with him.

"Our driver has been wonderful!  He is a very good driver and a bit stubborn.  We found that he does not back down.  It is thrilling to ride around cars and cutting out in front of traffic.  Everyone here uses their horn to let you know they are coming.  That means you better watch out!  They don't really follow traffic laws, but we did see someone getting a ticket today."

We went back to our hotel to spend some down time before leaving.  We enjoyed  coffee and having some time to sit down and talk with Woudneh.  We were sad to see our time come to an end, but I was so ready to get home to Abby and Gracie!

This is Daniel, one of our servers at our hotel.  Vince spent a good amount of time getting to know him.  We have been keeping in touch.  Hopefully we will be able to see him when we go back.  We invited him to come stay with us if he ever makes it to the US. 

Finally on our way home. 


Saturday, October 23, 2010

Ethiopia-Day 2

Vince and I started our second day much like the first.  We ate breakfast at the hotel and quickly left for our orphanage to spend the day with Yonas and Yosef.  We ended up having a very emotional day there.  Yonas was feeling much better and played a lot more.  Both of the boys seemed to be more relaxed with us, and we were able to spend some time with just the two of them.  Throughout the day, it weighed on my mind that I would have to say good-bye to them knowing it would be several weeks before we would see them again.  I tried to enjoy every moment. 

One thing that happened for us was a surprise visit from their birth mom.  As soon as she arrived, Yonas and Yosef went to her and hugged her.  One of the older boys told me in broken English who she was, and I immediately went to her.  The tears began to fall...I just wrapped my arms around her and told her how much we loved her.  We were able to talk with her for quite some time and learn quite a bit about their family.  She wanted to make sure we knew how much she loved her children.  She is a very hard worker but is unable to provide for them.  Their father died about 3 years ago from a heart attack.  She tried to do what she could to keep her family together.  She told us she prayed that God would send a family that would love her children and provide for them and he did!   She said God has given her a peace about the situation.  She asked if we would send her pictures occasionally.  Of course, we said we would be honored to keep her in their life as much as we can.  When she dropped them off at the orphanage in May, she visited the boys 3 times a day every day.  I could see the enormous love and selflessness she has for them.  It was a wonderful gift to have that time with her.  When our time with her ended, I felt so much peace.  God gave us such an incredible meeting with her. I decided that I wanted to keep our pictures with her private, but I will say that Yosef looks just like her!  She was a beautiful woman inside and out.

Getting ready for a spin


Yonas getting tickled.  All of the children loved being tickled!

Both of them were very good at soccer

Below are some scenes that we saw on our way back to Addis

Ethiopian Air Force Base

Day 3 was our court date.  More on that to come!


Friday, October 22, 2010


4717 Dixie Hwy 

Saturday, November 13th

Tickets are $5 per person
$20 Max per family
Tickets purchased ahead of time are preferred instead of at the door.
(Each ticket price consists of 3 pancakes, syrup, butter, 2 sausage links, refills on tea, coffee, juice and sodas)

use of the plates, silverware, cups and napkins.
Email us if you are interested.  I can deliver the tickets to you, or we can email them.

Thanks for your support!

Ethiopia-Day 1

We got in to Addis Sunday night without any problems with flights, or sickness, etc.  Things went very smoothly for us.  Woudneh (our West Sands host) picked us up from the airport and took us to our hotel.  We tried to get settled in that night knowing that Monday was a big day for us.

This is where we ate breakfast every morning in our hotel.  The food was very good!

We were blessed to share our week with the Veals and the Crums.  We had a blast!  Lots of laughs...


This was our driver, Dere'je who took us to our orphanage in Nazaret.

This was our first meeting with Yonas and Yosef.  Yonas wasn't feeling well and spent a lot of time laying down while we were there.  They both instantly came to us and hugged us.  We were all smiles.  I thought that I would end up crying the whole time, but after a few tears shed at our initial embrace, I didn't have any tears!  I was overcome with so much joy.  It is hard to put it into words.  The boys are amazing.  They got along with all the other children at the orphanage and were so full of energy.  We enjoyed watching them play and learning as much as we could about them.  The language barrier was somewhat difficult, but there were some kids at the orphanage who spoke pretty good English.  They helped us a lot. All of the children were wonderful.  We enjoyed getting to know all of them and could have brought them all home if we could. 

One of the first things they did for us at the orphanage was a coffee ceremony.  It was the best coffee I have ever tasted.  This woman made our coffee.  She was so good with all of the children.  I wish I had written her name down because I don't remember it now.  Maybe I will get to see her again when we go back.

Yosef trying to jump rope.  Too cute:)

My favorite boys!

Here are some pictures of the orphanage.  We loved it there.  All of the children help with the gardening.  They have cows, goats, and chickens.  They pretty much grow all of their food.  They also have several fruit trees and a coffee tree.  They are as organic as you can be.  

This was in front of their dorms. 

This is where we had our coffee ceremony and where they eat their meals.

After leaving the orphanage, we met back up with Woudneh, the Crums, and the Veals and had coffee and popcorn at our hotel.   This woman served us.  She was very sweet to let me get a picture with her.

Vince's dinner on Monday 

Bart and Brandi

Denise and Eric

 We enjoyed hanging out in the evenings with everyone.  We feel blessed that God placed us on this trip with 2 other couples that we didn't really know beforehand.  We made friends that will always be part of our life and part of our adoption story.

I have to say that Vince and I enjoyed pretty much every part of Ethiopia.  They country was beautiful as were the people. 

The next post will be about our second day with Yonas and Yosef.  We were only able to spend 2 days with them, but they were 2 very good days!