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Ethiopia Days 3 & 4

Our 3rd day in Ethiopia was Monday, our court date. Our original appointment was scheduled for 9:30, but at about 9:00 we learned that it had been moved to 1:30. Apparently there was a new judge, and Monday was her first day so she moved all of the court times to the afternoon. We were already ready for the day, so we decided to walk out into the city on our own. The night before we had gone out for pizza, but one of the guards from our hotel had walked us there and had walked us back after we were done. It was night, and I was glad he accompanied us... both to help us find the restaurant and to ward off any potential pick-pocketers. 

This time it was morning and we felt pretty comfortable walking around on our own. Honestly, it went totally fine and we never felt threatened, but at the same time it was exhausting. It was hard to walk down the street and get even 5 yards without someone approaching you asking for money. The hardest part was that we knew that most of them probably needed the money... it was obvious. So, with each person, we had to quickly either walk away or determine what to give and how much to give (we actually started carrying food in our pockets for this very purpose). Once you give something to one person, you become an even bigger target. It was hard. After only an hour or so I was ready to go back to the peace and quiet of our guest house. One of the good things about this outing though was that we finally found a spot with wireless internet so that we could email our families. Prior to this, we had no ability to access our phones or internet at all. The restaurant was called Kabu Coffee, and they had great French fries and burgers (and Coke, in a bottle, no ice). (See how adventurous we are!). Blah, blah, blah... boring, boring, boring. On to the good stuff. 

Finally, FINALLY the time came for us to be picked up for our court appointment. We drove to the court house and it kind of reminded me of a secretary of state office here. There were a bunch of people waiting in the waiting room, most of them for adoptions. Our agency had a representative there with us who was supposed to be our advocate in case anything happened (which it didn't). We waited until the name of the orphanage where the boys were first placed was called and then we headed back into the room. The judge was there, along with maybe two other people (not sure what they were doing). She asked us a series of questions, some about our process and if we had learned about Ethiopian culture and if we intended to teach our sons about Ethiopian culture. Really long and yes and yes. 

The most poignant part of the interview was when she asked if we had seen the boys, if we wanted to adopt them, and if we knew that adoptions in Ethiopia are irrevocable. Of course the answers were Yes, Yes, and Yes! After that, she stamped a paper and said, "Gebremedhin and Gebremeskel are yours forever." I was fighting back tears and really wanted to go up and hug her and thank her again and again, but she was pretty unemotional about the whole thing, so I figured it'd be better not to push my luck and do something out of protocol. The whole thing took about 5 minutes. 5 of the most significant minutes of our lives. 

Right after that we went back to the care center and picked up the boys. When we got in the van, Jacob (formerly Gebremedhin) looked outside of the door at one of the nannies that was standing nearby and burst into tears. My heart broke for a moment because I knew he was scared. I wondered if he was remembering that just a few days earlier he and his brother had gotten in a similar van and were taken from the only people and home they had ever known. I held him in close and prayed that God would comfort his little heart, and within probably less than a minute he stopped crying. He's a very happy boy and had already begun smiling and checking everything out.  

As soon as we got back to our guest house, we stripped the boys down into their diapers. It was super hot and they were sweating through the tons of layers they were dressed in. Immediately they started to crawl around the floor and we handed them toy after toy... they were much more interested in crumpling the wipes container and trying to access the electrical cords! We had so much fun with them. So much fun. And we just smiled and laughed the entire time. We adored everything about them and had so much fun just watching them and observing their personalities and how they interacted with us and with each other. 

The highlight of the night was the bath. They LOVED it. They splashed like crazy and smiled and laughed the entire time. They would try to stand up and I would place them back down on their booties, and they would crawl all over each other. It was a slippery, wet mess, and definitely a two person job! And we loved every second of it. 

Josiah fell asleep around 6:30 and Jacob around 7:30. At about 8:30, Josiah woke up for the first of many times. We gave him a bottle, held him, rocked him, kissed him, and thanked God for him. When he finally fell asleep, Jacob woke and we did the same thing with him. Don would make the bottles and then we'd pass them off between the two of us until they fell back asleep. 

Honestly, we were so happy when they woke up because we just wanted to be with them. And since they were waking up at separate times, we had undivided attention to give to them. We probably only slept a couple of hours the first night and neither of us minded one bit! I'll never forget holding them through the night and thinking how there was nothing in the world that I would rather do. I sensed how much they were a gift from God and I loved every second of being able to delight in them and praise God for them in those quiet hours of the night. 

The next day was more of the same... playing in our hotel room, trying to figure them out, and just showering them with love and affection. 


Anonymous said...

What fun!!! We are so happy for you. Praying that the time between a temporary "goodbye" and a permanent "hello" will pass quickly. (They are both so cute!!!)

Uncle Jeff and Aunt Jane

Hillary said...

I've been stalking your blog waiting for days 3 & 4 to be posted, and just like the last post, this one has me in tears. In a good way though, in a way that reminds me about that incredible kind of love.

sasha parker said...

So wonderful to see you both with your boys! Praying that Embassy date will come quick.
The boys are so adorable!

Corrie and Phil said...

Even after hearing all of the details over the phone, I still got all choked up as I read it. What a beautiful experience!

I can't imagine why you didn't keep their given names. :)

Heidi said...

Love it all! And it's always nice to hear a fresh perspective on the sleepless nights. I get in a rut where all I think is, "Why won't you sleep?!!?!?!" and find myself more mad than grateful. I'm so thankful that you've been given such capacity to love and care for these boys!

Anonymous said...

I LOVE these update posts!!! There's always a detail or two that I feel like I hadn't heard yet! It's so fun to hear you talk about it and then to read your words about it. So glad your recording these details like this.

Rochelle said...

I adore these update posts and how you're recording everything to recall later. It's so great for us to hear more of the behind-the-scenes details! I can't imagine how challenging it must have been to figure out who to give money to and when, or how to distribute the food you had - so different even from just the streets of Chicago! I can't even tell you how much I got choked up just reading "5 of the most significant minutes of our lives." WOW. So true and yet such a powerful sentence/thought. I just loved reading you say how you thought there was just nothing else you'd rather be doing. So much love in your heart for those boys already - what a great gift from God!!!

Haha I love the bath story! That's so great. :) It sounds like you guys are pros already, figuring out each boy and how to manage them together. Love it!!!!

I'm sure they'll know their original names someday, but not too surprised you wanted to change them. ;)

Love the pics too, thanks for sharing a peek into all of this so we could understand it all a bit more. Cherishing these memories with you and continued prayers for their quick trip to their new, and forever, HOME!!! :)