Sunday, February 12, 2012

Ethiopia Trip #1: Day 1

By the time we made our way through the craziness of the airport, and to BJoe Guest House, it was about 10:30. 

We got to spend some time with a friend of ours who actually lives here in Fort Worth, but was in Addis FINALLY bringing her son home.  We chatted for a while and waited for Anbes, one of Gladney's in-country representatives.  He arrived about 11:30, asked us how our trip was and asked if we wanted to go to the foster care center.  I said, "To meet our daughter?!"  Anbes replied, "Sure!"  So we changed clothes, waited a few minutes for our driver to get there, and then we were on our way to meet Lottie Mastewal for the first time!

I was operating on NO sleep, so my memories of that day are pretty hazy, but the thing I remember so clearly about the drive out to the foster care center (it's about a 20-30 minute drive) was just that EVERYTHING and EVERYBODY in Addis were jumbled together.  You know how here in America we have nice parts of town, bad parts of town, and middle class parts of town?  In Addis you have the poorest of the poor walking down the same streets as the wealthy.  They are building McMansions right next to the town dump.  In the same street you are driving down in your car, there will be horses, or herds of goats.  There's new construction everywhere!  So much of it was sensory overload, and my sleep-deprived brain had a hard time taking it all in and processing it all.

We got to the foster care centers, which are houses in a neighborhood outside of town. 

We followed Anbes upstairs, and as we walked into the room, a caregiver was taking Lottie Mastewal out of her crib, and sat her on the floor.  Because we knew we weren't there to bond, we just sat there on the floor and played with her for a while before I even tried to pick her up.  She is such a happy little girl.  She loved playing with us - especially her Daddy!  I had a bottle of water with me, and had also taken the lens cap off the camera.  Lottie and the other little boy in her room were FASCINATED with those two things.  It was like we had brought them the most amazing toys they'd ever seen!  I wish I could show you pictures of the little boy with the water bottle because he was in HEAVEN! (But we can't since he doesn't have a family yet.) 

Over the course of our visits, we got to know the caregivers better each time. Most of them don't speak much English, but as we got braver with our Amharic, they got braver with their English.  Each of the children in the foster care houses have a primary caregiver that they call "special mothers."  We fell in love with Lottie Mastewal's special mother, K.  On this day, she asked if we would take pictures of her with Mastewal, and bring them to her when we return next time.  Here are the two of them together.  So sweet :-)

We stayed there about an hour, and then headed to lunch at a restaurant called Top View.  It had gorgeous outdoor seating and really amazing views of the city.  We had an awesome pasta lunch, but the thing I remember the most is that I could hardly keep my eyes open and I just wanted to lay my head down on the table and go to sleep.

We went back to BJoe and hung out with another family who had been to court that week and was headed home that night.  I hardly remember much of that because I was so tired.  I finally crashed at 4:00 that afternoon and slept through the night.

1 comment:

  1. WOW!!!! How wonderful it must have been to walk into that care center and hold your daughter for the first time - truly incredible and so overwhelming. We're still in the waiting phase of all this, but reading these posts are encouraging that all this waiting will be worth it once our little one is in our arms. Congratulations to your growing family! Can't wait to read the news that you can bring her home!

    All the best,
    Jean (S-DC family on FBI list)