Saturday, January 7, 2012

Ethiopia - Day 1

Leaving was hard and I'm not sure why.  Leaving our kids at home was tough even though we knew they were in good hands and were very blessed to be spending time with both sets of grandparents.  It makes me think of the Parable of the lost sheep -- leaving the 99 to save one.  I guess that's how we had to think about it to keep from missing them so much.  On our way to the airport on Monday night we came upon a horrible accident that had happened only moments before.  Traffic was stopped in both directions for nearly an hour.  Funny thing is, as we were leaving home Brad discovered that he had forgotten our EZPass, so he had to turn around to go back and get it. Otherwise that could have easily been us.  Another glimpse of how God truly protects us.
Almost there!!  
We didn't sleep much at the hotel.  We took the shuttle to the airport early then next morning.  We were able to get our Five- 50 pound bags plus two carry-ons into the airport with little trouble.  We had a waiver for our extra bag (saving us $150) which was much appreciated.(Thank you Susan Parr Travel)!  

Once in the airport and at our gate, we anxiously awaited our flight, not knowing what to expect.  Just before boarding, we met up with Amy and Greg from Georgia.  We connected via email before making our travel arrangements.  They were on our flight and were adopting a nine year old boy from CWA.  It was nice to talk with them.  They had adopted 2 children, only two years earlier from Ethiopia, so in my eyes, they were pros (they have also adopted two children from Russia) and have a few bio children as well.   

Middle of the flight - when boredom struck

Our flight was long but uneventful. The plane was nice and had personal touch screens for each passenger. We watched a couple of movies. I think they fed us 3 times during the 14 hour flight.  The countryside coming into ET was beautiful. Such rich and beautiful colors.  Parts of it reminded me of the Grand Canyon. 

Once we stepped out of the airplane, I quickly took a deep breath and inhaled the fragrance of Addis.  I've heard that it has a very distinctive smell.  The best way for me to describe it is that is smells similar to roasted chestnuts.  You know, like the kind they roast on the streets of New York City in the winter-time.  The smell is very similar.  Of course, in the airport, that smell was mixed with jet fuel too.. so not exactly the best smell.  I also had to blink back tears, as I was in shock that we were finally in Africa to meet our little girl.  It was absolutely surreal.  I really do not have any other way to describe it.    

Strapping luggage to the top of the van
We breezed through customs with all of our luggage and donations and quickly met up with our guest house driver. [this part had me nervous because I have heard horror stories of getting donations through customs and trying to find the driver for the guest house but luckily we didn't have an issue].  

On our way to the van, we met up with Joseph and Melissa from North Carolina, who were staying at the same guest house and adopting a 7 month old little girl from CWA as well.  I cannot tell you what a blessing it was to share this journey with other adoptive families. (more on that later).  

The van ride to our Guest House was interesting.  Apparently there isn't really a right or wrong side of the road to drive on.  Four way intersections have no signals or stop signs.  Just a honk of the horn and passing right though.  Funny thing is, it works!  There are no obscene gestures or fender benders.  It just all flows. I spent many-a-day on our trip semi-car sick and/or altitude sick.  Nothing major but just not used to the rough and tumble roads and near collisions.  My motto for the entire trip was  "try not to be a spoiled American!!!"    Unfortunately, I had to use this phrase several times during our stay :)  

The Children's School across from our Guest House
Right across from our guest house, there was a private children's school. [children in Ethiopia do not attend school unless their parents are able to afford a private school.  They all learn English while attending school].  We stepped out onto the balcony to catch a glimpse of the darling little ones.  They quickly spied us and immediately began waving.  They were so cute.  Later in the day, they were singing jingle bells and yankee doodle.  So cute, especially the jingle bells song -- I'm pretty sure they have no idea what 'dashing through the snow..." means.  We tried not to be out on our balcony too often, as it drew their attention away from their teacher, but they were so darned precious it was hard to stay away.  

After we got settled in to our guest house, we basically slept on and off the rest of the day.  At dinnertime, in addition to Joesph and Melissa from CWA, we also met Richelle & Mike from Washington State, who were adopting a 20 month old boy from a different agency.   

Richelle & Mike had already met their little boy, so we were eager to listen to their experience.  We spent a part of the evening discussing our adoption journeys and anxiously awaiting the next morning -- the day we would finally get to meet Baby E!  

Internet connection was spotty, but text messaging worked well.  We were able to text the boys and even Skype that first night.  Baby Faith tried to look behind the screen to  see where we were!  It made me miss them even more.  

We went up to get showers that evening and discovered that apparently you have to plug in the hot water heater if you want a hot shower.  So, keeping with my motto "try not to be a spoiled American," we both got a very cold and a very quick shower and then quickly climbed into bed.  We were lulled to sleep that night by barking dogs and roosters crowing, with the hope of what tomorrow would bring.  


View from our balcony

Another view from our balcony 
A view from our window in the guest house



  1. Enjoyed your account of Day 1! I've been trying to finish up Day 3 for posting, but I've been falling asleep between 7 and 9 p.m. every night, so I'm struggling to get much accomplished. How long can I blame this on jetlag? =)

    Praying for our girls and missing you and Brad!


  2. So glad you got to stay at the Ethiopian Guest House. Love that place. I miss ET so much and love reliving our experiences through parents like you! :)