"'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'"
Jeremiah 29:11

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Part VI

That night as we got ready for bed and said our prayers the kids talked about Kaleab, their dad. Marti cried as she talked about him and remembered him. It was so wonderful to hear that they were loved so well by such a godly man. We gave thanks to God that night.

From Part V

Oh... this day was so very special. The kids woke up giddy with excitement. Today was the day that we planned on returning to the orphanage to see their friends again and say goodbye to the nannies who were not working on the day we picked the kids up! Right away in the morning the kids began taking their new toys and clothes out and putting them into the bags of donations that we had for the orphanages. We had to stop them more than once from putting EVERYTHING in the bags.

Before we left for Ethiopia we collected infant Tylenol, hand sanitizer, tooth brushes, washcloths, antibiotic ointments and many other items that are difficult to find in Africa. These items along with the clothes the kids were wearing when we picked them up (we were asked to return these) and care packages from parents who were waiting to come get their kids were carried downstairs to the van. I was nervous on the way to the care center. What if the kids didn't want to come back with us, what if they cried again (Marti was especially sad when she left her friends last time), what if ..... the lack of good sleep was taking it's toll and I was worried.

When we pulled up through the gates the kids were practically jumping out of their seats. They could hardly wait for the van to stop before they got out. They ran to their friends and embraced in a way that American children would never do... probably never understand. Then the nannies came running. They were so excited to see the kids and have the chance to say their goodbyes. It was obvious that Joseph was a favorite to both the children and the nannies...

The first "job" we had was to sit down and speak with the counselor about our children. The information that we were given about their parents and home was not new... we had been able to communicate well enough with the kids that we felt pretty comfortable in what we knew. We did learn about how they had done in school and we were given some of their tests and schoolwork to take home.

Our next job was to pass out gallon baggies full of treasures to some of the children who were waiting for their parents to come. We had photo albums for one family of children, stuffed animals for others, candy and toys for others. It was totally overwhelming and so much fun to have that time to give kisses to the kids and to tell them (while crying like crazy) that their "mommies were coming soon and they wanted me to tell you that they love you so much!" I seriously bawled each time I gave those kisses.

Our final job was to pass out the candy, toys and soccer balls that we had brought for the kids. Chaos does not even begin to describe the next 5 minutes and when we heard a VERY LOUD little boy yelling at the other kids we were completely and totally shocked to find that Jacob had gotten all the little kids to sit down on the wall and wait for their treats - the look that passed between Ben and I was a mixture of "Wow! That kid has some spunk" to "Holy Cow! He is going to keep us on our toes!"

When we finally left we were all exhausted. Totally and completely drained!

Our next stop was to the German Embassy to try to get our German Transit Visas. Despite the fact that we would never leave the Frankfurt Airport the kids each needed one and this was a new rule (as of the day we left Washington DC) that ended up costing us more than $500. The workers at the German Embassy were NOT helpful but they did give us a large pile of papers to fill out and told us to come back the next day.

Finally we returned to the hotel for swimming, pizza at the hotel and hanging out. It was really nice to have the afternoon just to get to know the kids and have time to relax. Jacob and Marti were so funny in the pool but Joseph decided not to swim so that he could read his English dictionary. On our way back upstairs to change for dinner Marti somehow got onto the elevator without us. I am not sure how it happened but the next thing I knew we were all standing looking at the closed doors and Marti was not with us. PANIC mode set it. I went upstairs with Joseph while Rebecca, Ben and Jacob waited downstairs. We went up to our floor... no Marti. We waited for a while then went back down. We did this for at least 5 minutes. Finally we got to a point where we could hear Marti calling for us but we couldn't find her. (She had pushed the emergency button and stopped her elevator) It was another 10 minutes before we were all back together. I was about to pass our from fear. Jacob and Joseph were about to pass out from laughter and Ben and Rebecca just kept shaking their heads. We still tease Marti about her first elevator ride alone but she doesn't really think it is funny.

After we regrouped we headed down for dinner. While at pizza, we ran into Kurt and Kayla who we had gotten to know through an Internet group for parents adopting from Ethiopa, and they had just gotten into Addis to pick up Marti's best friend Senite. It was so fun to meet them face to face and it is one of my most favorite memories of Ethiopia.

That night I ended up with a bad headache so Rebecca and Ben entertained the kids with her laptop. Marti entertained them with her "gymnastics" and the boys just had fun hanging out.

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