|Addis Ababa - the capital of Ethiopia|
|The orphanage in Adama is on this street.|
|Very tentative at first|
When we arrived at the newly constructed orphanage (construction not completed due to a need for funding) we were taken into a quiet room with two simple chairs. Then . . . they brought Obsa to meet us. He wasn't as horrified as we expected. He let me hold him, but not Dave. He didn't cry...just kinda tried to pretend we weren't there. I followed him around while he wandered the grounds. We tried giving him cookies (yes, we were trying to bribe our son with treats), but he wouldn't eat them. He would hold one in his hands until it became mush. At one point, we literally had him backed into a corner as we knelt down, trying to interact with him. He wasn't mad about it, but didn't seem to love it either. He was just indifferent. Then it was time to go. He wasn't thrilled about getting in the car with us, but he did without too much commotion. He quickly fell asleep and stayed that way for most of the drive. It is our understanding that kids will often fall asleep as a defense mechanism - so in short, he was trying to sleep us away. When he was awake, he was quiet and reserved.
|The orphanage in Adama - under construction|
Upon arrival in Addis Ababa, we walked him up to the room where he would be staying and handed him over. He couldn't have been more happy to get into the arms of another African person. Now, he has never set eyes on these nannies before and didn't even understand the dialect they spoke, but he didn't care. They looked familiar and that was enough for him! He basically said "see ya suckas" to us. Once they had him, he wanted little to do with us. He would accommodate my advances in a shy manner, but David was to keep his distance! We totally understood and didn't have any hard feelings about it. We were glad he was so comfortable there already, this would be his home until we could return to bring him back to the States.
|The Thomas Center - orphanage in Addis Ababa|
When we arrived back at the hotel, we took a chance to relax in the lounge with some snacks and an internet connection. I was sitting on a couch talking to David when I looked down and saw something shiny on the bottom of my foot. I looked closer and it was a "Footprints In the Sand" pin - a little golden pair of feet stuck in the sole of my shoe. I pointed it out to David and he said "yeah, I saw that when we were at the orphanage and forgot to say something to you." I was so happy - feeling touched, yet again, by God. He was with us during this journey and was making it clear. "It was then that I carried you"...soooooo well suited for what was to come. I'm presently looking for a place on my body to put those very words in the form of a tattoo (every time I think I have the perfect spot, I think of how saggy my skin will be when I'm old and how the letters will start to look smeared - that's hot, right?).
The next day was our court appointment. We arrived at court with one other couple and filed into a small room on the third floor. There were armed guards and we were told to remain silent. The room was packed with parents there to adopt and parents there to relinqush. Shoulder to shoulder - quiet - door closed, waiting with the other couple and our attorney. It got hot rather quickly and the anxiety of the day didn't help! Finally, we were called into the room were the judge sat looking at our case file. She asked a couple very quick questions and then declared "the child is yours". Crazy.
It was official. Obsa was legally our child. After court we were allowed to go back to the orphanage for a short visit. Once again, Obsa just went about his business like we weren't there. Very little interaction with us. When he was forced to acknowledge our presence, he would scream and cry. I told him "sorry, buddy, but it's official! You're ours - like it or not". He was going with "or not". I could see the empathy in the other parents' eyes as well as the eyes of the nannies. I reassured them that we were up for the challenge and we expected nothing less. That's what you get when you pick "the screamer"! They then said "I'm glad it's you then and not a first time parent picking him up". We had to agree. Can you imagine waiting so long to be a parent and then going to meet your child just for him/her to hate you?? I too was thankful that it was us. I wasn't scared. I wasn't feeling like our son would always hate us. I knew it would take time and that was ok. We are patient and understanding parents (stay tuned for the story of us realizing that's not actually true ;).
It didn't take much time with Zeke to realize that his personality is much like his sister, Cate's. Hard headed and determined. Not a super great combination (well, at least not a fun combination when dealing with a toddler). Now we're going to have two of them??! They are exactly one year apart in age, so we knew we were in for some "fun" times - and boy were we. Our little "Ethiopian Twins!"
|The hotel at night|
The next day...back on a plane to America.
|Bole International Airport in Ethiopia|