After 13 hours in the air, we landed safely in Ethiopia! We are soooo not looking forward to that 17 hour trip back home. After about 8 hours, I start to think I’m not going to survive the sitting. We made it through getting our Visas, customs, and finding our luggage in less than an hour. It was so nice to come out of the airport to the familiar face of the hotel driver waiting for us!
We made it to the hotel and met up with another adoptive family with our agency…love being able to meet in person after being Facebook friends for so long. Today was a HUGE day for us. We were able to meet our kids’ aunt. Although we didn’t get much information from her, it was still an honor and a blessing. We were able to give her a photo book full of pictures of the kids from our December trip and pictures of us. She was so appreciative of the book and seemed to treasure it. The kids didn’t seem to have too much of a connection to her, but they also haven’t seen her since last June. I’m guessing Achole doesn’t really remember her much. She is a kind, gracious, and shy woman. It was important to her to know the kids would receive a good education. She also shared with us that our kids’ birthparents were Christians. She seemed very relieved to know the kids would be raised as Christians in our home as well. We were excited to be able to purchase a plane ticket for her and her baby to fly back home – the bus ride back to Gambella is long and difficult. The tickets for both of them cost less than a dinner at the Cheesecake Factory!
As soon as we arrived at the Care Center, Achole was across the courtyard and at my feet wanting to be held. She is such a little snuggler! Nen came immediately to Craig and gave him a big hug. It was great to see they remembered us. Nen even referred to us as Mom and Dad. It was wonderful to see them again and very difficult to leave them. We are waiting to see if we receive a response from the embassy on Monday before we bring them with us to the hotel.
As a funny side note, we had a few boys today that were seeking our attention. I had 2 little ones (about 3 years old) on my lap while Craig was holding Achole. These 2 boys had an all-out head slapping brawl while sitting on my lap because they wanted my attention and the camera. The camera had to go in my bag!
We spent the rest of the day back at the hotel getting ourselves organized and resting. We have all 3 slept better already on this trip than we did on our last one. We now have one suitcase dedicated to being our ‘toy box’. We also brought our own little food pantry this time around.
Tomorrow we will be going to church with our friends, Fekadu and Joel. We visited this same church the last time we were here. We are excited to visit again – their passion is inspiring!! They also host a Compassion International sponsorship program. We will also go to see our kids again tomorrow. We are looking forward to the day we can drive out of those gates with them!