Thursday, December 8, 2011

Around the world and back...

We have been home now for two weeks. It has been hard to figure out what to say on this blog and how to even put into words our experience in Ethiopia. I find it difficult to even express to friends and family how it felt being there and meeting our son for the first time. I just don't really think I can find the words. One way I found I could express how we feel about our trip is posting the video of us meeting him for the first time. SO I will do that...

Tom and I have talked about each writing a posts about the days we spent in Ethiopia. Mostly because we don't want to forget what we did and saw, and we want to have those memories for Edilu in the future..

November 15th-18th
SO I will talk about our first day(s) before our trip and arriving in ET. Here we go...The Tuesday before we were leaving for Ethiopia we got a call early in the morning from our agency saying there were some issues with our case. I am not really going to go into detail because this is a public blog and we are still being careful what we share since we don't have Edilu home yet:) So long story short we were going to Ethiopia not knowing if we would pass court, and not knowing that our case would be acceptable by the judge. We were very unsure, and emotionally spent by time we boarded the plane on Thursday morning. We spent Tuesday and Wednesday gathering documents that would hopefully help our case for Edilu...and had them in hand when we boarded the plan. We also sent those to our agency who then sent them on to Ethiopia to be translated and ready before we arrived. Our agency totally fought for us during this process and I have great respect for what they do!

Seattle Ready to go to Frankfurt! we are, already tired and ready to board the plane for Ethiopia...we flew first to Seattle, had a layover and then it was the longest leg to Frankfurt. That was the HARDEST flight. It was long...and it got really dark pretty quickly after we took off. Going from one time zone to the other is pretty rough. We arrived in Frankfurt about 10 hours later and had a layover there. We then took the plane from Frankfurt to Ethiopia. That flight was about 7 hours. It was not as bad because Tom and I were able to sleep, being so exhausted! We did have two Ethiopian men sitting behind us that were very happy, and so talked very loudly during the trip....but we were so tired it didn't even matter.

(I watched this screen like a hawk the last hour of our flight...the little plane would move tiny bits at a time)

We finally landed in Ethiopia...while we were waiting to get off the plane a man tried to convince us to take his laptop through security for him. He was very nice, but we did not think that was such a good idea:) We got off the plane and were instantly in culture shock...we were in AFRICA..for reals! We waited in line for our Visas..took about 45 min. Then walked through to get one more stamp in our passports and were then in the baggage area...there were a lot of men trying to help us with our bags, hoping for tips, but we managed pretty well. I was a little worried about customs with all of our donations...but we didn't even have to put our luggage through the machines...a man asked us if we had a camera or laptop and that was it!

We finally emerged through to the waiting area scanning for our agency's sign. However, we were so obvious that Job, our guide found us:) He said he could tell by our dazed looks and my hands clinging to our paperwork. I didn't think we were THAT obvious, but we were. We were were SOOO happy to see him and our driver.

Driving out of the airport we were taking it ALL in. We could not believe we were IN ETHIOPIA. So many people, cars, shops all working together to make up the city. I will never forget how out of place I felt during that first drive in Ethiopia...and it was not a bad feeling. For once we were a minority. I am thankful I have felt that feeling. It gives me way more perspective than I had before.

We arrived in Ethiopia around 9:30pm, and got to our guest house around 11pm. We were so tired and went right to sleep. I was very glad for the long hours of travel because it helped me sleep the night before we would meet our son!! More on that later...