|Leaving Hannah's Hope - Forever Together - An orphan no more|
Update from Day 1 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia -
We arrived in Addis Ababa last night after traveling for about 27 hours. That included two 4-hour layovers – one in Minneapolis and one in Amsterdam. The trip was fairly uneventful and the planes weren’t full, which meant we actually had some extra room on the long flights. We landed in Addis exactly three weeks (to the minute) from the time our plane took off from Addis to head home after our first trip.
Since we flew over the Atlantic at night, and due to the fact that we didn’t have window seats, there was nothing to see on that flight. But flying from Amsterdam to Ethiopia was a beautiful flight. As I mentioned on Facebook, we were able to see the Austrian mountains, the Mediterranean Sea, Egypt, Sudan, the Sahara Desert, and the Nile River. It was really amazing. The Sahara is endless dunes of sand that stretches beyond your imagination. We were desperately looking for pyramids and camels, but saw none.
This morning we headed to Hannah’s Hope to see Meddie. As we walked in the gates, we could hear kids playing back behind the toddler building. It is a beautiful sound to hear at Hannah's Hope as the kids have so much joy as they play together. I wasn’t sure how Meddie would respond since we had to leave her behind after the first trip. Would she remember us? Would she be upset that we had left her? But as we rounded the corner of the building, we saw her playing at a table with some of the other kids. I called out to her and when she looked up to see who it was, her eyes lit up. She stood up and came running to us. Wow, what excitement!
This trip has even more meaning to me than the first trip. During the first trip, the adoption of Meddie became legally completed. At that time, she was legally our child and it was irrevocable. But, we had to leave her behind. We had to leave her at Hannah’s Hope while we waited for our Embassy Visa paperwork to be approved to allow her entrance into the US. So even though the adoption was legally completed, it still felt very empty.
But, on this trip, we get to bring her home. That is so significant to us. This morning when we went to get her, we were able to bring her with us to our hotel. That was her first real step to joining a family and leaving the life as an orphan behind. She will be staying with us at the hotel during this entire second trip. She will be living with us, sleeping with us, eating with us, being one of us. She is no longer an orphan. She is with a family. She is with our family. She will never again have to wake up in the night wondering which worker is going to console her, or wonder whether she will be moved to a different transition home, or wonder which of her friends is leaving with a family and why not her. No, the miracle of Meddie’s adoption into our family is now complete. She’s with us, she’s no longer alone, she’s one of us.
Meddie still is somewhat reserved on one level, and yet is more lively than much of the time we spent with her on our first trip. This afternoon she did not want to lay down for a nap. Finally, Heather laid down on the bed and laid Meddie next to her. Eventually Meddie fell asleep in Heather’s arms on the bed. You can imagine the smile that was on Heather’s face!
Our internet is still spotty. The wireless doesn’t work in our room (even though we’re in a different room and different building than the first trip). And when I go to another location in the hotel room to pick up the wireless, my browser oftentimes won’t recognize the wireless signal. So updates may be sparse. I was able to get to Facebook once and was able to Skype with the kids. Praying that Skype will work so that we can keep in touch with the kids.
We are grateful for all of our family and friends. We are praying for God’s hand to be upon Meddie’s little heart and mind and that He would be gracious to pour strength and wisdom on us during this time.
Much love to all of you,