Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Day 1 of our time in Ethiopia

After 35 hours of travel, we arrived at the Addis Ababa airport very late Thursday evening. Exhausted, we then waited in the tourist visa line, exchanged some money, found our driver holding the sign for us, loaded our bags and rode 25 minutes through the dark city to get to our guest house. I remember stepping out of the airport and into the open air of Addis Ababa and immediately feeling like I wanted to run and do cartwheels because the weather was BEAUTIFUL! It was like a perfect and cool summer evening here in Illinois. There were pretty flowers planted along the walkway and I just remember thinking......."I already LOVE this place!" It was definitely a wonderful welcome after the long hours of travel, AND after having left the frigid climate back at home. We immediately realized on that first night's drive through the city, that the driving there was going to be.....uh....scary! Our driver said they do not have police out patrolling there at night, so sometimes people get a little crazier with driving. We also saw numerous wild dogs roaming all about, and then heard them howling to each other across the city all night long at our guest house! It was well after midnight by the time we got our bags into the guesthouse, familiarized ourselves with the room, unpacked a little, and tucked ourselves into bed. I had thought maybe we'd have to take some Unisom or something to help us sleep, considering it was only the afternoon in Illinois, but thankfully we all slept pretty well even that first night. During our travel, we had taken some homeopathic jet lag tablets we'd heard good things about, and I have to say we really didn't have very much jet lag at all while we were there!! Of course, with all the exciting things going on there each day, adrenaline was probably rushing through our bodies keeping us awake! Friday morning we woke up, excited, and wondering in anticipation how the meeting with Hanna's birth mother would go that day. It's a long story to explain, but it really was nothing short of a miracle the way God worked out the details of our meeting. I had prayed for months before that God would help us to find her. (Edilu was an abandoned/malnourished case, so no birth family known for him) I had laid awake in bed many nights praying for her and having this heavy burden to meet her and speak with her. I had pictures of her with Hanna, and one of her with Hanna's older sister. I knew what she looked like, but I really didn't have much more to go off of except the name of a HUGE region where she lived with millions of other people. I spent hours and hours on the internet trying to figure out if SOMEBODY out there SOMEWHERE could help me find her. Eventually, in my search, I stumbled across the blog of a woman in Canada whose son had also come from Tikuret orphanage. This was the orphanage Hanna had been relinquished to and had spent 7 months. It was a divine "cyber-appointment".....truly. This woman knew ALL about the orphanage and the staff where Hanna had been. She gave me contact information and I was able to get in touch with the staff there. They were AMAZING.....loving, godly people, passionate about the children and mothers of Ethiopia with a real vision to help change the fabric of Ethiopia. They had information on Meseret (birth mom) and knew how to find her. They were so gracious to arrange all the details for us. Praise the Lord! So Friday afternoon we were driven over to the orphanage to take a tour and then meet with Meseret. We were so happy to see that Hanna had been in a very nice place for an orphanage. Asayech, the director/founder of the orphanage is a nurse and understands much about hygiene/health issues and so for Ethiopian standards the orphanage was as clean and organized as it could be. I think she told us that about 50 kids are typically living there. Meseret (birth mom) had been brought to the orphanage the day before from her village 5 hours away. She was SO happy to have been given the opportunity to meet us! Every time I hugged her, I didn't think she was ever going to let go! It was so emotional for all of us, even Caleb. Asayech (nurse) translated for us so that we could speak back and forth to her. We found out during our meeting that she was a protestant Christian and had an amazing faith in God. She never acted angry or bitter over the difficult life she had, but always referred to how she trusted God to take care of her and how she had had to give Hanna over to God and trust Him with her since she had no means to raise and care for her in a healthy manner. She realized that she could not control her circumstances, but that she could trust the God who controlled them. She had been praying for a long time for Hanna to have a good Christian family. So here were two mommas, sitting together in a room after having been half way across the world, both praying for this little girl and for each other. I think it amazed both of us to see how God had brought us together! What a testimony of God's faithfulness! We learned much more about Hanna's life before and how her mother had lost two other children to malnutrition. It brought a flood of tears to hear of her life's difficulties at only 28 years old, but what a blessing to have had this time to spend with her. Tikuret then fed us all lunch and a while later had a little celebration for us over Hanna's adoption as well as over two other children that were leaving the orphange that day to go home with their new parents to Denmark. We were told that the next day they would drive Meseret back home and that if we wanted to, it would be okay for us to go with to see where she lived. Tomorrow, I hope to post this on day TWO of our time in Ethiopia...... Here are some pictures from this first day and our meeting with Meseret. Pictures at the guest house we stayed in. After our initial meeting we all shared a special lunch together at the orphanage. Meseret (birth mom) had graciously come over and served us and unrolled our injera bread and showed us how to eat it! With Asayech, nurse and founder of orphanage and another staff member. We celebrated along with a Danish couple who were taking their children home that day. We were all given gifts of Ethiopian clothing. This woman was performing a traditional coffee ceremony for us....roasting the beans from raw and then grinding, etc.... Long process....Yummy coffee!!!
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5 comments:

  1. Thankful that God answered your prayers to meet Hana's birthmom. What a gift!

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  2. I am so honoured to have been a part in this miracle. It brings tears to my eyes seeing these photos of our Ethiopian Home, Tikuret. A piece of our hearts will always be there.

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  3. Nancie, what a beautiful & sweet time. Hana looks like her birth-mom. What a beautiful, strong soul. I pray Hana will grow to be a strong and lovely lady like her two beautiful moms. We want to come see you all when things are settled.

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  4. Hana is a "mini me" of her birth mom! I'm so glad that as she grows, she will have these pictures and see her birth mom grasping you. Two women unified to love and care for her in ways that are difficult to comprehend!

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  5. Thinking of you and praying for you, Ham family! Hope things are well. :)

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