Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Ethiopia.. Court trip

We've been home for just over a week..
Life has been a whirlwind since stepping off the plane but i know i have neglected updating you :) sorry!
This only chronicles our first 4 days but it gives a glimpse into our experience..

Written Thursday, 12/29
We have arrived!!! :) We are in Ethiopia!!
The flight was insanely long and we're surviving on 3 hours of sleep right now but we're here, settling in at our guest house in Addis Ababa. We are relaxing, after lunch, in the community sitting room of the guest house with the windows open and the breeze blowing the curtains across the room. The sounds from outside range from barking dogs to children playing, car horns to crowing roosters.. There are 2 donkeys living on the street just outside our gate :) Maybe they are someone's pet? There are almost no traffic lights here.. lots of round-abouts instead. And crowds of people crossing the street, walking in the median.. and this is on the highway! Needless to say, the ride from the airport was interesting and exciting!! On one "off ramp", a horse drawn carriage exited just as our van nearly clipped his wooden buggy..
The dust in the air has really affected our allergies. I am breathing only through my mouth right now :)  very lovely, as you can imagine. Hopefully my benadryl will kick in soon. Many roads are dirt and there seems to be a great deal of construction, which has caused a lot of dirt and dust in the air.
There are eucalyptus trees everywhere, so pretty and different to see. Corrugated metal seems to be a material commonly used in roofing and in privacy structures.. With the sun gleaming off of the metal and the brightly painted blue, pink, green, and terracotta homes; the hoards of people walking in their Orthodox Christian white robes; the random but constant animal noises... ahhh, Ethiopia!
The adventure has officially begun! :)
Tonight we are taking the evening to rest.. tomorrow we will meet Violet's social worker and fly north with her to the orphanage. That is when we will finally meet our baby for the first time!! We are excited and thrilled beyond words.. It is the moment we have awaited for over three years.. The miracle of this entire experience is humbling.. We are so thankful to be here and thankful for your love and prayers. Please continue to pray for our safety and protection, for our health and Violet's, and for our MOWYA letter to be in the judge's hands for our court date next Tuesday! I will email as often as possible. The next time will probably be Saturday evening when we return to Addis after the trip north.
We love you!! Happy New Year!! And God bless...
Summer and Stuart
Update #2 (written Mon, Jan 2)
Hello and Happy New Year!!
We wanted to send an update on our trip..
It is Sunday afternoon here and we just returned from visiting a church this morning, followed by lunch at Ethiopia's only golf course. We are still getting used to the Ethiopian currency.. our bill for the two of us was 220 birr, which sounds craaaazy expensive but it translates to approximately $13. So not too shabby! :)
The church was nice... it was in English, not Amharic (the Ethiopian language) or Ge'ez (the ancient language of Ethiopia only spoken in Orthodox churches, kind of like Latin Mass). There were a ton of families who were either going to court, like us, or here for Embassy (trip #2).. so lots of little babies and kiddos with their new families.. super sweet to see!
This evening we are going out to a traditional Ethiopian restaurant with dancing and music.. it should be fun and entertaining!! There are other adoptive families at our guest house that we are touring the town with and our agency has arranged all of the activities and a tour guide/expert on all things Ethiopian. So we are basically just sitting back and going where they tell us.
Friday, we flew to a town in Northern Ethiopia, where Violet's orphanage is located. Its in what is called the Tigray region, near the ancient capitol, Axum. Violet's social worker accompanied us.. We were met at the airport by the orphanage director and he could not have been more kind or gracious. The video of walking through the gates and meeting her is so amazing and special.. I don't have words to describe it but I will upload the video as soon as we are home so we can email it to you :) She is absolutely, positively the cutest baby in the entire universe!!! Our hearts melted the second we saw her and being able to hold her and make her laugh was more wonderful than I could have even imagined. Our lives are forever changed.. She is such a good baby too. The social worker, nurse, and the orphanage staff all told us that she was the happiest baby they have ever seen. They said they have told one another that her family will be the luckiest family :) :) We think so too!!
I cannot wait to post photos of her! She has her first tooth coming in and she just started crawling 2 weeks ago! We have the best video of her crawling.. she doesn't use her legs yet, only her upper body. So she looks like someone in Basic Training boot camp, pulling herself across the floor! And she is an absolute piglet :) Eating anything and everything! We fed her a bottle once and bread and noodles another time.. Stuart was even able to rock her to sleep yesterday afternoon before we flew back to Addis Ababa. We took so many photos.. hundreds!!!!
Oh and her hair is fantastic! Its silky soft and curly but soft and wavy around her hairline.. I can't wait to play to with it!!
I had thought that our hearts would be broken about having to leave her.. but the people at the orphanage love her so much. They were unbelievably kind and loving. Even our social worker said that it is a special place.. that most orphanages are run like businesses and are only for money. But this place is run like a ministry and they consider the children to be a part of their family. We could not have asked for a better place for her to have lived for the past 10 1/2 months.. and our hearts are blessed to know that she is so well cared for until we can return for her.
God has answered our prayers in more ways than we even asked for.. We are so thankful for this, for her, for you and your love and prayers.. This has been a journey of a lifetime and its only just begun.. we still have another 5 days in Ethiopia and the adventure of parenthood ahead of us!!!! :) :) :) :)
We love you so much!! Please keep us in your prayers..
Summer and Stuart

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