There is so much to think about, when you are about to meet your children for the first time. The room was spinning. Would they be happy, or would they be afraid? Would I be able to speak to them, or would they just stare at us blankly, lumping us in with the many strangers that have passed through their lives lately? After about an hour, we gave up the fight and got up to make tea and coffee. We would have answers soon enough.
There were about a dozen of them waiting for us when we pulled in through the gate. No turning back now! We got out the car and stood sort of bewildered while conversations in Amharic flew around us. The children smiled shyly and went back to their activities (though they somehow managed to keep at their P.E. class while not taking their eyes off of us.) Suddenly, a ball of energy came flying around the corner of the car yelling “Julie! Mama!” Manyazewal almost tackled her with his running hug, then turned to me. “Daddy, I love you! Come!” Holding hands, we were led (dragged) down through the compound to his room. “Here is my bed. Here are my gifts!”
Roomates: Basfkad, Maneyazewal and Bashir
He scooped up the ziplock bag we had sent him weeks ago, opened it and pulled out the photo album. “This is Andrew, my brother! This is Iman, my sister! This is Oregon!” His English is good (in fact, he has already started teaching me Amharic), and we went through the entire photo album before we could go get Mihret (Mi-hi-ret… I’ve been saying it wrong.)
In the special ward for the little ones, we were greeted by smiles and giggles. Mihret came right to us and wanted “up” (we are still struggling to understand her toddler-Amharic… but Manyazewal is a wonderful translator.) She showed us the water, a tree, a window… a typical toddler tour. We had a quick look around and then we were back in the car on our way to the guesthouse for some bonding time.
Mihret's room, BUT NOT ANY MORE!
Julie & Co
So, that’s the first day. There is so much more, of course, but it’s all I have time to write. Every second I spend writing is time I’m not playing, and these kids are STARVED for some playtime. I have to say… these kids are WONDERFUL. They are sweet, kind, full of energy and oh so loving. Sure, Mihret sometimes knows how to throw a tantrum when she doesn’t get something she is sure she needs, but show me a 2 year old who doesn’t. They have a great deal of love to give, quite a lot to say, and are absolute sponges for learning. I can’t wait for you all to meet them and be charmed.
God bless, Chris
Footnote: I’m not sure how often I’ll be updating. We had to drive across town to the Hilton to connect (which is OK, the kids get to swim, so they’re happy) so it may only be every few days. It looks like pictures are going to take too long to upload, which is too bad because we have some good ones! We’ll look around and try to come up with a solution… in the meantime the reports will have to do.