Monday, September 18, 2006

The Big Day

We woke at about 5am, and could not get back to sleep. While it would be convenient to blame it on the imam of the mosque next door (prayer starts early), it had more to do with my mind racing at a million miles an hour. In just a few short hours it would be time.

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.


nikki said...

Oh my goodness, this brought me goosebumps and tears of joy!!! Praise God from whom all blessings flow!

Colette said...

I, too, have tears of joy... can't wait to meet them. We are with you in spirit and prayers of thanksgiving. Love, Colette

Heather said...

I'm sobbing! What a gift you have given us, to share your unspeakable joy!!! I checked your blog last night before bed, and nothing new, but then Joy called this morning (by the way...everything is going GREAT at home with Auntie Joy) She had such excitement in her voice "Hi Heather, it's Joy. Have you checked the blog? It's so Awesome, it made me cry!" It couldn’t be a better story! I am beside myself! Thank you so much for sharing!!! We love you all TONS! We are having a birthday dinner for Imani at Red Robin on Wed! Imani and Andrew are doing just great, really! Andrew is having a ball with Auntie Joy & grandma & grandpa! Do not worry, they are both truly truly having a blast! Rest in that knowledge and enjoy your time with these two! It couldn’t be smother at home. We just got word that Simon will be home in 4-6 weeks!!! Thanks again for sharing, we are all eagerly awaiting the next update. Tell the kids we love them!

mom and dad said...

We were all in tears reading the words and then talking to the newest family members. I couldn't believe it; I checked the blog at 7:30 and there was no news then we took Annabelle for a run and came back to the wonderful update. What a gift the telephone really is!!!We can hardly wait for the week to go by although I'm sure the time will just fly. The routine is great; it allows us to get some rest at night before we tackle the next day. We are all having early bedtimes. Grandma, Grandpa and Auntie Joy are really having a good time! Annabelle misses you tons and tons too. She has made a few doggie comments, like dumping the garbage today when we all took a little field trip to Costco. We are spreading the word for extra prayers for the return flight. Auntie Donna says you can do it and that it really isn't pay back it's just being two. Give everyone extra hugs and kisses for us. You are in our hearts and prayers. Love you all

Maureen and Bill said...

Hello Chris & Julie!

It's wonderful to read about your journey. Hope you can "feel the love" from all of us in your Westminster family across the miles. We pray for safe travel, wonderful "Kodak" moments and the constant protection of the One who calls us all His children. Can't wait to take you all fishing some day on the S.S. Esser! God bless you!

Babu/Dad said...

My dear Julie and Chris,

I cannot express the emotions I am carrying right now. I am so grateful to God for you and for God's love and grace shared through you. You know how powerful the image of adoption is for me. You have given me even deeper insight into what love can be.

Our prayers are with you and with all the kids. It's nice knowing that we are on the same continent for a change. I love you. Dad/Babu

Auntie Jane said...

Dear ones,
Congratulations and blessings to you all! Cannot wait to meet the new Wards! Meanwhile, I'll continue to pray for you and for safe travels home.
I'm looking forward to seeing Imani at school tomorrow and wishing her a happy birthday. Will drop a little something at the house after school.
Both kids were in great spirits at church on Sunday and Auntie Joy seemed to be doing well also. :)
Much Love and many blessings to you,
Auntie Jane

mom and dad said...

We had a great day today with happy spirits after talking to our big brother so much, despite the runny nose and sore throat. All Imani could do all day was talk about her new brother and sister and plan for their arrival next week. She talked a mile a minute all afternoon after your call this morning. Imani was the biggest helper, hanging clothes in the new closet with Auntie Joy and helping grandpa do various chores, after first putting on her workers hat. And what a great big sister she was! She entertained Andrew most of the day, when she was not plannning her birthday tomorrow. Each day with them is such a blessing and the more time we spend the richer the blessing becomes. All the adoptions swirling around us right now bring back so many happy memories. When Joy and I were going through the baby clothes we found the outfit Tonya wore when she came to us. To share the joy that four families in this church get to experience is a dream come true for me. God works such wonders if we just open oureselves up to them. Hugs and kisses to everyone. Oh, and Annabelle really misses you and she is such a two year old! Love, mom

Dave and Sandy said...

Dear Chris and Julie,
Tears of joy filled my eyes after reading your message. God is faithful! We prayed for you all in Esther Circle today. We hope the rest of your stay is great and we are praying for a smooth and safe trip home!
Love, The Martins