i have a feeling this will be a random post. there are so many thoughts in my head, and without being able to record them as we went, it will be a challenge to organize several days into one. bear with :)
we met our new kids on tuesday night, the 5th. at the airport, it was looking pretty likely that our bags didn't make the short flight from kigali to addis, but they did! a simple thing you take for granted, but when you wait an hour and the clerk keeps saying 'maybe in five more minutes', it makes you pretty stinking happy to see neon green luggage tags come down the conveyor belt. samuel had been asleep as it was about 10:30 when we arrived. he is a very quiet shy boy. i am guessing that will change in time. he is much more himself when he is playing. it is hard for him to hug and kiss back but he smiles when you do it to him. i was impressed with him (and the other kids too) this morning. we spent a little over two hours in their playroom/dining area and did two crafts. he stuck with it perfectly! he made necklaces and bracelets and a bionicle with sam I. mahilet (lydia) also worked very contently. mahilet is just beautiful. her teeth are brilliant white! her hair is gorgeous! she does this little thing when she is excited that i love (it reminds me of abi in china with her little head nod thingy :) where she sucks her breathe in and it is soooo cute!
we found out today that there is a 13 year old brother from their biological mom and dad! can you say "surprised to hear this?" our paperwork said no siblings. woudneh did not believe mahilet even though she had a picture. he called someone and confirmed it. this boy is living at the orphanage with their mom. i asked woudneh why the birth mom never revealed this? he siaid it is not uncommon because the mom knows that siblings sets are hard to place and a sibling set of 3 is practically impossible. add to that, a 13 year old and she was sure none of them would be. pray on this. i asked woudneh the other day "why would she just not keep them in the orphanage with her since she is working there?" and he looked at me intensely and said "and then what? she has no home. they will age out and then she can do nothing. relinquishing them was her only choice for them to make it." at yesterday's court hearing, there were birth moms there also....signing away their children in the hope of a better life. this trip has made the reality of abandonment and relinquishment very very well...real. everyone else in our group is adopting infants and each story is just heartbreaking. some have met birth moms, some not. some have talked with the police who found them. poverty is alive and well here.
i will forever cherish the time God allowed us to have with the birth mom of lydia mahilet and abraham samuel. she is a neat lady. i saw her do little things to the orphanage kids to fix clothing and pick up litter. she is the type of mom i respect.
and i don't want to forget to include how totally awesome our travel group is! we will share a bond for all eternity. all are Christian and are some of the most generous, helpful, kind people i have ever met. from washington DC to kansas to colorado to california to indiana, we are connected. we are all sharing everything and i consider it an honor to call them friends. just a
great great group of folks. one family now has 13 kids :)
i also cannot say enough good things about our agency, west sands. this has been the most complete and well-rounded taste of the country we have experienced (our trip to china was also the best but it was not the agency, that was to the credit of alex and tony :) we have seen and done it all! while i adore the people of ethiopia, it cannot hold a candle to rwanda, in terms of landscape. rwanda is in a class of its own. here it is very very very very dry and brown. and the pollution? i have no words. one of the things i am most excited about is getting our new kids into clear country air!!!!! i cannot believe people can breathe this day in and day out and not be sick. fresh air is another simple thing, or so i thought, that i will not take for granted again. breathe deep and praise God for it :)
please continue to pray for our health. sam has had a fever. everyone has had days of feeling pretty crummy. you can't run at this pace with all the physical and emotional stress and not feel it. getting sick at home next week would be better than being sick here :)
i miss our kids at home more than i can ever say. i am praying continuously for their safety. i realize just how much God has them covered. thanks again to amy, amy, and rick/kristi for all you are doing. i will be forever indebted and grateful.