I woke up to the sounds of cars and trucks laden with goods zipping past our window and a beautiful view of a field full of goats, donkeys and people. I shook my head in disbelief—we are actually in Africa!
We were going to Hannah’s Hope to meet Little Girl for the first time. It completely didn’t feel real. :)
We met up with the other 2 families here with us for breakfast in the restaurant downstairs. I had a mighty delicious Ethiopian “doughnut.”
Before we knew it our driver arrived to take us to HH. Just as we were settling down to take in the views—people everywhere, half-constructed buildings with wooden stick scaffolding, and random groups of animals all around, we pulled onto a dirt road. And then just like that, we pulled up to the famous black gates.
I took a deep breath—in just a few moments this dream that we have had for so long would be coming to fruition—wow…
As we walked through the gate we saw groups of little babies out in the courtyard (was she there?). And then after meeting a few of the administrative staff and before there was time to comprehend all that was happening, there was a little group of women carrying in the brown chair that we have pictures of Little Girl in—and there she was.
Oh…, so beautiful
(And did we cry? :) Ahh…it was breathtaking to see her little face in person. I definitely quickly blinked back tears when I saw that it was her. But I didn’t want her to be scared by the crazy crying “ferenge” (white person). :)
Sweet Girl cried when we first held her, but was quickly comforted by her “special mother”—something that is so good because it means that she’s forming healthy attachments with the people who are loving her everyday and that we are right now strangers to her. After a bottle and falling asleep, I held her for a long time while she napped—humming a lullaby and kissing her soft curls. Love.
Funniest thing—they thought that J’s hair smells terrible! So funny!! They rubbed their hands through his hair and then made yucky (yet, sweet) sour faces when they smelled their hands. Hilarious!
Oh, yeah, and they love watches. Especially watches that beep. Unfortunately ;), in their quest to make J’s beep, they also keep accidentally pulling off his arm hair! Again, hilarious!
After her nap, we took Little Girl back outside and she just snuggled in our arms. She is a tiny little 7-month old. :) And she just lights up when she sees her special mothers and the older children. They call her “conejo” or “beautiful.”
At 2 o’clock we came back to the hotel for lunch—yummy Ethiopian food and the strongest cup of coffee!
We were able to finally get on the internet and have a little bit of rest (sleep is still elusive), before heading out to the cultural dinner. More amazing food and incredible dancing. Okay, the dancers have shoulder movements that don’t even seem human! And the women swing their necks and gorgeous hair like (admittedly, this word isn’t a word that necessarily brings to mind things of great beauty, but it’s a movement that’s so hard to fully describe and I think this word kind-of works) num-chucks.
At then end of the day, these are my thoughts.
What I am most struck by today is how stunning the people are. Their eyes, their smiles, the way that they carry themselves—it’s strikingly beautiful. I am definitely falling in love with this place.
And Little Girl. So tiny and scared in our arms. Yet, also so beautiful. I can’t believe that we will have the privilege of being her family. The weight of her baby body, her gummy smile and delicate fingers and toes are enchanting. She is so lovely. It will be hard to say goodbye for this little while when we have to leave on Friday…
What a beautiful day…