Friday, April 01, 2011

Gotcha Week

Almost 3 Saturdays ago, J and I packed up to bring little Beza home

A brief look back at that week...

Saturday: Pack and Go
We had the bulk of the day to focus on packing--you know, figuring out how many bandaids I really needed and where to stuff that extra pillow.  ;)  We gave M and T some last snuggles and kisses and headed out the door.  It was a mad dash from there.  Crazy traffic, hard-to-find parking (involving J getting lost while I waited with our luggage in the terminal), long check-in lines, insanely long check-in (where we unexpectedly had to check our carry-on's), a last minute scurry in the opposite direction to the reception desk for hotel vouchers needed for Dubai (with literally no one left in the check-in line), a run through security and a scramble to get in the line boarding the plane.  Whew!  BUT we did make it!

Sunday: Dubai
We landed on Sunday night in Dubai (after 12 hours), the airport of seemingly a million sky-high dazzling white pillars.  We spent a few hours catching up on sleep (10-hour layover) and eating lots of food with free vouchers.  It was one of those agonizingly long nights where I woke up fully convinced that it was time to leave only to discover I had only been fitfully sleeping for 1 hour.  We could not wait for Monday. :)

(Carrying the soon-to-be-filled baby sling.)

Monday: Gotcha Day
We left Dubai early on Monday for a short little jaunt to Ethiopia (just short of 4 hours). We arrived just after lunch--with enough time to get to the hotel and to freshen up before being reunited with little Beza (Oh, and with NO lines for visas and our luggage being some of the first off of the plane--whoo-hoo!).

And before we knew it, we were hugging Danny, the driver, and heading off for the short drive to Hannah's Hope.  We walked through the familiar gates, into the baby building and were soon greeted by a little face that already looked like "home."  Little Beza.

(Seeing each other for the first time.)

This time there were no tears.  She seemed so content.  (I thought I would be a blubbery mess, but it was just a sweet, amazing afternoon.)  After a bath and a change of clothes, we all left--sweet girl will never have to spend another night without a family.

(Leaving that afternoon.)

Tuesday: Full and Final
After a great night of sleep (Beza woke up a few times to eat, but went right back to sleep), and a relaxing morning at the hotel, we headed off to the U.S. Embassy for the last step in this part of the adoption process.  After waiting in chairs in a room that looks like, say, the DMV or any passport office, we walked up to a little window, answered a few questions and then heard the words, "Your adoption is now full and final."  Wow...  Those were big words...  Amazing... :)

Wednesday: Please, NO! and Chillin'
Right before going to bed my eye started to feel a little icky.  Oh, please, no!--I just kept hoping that it was because my contacts had been in for a long time.  But then in the middle of the night I woke up with my eye crusted shut.  Yuck.  My mind started running through all of the possible scenarios--1.) worsening pink eye all week with no help,  2.) trying to get some drops from Hannah's Hope but feeling horribly guilty about taking their goods, 3.) standing in a long line at an international clinic with a baby, and 4.) kicking myself for not bringing extra drops that I had at home.

Quite thankfully, by the morning it wasn't too bad.  Even more thankfully, I mentioned it to another traveling family and do you know what?  They had awesome drops that they had brought with them preventatively and I was able to use them all week.  How cool is that?!  Seriously, so, so thankful for those drops!

For the rest of the week I sported by new glasses (I got them just 2 days before we left). Because the only very rare times that I wear my glasses are when I take out my contacts early at night, wearing glasses makes me feel like I'm not quite ready for the day and I kind-of don't look like myself. :)  But, I could see. :)

(Nice and big. ;)

During the day, while we were waiting for the last of Beza's paperwork to arrive (her passport and files needed to enter the U.S.), we were able to go back to Hannah's Hope each day to hang out with the little ones there.

Thursday: More Chillin'
We spent more time at Hannah's Hope taking photos of the little ones there to send to their waiting families--we were so grateful for those photos while we were waiting for Beza--thankful to see her face, to have them to mark the times that we were missing with her, to be able to show her someday and to be able to share with her birthfamily.  It was such a privilege to be able to meet all of the beautiful babies and toddlers there.

Friday: Still Chillin', Coffee and Going HOME
We started each morning by giving Beza a bath in the sink.  She was just the right size.  A bit slippery, but with two people it totally worked. :)   Unfortunately, we forgot to pack hair products for her curls, so she rocked a fuzzy head for most of the week.

But on the last day, as we were packing a few more things into the donation bins, we finally found some baby oil--what they use at Hannah's Hope.  We were so completely out of our league on this one and I'm not quite sure why, but J actually took a large handful, and *phwack!,* glopped the whole blob right on top of her head. We looked at each other in stunned silence.  Oh, no--what do we do with this mess?  J wiped out a bunch of it with a tissue and the rest just kind of rubbed into her little curls and disappeared.  Phew! :)

We spent a few last hours at Hannah's Hope.  And then we had to say goodbye.  That was hard.  Each day Beza was able to spend a bit of time with her "special mothers" and, again, we could see how much she loves them and how much they love her.  We have no words to express our thankfulness to them for loving her so well... 

After a tearful goodbye, we went to Kaldi's (much like Starbucks) for lunch.

Then, once again, we found ourselves in another mad dash to get to the airport. :)  No worries, though, we got there in plenty of time with zero lines.

(Waiting at the airport.)

Beza is an ace flyer!  Girl slept the whole way to Dubai, kept us entertained a bit in the airport lounge, and then finally finished her night of sleeping on the lounge couch (7-hour layover).

International travels are definitely a great way to meet people from all over the world.  While Beza was sleeping, J and I met a kind woman from Calcutta who insisted that we eat her mango and naan sandwiches.  She also requested J's toothpaste.  (Kind of interesting. :)

Beza continued with her awesome traveler-status on the last flight home.  She slept, babbled, ate and slept some more.  And after 14 hours we finally landed.  So good to be home. :)

What an incredible week!  Ethiopia was as beautiful, friendly, and complicated as we remembered--and while our time there has been brief, it has become one of the few places in this world that feels like "home."  Beza was brave and amazing--she gave us a million smiles, fussed a little when strangers got too close, slept well, ate well and really, was just a delight. :)  We talked to M and T almost every day on Skype--Beza even patty-caked with them.  And after a full week, we couldn't wait to all be together. 

We are heading into this next part of the journey with full and grateful hearts, prayers for our family growing together well and excitement for what the future holds. :)

(Homecoming post coming soon.)


  1. Gini this makes me all tear and excited for our turn!!! She is such a beautiful girl and it just brings such JOY to my heart reading those words, "sweet girl will never have to spend another night without a family". AHH!!! Amazing!! The miracle of adoption!

    And I still can't THANK YOU enough for taking pics of our daughter during your time there. They are priceless to us. Eternal gratitude!

  2. Gini - this is amazing. Thank you so much for sharing it. I am so thankful that the Lord let me meet you just before you began this leg of your journey so that I could watch it come to fruition. She is precious!

  3. I love reading your posts--I feel like we've made the journey with you. Thank you for that.

  4. Aw, made this mama all teary! We are still at the beginning stages, just finishing up our homestudy interviews and then on to some dossier stuff. You know the drill.:) Seeing posts like this keeps my focus on check, and reminds me that it really WILL happen one day. God bless your fam!


    Portland, Oregon