As we drove across town to the Toukoul orphanage our hearts raced! We have been looking at Baby M's picture for several months, knowing that she will not know who we are, we wondered how it would be to finally see this beautiful face in person for the first time! Our dear friend Steph came with us so she could videotape our first moments together as a family. The drive to the orphanage seemed to take forever but there was a highlight...it was a holiday for the Orthodox church and church had just happened to get out as we passed through town, so we were able to see TONS people wearing the traditional gowns, holding umbrellas with the view of the stunning church in the distance.
As we approached the blue gates our eyes filled with tears, we have been waiting for this moment for a very long time and it was fast approaching. As the gates opened we couldn't wait to hop out of the van. We went into the office and checked in, giving our daughter's name and our family name. We were told to go across the yard/parking lot to the room beneath the baby dormitory. As we sat there waiting for our child we couldn't focus on anything else. Our eyes were glued to the door. Finally we saw a line of nannies coming our way, each holding a precious child. We immediately saw Baby M and jumped up to meet the nanny. She handed Baby M to us and we couldn't take our eyes off of her. Not only was she the most beautiful baby we have every seen, but she had the sweetest disposition. Of course we took tons of photos (you don't even want to know how many) and took turns holding our daughter. We were in disbelief, this day had finally arrived. We brought a tigger rattle which she enjoyed holding, hearing the rattle, and chewing on tigger's ear. As she gazed into our eyes our hearts completely melted. She quickly grabbed our fingers and glanced into our eyes. I am sure she was wondering who these people where who were staring at her and watching her every movement. We gave her kisses on her head and hands, and rocked her back and forth. Close to the end of the visit she fell asleep in our arms (yes we even took turns holding her while she was sleeping), it was absolutely precious. Soon, the nannies returned to pick up the children. We said thank you in Amharic "Ame-segi-na-lew" and "God Bless" as she took Baby M away. Then we told the coordinator how blessed we felt to be adopting Baby M, that we promised to love her with everything we had, and that we were so thankful for the love and care they have given our daughter. We also promised to keep the Ethiopian culture alive in our household, and she was very pleased to hear that we were staying the duration in Ethiopia (between court and embassy). It was simply magical! To celebrate we went to the Lime Tree for dinner, which was delicious!
While we slept that night it poured with a huge thunder and lighting storm, it was very loud but we enjoyed listening to it! Although we woke up to no power we were so thankful to be here. We woke up at 5am and couldn't go back to bed because we were so excited to see Baby M again. We heard the peaceful chants/prayers again which we love. Eventually the generator kicked on so we could at least take a shower (still no power until noon) before we left. Our favorite driver, "Baby", took us back to Toukoul to see Baby M again around 9:30. As we sat in the room waiting for Baby M again we were just as excited and hoping that she would remember us. As her nanny brought her into the room we immediately embraced this precious child again. She is such a joy, and we feel so lucky to be her parents. We enjoyed almost two hours with her and loved every moment (even the toots)! Soon the coordinator brought in a scale and Baby M was the first to be measured and weighed, she is about 13 pounds and 24 inches long. She looks healthy and is very alert! Baby M kept starred at us the entire time and eventually fell asleep in our arms once more. It was surreal, we truly can't imagine our lives without her! Soon the nannies came back to take the children and we once again said thank you and god bless!
We went to the store at the Toukoul orphanage to start buying her 18 little presents, with the plan to give one to her on every birthday. We also plan to buy her some wedding gifts (we know it will be decades but we want to get these beautiful items while we are here).
Tomorrow we will be meeting with our attorney to talk about court on Thursday. Please pray and keep positive thoughts that we will pass court and therefore gain custody within the following days. We have to say again what an incredible experience this has been already, the adoption and staying in this incredible country. Everyone is so nice, as Baby said "everyone hear loves Americans", we feel so honored to be here.
“You must be my Lucky Star, 'cause you shine on me wherever you are. I just think of you and I start to glow, and I need your light, and baby you know. Starlight, starbright first star I see tonight. Starlight, starbright make everything all right.”