Friday, February 29, 2008

We've Arrived!

Selam to all,

I can hardly believe that I get to write this blog, but we are in Ethiopia and have spent part of the day with Melkamu! It's currently 6:30 p.m., which is about 10:30 a.m. EST, and we've just finished our dinner. Most everyone else is still down there but Patrick had had enough and so we came upstairs. He's playing with toys and I'm taking the opportunity to jump on the computer and post.

The flights were long but fairly easy. Patrick was more of a handful on the less-than-90-minute flight from Atlanta to Washington than he was on the 16+ hours from Washington to Addis Ababa. We took Ethiopian Air, which was fine but quite crowded. The people we met at the airport and on the flight were extremely friendly, many of them native Ethiopians who now live in the U.S. and were coming to Ethiopia for a visit with family. We had plenty of food, the DVD player held out for about 2 movies, and I watched The Bourne Ultimatum. Matt Damon makes any flight better.

Our flight landed at 8 p.m. Addis time. By the time we'd gotten our visas, luggage, through customs, waited for the other families to do the same, and gotten to the guesthouse, it was about 11 p.m. We were exhausted. Patrick slept well last night, but Jason and I tossed and turned. We were tired but nervous that our alarm wouldn't go off and we would be late for meeting Melkamu.

Finally it was time to get up. We got ready, ate breakfast, and then waited until we could finally go over to the care center. They had us sign a consent to videotape our meeting then finally took us to meet our children. We were the second family called. We went into the room and I knelt down in front of Melkamu to give him a minute to get used to me. They told me that I could pick him up, so I reached for him--and he reached back. I lost it. I pulled him close and sobbed into his soft little shoulder. After I'd calmed down and given him a million kisses, I handed him to Jason. Within a few minutes, he was already dozing off on Jason. We switched him off and I held him while he slept. Then we took him outside and woke him up a bit, and we walked around admiring the children of all the other families, who may very well be the cutest children ever.

Finally, we went back to his room and I fed him lunch until we had to leave. Then we went and toured the housing for the older children, came back to the guest house for lunch, and went back to the care center for orientation. We heard more about the CHSFS work in Ethiopia, the trip to Hossana (where we hope to meet Melkamu's birthmother), and toured the offices. Then they FINALLY let us go back to our kids for a while.

Melkamu has figured me out immediately. He has a preference for Jason already, and Jason got his first smile. But he has already figured out that I pay a lot of attention to him. At one point he was sitting on the floor and I was standing next to him, watching another little girl. He whacked me on the leg to get my attention. I picked him up for a minute and then he squirmed to get down--I think he just wanted to remind me that he's in charge!

Well, I'd better log off for now. More when I get another chance to write, and pictures later on.


Princess Leia, Han Solo, C3PO, R2D2, and Wicket said...

So glad you arrived safely! Can't wait to hear more about your trip and your precious little boy!

Jess said...

I feel like a broken record, but I'm just SO happy for you guys!

I love that he was already trying to keep you paying attention to him!! Too funny! :)

I hope everything continues to go well for you guys.

Catherine and Dustin said...

I can't believe you are there!!!!!! What an experience..I can't really comprehend what it must be like. I am happy for you.

I can't wait to meet him.

Jon and Lisa said...

I visit the site frequently to see if you've updated for us :) I, too, am a broken record. We're so happy for you! Give Patrick and Melkamu a big hug and a kiss from us and have a safe, enjoyable rest of your trip.

Handlyrics said...

Congrats on the safe arrival. Thank for the update.

Anonymous said...

Mom and Dad and I are sitting here reading together, and we're all incredibly psyched for our new nephew/grandson. Oh, and I changed the desktop on Sean's computer to a picture of Harry Potter. Thought you'd want to know that, too. We love you and Jason and Patrick, and are collectively completely unshocked that Melkamu's cute. Come home with him soon!

Love, the fam

Hil said...

I'm just so happy for you guys!! I love reading about your family's growth!