Thursday, August 12, 2010

Day 2 - Meeting Kenen

Confessions .... I was terrified to fly across the ocean ... I was scared to be in Africa ... I was scared of what the poverty and need would look like and how it would affect me and my kids.  The reality of being in Addis (short for Addis Ababa, which is much more fun to say) was in some ways easier than I expected. Perhaps because I was understandably focused on just one child, it was easier for me to not to emotionally engage with all of the need around me .. or perhaps just because there is such a surreal coexistence of the haves and the have nots.  Western conveniences side by side with street children shining shoes or selling gum or mothers with babies begging for food.  I do realize that we were kept from some of the worst areas, but all in all, my fears were not realized. Addis is a relatively safe city, and we were well taken care of by our agency which allowed us to focus on meeting and bringing Kenen home.  That is not to say, of course, that the sights and smells of Ethiopia did not have an impact ... but more on that later.

July 19th - Had very little appetite, although breakfast was pretty nice at the guest house.  Eggs, pancakes (of a sort), yogurt, and very good coffee!  We were all picked up and taken to the Hilton in Addis for the "paperwork party" where we filled out the final forms we will need for the Embassy.  While we worked on the papers, Jennifer took the kids swimming at the hotel pool.  You can see by the picture that the outdoor temperature was a bit cool, but they said that the pool was like bathwater and they had a great time! After that we all had lunch at the hotel.

Lunch at the Hilton Addis

Again, very little appetite ... moments of inner panic over what the next few hours would hold ... and the only way I got through it was just to keep telling myself to do the next thing ... put one foot in front of the other, and let go of my expectations for how the next hours, days, weeks would unfold.  It is what I am still doing each morning ... though it is becoming habit now. :-)

After lunch, we loaded back into the van to head to the Transition House.  With our agency, once a child is deemed adoptable, they are transferred from an orphanage to the Transition House.  All in all, while certainly not extravagant in any way, the care at the transition house is very good.  They are fed and clothed well, and are taken care of by nannies who genuinely seem to care for them.  However, there is no replacement for a mom and dad and a true family.  There were 3 other families who were meeting their children for the first time. One meeting their infant daughter, and the other two were also meeting toddler boys. 

Entrance to the Transition House
The playground
Driving through the gates

Last family picture as 5 Elder's

They brought our children out alphabetically by last name, so we were the 2nd family.  Kenenisa walked up to each of us, put his hands on our face and kissed us.  It was far more than I could have imagined as far as a first meeting. He seemed to be taking each of us in. Looked at us. Held our hands ... I wish that I could have read his mind, and heard what his thoughts were at this moment. My own thoughts were really just that I couldn't believe we were here ... meeting him, and that he was ours!

We waited for all of the other families to meet their children, and then went out to the courtyard and play structures and played soccer with Kenenisa. He was very energetic and having our other kids with us was awesome at that point, since I'm not much of a soccer player. It was all rather surreal watching our son - who I didn't really know. After a bit he motioned with his hands to his mouth that he was hungry. Bummer thing was that I hadn't really brought any food ... and there were the other little boys eating M&M's and animal crackers from their families. Borrowed a few treats on the sly so that it looked like I had been thoughtful enough to bring something yummy for him, and he ended up pushing both of them away. Found a protein bar in my backpack, and that he loved. Phew! Made it through my first test of motherhood. Though really my little backpack of things for him was quite lame. This theme will recur later in the week. Oh, and he loved our camera and the little flip video camera that we borrowed for the trip. That kept him busy for quite some time.

Rejecting the M&M's
Discovering the joys of technology
After a few hours, it was time to say good-bye.  We all hugged him, told him we'd be back tomorrow, and he started to cry. While that was sad, it at least gave me a sense that he liked being with us, which was good.  Here's our picture as we were driving away, after saying good-bye for the last time before he is with us forever.

1 comment:

  1. I love these pictures! Such a sweet first meeting. He is adorable!!