the next morning we got up bright and early and headed to the airport in DC. we’ve got the whole travel-on-ethiopian-air thing down so we made it nicely to our gate after eating Chipotle (duh).
Stephen was particularly excited that we were on a DREAMLINER! He is a major airplane nerd, so it was fun to watch him giddy with excitement! (I think he was texting my dad the great news during this pic!)
the 12 hour flight was exciting as we were sooo ready to see the babes. nothing too exciting happened. oh, we ran into kelly putty and her crew who were up to awesomeness (read here!) pretty fun when we see friends on a flight to ethiopia!
So after 12 hours, we were finally in Addis!
it seriously felt like home. every single time I’ve gotten off the Ethiopian Air flight in Addis I try to be the first one through all the lines. I really am like a kid in a candy shop. Went through visa line & customs and while Stephen was in line with security I scurried off to change in the bathroom (we were about to see the kids!) I made it out in time to be brushed through security and out those airport doors. So excited to see our friends Abi & Balcha waiting for us! It only took about 1.5 minute for my Ethiopian cell to start blowing up – and I was home!
turns out we had about 30 min to kill before the transition home was open, so we headed to my fave coffee shop – Kaldis for some french toast and lattes! After spending 2 months here this summer, it was a nice feeling to be back on my old stomping grounds. To know where I wanted to eat, how to get money out, have friends calling and texting me. Just felt so normal cruising down the road in addis jamming out to Jah’Lude!
SO – this was it! We were about to see the kids!!!!! Hadn’t seen them in 7+ weeks and I had butterflies!!! Abi came in with us to video and take pics & it was so comforting to have a good friend in the room. Abi (part of the Ethiopian Guest Home!) has been with us since our first trip to Africa in July 2011.
Asher was first!
then mr camp!
The nannies at the home loved our babies so well. They were treated amazingly and we were always so at peace with the way they cared for our two. We wanted to honor them and thank them so much for everything they did to love on and care for our babies!
We thought we’d have a long visit and coffee ceremony, but almost right after we got there we were told embassy was closing the next morning so we needed to get over there ASAP. So – we quickly signed their release papers, gave sweet thank you gifts + a family pic to the nannies, said our goodbyes and scurried to the car.
I wish the other nannies who I came to love this summer were there to bid us farewell, but I was thankful for these ladies! One of them even cried when we left. I can’t imagine how hard that is for them to fall in love with these babies & then know they will probably never see them again. I applaud them for the work that they do!!
I wish I had photos + video of my hurrying around to try to make sure everything was in the diaper bag. and video of us leaving the transition home. It almost felt like we were doing something we weren’t supposed to do – just walking out with them. As we got into the van, we just sorta looked at each other and said “so they are ours now?” It was like disbelief! We raced over to the embassy with Asher in my lap, and Camp in Stephens. I can’t even imagine what was going through their little minds. Asher was LOVING the wind in her face and in general they both seemed happy with us, and in their new cute outfits I might add. We got to the embassy, strapped em in the ergos, grabbed the diaper bag and off we went. Turned in our cell phones, went through security and headed to America 🙂 or america it surely seems. we waited our turn in the waiting room (while judge judy played on the nearby tv) and were called up to window 7. We finally met face to face the man we’d been communicating with all summer – he’s a Texan, so we talked Texas, signed a few papers and it was done. Usually you have to wait 24-48 hours to get your visas to leave the country but since the next day was a national holiday – we waited about 10 min, got our visa and were done. We literally could have left that day if we wanted (and if we were crazy!).
But they are officially OURS! OURS!!!! such an amazing feeling after 2 years of waiting, paper chasing, fundraising, praying, crying, and wondering if it would ever happen. Our promise was fulfilled! our dawn was here! our family went from 2-4!
obviously, all the driving around town made the babes tired. so we took our first family nap. isn’t this what you dream of when you dream of having babies? you know it’s not all butterflies and roses, but THIS. this is what you dream about.
later that night, we gave them their first bath. and luckily, our good friend from home Wendy was in Addis on a mission trip and came over to help us document it 😉 let’s just say they might have gotten baptized that night.