embassy trip. part 1.

Embassy – part 1. 
so, yall have waited long enough.  geez.  I feel like I can’t ever move forward until I catch up.  so this is me catching up!  the trip to EMBASSY!!!  
We left Midland on Tuesday October 23 and headed to DC.  Our sweet friend Will drove us to the airport, prayed as we got out and took fun pics of us as we left Midland as a family of 2!  
we made it to DC and as soon as we arrived Ethiopians surrounded us.  I LOVE the sound of them greeting each other & I really love greeting them in Amharic myself.  They LOVE it.  Got our bags & jumped in a cab and realized our cabbie was Ethiopian! Horray!  We talked all about Addis – favorite coffee shops, restaurants, and the recent prime ministers death.  This is when it really feels like Ethiopia is my home away from home.  We had a so-so last date night dinner at a local restaurant and hit the hay.

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!

I mean, they seemed HUGE to me.  I left and they were little babies and now they seemed like kids!  I mean, that moment pulling them into me and loving them and kissing them and telling them how much we missed them.  You can’t tell that much in the pictures, but Asher started crying!  Sweet thing.  But after a few minutes, we was back to loving on her sweet mommy + daddy.

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!!

{first family of 4 official pic!!}

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.

and that my friends, was the day they became ours.
you realize that this whole post happened in less than 2 days time.
what a whirlwind.
and we came to realize that the day wasn’t over yet…but more on that the next post!

Hey, I'm Wynne!

Hi, friend! First, I truly am so giddy that you are here. I want you to know I believe in you and all the ways you are growing towards living a more intentional life.  I genuinely hope you are encouraged from our time together here.

A little about me, I’m a type 7 on the enneagram, a total extrovert + people lover, entrepreneur, connector, storyteller, people gatherer, and passionate wife, mama + friend. I feel most alive when I’m exploring new places and surrounded by people I love. Give me a day in the outdoors disconnected from wifi, and I am a happy girl. I run on oat milk lattes, Jesus, gratitude journaling and kitchen dance parties with my four kids.
Welcome, come on in!

let'e be friends

  1. make. me. cry. love you:)

  2. mama faith says:

    Beautiful! I remember getting Hannah Cate and going to Embassy and this brought so many memories back. AND I LOVE ABI! I met him first in July 2011 on a mission trip with our church and he was also our guide from the guest house for our court date. Precious guy! Thanks for sharing your story!

  3. Aja says:

    awesome story! i teared up when i saw the pics of the nannies coming through the door with your babies. so happy for you guys that you are all together now as a family of 4. i first came across your blog when you were waiting for a referral and i could feel your love and pain by reading your posts. we are just in the beginning of our waiting, our dossier has been in ET for just 3 weeks now, so it brings me peace to know that the waiting and long nights does turn into happy days! happy new year!

  4. So So sweet! AND amazing pictures! 🙂 God is so good!

  5. Kara M says:

    Does your agency usually leave you to do all that on your own? Did you have someone guiding you? I guess it’s like me knowing what to do in China. I wouldn’t really need a guide in my hometown there. BUT still curious!

  6. Hannah B says:

    Aw, my heart swelled with so much joy reading this!


  7. Thanks for sharing your story Wynne, it makes me so excited for the time that I’ll get too do this with my baby/babies!

  8. Wynne Elder says:

    Thanks chantel! I was telling Stephen last night that if I hadn’t done this before I would have (nd did on others blogs) poured over every word just to know some of what to expect! Can’t wait for your day!!

  9. […] in Addis, and then home on Sunday.  We literally spent the weekend in Addis.  I blogged about it here + here.  and then the infamous airplane […]

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