Saturday, July 13, 2013

Two Years, continued...

Two years ago we became a Forever Family in Ethiopia. (Read the first part here.)

After checking and re-checking that we were ready, we set off to the Farewell Ceremony at the children's care center. I should mention here that we were not alone in the guest house. Three other families were bringing home children that week, and we all stayed together in the guest house. All the other children were babies... 10 month old tiny bundles of cuteness who sat on blankets and cooed at toys dangled at them. They didn't leave the mat. They. did. not. move. off. their. mats. Sigh. I'm still jealous, 2 years later.  While we frantically ran in two directions at once after a very active 5 year old who loved cars, and a bold 1 year old who had just that week learned to walk, the other families playing with babies on a mat.  Have I mentioned the 20 pounds Andrew and I both lost the first month? 

We weren't ready. Not at all. But it anyone ever ready, really, to start raising up a tiny child who does not speak your language and has no idea what is happening, and of course logically spends most of their time screaming or eating and sleeping? Newborns are not much different than newly adopted children of any age. Just smaller and easier to tote around.

The kiddos in their traditional clothes post Farewell party.
 The Farewell Ceremony was beautiful. The children were the center of attention. There were prayers and tears and coffee.  I'll never forget the stricken look on Lily's nanny's face. Lily was her "first". The first baby she'd cared and then said goodbye to.  Her face almost had me undone. Daniel's nanny was more composed and calm, having raised and said goodbye to many more little ones. She was the one leading the other children in song and passing out treats. Daniel drank an entire soda... drinking quickly, amazed that this time, he didn't have to share. Lily wailed through most of the ceremony. She was missing her nap for this! She tore the pretty scarf of her head and screamed, proving most definitely her strong personality. I'm not putting up with your @#$% and I'm going to do things MY WAY. 

Finally the time came to really say goodbye. And we drove away in the big red van. The children brought nothing but the new white clothes on their backs. Everything they'd worn, played with or looked at for the past 10 months was left behind.

Daniel proudly showing off his new American clothes... his first full set of clothing just for him.
 We changed and bathed the children, ate a quick dinner and collapsed from exhaustion. Lily fell asleep in about 3 seconds after I started rocking her. (ha, ha, ha... a feat never to be repeated!) A power outage conveniently made it very dark and quiet that night.
Giving Lily her "first" bath.
 Then Andrew and I did what I think all new parents do. We lay awake, happy and terrified, and listened to our children breath.
Watching Lily take her "first" nap.

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