Monday, June 30, 2008
Friday, June 27, 2008
We were privledged to spend time with the beautiful kids. They sang songs for us while sitting in their small schoolhouse room. Thanks to the generosity of our friends Chris and Jan McNally we brought a parachute to play with the older kids - and you'll see by the looks on their faces that they just loved it! These kids gave us a gift that we'll cherish forever.
Words (or video) alone can not adequately describe the experience of visiting this orphanage. If there is one simple truth that we learned during our short visit it's this:
No matter where in the world you go - kids are kids. They want to learn, they want to sing and they want to play - but most of all they want a family. Our hope is that every child in the home has their day - their day to be united with their mom and dad.
P.S. Bono wrote this song after he and his wife visited Ethiopia years ago and were forever touched and changed. He just released the song a few months ago. Here is the link to Bono being interviewed about it and singing it for the first time. He gets pretty emotional, it is an awesome video.
Thursday, June 26, 2008
Friday, June 20, 2008
Things are going so well with Gabrielle and the rest of the family. We are finally getting settled.......that would be mainly Pete and I. Gabrielle has been doing so well, it has been mommy and daddy who have had some catching up to do! The whole family is bonding and it just seems so right and like it is exactly how it was supposed to be. God always knew what He was doing, boy can I see that loud and clear now.
I keep watching Gabrielle and looking at Pete and saying, "she looks just like the baby we took from the Transitional Home." That is sarcastic. It was work to make her smile, she actually only smiled a couple of times the two days we were at the TH. She also was so "blobby". She just didn't move and was pretty still and quiet, just taking it all in, a very sweet quiet demeanor. She is still very sweet and very good, however she babbles and babbles and cracks herself up. She smiles all the time and just seems so happy and really coming out of her shell. When we first got her, her head was still wobbly and she wouldn't really go into any position other than a slouch in your arm, or cradling her like a baby. We have been amazed at how much she has changed, she started sitting today!!!!! This seems almost impossible compared to a week ago. She still has some work to go to strengthen her muscles and catch up, but I have faith and confidence she will continue to do so. She was obviously loved and cared for, but the development part of nurturing was not there. She needed her mommy and daddy and brother and sister and we are thanking God every day for his blessings and the gift we have received.
Sunday, June 15, 2008
A special thanks to Dana for taking such amazing pictures that we will treasure forever, and to Barett for taking great video (and being an all around great guy!)
Friday, June 13, 2008
Yesterday was such a full and amazing day. We went to Kids Care orphanage, where Gabrielle came from. It was a blessed experience. Those of you who know Pete, imagine him with 25 kids, HE WAS IN HIS ELEMENT! He had them all singing, he kept handing out candy and they kept singing for him, it was a beautiful sound. We got it all on tape so we will be downloading many videos for you to watch when we get home. Then, in Pete style, he taught them how to sing "happy birthday".......to him! It was so funny and so classic. After that we took them all outside and played with them. Our dear friends the McNally's bought parachutes and beach balls for us to bring some of the places we visited. We pulled out the huge parachute and began playing. The squeels and laughter and HUGE smiles were again a vision we will never forget. Pete had them count 1, 2, 3 all around the circle and then as he called out the numbers one by one, the kids took turns running
under the parachute as it went up. It was so much fun. The look on Pete's face was priceless the entire time too.
I went into a back room and found many women hunched over bowls of water with rice, and open fire. They were preparing food. I took a stab at pouring the Injera batter on the skillet, we all laughed......I need some practice. They laughed so hard at me and called me white.......isn't that discrimination :). I laughed so hard, they kept putting their arm next to mine to compare and laughing. The women were a rip!
Some of the gut wrenching parts about this orphanage were the tiny, tiny day old babies who were lined up in the cribs. So small and so helpless, I kept picturing Gabrielle lying there. The great news and thing I had to keep telling myself was that if they were healthy they would go to families just like us and it was a blessing that they had made it there. There were also some sick children who looked to have Aids and that was really hard too. Again, this place was so amazing and took great care of the children, that it was a gift they were even there. I just wish they all had homes and parents.......but we can't change the world in one day.
Later we got to JOURNEY to meet our great friends little boy. This was really fun and quite the experience! We drove and drove and finally found the place. There was no way to drive around to the door so we had to scale down and up large rocks and a gully filling with water, and wave a man to stop drilling, to get to the other side. After getting in they told us he was not there, that was their headquarters. The director told us we were not allowed to see him, and then after talking he said since we has travelled so far we were alllowed!! PRAISE!!! Then we proceeded to find the actual home where he lived. (The roads here are CRAZY bumpy, and oh there are no traffic laws at all. Makes for some very interesting navigating.) He was soooooooo cute and sweet and so happy to learn of his mommy and daddy. They had made an album for him and we had a translator read the whole thing to him. He smiled and told the translator he was happy. This was such
an experience to be able to hug one of these children and assure them they have a family- someone coming to get them who truly love them and are working so hard to get here to pick them up. It was my wish for every child we had seen at Kids Care and it felt so good to deliver this news to a child, especially one who will be coming home to our friends right in Leesburg with us. We go to the same church too, what a blessing for he and GiGi. I am so glad we will get to see him again one day, and to know that a little boy probably slept very good last night after hearing about and seeing pictures of his soon to be family, the dream of every orphan here!
So, we are heading out tonight, so we will check in from home!!!! Thanks for following along, we have some amazing movies Pete has put together, but we have bee un-able to download them. Check back to watch in the next couple days!
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
We are doing so great here, and absolutely taking it all in. I think it will take me years to process and try to describe everything that has happened so far, needless to say, it has been life changing already. The people are amazing and the amount of situations and experiences that are heart touching and heart wrenching are endless. Several moments stand out in my mind- one I will never forget was pulling up to the transition home. The intensity and nerves in that van could have run it without diesel. Before we went in we all held hands and prayed, a moment I will NEVER forget. As the doors opened and the parents of the older children walked in, all you could hear was "mommy", "daddy"......again a sound I will never forget. These children came running into their parents arms and never turned back, they now had a mommy and daddy and the smiles have been endless ever since.
We each got to take turns as our babies were brought out. As if we were not already in tears with our hearts swollen to the most, after witnessing the older children, God continued to swell our hearts with love and gratitude as we watched each family united with their babies. Again, a moment I will never forget.
Yesterday we got to go back and get our children for good, again- amazing! Just as I think I have pulled myself together this week, another life moment gets us. Saying good-bye to the nannies, the gate man, the nurse and the older children who are staying was almost more than I could take. The gate man LOVES Selam/Gabrielle and she "lit up" whenever he was near. I did not know at one moment what she was so excited about, she started smiling and wiggling and waving her little hands and feet. I looked over and the gate man and he was snapping and smiling at her. I cant recall his name right now, but we recorded him giving Gabrielle a video message that was being translated so she can always remember him. He was like a daddy figure to her and he cried when we said good-bye. He told her his hope was that one day he would see her again. Summed up- It was wonderful, beautiful and heart-wrenching, all at the same time. Tears of joy, tears of
compassion, tears of gratitude, tears of sadness, and tears of hope.
Since then we have gotten to spend time with our little girl. She is the sweetest little thing. She smiled and giggled for us yesterday AND started babbling- which they told us she did not do at the transition home. She is such a baby to us, and can already see her progress and personality coming out. She is a treasure and a love, and she is already so attached to us. AMAZING! Oh, and did I mention how beautiful she is? Those eyes and that little mouth and her hair!!! I love it all.
So, here we are today, blessed by a success at the embassy and looking forward to tomorrow where we get to go to the orphanage she was first brought to. Also we are going to see a dear friend of ours little boy. They were referred him several weeks ago and he was moved to their transition home with another agency. We get the privilage of bringing him the first coorespondance from his family, a letter, a photo album and the amazing news that he indeed has a family who wants him and already loves him sooooooo much! This should be another one for the books!
Monday, June 9, 2008
Sunday, June 8, 2008
sitting in the tarmack due to storms, but otherwise it
Took some time to get through the airport in Addis,
but that was to be expected. We are so excited and
happy to finally be here, it is almost surreal. '
The other families are awesome, we are going to have a
great week. THanks for your prayers, we will be back
soon with pictures!
Friday, June 6, 2008
Wednesday, June 4, 2008
Our friends and family and blog-world friends: You are all so important and special to us and this part of the process would never have been so rewarding and deal-able (I know that is not really a word, mom don't call me on that :) without all of you. Sometimes just looking forward to reading your e-mails and posts was what made everything "fun". Your prayers and commitment to friendship and faith has blown both Pete and I away, and I am really touched by the world of people who are out there. I invite you all to join us on our trip to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. We will be blogging as much as possible and would love to give you all a look into what we are doing, seeing, feeling, etc. These may be my famous last words. I realize the power, the new baby, the sleep, the (hopefully not) stomach issues, may make it tougher to blog, but we will give it everything we got. Here is the schedule of what we are doing:
Saturday night- leave
Sunday night- arrive
Monday - morning shop
afternoon **seeing Gabrielle for the first time**
Tuesday- Take Gabrielle with us
Wednesday- Embassy appt.
Thursday- visit orphanages, etc
Friday night- Leave
Saturday morning- ARRIVE HOME