It's about time......that I finally found a little time to actually blog!! It's been so busy since the time we got back from our Ethiopia trip several weeks ago. Where do I start?
I'll start there! With our trip!! It was such an incredible experience, I don't even know if words could begin to describe it all. There was so much to take in! The travel over was smooth. We were so excited with anticipation of meeting our little boy face to face finally!! Ohhh my gosh, I can't describe that feeling!! Arriving in Addis Ababa was so surreal, as we knew that we were moments away from seeing him!! Our driver, Yonatan, who we now love and adore and consider a close friend, picked us up at the airport. He first took us to the guest house to unpack and get a little adjusted.
We walked to a coffee shop nearby to get a bite to eat. Shortly after, we headed over to the transition house! FINALLY! When we got there, the nanny that was taking care of Crew was so precious; she was cleaning him up from his lunch and was washing him off. He had on a little camo sweatsuit (which was a big deal to me, because Steve and Kason are huge hunters and I thought this was such a sweet coincidence!! He'll fit right in!!). :)
But she wanted him to be dressed up when we met him, so she was a little concerned that he wasn't ready! We assured her it was okay, but she insisted she change his clothes! It was actually very sweet that she wanted to please us so much!! Crew looked at us, a little puzzled, I think, and she whisked him away to go change. This gave us a little time to look around the transition house/orphanage and get to see the room he slept in, his bed and some of the other precious children! When we finally got to see Crew again, I was so amazed at how adorable he is!! I mean, this kid is just amazingly handsome! (I did notice that Ethiopian people, in general, are very "pretty" people!! WOW!!) Crew was not so sure about us, so Steve and I wanted to take it slow for his sake. We "talked" to him a little, we smiled at him a lot and then finally, the nanny said it would be best for her to just hand him to us and then we should head out to the guest house, where Crew would be staying with us the entire time we were there. So, she handed him over to me in the van and he started BAWLING!! Huge tears!! I happened to have a package of crackers in my purse and I opened them quickly and gave him one. It helped. A little!
As soon as we started driving away, he was mesmerized. Think about it...he's probably been in a car once; on the way from the orphanage to the transition house. So he liked that a lot! By the time we made the 15 minute drive to the guest house, Crew and I were friends! PTL!! But you could tell that he didn't know what to think of Steve!! Okay, for those of you who do not know Steve, he is a funny guy!! Kids love him!! But Crew was not sure about this big white man with curly hair and earrings!!! haha!! That first day at the guest house was pretty simple. I held Crew and he either slept on my chest or watched a video on the computer that was next to me on the couch, as he sat on my lap! He really liked that!!
That night I gave him a bath and he did not like that at all!! He couldn't understand the concept of SITTING in the bath water. So it was a short bath! ha! After getting his new little pj's on him that we took (he only came with the clothes on his back!), I prayed with him while I held him and swayed back and forth to rock him to sleep. I thought he was ready to be put in the crib for a good night's rest. (I had taken a blankie for him that I would leave with him there. I kept an identical one at home, just incase that blankie got lost at the orphanage, so when he gets home with us he would have one just like it and it would be something familiar from the orphanage! Thank you, Jackie, for this great idea!!) He was almost asleep with his head on that soft blankie and he looked so peaceful! But the minute I tried to lay him in the crib, he quickly made it clear he did not want to be in it. I knew he slept in a crib at the orphanage, but he was not about to lay down in this one! So I remembered what my sister, Wendi, told me that Sue, our adoption agency director, had told her. "This is a time to CONNECT, not CORRECT!" So I decided to just let him sleep with me and Steve in our bed. Sure enough, I layed down with Crew on top of me and within minutes he was sound asleep! Precious!! I rubbed his little back until I fell asleep myself. In the morning when I woke up and looked at him asleep between me and Steve, my heart melted and I knew....this is my little boy! Thank you, Lord!! Just like in the hospital when they put that new baby on your chest.....same feeling!! WOW!! Who knew?
The rest of the trip was getting to know him and his little personality better. He is pretty easy going! He liked to kick the ball outside a lot! Steve would do that with him to try to bond!! He still wasn't buying!! haha!!
He would point at a cat and say, "meow!" and also point up in the air at the airplanes and say, "autoplane!". Yonatan had taught me a few words, like "gobez", which means "good job!" so we would say that to him a lot and he would smile!! One day I was tickling him and he just laughed and laughed! His giggle is precious!! He decided he liked Steve's sunglasses, so that was a small little bonding moment for them!! LOL!! If he had any other options besides Steve, he preferred them over Steve! But that's okay! They will bond soon enough!! :)
We passed court without a hitch and he legally became a Coder. That was a sweet day!! I just kept thinking over and over, "Wow! We have FIVE kids now!!" I had taken a little photo album with our family pictures in it, so that after we left, the nanny could look at them with him! So we looked at that a lot together!! "There's daddy! There's mommy!! Cassidi. Makenzi. Kason. That's Kyler!!" He liked the pictures!! When the time came to take Crew back to the transition house, I didn't expect my emotions to do what they did! I honestly thought I would just hand him back to his nanny, knowing we'd be back for him in a few months, and we'd go home! BUT, to my surprise, my emotions kicked into high gear! Now, a little side note here. The day we picked up Crew, his personal nanny was at church. The other nannies told me she was sad she would not be there to meet us when we picked him up, but that she wanted to meet us when we returned with him! I, too, wanted to meet her, as this has been someone as close to a mother as Crew has ever had!!! So upon driving up to the gated entrance of the transition house the day we were taking him back, Crew's nanny ran out to us!! She had a look in her eye that said, "Where is my boy!! I've missed my boy!!", as she kept saying "Dawit!! Dawit!" (which is Crew's Ethiopian name, and now his middle name). He was on my lap in the van and we were stopped at the gate. Crew looked at her for a minute, then he reached out to her, as she was reaching out to him!! Let me tell you what this said to me!! This lady loves this child!! She has been the one to hug him, feed him, pick him up when he falls, change his diaper and pray with him!! She had missed him while he was away with us!! WOW!! I was overcome with a flood of emotions!! Mostly I was so thankful that he has had someone who has loved him like a mother loves! She was now holding Crew standing next to the van. I told the driver to go ahead and drive in so they could have some time together before we got out to meet her. We pulled up to the house and got out of the van. When I turned around she was still hugging him and holding him right where she had been out by the gate!! Again.....WOW!! She loves him!! She slowly walked to the van where we were standing and I hugged her as she was holding Crew! And I hugged her tight!! I about lost it!! I tell you what......so much was said between this woman and myself just by looking into each other's eyes! Does that sound weird? It was just as if I was saying to her, "I know you love him!! I will take care of him!!", and as if she was saying to me, "I love him and I know you will love him, too!" What a bittersweet moment for both of us!!
I decided I needed to gather my composure a little, so I smiled at her and walked into the house for a bit as our friend was taking his 6 month old inside. When we came back outside to actually say goodbye and leave, by then Crew was standing by some other children. The nannies were all standing around talking and watching the kids play. I knelt down several feet away from Crew and just said, "Bye, little buddy!! I'll see you soon!" and as soon as the words came out of my mouth I just started bawling!! Oh my goodness, it was just so much harder than I expected it to be!! And at that very moment that the tears starting rolling down my face, Crew held out his hands and ran to me!! Oh geez Louise!! Could this be any more dramatic?!! So I picked him up, kissed him, and handed him to his nanny and said goodbye!! He started CRYING, oh yes, BAWLING, and reaching for me!! I looked at Steve, bawling the ugly cry kind of bawling, and said, "Let's go!!" I got in the van and a few minutes later we were backing out the driveway! Steve said, "Look!" and when I did, Crew's nanny was holding him and they were both waving to us from the top of the steps!! We drove away!!
Oh my goodness!! WOW!! That was exhausting!! ha!!!
So here we are today, Sunday afternoon! Today at church I had several different friends ask me if we know yet when we will be going to get the news to finally be able to bring Crew home. I told them all, "It could be any minute!!" Well, guess what? We got home from church to find an email from our agency director that said it looks like we will get our Embassy date the first week of September!!! IT'S ABOUT TIME!!!! OH my goodness, we are one stinkin, excited family at our house!!!!!
And some of you have asked about giving......Yes, we still have a large amount due towards all the expenses of the adoption, plus the travel expenses that we will have for the trip over for Steve, and the trip back for Steve and Crew!! You can make a TAX DEDUCTIBLE donation towards our adoption and that would be a huge blessing to us and hopefully a benefit to you, as well!!! I do believe God will bless those who give!! Make your check payable to WORLD WIDE COMPASSION and they will send it directly to our agency on our behalf. Just let me know if you'd like to do this and I will give you the rest of the info (where to mail, etc..).
Well, it's been a ride.....and I tell you what!!! It's just begun!!!
See you soon, Crew Dawit Coder!!!!!
Thank you for being a part of our CREW!!! xoxo!