Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Ethiopia - Trip 2: Last Day in Country (June 22, 2012)

During both of our adoptions, I found our last day in our childrens' birth-country to be so bittersweet. I'm not much of a world traveler, and after a few days of worrying about unsafe water, I am READY to be back in the good old USA! At the same time, I have such a great love for the beautiful country of Ethiopia, and there is a part of me that longs to be back there. On this trip, we were aching to see Yikealo again, which made us that much more ready to get back home, and yet I don't know if my words can ever really do justice to the painful experience of how it feels to rip a child away from everything he has ever known. Inside, I was weeping for Sintayehu while I was rejoicing for myself.

This was a pretty relaxing day for the most part. We had been told that someone from HH would bring Sintayehu's visa to the hotel around 11:00 am, but in typical Ethiopian fashion, that didn't actually happen until about 2:30 pm. While we waited, we played in our room, did some shopping at the little "store" inside the hotel lobby, and spent a lot of time talking to Michael and Mindy while Sintayehu and Alaysia played outside together.

Danny, the HH driver showed up while we were eating a late lunch of french fries. Since we had picked up our luggage the day before, we had 2 suitcases full of donations for HH. We also had lots of photos to give to the special mothers and the rest of the staff, so we asked if I would be able to take a quick trip back to the transition home with Danny. We had thought that David would stay back at the hotel with Sintayehu, so as not to confuse him by taking him back to the special mothers. However, trying to explain our thoughts to Danny proved to be a bit much for the language barrier! He called back to HH to get permission to bring all of us back, and then told us all to follow him out to the van. We let it slide, because I was pretty sure that Sintay would do fine. As we've explained before, the Ethiopian people are very friendly....especially with children....and his reactions to the hotel staff all week showed us pretty clearly that he was starting to feel attached to us. When a smiling Ethiopian would come up to him and try to talk to him or touch him, he would jerk back, shrug them off and cling to me, hiding his face against me. Sometimes he would tell them his name when they asked, but more often than not, he would hide behind me and ignore them.

He certainly didn't ignore Danny though! He didn't want Danny to hold him, but he definitely liked giving out orders to him! While Danny waited on us to finish eating, Sintay commanded him to sit down and eat, handing him one french fry after another. When we got in the van, Sintay started yelling out commands, one after another in Amharic, while Danny laughed and translated: "He is telling me, 'Be very careful! Drive slowly! Go very very fast!'" Mr. S kept up his steady stream of demands all the way to HH. When we arrived, he jumped out of the van and ran to show his new shoes to all of his friends. They were all so happy to see him, of course, and we enjoyed seeing the older kids again. While I was handing out photos to the various staff members, Sintayehu marched around saying goodbye....but he wouldn't let anyone touch him unless I was standing right beside him or holding onto him too....another good sign that he was feeling attached to us. These people had been taking excellent care of him for 4 months, but he was all about Mommy.
 Saying goodbye to his buddies

 Checking out photos on the i-phone

 Sintayehu with Tsige. She is the Intake Coordinator at HH, the expert on each child's story. It is she who completes the research on each child, and interviews and photographs their birth families when they come to Addis for court.

Sintay with Haile, our Case Processor. Haile accompanied us to court on our first trip.

Soon, we had said our final farewells and were climbing back in the van for the last time. Back at the hotel, we asked for a 7:00 pm check-out, and while Sintay napped, the A family moved their luggage down to our room for the last few hours....their flight left around the same time as ours, and there was no sense in paying 2 late check-out fees! We spent our last few hours showering and changing into clean clothes for the LONG trip home, repacking everything, and eating one last dinner at the Riviera. At 7, we headed down to the lobby, where we waited for our shuttle to the airport.

Our shuttle was about 30 minutes late, of course, but we sailed through airport security and ticketing with no problems whatsoever, and ended up with over 2 hours to sit and talk with the A family. The time flew by, and before we knew it, we were hugging them goodbye and promising to pray for each other's safe travels. We walked through more security checks, and at 10:30, we boarded our Lufthansa flight to Frankfurt and settled in for the first leg in our LONG trip to America. Hurrah! Only 32 hours to Yikealo!

1 comment:

  1. You got some fantastic pics at HH that last day!

    I got flutters in my stomach just reliving waiting in the lobby to go to the airport and saying Goodbye to you guys!