Saturday, October 2, 2010
We arrived in Ethiopia late Sunday night - like 7:00 PM. By the time we got our visa, got our luggage, found our group of families traveling together and got to our driver, it was probably around 9:00. It gets dark in Ethiopia early - around 6:00 this time of year, so we did not get to see much of the sights of Etiopia. There is a distinct smell to Addis Ababa though. One I don't think I will ever forget. I'm not sure if it is the smell of the leaves they burn to cook with, or what exactly it is, but once you smell it, you don't forget it.
The city is much different than the countryside, so I will describe the city. (I went to the countryside on Thursday, so I will describe that then) The city, by American standards, is pretty poor. There was an abandon bus behind our hotel that I believe people were living in. The buildings - they had metal roofs and I think concrete walls, but I'm not sure. Every road was lined with concrete or metal fencing and the fencing was topped with some kind of protection to keep you from getting in - sometimes it was wound barbed wire, other times it was broken glass that was stood up on end that lined the top of the entire fence (it was cemented to it). There are many homeless in Addis....including children. We met one boy who we called "Stephen" that we met one day when we were out on a shopping trip. He was in 7th grade and he lived on the streets. Both of his parents had died. When he saw us, he asked if he could come to America with us. He wanted a home in America and asked how he could get into the orphanage so he could have a home. Deanne asked the orphanage people what he needed to do. We went back to the same area of the city the next day and he was still there. He needed to go to the police station and tell them he had no family. I hope he went, because I hate the thought of him living on the street. It was very sad.
Riding in a car in Ethiopia is an adventure. There are many, many public busses - but when I say public bus, don't think about a US transit system... These are like 8 passenger vehicles that have maybe 20 people crammed into them. Literally people hanging out doors. And the vehicle is very old. Sometimes the doors didn't even close... I'm not sure if they couldn't, or there were too many people crammed in there.
So, Tuesday morning we went to court. Our court appointment was supposed to be for 8:30. Well, by 8:30 we had not yet been picked up by our driver. In Ethiopia, time is not as imp9rtant as it is in America. Their answer to everyting is "no worries". I'm a schedule / time driven person, so "no worries" didn't do much for me. Anyway, we made it to the court room around 9:00. There was another group of people there, with another agency who did their court appts first. Then it was our turn. There were five families in our group and Tim and I were number four to go. As I waited, I got more and more nervous / anxious. Deanne gave me her bible to read, which was very calming. Then we were called. "Parents of Edom"? We got up and went into the Judge's room. It was just a room. The lady who called us was our witness. The judge was absolutely beautiful. A very striking lady. She had incredible English. She asked us a few questions about our family and our support system. She then said "she is yours, congratulations". I told her thank you and she said it was her honor. No, really, it was mine! It was over very quickly. When I walked out of the room, I had tears in my eyes. I now had officially, another daughter!
Deanne was the last one to be called. She was waiting on one paper that had not arrived from the MOWA. They said it would be "five minutes". Five minutes in Ethiopia can range from 5 minutes to two hours. We were all very nervous for/with her. After about 15 minutes, the paper did arrive and Deanne passed court as well. Her husband did not come on this trip, he stayed home with their other children, so she was very nervous that would cause problems. It did not and her daughter was hers!
After court, we all got back in the van and went to the transition home. Day 2 of seeing Sara went a little better than day 1. She didn't take as long to warm up to me - but still took awhile with Tim. She was playing outside when we got there, and I saw here immediately. Here, she is officially our daughter!!!
After spending some time with our kids, we went over to the orphanage.... that will be my next post. I went from the highest of highs (getting my daughter) to the lowest of lows - seeing the kids in the orphanage. It changed my life forever!
Posted by Charity Roach at 7:01 AM