Okay, back on track… Monday was a long awaited day. We couldn’t sleep the night before because we were so anxious for the day to come. It was the day that we were able to bring our children back to the guest house for a half-day visit. They do this so that the children have an opportunity to transition slowly, rather than handing the children over to us the first day. This is especially important for older children that are being adopted. The agency wants them first to become accustomed to their adoptive parents through several visits to the care center and then they want them to become accustomed to the place they will be staying for a few days before the long plane ride. This can be a very traumatic experience for some children. Fortunately, our travel group was all infants and one 2 1/2 year old. The 2 1/2 year old handled the transition better than anticipated and did not want to go back to the care center. He adored his adoptive parents from the beginning.
Anyway, at first I was disappointed that I was not allowed to take Tek the first day, but then after the week was over I saw the wisdom in that. We had time to bond and learn from other adoptive parents at our guest house and we were able to shop and learn about Ethiopian culture. Monday came quickly though and all of us were ready an hour beforehand to see our child. We just sat around the guest house hoping that the van would be on time today. It was! And around 9 am we picked up our children and brought them back to the guest house. The first thing I did with Tek was take him out of his care center clothes. You can see in the picture they must have known that he was getting the Scottish name Blair, because they put him in some great plaid pants 🙂 Next we fed him and tried the bottle for the first time. He would have NONE of that! He had been cup fed in the care center for so long he forgot how to suck. So we had to give him sippy cups instead. (We still do… but that means no pacifiers!) When I say cup feed I don’t mean that they gave him a sippy cup. They actually used small tin cups the size of bathroom paper cups. They did not have lids. They start all infants on this almost as soon as they arrive. It is a little tough to watch, but we understand that it is a necessity. They switched to cup feeding a while back because they are unable to clean the bottles properly, thus passing along bacteria with
each feeding. As soon as they switched to the cups the childrens’
health increased significantly.
The morning ended quickly and after lunch we had to take him back to the care center. But not before I took over a hundred pictures! (This was the last day my camera worked… stupid camera.) After we took the children back we went on a few tours of the different projects our adoption agency is working on. We went to a school they built, a hospital for mothers and children, and to multiple care centers. Much of our adoption costs goes to fund these projects. Ethiopian adoption is relatively low in cost compared to many other, but our agency not only keeps their costs
low but also uses the dollars to do more than we could have imagined.
After seeing what they do, I would have paid double! Andy and I will continue to sponsor their work there and will use this agency in future adoption(s).
Then we went to AHOPE, there is a link for this organization on the left side of this blog. AHOPE is a care center for HIV+ children. They truly care for these children. The children are adoptable but are obviously hard to place because of their disease. All of the children are given healthcare and are on life saving medications. These children are just a few of the lucky ones, many children throughout Africa are infected and do not have access to these medications or healthcare. But AHOPE is making a difference and are helping more children everyday. If you ever feel that you would like to do something about the AIDS epidemic facing Africa, this is a great place to start. Andy and I saw this organization firsthand and endorse it wholeheartedly. All organizations that I have listed on this blog are organizations that we endorse. After research on each of these organizations we feel very confidently that they use donated funds wisely and we give confidently to them.
After the tours we went to the museum that houses “Lucy.” It was a small museum and not as nice as museums you find in more developed countries. But it was interesting nonetheless.
Then we went back to the guest house for dinner. Dinner was always wonderful at the guest house. They cooked American and Ethiopian dishes for us. (The Ethiopian was my favorite.) Then we tried to pass the evening and get some sleep. It was our last night of sleeping as a couple without children. The next day Tek would be ours forever!
Andy… you’re up!