It is so hard to believe that we have been able to hold and love Tewodros for a year. We have had our good times and our not so good times. Overcoming the language was the easy part, it has been the day in and day out things. Tewodros has amazing capabilities. He loves to be active at this point he has only tried soccer on a team next year we hope to add baseball, but who knows maybe basketball, football, tae kwon do....
The following is taken from Kellar's journal. He wrote this while we were in Ethiopia. This is the story of delivery (read an earlier post on my labor).
So, we arrived in Addis Ababa last night just after 7:30. It took us over two hours to get out of Bole airport. After making it through the visa office, money exchange, customs, and baggage claim, we made our way through a mob-like Ethiopian crowd waiting for visiting loved ones. We were greeted by Travis, the Gladney representative, and Benjim, our driver and soon to be friend. We loaded our luggage, passed off two suitcases worth of orphanage supplies, and headed to the New Flower guest house.
When we arrived we learned we would be the only guests for Sunday night, but two other families would be arriving early Monday morning. All we wanted was to call Ashleigh and Eli to let them know we had arrived safely, then get some water, a snack, and a bed to sleep in as soon as possible.
It was easy to fall asleep just shortly after our heads hit the pillows. Our bodies were exhausted. However, no level of exhaustion could overcome our jet-lag. Though we had gone to sleep around 10:45 pm, at 4:00 am we were wide awake. For two hours, from 4:00-6:00, we laid there, side-by-side and WIDE awake. We tossed and turned; we talked; we played music on the iphone; we contemplated what our meeting on Monday would be like. Travis had told us before we left the airport that he would bring Tewodros by the guest house by 10:00 am. We were very anxious! What would he be like? Would he like us? How will he fit in? What will it take us all to adapt? Are we really here doing this?
I thought back to the plane as we flew over Ethiopia. It was early evening; the sun had set, but it was SO dark. No lights from busy streets, small towns, or villages. A sporadic flicker of a row of lights, but mostly darkness. So unlike America where there are lights everywhere. So many we can't even see the night sky in many places. As we approached Addis Ababa we finally saw lights, but not what we would expect for a city of over 1,000,000 people. Even the runway at the airport was sparsely lit.
Finally, about 6:00 am, sleep came again for both of us. But not for long, by 7:30 or 8:00 other guests were moving in and the house was a stir.
After showering, and eggs and bread for breakfast, we were ready, or so we thought. Travis called to check on us, and to let us know things were a few hours behind schedule. So we called Benjim for a ride to the supermarket, then lunch. At the store we bought bottled water and a few snacks we hoped Tewodros would like. It was now about 11:30, Travis had said he would bring Tewodros around 1:00, so with an hour and half to spare we headed to Antica for pizza. We decided to order take-away so as to make sure we were at the guest house when Tewodros arrived. As we parked the car Benjim's phone rang. He answered and after a few words handed the phone to me. It was Travis. He had Tewodros and would be at the guest house in 20 minutes. There was no time for lunch, but at my request Benjim ran in to get a menu so we could send him back for take-away after meeting Tewodros.
We rushed back to the New Flower to find Mark and Pam (also with Gladney) waiting in the living room for the arrival of Jackson, who would be arriving with Tewodros.
After just a few minutes, long enough to grab our camera and thicken the anxiousness in the room, we heard the honk at the gate. We all watched nervously out the door as the white SUV driven by "Travelus" rounded the corner. We all sheepishly, but hurridly, moved outside and watched and waited while Travis and Christy retrieved the children from the back seat. Tewodros was first. He was beautiful. He looked just like the photos, only smaller and younger than I had imagined.
Travis carried 'Teddy' over to us, introduced him, and placed him in Suzanne's arms. the last year of prayer, paperwork, and planning, suddenly seemed to have a purpose, an end. It was so real...
Suzanne handed Teddy a yellow wooden car (makina) we had brought for him. He seemed to like it. After a few minutes we moved inside to sit down and meet our new son, while the other family was united. Once inside we sat down, and put Teddy down to play. Within a few seconds he began to cry and ran outside. We followed him as he spent the next several minutes crying, screaming, and fighting to get back into the SUV. Was he rejecting us? Was this normal? What should we do? These and other questions raced through our minds. He didn't want to have anything to do with us. In my mind, we needed to fix this because we were getting on a plane in less than a week to bring Tewodros home, but at the same time I was heartbroken for Suzanne. She wanted so much to nurture, hold, love him like only a mother can, but he didn't want that right now.
As Travis tried to reason with Teddy, he made it known that he wanted to go back, back to the foster care center where he had lived with dozens of other orphaned children waiting for their loving families for the past several months. We were soon loaded up in the car with Benjim and a foster care worker to drive 45 minutes to the center on the other side of Addis. Once we were moving Suzanne broke out a ball and a bottle of bubbles. Tears soon turned to occasional smiles, then laughter. However, we had promised we would take him to the center, so we continued on our way.
Once there Tewodros rushed in, but all the children were upstairs napping. We continued to play with the bubbles, then a big green ball, then the yellow wooden car. As Teddy and I rolled the car back and forth across the wooden floor, I began to say "Tewodros," as I rolled the car to him. Soon, he was saying, "papa," as he rolled the car back to me. Mommy got on the floor and soon he was saying, "mama," as he rolled the car to her. Things seemed to be looking better.
After what seemed like an hour of playing, Tewodros was getting hungry and sleepy. One of the workers got him some shiro and injera. After he ate, they took him up to his bed. We followed closely behind. He climbed to a top bunk and laid down opposite another boy with whom he shared a bed. Suzanne and I were offered shiro and injera by the workers sitting around a pot of food. I ate a few bites, and the girls tried to feed Suzanne.
Thirty minutes later Tewodros was finished resting and had stirred all the boys in the room. We were all back downstairs and the large room was now alive and full of children playing and wanting their picture taken. After meeting Tewodros' friends, we asked Helena, the on site case worker, how to best take Teddy back to the guest house with us, she suggested giving him another hour or so, then try to get him outside, to build distance between the other children. A few minutes later he disappeared and had ventured outside on his own. Suzanne and I gathered our things and went out with him and played in the yard as he showed off through the barred windows. After a short while we told him it was time to go.
Teddy left with us willingly, but about half way back he shut down to us, becoming very sad, and soon fell asleep. When we arrived at the guest house I did the "daddy thing" and carried him up to our bed. When I laid him down, he immediately jumped to his feet and ran back outside to the car. This time Mommy carried him up. Suzanne rocked Teddy, holding him close, singing, and whispering, "I love you," from 3:30 until 5:00. Teddy was asleep. Much to our distress and concern, Teddy did not wake from a nap, but slept until 6:00 am the next morning. When he awoke, his first word was "mama," or "papa," depending on who's telling the story.
Thank you for reading a most treasured day to our family.