Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Chapter Five: Our trip to the monastery was on the next to the last day we were in Addis. This was a bittersweet time for our family. We were sad that we did not get to see and do more and So relieved to be coming home shortly.
Thursday evening the chef at the guest house prepared some traditional Ethiopian food. It was wonderful. So much better than the food we have had at home. The injera was good, a food I don't usually care for. The beef (or was it lamb?) was tender and delicious. I was impressed. Ethiopian food is usually something I can take or leave. I ♥ ethnic foods, but usually my palate prefers Thai, Persian or something more savory like that. Making the injera with actual Tef does make a difference it appears! ;)
On Friday, Feb. 6, we woke and prepared to pick up Ruby and Roman for the final time. This was to be the very last time they would wake up in an orphanage. The last time they would be fed, diapered and caressed by their nannies. The last time they would smell the delicious Wot cooking for the older children and the last time they would see *true* sunshine for several more weeks! At home in Washington State, it would be raining and possibly snowing for awhile still.
If I did not feel too teary when I first met my baby girl and infant son, this was to be the day I would. The feelings of emotion that came over me, realizing that these two perfect little souls were now free from poverty and orphan life overcame me in a way I cannot begin to describe. They were truly all ours & we were heading home. Not knowing if we would ever return, but hopeful we will. After being home now for these past 11 weeks, the urge to return is great and the love for Ethiopia has only grown stronger.
I cried when the nannies turned Ruby & Roman over to us for the last time. These women did this act practically every day. To them, it was part of their job. I believe it is a very sad event and brings them also a bittersweet feeling to release the children they have cared for so diligently. I gave each of them a hug and tried to express my gratitude. I wondered which gifts they had each taken of the items we brought for them. I wondered if they were thinking about the babies waiting for them to care for upstairs or if they were thinking of Ruby and Romans future in a western land. None of this is relevant except for I cannot imagine doing this job and having to let go of a child I have cared for, for so long. Much like foster care here. Selfishly, I could never do it.
We packed our many, many suitcases full of souvenirs and clothing and Wendi drove us to the very crowded airport that evening. It was so strange to see how busy it was. When we had arrived at 3:30am nine days prior, the airport had been dead. Now, throngs of people, all seeming to be going the same place as we were congested the parking lot and terminal. Wendi took us as far as he could go and we all tearfully said our goodbyes. He will never be forgotten. Andrew gave him the flashlight and money that we had saved for him. We promised to keep in touch and assured him that the special package w/ spices and a Valentines ring for his girlfriend would safely make it to Seattle.
Customs was actually a breeze and after filling out more paperwork for our visa's, we were on our way to the gate.
Our first stop was to be in Khartoum, Sudan. We would not be getting off, but others would and new passengers would come aboard. I have to admit that after hearing all the media coverage of things that happen in this place, it was hard not to have some fears.
Ruby and Roman slept peacefully, as they were still on their regular schedule and it was nighttime. I was not feeling well by this time and I could only stomach hot tea. Ruby, when she was awake, only wanted my tea and showed her very stubborn side, demonstrating that she was not going to mind her new mommy and keep her hands OFF. Finally, as a last resort, I firmly, but gently, smacked her hand and said "NO!" She immediately smacked me right back...Showing mommy that this was not going to be the best form of correction. She continues to be a very smart and stubborn little girl, wise beyond her years and definitely a child we have to stay one step ahead of at all times. A marvelous child though, indeed. I wouldn't have her any other way.
Roman was having a very difficult time with his upper respiratory infection. It caused him a lot of pain, especially taking off and landing. The poor little guy would spit up all his formula and cry his little heart out. He just needed to get home and see his new doctor pronto!! We realized that he could only stomach about 1-3oz. at a time and then he'd need to be burped. Not quite up to par for a 7 month old!
But we were on our way home & that was all that mattered!
I am currently typing w/ one hand and feeding Roman with the other arm so will sign off for now.
Next chapter will explain our new found disgust for the United ticket counter in Frankfurt and be the close of our Ethiopian journey. I hope to actually finish this portion this week! Fingers crossed! Leave me a message if you are so moved to! ;)