Woke up to a breakfast of French toast, terrific rice and an egg/peppers combo. So good. Oh, and lots of coffee. I had forgotten how great this country is when it comes to it’s “buna”-coffee.
After breakfast we were off to the Holt offices for orientation. Too hard to sit still when we know in an hour we’ll be meeting our babies. In fact, I’m not quite sure what they said in that whole meeting.
Finally, time to meet the boys. At the care center they have the families sit in chairs surrounding this large area rug. On the area rug they put a few stuffed animals. The plan is to have the child/ren come to the stuffed animal in the middle and then the adoptive parents (APs) get to look at them and then say, “He/she is ours”, something to that affect. We were about last in line so I snapped a few precious pictures of the APs first meeting with their babes.
Then it was our turn. The nannies led Tomas and Binyam down the stairs; Binyam was slower so the first person we saw was Tomas. I think I started crying when I heard Zach say, “Ohmygoodness, it’s them”. So surreal to see these boys in the flesh. Zach and I immediately got down on our knees and moved towards them. At that time Tomas ran and jumped into Zach’s arms and Binyam hesitantly came into mine. We did the ole’ switcheroo and Tomas tackled me with probably the biggest cheek kiss I’ve ever had and a “Hello mommy, I love you” (clearly prompted). :-)
We had just 1 precious hour with them so we tried to soak everything in. What we learned that first hour about Tomas: he can sing the Barney song, which is annoying when American kids sing it, totally cute when Ethiopian ones do. :-) Tomas understands an incredible amount of English. He doesn’t really speak it well, or use it but when we talk and hand gesture wildly he almost always comprehends it. Also, he likes to laugh when he speaks Amharic to us and we clearly don’t know what he’s talking about. We also realize why another travel group nicknamed him “Mayor Tomas”; boy does he have a run of the place! Walking wherever he wants, entering rooms and then just leaving. The head nurse pointed to one toilet and said, “That is kids’ toilet”, she pointed to another toilet in a different room, “and that is Tomas’s toilet”. So if that tells you anything…One of the first things he said to us was, “My family, America, brother Tariku”. Meaning, “my family is here, let’s go to America so I can see my brother Tariku”. It was precious. He was excited to go get the photos we sent him and point out each family member. He struggles with saying Trysten but has got Tariku and Dailah (and of course mommy and daddy) down pat.
Binyam, oh Binyam! He was just really shy at first. He didn’t say anything for the first 45 minutes we were there, probably. We would play with him and then when he clearly wanted us to do something we would say, “Say ‘please mommy’” and he would just lift his eyebrows (how Ethiopians say “yes”). After a bit of that he finally learned he’d get it sooner if he spoke and started to talk. This opened the floodgates and he could soon be found mumbling, “Please mommy” to himself and then giggling. Binyam/Bini fell down and started crying at one point so I scooped him up and just kind of rocked him while walking around. Until this point he would have his body kind of far from me if I held him. After a bit of walking he slowly let his chest fall on me, then his arms went slack and then finally he rested his head on my shoulder. It was a super sweet few minutes. After that, he was a cuddler, running and climbing onto my lap. When it was time to leave he kept looking back at us with his puppy dog eyes, hard to leave that one!
Lunch at the hotel and then off to do more paperwork at the Holt office (more paperwork!). After that, finally we get 2 good hours with the boys.
Tomas during this time would stray less, and stay longer with us. I ticked him off once (we brought water bottles for them and he lost his so just grabbed the closest kids’ and I made him give it back) and he tried giving me the silent treatment. I pulled him on my lap and when he made eye contact with me I just gave him a quick command “ishi (it’s ok), sami mommy (give mommy a kiss)” and then he liked me. :-) He clearly prefers Zach, always going to him first. Thankfully Zach is good about pointing him towards me too. I think it has a lot to do with the fact that Zach can throw him in the air and I, despite all my hard work in the gym, find him to be too heavy. He is tall, but I think Trysten is still taller. The head nurse described Tomas as “easily distracted” and Zach and I would have to agree wholeheartedly. He reminds us so much of Tariku that I called him Tariku at least a handful of times, jeesch. He hesitated a bit when we were leaving but, for the most part, I think he is enjoying his last few days as king of the castle. ;)
Binyam went right for us this time. Cuddled onto our laps and stayed around us the whole time for the most part. If he went to get a toy he would bring it back to us (unlike this morning when he would just wonder off to play by himself). He kept dragging nannies over to “introduce” us. Binyam talked nonstop and would try to get me to understand him with all his might, poor guy. The head nurse described Binyam as “full of concentration” and, again, she was right. He could stay with the same toy the whole time, unlike his brother who cycled through a good 200. :-) You can constantly see the wheels turning on this one. Binyam has an incredibly infections laugh, at one point he and I were laughing so hard we both had tears and I have absolutely no idea why. There’s a decent chance he just said, “I can’t believe I got a crazy-woman for a mom!” Whatever it was, it had the both of us on the floor holding our sides, a precious moment amongst many precious moments.
At about 6:15pm we headed back to the hotel for the night. I am writing this at 8:30 our time and Zach has been asleep for an hour. :-) I will not be posting this until tomorrow, but I want to write it all down while it’s still fresh.
We just talked to the kiddos at home. Trysten told me he prayed for us to not get sick on the plane and that he was sorry to hear I still threw up. My sweet baby. Tariku was excited to hear Tomas knew his name. Dailah just asked to talk to Binyam and when I couldn’t produce she was no longer interested. I miss those three incredibly already and can’t wait to have the family together in just 7 days.
I guess I should end, this being the start of my 3rd page on Word. This time around in Ethiopia I find myself anxious to get the boys in the hotel with us. I know so many of the behaviors we saw in the care center will change even as early as their first few days with us in the hotel. I am biting at the bit to learn everything I can about them. From what we can see so far, we know God hand picked them for our family (which is messy and complicated and-a lot of times-completely incomprehensible because of the tremendous amount of loss that took place for them to be “ours”). It’s easy to get wrapped up in the adoption part of this and forget about the God part of this until you get here and meet your kids. It’s a God thing, it really is.
Time to go snuggle up to this hubby of mine who has, again, earned the nickname “child whisperer” kids freakin love him. I kinda do too.
Love to you all.