"Sometimes I'd like to ask God why He allows poverty, famine, and injustice in the world when He could do something about it...but I'm afraid God might ask me the same question."

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Ethiopia Days 6, 7 & 8

I am excited to write about our last two days in Ethiopia...because I can't wait to start blogging about our little Grace Hiwot! She is doing so well. But, in an effort to keep documenting the trip in order, here we go... Thursday was our embassy day. We didn't need to be at the U.S. Embassy until 2:00, so we decided to use the morning to do a little shopping for our agency's new orphanage (LIA - Love In Action). We received some monetary donations from friends who wanted to help out in some way. Our agency is starting their own orphanage in Addis and they needed many items to get the orphanage ready. We decided to focus on cribs, matresses and bedding for the toddler room. Doug and JT went with Endris (the director of LIA orphanage) to do some crib shopping. While the guys went shopping, I had the pleasure of hanging out with Hiwot and Tedi in our hotel room. They were so cute together! Listening to them talk to each other in their native language was priceless. I was able to videotape some of their conversations...so cute! Grace Hiwot painting her nails for the first time. She loved it. She is definitely a girly girl.
First time playing with Play Doh. It was a hit!
Furniture shopping in Addis is an experience...who would have thought that these beautiful cribs came from a store like this?

We were able to provide six cribs, matresses and bedding for the orphanage.

Next, it was time to get dressed and ready for our Embassy appointment. We were excited and anxious for our appointment. We had to make sure everything went well, because we needed our paperwork and Visa to be approved and ready for pick up on Friday...our flight home left Friday night. We knew that most embassy appointments are just formalities and most people do not encounter problems, but it is still a little intimidating to meet with government officials in a 3rd world country. Who knew what could have come up or gone wrong?

Dressed and ready for our appointment.

Playing with the curtains in the hotel room was so much fun!

Here we are getting ready to leave the hotel for the embassy. We were not allowed to take our phones, cameras, etc. into the embassy, so this is our last photo of the event. The appointment went well. We waited about 1 1/2 hours for our turn. We were able to meet many other adoptive families and it was really nice to hear their stories and visit with them.

One neat story from our trip to the embassy: When we arrived at the embassy, our driver was parking our car on a side street (alley). There was a group of boys who noticed us and came over to our car right away. They saw that we had several bags of donations in the back of our car (we were planning on bringing them to the new orphanage after our appointment). The boys spied the soccer balls that we had. They immediately began to say "one ball, one ball, one ball..." We thought they were saying "one birr" so we tried to give them some money. They said "NO!, one BALL!" We were running late for our appointment, so we told them that we needed to go and didn't have time to sort throught the donations right then, but that if they were near our car after our appointment, we would give them a ball." They were so sweet and when we returned to our car TWO HOURS later, they were still waiting for us. They were so excited to get a soccer ball to play with!

These seven boys were so nice. They were so grateful for the small gift of a soccer ball.

After leaving the embassy, we were off to visit the new LIA orphanage. The building is in the process of being updated for kids to arrive. The cribs we bought were already there and being assembled.

The new LIA orphanage. I can't wait to see how the site is transformed. I am sure it will be a wonderful facility. The director Endris has such a heart for orphans and was very excited to show us around.

Endris with some of the donations we brought.

Thursday turned out to be a wonderful day. We had a successful embassy appointment, were able to visit the new orphanage, and had time to relax and play with the kids.

On Friday, we were set to visit the Hope agency office one more time to pick up our (very important) paperwork. The director was supposed to have all of our children's documents (including visas and passports) as well as a sealed manilla envelope that is critical to bringing adopted children into the U.S. I was a little nervous and knew I would feel much better once those documents were in my hands. It was Friday, and not getting them that day would mean having to stay in Ethiopia until the next week...

All of our documents were ready and we received the infamous manilla envelope. Whew...now we could spend the rest of the day sight seeing. We asked our drivers to take us to the top of Mr. Entoto. We also asked them to take us for a drive outside of Addis so that we could see some of Ethiopia's beautiful countryside.

Driving around without seatbelts or car seats was quite a change. That coupled with the wild driving in Addis was a little scarey. Doug kept reminding me to hold on to Hiwot very tightly :)

Well, after an amazing day of seeing some of the beauty and culture of Ethiopa, it was time to pack up and leave our hotel. We needed to be at Bole airport 7:30 p.m. or our 11:30 p.m. flight. We wanted to make sure we were on time so that we could get through customs, etc. without any problems. I was so excited to get home to our kids and to begin our new life with little Grace Hiwot, but, at the same time, I was so sad to be leaving Ethiopia. I had tears in my eyes as we drove to the airport. The traffic was crazy and we were stuck for awhile. It gave me more time to look around at the city that we had grown to appreciate and respect. I kept wondering how long it would be until we returned to our daughter's birth country.

Hanging out at the airport late at night...she's a trooper and stayed awake until we boarded our plane.

What a cute traveler!

Here is our little sweetie chewing gum. We had worried about how to combat the pressure change on the plane, but apparently she is a seasoned gum chewer...who knew?

Grace Hiwot's first photo on American soil (after an outfit change, of course).

Little did she know that her whole world would change when we landed in Green Bay about an hour later. She was about to be shocked by a wonderful crowd awaiting her back home. Our friends had our yard and house decorated and waiting for her.

Finally a family of six! We had such an incredible journey to our daughter. What blessings we have received in Grace Hiwot and her amazing country of birth - Ethiopia. We never could have planned such an amazing experience...we had never even planned on adopting a three year old girl in Africa...but... "A good plan yields what you had hoped for, but a great plan yields what God had hoped for you."


  1. Lots of tears right now--so happy for you and your family and also the anticipation of the months to come and the many emotions mixed right in. Your little Grace is beautiful--what a smiley girl! Can't wait to follow you more in your "new life".
    Also....I got some of those cute headbands, but no flowers on them? Did you do that yourself? :0) It's the only thing I've allowed myself to buy. Love 'em.

  2. Loved all the pics of Ethiopia! You saw SO much more of the country than we did! Your homecoming photo brought tears to my eyes. SO glad that you're all together!

  3. Deena, Thanks for sharing your experience and all the pictures. It is inspiring! You have such a beautiful family :) Kay