The very first moments holding her. I am much more excited than she is!! I am so thankful to fellow adopting parents who were there and took pictures for me.
WOW what a blur my last day was in Ethiopia. I had actually gotten my dates mixed up and thought I left Sunday night. When I realized it was 1am Sunday morning I had to play catch up. I sacrificed Saturday morning's visiting time with Mari for shopping for the boys. It was fun as the driver and guide was a fantastic help and we ended up getting a great espresso to end our shopping session. I do think he might be a saint always shopping with all us tourists. I thought he did a good job of getting the prices down a bit but at the same time letting the vendors makes some money off of us:). It was during this time and another errand that I had to do that I was reminded again of the depth of poverty in Africa. I know many of my fellow adoptive families did not see the parts of Addis I saw on this errand. It was heart wrenching and made me want to run away. I saw an 8 year old with her face covered in burns. I saw a woman so deformed she crawled on hands and knees but smiled a lovely thank you when I gave her some money. I saw children playing in sewer mud. I have seen this all before but when I lived in Africa but it has been awhile since my heart was broken for the poor like this. Even if I were to give all my money it would not begin to ebb the pain and sorrow I saw. I cannot say this was an easy day for me. I still felt the joy of passing court, celebrating the goodness of God and wonder of being with my baby, but... I hurt.
In the afternoon I had my last visit with Mari. It was very emotional, more than I had thought it would be. The rain had come back but this was an even heavier, colder rain. It felt like the dark clouds almost touched the earth. Normally as you sit visiting with your child there will be another family with you, the nannies will walk by, the head nanny will stop in and visit, the guard will be outside wandering. But this visit was different the rain had driven everyone inside the main house. The little house or room where you visit had lost electricity so at that point so I sat alone in a dark cold room, holding my sleeping baby and cried. I cried for the poverty of Ethiopia. I cried for the sadness of adoption. I cried for the fact that I missed my boys and would soon be missing my daughter. This time the rain was not a shower of blessings but really God crying with me. I was just there overwhelmed wishing I could do something about it. But just before I left the rain lightened and so did my mood. The nannies came and took Mari from me and she was sleeping. I lay a kiss on her beautiful sleeping head and walked away. But I was ready to go away so that it started the countdown to the day I returned and she is forever in our arms.
My trip home was good but LONG. The taxi got me to the Addis Ababa airport 4 1/2 hours early. I had a 5 1/2 hours flight to Istanbul, a 6 hour layover, a 14 hour flight to LAX and a 1 hour wait to find my suitcase was not there, and finally a 1 1/2 hour drive to our house. Thanks Tara for the ride!!!
Today I was up at 7 and got up to my Mom's by 1. I snuck up on the boys and laughed when they realized I was there. I thought I might burst with joy to hold them again. They were wonderfully looked after by my family and I was told the were very very good. It is SO great to be with them again. How wonderful to soon be uniting them with their baby sister. Speaking of Mari, here are some pictures from our big camera. Enjoy her adorableness!! I sure do!!
This is the look I had most of my first day. I actually am thankful as it is a good sign for her to know her caregivers from a stranger.