Wednesday, July 9, 2008

A very long update!

It is early Wednesday morning (July 9th) and we just
got up from our first night with the boys. Yesterday
was just an amazing day and one in which no words can
really describe. Never the less, I will try to convey
some of all that went on.

The day began innocently enough with a nice breakfast
at the Hilton and then Robel (by the way did I mention
he is not just an incredible guide but an amazing man)
took a few of us to the "supermarket" around the
corner of the Hilton. We then met the rest of the
group for shopping at the post office. I know you are
thinking, "the post office?" Well, there really
aren't addresses here so places are described by the
largest building near them. The shopping area was
across the street from the post office. We had some
fun bartering for goods. I talked a guy down from 600
birr to 220 birr for a carving of the crucifixion.
After shopping we had lunch where I had a BBQ burrito
– good stuff.

After lunch it was on to the transition home to pick
up our boys. We arrived at the home with gifts for the
nannies and the children. The next hour or so was
just sheer chaos. Imagine Christmas with over 30
people most of which are children. It was exhausting
but it was great!

The older children sang songs for us while we
participated in the coffee ceremony (thanks Roger for
drinking my coffee). Then it was time to get ready to
go. This was the hard part. The nannies love our
children and they all hugged the boys and Feromsa's
favorite nanny began to cry. Even Feromsa who was
very excited to leave was now showing signs of
trepidation. Despite all of the emotions Dottie and I
were holding together. We boarded the van and Rachel
came running around to tell us that the man who had
cared for Feromsa for 2 years before coming to the
orphanage had arrived to say goodbye. We got out to
meet him and that was about all I could take. We lost
it. How do you thank this man who found our son
abandoned and had cared for him the past 2 years?
After a very emotional meeting and brief discussion we
got back into the van. However, before getting on the
van I had to collect myself for as Dottie said, "you
will scare the boys." It was a beautiful moment of
blessing and sacrifice.

In the van Feromsa asked, "Daddy have peace in his
heart?" I didn't know what he said but once again
Robel came to the rescue. By the way, I have asked
Robel to come back to the States with us to stay for
about 6 months but he has refused my offer.

We made it back to the Hilton where the boys are
fascinated by the "Lift" or as you and I would say the
elevator. In the room, the boys were into everything.
Looking at everything, jumping on everything, playing
with everything. Feromsa even spit off the balcony
(it's a thing all boys everywhere do). They also love
to just flip through the 20 channels on TV. It
doesn't matter what is on they just like to see
everything. They especially loved the computer.
Seeing all the pictures on the computer is truly an
amazing thing.

We had dinner at the Hilton and the boys did very well
at the restaurant. The transition home often takes
the older children out to lunch after church on
Sunday. As dinner was wrapping up we had to have
Robel explain that we were going to go back to the
room to take baths. Again, did I mention that Robel
is great? I missed bath time because of paperwork
that had to be done but from Dottie's report it was a
good time. When I got back to the room the boys were
nice and clean, in their Spider-man pajamas and ready
for bed. It took a bit to get settled but once we got
the room dark they were soon snoozing away.

It was just an amazing day that was all sort of
surreal. I have noticed that I have started talking
in broken sentences with a foreign accent. I don't
think hearing "Daddy, come" in a strong African accent
will ever get old. The boys are full of energy and
love. They are excited to get to America and meet
their family. All in all, this whole experience is a
gift from God.

This morning we got up early, took showers, did
medicine, got dressed (pray the clothes we brought
fit) and went to breakfast. The boys apparently like
yogurt, apples, and hard boiled eggs. Feromsa noticed
the receipt printer and said, "Daddy, MasterCard?"
Great the boy knows very little English but MasterCard
he knows. We walked around the beautiful Hilton
grounds for a little while, had an interesting
experience in the public restroom as Bereket wanted to
see who was in the stall next to him. All the workers
at the Hilton love talking to the boys. Of course all
the conversations are in Amharic so we have no idea
what they are talking about. They all seem very
pleased that the boys have been adopted.

It is now 8:30 and we have 4 hours until our US
Embassy appointment. It's raining so the pool and
playground are worthless. I guess we will just sit in
our room and watch 20 different TV channels for about
30 seconds each and then keep flipping. Oh and did I
mention that the boys have little concept of throwing
things in the garbage. Most often it is just thrown
on the floor in the room, in the hall, in the
restaurant and wherever we may be. This is something
we are already working on.

That's all for now. We'll post more later.

Update: I have waited to post this so that I can wait
on buying more internet time. Besides everyone who
would read this would be in bed right now so I'll wait
until you're awake. Anyway, I just wanted to let you
know that we hired a taxi (AWAA approved) and went to
buy new shoes for the boys. In the lobby of the hotel
there is a display showing items that are on sale in
one of the stores. Feromsa let me know that he wants
a cell phone and a digital camera. Materialism exists

Another quick update: After a good long wait at the
US Embassy we got right through with no problems. I
have to admit I nearly cried (again) when the lady
said, "You're done."

John R. Raymer