I had written a great post this morning, when we woke up early to still more New Years music. But somehow, posting from the other side of the world, the post got fired off somewhere into the ether. So our observations of New Years will just have to wait. Sadly, because I brought the funny. As well as the bad music.
But that is not what you all want to hear about, is it? No, I did not think so.
Because today, we had an appointment to meet some very important people. And we had so many wonderful experiences today… be prepared for a very long post.
We were scheduled to meet Solomon (our liaison) downstairs at 10:30, but being as it was a nice morning, we got up early and went to the bakery to get coffee and breakfast. After that, we decided to meet him out at the front entrance rather than in the (increasingly smoke-filled) hotel lobby. So, just before 10:30, we were outside, waiting and excited.
And no Solomon.
We waited. We checked the lobby periodically. We checked the front desk for messages. BDH even returned to the room to check if there was a phone message. There was no word from Solomon.
Finally, after an hour of waiting, and getting increasingly frustrated, we came back to our room. We called Solomon on his cell phone, more out of concern that perhaps we had gotten the date or time wrong than anything else, because Solomon did not strike us as the type to just be late for something like this.
He was very apologetic on the phone and said he’d be here shortly.
He arrived here about 15 minutes later, very apologetic. As it turned out, he had gone to pick up another couple who had arrived late last night and were also scheduled to meet their son today. And when he arrived at the guesthouse where the couple were staying, he was asked to give a ride to several Canadian families — NOT EVEN FROM OUR AGENCY — to the Hilton. So we were delayed by an hour and a half by some families that he was not even obligated to help — who also, I should mention, did not even bother to thank Solomon and Germachew for driving them about town. NICE.
Anyway, Solomon is just the type of nice man that people will sometimes take advantage of. He was quite mortified at being late, I think, and of course we were not upset with him. And he once again greeted us with warm hugs which, we’re finding, is an outward gesture of the warm and welcoming people we are finding the Ethiopians to be. So we got into the van and off we went.
We met this great couple from Edmonton, Ken and Tiffany, who were here to meet their (quite frankly AWESOME) 2 1/2 year old son. So we went to the Toddlers Transition Home first, which is an oasis of calm and joy and love, full of toys and bright colours and smiling faces. It is also where Solomon, the agency’s lawyer, has his office (we think he loves being around the toddlers, and they absolutely adore him.) We got a bit of instruction from Solomon the lawyer, including the paperwork required to finish things off, and a stern warning NOT to take any photos or video of any other child but our own under ANY circumstances. Apparently some parent or other has taken video and photos of children who are not theirs and posted them on the internet — can you believe that? — and this is a gross violation of the agreement Solomon the lawyer takes so very seriously to put the needs and rights of these children first and foremost in everything he does. He was quite stern on this point, and justifiably so.
So, once done, we met the most awesome Prince of Ethiopia (Ken and Tiffany’s boy, who everyone refers to as the Prince, resplendent in traditional Ethiopian garb for the New Years celebration and to meet his parents) and then we went to hang with the toddlers while they had their traditional Ethiopian lunch to celebrate New Years Day. We were honoured to observe the traditional festival meal, and the children sang a song to the Prince’s parents to welcome them.
And then, it was our turn.
Off to the Babies’ Transition Home we went. It’s a beautiful, big home in a brand new and quite affluent development in Addis. We arrived to learn our daughter was not ready for us yet — a diva! how perfect! — so we waited a few minutes.
The door opened, and out came the head nurse with this breathtakingly gorgeous little girl. And into our arms she was passed.
We looked down at her, and cooed and talked to her.
She smiled a big grin.
And then she blew bubbles and raspberries at her Daddy.
We were, as you can imagine, instantly and completely smitten.
So we walked around with her and saw all the babies, most contentedly playing or cuddling with a caregiver or snoozing in their cribs. I have never seen 6 rooms so filled with beauty in my whole life.
(And Dianne? Your girl was asleep. But she has the most adorable little pigtails, all over her head.)
We carried our daughter, dressed herself in a traditional Ethiopian holiday dress, around to say hello to all the caregivers, who really, truly take incredible care of these babies. I was so impressed with the house, the healthy happy children, and the care and love these women and men lavish upon each and every child. The standard of care is exceptional — at both locations.
After the tour, we had a coffee ceremony. We had coffee and popcorn and some bread — all of which went over a big hit with all four of us parents, as well as Solomon and Germachew, our liaisons. And our girl began to fuss a wee bit — naptime was approaching — so I got up and rocked her to sleep. She fell asleep in my arms, and we marvelled at how any one little girl could be so immeasurably beautiful.
I handed her off to Solomon, who snuggled her for a while and then took her to her crib.
Once the coffee ceremony was done, Solomon urged us to go and say a goodbye to our daughter. We went in to find her sound asleep, tired out after all the excitement, blankie grasped in one tiny fist, knees tucked under her and bum in the air, like something out of a picture. If we hadn’t been completely smitten with her by then, that one glimpse of her sealed the deal. She’s an angel sent straight from heaven.
So we left our sleeping angel for the day.
Tomorrow we return. More visiting with the wonderful staff and rocking toddlers and sweet babes, more coffee ceremonies.
And then, we bring our girl into our life for good and ever.