Wednesday, May 19, 2010

First Days in Ethiopia

From my journal the Tuesday after "Gotcha Day":

"What a difference a couple of days makes. On Sunday, I was scared. Trying to get to know K'Tyo but having to take care of some basics--cleaning him up, trying to communicate & being exhausted on top of it was hard.

Yesterday, we went back to the Care Center in the morning, & I think it's the best thing we could have done. At first, you could tell K'Tyo was apprehensive, but our driver explained to him what we were doing. When we went in the gate, all the children came running yelling his name. Suddenly, he was a celebrity, & he was loving it. It was so fun to watch him play with his friends & meet some of the nannies. Once he was playing & having a good time, I got to go in & visit with Sister & hold babies. Once lunch was over, the children laid down (well, they were supposed to be--they were watching us out the window) & we left again with K'Tyo. It was almost as if this confirmed for him that the Care Center was no longer his home.

We had a wonderful afternoon of shopping & seeing more of Ethiopia. I don't think I will ever forget the sweet smile of a boy about Kami's age that started walking with us & asked her if she was from America & then told her she was pretty. He did not beg for money, but when we got to the car to leave, we gave him some anyway.

Today, we had our embassy appt. It turned into a long day, but it's done. When we got there, we got out of the van & a homeless man came running (hobbling) to us. He had very obvious skin disease & hygiene issues, but he grabbed K'Tyo's face & kissed him on both cheeks. This man was the poster child for the homeless or the "untouchable", but his first priority was to delight in this little boy, not to ask for money. The lump in my throat wouldn't go away for a long time.

Everywhere I look, I see things in a state that I could never have imagined--shacks with tin roofs, rubble, dirt, people sleeping in the street, I have seen 2 bodies lying by the side of the road, babies running around half naked with no shoes, donkeys & goats in the road fighting for a place amidst the many, many cars, extreme poverty everywhere...and yet, I love it here. I think it has nothing to do with what it looks like, but everything to do with the underlying attitude. I will have to keep processing it to try to put it into words.

I think K'Tyo is every bit as ornery as Kami. We so enjoyed going up on the roof after dinner with the light-up toy & then...oh, my! I have not laughed so hard in a long time. They got in their jammies & were doing somersaults & then the dancing broke out. This child can laugh and dance like nobody's business.

Day by day, this child is becoming my son....


Meredith said...

Thank you for sharing your journey to Ethiopia with us! The pictures are beautiful, humbling, sad and happy all at once.

So glad your boy is home!

rrpr6 said...

Priceless and I am speechless.

emariestar said...

Thank you for sharing...I can't stop the tears. My heart is already so entwined with Ethiopia...I think you hit it on the nose about it being the underlying attitude there - in spite of circumstances. Among other things, I can't wait to journey there to bring our child(ren?) home...

Stacey said...


I am loving reading all about your trip!! I have a question for you! Was it hard to leave your little one behind while you traveled to Ethiopia? I am really struggling because I so want to go, but I have a 2yo and it is really hard for me to think about going so far away and leaving him behind for a week. My husband is fine going by himself, but I hate to miss this. What made your husband decide to stay behind? Does he regret it? Ok, just need some encouragement from you!!! Thanks!
Stacey C (from IAN)