I'm in LOVE!!
This morning we arrived in Addis Ababa after almost 15 hours of flying. We slept a total of about 3 of those hours, so we were running on pure adrenaline! Our driver, David, picked us up at the airport and drove us to the Yebsabi Guest House where we checked in and met the other two families in our travel group. David then said he'd be back in an hour to pick us up for lunch and then we would go to the Transition Home to meet our son!
I had dreamt of this moment so many times, it was hard to believe it was finally here!! It was our Meetcha Day!! After lunch (which was at a wonderful little Italian restaurant), we loaded in the van and made our way to the Transition Home. Driving through the bumpy, unpaved roads, dodging cars, pedestrians, goats, and sheep was an experience all in itself! But finally... there it was!! The America World sign standing tall in front of the gates that lead into the Transition Home compound.
The America World staff had decided that we would meet our kids in alphabetical order... which meant that we were last out of our travel group. We all exchanged cameras and then the first precious child was brought out to meet his mommy and daddy. I cried so hard that the guide who was with us started rubbing my back, comforting me like it was my own meetcha day moment! But then, as if in the blink of an eye, it was our moment!
One year and three months waiting for this... to finally meet the son God had chosen for our family. I had so often imagined what he would look like in person and wondered what he would feel like in my arms. I was completely filled with excitement and anticipation as we took our place outside of the doors to the Transition Home. And then he was there. In front of us. Being carried to us in the arms of his nanny. I instantly started my "I'm so emotional, I don't know whether to laugh or cry sound," as I reached for him. He began to cry which I was completely prepared for, but it only lasted a second and then he melted into my arms. He rested his head on my shoulder as I embraced this precious child who was meeting his forever family for the first time. Tears were streaming down my face as I held this sweet baby boy, kissing him, hugging him, and rejoicing in this moment! Eventually, I handed him to Charlie, who was just smiling from ear to ear and couldn't wait to hug his little man! Emma wanted her turn too, so we knelt down to embrace as a family. It was completely surreal and amazing.
We spent the rest of the afternoon at the Transition Home with our little sweetie. He was very unsure of us and spent most of the time just sitting quietly in our arms. He didn't cry at all, but he did whimper a few times when we passed him back and forth or changed positions with him. He was very reserved and quiet, but never once did he try to move away from us. Eventually we took him back inside his room at the Transition House, and he was instantly more happy and relaxed. We got to see him play with his friends and his toys and begin to smile and laugh. Charlie started a game of peek-a-boo with him, which got lots of smiles!
It was so hard to say good-bye when our time was up, but knowing that we would be there again tomorrow was a great feeling! What an amazing and unbelievable experience today was! I met my son for the first time and completely fell in love!!