I will be honest, I thought the explosion yesterday morning was bad. Ha! Little did I know!
Last night Anna had 2 more explosions, and Abigail threw up 3 times! Oh my word. The house stunk, and there was not a clean bed to be found! Amazingly, we all survived, and everyone seems to be feeling okay.
Mom and Abigail left early to run some last minute errands and get their hair done again. Mom wanted to make sure her ‘do would last long enough for Pepaw to see it on Saturday. Abigail wanted “krinkly” hair and got all of her hair crimped! I headed to the older baby/toddler house to deliver more care packages and take more pictures. I took Anna with me. She was really freaked out last week, but this week she did so much better and even allowed the caregivers to hold her! I had a blast taking pictures, playing, and delivering gifts.
After the older baby house, we went to the baby house to deliver more packages. Imagine my surprise when we walked in and found Anna’s b-mom waiting on the steps! It seems that her ride home had not yet picked her up, so she was just waiting at the care center! I am glad for the extra time that Anna had with her, but it was very unnerving, to say the least. Ryan B. happened along, and he took care of the situation for me. I visited with more babies, but I was feeling so sick that I didn’t stay long or hold any of the kiddos (I didn’t want them to catch what I had, because let me tell you, it’s gross when there is that much stuff in your nose and sinuses!)
Anna and I headed home for lunch with Mom and Abigail, and then Anna and Mom took a nap while I headed to the older children’s house to deliver a few items and take some pictures. Abigail made a best friend:) I wish I could say more about her, but I don’t want to break any rules!
To the parents who are waiting for your babes, especially to those who trusted me with a package and the task of capturing a moment of their child’s life…
Thank you. Thank you for allowing me to be a part of your journey. Thank you for sharing your child(ren) with me. Thank you for trusting me, for letting me be your arms and hands and the voice of your lullaby when you could not be there. I pray that the journey is quick for you, from this point on, and that each step of the process will help you fall more deeply in love with your child. They are beautiful, precious children, and I cannot wait to seem them united with their loving families!
So, 13 care packages later, I was pooped, and had the great job of going home and packing half-dry puke and vomit clothes. Jealous much? I thought so. But pack I did. I know some people had questions about how I re-packed, since I didn’t have a vacuum to suck all the air out of my air bags.
First, I packed all of the souvenirs so that I could pad them with clothing and such. Then I loaded some air bags with the dirty clothes we had. I zipped the top most of the way closed, then compressed the bags to get the air out even more, and finished zipping them. They were not as compact as when I used a vacuum, but it did shrink things down a bit, and definitely contained the dirt and odor. I ended up using the 3 rolling suitcases I brought with me, 2 canvas duffle bags, and packed 2 of the rolling carry ons to be checked. (Since I had 3 seats and the baby, I could check 7 items without difficulty.) I ended up carrying on the diaper bag for the baby’s stuff, Abigail’s small backpack for her fun stuff, my backpack for the electronics (laptop, camera) and one rolling carry on for general travel stuff (neck pillows, snacks, a few books- because I would probably have time to read on the plane, right?) I used zipties to lock the luggage.
We finished off our dinner just as it was time to leave for the airport. (Our flight left at 10:15pm, but Anbes suggested getting there at least 3 hours early to ensure we got a bassinet.)
As we drove through the streets of Addis for the last time, tears came to my eyes. I was overwhelmed with emotions- my own sadness in saying goodbye to a place and people I had come to love, yes. But more so, the sadness of Anna saying goodbye to the only country she had ever known. It was sad that she could not understand that this was the last time she would watch the goats scamper across the streets, but it was even sadder that she would never remember those goats, and she would never remember the way she loved to look at them and giggle.
I wish I had taken more pictures and videos of the way life is in Ethiopia. Those moments where people are living, unaware that they are being watched. The goats and sheep and oxen in the road. The masses of people and cars and animals waiting on the sides of the streets for a break in the chaos that they call traffic. The farmer in the middle of the Ayat neighborhood.
As we drove past the “Hip Hop Biscuit” billboard (the first one my mom and I read when we arrived), it occurred to me that the next billboard I would see would be in the US, near Dulles… and that Anna would see that billboard, too… I was overcome again with the reality that she is my daughter and I get to take her home with me.
And I hoped that I would return to Ethiopia soon.