Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Adventure: Ethiopia- Day One

(This is the second post that I received from Grace. Please be sure to read the first one (The Trip) first. Oh yeah and you are gonna want tissues handy!!! ~Faith)

I almost panicked when I turned over, opened my eyes, and realized that the sky was light! I woke my mom (as she had requested) and we chatted for a minute while trying to figure out how to find out what time it was. Thankfully, we heard Waguyu sweeping the porch, so I hopped out and asked him. 6:40am. Whew.

We had a nice morning, unpacking more, eating breakfast, and showering. (Note, if staying at Ayat House, there is plenty of hot water in the bathrooms, but the water pressure is not fantastic. I did manage to wash my (fairly thick) hair without a huge hassle, but I was a bit cold! The air in the house is always cool. However, the shower head is hand-held, so tomorrow I think I will ask my mom to just help me wash my hair over the side of the tub, then hop in to finish the rest of my shower.)

When Mer, Ryan, and Simon woke up, we had a good time meeting the little guy and catching up with M&R. Poor Simon is not feeling well in his tummy! Plus he has a runny nose and cough, and of course, like most kids, hates getting his nose wiped! But Mer and Ryan are fantastic parents, and it was nice to have Simon distract me from my anxiousness over my first meeting with Anna.

About 9:15, she arrived. Ryan B. held her a moment, giving her time to adjust to the new place (she was visibly alarmed, breathing heavy and clinging to Ryan B.) After I got her to warm up a bit by handing her a little dolly, she let me hold her and we quietly got to know each other a bit more.

It's a very shocking and overwhelming feeling to meet your child for the first time, whether they are yours by birth or by adoption. I felt so nervous- like I wasn't sure what I was "allowed" to do. I remember when I held Abigail for the first time, I asked the nurse's permission to open her swaddling blanket to look at her fingers and toes. I felt the same today, except I felt like I needed Ryan's permission, as well as Anna's. So we took things slowly, and she really started to warm up once I gave her a bottle. She relaxed back and let me hold the bottle for her, cuddling her close to me. That was the moment when I knew it was okay. I was her Momma, and I could do this- I could love her with my actions without permission from anyone.

Once Ryan and Philip left, we quietly visited with Anna more. I mention the quietness because it is a huge part of her nature. For the first hour or more, we did not hear a single peep out of her! But as her breathing became more normal (and with the aid of a few Cheerios!) she warmed up. We stayed very calm and quite until she began to give clues that she was ready to play. By lunch time, she was smiling and reaching for me to hold her whenever anyone else would hold her. It felt so good to have her look to me.

We decided to have my mom stay with Anna during lunch while Abigail and I joined M&R, Jennifer and Jody, Jody's parents, Belay, Ryan, Ryan's oldest daughter (Marta), and Philip for Chinese food. Let me just say right now that Marta is adorable, and I hope I can make Anna's hair just like Marta's! She was great with Abigail, and they enjoyed sitting next to each other and sharing Abigail's fruit snacks after lunch. Abigail also took to Philip (she loves men.)

I had a great time catching up with Jen. I feel like it's been forever since I spoke with her, even though she has only been here a little over a week! It was nice to finally meet her in person, too, and to get to share all our little tidbits about our babes. Lunch was tasty, although some things were prepared a bit spicier than I would have liked. But I tried everything! (Note, try not to use the bathroom here if you can help it. It's not horrible, but it's not great, either.)

After lunch Abigail and I exchanged some money at the Hilton, then went back to the grocery for more milk, and some bread and eggs. I also picked up some boxed pineapple juice, paper towels, and more water. The food here is very reasonable, although eating out is quite reasonable as well. Abigail fell asleep on the way to the grocery, and I let her sleep in the back seat while I shopped.

When we got home, Gaga and Anna were just waking up from a nap. We played some more, going for a walk in the yard, walking around the house, and just being silly. Anna at a peanut butter sandwich and drank even more milk! In fact, she had what we call a "pee-soaker" from all her milk! One of her favorite things she did today was rip paper (thrilling!) and one of my favorites is discovering that she likes kisses that end in raspberries! She is also quite ticklish, especially on her feet! I had her laughing out loud a few times, although nothing that sounded like a word, yet.

When we were walking outside, I put Anna down to look at some of the flowers. She is a pretty timid baby, but even more so when she is outdoors. While she was walking with me, Zimmet (the housekeeper) called her name, "Misrak, come!”. Anna quickly turned away from Zimmet and grabbed tightly to my leg. My heart soared!

Abigail has been absolutely terrific as a big sister. She reads books to Anna and is very helpful with fetching items, taking Anna for a walk around the living room, and just being silly. She did beautifully traveling, and I think the times when we are out without Anna really help Abigail feel balance- like she is not being ignored.

After a lovely afternoon, we left Simon and Anna with one of the caregivers, and we headed out for the cultural dinner. The food was fantastic (although Abigail remains unimpressed.) But Abigail did love the dancing and music! I have some great video of people we knowing dancing with the performers, so that is something to look forward to when we get home!
By the time we got home from dinner, Anna was asleep in the crib in my room. Right now she is lying there, quietly breathing and turning over once in a while. In a few minutes, I will bring her in bed to cuddle while we sleep. I have a bottle on the night stand, ready to go if she needs it- it's been a long time since I've done that. And if feels good.


Natalie Fournet said...

AAHHHH!!!! The day we have prayed for...so glad to know she is finally with you!

Dawn said...

Oh, how wonderful!! I cannot wait to see pictures!! So you can email, but post?

~Laura~ said...

I love reading about Grace's trip & all about Anna. Can't wait for pictures....even if that means we have to wait till she's home.

LoveNotes4CocoPrincess said...

(Taking a deep breath of loveliness)...I thank the LORD for this day!

Robbin said...

I cannot wait to see pictures, but your writing is SOOOOOO descriptive you can almost picture every moment.


Chris and Jess said...

Oh Grace, what a day! I'm so happy that all is going well-just like we talked about! Enjoy your stay, I can't wait to see pictures and hear every little detail when you get back!

Heather said...

How wonderful! I am sitting here crying my eyes out!

I can hardly wait until your next post!!


Melissa said...

Thank you so much for posting while you travel. I was thinking about you are work today. I love to read how things are going, and this one just made me teary that she is already finding comfort in you. You are her momma alright. Excellent.

JanaFun said...

Beautiful. So happy for you, and for sweet Anna.

Juli said...

How absolutely beautiful. I have followed your blog for some time now and am overjoyed that your little girl and little sister are in your arms! Enjoy each and every moment!

solas4me said...

So Happy for all of you. Thanks for the informative posts about travel. I am saving them in our files for trip. Have a safe trip home with your precious family,
The Darlings
"A Darling Life"

Amber said...

I love to read all about your experiences. Sounds like she is taking to you very well.

Halo said...

Congratulations! That is wonderful news! I'm glad everyone is doing very well and your trip was uneventful!

haze said...

What a wonderfully detailed post! Grace, I am so thrilled for you that you finally have your baby in your arms. I can't wait to see pictures of your newly expanded family all together.

Rebecca said...

It warms my heart to hear about your time in ET. Anna becoming a part of your family makes me so emotional! I can't wait to see pictures. What a blessing she is!

Mamá to the best 2 said...

i'm crying tears of joy, as i read and thanking the Lord that your little girl is finally in your arms!! I'm loving all the updates!

JK x2 said...

As a ditto to my sister-in-law - the tears came very quickly! We would love to see pictures, but even without I have beautiful mental pictures of you loving on YOUR little girl!!