We arrived in Addis at 7:45 a.m. after a long but uneventful 13 hour plane ride. We did better with the plane ride this time, thanks to more realistic expectations (and Unisom!). The plane was very full and I was sandwiched in between Trevor and an Ethiopian woman who lives in Minnesota. This was her first time back to visit her family in ten years. She was Muslim, which I knew from the chanting and soft singing and then her prayer journal that she kept. Yes, I'm a nosy seat partner! ;)
Upon arrival, we sailed quickly through customs (since we'd gotten our visas before hand) and then went to wait on our luggage. It took what seemed like forever for our luggage to come through the conveyor belt, but we were so relieved when all four suitcases made it!:). We then held our breath as we walked outside, hoping we could identify our driver. The airport has tightened its security since we were here last, so the drivers aren't allowed to come near the building. It was quite a sight to see so many people waiting in the parking lot as we came out of the airport. Luckily, our driver was waiting as close to the airport as possible, holding a sign with our names. So, we introduced ourselves and he drove us to the Providence Guest House, where we are staying for the week. We had about 15 minutes to change and get ready to get into the CHI van.
From there, we made the 3 hour trek to Assela to meet Bek's grandmother at Numan orphanage, which is the orphanage that Bek stayed in June and July of last year. Now, let me just say what a blessing this meeting was! It was so amazing to be able to ask his grandmother questions and to get information about their family that we would not otherwise have known! It was great to hear about his mother and how much they loved him. It was a really difficult conversation, too, though I'll not get into the details, but she was so so sweet and really seemed genuinely pleased with us as his family. She said at the end that she could tell that we are a good family and wished us a long and happy life. And then, in a very special video, she said a prayer of blessing on Bek and our family. It was beautiful and wonderful, and heart-wrenching. I cried, of course, and she told me "don't cry" and hugged me tight. We then toured the orphanage and saw several sweet babies (two little boys who really captured our hearts!) and a group of older kids (aged 8-12).
This was Bek's room from June 2011 to around October 2011
Bek's crib at Numan
Then, we headed out to lunch with Hermella and Amara (CHI's driver) at a nice Ethiopian restaurant on the lower level of a hotel in Assela and then made the three hour trip back home. We were so tired that Trevor slept in the back seat and I slept in the middle seat. Even Hermella slept in the front seat. Something about the bumpy road, the rain, and the wind made for perfect van sleeping weather, I guess! We also had live chickens in the back of the van that they were bringing back to the HOH. They were in a bag, so we didn't see or hear them, but we knew they were there!:)
Once we returned, we ate a delicious Ethiopian dinner and then went to bed. And, boy, did we sleep well!!:)