our adventure…life, adoption, and a little bit of everything else
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Bittersweet…

Bittersweet, yes that’s how I would begin to describe how I feel about coming home. We were so ready to see our children here at home, yet part of our hearts are with our other children in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. It’s a very strange place to be in…this limbo of sorts. I want to be the one caring for them, tucking them in at night, bathing them, cooking their meals, kissing their cheeks, and on and on and on. But I’m not. Surprisingly I’m doing ok with it though. God is God and he is SO much bigger than this. He planned this before the creation of the world. He knew our hearts would have Africa sized holes in them and he knew exactly who he would hand pick to fill those holes. Thank goodness we are not in this alone. I couldn’t do it. When those gorgeous dark skinned angels walked into the waiting area and met us for the first time………………….it was all worth it. Every delay, every paperwork issue, every setback and heartache. It melted away. We just held those darling children and none of it mattered. God knit them together in their birth mothers womb so perfectly. I wish she could have known they would be so loved. Oh and they are THE most beautiful Ethiopian children to be born there oh by the way. Our son has the most precious dimples when he smiles big! Oh and our daughter has the softest skin ever. But I digress……….however, if you ever need reminding of just how gorgeous they are….just ask me. I will be happy to oblige. (and I’m sure I will have at least several pictures in my purse to prove it)

To begin our journey, we started off with 2 nights in Dubai. After arriving at our hotel from the airport, we took a tour of the hotel and checked out the rooftop pool. However, with the temp being well over 100 degrees we quickly went back into the AC! We took a short nap and then headed out on foot to explore the souks (traditional markets). Upon strolling through all of the souks (spices, gold, fabric) we ventured onto an abra to cross Dubai Creek to the older part of town. Click on the highlighted words and it will explain it. After strolling along the side streets of the older section, we again crossed the Creek and caught a Taxi back to our hotel. I had overheated and was grouchy by then. Hahaha…a pounding headache will do that to me. The next morning we were picked up at our hotel for our day tour of the newer part of city. We hit all the highlights…one of the palm islands, Atlantis Hotel, Dubai Museum, Jameirah Beach, worlds tallest building, a market, etc. It was a whirlwind tour and we would have preferred a little more time to explore it. However, we had another tour set up for that afternoon. Around 4pm that same day we were picked up by another tour guide. We were ready for some adventure. We took a 4 wheel drive tour through the dessert dunes! It was absolutely insane and amazing. We had a long ride through the dunes and eventually ended up at an Arabian camp complete with camel riding, dinner, and belly dancing. I thought of joining her onstage, but I refrained. Ok, I’m kidding. Well anyway, it was a fabulous evening! One we will not quickly forget. Ali was extremely jealous when we called and told her about it.

After our fabulous time in Dubai, we loaded the next plane bound for Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. There couldn’t be any more contrasting cities in all the world. It was slight culture shock for the first day, at least for me. I think T.C. handles such things much better than I. It is just so humbling, so eye opening. To know we take so much for granted in our society. How often do we turn on our water faucets at home and are thankful for clean running water? I have to say for me it’s close to never. It’s just a given. How often are we thankful that our electricity is always on for the most part? Ummm, rarely. How often do we complain that our homes need to be “upgraded” and our cars are getting old? I mean really. How about not knowing where you are going to sleep and where your next meal might come from?

Anyway, we then had 2 incredible visits with 2 amazing kiddos. Do you need me to remind you again? I didn’t think so! 🙂 After our visits were over we still had all weekend to explore more of the surrounding area. We hired our guest house manager (he has started up a little tour business on the side) to take us and 2 other adoptive families on a tour of the countryside, Debre Libanos Monestary and a hike to a cave, Portugese Bridge, lunch overlooking a breathtaking gorge, baboons in the wild, etc. We were also given a very rare invitation to walk through a mud/thatched roof hut along the countryside.  We stopped to take pictures of the beautiful mountains in the distance when a man approached our tour guide about allowing us to visit his family home. It was such an honor and learning experience. It was literally a made of mud and had a thatched roof. One of the buildings had 2 rooms. Another building housed the indoor kitchen (of sorts) and had a chicken tided up with all of her chicks. It was amazing. No electricity, no running water…yet the people were so gracious to let us explore. The children loved it when we took their pictures and then let them see them. After our incredible day our guide let us stop off and do a little bit of shopping at some of the small markets. All of that was on Saturday and Sunday we attended church at Beza International Church which was all in English. After worship, we were given a little cooking lesson by one of the cooks at our guest house. She taught us how to make sega wat. We love Ethiopian food and enjoyed having it several times while we were there. It was a wonderful cultural experience being in Ethiopia. We miss it already and look forward to returning. Oh yes, we also went to a traditional dinner complete with cultural dancing, with everyone from our guest house. It was so much fun!

We made it home yesterday. The trip back was uneventful, albeit extremely long!! The flight from Dubai to Houston was almost 17 hours. Ever tried sitting in the same spot for that long? I don’t highly recommend it….unless of course you are going to adopt some adorable Ethiopian children, then it is WAY worth it. 🙂 Also, just for record, Houston needs to greatly improve their system of getting people through the immigration line. After being on a 17 hour flight, the last thing you want to do is stand in a horrificly long line to get through immigration. It is kind of like Wal-Mart….20 check out lines and only 2 open! Ok, I vented.

I am also going to put a plug in for our wonderful guest house, Addis Flower Guest House. They have about 7 rooms, central living/dining room, and a small kitchen. It is simple, but clean and welcoming. We met some wonderful people while staying there. Some fellow adoptees, a previous adoptive family that was returning to visit the birth family, and someone doing mission work. We would all go out to eat, etc. together. It was such a precious time for us. The young man that manages the guest house goes over and beyond to make sure you are taken care of. We HIGHLY recommend the place if you are ever searching for lodging in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. 🙂

A little funny…Clark thought our “free” bag of goodies we were given on the plane was super cool. He is sleeping with the eye mask on as I type this. 🙂

2 comments

1 Jessica { 07.14.11 at 10:16 am }

Love the pics…especially the tour pics…those sights were gorgeous!! I’m so glad you got to enjoy that. How was the ride out there…fumes?

2 Cheryl { 07.29.11 at 6:13 pm }

Loved your pictures, Rach! What an adventure it was, with another one in store for your family to bring your two new children home. How amazing!

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