Sunday, June 2, 2013

Meetcha Day Revisited

We've been a bit busy with wrestling and ball schedules, SOOO back to the story - I figure if I write one blog post every few months, I will have our 10 day trip journaled in what - a few years or so?? )

After landing in Addis Ababa, early Monday morning, we went back to the guest house to unpack and rest a bit before going to lunch and then to meet Olivia, for the FIRST time ever.  

Why not go straight there you say?   Because this mama was not in charge of the schedule, obviously...

This would also be the time to mention how hilarious it must have looked to have the 6 of us, and all 18 of our bags, loaded up on trolleys to tie to the roof of our van.    Even funnier, our guide was no longer allowed to come and meet us inside the airport so we were standing around - all 6 of us, and our 18 bags, in a foreign country - really looking like fools.  Kind of like Eddie Murphy on 'Coming to America'.   How much luggage do these Americans need???  Seriously?   (A reminder that 85% of that luggage was donations for the orphanages but the Ethiopians didn't know that!  And we were able to call our guide and found out that he was outside in the parking lot waiting for us.)

Once at our gorgeous guest house, a few of our crew fell asleep, a few showered or changed after our 2 days traveling.    After 2 days, I felt like stank with a capital S.  

After a quick (1.5 hr) meal at Island Breeze, (my least favorite of the restaurants we visited), we finally boarded back up to go and meet Livvie.   And FYI, liking tuna and liking pizza - together does not a harmony make.    We then started our habit of boxing up our left-overs to give to the street kids.  I think they got a whole Tuna Pizza minus one bite.   I'll just chalk my menu choice up to exhaustion.

After loading up we made our way to the big blue AWAA sign outside the gates of the America World transition home.   It is the pentacle moment of your Meetcha Day as it announces that you.have.arrived.

From there you wait at the bottom of the steps while they go to get your child ready.    In our case, our friend Mindy snuck in to try to find her while we waited outside.   She was able to snap some now-dear-to-my-heart photos of the nannies preparing our little one like a bride on her wedding day.  Minus the white dress and plus some mismatched clothing.   You can see the little cow outfit beside them that I had sent 3 months prior.    A size 3 mos outfit for my (then unknown) 9 mos baby girl.   The nanny must have taken one look at that outfit and then said, "yeah, that ain't gonna happen."

As we waited, our hearts going a million miles an hour, Mindy comes running out the door saying, "here she comes!" and there she is.   In the flesh, scared to death.

And thus Livvie fulfills her Daddy's prophecy of months earlier saying, "you know we will get the screaming baby, right??"   We later did find out that a screaming baby is actually a GOOD sign.   As it means the baby is able to attach to her caretakers (the nannies) so will have an easier time transferring that attachment to her new caretakers (us).  

Many have asked me if I cried when I saw her.  No.   She was my baby.  And she was scared, and upset, and I just had to comfort her and let her know it would be alright.   Crying wasn't on my schedule for that day.  (now the day we left, that is another story). 

Within a couple of minutes, she had stopped screaming and was only giving us little sniffles.   She would stick her little bottom lip out when she was feeling anxious and it was a good thermometer to know to back (the kids) off of her.
We emptied out her baby bag - trying puffs, rattles, squeaky toys.   She would look at each one but really had no interest in playing with anything at all.

I was able to get a few quick little half smiles.   Progress for only an hour in.   And she easily fell asleep on Daddy after he fed her some kind of gruel they brought her.    Their food usually looked like some kind of porridge, or smashed pasta bits with carrots, tomatoes, and onions.   And usually didn't smell so hot...   SO tired (him, not her).

The necklace I am wearing, I wore everyday.   She would hold onto the beads as she drifted off to sleep and smell the perfume I had brought to wear everyday.   I brought both back in May for her Gotcha Day, hoping she would remember them somehow and remember how much I had loved her, and how even though only 10 days later, I had left her (just like everyone else had), that I had come back. 

Hopefully my next post will be quicker than 6 months.   As her transformation over the next several days was amazing...  from orphan to daughter almost over-night.   Adoption is amazing, and painful, and tiring.   But so, so beautiful. 

Original meetcha day post posted on March 5th, 2012.

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