I was ready to spend more time with my kids so we go to get them up from the orphanage to bring them to the guest house. We arrive at the orphanage and they are at school so we drive over to the school and they show us around. It is dilapidated. This is what I pictured the orphanage being like. Thank You God that it's not. Small cinder block rooms, 50 or 60 square feet, with concrete or dirt floors might have 10 or 12 babies sleeping in a pile. This is a day care. They are happy for me to meet theirteachers and I enjoy getting to see into a different part of their lives. Rahel was not at school; she was getting her hair done. Since we are going back to the orphanage to wait on Rahel the teachers send the rest of the kids with us so they won't have to walk back. It's about a five minute drive. That would make for a pretty long walk, not to mention the age of the children and the nature of the traffic. If you've ever been to a third world country you may have a grasp of the traffic. If not imagine New York with half of the streets being unpaved. The drivers obey less rules. Take away traffic lights. Add dozens of farm animals and you're getting close.
We are headed back to the guest house with our four lovely children in tow. Donnie and Yonatin walk back up to get lunch for all of us. In the meantime,
Solomon is playing basketball with Kilintin (Clinton), another young man being adopted who is with his soon to be family at the guest house. Eyasu and Yoseph kick the soccer ball around or rock in the chair on the front porch. I call them all together and give them their clothes that Jessica sent. All fits well
except Solomon’s and Rahel’s shoes. Bummer. Papa will fix it. Still waiting for the food, Yoseph wanted to play a game so I got out Jenga. We play for a little
while and then I let Gavatchu (Clinton’s brother) take my spot. Rahel is hanging out with the ladies that stay behind the guest house. I don’t quite know how all this works but they cook and clean and watch kids. They are super sweet. She is enjoying talking to them so I don't want to pull her away. I am jealous. I wish I could carry on these conversations with my kids that other people have. The communication is not quite there yet. One day. Soon.
The food arrived. Donnie and I have pizza or something like it. It has some strange shredded meat on it. I force myself to eat a couple of pieces. It's not that bad. I am enjoying watching my kids eat. Yonatin picked out some traditional Ethiopian food for the gang. They are really enjoying it. I love having a meal with them. It is a first. They laugh and talk and eat while I dream of us all being together around the table very soon. This all seems surreal. touched my pocket and said ‘phone?’ I knew I had the power to gain all their attention by allowing them to play games and music on my phone. But I had something better. I went to get the iPad and introduced them to Angry Birds. They played music on my phone and took rounds playing games on the iPad. After a little while I got paper and pens and colors and let them write letters and/or draw pictures for mommy. I colored four different pictures, one for each of them, that represented us as a family. I wrote essentially the same message on the back of each page: We love you so much. We are trying very hard to bring you home to us as soon as we can. Love, papa.
On the ride back to the orphanage they each have their own bench seat to themselves. I'm sitting next to Solomon. I ask, "Are you happy?” His response: yes. Then I ask if he wants to come live in the United States with us. Yes is again his answer. I move to each seat and ask the same two questions to each of the children and the answers are all the same. I kissed each one of them and spent a few minutes just sitting there with my arm around them. Rahel was on the last seat in the back. As soon as she said yes to coming to live with us she put her arm around my neck and pulled me in for a big kiss on the cheek. She beat me to it and I was so glad.
Tonight we have reservations to go have a traditional meal with a bunch of other adoptive families.
The restaurant is alive with music and dance. There's a guard at the door frisking the patrons. There must have been 30 of us in our group! The food was ok. Buffet style Ethiopian cuisine is probably better when you're with Ethiopians who can help you know what's what. Jenna, the girl next to me who is here with her brother who's adopting an astonishingly cute little boy, ended up with cow stomach on her plate. I almost ended up with the contents of my stomach on my plate. The music is great. A four-piece band playing instruments you've never seen and wearing traditional Ethiopian wardrobes is a sight and sound combination to take in. Add in traditional dancers and you've got a superb night. The male dancers are doing things with their shoulders that only high voltage electric shock can do. And the females do this head banging maneuver that combines 80's hair metal and a well worn bobble head doll. It would've put Willow Smith to shame.
Good day. Good night. Tomorrow is court.