Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Synopsis- Day 2 and Day 3

Day 2 was pretty much spent on the plane flying from DC to Rome (didn't get to get off the plane- just refueled and kept going) and then finally to Addis Ababa.  Crazy long wait for our visas, then got our luggage and met our AWESOME driver- Abiey.  (pronounced "Abby")  These drivers are the BEST.  They are your tour guides, your information sources, your errand runners, your personal assistants, your translators, your shopping helpers... Abiey was so great!  But we didn't know that on Sunday.  We just wanted to load our stuff in his car and get to the Bejoe Guest House.  (HIGHLY recommend, Gladney fams!  Great place, near lots of stuff, computer w/ internet access there, and they take great care of you.)
Abiey- driver extraordinaire!

Day 3-  I woke up very nervous!!!  In fact, truthfully I was very nervous on the whole plane ride over.  I mean... this was pretty huge, and we just had no idea how it was all going to go.  Would she cry?  Would she be scared?  Would she want to be with us?  Would she sleep?  Would she play?  Would she be a good fit for our family or were we all going to have to do do a lot of adjusting to fit her in???  This was the day I was going to meet my DAUGHTER!  Crazy.  And she wasn't going to be a newborn baby like the days I met my sons... so you can imagine the nerves floating around!!!

Around 10am we got the call that Travis was almost at the Bejoe (which, by the way, Ben kept calling the "Bee Gee" all week) and so we all went out on the porch to wait.

There are no words for watching the car enter the gate.
There are no words for watching a little girl get out of the car.
There are no words for watching a little girl being helped up the stairs.
There are no words for looking into the face of a little girl and saying, "Hello!  Selam!" for the first time.

The closest I can come to describing it is to reflect on C.S. Lewis' description of Lucy in (I think) The Voyage of the Dawn Treader when he says she is solemn and quiet- a feeling much deeper than one usually feels; a joy that isn't manifest by laughter nor tears, but just by being still and quiet and soaking it all in.

So there she was.  This little face we had memorized in pictures the previous 3 and 1/2 months was right there in front of us- averting her eyes so as to not have to look us right in the eye at first.  She took the dolly immediately and then backed right into my arms.  It was pretty amazing.  She was fine with me snuggling her right from the start!

The boys got out the bubbles and started entertaining her with those, and then they moved on to the sidewalk chalk.  I think I've already documented that the bubbles were a hit right away, not so the chalk.  But she has warmed to it now.  So for those first couple of hours she just stayed snuggled into me and played with the boys and watched the boys play.  It was awesome.

That afternoon we had our Embassy appointment.  I was a bit worried that it was going to go less than well considering that it was scheduled right during nap time.  But I didn't need to worry- she did great!  And she was very excited to see her friends who were being adopted that week as well!  

Here she is on the way to the Embassy:


Later that afternoon she and I looked through her suitcase.  She held up EVERY piece of clothing we brought for her and smiled the biggest, most beautiful smile you can imagine and said, "This is MINE!" (In Amharic, of course.  The workers at the Bejoe told me that's what she saying.  But really, I could tell.  ;-)  Can you imagine what she was feeling?  She's never had anything of her own... and then to discover that she had a dolly and bubbles AND a wardrobe!  Can you just imagine?  It wasn't spoiled, it wasn't self centered, it wasn't selfish, it wasn't vain.  It was just a little girl's joy at being able to look pretty!!!  So precious.  And when she discovered the headbands- whooooooah boy!!!!  The joy just couldn't be contained!!!


When it came time for bed she was an angel.  I gave her a bath, put her in her new yummy jammies, snuggled her for a bit, prayed for her, and then laid her down in her crib which was right next to our bed.  She sat there for just a moment, but didn't even whimper.  I laid down on the bed and closed my eyes, and I heard her immediately lay down in her crib.  She was asleep within minutes.  



Deena / TEAM MARQUIS said...

Thank you so much for writing about your journey! We just got our referral - a "3" year old girl - I can't wait to experience the things you are writing about! Your little one is just precious! I can't wait to read more about your trip and transition home :)

Heidi Jo said...

oh i need my box of tissues when i read these. the pictures are amazing. how your lives have been changed.

Charissa said...

She is CUTE.

Cindy said...

Magic indeed : )

Leanne said...

Thank you for sharing this. I loved this post!! And she is a DOLL!

Sylvia said...

Have followed your blog for a couple of years now and it's been so thrilling to "travel with you" on your journey of adoption. Been very moved by so many of your posts. The last two have just been SO very exciting to read and I'm thrilled for all 5 of you. Beautifully written.

Charlie said...

Amazing story, gorgeous baby girl. I was okay until I got to the 'This is mine?' portion, yeah, I lost it...

Great story, excellent photos, thanks so much for sharing!

Eryn said...

Oh, so so beautiful! The story and the girl...I'm teary reading it, imagining how good that moment/moments must have felt. I can't wait!

So happy for you!

Annie said...

I have been following your blog for a while, but this is my first time commenting. I always get teary-eyed reading, and I'm so happy for your family! Children are a blessing, and you are lucky to have all of yours.

Laura Ferry-Jimenez said...

congratulations - what a total cutie!

Mark and Heidi said...

So beautiful, Gayla! Magic indeed!!!!

Claire said...

so beautiful! it really is hard to describe that emotion!

Karenkool said...

Dear God, Gayla, you are making me cry. It's so amazing.

Robyn said...

Abiey was our driver, too! He was really great to us--he had to get out to push the car a couple of times, but that wasn't his fault :)

Your daughter is just beautiful!

JenRene Owens said...

Thank You. I have no words... smile

Selam! G'day! Hello!