Saturday, July 4, 2009

In our arms - June 8

Today, our lives would change forever. Today we became a family of four. When we walked through the doors of Shalom Transition House we were greeted by a curious little boy in a blue striped shirt, gray shorts and little white leather sneakers. As we all trooped in the door, about 10 of us, everyone staring intently at our cutie with the famous curly mohawk, he BURST into tears! He was clearly not ready for fame and paparazzi. After a few moments of shock -- man, that kiddo can scream -- Spence took him outside for a quiet walk on the grounds. He came back as calm and laid back as you please. Not so much as another peep or sniffle. He seemed content to sit in our laps and watch everyone. But no smiles, just stoic observation.

Quick sidebar: I felt certain "stoic" was the most accurate description of Dawit's reaction after his brief meltdown, but just to be doubly sure, I looked it up. describes stoic as "free from passion, unmoved by joy or grief, submit without complaint to unavoidable necessity." Now that everyone knows my brilliant talent for word choice, I'll get back to the story (just kidding!).

One of the nannies took Dawit and fed him a bottle while we visited the babies upstairs. And shortly thereafter, we loaded up in the van.

We stopped at the Jupiter Hotel for lunch. It was very nice, the food was great, and Dawit was along for the ride. Honestly, I would have been just as happy at a hole-in-the-wall Ethiopian dive, but I think the other families appreciated the low-risk, somewhat Americanized menu. And it was still cheap. I think we paid about $12 for two seriously fancy entrees. In the lobby after lunch, while waiting for our van to come back, one of the hotel employees was able to coax some smiles out of Dawit.
After lunch the Grimes family went back to the hotel to rest and we ventured up Entoto Mountain with the Mooney's and Emane and Kate from Bethany, where you can see incredible views of Addis. We stopped along the way to take pictures and marveled at the strength of the women doubled over with bundles of sticks the diameter of a 50-gallon drum strapped to their backs. They were hauling the wood down the mountain. You could take their picture if you paid them in Birr. We passed on that. There is actually an association called the Former Women Fuel Wood Carriers Association and a project that helps women who do/have done this as a profession. They range in age from 15 to 63 and make equivalent to about 50 U.S. cents a day. (I'll do a sidebar on this later.)

On the mountain we visited a palace and museum, and to be honest, I've forgotten whose it was (Selassie?) and the name of the museum. Maybe Spence can remind me. The artifacts were cool, but I was slightly distracted by the 17 pounds dangling from the Baby Bjorn on my tummy.

After Entoto, we came back to Morning Coffee and got Little D settled in. We had another wonderful dinner cooked by Birtukan, then headed to bed early. We had no idea what was in store that night. We learned pretty quick that you better have that bottle ready before D sees it, because he ain't waitin'. To keep down the commotion in the middle of the night, we had one all ready. Amazingly he slept 8 hours before waking, took a bottle and settled back down for another hour or two. The next morning we felt fairly rested.

As the first day went on, we were able to see a few smiles from D, but mostly the joy was ours as we reveled in this little curly miracle.


grimes said...

Lori, just wanted to apologize again for completely overwhelming your child on the day you got him! That was so terrible of us!!

los cazadores said...

Little D is gorgeous and he and Olly do look so much alike.


Eastiopians said...

I love gotcha day stories! :) I can't wait to meet this little guy in person one day!