Monday, February 28, 2011

This is the day.

February 28: This is where we started our day today.

This is where we went next. To see OUR DAUGHTER!

It's official, or at least as official as anything around here appears to get. We passed court and we are now a family of 7!

Sophie with her nannie, leaving mommy until embassy. Praying that it will not be the 12 weeks that is currently the chatter. Please no!

Now that it is official we would like to introduce you to our daughter...

Sophie Joy Tufa Addink

Day 1: One tear when meeting us for the first time.

Day 2: So many more smiles.

This face has been dubbed " the stink face". Love it!

Right where she should be.

Psalm 126:3. The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Awasa orphanage

The entire complex sits on a piece of land not much bigger than the lot our house sits on, tucked in a side alley in Awasa. I saw a total of about five rooms. They currently have the four little boys (at least based on the clothes they had on) above, and thirteen infants. This is the place that takes in the children found on the streets of Awasa or dropped off here by family who can't care for them. They hold them for two months, or until their paperwork is ready, and then transfer them to the main orphanages in Addis.

If they survive.

Those were the exact words of the director of this orphanage.

If they survive.

And yet, the little boys had huge smiles for the soccer balls and train toys we brought. The babies smiled at their rattles. They smiled even bigger when the nurses picked them up and held them, or when we did. The ladies hear clearly care for the kids, and are obviously doing what they can to help them.

They don't have much. A few rooms, a few cribs, some clothes, not enough formula, and 17 kids who depend on them.

The director asked when we would be back. We said we didn't think we would. But if any other adoptive parents are up for it, make the trip here and bring formula, bottles, and cloth diapers. That is what they said they need most.

Awasa, hippos, and a street fight

Sunday, February 27: Last night we stayed in Awasa at the Oasis Hotel, near the shore of Lake Awasa. We were on the top floor, at least until they finish building the one above us.

I snuck upstairs to get a better look at the construction techniques, the lake, and the sunset.

We went out for dinner at the Lewi Resort, where Paige gave me a hard time for drinking coffee from such a dainty cup.

And then called me a princess when I climbed into my netted bed.

We both sleep like rocks, even though the mattress was actually just a box spring. I guess a hot and bumpy 7 hour drive will do that to you.

The next morning we were up before dawn to catch a boat ride to see the hippos. There are two options. 250 birr gets you the one hour motorboat tour, while 200 birr will buy the three hour rowboat tour. Tells you the relative value of manual labor versus gasoline around here. We opted for the motorboat, which meant they had to install the outboard first.

Sunrise out on the lake.

Big smiles when she spotted the hippos (the little dots near shore.)

Some of the local fisherman.

After the hippos, we had a quick breakfast and headed to the fish market, where there were a lot of tourists...

but not very many fish.

After the lack of fish market, we headed for a "quick" tire repair at the local Discount Tire.

Interestingly, they use tubed tires here. And I got a picture of an Afrigadget for Jonathan.

Then all of a sudden of tire guy (in blue above) took off running across the street. Where he immediately laid the smack on some guy. And was then joined by 30 or so of his friends, who appeared from seemingly nowhere. They also helped beat the guy, and his friend, even further. They eventually shoved both guys into the two foot deep drainage trench along the side of the road. I was fairly sure we were actually going to see a guy get killed, not just beaten. I managed to sneak two pictures of the group before I got too worried someone would spot me and we would be next.

We caught a glimpse of the one victim stumbling around nearly unconscious, and then we assume he stumbled off down the alley. I'm not actually sure. Meanwhile, we are sitting across the street, in a tiny mini bus, with windows down, sticking out like a sore thumb, completely unarmed, and no freaking tire installed. With no clue why on earth the guy changing our tire decided to go off and beat a guy. Yipeee!!!!

So our tire guy goes back to changing the tire, puts it back on the van, and off we go. I asked our driver later, and he said the beaten guy walked by the tire shop and swiped an air filter. Apparently they are few and far between, because he said an air filter sells for 3000 birr (around $200.). For comparison, they charged 20 birr to repair and install the tire.

After that adventure, we made our way to the Awasa orphanage (more on that in another post) and then made the long hot drive back to "home."

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Toukoul SOSEE Gelan Orphanage

On our way to Awasa, we stopped at the Toukoul Gelan orphanage for the older kids. The orphanage Sophie is at is for kids under two. This one is for grade school age kids. The director gave us a tour. It was heartbreaking and encouraging at the same time. The kids obviously love the director, and he them. They were all running up to him and hugging him, and he was doing the same back. The nurses all seemed to love them as well. And yet, there are around 200 kids here, and at most 50 of them are adopted each year.

They've got a section just for HIV kids. They were adorable. The first little girl ran right up to Paige. She picked her up and hoisted her in the air, getting a good giggle. She then ran to me, and I got her way higher than Paige did. That got a huge giggle. As soon as the other kids saw that, they all mobbed me. I only got to toss up about five kids before their nurses shooed them all away and lined them up at they wall.

But those five kids and their huge smiles above my head... I could have stayed all day to throw them in the air.

See the cutie peeking out the window?

We asked the director what they needed most. He said shoes and clothes. We didn't bring either. What we did bring, they told us to bring to the orphanage we visit tomorrow, which apparently is even more in need.

I've got a hard time imagining "more in need" but I guess we see what that looks like tomorrow.