We had an incredible time in Ethiopia. The first few days we spend in Woliso, Ethiopia visiting a church and some dear friends. We spent Monday sight seeing in Addis Ababa and the last few days we spent meeting Fraol. I'll post about other aspects of our trip soon but I figured this is the part you want to read...so I won't keep you waiting.
On the plane home, I wrote a letter to Fraol about all the details of our first day together. I used clips from the letter and some photos to share with you about the day. It's kind of long and probably pretty boring so I totally encourage just scrolling through the pictures!
Yesterday was an amazing day. It was the first day that I held you in my arms. It was Tuesday, October 30th and it was an absolutely perfect day. It was about 75 and sunny and our bus driver arrived 30 minutes early which usually never happens in Ethiopia. Your dad and I haused down some breakfast really quickly so we could start on the 2.5 car ride to your home in Adama. For the first 1.5 hours of the ride we were distracted by talking with the director of your home and a local pastor near Adama. He was telling us his testimony and how God has continued to grow and bless his church. When we told him you were our son, he got a huge smile and started giggling. I asked him to tell us about you and through his joyful laugh he said “Fraol, he is a good boy.” I was already so proud of you in that moment. I knew you were bringing joy to so many people. As the ride went on and conversation started to die, my anticipation grew. Anytime I imagined our meeting it always brought tears to my eyes. I was so excited and curious to meet you, get to see how much you’ve grown since the last time I saw a picture of you (two months prior), see you smile and laugh and get you in my arms. I was dying to meet you.
In the car about 10 minutes before meeting Fraol.
When we arrived, we knocked on the door and were greeted by Tezera who is the Director of all the YWAM homes. She is a very nice women and loved you far more that I even know. She helped take good care of you for most of your life. She directed us to your room where there were about 15 babies and toddlers (including you), all the nannies, 2 drivers, the pastor, Tezera and her husband. It was crazy. Your dad walked in first and she asked him if he knew which one you were. He looked down and saw you lying on your stomach, looking up at us, holding an orange ball in your hand.
He was laying on that mat in the middle of the floor. His bed is the one on the left under the lion.
You were smaller than I was thinking your were going to be but I just about died from your cuteness. Your big brown eyes, curly hair, lips, nose, everything about you was perfect. You were wearing the same shirt as in the picture we had of you. You were only 17lbs and the shirt was 18 months so we could barely see your little body in it. You were alive and a real person. You were our son that we’ve been asking and praying for, for years. We both were in shock and awe. We were so excited to all be together as a family for the first time. We crouched down on the floor next to you and played with the toy in front of you for about 30 seconds and then your dad picked you up and handed you right to me.
Let’s just say you were not happy about that. You started screaming, and boy you scream loud. We handed you a bottle and it helped for a bit but anytime you would look up at me you would get so scared and start crying again. I felt so bad for you because I knew you were so afraid, as you should have been. We were total strangers, but your cry was pretty stinking cute I do have to say. I wished in that moment there was something I could have done to show you how much I love you.
After a few minutes I handed you back to one of your nannies so you wouldn’t be so scared. You immediately stopped crying which I was so happy about. We played all together for a while so you could start to warm up to us. We were playing with a little rattle toy with soccer balls on the ends. Another little boy during that time came over and stole your bottle that was sitting on the ground and rested his leg on dad. He wanted to be a part of the action too.
After about 10 minutes we tried to hold you again. You didn’t like it at first but then we took you out of the room, away from the nannies and into the courtyard to get some fresh air. You loved to be outside and look around. For the next hour or so you were slowing getting more comfortable with us but anytime you’d see your nanny you would start sobbing again.
Look how big his clothes are!
I brought balloons for all the kids to play with so I got them out thinking that you might like one too. You did. You totally loved the balloon. You held onto it tight while you were in dad’s arms. You’d lean forward and put your mouth on it and rest your head. I think you were getting tired.
Us with Tezera, the Orphanage Director and her daughter, Betty.
We had a so much fun with you those first few hours. You smiled a lot when your nannies would kiss your cheeks and love on you. We played on a blanket together and got to see how you could roll over and army crawl. You loved to shake the rattle, eat your bottle and nap! Anytime you’d start to get sad we would give you a bottle. You didn’t eat really fast but you were a distracted eater. You’d just have the bottle in your mouth while you scoped out the things around you. You started to warm up to us too. You would hold our fingers, squeeze my arm which was my favorite, look up at us an stare in our eyes and not cry anymore. You even started to smile more.
Your nanny’s name was Almez. She was absolutely in LOVE with you. I'm so thankful for her. I know she gave you her heart. She was so nice and joyful always smiling when she saw me from across the room. I asked her about you. I wanted her to tell me everything she knew. We talked through your schedule and that you eat three times a day, sleep from 8pm – 6am and if you wake up in the night she just gives you a bottle and you fall right back asleep. She said that your favorite food is pastine, which is a really small pasta. At the end I asked her what else I should know about you. She giggled and said, “He’s a food fighter.” She was meaning that you love to eat and you can never get enough! She looked at me and told me to take care of your belly. I loved that.
Us with Fraol's sweet Nanny
We made incredible memories together and it was a day I'll never forget. You are an amazing boy and I'm beyond blessed to call you my son.
Day 2 with Fraol is coming next - stay posted.