The experience of being in Addis Ababa was life changing. The culture is rich, the people are amazing, the land is beautiful, the poverty was eye opening, and the food.....well.....
I hope to write later about more of the experience but for now, I will start with the day we first met and brought our daughter home.
We arrived in Addis on Friday night. We were of course exhausted, but estactic to be there. Unfortunately we had to wait until the next morning to get Zemma, and it was only our pure exhaustion that allowed us to sleep.
The orphanage was only a few minutes away from our guesthouse, but seemed like forever when we left Saturday morning. As we pulled up at the orphanage gates, I remember feeling like we were walking through a dream. I had butterflies in my stomach, and felt like I was going to jump out of my skin from excitement.
As we pulled through the gates there were children all around. The driver pulled forward, and I looked out the window of the van. Outside there were three or so children running along side of us. One of the faces looking up at us was the sweet face of our Zemma. Her smile stretched from ear to ear, and as I made eye contact with my daughter for the very first time I was overcome with emotion. She was so beautiful, so full of life, so...right there!
We had to wait a few minutes before we were able to get out and actually meet her. When we did, they brought us into a little room and we waited for her nanny to bring her in to us. The moment of actually meeting her was mostly what I expected. She didn't jump into our arms or run to us yelling "Mama, Daddy". She was quiet, and made little eye contact. I cried, and was unsure how much contact was appropriate. We held her though, and whispered in her ear how much we loved her. Then they sent us off on our way with this child that barely knew who we were.
As you can see from these pictures though, it didn't take long for this smiley little girl to warm up to us. By the end of the night Zemma was all smiles, and even gave a night night kiss before bed!