Life in a Flash » capturing life one moment at a time.

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Days 5 and 6 – Coming Home!

We are home now but I need to first back track and fill in a few missing days on our travel journal!  Our last day in Ethiopia was a full and exhausting day.  We spent the morning at the hotel packing and re-packing our suitcases and then headed back to Hannah’s Hope for one last visit mid morning.  We spent our time there playing with the older kids…swinging on the swings and taking pictures.  I had one little toddler girl permanently attached to my hip.  She was the sweetest thing and just did NOT want me to put her down!  I was constantly amazed at the JOY apparent in the kids at Hannah’s Hope.   Many of them have had horrid experiences already in their short lives…yet they play with abandon and offer love like they have never been hurt.  One little boy in particular completely stole our hearts.  He was new to Hannah’s Hope…had the deepest, darkest skin, bright white teeth, dimples, and the most contagious smiles you have ever seen.  He LOVED the swings and could have been pushed on them all.day.long.  I can’t wait to hear that this special little boy has a forever family!

{the kids waiting to get the Cliff bars we brought for snacks!}

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While Paul took Daniel into the baby house to say his final goodbyes…I went with another couple to tour Bethzatha Orphanage.  Bethzatha is the state run orphanage and has several branches throughout Ethiopia.  Daniel spent a bit of time in the Jimma branch and was then transfered to the one in Addis Ababa.  I mostly went along on the tour to see the conditions and get a feel for what less privileged institutionalization looks like.  I didn’t expect to have my heart broken.  But it was.  We toured the entire complex and spent a bit of time in the baby room.  Daniel wasn’t there long…but the interpreter asked the special mothers if they remembered an infant named Daniel.  They asked, “Daniel from Jimma??”  and showed us the size of a teeny tiny infant.  I was SO excited that they remembered our little guy!  I quickly pulled up a picture of him on my camera to show them and they all started to scream, clap, and jump up and down!  They were THRILLED to see him so happy and healthy (and chubby!)  They showed me to another little baby that was the exact same size as Daniel was…a tiny 2 month old who was barely 5 pounds.  I played and talked with her and just stood there amazed that our chunky little man started life so precariously. 

{the special mothers who took care of Daniel as a tiny infant}

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{a sweet little baby who was the exact same size as Daniel when he was at Bethzatha Orphanage)

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We checked out of our hotel in the afternoon and spent about an hour hanging out in the hotel lobby before catching the shuttle to the airport.  We had planned to be 4 hours early for our flight to ensure that we would be able to get seats with bassinets (we got the last 2 with the other family).  Unfortunately, our flight was delayed and the wait turned from long to excruciating.  Our flight left 3.5 hours later than anticipated and the 7 hour wait to board the plane had us exhausted before we had even left.  I met a sweet gal in the airport (HI JILL!) who read my blog…that was fun 🙂  And we had the company of our travel friends which made things bearable!

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We took a 16 hour flight on Ethiopian air with a layover in Washington D.C.  Daniel was a rock star!  He ate, slept, and played the entire journey home with barely a peep.  He is just so easy going and sweet!  We had an AMAZING welcome crew waiting for us at the airport (will journal this experience in the next post)…so many family members and friends…we were floored by their awesome support!  And we were THRILLED to see our kids again…we missed them SO much!

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January 15, 2011 - 6:39 pm

Amy - Stols – thanks for sharing your journey with us! When are you accepting visitors from MN????? I’d love to come to KC and meet the newesst Cooper!

January 15, 2011 - 7:33 pm

Angel/TaDa!Creations - Me too, me too! I want to visit from MN. 🙂 Can’t wait for your next post and all the ones to come, of your family of six! What a beautiful chunky baby you have there.

January 15, 2011 - 7:34 pm

Amy @ Filled With Praise - So happy you are home and doing well. God’s blessings to your beautiful family.

January 15, 2011 - 7:39 pm

Katie - Oh my goodness! He is ADORABLE!!! He’s changed SO much since we were there in August and September! I showed him to Yohannes told him that this was Daniel who lived at “Almaz’s house.” He said, “Oh, I don’t “member” Daniel.” 🙂 I’m so glad you guys are finally home, and I truly appreciate the graceful way you handled the painful delay. I know it was heart-breaking. Enjoy every moment with your sweet boy! It’s really fun to follow your family through your blog!

January 15, 2011 - 8:55 pm

Natalie - Glad to hear you are home safe and sound with your adorable, precious boy! Ooooh are you gonna have fun taking pictures of that little man with his big sisters and brother!!

January 16, 2011 - 12:11 am

Future Mama - Oh he is just PRECIOUS!! Thanks for sharing about your trip…I love reading about it!

Much love,
Future Mama
http://expectingablessing.blogspot.com/

January 16, 2011 - 12:25 am

Niina - I´m glad that you are at home and ready to start your new life with 4 kids!

January 16, 2011 - 12:43 am

Paigefly2hisheart - I love to see the way saying “yes” to this sweet baby has changed your life. Gloriously and eternally destroyed for the sake of the lost and hurting. So glad you are my little sister. So glad Daniel is my nephew. So glad!

January 16, 2011 - 8:13 am

Jill - Jenn – welcome home! I’m thrilled your trip was such a blessing and to hear that Daniel has done so well already. Sorry to hear about the wait – what a long day of traveling. Daniel is beautiful! I can’t wait to see your first family shot all together – I’m sure your children are gushing over him and cant’ get enough holding time. Praying there is no jealously going on and that the transition goes smoothly with more beautiful bonds growing daily! God is GOOD all of the time! Praising Him for your amazing journey to Daniel and being able to pray with you through it! Love, Jill (not the one on the plane 🙂 )

January 16, 2011 - 11:05 am

Jennifer - Thank you for sharing your journey!!…I feel like I am tagging along! Daniel is just precious and looks so happy!

January 16, 2011 - 5:54 pm

nic - i just can’t get enough of daniel–he is such a sweet little guy! and oh, that tiny baby girl is so precious…sets this mama’s heart a yearnin’! 😀

so glad you’re home and TOGETHER.

January 17, 2011 - 4:30 pm

Jessica - Congrats on being home with Daniel! I’ve loved reading about your journey and it doesn’t hurt to see the back of my son in that pic at HH. 🙂 Good luck with your transition home!

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