Thursday, August 5, 2010

Wednesday and Thursday in Addis…..


Wednesday, after eating breakfast, we headed straight to the orphanage to visit Noah. When we arrived, he was playing with the other kids and had a smile on his face- this made us happy! We used side walk chalk and drew different letters. We would draw an "A" and then Noah would draw an "A".  We did this with several other letters, and Noah did great!

He was still with the younger children during this time, and when we went into the toddler room and began playing, he seemed to do okay for a while, but then began crying a bit. Zack held him and he seemed to cheer up a bit. We aren't really sure why he began to cry, but we think maybe the other children calling Zack "papa" and sitting in his lap, etc. upset him. We want to devote our full attention to him, but it is very difficult with ten other 2-3 year olds crawling all over you. They all so desperately want attention.  We played some more with Noah, then headed off to lunch, again not wanting to leave him. Each time we visit we just try to love on him as much as we can. That is really all we can do in the orphanage setting.  We do feel that he is building a bond with us, but it so hard to see him so very sad. We know that no true progress will be made until he is at home with us, but we are doing the best we can. Why it does break our heart to see Noah react this way, this is very normal, especially given the fact that Noah was moved to a totally new place and meeting his parents all at the same time.  It is difficult not to worry, but thankfully we had prepared ourselves and educated ourselves on older child adoption, so this type of behavior did not take us totally by surprise. It actually is a very positive thing that Noah is grieving and feels free enough to do so. He has lost so much in his young life, grieving is only natural.


At lunch we went to popular tourist restaurant in Addis, Garden Paradise. As I walked in, I saw the familiar face of Jen Sloninger, who was part of our first travel group to Ethiopia when we adopted Caleb. I knew she was in Addis completing her second adoption, but I had no idea how to contact her and knew the chances of us getting together were slim, if not impossible. So, to see here there was really great and it brought tears to both our eyes. 


We stopped to see Noah one last time, and it was dinner time at the orphanage. He was hesitant to eat, but did allow me to help him. After I helped him, he ate the rest no problem on his own, but again, seemed sad. We hugged and kissed on him, and told him we would seen him tomorrow. We prayed he had a restful night.


We had a nice dinner at our favorite pizza place in Ethiopia, Metro Pizza, and then headed back to the hotel. We probably walked about 4 miles throughout the day, so we were tired, and we had court the next day, so we wanted to get some rest.


Thursday- Found out Some Big News!!!!


Today when we awoke it was raining outside, so after getting a little more dressed up for court, we took a taxi to Layla House, where we would wait for the driver to take us to court.  We waited for about 30 minutes at Layla House, then headed downtown to the court house. It was almost a 20 minute ride to court. I could devote an entire post to Ethiopian driving, I really could. It is like no other driving in the world, and even Zack, who has visited some Central American countries where they drive crazy, and who drives crazy himself, had to hold on and pray that we didn't crash into another car. It is crazy, and I imagine that if any American tried to drive here they would injure themselves and others. I will try to post more about it later, but let's just put it this way- no lanes, no traffic lights, people going the wrong way and lots of horns….oh, and no seatbelts!!!


Anyway, we made it to court safely and walked into a very crowded room with lots of white couples and Ethiopians. There was no place to sit, so we just stood and watched couple after couple be called back. Not even five minutes after we had arrived, I saw Duni, our AWAA coordinator for our first adoption! Again, what are the chances? I was not sure if she would recognize us, but she did, and we had a great time talking to her. Because our case was the last of the American couples to be heard, we ended up spending close to two hours waiting and talking to Duni. Finally we were called back. The judge sat at the end of the room and was a pretty Ethiopian woman. She asked for our passports, and she spoke very softly and asked us questions about why we wanted to adopt, if our family was supportive, etc. Finally, the last question she asked was if we really wanted to adopt Nigus. After we enthusiastically said "Yes!", she said, "Okay, he is yours!". And that was that. Pretty easy.


After court was over, we headed back to the hotel. We has skipped breakfast that morning and we needed to change clothes, so the driver took us back to our hotel and took our donations we had brought on to Layla House. Thanks to everyone for all the donations- the workers and kids at Layla House were thrilled! We arrived at Layla House after eating. We discovered that Noah was napping, so we took a tour of the entire compound while we waited for him to wake up. What an amazing place. We were pretty familiar with the baby/toddler area, so we toured the area where the older kids live. There is a school, a library, and bedrooms that house about 5-6 kids per room.  The kids go to school from 9-3 each day, and they try to maintain as much of an American curriculum as possible. The kids also do chores (they were doing them while we were there) and have weekly visits to a computer lab. We were very impressed. At the same time, it doesn't replace a family, but at least while they wait, they are learning as much as they can and have some type of a safe, structured and loving environment. The older kids are great, and we would definitely consider adopting an older child in the future. It is very sad to see many of them that have yet to have been referred to a family. Once they reach 16, they age out of the orphanage system, and are left on their own.


 After this we saw Opportunity House, a home for children with special needs, mainly cognitive special needs. Ivy told us this was the only place in Ethiopia she knew of that provided a safe and healthy place for children with cognitive special needs to live. This blew my mind- a city of 4 million people and this was the only place for these children?  Even so, at least AAI is trying to help the best they can. It was truly a heart breaking experience.


After our tour was completed, we went back and found Noah awake. We also had noticed that he had the same clothes on since we met him on Tuesday. Originally we thought maybe they had just washed his clothes and put the same ones back on. Upon inquiring further, we realized his clothes had not been changed since Tuesday. Apparently there was a miscommunication and the nannies were not sure if he would remain at Layla House. Ivy was very upset and quickly had a clean pair of clothes brought for Noah. He now wears a Mickey Mouse hoodie, complete with Mickey Mouse ears J This brought a smile to his face, and to ours. We also had talked about taking Noah to the Kindergarden class, as we now knew these kids were more in his age (see more about this below). We walked him over, and he seemed pretty hesitant to go in, as these kids were much louder, more active, and there were more of them in a smaller room. He did sit in my lap and seemed okay for the time. He played with some blocks and just took in all the newness around him. However, when we got up to leave, he got up too. We walked outside with him and had one of the social workers come over and explain to him that we would be back, and that this was his new class now. He still did not want to go back in and started to cry, so we walked him back into the toddler area and after he had calmed down, left him there with a nanny. It is really hard to leave Noah everyday, but we all must adjust to this, as in a few days we will be leaving him for six weeks.


Which brings us to some of the big news- we found out was that our embassy date has been tentatively scheduled for September 22, so that is when we will be returning to Ethiopia! Though we were hoping for an earlier date, this is still very good. We will basically arrive on a Monday, have our Embassy appointment on that Wednesday, then will have to wait until Friday for the visa. We can leave, with Noah, that Friday evening. Finally.

Other big news- we were able to look at Noah's birth certificate today, and his birth date is…..drumroll, please…….December 1, 2005! The year does not surprise us very much. After being with Noah, we did feel that he was 4, if not close to five. His age doesn't matter much to us, but is good to know. This still may not be too accurate, but once we have him home, we can have that further evaluated. Again, his age is not a big deal to us. The amazing part- his birth date is one day before Caleb's! Crazy, huh! Should be interesting at the Caldwell home during December. 



Whew- that was a lot of typing. Other than missing Caleb like crazy, we are doing well, and have had a great trip.


Referral Received for our second son from Ethiopia! Court Date 7/21 & 8/5
Traveling to Ethiopia 8/1-8/9!!!
Home with our son, Caleb Samuel, from Ethiopia
Adoption is a GOoD thing :)


Lib said...

You have no idea how much I needed to read this today! I am so glad that you have a relatively quick second date - though I am certain it will feel like an eternity! It is just so eye opening to read about your experiences in Ethiopia and with Noah. How amazing about the birthdays!! It really will be a party at your house for the holidays! God bless you.

Anonymous said...


Andrea H. said...

I love following your time in ET. I feel so blessed that we didn't have to do the ET travel twice but I love how you are in detail describing your trip. Cannot wait to hear the next time when you are bringing your precious son hom for good.