We just met Geta and Tamene (Tommy for short) for the first time. It was everything they said and more. Being that I had no expectations (my typical m o in life), it was slightly different than I might have imagined.
Geta gave us a hug and kiss and sat with us. Tamene didn’t want much at all to do with us and stuck with his social worker. I took Geta and Courtney, Patrick, Emily, and Josh and we played some catch with a soccer ball. Geta to me and back, Geta to Courtney and back, Geta to Emily and back, you get the picture. She was clearly the center of the game. Kristen eventually got Tamene on a toy car and pushed while saying wee (which is wee in English) until he eventually put his feet down and wouldn’t let the car move anymore. She rubbed his back which calmed him down a bit until he eventually let her pick him up. Then they brought us together for a picture and since things were going well, they suggested I pick Geta up for the picture as Kristen was holding Tamene.
The picture went well, but afterwards Geta started crying, which you guessed it led to Tamene crying. Kristen held Tamene while he cried and I let the social workers comfort Geta as I sat on the ground across from her while she cried. This lasted 20 minutes. Yes, that is 20 minutes. It was very sad. Geta and Tamene have been through so much and for us to be taking them away from the place they now know, their friends, their caretakers, etc. I can only imagine what they are going through. It was truly sad. This is what many people said we needed to be prepared for, and Kristen said she expected it. Me, not so much. I had heard it might happen, but I don’t like to prepare for the worst.
Anyway, after the 20 minutes passed, it was time for Tamene to eat lunch. He sat down and Kristen and the social worker, Rosie (I think) took turns feeding him. Since Geta eats elsewhere at a different time, she had a cookie while clinging to Rosie and I rubbed her arm. The good news is the crying had ceased (temporarily, just kidding, it had ceased for the visit).
After lunch, we all moved towards the room the 2 year olds sleep in and the children sat in two rows of of training toilets. Child rearing at its best. Sorry, we weren’t allowed cameras in the orphanage so no photos of this awesome event for you. No seriously, this might have been our breakthrough moment. They literally sat there a half an hour. After 5 or 10 minutes, I started playing peek-a-boo from behind a nearby wall. The kids started taking to it, especially Tamene. We did this for 15 or so minutes (mind you, all the adults were there watching me look like a fool, but I think they were okay with it as I was possibly lightening up their new additions also). Kristen meanwhile was playing soccer with Geta and she had calmed down and smiling again.
After 5 minutes, Patrick and Courtney and joined me and I put them on peek-a-boo duty, but we were about done.
So, when it was time to go, I said bye bye from afar to Tamene (who of course, is still sitting on the toilet, heck for all I know, he is still there), and get this, he bellowed out bye-bye. Of course, so did 4 or so other of his potty pals. He kept repeating bye bye and we actually had good fun. I guess I need to get a bunch of kiddy potties for home. How does that sound?
I go up the stairs to get on the bus (and at this point, I don’t yet know that Kristen was with Geta and making progress) and I pass Geta and she comes up to me and gives me a huge hug and kiss. So, we get a nice farewell. She is hugging and kissing all the Morins. She is also blowing hugs and kisses to Grandma and Grandpa Carlson.
All and all, it was a very emotional experience, but one I wouldn’t trade, but am a bit glad it has passed. On the bus, I reflected with the people nearby, well, this is the worst it will ever be, of course, except for those days that are worse. Laughter wasn’t all that loud, but I think they all agreed.
We embark on our journey and I for one am full of emotion and energy. I am not one to feel love that quickly, but I can truly say after 2 hours, I sincerely love my two new children and can’t wait for them to know and feel that too. Wish you all could be here, but you will get to meet our two beautiful new children shortly. I am sure my excited and happy wife will blog again soon (if we have access to a computer).
Love from Ethiopia,