Well today was a much better day with Geta and Tamene. Mike and I started out at the CHSFS Office meeting with their social worker, doctor, nurse and primary nannies. It was a chance for us to ask questions, seek advice and just learn as much as possible about them and their time at the care center. We also got to preview the video of their birth family and time in Ethiopia. As you can imagine, that was very hard to watch and I was very glad to have brought extra tissue! It is a story that I am not anxious to show them, but know I will have to someday.
While we were meeting at the CHSFS office, everyone else went to the care center to play with the kids. Grandma took Tamene and rocked with him. He was no better than yesterday, just cried and hid his face. He also weighs a ton (hence the rocking chair!!) Geta was tentative at first, but Courtney opened her arms and Geta ran to her with a big smile. When Mike and I arrived, I took Tamene and we all played a game of duck, duck, goose. (Mind you I told the older kids NOT to pick me because I would never be able to get off the ground with Tamene!) But Geta really enjoyed playing. Her laugh is wonderful! We also read some counting board books. Tamene was very interested in that and perked his head right up to listen. He didn’t have enough courage to participate, but he was very interested in the activity and seemed relieved to see Geta laughing and having fun. Geta can now count to 10 all by herself in English and by the time we left at lunchtime, she also says all of our names without help! (I was so proud of her!!) Even Mike got a little teary eyed to hear her call him “Daddy”. I think, as a parent, that is a great moment no matter how your child came to you!
Tamene still won’t let me feed him and hit me and pushed me away a lot, but I also got some very big smiles from him today and he let me put on his shoes. While he cried a lot before I got there, he never cried once while I was there and he also ran to me when he felt afraid. For some, this might feel like a small step, but for me, it feels like I climbed a mountain!
Geta got to say prayer before lunch today, but I was with Tamene, so I didn’t hear. I have asked them to write the prayer for us so we can say it in America. It is an English prayer, but we can’t understand the whole thing. J Tamene also knows that when you say “Amen”, you immediately fold your hands and bow your head. It is absolutely adorable!
As we were leaving, both kids were getting into bed to take a nap. I got to hug and kiss both of them and we can’t wait to see them on Monday. They will be coming here to the Guesthouse for the morning on Monday to play with us and get to know this environment so that it won’t be so scary when they come to sleep here on Tuesday.
We are off for some shopping now and then dinner at an Ethiopian Restaurant. Tomorrow we travel to Hosanna (about 3 hours south of Addis Ababa) to visit Geta and Tamene’s father. (…yet another incredibly emotional day, but one that I am so grateful to be able to experience!)
We miss all of you, but are having a great time in Ethiopia!
Just a quick note about Mom and Dad. Mom ate something else that didn’t agree with her and was up again in the night, staying very close to the bathroom. She said that she feels fine, so it is much better than when she got sick last Wednesday. Dad’s quote for the trip, “It is no wonder Ethiopians have so many children. There is nothing else to do here after the sun goes down!”