Sunday, July 19, 2009

Ethiopia Day 2: Day trip to Adama

Seen in and around Adama.

We were picked up early in the morning by a driver and an AAI social worker to go to Adama, also known as Nazret. This is the place where Ella's story began. We wanted to go there and get as much information as possible for her to have as she grows.

On the way to Adama, we stopped to eat breakfast at a restaurant on Lake Bishoftu. It was a beautiful, serene place...very calm and peaceful. We ordered french toast and Joan and I agree, it was the best french toast we've ever eaten
After breakfast we drove to Adama, which is in the Oromia region of Ethiopia. It is a desert, but not exactly like the deserts in Qatar. Not as sandy...just dry. It is a big city with lots of businesses and activity going on, not unlike Addis. We went to the hospital in Adama that cares for abandoned children and met two young women that cared for her when she was first brought there. One of them was the person that named our sweet baby, Wubeski. I asked what her name meant, because we haven't been able to find out for sure. It is an unusual name. She said it means "Who is beautiful like you?" Such a fitting name for our beautiful baby. We still call her Wubeski a lot of the time.

This young woman (Meskerem) spent most of the day with us. She helped carry Wubeski and loved on her. I could tell that she really cares about the babies and children that are brought into the hospital care center.

When we left Adama, we went to Sodere, which is a hot springs resort area in Ethiopia. There are also lots and lots of monkeys roaming wild and free around the area. It is strange, as I had only seen monkeys in cages before. We walked through the resort area, among all the monkeys and saw the hot springs pools. We had our lunch here and drove back home.

We found out some information about Wubeski's story, most of which will remain untold. It is her story to tell if she wants to when she is old enough to understand it. I wish we had been able to find out more.
Ella was so good on the long drive and slept a lot, but she was also a little feverish and we began to think she had an ear infection (which was later confirmed by the doctor at Wanna)

Back at the guest house we spent time getting to know the other families that were staying there. We would stay up late at night talking and laughing until the wee hours of the morning.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Ethiopia Day 1

Wanna House-the baby house
The moment we see you!
Aunt Joan thinks you are so special!

Our home for the week!

Hmmm...what to do with all this luggage!

On June 15, my sister and I left in the wee hours of the morning to fly to Dubai and then on to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to finally bring home our baby daughter, Ella Grace Wubeski Collins. We were so excited that it didn't really matter that we were leaving in the middle of the night. The first leg of the journey we were in economy, but when we checked in at Dubai we were told we had been upgraded to business class. I was so happy, because I knew we would need a good sleep before we picked up our girl.

We arrived in Ethiopia at 11:30am and were picked up by a taxi sent by AAI. It was pretty funny watching the driver and the unofficial "porters" that lurk around the airport load all our luggage in the tiny little taxi. They managed to somehow get it loaded. We had 4 big bags full of donated blankets and our two carry ons. We labored over getting the carryons under the weight restrictions and in the end they were still a little over. But at the airport in Doha, the baggage checker asked if he could pick up Joan's bag and we both cringed until he said, "Your bag is so light, most woman have heavier bags."

We drove straight to the Ritmo guest house. It was a very busy place. Every room was full of traveling families and their children. There are 7 guest rooms and they were all packed. Our room was the last one left and the smallest. It had one big bed that almost filled the room and luckily some narrow shelves at the end of the bed, which came in handy.

We took a minute to get freshened up and went to Layla and Wanna House (AAI's transition home) When we got there, I led us straight to Wanna house. On hindsight I probably should have checked in at the front office but I didn't think about it since I knew the way. We walked into the baby house and there she was! She was sitting in a bouncy seat, surrounded by friends of mine from our yahoo group who were there to pick up their babies. She was just sitting there looking us over and it took a little while for her to warm up to us and give us an amazing smile. From that moment she was with us the rest of the time. It felt so good and right for her to be in my arms.....this little person that God knew would be our daughter.

We eventually got a ride back over to the Ritmo guest house and spent some time playing with her and loving her. I can't remember eating that day or much of anything else. Only that Gail dropped by and when I gave her our paperwork she said that we needed something notarized. Poor Daddy in Doha had to scramble to get a paper notarized and faxed to Gail by Wednesday morning. In the process, he missed a really big presentation that he had been working on for weeks. Adoption is not easy. We were reminded again!

She slept between us on the big bed that first night and she was so still. It was like she was afraid to move. When she would wake up it would take a minute for her to adjust to her new surroundings. She was quick to accept us and love us though. Sweet, brave baby girl!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Beach baby

We are spending a week at the beach before daddy/hubby has to go back to Doha. It has been a fun week. Ella G. loves the water and sand! She is a very happy baby! Tonight we went out to eat pizza and she was waving at everyone in the restaurant. When we first met her a few weeks ago, she was so, she "talks" all the time. Before we even left Ethiopia, Joan taught her to wave "bye-bye" , now she waves and say's "bye-bye" She says "mama", but not always directed toward me. She plays "peek-a-boo" and claps her hands. If we say pat a cake, she will start clapping. She army crawls on her tummy to get from place to place.
Yes, we think she is amazing!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Life Just Got Busier

We are home and safe and everything is going really, really well. My sister and I had a wonderful trip to Ethiopia. I seriously think it may be one of the best weeks of my life. There were times of intense happiness and other times we would just cry! Joan was the perfect travel companion and took care of us so well. She helped out with every detail and Ella thinks she has two mommies. Hopefully, I can go back and write more details about our time in Ethiopia (amazing!) but for now here are some photos to hold you over. Most of these are the first day we were together.