The last day in Ethiopia was filled with shopping, packing, and goodbyes. We spent the morning shopping for things for dresses for Ella. I got several dresses in different sizes. We bought some silver crosses. I bought one for each of my girls. I love shopping in Ethiopia. You can find so many treasures for a small price. I even like bargaining with the shopkeepers..something that I grew accustomed to in Doha.
We then went back to the Layla house for the goodbye party. Every time a child leaves Layla there is a goodbye party. The party is in the cafeteria and all the children from PreK to teens attend. They always start off singing and drumming. It is so moving to hear all the kids singing in unison. They sing Amharic church songs and sing in English. This time they sang "Amazing Grace" in English and I don't think you could have been there and not cried. I always think about the children that stay at Layla for many months and wonder how they feel at the goodbye parties seeing their friends leave to go home to a family. It was really hard for me to tell some of the teenage girls that I love so much that I was there to adopt a baby and not one of them. I am so happy to report that they now both have families. In fact one of them is on facebook and I get to chat with her often. I let the nannies and older girls hold Wubeski and tell her goodbye. Everyone seemed so happy for her and for us.
Not long after the party it was time to go to the airport. Looking back I way overpacked. I think I took a diaper for every hour in transit. At least we were prepared. Joan and I checked in and unfortunately did not have a bassinet seat for the flight from Doha to Dubai, but didn't really need it because the baby was no problem. The flight left at 7:30pm and we were on the same flight with some of other AAI families. Honestly I can't remember a lot about that flight...so it must have been uneventful. I was so grateful to have my sister with me. I don't think I would have done well alone. The layover in Dubai was short and soon we were on the flight to Doha. It was the middle of the night and we were sleepy and tired, but again the flight must have been fine, because I can't remember the details. When we arrived in Doha, we were greeted by the Al Maha service at the plane and were taken to a lounge where we waited several hours for Bill and the kids to arrive. The lounge was a welcome sight and we pulled up chairs to make makeshift beds and slept. Joan has a funny picture of me sleeping posted above. It illustrates the exhaustion we were feeling. I think Joan got a shower, but I slept the whole time. The entire time the baby was Perfect. She was a great traveler.
Early that morning, Bill and the kids arrived at the airport and we were all reunited. It was so good to see them. The kids were so happy to have their little sister with them at long last. We were able to stay in the Qatar Airways lounge until time for our flight. Bill's boss was also there for another flight and she got to meet the baby.
Soon after, we were checking in for our flight to the Houston. As we were getting our boarding passes, Bill shocked me with news that we were moving, probably back to Texas. This memory is seared in my mind. So many changes. A new baby...and now repatriating back to the US. Little did we know that the entire summer would be spent wondering if we were moving and where we were moving and when we were moving. Ultimately, we didn't know for sure until 2 weeks before we would have returned to Doha. I finally reached the point of completely trusting God to direct our paths. HE had led us and protected us and loved us for my first 40 years, surely we could trust him with the years to come.
Our adoption of Ella complete, I am amazed at the miracle of it all. She is a wonderful addition to our family. She is exactly what we needed. As a whole we tend to be a little too serious and she has brought an amazing light and joy to us. She has an effect on everyone who meets her. She smiles and laughs easily. She talks to strangers...with a sweet "Hi" to everyone she meets. We all are completely in love with our baby!
And as for Ethiopia...I have no doubt that I will be going back. Back to do what I can to help those in need and back to show Ella the beautiful country that is her home.