22 August 2007

Meeting Elianna Ray's birth family

Sugar & spice and everything nice...

Even though Michael is still feeling a little wonky and I'm not feeling 100% either, this morning Wende picked us up here at the Sheraton Addis for our meeting with Elianna Ray's birth grandmother at Hannah's Hope. We couldn't bear to miss meeting with her and being able to relate her story and feelings to Elianna Ray someday.

View on the road to Hannah's Hope

We prepared for her a photo album with the pictures of Elianna Ray we had before arriving here as well as ones of our family and home, a glimpse of our life in California. Writing a letter to her was challenging. How do you say, "Thank you" for the gift of a child? It's ridiculous. Thank you is too small, too trite. I only hope that I expressed our profound gratefulness well and the honor we feel in being able to raise this little angel.

To our happy surprise, Elianna Ray's birth uncle was there as well. Both were charming, and very effusive with us. All in all it was a bittersweet meeting with too many words left unsaid, too many emotions expressed only with a few hugs and tears.

Almaz (HHE coordinator), Herfe & Getachew with Elianna Ray

Before we left we were able to spend time with Elianna's "Special Mother" at Hannah's Hope, the one who gave her one-on-one care. I was so grateful to the Lord to see for myself that she profoundly loves Elianna Ray and showered her with kisses and playfulness. It was absolutely beautiful to watch her coo over the baby and kiss and love on her. Thank You, Lord, for giving my darling one a mama to love her in person before I was here to do so! She and I both cried when I took Elianna back into my arms and we said goodbye. I hope we'll be able to see each other again before we leave the country.

Elianna Ray & Genat

Our group then piled into a van and headed to a Starbuck's-type coffee shop and restaurant for lunch and afterwards everyone joined us at our hotel to play at the children's park and the pool. I've got to tell you these people are so great. We've enjoyed getting to know all the other families and spend time together. Redmans, Schneiders, and Belchers, we love you guys.

Hausams & Belchers

Michael playing with the kids (I love this one of Hope.)

Elianna's personality is starting to emerge as she is getting used to a new sleeping/eating schedule and a new formula. I can't imagine how disorienting it must have been for her the last few days. Different faces, different voices and language, different food, new bed, new place, new schedule... The poor thing has done incredibly well, especially considering how her little world has been upended massively. Today we discovered that she gives kisses, too! What a sugarplum!

And, again today the sky broke loose with a torrential flood and lightning dazzled the sky. The thunder was so loud Evangeline woke up saying, "Woah, YOWD, Mama!"

Margie, Rickerman, and Jackson, we are so ready to come home to you three! We miss you terribly. Did you have a great day??? How is VBS going? Did you go surfing today? I love you with all my heart, sweet babies! XXOO

Ricks, this is Jake. See? I KNEW you'd like him!


Anonymous said...

Laurie -

I have enjoyed reading about your experiences in Ethiopia! My husband and I have recently accepted a referral of 2 little boys that are currently at the Enatalem Orphange. I was wondering if you could share the other pictures you have taken during your visit to Enatalem Orphange?

Wendy Tanis


Ted and Jill said...

I am loving watching your journey. We are adopting two children from Ethiopia. No referral yet so I am living thru you guys :) Thanks for sharing!


Anonymous said...

Bro, you cried when you read a book?? What's up with that? Get home soon so that I can help you man up.


Martin Blank

P.S. "I once stabbed the president of Paraguay with a fork. How you've been?

Love you guys--congratulations!

Anonymous said...

Dear Mama and Papa,
I miss you so much!! No, we didn't go surfing yesterday but we did boogie board. It's fun to watch Briana boogie board. She comes out of her shell and screams with joy!!! Johnney come with us to the beach too. Jack and Johnney had a LOT if fun reeking havoc.It was fun to wade deep out and dive under all the big waves. This was the most fun we have had all week. So today we are going the beach again. And yesterday we also went to Fashion Island too. Jackie got really cute Build-a-Bear. It is a cute cheetah named Spots. Ricker got a new webkinz. It is an adorable polar bear. Its name is Icee. I still haven't been able to find the raccoon yet. In Nana's words, BOO!!! Today is another fun day at VBS and if I don't get off now I will miss breakfast. I LOVE YOU!!!

emily said...

Love reading your posts everyday- makes me feel connected to ET:) My kids love webkinz too!! We just found the racoon here. Will email if I find another one. Blessings to your whole family. Can't wait to see pictures of you all together again.

Our Beautiful Disaster said...

We are adopting a baby who is currently at Enatalem also!! Thanks for sharing your journey and I look forward to seeing more!