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!