Lilypie Waiting to Adopt tickers

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Friday, February 4, 2011

The Last Day

Our last day arrived way too quickly. Our flight was at 11:45 Saturday night but we had to check out of our room at noon. Knowing it would be many, many hours before we would shower again, we decided to not rush around Saturday morning. We slept in the best we could, went to breakfast and then packed up our stuff. After getting ready, we checked out of our room. The guest house let us keep our suitcases there instead of lugging them around with us. Knowing that Levi typically napped at this time, we ventured out to the mercato. We wanted to stock up the orphanage with formula and although Danny said there were other places to buy it, he wanted up to experience the mercato. And an experience it was! There aren't really words to describe it. There were people everywhere. Stores everywhere. Cars everywhere. And there didn't really seem to be any order. I have no idea how Danny found a store that sold baby formula, but he did. After some negotiating by Danny, we were able to buy the formula and make our way back to the car. I have to admit, this was the only time I really felt unsafe while we were in Ethiopia. Danny had warned us to watch ourselves and our pockets because if anything would happen, it would be here. I followed closely behind him, with Jason right behind me. Of course, Jason said he was instantly in mission mode. I guess his time in the Army has paid off. At any rate, I was very happy to be back in the car. On our way back to the transition home, we stopped at Kaldi's. This time I had an iced caramel macchiato. They loaded up on the was awesome. 

Finally it was time to head over to Hope. I'm pretty sure I cried the entire way there knowing this was going to be our last visit with Levi. Actually, I had cried several times throughout the day thinking about leaving him. Anyway, we arrived at Hope to find our sweet little Levi still sleeping. After waiting what seemed like an eternity, but was probably only 15 or 20 minutes, he woke up. We spent the rest of the afternoon with him. It's funny how quickly the hours pass when you're trying to savor every minute with your sweet little baby. For the most part, we just sat there playing with him and loving on him. I tried to not let myself think about every minute that passed by was one minute closer to saying bye. Occasionally I would tear up and Jason would put his arm around me and silently let me know he was feeling the same way. I did my best to enjoy the last moments and tried to remain happy. We were there for a couple of hours and not once did he fuss or cry. After we fed him his bowl of cereal, we headed outside to enjoy some fresh air. Jason played soccer with the older kids, while Levi and I watched. He loves to be outside and he loves watching the older kids play. The older kids love him too. They were constantly running over to us and tickling his tummy or touching his face. Eventually the gate guard told us Danny was back to pick us up. This time I couldn't stop the tears. They were streaming down my face. Jason put his arms around us and we stood there for several minutes in a little family group hug. He told me that it was probably easiest to just hand him over to the nannies and leave quickly. Easier said than done. I did finally hand him over which is one of the hardest things I've done. I noticed the nanny was crying too. UGH! Anyway, we climbed into the car and drove in silence back to the guest house. 

We had such a wonderful time getting to know our son and loving on him. I am in awe that God chose us to be sweet Biniam's parents. I feel so blessed that we have the privilege of raising him and pray that we can be the best parents we can be. We take the calling of raising children seriously and will always try our hardest to be Godly parents to Levi Biniam. 

After loading our suitcases into Danny's car, we made our way through the guest house saying bye to the staff and other families. The guest house was such a wonderful experience. The staff was awesome and we got to know other adoptive families pretty well. I think there were 10 other families staying there. There was only one other American family and she was with our agency. It was such a blessing to spend time with Jennifer and her kids. She was there for Embassy. Her husband came in November for court, so it was just her and the kids. I really enjoyed spending time with her and sharing stories. We ended up eating most of our meals together at the guest house, exchanged info, and cried when we hugged bye. 

Finally we made it to the airport. We were really early, but there was no where else for us to go. We said our goodbyes to Danny and I got teary eyed again. He was such a great driver and we hope to use him again next time. We're already friends on facebook!  

After over 30 hours of traveling, we made it home. 

Thank you for following us on this journey.

We love you all so much.

ps. I hate reading super long posts and seeing no pictures. so, I've included a few pictures of Ethiopia. Hopefully in 5 more days I'll be able to share pictures of Levi!
a random donkey...its not uncommon to pass donkeys or goats as you're driving through the city

looking out of the kitchen at the guest house

a view of the yard at the orphanage

flowers from a tree outside of Levi's room

the sweet gate guard at the orphanage

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