Thursday, November 19, 2009

Meeting Sam

We arrived in Ethiopia on Monday afternoon and spent a long time in a Visa line and a security line that I can only call suspect. I was surprised by how modern and large the airport was and how many foreigners were traveling there. We were in the visa line with a huge group of Italians and Germans.

We met Travis, the Gladney rep, and Binyam (butchering the spelling), our driver, post security. I will talk a lot about Travis and Binyam in these posts because, quite simply, they both rock. Travis basically told us that we were going to go to our guest home and have about 30 minutes to unpack and get ready before he brought over Sam. Immediately Pete and I started panicking.

We got in our van and started driving. I wish I could explain how Addis Ababa looked and felt. I'll start with the positives: tons of smiling, wonderful, warm people, a vivacious community, and an amazing diverse population. The paradoxes were unbelievable. You'd see women dressed in tube tops and high heels next to women in full burkas with only their eyes showing, next to women in beautiful head scarves and traditional attire. The town was a mixture of 500000 construction projects with big Catepillar machines next to a herd of donkeys next to a rickshaw next to a BMW. The hard stuff to handle: 1) the fumes...they are SO bad. Bad enough that people were having asthma attacks constantly, 2) the many kids walking around in groups without parents, people sick on the streets, etc, 3) the traffic...there is SO much traffic and so many people around.

So we get to the beautiful Ayat Guest House, which is an amazing refuge, in this city. I will also talk a lot about the Ayat house in these posts because it was the most incredible place to stay. We rush to unpack (and clean up since we had been traveling for 36 hours). I am in a state of total freakiness. We try and find the cameras and get ready and then we hear Travis downstairs.

It's weird but the thing I remember the most about the first time I saw him was this tremendous sense of calm. I choked on a sob and then just walked over to him and slowly took him in my arms. You'll see from the video that he was very quiet and just checked everything out. No crying, just a bit of terror. Our moms were beyond themselves in the corner of the yard. He attached to me right away. It was the most incredible surreal experience.

We spent the rest of the day laying on the couch. He didn't speak, just checked everything out. He fell asleep on me a few times. That night, after dinner, we put him to sleep and he just conked. Poor guy. I didn't sleep much because I kept waking up to stare at this beautiful boy of mine.

And that was the end of the first day...



karichuckroryskylar said...

Wow...I'm totally sobbing. Thank you for sharing that very special moment with us. I love the wonderful pictures of you guys snuggled on the couch together. I am looking forward to seeing pics of Sam with Chewy back home in Santa Fe.

Calmil2 said...

Awww, I'm totally crying too :) The grandmas crouching down taking pictures was so sweet and when, I think it's grandpa, says, "He's a beautiful little boy," I just lost it. Congratulations!!!!!

More Dorrs said...

Beautiful boy, beautiful family.


StalinBenester said...

The Kleenex are piling up here, too -- such a beautiful moment. I'm sure you'll never forget it, but he'll enjoy seeing it someday, too.

Uptowners said...

I've successfully cried all over the keyboard, and snot is running down my face!! I love the picture of you holding Sam in the Moby Wrap. It's frame-able!!! I love reading about your adventure & am so inspired by you.

becky said...

oh my... i can't stop crying... wow, that was so precious and amazing. i'm so happy for you guys! xoxo p.s. your mom's are too cute!