"But these things I plan won't happen right away. Slowly, steadily, surely, the time approaches when the vision will be fulfilled.
If it seems slow, be patient! For it will surely take place. It will not be late by a single day." Habakkuk 2:3

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Ethiopia - Trip One - Day 6 (Last Day / Leaving Seble)

The dreaded day has arrived. The day we have to leave our baby girl, who is legally ours in the eyes of the Ethiopian government, but we can't bring her home with us....yet. We thought it was going to be VERY difficult to leave her but in the week we have been in Ethiopia and after visiting Kibebe, the government orphanage, Bethzatha, the second orphanage Seble went to, and then, of course, visiting Hannah's Hope, we KNEW she was at the best orphanage. Seeing the special mothers and how they were taking care of all the kids and getting to meet Seble's special mother, that was the icing on the cake. We KNEW Seble was being Loved on everyday and was in a good place and in good hands until we could return. Don't get us wrong, it was difficult but all this made it bearable until we could return for our Embassy appointment.

As usual, Amber was paranoid about the water and getting sick and she continued to place tape on her mouth for her shower where as I never did once. Who ended up getting sick for half a day? It wasn't me. :-) Anyhow, I joked that I was going to take a picture and finally just did it. For future mouth tapers, the masking tape doesn't work too well.

We woke up and were both actually excited and nervous at the same time, as we had scheduled Solomon to take us out one more time in the city. With this particular trip, we had a specific place we wanted to visit but none of us knew where it was.

Back in the US, when we received our referral, we were able to see Seble's police report and all the supporting documents that Hannah's Hope had. I did some research on-line and found a website that pin-pointed the location of the church Seble was found at. I studied the map and the whole city to make sure I was in the right area and that it was the right church. With the city, police name, church name, etc. all listed in the report, there was no mistaking that the location was correct. With only the picture of the map in mind and the key words to tell Solomon, we headed out this morning to locate the church.

Earlier this week we went and visited the Fistula Hospital. Ironically enough, the street we need to take was just before the Fistula Hospital and looking on a map, as a crow flies, as it is said, this church was just up and over a few streets and as we would find out later, over the hill. It was exciting that we were actually so close and we didn't realize it but for today, we will be there.

Here are some more city scenes as we traveled to the church. This particular picture shows that the city of Addis does have traffic lights. The funny thing was that none of them were even on and the cars just kept flying by, driving how they like.

This truck was LOADED with bananas.

We are in a four lane street. Two on our side and two going the other direction with a small curbed median. We don't have a clue what this shed looking thing was or what it would be used for sitting in the small median but sure made for an interesting picture.

Another small business tucked inbetween many others. This particular one is where you can purchase rebar for building projects.

We are on the busy road way. Every once in awhile there is an opening between the shops. They are alley like openings that are lined with more of peoples houses (shacks). It's as if the shops are a facade, hiding what is really behind the businesses....the real life in Ethiopia.

Local pharmacy store

Just a look of how BUSY the streets were of cars AND people. It was amazing to see and to actually think and wonder, what or where is each person going. It's as if each person had something to do or go but at the same time the living there is so slow paced and relaxing. Just a weird feeling/thought.

Addis General Hospital. One of many that we saw. Each hospital we saw was NOT that big for having to serve this huge population.

This is the cities bus depot. This is where the people will get on the bus to travel to a village outside of the city. In front of the bus depot were many people sleeping next to the curb. There were many of them and all next to each other. Other thing you'll notice is they are all covered up. Again, this was just one of those weird sites and made you hope they were okay and just sleeping.

Parked along the road, we already passed about 2 or 3 before taking this photo but these were log trucks. They were hauling logs in the back of their flat bed truck with fence walls.

This was just a street market of many things. You can see the shoe shiner, in the back you can see a furniture store, and also you can see the sign for the JJ Bakery.

Just another "alley" shot of more housing.

With all the vehicles in Ethiopia, they have to have a tire store. This must be the future Les Schwab's store. (Les Schwab's is a tire shop heavily located in the Pacific NW that started in Oregon)

Now we were getting close to our first cut-off road that was going to lead us to the church. Looking at this photo, the street we are suppose to take a right hand turn on is right at the base of the big blue sign. Solomon missed it as we weren't too positive on the turn because the road was pretty narrow. He pulled over at the gas station which was one block up and located just about under the small white sign. We verified that, that was the road to Keranyo. The fun part came next. This road was more of a one way and because of the off ramp to the left, there was no turn around for about a mile down which then we would have to come back up and try it again. But Solomon was awesome. He just put it in reverse and we backed up against the one way traffic until we could make the turn on the road we passed. It was freaky and funny at the same time but he did great. We made the turn and continued with our search.

Here we see a horse stampede. They were on a jog and no one else around. Usually you see goats or bulls roaming but here looked to be some horses. The guy up against the fence probably wishes he should have stopped somewhere else to finish his "business".

This was the first "Y" in the road we were suppose to take. Apparently we are following the signs to LELA, where ever or whatever that is.

This was just after taking our 2nd "Y". You can definately feel that you were leaving the main hussle of traffic and kind of getting closer to the country. The roads were much more worse and filled with more pot holes which is why you'll see so many more of these three wheeled vehicles. Solomon said that they are much more easier to manuever on these types of streets than the taxi's so the people will use them instead and boy did they cram them full. They look like they will fit 2-3 people fine but they had 5-6 crammed inside with a load on top of the roof.

After we clear the housing, we break into an opening. You can see we have to cross a small valley and back up the other side. At the bottom, they were building a much larger and wider bridge for this road which seemed weird because the road we just got off of sure was not wide enough to handle the traffic this new bridge will be able to handle.

We ended up following this road until we came to the end of pavement, about 1/2 mile up the other side. I felt we were right there but could not see a church. There were two police officers on the sidewalk right at the end of the street. Solomon asked them where Sefer Genet Gabrial Church was and it didn't seem like they knew. They pointed up the road and so we kept going. I knew it was a smaller church and that there was a larger church nearby too so we changed our plan. Lets first find this bigger church to make sure we are in the right area and then back calculate to the little church. We moved forward going through what seemed to be a tiny village with LOTS of people. Knowing that Solomon wasn't too sure where the church was, the big crowd was kind of intimidating. We got to the other side and found ourselve in a major construction site but was still open for traffic. Below you can see a neighboring village to the project trying to dry out their clothes. It was a significate drop off.

We had to ask a few more people but we finally made it to the big church. We then asked about Sefer Genet Gabrial Church which people just pointed. No one knew where this church was. As we were heading back out to the main road, we ran into two little kids that actually pointed us back to the same direction we just came from, where we met the police officers. So we kept going. Got back out to the main road and Solomon stopped again to ask another adult. This particular time Solomon shut the car off as he talked to the guy trying to find directions. What was freaky was that all of a sudden we had a mob around the car. It was as if everyone wanted to help with directions at the same time, see what was going on.

Solomon finally started the car up and we started back toward where those police officers were. We left the main road and back into the construction site. Just in front of us we noticed the exact same two kids that seemed they knew where the church was. Solomon asked them again and they pointed the same direction. Solomon then said for the two boys to jump in the back and show us. Amber scooted over to Jacob and made room for the two boys to jump in the back seat.

Now can you imagine this happening in the US. Solomon would be in jail for kidnapping two boys, and he did it without any candy or puppies.

Anyway, the kids were cute and totally willing to help us out. They jumped right in and off we continued.

We ended up having to go back through the same tiny village with LOTS of people. This time it wasn't as intimidating for some reason. Maybe because now we were back charting familiar territory. I don't know but we made it back to the paved road again.

This picture shows the beautiful hillside and landscape of the area, at the same time, shows a cemetary where most of the plots are covered with roofs and fenced in. This was where we first saw those two police officers. Now looking back on our trip, all the officers had to do was turn around and piont because the church was just behind them. This cemetary was an extension one of the church itself. We were that close and didn't know it.

The boys took us down this narrow bumpy alley which put us right in front of one of the churches gates. We gave the boys some snacks and a reward for getting us there. They were counting it as they were walking back up the hill to continue where ever they were going in the first place before being kidnapped by a taxi driver and crazy white foke. We couldn't believe that out of ALL the people we stopped to ask where this church was, it took two little kids to show us where it was.

We walked through the red gate where a trail led right down to the church. These were the grounds keepers buildings. Here is where they stayed and kept their tools etc.

The trail led right to the church. It was layed out exactly as the satalite map on-line I found showed me back in the US. It was weird to now actually be there. The church was more of a funneral service prayer type of church but we aren't forsure. It was definately tiny though. We looked around for a bit and then started looking at the fence line as that is where Seble was found.

Another angle of the church from the back side.

Shot of the church outside the second, larger gate. We felt that this is where someone would have left her but was still unsure.

This road was heavily traveled probably by ones that lived in this neighborhood but then again it was a cemetary and the larger cemetary was just up the hill and so everyone walked this road to get to it. Another reason Seble was found. You can see Solomon's car parked up by the other gate.

Seemed to be the main enterance into the church.

We saw a grounds keeper when Solomon started asking if they remember a baby being abandon outside the fence about 4-5 months ago. He hasn't been working there that long but the other guard that has was up in the other cemetary that he could go ask him and the guy left. We kind of got freaked out and told Solomon we had better go. We don't want to cause anything that could screw this up. She was legally ours but still not to the point we were taking her home so we got in the car and left before the grounds keeper could come back.

At the end of the road and down the hill further, you can see a suspension bridge that apparently a lot of people use to get from the one hillside to this hillside. This is at the end of the church property.

Here we passed two kids playing tether-ball on the lamp post next to the street.

A little further down we find another foos-ball table surrounded by more adults.

On our way out, the same way we came in, we passed the Kolfe Keranyo Sub City Administrations Office. Just hearing the words made us feel that we were collecting all the history we could for Seble when she gets older. This is as far back as we can go. It made us happy that we could find it and get pictures and all. Amber was even able to snap a picture of the Kolfe Keranyo Sub City Police Station as we drove by one day. The next day we were told not to take pictures at these certain places and police stations were one of them. Opps but o'well. We now have the picture to fulfill her records. We'll place that picture in the video when we can find it.

Now we were on our way back to the shopping area. We heard that Wass was going to be there with another family so if we made it, we could ride back with him and if not, we would have Solomon drive us back to the hotel.

The Home Depot in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia? Wow!! (not sure it's the same Home Depot we are use to but great to see familiar names)

This is the famous Lion of Judah statue.

This is the oldest hotel in Ethiopia. It actually looked in very good shape. It's called the Ethiopian Hotel. We had to keep our camera faced in their direction because right across the street from them is some Federal Security building which is a definate no-no on taking pictures of it.

We finally made it to the shopping area and Wass was still there. We said bye to Solomon for the last time this trip and told him we'll see him in a month.

This kid was great. He was a shoe shinner and we finally agreed to have him shoe shine Ambers shoes. He did a good job. He than wanted to do mine. I told him we are coming back in a month and I'll let him do it then (I had shoes with more cloth than fake leather on them). He hung around us and before we left, he said, "I see you in month?" (He spoke pretty good English) I told him about one month. He smiled, waved and watched us go. It was sad but something for us to look forward to on our second trip.

Just before we left, this mom and son came up to the window. We gave them lots of snacks. Then we asked if we could take their picture. She said yes and they smiled. They took such a good picture. It was cute!

On our way back to the hotel, we were stopped in some traffic and this guy came up to the window begging but ended up talking with Wass and the other guy in the front. Not sure what happened but can probably guess it was at birth, but look at his hand on the door window. It was all deformed. Poor guy.

We also found out that the driver could get a ticket for feeding or handing out money to beggers which is a $50 (US currency) ticket.

Passing the government housing apartments. There were always tons of blue taxi vans out front.

We finally made it back to Hannah's Hope. This was our last and final visit and when we had to say goodbye to Seble until our second trip.

This is the nurses room which is downstairs to your right just as you walk in the front door.

We get there and b-line it up to see Seble and of course, she is zonked out sleeping in her bouncy seat. We ended up waiting a good 20 minutes for her to wake up, little stinker.

Once she finally woke up, Jacob got to hold her one last time.

We were able to get her foot and hand prints into her baby book. She did very well with it.

The final outcome! Not bad.

It was time to say goodbye. We held Seble and all gave her kisses and hugs. Said bye to Sara and then handed Seble to Sara. They sat on the ground and started playing with her toys. They both looked up and waved bye as we were walking out the babies room door.
Below is the last picture of Hannah's Hope as we were driving away from our daughter who was legally ours but couldn't leave the country yet because she didn't have a visa. Very weird feeling to be leaving her behind but assured that she will be loved and cared for until we return.

These were hand cranked wheelchairs.

On our way back, I had to stop and purchase avacodos from one of the stands. They are my favorite and I wanted to see what they were like in Africa. Taking the practices from the US about picking avacodos, too firm means harder eating, too soft means they are rotting. And with that in mind, I picked a middle one. Apparently I should have picked a softer one because it was so hard and NOT ripe to eat at all. The second one I decided not to eat but save it and let it rippen. This particular one wouldn't rippen before we had to leave tonight so it made it all the way back to the US. It ended up being so soft I thought it was rotten. When I opened it to eat it, it was the best one yet. So, for future avacodo buyers in Africa, when selecting your avacodo, choose the soft ones.

This is the lady that is pregnant and was kicked out of her village by her husband. She's staying out next to the guards shack next to our hotel. You can see she is finally drinking water because she had one empty container behind her and a full one between her legs.

Our flight didn't leave until 11:45pm so we didn't leave the hotel until 7 or 8pm but we had to check out of the room by 4pm. We were able to check out and "store" our luggage in the Rapps room since they were staying longer and extended their room stay. We visited and just counted the seconds until we would be heading to the airport. While waiting, we were able to see out the back of the hotel and get a view of the city rather than the field view from the front of the hotel. The next series of photos were taken like a panaramic view from left to right. The first picture just shows some of the hotels water supply tanks on top of the outside section of the hotel.

This photo would be looking in the direction of where Hannah's Hope would be located. The road we traveled on to get there traveled on the back side of the red building located in the middle of the photo. Then it went on the backside of the larger building in the middle of the photo on the left and sort of rounded around the base of the mountain hill side. There was a turn about that you go around which basically takes you around allowing a left turn. At the very top of the hill there is a church. You can see it's roof at the very top. Hannah's Hope, as a crow flies, is located just over the hill just to the right of the church. Our hotel was NOT that far away at all. We were there in probably less than 5 minutes.

Right over the ridge of buildings should be the Bole International Airport. Airplanes constantly flew over Hannah's Hope (very high but viewable) as they were approaching to land at the airport.

This is a picture of their light switches at the hotel. Just fatter toggle switches compared to the US.

Here is a picture of their style of outlets. They are round and recessed. The front desk was able to give us a converter that we pushed into their outlet and then on the other end was a normal US style outlet. Depending on what you are bringing to charge (a laptop, video camera, camera battery, etc..) it was very nice to bring a surge protector with you. You can then plug the surge protector into the ONE outlet and now you have multiple outlets. At the same time, you have a surge protector for when the hotels power goes out so you don't damage any of your equipment. Just a suggestion.

Just a shot of the hallway of our hotel. It was a very nice hotel as you can tell by some of its decorative molding. It was a very nice hotel.

Here is our hotel room door. Room 407 - the famous NO shower curtain and sewer drain smelling bathroom but big and nice. Even had a leather couch and two leather chairs. The table was missing due to the previous couple that stayed in the room. As explained by the hotel manager, they were newly weds and were taking pictures on the table and broke the table. We laughed and left it at that.

Melissa Rapp and Amber a few hours before we were to leave to the airport.

All our luggage in the back of the Riviera Hotels van, packed and heading to the airport.
Jacob got all teary eyed that we had to leave.

Unloading our luggage just outside the Bole International Airport. They had a security booth just outside the sidewalk to go up to the airport. They had to check your passport before going through up to the airport itself. Once you walked into the airport, the first thing you walk through was a security exray for your bags and then ourselves. It seemed pretty secured. Our one bag was even pulled because of Ambers silver cross we got. It showed up weird on the exray machine and they wanted to verify.

Once we got through the initial exray portion to get into the airport, we made our way up to the counter to where they weighed and we dropped off our checked in luggage, and they gave us our boarding tickets. We then moved on to the customs portion where we had to fill out more paperwork regarding leaving Ethiopia. After getting through customs, we then had to find our gate. Once we found our gate, we waited until it was time to get ready for boarding our flight. They have everyone that is going to be on the flight show their boarding tickets which then they place a colored sticker on it and we then get to go through one more exray machine. Unfortunately, this was the only airport I was searched because of the zippered pockets on my pants. It kept setting off the machine. It seemed to be more sensative compared to the other airports we went through. At least it was catching it though.
Once you get through this exray portion, it was as if we were in a holding room with a bunch of chairs. What seperated us from the other people from the airport was a huge wall of glass on one side, the exterior glass wall facing the planes on the other side, and the door we came through with the exray. Now we were just waiting for them to open the door to actually board the plane.
Here's Amber holding her boarding ticket with a blue sticker.

Ethiopian Airlines as a process of how to load their planes. Not sure how they decide who gets what color but when we got our boarding passes, they placed a colored sticker on it. This was going to be use for this moment we were at right now, which is actually getting ready to board the plane.
To board the plane, they follow the colors of their flag. With a green sticker, you get to board first. This is usually given to the elderly, ones needing assistance, and parents with kids. Then they go to the yellow sticker and then the red sticker. Last but not least, the blue stickered boarding passes finally get to board. We were lucky and got to board with blue. O'well, at least we still got on.
Amber and Jacob making the final turn down the hallway, into the plane. America, here we come!

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Our Airport Homecoming for our 2nd Adoption~

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Our Journey up to our Referral

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Seble's Referral Video

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"Although it may not always be obvious to us, there seems to be one distinct moment when God begins a new story in each of our lives. He writes words on our hearts that long to be spoken and strain to be lived out. Then with His own great hand, He begins to write the script. Experience by experience through seemingly ordinary days, He supernaturally orders our lives. Only when we look back and reflect on what appeared to have been the ordinary events of life does it become clear what a miracle the Lord has performed." Jan Beazely

LUCY LANE-AGCI-ADOPTION VIDEO! This inspired us to follow our dream!


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We Love this family and this video is inspiring!