Well, we had LESS than a week to prepare that we were going to back to Ethiopia to bring our little guy home! We had been granted the December 16th Embassy appointment! I can't begin to tell you how SHOCKED that we were that we even got that date...we were hoping for December 30th and had been told to prepare for a date sometime in January. Looks like God had other plans for his early arrival-so glad he did!!!
Some of our Friends hosted a Shower for us and we had initially planned for the date to be December 19th; right before the invite went to print I thought we should move it up a week "Just in case"! That ended up being a GREAT call! :)
The Shower for Daniel Mamo was filled with good family, good friends, and our first winter snow! :) Daniel Mamo received lots of little goodies for his room, to wear and to play with! Thanks everyone for your generosity! The food was yummy and the company was even better! :)
We had to leave the shower a little early, and in haste, because the roads were starting to ice over. In Nashville? Yep, in Nashville! Our friends loaded up our sleigh, I mean Envoy, and we left to go all the way home (approx 4 miles)... that took OVER one and one half hours! That is called Nashville snow freak out on the roads! I promise my next car will have 4 wheel drive! Caitlin, my mother in law and I were doing some heavy praying on the way home, as we were stuck sideways on the top of Dolly Parton's hill. No way was I driving (sliding) down it and it didn't matter cause we were stuck. It was a miracle we made it as far as we had because their were cars littered all over the road up that tiny hill we did make it up! All I could think about at the top was that we had a half a tank of gas and that would be where we would be spending the night. I was remembering how we left the next day for our journey to get Daniel and how I hadn't packed a thing. Hmmm... then out of no where came a salt truck--- I can't tell you HOW relieved we all were! We made it home! I was so worried about my family and friends, but everyone made it home.. it took some longer than we did and my sister had to do a little hiking to get home, but everyone got home safe and sound! Thanks again to everyone for making Daniel's shower such a special one for me! (It was my first shower ever!) :) I felt so honored and so very loved! I know when Daniel Mamo meets all of you he will feel the same way and we are so blessed to have so many family members and friends who have supported us in so many ways during the addition of Daniel Mamo into our family! We rushed home and packed and put the little guy's room together as much as we could! My wonderful mother-in-law finished it up for us while we were in Ethiopia!
Here is our snow the next morning!!! This is A LOT of Nashville snow! and we are always so terribly prepared for it! Oh well! :) The kids had a BLAST the morning after!!!
Phil and I headed out to Washington to spend the night there and then we left early the next morning headed to Ethiopia! We met our friends (The Schmidt's), that we had met on our court trip in November in Dulles, and made some new friends as we flew out of Nashville (Mark Johnson).. Mark lives about 3 miles from us; yet we met him as we were flying over 7,000 miles to go pick up our son! He was flying solo to pick up his son Asher! What a dad! :)
The flight was a good one and we have nothing to compare it to, but just getting there and having no layovers seems to be the best way to get there....
We arrived at the guest home and showered then headed over to get our babies!!! :)
We didn't really know what to expect, but we were sure that Mamo would remember us and were praying that he would be happy to see us! :) When we got there it took him awhile to come out of the orphanage. He seemed to be a little unsure of everything. We were sure they had told him what was happening-- he had been bathed and was wearing clean clothes, but he was very leery about coming to us at first. He was probably remembering that just a month before we left him there (which was so hard!).
The workers kept telling him to hug us and go to us and he did, but with some hesitation. Man, it looked like we were going to be starting ALL over with him! As we were leaving, his friends had surrounded the car and he was starting to whimper and then he started screaming Chow! Chow! to his friends! Maybe at that moment he began to believe that this time he really WAS going to America with us!!! :)
In a way had to start over a little with him. We had brought a few of his things from our trip before and he seemed to remember them. His love for his daddy he definitely remembered. :) We took the kids to get haircuts and then came home and ate! He was up most of the night with a terrible cough that soon eventually would turn into something more fun....
Mike and Philip both walked to the pharmacy after breakfast the next morning to get some cough syrup for the kids. There son Asarat, who just happend to be Mamo's bunk mate, also had the lovely cough. The walk to the pharmacy proved to be an adventure and one that continued to stretch my husband way out of his comfort zone. We gave Mamo the secret potion of medicine (we only recognized the ingredient Benadryl, and he was in a haze for the rest of the day!) While, they were gone I enjoyed Mamo and his friends watching the Cars video in bed while their mom showered! I know I look terrible, but this is one of my favorite pictures and a sweet, sweet memory. All 3 kids were just piled up in bed with some crazy American and laughing, and trusting, and smiling and watching American cartoons! God is soooo good!
Thursday December 16th was our Embassy date and we were such a bundle of nerves! All went well! We passed and he was officially was released into our custody and cleared to take HOME! Because we were present on his court date and his Embassy we were told that when we arrived in America, Mamo would officially be a US Citizen!
Translation to that means less paperwork when we get home! Yay!
We celebrated by going to dinner at an Ethiopian restaurant with traditional Ethiopian food and Ethiopian dance! (We did cheat and enjoyed a burger and fries from Kaldi's before hand...just in case!)
Kristi Johnson and Kelly Putty were also in Ethiopia and we enjoyed having dinner with them! These 2 ladies both had a HUGE part in us bringing Daniel Mamo home! It only seemed right that God would put them, together, right in our paths the day we cleared the Embassy, IN ETHIOPIA. Come on, what are the odds? That is God people...
They both live a few miles from us and we had never met them or heard of either of them until last July, then BAM he placed them smack dab into our path! Remember they live a few miles down the road from us and here we are sitting having dinner in ETHIOPIA! God is in ALL of the details! (On a side note...The following week our family journeyed to Las Palmas here in Nashville and guess who we had dinner with in Nashville? Kristi and her family! We sat literally right beside each other! That is what I'm talking about!!!It's crazy like that!!!)
(Robby and I traveled with Ordinary Hero, aka Kelly P, this past July where we met Mamo. Philip and I talked with her and her hubby Shane about adopting from Ethiopia and also spoke with her sister Kristi and her husband, Will,about their journey adopting Lucy Lane.... My husband was very much on the fence and these 2 families helped me shove him over. LOL) So grateful for their push! :)
The next day everyone from our group was departing,but we had decided to stay an extra day. We journeyed out to do some shopping and went out to eat some yummy Chinese food. There is a lot of Chinese industry coming to Ethiopia; the land is cheap and they are buying it up. Afterwards we went to get our paperwork from the Embassy clearing us for travel home!
We said farewell to many of our friends and bid them farewell...
then we went to dinner with our friend Bizi and his girlfriend! Robby and I met Bisrat on our mission trip in July. He is an amazing man with an incredible story and a HUGE heart filled with the Holy Spirit! We are blessed to know him and to love him!
The last day we were there we met up with another friend, Israel, who we had met on our last trip to Ethiopia. Philip and I helped send him to school last semester and he is working on his Masters in Missions. He invited us to a coffee ceremony in his home; so 3 Ethiopian cab rides later (an experience all in itself), we were at his home. We were able to meet his lvoely wife and his new son!
He has a lovely family and a nice home! He showed us his grades and thanked us for helping him with his school. We were honored to do so. He treated us to lunch and a traditional coffee cermony. We prayed with him when we left asking the Lord to continue to bless him, his family and his education. Education doesn't come easy to those in Ethiopia.
Later that day, 3 taxi rides home and being asked about why we had Mamo from an Ethiopian lady (mama nearly freaked out), we were back to the guesthome to shower, pack and prepare Mamo to fly home to America. BTW, when the Ethiopian lady found out that we had adopted Mamo she blessed us many times... ( still that was a little more than I could handle...)
We showered up, packed up and were ready to depart home to see all of our family and friends!!! I have to say that we were so excited to be going home, but my heart especially started getting real heavy... I journeyed to Ethiopia 3 times this year and my husband has traveled twice... Ethiopia is FOREVER in our hearts and on our minds and it was very hard to bid farewell to such an amazing place.
We met our son here, I watched my son (Robby) learn about REAL need and REAL desperation, I watched Robby learn to give like I could never have taught him otherwise, I watched his heart change, then mine, I then watched my husbands heart do a 360 degree change on both trips, I have watched my daughter fall completely in love with someone she had never met, and to be perfectly honest, who was threatened by this little guy coming into our family.
Biblically, spriitually speaking, we have been changed by this adoption and what we have seen, felt and witnessed. Our hearts are FOREVER changed by this place. Ethiopia is a place of unbeleivelable beauty, unbeleivelable hardship like we have never seen, brown and black faces that are yearning, hoping and dreaming of a better future. I KNOW this will NOT be our last trip here. I just know it.
“The whole world sought audience with Solomon to hear the wisdom God had put in his heart.” 1 Kings 10:24
Be a generous dispenser of wisdom to others. Make time for people to get to know your heart, and understand the life-lessons God has forged into your faith (1 Kings 4:34).