Day 3 (Wednesday)
Last December, a group of us made up mostly of families who have adopted or were preparing to adopt from Ethiopia, spent a week here, visiting orphanages throughout the country. It was an eye opening experience. It was the first time most of us had been outside of Addis Ababa and the differences between the capital city and the small towns and villages away from here were staggering.
A year later, those differences are even more staggering. Yesterday, we traveled with our new friends the Davidsons to Kind Hearts, a drop in center about an hour south of Addis. When we were there last year, there were about sixty children. With the help of a load of donations, Lori put together 75 bags of goodies. The bags contained toothbrushes, granola bars, balloons, toys, and lots more. Well, on the way down to Kind Hearts, we learn that there are 98 now kids at Kind Hearts! New strategy: dump out all of the bags and divvy out the goods individually. It was all good, though, as we figured all of that stuff at once would have been overwhelming for the kids. Looks like a lot of kids need sponsorships!
The kids at Kind Hearts are in considerable need. They are very thin. Many have open sores. It seems that they are so used to having flies on them that they don't bother shooing them away. And they were starving for attention. When we pulled up in the vans, you could see the kids hanging out the doors. We have pictures of Michael and Sara being mobbed by them in the yard. Michael said that he didn't know he could hold so many people's hands at the same time.
In addition to the donations given directly to the kids, we gave Kind Hearts toothbrushes, tooth paste, vitamins, medical supplies, clothes and shoes, and school supplies. We also had $300 that had been given to us and the Davidsons. On the way to Kind Hearts, we used the money to buy bananas, oranges (they were actually green, but Sara says the one she bought was very juicy), and powdered milk.
Fikre, our assistant from Children's Hopechest, also suggested we send the driver off to buy two lambs. I never would have expected that the lambs would arrive tied to the top of the van, 100% alive and kicking. The Kind Hearts director offered to butcher the lambs while we were there (we didn't know it at the time, but I guess it's a great honor to have livestock butchered for guests). We suggested that since the lamb would be served the next day, that it was okay to wait to do that part of the preparation closer to meal time. While we were curious about the ritual, some of our group weren't confident in their "constitution" of having an animal killed in front of them.
We could have stayed all day. We loved playing with the kids. However, we also knew that our daughter awaited. So, after many good-byes (Lori hugged every one of the kids), had an amazing lunch of pizza at a restaurant owned by a man from Seattle, and spent more time loving on our new daughter. We also met with the psychologist and doctor, who told us she is in great health. The psychologist told us she has some attention span problems (something we found to be absolutely false...more on that in Thursday's post).
Our daughter's bond with us continues to strengthen. The look on her face is priceless when she sees us pulling up in the van. The look on her face when we leave her in the evening is enough to break your heart. We can't wait to bring her home. She is a sweetheart, she is incredibly bright, and she is very loving.