Wednesday, June 12, 2013

72 Hours in Addis

3:00 PM - THURSDAY, MAY 30 2013
We kissed the girls (a billion times), hugged Granny, said some prayers and headed to the Atlanta Airport's International Terminal.

6:00 PM - THURSDAY, MAY 30 2013
Our plane takes off and the journey has begun!

11:30 PM - FRIDAY, MAY 31 2013
After a LONG wait through Visas and Customs at the Ethiopian Airport, and meeting our new friend and driver Aschu, who was holding up a sign that said:

"Laura and Chimochy"
we finally made it to the guesthouse we would be staying at.

The electricity was out - but they had dinner waiting for us. We ate the pasta by flashlight and then they showed us to our room. We were exhausted.

The electricity came back about 15 minutes later and Laura went to use our restroom and i went downstairs to try the internet out to see if I could let folks know we had made it. About 20 minutes later I went back upstairs and Laura was still in the restroom. Thinking she was feeling sick - I knocked and heard:
"Get me out of here!"
I opened the door to find a crying Laura on the floor - locked in the bathroom for the last 20 minutes - with a toilet that won't flush...

4:30 AM - SATURDAY, JUNE 01 2013
we FINALLY fall asleep.

9:00 AM - SATURDAY, JUNE 01 2013
We slept as late as we could - but the AWESOME sound of kids playing out back brought us outta our slumber. We "Africa Showered" - headed downstairs and nibbled some breakfast with one thing on our mind - HUGGING OUR SON!

10:00 AM - SATURDAY, JUNE 01 2013
They brought Zechie around to us and we hung out with him for a good long time.

He finally started getting a little fussy so we headed back outside - to watch him light up when he saw the rest of the kids was just beautiful. And the way the kids loved on him - we'll forever be grateful for that.

They have an awesome play area out there - AND they have a basketball goal mounted on the side of the house so I immediately challenged them all. We played some good old fashioned backyard ball - dirt floor and all. I LOVED it. And I schooled them HARD - no mercy...

1:00 PM - SATURDAY, JUNE 01 2013
We gave Zechie back to his nanny (she's awesome!) and spent the next couple of hours taking pictures and recording vidoes for families who had given us permission letters. What an INCREDIBLE bunch of kids this place has. Such awesome spirits and such beauty all over them...

3:00 PM - SATURDAY, JUNE 01 2013
We hopped in the van - drug our housemate Bob along with us (he has been there for a while with his little girl) - and we headed out to the city. First stop - Laura wanted to visit the guest house where she'll be staying next week when she heads back over with the first Brighton Their World team. This place was really nice - WAY nicer than where we were staying. Super excited for the team!

After that stop we had a little time to kill before we were meeting up with our incredible friend Nebiat for dinner. What do ya do when ya have time to kill? Uh... Kaldi's of course. We even managed to get our awesome driver to come sit with us - he drank his coffee faster than I have ever seen anybody - me? I nursed my mocha cuz it was delicious (side note: there is apparently a caramel shortage in Ethiopia - NONE of the Kaldi's had it - so pack it in people if ya want a caramel macchiato!)

6:30 PM - SATURDAY, JUNE 01 2013
We met our friend Nebiat at Sishu - seriously one of the best burger joints on the planet. I kid you not - I don't even eat red meat really anywhere - but I had heard so much about this spot that i HAD to have one. Glad I did. Hands down one of the best burgers I have ever had. And the fries ain't too shabby either!

10:30 PM - SATURDAY, JUNE 01 2013
We made it back to the guest house and stayed up WAY too late chatting with Bob. Eventually the time zone caught up with us and we crashed HARD!!

9:00 AM - SUNDAY, JUNE 02 2013
It was an early rise (for us) on Sunday so we could hang with Zechie a bit before we headed off to church. We drove almost an hour across town to go to International Evangelical Church in the center of Addis. Our good friend (and BTW board Member) Jerry Shannon recently became lead pastor there and were pumped to hear him preach. He did not disappoint...

1:00 PM - SUNDAY, JUNE 02 2013
After church we were treated to lunch by an Adera Mission Team that was in country. Brighton Their World has recently connected with them and these ladies graciously bought us lunch and allowed us to share our story about Brighton and what we had been doing in Ethiopia. Thanks Julie and team!

3:00 PM - SUNDAY, JUNE 02 2013
When we left lunch we connected back up with Nebiat. I can't even begin to tell you how much this dude means to us. He is family. We love this guy SO MUCH! Anyways - the day before at dinner we had asked Nebiat if he could give us directions to Brighton's grave - and in true Nebiat fashion - he said:
"I'll meet you and go with you. I ALWAYS go with you to Brighton's grave."
See what I mean? We just love him.

So we visited our son's grave. It will never not be surreal to stand in that cemetery and see our name on that stone with Brighton's. Whew. I think we did good though as far as holding it together. A guy had followed us to the grave and come to find out he was the one who actually buried Brighton. I shook his hand and thanked him and then we got to chatting with him (via Nebiat) and found out what it would cost to build Brighton a new grave marker. His had basically been destroyed when we had to have his body moved 2 years ago. Pretty cool - we're gonna have it done back up and make it more weather resistant as well...

4:00 PM - SUNDAY, JUNE 02 2013
After leaving the cemetery we headed down to the Post Office area to do some quick shopping. I love this area - it's where ya can pick up some cool gifts and get a chance to barter and talk it up with shop owners - which we did. And we met Hindia (sp?) - she was awesome! And she ASSURED me she gave us Ethiopian prices - not white people prices!

Another thing about this area is a TON of the street kids hang out here. And having been here so many times and having played soccer and hung out with these kids - several of them know us. And they NEVER forget you. A small group walked up and said "Hi Tymm! Hi Laura! How are you?"

I'll tell you - that just about makes me cry every time - these kids - remembering us. amazing. we chatted for a bit - grilled them about going to school and going to church - and then slid them our left over pizza from lunch. Man... we love those kids. it was a blessing to run into them.

5:00 PM - SUNDAY, JUNE 02 2013
We were on our way back to the guest house when - WHOOPS! - we ended up at Kaldi's again. Had to. Still no caramel. Bummer.

Rest of the evening we hung out with Zechie and ate some traditional Ethiopian food made by the guest house. We skyped with some family and then TRIED to get to bed early because tomorrow was our big court appointment!

8:00 AM - MONDAY, JUNE 03 2013
Today was the big day... but hey - we had stuff to do! We were up early - ate a tiny and quick breakfast - hugged on Zechie for a bit and then headed out the door to go to Kebebe Tsehay Orphanage - this is the orphanage that Brighton Their World has been working hard at establishing a working relationship with for 2 years - sending almost ALL of our formula here. The team from Adera was going there and they had invited us along. Of course we were in!

We FINALLY got to meet the director and explain who we were and what BTW has been trying to do. We also got to hug on some kids, hold some babies and tour the place. Big morning for us - we love this place and trust me - it NEEDS the love.

10:30 AM - MONDAY, JUNE 03 2013
We waved goodbye to Kebebe Tsehay and headed to the Mapingp Authority. Our friends Emily and Moody have a daddy dope map of Ethiopia in their house and we wanted one - they said the Mapping Authority was where to get it. okay - this is a story for another post - but lets just say the process to buy a map in Ethiopia is more complex than adoption. Seriously. the word INEFFICIENT jumps to mind.

About 30 minutes later we walked away with a pretty simple and unimpressive map of the city. We're still on the hunt for the cool one of Ethiopia.

12:30 PM - MONDAY, JUNE 03 2013
After a lunch at Island Breeze that felt like a date (we NEVER get to eat lunch alone!) - we had some time to kill so we headed to the University to walk the grounds. We were starting to get a little nervous cuz the court appointment was coming up QUICK!

1:30 PM - MONDAY, JUNE 03 2013
We met up with Ebeneezer at the West Sands office in Addis. He is an AWESOME guy (as all of the Ethiopian staff is) and is a social worker for West Sands in country. We used the rest rooms, asked him some questions we had been looking for answers on (and got surprisingly simple and informative answers from him) and then we packed up and headed to the courthouse.

The court was CROWDED. That made us nervous. Ebeneezer ran over the questions we might be asked and both Laura and I did a lot of praying. We were nervous about this ruling because there had been some roadblocks in our case (as usual). We were also prepped to be there a while. Even though our case was scheduled for 2:00 PM - ya never know how it will go.

2:06 PM - MONDAY, JUNE 03 2013
They called us in. The judge asked us a series of questions - all easily answered. I think I may have even seen a slight smile when we told her we had several kids from Ethiopia and how we love and embrace the culture.

2:09 PM - MONDAY, JUNE 03 2013
We heard those words we had been waiting for.
"Congratulations - you are the parents of Yohanes!"
We were pretty freaking pumped...

2:10 PM - MONDAY, JUNE 03 2013
We were back in the van - thanking Ebeneezer as he headed back in for another case he had. IT WAS OVER! THEY RULED IN OUR FAVOR!

Of course we had to stop for a little celebratory coffee on the way home - this time we hit Bilo's and had some incredible pastry as well. We were pretty pumped up!

4:00 PM - MONDAY, JUNE 03 2013
We were back at the guest house and had Zechie back in our arms...

We spent the rest of the night just hanging out with him and his caregivers. We ate some quick dinner, got all apcked up and said our final goodbyes...

8:00 PM - MONDAY, JUNE 03 2013
We piled into the van for the trip back to the airport. We cruised through security and the ticket counter with no problems and less than 72 hours after landing in the country we consider our home away from home - we were boarded and ready to take off...

6:00 PM - TUESDAY, JUNE 04 2013
After close to 24 hours of travel - we pulled back in the driveway and got some seriously needed hugs and kisses from the girls.

So there ya have it. How we spent 72 hours in Ethiopia. Can't wait to head back and do it again - only next time we'll be coming home with our main man!


Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for this recap! Having never been to Ethiopia, or through the adoption process, I'm learning so much. Each time you talk of the country, and the people, I see the Hoffman family making the move. Yes, you can do a lot from the US but...your heart really seems to be there and I've always believed that God places desires in our heart for a reason.

Thanks again. The country and it's people look beautiful and your little man is too perfect. Praying he's home soon.

Anonymous said...

Congrats on your new son! He is so precious!!

Best Wishes,

Anonymous said...

I'm pretty sure you can thank my hubs for the Carmel shortage at Kaldi's; wouldn't be shocked if Bilos was running low too! We stopped for coffee at least twice a day during our ten days in country!
Jess Bergeman