Friday, September 6, 2013
Caroline Faith Letehiwot slept so much better the night before, although she woke up very sad and scared. When she woke up for the morning, stood up in her crib and saw us, she laid back down and just started crying so hard. Of course, this broke our hearts. I think she was very disappointed that we were still there. But we got her up and comforted her...and of course, fed her a bottle! Her favorite thing! :) She later calmed down and actually had a pretty good morning with us!
We knew that this was going to be a long, emotional day of packing up and saying good-bye to Ethiopia and all the Hannah's Hope staff and special mothers, and getting ready for the long flight home. We tried to just take our time and relax getting ready because we knew we had all day since our flight was not scheduled to leave until around 10:30 that night. So, after we were showered and dressed, we decided to take her downstairs for a little play time in the guest house!
Daddy and little Konjo waving to the camera!!!
I also had gotten Miles a matching outfit that said "Rock Star" on it, and I had mailed it to Emma several weeks before. I told her "IF" we get to travel back to Ethiopia together to bring it, and we would get their picture made together in their outfits! Well, God worked out a miracle and we did get to travel back together! So we decided to have a little photo shoot of them at the guest house.
This is what Caroline and Miles thought about the photo shoot...
NOT happy about it at all! Haha! :)
And still not happy with their Daddies outside on the porch! This picture cracks me up! I think they are looking at each other like "get me out of here!"
But thankfully, they both calmed down when they went back to their Mamas! LOVE!!! :)
We ate some lunch at the guest house, and Jody played with Caroline Faith while I went outside to take some pictures. I wanted to have lots of memories for her since this is where she had lived most of her babyhood for almost 10 months!
Hannah's Hope in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia...such a sweet, sweet, special place...
The front of the guest house where we stayed both trips!
The courtyard to the left of the guest house. The swings are a favorite of the older kids! In the background is the office where most of the staff works during the week.
To the right of the guest house is the baby/kids' house. There is almost always laundry hanging out on the lines to dry...except when it rains of course! That first little step up the patio area is where Caroline Faith Letehiwot was when we met her for the very first time!
The front porch going into the baby house. There are always lots of cute little pairs of crocs out by the front door. We always took off our shoes when we went into the baby house and guest house...the floors there are so clean!
My all-time favorite sign above the door of the baby house. HOPE. This place is just filled with so much hope. And HOPE is the word that God had given me on January 1st of this year!
The courtyard in between the guest house and the baby house. In the back is where the older kids wash up and then go in those doors to eat their meals! It is a cute room with tables set up for them to eat on. This is the courtyard where the babies come out to play. I have lots of sweet pictures from traveling families of Caroline Faith in this courtyard as she was growing up! So sweet!
This is the guard house that is right in front of the guest house where the guards sleep next to the famous black gates of HH. We always felt totally safe there.
When I came back in, Caroline Faith was ready for a bottle and a nap, so I found this cozy spot for us...
upstairs in the rocking chair right in front of the balcony overlooking the city!
I had the sliding glass doors open so we could feel the cool breeze and just take it all in...the sights, the smells, the sounds of Addis. I just wanted to remember this moment forever. I had tears in my eyes as I thought and prayed about leaving that night. It was hard to imagine that we were about to take her away from all of this, but yet I knew that this was God's plan for her to be in our family. Such mixed emotions, but yet He gave me His peace that passes all understanding.
This was my beautiful, amazing view that afternoon as baby girl napped in my arms!
As she was still sleeping, I asked Jody if we could get some pics of our room and go get one more of Caroline Faith's crib in the butterfly room upstairs at the baby house.
This is the view when you walked in our room where we stayed this 2nd trip. The bunk beds ended up being a great place to set out all our things! We had already gotten most of our stuff packed up at this point of the day.
This was our bed and Caroline Faith's crib right next to us!
Caroline Faith's crib in the butterfly room! This sweet room was her home for almost 10 months!
When she woke up, I gave her to Jody so that I could finish packing and think through what we would need with us on the long journey home. It was honestly pretty challenging to try to prepare for that trip! It helped so much having Emma there because we could bounce ideas off each other and trying to help each other figure out what to pack for the long wait in the airport and the long flight!
Late that afternoon, we decided to go back over to the baby house to say good-bye to the special mothers. I knew this was going to be hard emotionally for us and for baby girl, but I had no idea how hard it would really be. It was beautiful and hard all at the same time. Again...a mix of emotions.
We could tell that Caroline Faith was glad to walk back over the baby house, and she immediately went to the arms of some of her special mothers. They had all come upstairs to say good-bye to her and to Miles.
Caroline Faith and precious Z, one of the special mothers in the butterfly room and one of her favorites!
They all loved her so much!
And this is her with B, her all time favorite special mother. I can hardly even think about sweet B without tears coming to my eyes. She loved our daughter so well.
We took lots more pictures and we all hugged and cried and said our good-byes. I also took more pics of the other babies still there waiting and loved on them one more time before we left. And then it was time to walk down those stairs with our baby girl for the last time. I can even put into words how hard and emotional that moment was. (I am crying as I type this.) I just literally lost it, and cried so hard walking down those stairs with her.
And I will never ever forget looking back up and seeing B at the top of the stairs watching us leave and wiping her tears away. I just kept crying and gave her one final wave as we walked out that front door. B was crying. I was crying. Caroline Faith was crying. It was just emotional, but I knew I had to get it together so we could go pack up and get to the airport. I had to just lay my emotions aside for the momemt...which was probably a good thing. I was a wreck! :)
We walked back over to the guest house to eat a quick dinner because we knew there wouldn't be much at the airport that we would want to eat. And we fed the babies dinner too, and then went to gather all our suitcases to put them in the back of the van. We changed her into a comfy outfit that had little birds on it. (love!) And then we had to walk out of the doors of the guest house with her. The older kids were all helping us with our stuff and coming out to tell us good-bye.
We loaded up in the van and pulled out of those black gates of HH with her for the last time. I cried all over again. As we were driving down the street that HH is on, we saw some of the special mothers walking down the street, as their shift was over and they were going home. B was still wiping her tears as we drove by them. I was still wiping mine too.
I have no doubt in my heart that our daughter was truly loved all her many months at Hannah's Hope. Those sweet special mothers were the hands and feet of Jesus to our baby girl as they loved and cared for her. I am eternally grateful.
Jody and Caroline Faith in the van on the way to the airport. She was so worn out! And the trip was just beginning.
Wass took us to the airport and let us off in the parking lot. I put Caroline Faith in the Ergo baby carrier for the first time, and she seemed to feel secure in it. She was very quiet and just laid her head on my chest. I am sure she was very overwhelmed, but she was very calm. We were so thankful.
We hugged Wass goodbye and let the baggage guys wheel our stuff up the airport doors. Let the long journey home begin!!!
To be continued...(baby girl just woke up from her nap!)