We are the Snyder family and ... we are different

This is the story of our journey to our daughter in Ethiopia. God is preparing our family for her and preparing her heart to come home to her family. We chose the difficult road of trusting and obeying God. It is worth every step!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Our time in Ethiopia, day 1

I know many people have been checking our blog to hear about our trip to Ethiopia.  Well I have finally felt up to it to post something.  Depending on how long this turns out to be there may be several posts or just one really really long post, guess we'll see once I start going.  By the way, I have a whole new respect for those bloggers who are diligent about updating their blog daily while in country.  I had absolutely no desire to do that and it's taken me a week home to even do it now :)

The first picture is Dustin and I getting ready to leave the house at midnight on Thursday 3/31 to drive up to Chicago for the 6am flight to Washington DC.  We decided to leave from there for the most direct flight.  We flew straight from DC to Addis Ababa, which was fantastic.  The second picture is our little Prius filled with our bags, Dustin even had to lay down the back seats to get all of our bags to fit.  The next picture is our bags on the little cart at the airport.  We had 3 big duffel bags and one large suitcase filled with donations as well as 2 carry ons with our clothes in them and 2 backpacks with supplies and toys.  One couple I was talking to as I was waiting for Dustin to come back from parking the car asked if we were moving because we had so much stuff :)

There were two other families flying out on the DC flight with our agency that we met shortly before the flight took off.  We kept looking for middle aged white couples that look like they may be adopting, lol :)  The flight to Addis was on a new 777 jet.  The accommodations were very nice and we even had our own individual touch screens in front of us that you could pick movies, music, audio books, games or see where the flight was.  I slept a great deal of the time and was happy to have a window to lean against.  Once we got to the airport we had to get our visas and go through customs.  We did not realize we had to have some little paperwork filled out so the rest of the group ended up waiting for us.  A guy with an official looking jacket came up and wheeled our luggage, sent it through the xray machine and wheeled it over to our group.  He asked for $20 US so Dustin gave it to him and then realized that the guy was asking for a tip for helping with our luggage, Dustin was not happy that he just got swindled by this guy.  After we met up with our group we headed for the Yebsabi guest house and then we would go to the transition home to meet our little girl.  Dustin gave our driver $400 US to exchange into birr and received a stack of 6400 birr back.

The accommodations at the guest house were nice.  We shared a suite with one of the other families that we were on the plane with so they had a bedroom and we had one then we shared a living room and kitchen.  Our room was on the fourth floor which means that there are two flights of stairs for every floor so we were winded by the time we got up to our room every single time.  We brought all of our things down with us for the day and prayed that we didn't forget anything so we wouldn't have to go back up to our room.  Dustin would try and bribe me if we did need to get something from our room by offering various amounts of birr.  "I will give you 100 birr if you go back up to our room and get..."  By the way, 100 birr is about the equivalent of $6 US.  Our guest house was right across the street from a school and many mornings we were woken up by the sound of the children singing,  it was awesome.  We would also be woken up by the man in the street selling brooms and mops who would yell every morning.  Here's some pics taken from the lovely little balcony off our bedroom.

After we got all settled into our rooms we headed off for the transition home where we would finally meet this little girl we prayed over.  The feeling of finally meeting her has no words.  It was excitement, nervousness, nausea, longing, there's no word that fully explains the anticipation.  Each family was set up on the porch individually so their child would be brought out to them and they would have a few moments together before the next family's child was brought out.  Our little girl was actually in the clinic that morning and I'm pretty sure that she was asleep when they brought us in to see her.  She was dressed in a pink chenille sweater and pink sweatpants that I was told she had been wearing for the past 2 or 3 days.  When she saw us I think she was still groggy and because she was not feeling well was sort of lethargic.  It took a couple of hours for her to regain her energy and then we could see the personality that we had heard so much about from other families that have met her.  The morning was wonderful!  We heard her call us mommy and daddy and finally heard that sweet little voice.  The language was not a problem for us because we would just offer her things to do and she would either take it or shake her finger at us and say "no, no".  Our time there with her that day was short but so precious.

Dustin would show her pictures of herself on his phone and she would cover her face, throw herself back and laugh.  It was so adorable.  We left for lunch and then I think we came back to the transition home in the afternoon, although to be quite honest I'm not sure if that's what we did or not.  Well looks like there will be many more posts to come as this post only covered our travel and the first day with her.  Thanks for all of the prayers along the way.


Kelli said...

What a great post. So excited for you- been watching the blog for an update. Will continue to pray for you.