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, July 10, 2011

we're here

Wednesday night Dustin and I began to discuss the possibility of leaving for Ethiopia again without clearance.  We decided we would talk to our agency again the next morning and wait to see if the embassy had anything to say before the end of the day, of course they did not.  So we went out on a leap of faith again and booked tickets to leave on Friday night.  It was going to cost us $300 less per ticket leaving on Friday than waiting a couple more days and we have been more than ready to get back on that plane.  The fact that tickets are twice as much this second time around also factors into our decision to leave quickly.

Thursday we checked our luggage (that has been packed for 6 or more weeks now) and packed the rest of our clothes and toiletries.  Dustin was up late doing some work before we left and checking his email fervently for good news when we got it.  The embassy sent us an email at 12:02am telling us we had been cleared.  Hallelujah!  The kicker is that the first available appointment isn't until August 1st now.  We decided we would leave anyway and if Dustin had to leave early to get back to work than he would and I would stay in country with Aliya until our visa appointment and return home the first week of August.  At this point it's a chance we are willing to take.  We will make our presence known to the American embassy just in case they happen to have any cancellations or last minute openings come up, it can't hurt.

We had been sort of secretive about leaving this time because of the fiasco from the last time we tried that.  So when we announced we cleared we also announced that we were leaving that night.  Talk about crazy!  Several dear friends of mine called, stopped by, prayed with us and gave us donations just before we left.  It's so awesome to have people love you and care about you that way, we really are so incredibly blessed.  We ended up leaving at around 1:00 in the afternoon to head toward Chicago where are dear friends the Murrays from our traveling group in April were waiting for us.  They offered to feed us dinner and take us to the airport so we wouldn't have to pay for parking.  It was so nice of them to do that for us.  It was even better to meet all of their kids, hang out with them and pray together before we left.  That's the spirit of adoption, it brings together people for God's kingdom in ways we could never imagine.  We got to the airport around 8:30pm, our flight was scheduled to leave at 10:20pm for Istanbul, Turkey.  It was a 10 hour flight, basically all night long to get there which was actually kind of nice because we slept almost the entire time.  There was a guy in our row that apparently thought he was going to a party because he was drunk, cursing and trying to pick fights with the people behind him.  I thought I was on an episode of Jersey Shore with this guy except for the fact that he wasn't a guido, lol :)  Anyway, the flight was very nice and we arrived pretty much on time.  Our next flight from Istanbul to Addis Ababa was almost an hour late taking off so we arrived at about 1:00am Sunday morning.  We had to get our temporary visas, go through customs and get our luggage.  All went well and the best part is we had a driver waiting for us to take us to the guest house.  We were FINALLY back in Ethiopia.  One of the most distinct things we remember about Ethiopia is the way it smells.  I can't describe it to you but it is a very unique smell that as soon as we stepped off the plane we knew we were back.  We got checked into the guest house and got settled about 2am then crashed.

The Murray family hosting us Friday night at their lovely home with their hilarious family.

Sunday morning we woke up bright and early for breakfast and church.  The guest house provides breakfast every morning and the chef David is the sweetest man, we were so happy to see him again.  There are several other families here for court so we got introduced to everyone.  One of the families is with a different agency and switched guest houses today.  Three of the families are adopting babies and one is adopting a pair of older boys ages 6 and 8.  We were so excited to hear about the family adopting the boys because one of them was our buddy last time.  He hung out with us almost as much as Aliya, he has such a place in our hearts.  When we were here for court he did not yet have a family so to be here with his parents cannot be explained by anything more than a God thing.  We are so blessed that our agency puts us in groups so we can get connected with people from all over the country, exchange stories and have someone else that "gets it".  I love that about AWAA.  After breakfast we went to church at the International Evangelical Church that we went to last time.  Then we ate a painfully long lunch at Island Breeze.  Meal time in Ethiopia is always very long and casual, we never plan for anything less than about 2 hours.  When you have just spent 36 hours in transit after waiting for 3 months to be reunited with your child, it becomes PAINFULLY long though.  We finally got done with lunch and headed for the transition home.  We only had a couple of hours there but it was so awesome to be back and this time to be leaving with our little girl in hand.

The staff brought Aliya out to us and we hugged her and kissed her and were so happy to see her.  She was happy to see us too and gave us lots of hugs and kisses and precious "mommy" and "daddy" that we have been waiting to hear.  They must be working on "mom" and "dad" because last time she always said mommy and daddy and this time she would point to what she wanted me to get her and just say "mom".  That's ok with me, as long as she knows who we are and that we will take care of her forever.

Our gotcha moment

It was raining when we arrived at the transition home so we stayed up on the porch most of the time.  We adorned her with a bracelet, necklace and sunglasses  and then she also wanted to wear my watch because she is my daughter so she is he accessory queen :)  She got into her bag and found the colors and book and immediately went to work.  The boy we had connected with last time also sat next to her on the ground and began to color with her.  His parents said that was the first time he wanted to color so they were thrilled to see it.  My favorite part was listening to him talk to her in Amharic and to hear her say a few little things back to him..  I love hearing the kids speak their native tongues, it's just so awesome.  We found some other things to play with and then it was time to take her to the older kids' transition home so she could say her goodbye's.  They were playing games when we got there so we got to join in for a few minutes.  The kids also sang her song so she danced for us.  We love to watch her dance, we hope that she never loses it.  It's a part of her culture and it's so precious.  She hugged and kissed several of the nannies and waved to the other children goodbye, that would be the last time she goes into that transition home.  We headed back to the guest house with our driver Dawit and the other families while Aliya looked out the window and watched the street go by. She told me several words in english about the things we saw, I think she is still very timid to talk because we don't speak the same language.  I know as time goes on she will pick more and more of it up.  We were going to try and have her skype with her friend Nazaret in Texas because they are from the same region, but we were all so tired that we fell asleep watching Despicable Me.  Hopefully we will be able to connect tomorrow because those girls had such a special connection.

I will have more pics to share as the week goes on.  I should go to bed so when Aliya is ready in the morning I am too.  Keep us in our prayers.  Pray for the embassy workers.  They are short staffed and overworked, they need some divine strength.  We hope to get into see them soon so we can get back home and our boys can meet their new sister.  I know many of you are anxious to meet her as well :)  Thank you for hanging in there with us through the many ups and downs of this journey.  It's just the beginning.


Mel said...

OMG!!!! Who knew last week when we talked that you would HAVE your little sweet girl this week!!?? Oh, God did!! YAY!!! I'm so happy for you!! I can't wait to meet her! Praying that things move quickly now!! Enjoy your time with her there in her country. I'm just so happy!!

Linda said...

I can't wait to see her dance! Makes me wish I could join her, what an awesome time you are all going through right now! Know that you are in my prayers and will be until I see you home. Hugs to all three of you!