So after leaving the airport we drove to our guesthouse to drop off our luggage and pick up the Lovins to go meet our boys. We stayed at the BnB guesthouse It was basically a two bedroom apartment that we split with the Lovin family. It is new and owned by a Gladney driver - Hennock. The guesthouse had a kitchen with an oven and fridge, a dinning area, and a living area with lots of couches. The bathroom had a shower tub combo. In the living room there was a wall of windows that would get tons of sunlight and become quite warm in the mornings. There was a balcony with a beautiful view of the mountains and all the construction that is going on.
(Matt out on the balcony)The Bnb is located close to the Gladney care centers and out of the city area. The power went out frequently at 6pm. So bring a flashlight. There were two sweet girls who we lovingly referred to as the "ishi girls", because that is all they seemed to say, who cooked us breakfast and cleaned for us. The breakfast of eggs, pancakes, cereal and bread was the same every single day for the 3 weeks we stayed here :) Right next door to our apartment was a one bedroom apartment where the sweet Plumb family stayed!
So before traveling, Joanna Lovin and I had arranged to stay together and share a driver as we figured we would have the same embassy dates and be there together. Never did we think we would be there 6 weeks together but we were and I would not have made it without her. God totally looked out for me and provided me with just the right person I needed. It could have been really bad sharing an apartment and driver with someone who I had never "met" but it worked out sooo well. Even the husbands got along and liked each other.
(Travis and Joanna)
So after meeting the Lovins we changed out of the clothes we had been wearing for three days quickly freshened up as much as we could and headed out to the care center to meet Selamu aka Solomon. Our amazing driver - Solomon - picked us up. Driver Solomon was THE BEST and I highly recommend him if you could pick your driver. I just can't say enough wonderful things about this man. He took such good care of us and made our stay that much better.
So on our way to meet our son so many feelings were going on through my head..would he come to us, would he let us hold him, would we recognize him, what would his personality be like??
(on our way to meet Solomon)
So we arrived at Solomon's care center with the Lovins so they could meet their son for the first time as well. We went in their child's room and then went upstairs to see Solomon. As soon as we turned to go up the last flight of stairs I saw him playing on the play mat in his room!! We walked right in and sat on the floor to play with him and his roommates. Cautiously we picked him up and he seemed ok with us holding him. We were told we had an hour with him.
(Don't you love those big eyes and chubby cheeks??)
Nobody introduced us as his "parents" but I guess the caregivers figured it out. After about 10 minutes one of them came and took him to feed him away from us. His room was pretty small and crowded with us in there. The other caregivers were encouraging her to let us feed him but she wouldn't so it got kind of awkward. We played for a bit more with the other children in the room and then left :( It was a strange visit. I was really expecting them to be more encouraging of us to be with him and do things for him but that didn't happen on this visit. I understand that he has been there for 8 months and these caregivers grow very attached but at the same time all I wanted to do was love on my baby. I was happy he let us hold him and interacted with us the 10 minutes we got.
After our visit we went to the Hilton to use the internet (as our guesthouse didn't have it hooked up at this point) to let others know we had arrived and met our son. We then went and had our first taste of ethiopian coffee, saw some sights of the city and went to the grocery store to buy a few items. Then it was time to shower and sleep!!