Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Trippy Thoughts Day 4 "The Big Day!"

So, day 2 in Ethiopia! The day! The day we had been waiting for for literally years and years. The day we meet Teg! How do you even begin to put into words what this day feels like? How do you realistically express all the emotions, conversations, thoughts, hopes, etc.? Well, I'll do my best....So, we actually got a good nights sleep and woke up ready to face one of the biggest days of our lives. We went upstairs and had breakfast. At this point, I still wasn't eating a whole lot, everything made me nervous, and I had an anxious stomach, but man, the coffee there is UNBELIEVEABLE!!!!! (For all you coffee drinkers, it's worth a trip to Ethiopia just to experience the coffee!) Of course, Bruce chowed down and was so happy that it was a buffet style breakfast. Can you see a pattern here? It's all about the food for Bruce, and I'm a nervous nellie! We went down to the lobby and met the rest of the families that we would be spending the week with. It was instant bonding. We loved every single family that we were with and will always hold a special place in our hearts for them and their children. We were told to meet in the lobby, I think around 10. Well, we quickly learned that everything is on Ethiopia time, and we didn't get moving from the lobby until closer to noon. While it was a great time to get to know the other families, we were all anxious to move along! We finally met Robel, who would be our tour guide, friend, translator, etc. Basically, he kept us moving the entire week. We LOVE Robel, what an awesome man of God he is and we will NEVER forget him or his ministry in ET. So....we FINALLY loaded up on the bus and headed to the Hilton where we would have lunch and do the final paperwork before meeting our kiddos.

The Hilton was lovely. We sat outside and divided up into 2 groups. One group did all the paperwork with Duni (she works for America World and lives in ET full time to help with the process. Another angel!) and the other group sat and chatted. Guess who did the paperwork for our family? Yep, that would be me. It was funny, because you could tell that all of us doing the paperwork were "battle scarred" from ALL the paperwork we had done to get us to this point. We must have asked Duni a hundred questions! Every little detail was a stress to us! We just wanted to get it right so there wouldn't be any problems. We ordered lunch, but a lot of us just couldn't eat, we were a bundle of nerves! (Bruce had no problem eating, of course!) After a couple of hours, we finally finished up and starting loading the bus to head to the Transition Home. It was finally happening! We were going to meet Teg! We got into the bus and there was quite a bit of chatter and laughing, everyone was so happy that we were on our way! The buzz in the bus continued until we turned into what looked like a neighborhood, and almost instantly the bus got quiet as we realized that we were getting close. Someone pointed out the clinic where our kids had all been taken to get immunizations, and then we KNEW we were only a few blocks away. We turned a corner and down the street we saw a gate with the America World sign above it. There were gasps and instant tears all over the bus. Behind that gate were our kids. Teg was right there....The guard opened the gate and we pulled into a long driveway and Duni explained to us that she was going to bring the kids out in alphabetical order by last name. At his point I am thinking, " Why do we have to be Watson?????" We would be last!!! We got off the bus and just stood there staring at the house. Was this really happening? Had we really made it? What would Teg look like? Smell like? Would he respond to us? Would he be happy? Healthy? All of our questions, questions that we had had for months now, were about to be answered! The first family came out with their baby boy and the tears and laughter just started flowing. Duni started bringing kids out one by one at this point, and it actually moved pretty quickly. We took pictures and video for other people and just tried to soak up the moment. There are no words to describe standing there watching all these families come together. It was such a beautiful moment and it is burned into my brain forever. All of sudden we heard someone say "Watson family" and we all just stood there, in shock, shaking, crying, waiting...then, just like that, out walks Duni with our beautiful baby boy in her arms! She handed him to me and I just grabbed him and held him tight. I cannot put into words how it feels to wait for a baby for years and years, then travel half way around the world, and have someone walk over to you and hand you this absolutely precious, beautiful, perfect baby. He was very calm, very sweet. He had on a striped outfit with a matching hat. He smelled sweet, he felt soft. Bruce took him from me and held him so tight. He hugged him and kissed him and talked to him. Then Sabrina took him. That's when it really hit me. They were so beautiful children. Brother and sister. She instantly loved him and it showed. I could see that she had waited and dreamed of this moment just as much as we had. It was one of those "I'll never forget this as long as I live" moments. The 4 of us (we were from this moment forward a family of 4!!) walked over to the grassy area and just sat. We stared at, kissed on, played with, and just completely smothered Teg. He was very sweet and very quiet. He just kind of stared at us. I think, when I look back now, he was just totally overwhelmed and a little bit in shock. We sat outside and just enjoyed being a foursome and enjoyed watching everyone else with their kids. We walked around inside the house and peeked inside the room where Teg had spent the last 3 months of his life. It's hard to describe. It was a small room with cribs lining all the walls. There were 2-3 babies in each crib. There were 2 mattresses on the floor with 4-5 babies on each. Some of the babies were so, so small. It took my breath away when I saw them, they were so tiny, and some, were very fragile. The room was sparse, but what caught my attention more than the lack of "things" were the nannies. There were about 4 nannies in that room, just moving from one baby to the other, holding them, kissing them, smiling at them. I KNEW right then and there that although Teg had not had much "stuff" in his little life, he had gotten plenty of love. That's all that mattered to me. He had gotten hugs, kisses, and smiles. That just made my heart feel full. While we were touring the home Teg fell asleep in my arms. I was in heaven! He was so cuddly and content! The absolute WORST part of that day was when the time came that we had to say goodbye. We had spent about 2 hrs there and we were all leaving the kids there for their last night with their nannies. Wow, that was really hard! To have to hand him back was difficult, but I felt peace about it. I knew that he was loved, and I knew that he was ours. Tomorrow we would come back for him, and we would never have to give him back.