On Wednesday morning of the week we were in Addis, the families and the children visit the foster care center. This is our first outing as a family, and, as our trip unfolded, it was my first trip thru Addis Ababa.
Once we made it to the foster care center, it looked exactly like I thought it would. We have all seen photos from many coffee ceremonies and many photos of our children in foster care. Everything looked like I thought it would until we got upstairs. The rooms where the babies slept were much smaller than I thought. They were happy, sunny places, but quite a lot smaller than I thought they would be.
We barely made it through the door of foster care center 1 before the special mother came and swept our little lady away from us. We ran into her a few more times, and each time the special mother and Zadie were playing and talking to each other. The care was evident between them. Zadie also had been dressed in her adorable traditional clothing.
The caregivers were all friendly. The children seemed happy and healthy. The older children were laughing and playing. We enjoyed moving room to room meeting the children, laughing with them. Giving hugs and kisses. Taking photos for moms and dads back home and delivering a few packages.
We made our way back to the coffee ceremony. The coffee was yummy. Popcorn topped off the ceremony. Then, when we were about to leave, Travis said, "We need to get Hayat (that's our Zadie) back, right?" She had not made it back to the coffee ceremony. When the special mother brought her back to us, the tears began to flow. My tears. Charlie's tears. The special mother's tears. She sent us away with blessings. Charlie and I gathered ourselves, and headed out. As we were walking to the cars, Charlie happened to look back. The special mother was standing on the balcony watching us walk away. She had tears in her eyes. My tears began to flow again. But knowing that our daughter's sweet, loving nature was nurtured by these caregivers is priceless.
The morning was such a lovely one. We saw the two beds where Zadie had slept while she was in Gladney's care. We even have her sweet little name card that hung over her bed. We met so many people who had taken care of our daughter. We also were able to thank the special mother who had developed a special relationship with Zadie over the months.