(Oh, we put the stinky suitcase on the balcony, in the sun... It smells soooo much better!)
At 10:30am on Thursday, we were taking off from D.C. on a direct flight to Addis Ababa. I think that's when it hit. I feel slightly frightened as I realized this was it. We were on our way to Ethiopia. We kept ourselves occupied on the flight, but every time I'd check our flight progress, I noticed I became more panicked the closer we got.
When we landed, I had only a moment to be frightened before we went through the medical check, visa line, immigration line, currency exchange, through the baggage line, one more bag check, and finally out of the airport where we were greeted my Mr. M holding up a sign that said Bethany. Plus, Aubrey texted me a picture of him, so I knew what he looked like. I'll interject here and say that Mr. M is only 32. He is so friendly and full of energy. He made us feel right at home.
We loaded up in the van and headed to the guest house.
Driving in the capital of Ethiopia is wild! There are no specific lanes, everyone just weaves in and out and you're so close to other vehicles you could reach out the window and touch them. Car horns are also used quite frequently. People cross the street at any point in all the traffic, trusting that the vehicles will slow down long enough to cross. (Search on YouTube for traffic in Addis Ababa for an idea.)
We made it to the guest house and got settled in. M told us that we'd have Friday and most of Saturday to relax. Tonight, he's taking us for a traditional Ethiopian dinner. I believe we'll see some traditional dance too.
He said his goodbye and KC and I found ourselves standing in the room. Tired, exhausted, and on an emotional high.
We stood there quietly for some time.
KC asked me how I was doing and what I was thinking. I just shrugged and said "I dunno".
If you know me, you know I'm a talker. Happy, sad, angry, hungry... I talk. But I just had nothing to say in this moment.
KC told me I was freaking him out and needed to say something. I told him I wasn't thinking anything and didn't have much to say. Hint: that was a lie. I was having a panic attack.
I was all of a sudden terrified at how real this was. Of meeting her, of staying here alone with her, of traveling alone with her... I was shocked at how it was affecting me.
After we started unpacking, I began to calm down. I then told KC that I had a moment of terror. He laughed and said so did he.
I think we'd been waiting so long and the actual travel happened so quick, we didn't have a chance to digest it all until we were standing in a room 8,000 miles away from home.
We talked about how different everything is going to be from this point on. Not just in the family aspect, but in another big way as we've felt that the finalization of the adoption is going to be a turning point for us.
It's exciting and terrifying at the same time! But my wise husband said it best: That's what makes it so great. If it weren't so scary, everyone would do it.
So here we are, in Ethiopia, waiting to meet our daughter. Knowing that once we get home, things will never be the same.
And that is okay with us. ❤️
Sunrise as we were landing in Ethiopia