Day 5 was the last day we would spend in Ethiopia. Our wonderful trip was was so short, yet so momentus.
Aaron and I woke up this particular morning to a not-so-great night's sleep. We quickly jumped out of bed and were made fast awake by our extremely cold trickle of a shower we took. But hey...still thankful we got a shower:)
We met the Gerig's and the King's downstairs for yet another wonderful plate of french toast and coffee. We sat waiting for our driver Adugna who would take us to court that morning. We were all nervous, not knowing what to expect, so we quizzed each other on the possible questions the judge may ask us, so we would be prepared.
Adugna arrived on time, and we hopped in the van to take our short trip to the courthouse. It only took about 5 minutes to arrive.
We were immediately greeted by a band of boys eagerly wanting to shine our shoes.
This is where we met Abdissa, who was not only our attorney, but a pastor in Ethiopia! Another amazing man with a contagious smile :)
Abebe also met us here. It was comforting having both these men with us to show us what to do and represent us. Abdissa and Abebe led the way for us and we followed them into a waiting room that was already full of people waiting. While we were waiting, Mark and Liane Wolbert stopped by to meet us.
They were a wonderful distraction from the nervous wait! Mark and Liane are the socail services and missions directors of YWAM Ethiopia. We all really enjoyed getting to meet them and chat until our names were called. We were surprised that they called us in by agency ( all together) and not one-at-a-time. The extremely beautiful and serious judge got right to it. She immediately started asking all us questions and we all answered together in unison. We were in and out in a matter of 5 minutes. It was a moment of feeling such relief, and gratefulness and joy! If we had the "MOWA" paperwork that is currently backed up, our kids would have been declared ours right then. But since MOWA was behind in their paperwork we have to wait for that to be processed and wait for the judge to sign off on it. See my previous prayer request for more info about this.
After all was said and done, we headed back to Addis House to make a quick change of clothes and then headed out to shop again. Brandy and Mike didn't have the extra day of shopping as we did, so they had some catching up to do. This time we went to the shops across from the post office.
While we shopped we were once again followed by lots of children. Every now and again we would see them scatter and run off, only to realize there was a woman guard shooing them away from us. We didn't mind the presence of these beautiful children. Some of them joked with us and made fun of our accents as we tried to pronounce Amharic words. They were all so cute and precious. They would put out there hand and say..."Just one?" As we ended our time at the shops at the post office and hopped into our minibus, the kids were still coming up to the window begging. We had run out of our small bills so I reached in my bag and pulled out my protein bars. This is when the swarms of children and adults grew. Although the security guard didn't seem to appreciate our gesture, the people seemed to appreciate the food more than they did the money. Becky had some protein bars as well, and we had some crackers so we handed out as many as we could. The ones who were able to receive it, were so grateful. Next trip we will know to bring more things like crackers, protein bars, or granola bars etc...to hand out. They also liked our empty water bottles, we assumed for them to refill.
(One of the many beautiful faces peering inside our minibus. This particular girl's beauty caught our attention. She had the most beautiful eyes, but the sadness and desperation that peered through them broke our hearts. Most of the kids still had joy in their eyes, but hers seemed to be gone. My heart hurt for this beautiful girl as I wondered about her story.)
We then headed over to a coffee shop called "Tomoca." We were told that the BBC did a blind taste testing of coffees from around the world and "Tomoca" was voted "World's best coffee." (I think of the movie "Elf" when I say "world's best cup of coffee" everytime :) HAHA!
Anyway, we loaded up on coffee to bring home as gifts, and then we headed back to our guest house. Here Yonas suggested we go to "Lime Tree" for our lunch. Here we took our time, relaxed and just hung out for a while, while some of us enjoyed spaghetti dishes and others Indian cuisine and we all shared more fries:)
We then headed back to Addis House where we walked the streets for a while. We enjoyed interacting with all the playful children that followed us.
We ended our trip by relaxing and taking in the sites, on the patio area of the Addis Guest House in the wonderful 65 degree weather. We were honored with another coffee and popcorn ceremony before we headed to the airport to depart for home. Our time in Ethiopia, with our new friends who, seemed to be more than friends at this point, was too short and so special. We loved every second of it! It was a hard goodbye, but a comfort to know that we will be returning again soon! We are praying we get to travel back again with the Gerig's and the King's. Sharing this time with them was wonderful!
Getting back home was just fine until Aaron and I arrived in Washington DC. We had so much trouble with our last flight. I won't go into all the details, but we were so tired and I was in tears thinking we would never get home. The flights were full and for some reason we kept getting bumped off our flight. We prayed A LOT and by some miracle we made it on a 5:00 pm flight out on standby! We made it by the skin on our teeth, literally! For our troubles, we were given an $800.00 voucher towards our next trip. At the time, I was too tired to appreciate it, but Aaron reminded me that the Lord had already provided for our next trip! That was torturous at the time, but that $800.00 sure will come in handy when we are having to purchase our tickets for the next trip!!!!!
When we arrived in Dallas, Aaron's mother picked us up. Aubrey, our 3 year-old came running at us like a scene out of a movie, in what seemed to be slow motion, shouting..."Mommmmmmy!!!!" Alyssa gave us a hug and said, 'where's the plane?" She was more excited about seeing a plane up close than seeing mom and dad :) It was so good to see these two little munchkins we missed so much! We were totally exhausted, and couldn't even think straight. I don't think I have ever been that tired EVER, except for maybe after childbirth. We couldn't give our girls the attention we wanted to give them because of it. I think on our second trip, we will stay the night in D.C. before our homecoming, so we can be a little more fresh. This way we will be prepared to focus on our girls when they meet their new brother for the first time. We think it would be so much more enjoyable this way!