We came a little "early" to Ethiopia in hopes of meeting Habtamu's uncle - the man who cared for him before having to place him in an orphanage. Today, we were surprised to learn he was already here...and ready to meet us, too. And then, if the "moment" couldn't be any more unique and special, he asked us if it was okay for two of Habtamu's older siblings to come and meet us. And while we were all in the courtyard together, they gave Habtamu their phones and he got to talk to three more of his siblings (he is the youngest of 7). And then, as if things couldn't get any more special, they pulled out two gifts for Habtamu. One contained an English Bible AND an Amheric Bible (which looks totally cool, by the way) and inside the pages were pictures of his family. Even a baby picture of Habtamu! The other was a sweatshirt especially for him. Wow...there are no words to describe how this "meeting" felt. None. I'm not really sure how Habtamu felt, but someday I'm sure he'll be able to tell us more - a lot more. He seemed happy they came, and once they left, he was back to goofing around with his new brother and sister just like he has been the past 24 hours.
This morning, I woke up (and got up!) when Habtamu did. We let everyone else sleep in a little longer and he showed me his school workbook again. Since going to the care center in January, this kid has been writing down English lessons he has learned and his handwriting is beyond awesome. (Note to Corey: Habtamu is a lefty like you!!!!!) He has basic grammer and math in his booklet and he read a lot of what he'd written in it out loud to me. As we turned page after page after page, I could see how dedicated he is to learning. Wow! Then we came to the page where he had written that his parents were dead now. The very next sentence read something like "God now take care of me and..." and he went on to list several names of his friends at the orphanage and the care center. That was touching to say the least. I am thinking that all the prayers prayed by people in America on behalf of the orphan must be being heard by God, because only God could take children whose parents are gone...and let them know He is right there with them. Chelsea asked if he knew about the tooth fairy or who Santa was and when he said "no", she had a painful look on her face. I told her that this year of "firsts" for her new brother would be just as special as all the "firsts" everyone else in the family had too. She seemed relieved to hear that.
And speaking of Madam C...I am enjoying watching our little adventure through her eyes. She loves the bumps on the roads, loves the people everywhere, doesn't mind that her shoes are beyond dirty, and loves the "hotel" (well, that's what she calls it anyhow...though admits the bathroom isn't her favorite). She said the food here is not very good, but the pizza is "awesome" (that was what we had for lunch today). She has told us for 2 years now she wants to be a missionary, and as Kyle and I sat behind her and Habtamu in the van (see photo below), it was obvious she could handle a life like this. Amazing! And you know what? When I asked Habtamu what he wanted to be when he grew up, he said "I will play soccer" and Chelsea quickly added "And I still want to be a missionary!"
Meanwhile, Jared is totally patient and accepting of everything here, but also admits "I couldn't live here - ever!" He knows he's eating just for nourishment and not enjoyment, but he isn't complaining at all. He said he can't wait for us to get home, and said that people who go to countries like this must be pretty amazing because he couldn't do it. Love, love, love his honesty...and totally appreciate how he looks out for his brother and sister while we're out. He also enjoys a courtyard soccer game between the staff and himself :o)
Habtamu's uncle goes to the Embassy tomorrow at 3:00. Pray that we pass early enough in the day that we can get an Embassy appointment by Friday!
Note to Corey: We saw a commercial for the Avengers and Habtamu jumped up to get closer to the TV. He can't wait to see it with you - we told him you were going to take him. He smiled great big and said "Me and Corey will see it, yes?" Guess you and he have plans with your dad as soon as we get home!
Note to Miranda: Chelsea thinks Habtamu's hair feels "cool" and said "I bet MJ will want to pet it too." Better get your hair-styling kit ready...Habtamu says it feels relaxing when people play with his hair (which he said he wants to grow out - YEA!)
PS. While at the care center Kyle said something that sort of surprised me. It went something like "You know, there are some really cute kids there." Not sure why that sort of surprised me...but it did. And, while standing in line for our Visa's Sunday morning we met a family who was here for court for two kids...two kids that are going to make #10 and #11 for that particular family. Suddenly 5 seems like a walk in the park for my sweetie!