Wednesday was the day we had planned to unofficially check the babies out of the orphanage. We couldn't officially sign them out forever until after our embassy appointment, which was the following day. During our time in Ethiopia, the babies' stay in the orphanage was much like my biological children's stay in the hospital's nursery. When my children were in the hospital, I was not one to want to keep my children with me all through the night. I appreciated my sleep, and I trusted the nurses caring for my children. The same can be said for the orphanage. While I absolutely loved my children, I appreciated the transition time for them and for us. This was not the process for another family who arrived in Ethiopia with us. They arrived in Ethiopia and picked up their son the same day. Their family seemed to transition smoothly. Each family must make the decision that's best for their family.
It was decided upon with the orphanage director that we would visit Entoto Mountain in the morning and pick the babies up afterward. Our friends and us packed in our van and were taken through the streets of Addis. Perhaps it's called a hill in Ethiopia, I'm not sure, but from my comparison to the landscape of PA, it was definitely a mountain. I'm told the Ethiopian athletes train on the mountain. It made me tired just looking at it. There were several young people filling the streets just below the mountain. Several women were walking the mountain with firewood on their backs. We saw donkeys/burros carrying firewood as well. Children were walking up and down the mountain. I just sat and stared out the window at the wonder before my eyes. Again, I was reminded, "I wasn't in Kansas anymore."
We visited the museum at the top of the mountain and gave out a few pens at the suggestion of our agency. People came out of the woodwork to receive a pen. I've looked back on this experience and wondered what a few pens could do. I'm not sure of the answer, but I do know it allowed me to touch the people. There was one older gentleman, sitting with his bible, which looked ancient-literally. I sat down beside him and handed him the pen. He looked at me in a way I couldn't decipher. Had he seen a pen before? Was he wondering what I was doing? I couldn't read the expression on his face. Not knowing what else to do, I ripped a piece of paper from my journal and drew a smiley face on it. He gave me a human smile. I gave him the paper and my farewell and headed back to my husband. We loaded back into the van and headed for Toukoul to sign the babies out of the orphanage.
Driving with the babies in the van for the first time was a bit interesting. There are no seat belts and no car seats in Addis. I suppose all of Ethiopia. I'm can be a bit of a safety nut, but it didn't really bother me. It just felt odd, holding the babies in our laps. I remember being sad that when we returned to the US, they would have to be in car seats. (I would have been even sadder, had I known how Ana would scream in hers :-) I don't remember much of the rest of our evening. I know we started the babies on the formula we took, which would lead to a badddd evening the next night. We didn't know it at the time, but both babies are lactose intolerant. I recall being up throughout the night, but I don't know how often. I know we were up at midnight, as the orphanage fed them every night at this time. Gabriel was also on medication for his breathing, which we had to administer through the night at some point.
We awoke on Thursday and prepared to sign the babies out of the orphanage forever.