Sunday, April 3, 2011

Day Two of Trip 1 to Ethiopia- Saturday, February 19, 2011

Saturday February 19th, 2011 – The day we met Amanuel!!! We arrived at Hannah’s Hope at 11am and Amanuel was with a group of kids his age. We weren’t expecting them to all be standing inside the gate when we drove in, so we didn’t have our camera ready. Our driver didn’t explain that Amanuel might be one of the children standing out there waiting for us, we kind of thought he’d be with an adult who would bring him to us. It took me a few seconds to scan the group, but then I saw his beautiful face. I stood speechless and then whispered “Jon, there he is.” I wish I had a picture to show everyone, but know that moment will forever be etched in my mind. Once he knew we were his family, he came over and hugged me, not a strong embrace, but a long, sweet hug. Daddy and I also each got a kiss on the cheek. He took daddy’s sunglasses off and started to play with them, something that ended up being a normal occurrence each day we were there. Amanuel, or Amani as he is called at Hannah’s Hope (we had also been calling him that since we got his referral), was very protective of our attention, screeching at the other kids “mine, mine!!” in Amharic- it was pretty cute. He loved to look in my purse and pull out whatever he could; the calculator he used as a phone, pushing buttons and then putting up to his ear “hello?”; hair brush, pen and paper, sunglasses, pretzels, M & M’s, book light, books, the magnetic trains, he had to see it all. He also wanted to play with both cameras and Mama already had to tell him “no”, which he wasn’t a big fan of. He was also obsessed with the hand sanitizer when he got his hands on it and wanted to put it on his face too- which of course is not good for him as it will dry him out even worse! He let us both carry him around, favoring mommy at first, but still good to go with daddy. This changed considerably with each day and he was just as happy with dad as with mom. He shared very nicely with his friends; all of toys we brought, books, coloring book and crayons. He was a little more protective of his “makinas” – cars, but would share them as well. When it was time to collect and pick up, he knew exactly who had what and he collected everything except for the collapsible hairbrush, which I determined I didn’t want back anyway. While we sat in the director's office to go over some paperwork, he sat on my lap, ate pretzels, dug in my purse some more and scribbled on a piece of paper. We traced his hand and daddy’s- his first piece of artwork we will cherish. He even snapped a picture of me and when I’d take pictures of him, he wanted to be able to see them right away so he could see himself. This happened with all the kids- they loved being photographed and wanted to see themselves “I see, I see” they would all say with lots of excitement. He loved it when daddy played silly- lots of laughs and giggles. We kicked a soccer ball around for about 2 minutes and then he lost interest. He went back and forth between wanting us to himself and being with his friends.

When I was talking with the director earlier in the day, Jon went with Amanuel to watch him have his lunch. One of his special mothers told Jon that she loved Amani, that he was a very good, very smart little boy and that some kids are not ready when they meet their new families, but that he was ready to go. What a blessing it was to hear this. We had been praying all along for God to prepare his heart, mind and soul to be ready to come home to us- and God answered so convincingly so early!

1 comment:

  1. Such a sweet story of your first moments together! Even though I know you are bummed not to have those pictures...I know you won't every forget that picture in your mind. He is so handomse! Congrats!