Today is Christmas Eve. We got home yesterday.
Ethiopia is a beautiful country. The people are friendly and nice. Their way of life is very “live and let live” and they care about each other. They don’t sweat the small stuff like we do. Family is a way of life, not just something you have or do. The adults treat the children as if they’re each an amazing person, not a small annoyance that’s running around making noise. And the children are very well-behaved. In these ways, Ethiopia is far superior to the USA.
Sadly, there is huge amounts of poverty. Driving around you can see tiny little huts on the side of roads; families live in these. Some are about the size of your bathroom. They provide shelter and nothing else. These people cook right outside their huts. They clean their clothes in mud puddles. Their small children walk around half naked so they don’t soil their clothes. There are fences and tall gates around homes, some churches, and many semi-private areas (like guest houses and businesses).
The orphanages are many. They, too, are surrounded by tall fences. At the top of the fences (which were cinder block or metal), there would be broken glass or barbed wire to keep people out. Each of them has a guard or two to protect the children. The smallest orphanage we visited had about 20 children, 5 or 6 of which were infants. The oldest was a mid-teen. The largest had about 45 kids, 12 were babies. The children are allowed to play. They are taken care of and loved and protected by nannies and “sisters” (nuns). In the baby room in one orphanage, it was obvious when a particular baby would spot their main caretaker. The child would smile and light up. So there is definitely love between the children and caretakers. This made it less heartbreaking. But it was still very sad that all these children didn’t have a true family.
The children were healthy (many had colds and runny noses, but that’s expected where there’s a lot of kids). Of about 100 kids, I saw only one with special needs. We were allowed to go where we wanted to go, but not allowed to take pictures. It’s against the child trafficking laws, so we were more than happy to follow the rules to protect the kids.
We were able to complete the adoption. We now have 4 children. Milinium Grace is going to be called Mili for short. She’s supposed to be 14 months old, but judging from size and development and orphanage, I’m guessing she’s 10 months, 11 months at most. She’s got the chubbiest cheeks I’ve ever seen, curly hair and loves to stick out her tongue.
We go back in the end of February or beginning of March to bring her home. As jet lag wears off, I’ll put pictures up. But I have her pic as my Facebook profile if you’d like to see her 🙂