Surprisingly, we slept good last night. At what we thought was 3:00 a.m., we both laid awake. "Are you awake?" "Yeah, you?" The excitement of getting to meet our daughter today kept us awake. Still confused by the time, we wanted to get up and get going. Then, the call to prayer started. We knew it was 5:00 a.m, and in about four hours,we would meet our little girl. It is still dark outside, but we are here and all dressed and packed to spend some time at House of Hope and to meet Marley. The fact that we are here hasn't set in. After all this time, we are really in Ethiopia and we are really about to meet this little one we have prayed for for so long. Tonight she will be with us. Tonight will begin the rest of her lives in our arms. Yeah, I said the rest. We don't plan on letting her grow up. Tonight will be her first time away from the orphanage and transition home. Tonight, for the first time, she will have someone to care for her every need. Tonight. I hope she likes us...lol!
She is in our arms forever! After the long wait this morning for 9:00 a.m. to arrive, we were finally headed to House of Hope to pick up our Sifen. Sifen is her Ethiopian name. It is pronounced Sea-Fin. The staff like to call her Sea-Fin-E, Sea-Fin-oo, or Sea-Fin-ish. They are all terms of endearment. Our driver pulled up to the famous green gates enclosing the compound that our daughter has been at for three months. He honked and a security guard opened those gates to allow us to drive in. He pulled in and we exited the van not knowing where and how we would be introduced to Sifen. We were walked up a set of stairs to a second floor room that was set up like a living area. There was another couple on one of the sofas with an little boy about 7 months old, sleeping on their laps. They had just been given there son and were waiting for him to awaken to meet him for the first time. We chatted briefly, my heart was racing. I wondered how it would happen. Then we saw a silhouette appear through the windows and in walks Tsegay followed by a nanny carrying my sweet girl all dressed up for us. I walked over, trying to contain my tears to avoid scaring her. I scooped her up and into my arms. They gave me formula directions but I didn't hear them.
She came into my arms as if she had been there forever. She smiled at me, cooed and then the grand slam, she laid her head on my chest! What a perfect gift! I've heard it many times before, but she really was meant for us, and we have just experienced yet another reminder that our God is in control and this was His timing! After about 3o minutes of adoring our new baby, we went into Tsegay's office to review our paperwork and visa interview procedures. Brandon did all the official stuff, while I sat there holding, kissing and loving on this child we have prayed for for over three years. Almaz, Tsegay's wife and worker at House of Hope, walked in during our meeting. We had met a very timid Almaz in St. Louis just tow months before. The Almaz in Ethiopia is full of personality. She immediately came in in to hug me and then turned her entire attntion to Sifen, or who she calls Sifeny. She clapped and chanted "Congratulations Day," in a very heavy accent to Sifen. She loved it and responded so well to Almaz. She obviously loves and spends time with all the children at House of Hope. After finishing our paperwork, we went back up to the meeting room and waited for another couple. We saw the older children at House of Hope in a classroom and lining up for potty time. They seemed excited to see us and we were eager to get to meet them. We got in the van to go back to our guest house and they loaded up two children that we going to meet their family for the first time. How exciting was that to witness! We ate lunch at House of Hope 2, it was amazing! It seemed like traditional Ethiopian food with a twist. We finished our evening admiring Sifen in our room. She only woke once at night to eat and when she did, she was cooing and babbling. Amazing.