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>January 29, 2007

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We arrived at the Addis Ababa airport without any problem. We were able to get our VISA’s quickly and then get in line for immigration. The line was moving very slow so we took turns saving our place in line while the other went to exchange money at the bank. Once through immigration/customs we went in search of our luggage. Somehow we ended up being the very last to get through and all of the luggage carts were gone. Kim stayed with our carryon’s whiloe I went in search. I thought I had found one not being used, but as I was rolling it toward Kim an older lany came and grabbed it and in a deep voice yelled “mine!” Needless to say I let her have it. I eventually round up 2, but it took forever for our luggage to come out. Thankfully it all made it and once we headed out we saw the sign with Portis on it. Dagne had other commitments so he sent Kassahun & Dagnachew. They were very nice and helped us with all the luggage and somehow we managed to fit all of it in the back of a small SUV. I’m still not sure how. We made it to the YEKA Guest House where they were very nice and carried our luggage up the three flights of stairs for us, lucky for us since there were no elevators and those bags were heavy. We got settled in the room and began trying to figure out how we are going to sleep with 2 kids tomorrow night since there is only one queen bed. But after seeing all of the people sleeping in alleys on the street on the way here we were just thankful to have a room!

We then set out to organize our bags since we had spread a little of everyone’s things in each bag in case some luggage didn’t make it. We also separated out out donations for CWA and AHOPE. We ended up with a suitcase full for each!!! That was exciting to see. Then we got ready for bed. It was about midnight Ethiopian time and although I felt tired we decided to take a Tylenol PM to make sure we slept. We got in bed and all of a sudden this pack of dogs begin to bark, and bark, and bark. They were not stopping anytime soon so I put in some earplugs and was sure I wouldn’t wake until our 8 am wake up call….. WRONG ! I just kept laying there and tossing and turning in and out of sleep. Eventually I decided it had to be pretty close to morning so I got up to look at my cell phone (since there is no alarm clock) and it was only 2 :15. I got back in bed and continued to do the same and eventually took a lunesta at 4am. It eventually kincked in for a few hours of sleep before we got up at 7 am. We showered and got our bags together and were headed down for breakfast, but our dagne called and said he needed us to come earlier because he had to go to court today and he needed to see us before we left. So we grabbed a quick cup (shot) of coffee before he arrived and we were of to meet our girls.

The drive there was very interesting. People are everywhere, cars are everywhere and there don’t seem to be many traffic regulations. We say a boy hearding goats down the street to sell and a completely naked older woman with only a bag hanging from her neck. Unfortunately we passed before I could get my camera out.

Eventually we arrived at the CWA care center. Our driver honked the horn and the big green gates swung open. Before we got out of the car all of the children came running out and I spotted Tewabech with a big smile on her face. Of course that brought me to tears (of joy of course)! I jumped our and gave her a big hug and kiss. Kim videoed and soon they brought out Emush. She is looks healthy, but she is thin and long. They are both more beautiful in person than any of their pictures. I could be a little bias though.

We got to play with all of the children, give out some slap bracelets (which they loved), Tewabech gave out some suckers (they pretty much attacked her, but she took over) and tour all of the rooms. The care center is wonderful, very clean and organized. We met all of the staff and each of them were so loving and caring with us and the children. It was very reassuring to know that my girls had been so well cared for. The children sang songs for us, played jump rope, watched praise videos on TV and seemed to enjoy each others company. Many of the older girls were holding and loving on the babies in the common living area. It was very sweet to see. Kim than watched the girls for me while I filled out paperwork so that we wouldn’t have to do it tomorrow at the Embassy appointment. Our driver had to go get water, so we just went and played with the kids for about an hour until he returned. It was amazing how happy and well behaved they all seemed/were.

Dagne returned from court and the Qualls had a successful court date!!!! You officially have 2 new boys, and they are precious!!! Pring some balloons for Ebenezer, He had one in his mouth almost the entire time and just kept inflating it and deflating it. I gave them both good huggs and kisses and told them how much your family loves them and that you were coming VERY soon.

We left the care center and on the way back to the guest house we stopped at the Sheraton to see if we could check in a day early, but they are 100% full so our plan is to check out of the guest house in the morning and take our bags to the Sheraton where they will keep them until we can check in later in the afternoon. We will spend time exploring there until they pick us up at 2pm to head to our 3 o’clock Embassy appointment. We will then return to the Sheraton, check in and get settled before they pick us up at 5 for our celebration dinner with the Boudros!

The girls could not be doing any better. Emush hasn’t cried a single time. She fell asleep in the car ride back to the guest house and is currently curled up in bed sleeping soundly! She is crawling, so we will be chasing her around the house

Tewabech seems to be very happy and excited. The counselor said she will miss her greatly as she has really grown attached to her. She said she doesn’t need lots of money of things but just lots of love, hugs and kisses. I assured her there was no shortage of that with this family!! She had a strong hold on either mine or Kim’s hand the entire time and usually a big smile on her face. She is very quiet and polite (at least up until this point). While I was filling out paperwork Kim was pointing to body parts, clothing items, etc and naming them and she repeated them. It was very sweet. As we left she gave everyone big hugs and kisses and big waves but she didn’t seem sad about leaving.

On the ride back to our room she put her arms around both mine and Kims backs. She seems to receive and give affection well. We arrived at the guest house and called the CWA taxi driver to come and take us to get some food and maybe some shopping but he couldn’t come for another hour and a half which will be 3 pm. So we snacked on a pack of crackers and water and now she is asleep next to Kim with her sunglasses on listening to her DVD player.

In talking with the counselor I was able to find out more about Tewabech’s history from her. She said her mother died one week after giving birth to her and her father died of Maleria several years ago. The boy in the first video is the son of the lady seen in the later video and pictures.

Emush’s mother never returned after bringing her to the care center so we know nothing more on her history.

Good news mom, they said Tewabech loves Spaghetti, so you’ll have to make a big pot after we get home. She also loved the popcorn and peanut butter crackers we gave her, so hopefully she won’t be a picky eater.

We explained to her that we had chosen an American name for her but she could keep Tewabech if she preferred. There was not a moments hesitation is choosing Zoe. She loved it!! They also said she loved volleyball and soccer, so you’ve got someone to kick with SK.

I miss you SK, Elizabeth, Samuel & Jon Cole !!! And of course you Cole !! I can’t wair for you to meet both of the girls. I think they are a perfect fit for our family.

Mom and Dad, we are doing fine, try not to worry too much, you need your sleep to be able to keep up with the boys!! Please call! We’d love to talk to you and the boys.

Thank you all for you prayers and support. I’ll let you know how the rest of the night goes after it happens……

Getachew, our driver picked us up at 3 and we went in search of some food since we left with out breakfast this morning, stayed at the care center 4 hours and then back to the room…. We wanted pizza or spaghetti since we had heard Zoe like it. Getcchew took us to the Green View. The pizza was very good and Zoe ate a lot of her spaghetti, though she didn’t like the chunks of meat in it. While we were eating Cole called and she got to talk with him and the Elizabeth and SK who were in the car with him. She had a huge smile on her face. When we finished we went across the street to buy the spice burbure’ ( not sure of correct spelling) but they supposedly put it on everything. Then he took us to some street shops where we looked and bought a few things before heading back to the room. The lack of sleep last night is finally hitting me.

We gave Emush a bath in the small sink and did not like it one bit. As soon as we gave her a bottle she was out. It is obvious the babies must sleep with bottles in their crib because she has already woke and was reaching for her bottle and I filled it with water which I hear her finishing off now.

Zoe came in and started listening to the CD player I brought her. She loves it. Then we tried on a few dresses and shoes to she what she could wear to the Embassy Appointment and every time she would say “thank You”. She is learning…. Then I turned the shower on for her and helped he wash off. Do I need to get a shower cap to put on her head when bathing?? Then she got out and I got her toothbrush ready and she brushed and brushed and brushed. I kept going back in there and patting her back and saying “great job” but she just kept on. Her teeth look very white but they do have some brown spots so I’m glad we already have a dentists appt. set up.

They both have a cough, but it doesn’t seem too bad. We will find out on Monday though when we see Dr Rabon. There are also some little circles on Emme’s forhead and scalp, which I assume is ring worm (maybe not, but I but lotrimine on it anyway). Other than that they seem healthy. We’ll see what the blood work and stool samples show when we return

This could end up being a looooong night. Emme is not staying quiet and still very long. She must learn to sleep!!

The Boudro’s just arrived and found our room! So they made it safely, will get their girls in the morning and then we will all go the our Embassy Appt. together and then out to dinner to celebrate..

Now lets hope we can all get some sleep

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