We arrived late Saturday night and we took Sunday to just be tourists. We shopped, we saw sights, we ate at Mod Abbysinia, which is like an Ethiopian Country Dinner Playhouse. Our guide, Fekadu, from our last trip to Awassa, and his driver took us there and we had such a great night. The day was perfect and it gave us a chance to brace ourselves for what was to come.
That night, I didn't sleep for even one second, knowing that the next day, life was going to change, but I wasn't totally sure how. We headed to the care center and immediately set out to lay our eyes on Meeraf. I stepped into her room and she saw me and smiled. Already, I was making judgements about the rest of our lives together. I was thinking, "she smiled and she remembers me . . . everything is going to be great. Phew!" From this point on, I was either in survival mode, just trying to make it through the next minute, or I was making judgements on how the rest of our lives were going to go. Both were fairly exhausting ways to operate. Anyway, the initial reunion was so great and so encouraging. About a half hour in, I got news that the birth mom was going to come at 11:00. (In Ethiopian time, that means that maybe she'll come sometime that day.) So, we waited and waited and finally ended up going back to the hotel until they called us back. Late, in the afternoon, we got the call that she had arrived, so we hopped back in the Addis View van and made another crazy trip through the streets of Addis. However, about half way through the trek back, we pulled over and in stepped the birth mom. It was so obvious that it was her, because she looked just like Meeraf. AWKWARD!!!! I didn't know what to say, so I offered her a piece of gum. That seems so silly now. I was just caught so off gaurd. It's just tough to think of small talk, especially when you don't speak the same language. Gum is universal, though, isn't it?
At the care center, we had a chance to talk to each other. I was kind of hoping that she would be real teary and heart broken over being forced to give up her daughter due to unimaginable circumstances or something like that. That wasn't the case, though. She was very young and seemed rather unmoved by her decision to bring Meeraf to an orphanage. Before this meeting, I held a little bit of guilt about removing Meeraf from her country and from everything familiar to her, but that guilt fled in a hurry. The general sense that I felt after our meeting was that Meeraf was not in a good situation. After our meeting we took a few pictures and then Meeraf broke down into a puddle of tears. Heartbreaking! Man, the amount of trauma that this child went through, even in the one week I was there, is so heartbreaking, let alone all of the trauma she experienced before this week.
From that point, I bought Meeraf back to the hotel. This is where the rubber met road. I'll write more about our trip later. Right now, I'll give you a snapshot into life right now on this side of the hemisphere.
Meeraf is very hot and cold, and she definitely prefers Dave FAR about me . . . however, all things considered, I think she is doing really well. Obviously, it is painfully hard for me that she won't let me even touch her, or look at her at times. However, there are enough moments where she lets me in, that I am staying afloat for now. Like, at the park today, I thought my heart would burst. She smiled so much, giggled, played and would repeat me saying "UNNNNDERDOOOOOOOG," as I was pushing her on the swing. Holy Cow - it was beyond precious. She is beyond precious - and I think I'll go take in a little bit of her preciousness right now, if she'll let me:)