Our daughter’s name is Abebech. We will call her Abby, but have not decided on first and middle names. This is the first we can legally share this with all of you online.
So, day 2.
We tossed and turned for a few hours, then got up and got all of our stuff together. We felt completely unprepared. What to bring? What to expect? Will she like us? How will we feel about her?
We met up with the other families for breakfast, and then got to meet Almaz, the director of Hannah’s Hope. Almaz has been portrayed as a bit of a rock star in the AGCI world. She cares for the children, manages the staff and facilitates the adoption process with the government agencies. While she was younger and had better English than we envisioned, we had a great first impression, which would be reinforced throughout our time in Ethiopia.
However, we were a day behind and the clock was ticking, so we didn’t have time to chat with Almaz. We met in a conference room and received a brief orientation for the day before beginning to fill out our final paperwork for the US Embassy appointments. At that time, we got to hear our children’s names pronounced. We also gave money to be changed to Birr and decided if we wanted to buy coffee to bring home (we did), which they later delivered for us.
We finally saw a little bit of Addis Ababa by daylight. It was a beautiful, sunny day with blue skies. We weren’t far from the Hannah’s Hope transition home. We went down a bumpy dirt road and passed several buildings under construction. We entered a big gate that opened for us by a young man, the security guard. In a small courtyard by the driveway were nine children, standing or being held by the “special mothers,” waiting to meet us. It was a bit overwhelming, as more than a year of planning, praying, hoping and learning came to a head in a very short time.
The van pulled forward into the driveway, and Almaz attempted to have one family come out at a time, starting with those with older kids. So before seeing Abby, we watched a few other families have their first moments with their kids. Amazingly, it was all smiles and hugs and tears all around (tears for the grown-ups). In fact, there were only a couple of kids who cried in their new parents’ arms, but even those soon warmed up.
The emotions of our first moments with Abby are indescribable. She was immediately smiling as she rolled her head around and kicked her little feet. She looked right into Kristi’s eyes as she held her. I think we were both in shock that she was finally in our arms. It felt very right.
Now, I know that all adoption meetings don’t go this smoothly, and that doesn’t mean that others aren’t meant to be. But it feels good when things go well right off the bat.
We’re finding that Abby is a happy, calm and smiley little girl. And we were kind of proud to hear that when one of the other families visited Hannah’s Hope the day before and tried to hold Abby, she got upset and rejected them. I guess she knows who her parents are.
In Ethiopia, names tend to be either biblical, or have some meaning to them. We have heard different interpretations of what Abebech means. On her government documents, it says that the name means, “Happiness.” When we looked it up, it said, “Blossoming Flower.” When we talked to Was, he described it with a lot of different words, not a strict translation. The sense of it is new hope that comes with the blooming of a beautiful flower. I guess you can call that happiness, or blossoming, or hopeful.
Abby lives up to her name. She is happy, and hopeful and beautiful. She is calm and likes to be held and will smile at anyone who smiles at her. As we sit in the hotel, Kristi got her laughing for the first time.
We can’t wait to bring her home.