Monday, May 13, 2013

The Day We Met Zeri--Ethiopia Trip Part #2!

As you saw in my last post, we woke up bright and early the morning of April 19. We were so pumped to meet our little Zeri! The driver came to pick us up at 9:20a.m. and we headed over to the Thomas Center. As we pulled in we saw the nurse come out to greet us. She told us, "You are Zerihun's parents. I have seen your picture many times. He is one lucky boy." I immediately started tearing up. Before we went inside we asked Daniel to take video and the driver to take our pictures.

The nurse told us to follow her and we walked up two flights of stairs into one of the baby rooms. As we walked in we saw our sweet little Zerihun. He was standing up in his crib and all we wanted to do was rush over to him, pick him up, and just hug him forever. We both knew that we couldn't do that. We both were crying because THERE HE WAS! It was like a dream come true to actually see him in person. We slowly walked over to him and he just looked confused. Zeri was just fine in his crib when we were smiling at him. Then the nurse picked him up and handed him off to Jeremiah. Zeri looked at Jeremiah and immediately started crying. We felt so bad for our little Zeri! 

The nurse took him and he calmed down. He just kept looking at us like, "Who are you people? Why are you here?" They fed Zeri and Jeremiah and I talked with all of the other babies. There were many cribs in Zeri's room and throughout the time we were there many of the babies cried. Jeremiah and I would put our hands on their tummies or just stand over their cribs and they would stop crying. These little kids just needed attention. *Sidenote--the nannies are absolutely wonderful! They are doing an amazing job taking care of these little ones! They just can't pick up all of the babies at one time. We are beyond grateful for their love for Zeri!*

After they fed Zeri the nurse picked him up and told us to follow her downstairs. We went down to this carpeted room that had huge windows overlooking the entrance area. The nurse put Zeri down on the ground and more tears were shed. Then she gave him a ball and he played ball with us on the ground for a bit. He even let me kiss his face. The moment we tried to hold him he burst into tears. It was heartbreaking. We knew he would be scared and we knew it would not go smoothly. However, we weren't prepared to feel so helpless. There was nothing we could say or do to comfort Zeri. The nurse left us alone for a bit so that we could have alone time with Zeri. He just sat there and cried. He was terrified..bless his sweet heart. The nurse came back and took us upstairs into his room. She put a mat down on the floor and handed him some toys to play with on the mat. Then Jeremiah fed him a bottle. He let Jeremiah feed him a bottle, but then he cried when he was finished. Finally, the nurses calmed him down and we played with him on the floor. We were able to get one or two smiles out of him, but it was obvious that he didn't really want us near him. He would purposely scoot away from us. 

One of his nannies tickled him and she made him crack up. He likes to rough house. Zeri wouldn't let us hold him without crying this terrifying cry. We tried to console him but no success. It was fun to watch him play by himself. The nurse said that Zeri is usually a happy, chilled out baby who likes to play in his crib. She said that he sleeps from 7p.m.-6a.m. with a bottle at 4:00a.m. The nurse said that we are lucky because Zeri is a special baby. We did get to see Zeri's personality when he was playing with his nanny. It's clear that Zeri has a special bond with this specific nanny. She knew exactly what to do to comfort our boy. 

About an hour into our visit we saw another American couple come into the room. They were there to see Zeri's "best friend", B. B and Zeri came from their previous orphanage together and have been in the same room since December. The nurse said they are best friends. B's family lives in Indy!! What a blessing. We will be able to get our little boys together! One thing that calmed Zeri down was when B's family came into the room and they held B. These parents had been there for 4 days and this was their last day visiting B. I think it showed Zeri that it was okay to be around us because B was with other people too. 

We had to leave at noon. Zeri was about to take a nap, so we told him we would be back the next day. We went downstairs with the nurse and gave her the donations we brought. Her eyes filled with tears as she told us how much she appreciated us bringing all of the supplies. 

While we loved meeting our son, it was also an incredibly stressful experience. There are NO words to describe the feeling parents et when we see our children for the first time. As parents we want to be able to comfort and console our children at all times. It was just so sad for us to see our little Z so scared and worked up. It's obvious that the nannies and nurse absolutely adore Zeri. He loves them too. His little face just lit up when he saw his special nanny or the head nurse. 

After we left we went back to our hotel to rest for a bit and then we went to a restaurant called Lime Tree. It was good. Then we went to the Post Office shop area. We bought a few things for Zeri and Olivia. Then we went to the Sheraton Hotel. We walked around with Daniel and then we went back to our hotel. This hotel was beautiful, but it also made me sick to my stomach to be there. This hotel was probably the nicest hotel I'd ever been to, but then right outside there were people living in stick houses.   It was an odd feeling being there.

Later that night we went to Habesha 2000, a traditional Ethiopian Restaurant. We ate injera and other Ethiopian foods. Then we watched fabulous traditional dancers. We went back to our Guest House and were just exhausted. Throughout the night we heard loud speakers shouting Muslim chants from the nearby Mosque. That night we could barely sleep again, but we woke up excited to see Zeri again. 

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