This will be our last entry, for tonight we take the loooooooooooooooong journey home. We have absolutely LOVED our time here in Addis Ababa and the memories we will hold dear for a lifetime. God showed us amazing things and forever we will be grateful. Of course the biggest blessing was finally getting our son, Tekle. While there is NOTHING easy about the adoption process, it is well worth every hardship. This we knew…but now…this we KNOW! I long to sit, ponder and write about the soul work He did in us here in Addis Ababa. Please know we thank each and everyone of you who have been vital in this journey with us. Your prayers, words of encouragement, support and absolute love has touched us deeply. We would not have made it a step longer had you not been there all along the way to hold us up.
Now…just to update you on yesterday and how we will spend our last hours in Ethiopia…
- Yesterday, we went to the U.S. Consulate and received all of our “official” paperwork. Tekle Brent Phillips (the name on his passport/visa) is officially ours – again…this is why we came to Africa! This appointment went smooth and we were not black listed!!! Praise You Jesus for going ahead of us!!! Also, we went to the Lion Zoo, which was both incredible and sad. I say incredible because you are so close to them you COULD pet them, although we did not! And sad because their cages were small and only a few had one branch to play with. Think cement and nothing else. The more I think of their surroundings, I want to scream, “Let them go.” It feels inhumane to treat them as such. There was not a cage we went to that the lions weren’t pacing. The monkeys were crawling to get out too! I must say, Tekle was not too fond of being at the zoo, he stood close to us or often far away. He probably thought we were smoking crack for wanting to be up close and personal with something he knew was deadly! And all the pictures we keep taking, “Silly mom and dad…will you ever stop taking photos of me!!!” The rest of the day we drove around getting some coffee and trying to head to the orphanage Tekle was dropped of at. However, yesterday was New Years Eve here in Ethiopia (They are on a completely different calendar. Here it is 2002), and the normal crazy traffic was even heavier! For hours (and I mean hours) we were stuck in traffic of both cars and people – all getting ready for celebrating the New Year. Sad to say, we never made it to his orphanage. It was wonderful to be here on one of the most important days of the year. We will keep this tradition and always celebrate the Ethiopian New Year with our son. (Anyone want to join in?)
- Today…we finished packing up. Within moments we will head out with Robel to help him in celebrating this New Year day with his street kids. Brent and I are looking forward to loving on and playing with these kiddos, whom many we have already met along our way. One GREAT thing is, we had brought so much food because we heard the food here was not good. We have not had a problem with the food, so everyday on our journey out and about; we would feed these kids our snacks. While fruit leather was not a big hit, the fruit chews & granola bars have been.
- One more thing…if you read this at any point while we are traveling home please pray for us. We leave Addis Ababa at 7:30pm and have to be there 3 hours ahead of time. This airport is quite desolate and I fear Tekle will be bored. Then we land 4+ hours later in Dubai at around 1:00 in the morning. We thought we had a hotel secured and already paid for but found out yesterday we do not. There has been some sort of mess up. Now, we have to decide what to do…stay in the airport over night or get a hotel. It may sound simple but our flight leaves six hours from landing. Is it worth getting a hotel? We’ll see…and then at 9am Dubai time…we head home. This leg is 16 hours to Houston and in Houston another 4 hours of lag time until we arrive home in Austin. Please pray for safety, sleep, no fear, illness (Tekle is sick and very congested, we are afraid his ears are going to hurt!), and no anxiety for Leah.
Gotta sign off…love you all…and Bo, Amy and Luke we loooooooooooooong to hug on and be with you again. You are going to LOVE your new brother and he will love you too. xoxoxoxoxoxxoxoxoxo