#SOL17 – Day 5 – Day 1 in Country

We arrived in the Addis Ababa airport and moved through customs quickly. We found our driver easily – there were few people around. It was a quiet Sunday afternoon. He spoke perfect English, with a fairly thick accent.

We were exhausted from travel and with anticipation.

We were not sure if everything was closed on Sundays, or if we could see Meaza. He said that he would take us right to the transition home where she was staying.

We drove up to a solid wall that opened onto a wide compound with a moderately sized house. When we entered, no other children save one was present: Meaza. We recognized her instantly.

Being a mom, I approached her first. She looked back and forth from these two white ghosts to her nannies. She started to cry. I backed away. I had not meant to upset her.

After getting her settled down, my husband, Mike, was encouraged to hold her. She did not see many men in the places she had been staying. She seemed to accept him more easily.


Here is our first picture together. (Please excuse my hair, as I didn’t figure out how to bring a hair dryer that would work in country). We learned that her name was actually pronounced: /Mah-za/, not how we were saying it: /Mee-ah-za/. Her nickname in Ethiopia was: /Ma-zee/. My husband still uses this name with her.

They asked if we wanted to take her with us to where we were staying. Were we horrible? We said we would bring her with us tomorrow, but we hadn’t seen where were were staying yet, had not eaten (we weren’t sure how that would work), and were a little overwhelmed with her reaction to us (me).

We left her for one last night at the transition home. She went back to playing with the toys and nannies. She seemed happy to us. We hoped we weren’t making a horrible first impression.

As we were leaving, more kids started to appear. They were beautiful. They were a little older than Meaza, so were less shy. They smiled and hugged us. We said hello and thank you in Amheric (the only two words we had learned). We thanked everyone and said we would see them tomorrow.

It might have helped Meaza to see us interact with the other children. As we were leaving, we got this smile:


18 thoughts on “#SOL17 – Day 5 – Day 1 in Country

  1. Oh my word, I am riveted by this serial slicing! I love how you ended today with this adorable photo of Meaza. I can’t wait to see what happened next!!

  2. Now I am bawling — you have so much to your life. This all needs to be a memoir!! There are the same threads of parenting – acceptance of yourself, your kids, each other. Although you have very specific situations with each of your kids — there are so many universals you are touching on. There is so much for us all to learn through your story Aileen. You have to find a way to bring it all together and tell your story.

    1. Thanks, Clare. I will keep writing and looking. I just had a friend share that she knows someone in the self-publishing market. Maybe I can start there 🙂

  3. This is so powerful. I love the picture–it’s your “birth” picture with her. And these are the parallels I see between your birth story and the birth story of my children. I have pictures of my wife after giving birth in which her hair was disheveled. When asked if we wanted to sleep with the baby the first night my wife said, “No. I need to rest.” And, I too was scared when I held my child for the first time. I don’t think it makes any difference between having a biological child or having a child born in your heart. Both ways presents fears, worries, hopes, and dreams. Your story perfectly describes this. 🙂

    1. Thank you for drawing these parallels! I had never thought of it that way. I love what you have shared so completely. It adds a depth of understanding to our story. A blessing that you read and wrote today that I will treasure in my heart.

  4. So I just found your blog this morning but am bawling as I read back through your strength in undertaking this journey to find your miracle who is just beginning to smile. I’m praying for you all.

  5. Wow! I just came across your post and it struck me to the core. Such an amazing story, and I can’t wait to read more about your journey. What a beautiful girl you have. Today is the 5 year anniversary of my husband and I being able to take our son home from the baby home in Moscow, Russia. What an amazing, challenging, emotional roller coaster it was, and It was the best thing we ever did. I really loved reading about your own experience today.

  6. Your story is riveting and touches my heart. I love the photos–your love shines through. Your daughter is beautiful.

  7. I see that many responders have already commented on the parallels you experienced with the adoption and a live birth – anticipation, fatigue, uncertainty, apprehension, but most of all love. Thank you for sharing such an intimate portrait of your family.

  8. I’ve always wanted to do what you are doing but never followed through! What an amazing thing! You were smart to wait to take her so that you could see where you were staying and to gather items for her. I’m not sure I could have soad “NO,” I can’t wait to hear more! Thanks for sharing your slice with us!

  9. Wow, what an amazing moment, and what a perfect shy little smile. The way you tell your story is so wonderful – I can only imagine the turbulence of emotions you must have gone through, but you don’t cloud the experience for your reader by over-describing your thoughts and feelings. I can’t wait to learn more about Meaza!

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