We needed to stay in country until we had our final court appointment, the one that would officially allow us to take Meaza home, which was scheduled for Thursday of that week.
We were staying in the second home of a wonderful couple who worked to find sponsors and families for Ethiopian children. They fed us each morning and night, let us use their phone one time to contact the boys, and helped us with everything we needed to know while we were staying in Addis Ababa.
The first night, we had wonderful, albeit humble accommodations. It was very interesting to hear the sounds of the city: the dogs that barked throughout the night, the very early, repeated call to worship of the local mosques, and the roosters who reminded people who had not already arisen that it was time to get up.
We went back to get Meaza, the next morning, to keep her with us for the rest of the trip (and for the rest of our lives). The nanny instinctively handed her to me (the woman/mom) when we arrived. Meaza immediately started to scream. I tried to hold onto her, but she would not be soothed. Through her tears and struggling, we changed her into an outfit we had brought so we could return her clothes to the nanny.
She finally settled down in my husband’s arms.
While we waited for our court appointment, we spent time touring and learning about the history of Ethiopia. It was a great way to fill the days. There was a second motive to these trips as well. While we were certainly treated kindly by everyone, in general, Ethiopians feel loss when any of their children leave them. They have a long, proud history as a country. They knew these children would be losing touch with their rich heritage.
Everywhere we visited, there was beauty and struggle.
At one point, we visited where the Arc of the Covenant is said to rest. We hiked around the site. At one spot, I put our backpack down on the ground, to trade it for Meaza with my husband.
Little did we know that I had set it down on a hill of fire ants. Within a few minutes of his carrying the bag, they started biting.
This incident, funny now, was one in a series of exploring new landscapes, trying new foods, listening to a language that was not our own, and meeting many new people.
While we know that we cannot give Meaza a full Ethiopian experience, we do hold onto these memories of her country and hope to one day take her back to visit her first home.