I don't even know where to begin.
Two words sum up our journey to Ethiopia to meet our son....
Two words sum up our journey to Ethiopia to meet our son....
LIFE - CHANGING!
The entire flight to Ethiopia, I couldn't sleep at all. My brain and heart couldn't stop thinking about the special moment that was about to happen. We were REALLY going to Africa to meet our son face to face!!!!
The moment we stepped off the plane....my heart started pounding! Our driver picked us up and we went to the guest house where we were staying to pick up another family so we could drive to the countryside together to pick up our children from the orphanage. I was in awe the whole time....looking out the window of the van....taking it all in. I couldn't believe everything I was seeing! Poverty beyond imaginable, but yet such beauty in the precious people there.
We stayed in the city, but had to drive 2 hours to the countryside to pick up our son. What a beautiful and quiet trip that was! Again...we just sat there taking it all in.
On the way to the orphanage, we arranged to meet our son's Uncle so we could learn more about Getu and his sweet family! They were absolutely precious, happy to see us and welcomed us to their home.
The translator helped us communicate and we learned that Getu's parents died from diseases 4 years ago and that his uncle was too poor to care for him so therefore had to take him to the orphanage. He told us that Getu is very smart, loves school and loves to ride horses. We also learned that his family is from the Oromo tribe and Getu speaks the language Oromiffa.
When his uncle started crying and told us that he gave his blessing before God to adopt Getu... hugging and thanking us for loving his nephew and becoming his family....I LOST IT y'all! (you know that awful overwhelming lump in the throat feeling.) We promised to bring Getu back to say goodbye to him before he leaves for America. I am NOT looking forward to that part at all. I'll be an emotional wreck. The thought of them saying goodbye to eachother breaks my heart.
Michael Jr. passing out candy to the children that live near Getu's uncle.
As soon as we got to the orphanage... the tears overflowed...I was shaking...my heart was pounding!!! THERE HE WAS!!!! The moment we've been waiting for! Our son standing there waving with a big smile on his face!! He came right over to the van and we couldn't get out fast enough to wrap our arms around him!!
We had lots of Donations (thanks to many of you) to give to the children in the
village, orphanage and transition house.
The children from the village waited outside the orphanage gate
to see if we had anything for them too.
You can see what happened when Michael Jr. got the Candy bag out. :)
It was so sad to watch Getu say Goodbye to his friends from the orphanage. He lived there for 4 years...watching kids come and some go. This was all he knew.
Michael Jr. taught Getu how to play with the PSP on the drive back to the city.
He Loved the iPad....
We had a pillowcase made for him so that when we had to leave and go back to America....he could see his family when he goes to bed and when he wakes up in the morning.
Praying he finds comfort in that.
We had court the morning of November 3rd and I was a nervous wreck the whole time! The judge asked us some questions and then asked Getu questions in Amharic....making sure he knew and understood what was going on and that we were going to be his family and that he was leaving his country. I let out a deep breath and burst into tears when the judge looked at us and said "All of your paperwork is here, everything looks great, HE'S NOW YOURS! Congratulations!!"
There are not enough words to explain how we felt at that moment!
Getu officially became an Archie (our precious son) on November 3rd, 2011!! WooHoo!!!
This is our first picture together after court with our new son....
There were many firsts for him.....like riding in an elevator, a bathroom hand dryer scared him, and he ate pizza for the first time. We had so much fun together enjoying the city Addis Ababa. He and Michael Jr. really hit it off and bonded right away. It was so wonderful to see them together. It felt like they've always been brothers.
Father and Son
LOVE him sooooo much!
Getu thought Skype was awesome!
He got to see and talk to his other brother and sisters back home in TN....
as well as his Aunt Dana and cousins Josiah and Ava.
The BEST was when he was able to Skype with a friend from his orphanage that was adopted by a family in Indiana. It absolutely made his day and his beautiful smile that just lights up a room made mine! You bet, one of the first trips we will be making as a family when he comes home.....is to go see his friend!
Our last day was absolutely heartbreaking! We had to take him to a transition house and say our goodbyes....not knowing when we are coming back to bring him home. It has taken families many many months after they pass court before they receive their Embassy date. We had the translator explain to him what was going on and he asked "how many days and when are they coming back to get me?" :(
I knew it was going to be hard....but I was not prepared for this!!! Honestly, I was sick to my stomach. The pain and ache I felt in my heart was overwhelming! Michael Jr. had a tough time saying goodbye to his brother and went to the van so we couldn't see how upset he was. I've only seen my husband really cry 2 times in our 16 years together and this was one of those times! We bawled as we held our hurting, crying, scared son...telling him how much we loved him and trying to comfort and assure him that we ARE coming back and when we do....he will be with us forever. :(
Friends and Family....Please continue to pray for us....especially for our sweet Getu. Pray that he will find comfort knowing that we are now his forever family...he's no longer an orphan..... and that we are coming back to get him. And please pray and believe with us that we will receive an Embassy date very soon so we can go back to Ethiopia and bring him home. Faith Moves Mountains!
Having Getu home for Christmas would be the greatest gift of all!!!
We can't THANK YOU all enough for your Love, Support and Prayers!!!
You have blessed us more than you'll ever know!
In CHRIST'S Love,
The Archie Family
Michael, Crystal, Jasmine, Michael Jr., Jayla, Malik and Getu.