It keeps getting better and better. I was awakened in the middle of the night when little Josiah was kind of crying in his sleep. He was moving like he was having a tummy ache. So I took him potty and yes, he did have a tummy ache. It must have been all the food he ate. Remember I told you he ate like an adult. We then went back to bed to cuddle for several hours. When he woke up, he was quiet for a while and then started talking, smiling and acting like "OK so this is my new life and now I'm ready". He already started calling us by name, MAMA, PAPA, ELLIE. I'm amazed. He was pointing to our pictures in his little book and calling all of us by name. It was like he was telling us, OK now I know who you all are and I am safe. His countenance has changed dramatically. Belay told us it wouldn't take long but I never expected this! He was eating crackers and started singing songs and then repeating a bunch of english words.( our names, doggie, good boy, Josiah, and the names of Jeremiah, James, Sissy, Randy, Grandma and Grandpa) He was pushing the buttons on the TV and laughing as it went on & off. He is so smart. Can you believe they have Noggin on the tv here? Barney was on?? We showed him his sisters photos and he called them by name immediately. We told him we were going bye bye to go get them. He seemed to understand as we got him dressed. He loves his little back pack we got him. He started putting all his toys in it like he knew we were leaving for the day. He litterally pulls it behind him and won't let us help him with it. He is so smart it's scary. He was talking all day like a parrot repeating everything we were saying. It's like he already knows how to speak English. I have to ask again if they ever taught him any because if not, this kid is a genius. He is talking like he already knew it. He was even teaching us some amharic words, he held up his toy truck and said "MAMA" pointed to it and said it in his language, looked at me like "you got it?" He is doing exactly what I have been doing to him. I am amazed. He is so precious. After our trip to the orphange today he did something that we have to inquire about tomorrow. It really has me on the edge of my seat. The little children sang the ABC song to us today and Josiah has been singing it all night. And I mean all of it. So, if someone didn't already teach him this song, he learned it from the kindergarten class singing it one time this afternoon. Stay tuned as we investigate this tomorrow.
Tafesse took us to breakfast to Le Parisienne. It was delicious. A cute little outdoor cafe with a flower garden around it in the middle of a busy part of town. We had freshly made waffles, pancakes, omlettes and coffee. I don't drink coffee but today I did and it was so good. Josiah ate like a champ again. It was so weird to be sitting there and hear at least four different languages going on around us. French, Italian, Amharic and English. There are a lot of foreigners here. After breakfast it was off to the foster house to get our twinettes.
The house is very nice, clean and brought joy to my heart to see they were so well taken care of there. You can feel the spirit of love the second you get on the property. They sat us in the living room and went to get the babies. We had to wait a little while because they were eating. Then it happened, they came down the stairs with the most beautiful little girls in the world. Their pictures didn't do them justice. They are so much prettier in person. They were smiling and looking at us like "HI, how are you guys?" Keren went to Jerry and was absolutely precious looking and smiling at him and Ellie. Keziah was handed to me and she lost it. She turned to the caregiver and started screaming like "What are you crazy, I don't know this lady?" I handed her back and she walked around with her for awhile in the room so she could get used to us. We focused on Keren for a few minutes and then I got up and went to take her back. This time she didn't cry and she has been in my arms, smiling at me and touching my face all day since. They are such good babies. We changed them into their new outfits, and headed off to an italian restaurant for lunch. They both sat there grabbing at food every chance they got. They were so observant and content. They never cried again until they got cold at bath time tonight. They are laughing, happy and acting like they have been ours all along. I can't believe it!!!!! They reach out and touch us, they smile and babble a lot, talk to and watch each other constantly, and they know their brother. It was absolutely precious when we were driving in the car and the girls were touching Josiah who was seated between us. They don't use car seats or belts here. Me Ellie and the three kids were in the back seat. Josiah was talking to them and then he held their hands while we drove around. As they were poking at him he lovingly looked at them and then started to kiss them on their faces and hands and talked very loving to them. With a sweet baby talk voice. Ellie and I almost melted. You can see the love and affection between them and they have never lived together before. Josiah and his mom often visited the girls and it was obvious she talked with him about them a lot. What a blessing that they are finally reunited to never be separated again. Praise the LORD!
We came back to the hotel for a rest and then at 4:30 we headed off to the orphange where my dear friend Deanna's three children are waiting to come home. Layla House was amazing. We were greeted by Ivy, one of the ladies that runs it who is from NJ. She took us on a tour and then we got to meet Deanna's precious children. They too are more beautiful in person than their photos. The kindergarten class sang for us and of course, melted my heart to the point of tears. They sang, If Your Happy and You Know It, ABC's, Intsy Weentsy Spider and the Hokey Pokey. These kids were so tiny and they knew all the words, hand motions and they sang with joy. It was so precious. Then they all circled us as we gave hugs and touches to each of them. I tried to touch every single one of them and look into their eyes as if to say, "You are so precious and God and "I" love you. This was truly one of the most special times of my entire life and I will never be the same. To see so many beautiful orphans in one place and to know they are all yearning for a mommy and daddy to love them and be theirs forever. They were happy yet you could see it in their eyes that they want to be loved and have a family. They were all so affectionate. One little girl no more than 4 years old, carried a torn up baby doll and literally followed us through the entire time we were there. She was so precious and it killed me to not be able to take her home with me. "Oh GOD, I pray for her forever family to get her soon". This place accomodates 150 children of all ages. We saw tiny babies from 2 weeks old to kids that looked like early teens. They were all so well mannered, the place was very organized and they all seem so happy in spite of their circumstances. They took pride in their rooms as some of them showed us their spaces. They even decorated with pictures they drew on the walls and one room of girls made a make shift chandelier on the ceiling with candy and string. They all seemed to get along well as we watched them play, sitting in circles talking, one girl about 12, sat in a chair with a radio and was singing along like she was rehearsing. You could tell she wants to be singer. Ellie and I had the twinettes in snugglies, as we talked and walked around. She took photos and Jerry had the video camera. Taffase had Josiah. Josiah was very quiet and very well behaved. All of the children greeted him, talked with him, they talk to and touched the babies with such genuine compassion and care. Some of the kids even kissed all three of them. They are amazing.
Can I please take this opportunity to tell everyone reading today to get on your face before the LORD and ask him to open your heart to adopt these children? It is so true what I have heard. The ETHIOPIAN people and children are very different. These kids are trained with manners, respect, hospitality and love. They are very very special. And the people everywhere are so happy that Americans are coming to take care of them. They call them the blessed children and they themselves are saying God has a special plan for these kids. Everywhere we go we get smiles and people literally thank us for taking these children and loving them. I have never seen anything like it in my life. Smiles, love and compassion abounds. Even the beggers that come to the car on the road talk to the children with carino and smiles, and blow kisses to them. As if to give them a blessing knowing that they have been chosen to leave their poverty and circumstance. They genuinely looked me in the eyes with a smile as they wave goodbye. They even beg with manners and gentleness. I can't tell you how much we have been forever changed by this experience. We all have agreed that we want to come back here to Ethiopia. There is something so different and special happening here. So, PLEASE PLEASE, come here and rescue these orphans. You will never be the same and you will never experience God like you will here. Jerry is even saying he wished he could get a job here and move us all here. Ellie said she wouldn't mind either. It is so difficult to find the words to truly describe this experience. Maybe one way is...."God at work!"
So, here I sit, at the close of another amazing day in my life that has changed me and all of us forever. We are finally holding, hugging and kissing our son and daughters. This evening really felt like they have been ours forever. OH, I almost forgot. We had a special meeting with Belay today because he flies out to Texas tonight for a vacation for several weeks. He met us at the Hilton and when he greeted us he asked Josiah if he wanted to go with him or stay with us. Josiah responded without any hesitation, he pointed at us and said "I want to stay with them". Belay had tears in his eyes as he translated this to us and said, this is amazing. I told you they adjust but he really is doing better than most. How much more can my heart take?? My throat is getting sore from trying to hold back my tears so much. One minute tears of sadness and the next tears of joy. Talk about an emotional roller coaster. My son, and daughters who were born in Ethiopia, into such tragic circumstances and sadness, are now in my arms, my life, and my heart forever!! Only God knows why all this had to happen, I will never understand it all, but I am forever grateful!!!!