On June 3 we celebrated the one year anniversary of meeting Aiden and Asa for the first time. I will never forget what the moments felt like. I remember flying into the Ethiopian airport at 3 in the morning. We were so tired, but excited that we were back in Africa. Strangely, Kenneth and I both feel so “at home” in Africa. Even the thought of the smells bring a smile to my face.
By the time we got to the guest house where we were staying we were able to get about two hours of sleep before we left for the transition house. We were exhausted but racing with a million emotions.
As we walked into the transition house we were greeted by several children and I kept looking for Aiden. Sue, our case worker, told us that the boys were waiting for us upstairs in a special room. She gave us a quick tour of the orphanage which I barely remember. We walked up a flight of stairs and with each step the knots in my stomach tightened. I felt like I could hardly make it up the stairs.
We followed Sue into a room and I heard her say, “Do you recognize these guys?” I only saw Aiden. I don’t remember feeling anything. I just got down on his level and I was so worried about overwhelming him or scaring him. He didn’t know me, not really. He had maybe looked at our picture a few times, but he had no idea that I was his new mommy. He could not even understand a word coming out of my mouth. I started holding his hands and telling him I was so happy to see him and that I loved him. Aiden was so shy.
I looked up and saw a nanny handing Asa over to Kenneth. I could not believe he was our baby. He looked so weak and sickly. Nothing like the energetic little baby we had seen in the first pictures of him. Although he had a hard time holding up his own head, he was full of precious smiles.
The first few hours with the boys are mostly a blur. We went to the embassy after leaving the transition house. When our name was called we anxiously walked up the stairs. The real final step in getting the boys home. After a few short questions a man said to us, “Do you understand that this adoption is final and that it can never be reversed?” We said, “Yes.” He then stamped a piece of paper and said, “Congratulations.” That was it. We walked down the stairs holding OUR boys.