Sunday, May 4, 2008



Today we visited three government run orphanages. We'd seen many pictures of other traveling families, so we knew some of what to expect. That had definitely helped to prepare us. Countless times I had wondered where the room was our daughter spent her first nine months of life at Kebebetsehay orphanage. While the conditions were hard to see, what was so beautiful was the love in the women who cared for our precious Arsema. I had taken a picture of her when she went to Gladney because we didn't think they'd recognize her. All we had to say was her name and the smiles came ... And the joy in seeing her so healthy and strong now. They showed us the crib that was hers during her stay there. It was surreal ...... To just be there and to be holding this big heavy, healthy baby in my arms.

After pictures with her caregivers, we stepped outside and were greeted by the director there. She right away was calling for Arsema. This woman was the one who worked with Arsema's birthmother during her time of need. She told us the story in her own words and we soaked up every bit of information. She told us how she looks exactly like her mother. We anticipate meeting her tomorrow. We are grateful for this opportunity and are trusting in God's grace to help us through it.

We'll write at another time about the rest of this day. At this point we are just weary and tired, but grateful for our time here. Eileen, if you're reading this, we got the package to Solomon and have photos for you when we return.

Arsema's crib is in the far back right corner. In the photo are our new dear friends Angie & Anil. They have been sharing the Ayat House with us. We will never forget our time with them. Angie's companionship was such a blessing today as we stood and looked at the room that was our daughter's. Not many words were needed ..... Some times there just are not words to express what this journey entails. But when I looked into her eyes, I knew she knew .... And that was enough.

Another long day traveling around the city. Arsema caught a short nap between stops.

While so much of this trip has been exhausting, both physically and emotionally ...... We cannot help but smile when we look at this sweet face!!! There is hope. There are so many children that are just waiting for a family. Arsema was so weak and ill ... But look at this precious child ... As humble as the conditions are in some of these places, these children are truly loved. Their caregivers hope for families to rise up and help these children. Arsema is so bright and we will never forget the people who loved her and nurtured her during her first year of life. None of us can change everything, but many of us can make a difference in the life of at least one child. It comes in many forms. There is so much that can be done.

Oh, I should add that the latest bit of progress today was that Arsema enjoyed helping Daddy eat his omelet this morning. This is a big deal!, for her to actually take food from him. The longer we are here, the more attached she becomes and she is quite good at giving nearly everyone the cold shoulder. I'm thinking once we get home and she has to share my lap with Naomi, she may realize Daddy is quite a great guy after all! Ha. It is so fun to see her blossom and show her personality. As determined as she is, she is also very tender-hearted. We feel so blessed to have her in our family.