Friday, May 2, 2008




Hi Everyone,

Well, today was quite the day! It started off a bit later than planned with a little mixup on pick up time .... Then we gathered with two other couples and Travis and Johanna (in-country Gladney workers) at Kaldi's for breakfast. Kaldi's is the "Ethiopian Starbucks". We enjoyed the infamous "machiattos" and croissant sandwiches. We all enjoyed a nice visit, but were also eager to finish up so that we could meet our children.

I (Shelly) was very torn about what this moment would be like. I knew that with Arsema's age this could be a very interesting first visit. We had been warned numerous times before in updates of Arsema's less than thrilled acceptance of strangers. It's a peculiar thing, to spend a year working on paperwork, fund-raising, traveling across the world to meet a little person who has no idea who you are. The visit was soon upon us and went much as I'd expected. Arsema had been woken up for our visit and changed into an outfit we had sent for her. Very sweet .... Her caregiver was quick to be sure the clothes were indeed changed before they brought her down. She was very reserved during our meeting and you could just see her little mind trying to figure everything out. It broke my heart to see her scared. We were able to take her outside awhile and just did a lot of looking at each other. I think most of all, I was just relieved to begin this process. It is going to take time and it just felt good to spend today working on our relationship.

We then got to come back over to our guest house and spend another hour or so before it was time to go to lunch. Arsema just looked at us and it was as if she wanted to cry, but just didn't even know about doing that. She finally just laid her head down on me and drifted off to sleep. So we just spent the next hour snuggling on the couch with her getting a nap. Then it was off to lunch to meet Belay at his wife. It was wonderful at lunch because Belay's wife held her and got to chatter about with her and she'd show some expression and then be quick to hide it again for fear we might just see her smile! Ha. It was pretty funny. Since we'd had some video of her, we knew what she was like in her familiar surroundings so it was interesting seeing her reaction to everything.

Then it was time to head back to the guest house for awhile again. I finally got her to take a bottle then which is a big step from pulling in her lips before. If you could only see her THIGHS you would see that she has not missed many meals! Oh my. Then it was time to fall asleep for another little nap before heading out to supper. Those of you know that we were sleep deprived for two years of Naomi's life will understand how strange it is to us to have this child just fall asleep on us with no effort. What a fun gift from God!

It is going to be a joy watching her build trust and show us her personality. Right now she is extremely guarded and quite afraid we might make her laugh when we play and we might actually see her smile. It's funny.

We've had some precious moments today and many somber ones. This precious babe just looks at us wondering why in the world her little life has turned upside down again. Tomorrow we work to expand her horizons into Daddy's arms. She was stretched to her limit today, so she spent the day in my arms ... All 22 lbs of her. Thankfully I had been working up some muscle for this girly.

Okay ... This is just too funny. She was sitting here next to me on the couch playing with a toy and her blankey and just nodded off to sleep. Our family reading this is probably laughing out loud right now in comparison to getting Naomi to sleep! David, Colton and I are just cracking up! Maybe she's worn out from hiding in those smiles all day. I have a feeling tomorrow will be harder for her to keep them hidden inside.

That's it for today ..... Time to try and get some rest.

~Shelly

3 comments:

Corrine said...

Oh, she is such a sweetheart. I can't wait to kiss those cheeks!
Praying and praying!! I am so happy for you that she is falling asleep on and near you...so fun to snuggle :-)

coffeemom said...

I think it sounds like you are off to the perfect start. Not the fairy tale easy start. The REAL start. The perfect start for you, together. You are just EXACTLY what this girl needs. And it's going to get better and better and you will both not be able to imagine life before each other. LOVE the new picture and the report. Keeping you in prayers!
Michele

Jen Jensen said...

I'm so excited for you guys! :) How precious that she's a sleepy one! :) God know all and plans all and is in control of all! Can't wait to hear more! Love you all, Jen (for the Jensens)