Thursday, July 9, 2009

Visiting the Gladney Center & Daddy Day Care

Today Julianne went to work with Daddy :o) Hillary Ashton had SonShine Kids & swimming lessons this morning and Sophie Le & I had MDO and I don't think Julianne is quite ready for MDO yet so she stayed with Daddy. Daddy reported that they had a great morning and I am so thankful :o)

On our third day in Ethiopia we toured the Gladney Care Centers and had our embassy appointment. We were so excited to visit the place where Julianne had been living for the past 5 1/2 months. Since we had our embassy appointment in the afternoon, the children were allowed to leave the house with us :o) The drive from the guesthouse to the Gladney Center was about 20 minutes. The Gladney Care center is four (or was it five) houses located on the same "block" on the edge of town.

Having Julianne with us while we drove up to the house that she was first brought to several months ago was amazing. To know that she had been carried through this same gate, up these same stairs to her new "home" when she was just a very tiny, sick little baby was just so surreal. These caregivers were the ones that helped nurse her back to health, held her, played with her and loved her. I have no doubt her time in the Gladney Center was a happy time for her. I am so thankful that our agency has set up this environment to care for our children while they are waiting to join their forever family. We visited the government orphanages later in the week and I am so thankful that Julianne only spent a couple days there.

When we entered the gate, the caregivers immediately stated calling "Fanose!! Fanose!!" One caregiver took Julianne and stated kissing her little cheeks and hugging her. It makes an mama feel good that her little baby had been loved on and taken care of :o) We then walked up the stairs to the room that Fanose lived up until about a month ago. I recognized her little blue bed and the pictures on the wall. The caregiver in room seemed so happy to see Fanose. A few other caregivers came into the room and held Fanose and then took her out of the room. When they brought her back, she was dressed in a traditional Ethiopian dress. Usually the outfit has a tie around the head, but the caregivers left Julianne's big pink bow in her hair. It was the perfect mix of Ethiopia and America :o)

After looking through the house (kitchen, dining room, living room and three baby rooms) and playing with the babies, we walked across the street to visit the next house. This house was the home of babies and toddlers. Oh my, the children were soooooo adorable!!! The caregivers and kids loved having their pictures taken and then looking at the image on the camera. It was kinda sad seeing all of these children without families, but good to know that they would all be joining their forever families soon. Children are first placed in a government orphanage and then referred to an agency. Gladney takes the children referred to them to their care centers and then refers them to a family here in the states. They only take children that they expect to be able to place with a family. However, we were told that they have a couple terminally-ill children that they will take care of until they pass away.

The third house we visited was the house Fanose was living in just a couple days before. The caregivers at this house were so excited to see little "Fanny." Haha! We met her roommates and saw the bed she slept in. She had a nice window view :o) One of her caregivers put Julianne in her old bed. It was the last time she would ever be in that bed.

After visiting all of the houses and playing with the babies (and taking lots of pictures), we went back to the first house for a traditional coffee ceremony. Coffee is the largest export for Ethiopia. We watched the lady roast the coffee beans over hot coals, grind the beans, etc. After about an hour or so, the coffee was ready. I don't like coffee at all and luckily it wasn't a big deal to decline :o) I did enjoy the popcorn they served with the coffee :o)

Next stop was the Top View restaurant. It had a wonderful view of part of the city and the food was super yummy! Pasta with olive oil and green and red peppers. It was spicy, but good. All of the families traveling with Gladney ate together and we got to meet Belay, our agency's in-country coordinator. He was born in Ethiopia and moved to the states when he was 17. He has moved back and forth a couple times over the years and has a very fascinating family history.

We finished off the afternoon at the Embassey. This appointment was to apply for Fanose's visa to enter the United States. So, a pretty important step :o) The lady behind the glass asked us a couple questions about her history and told us that her visa would be ready in a couple days :o) Our agency advices families to bring lots of paperwork just in case, but luckily we didn't need any of it.

Unfortunately I sprained my ankle while visiting the Gladney Centers and so we decided to stay in for the rest of the night. We had Becky bring us spaghetti for supper and we had a nice quiet evening enjoying our sweet little baby :o)

Sweet baby ready to go visit her old stomping ground :o)
The Gladney baby house
And pretty yard. The kids are brought outside to enjoy the sunshine everyday.
Socks hanging out to dry
A little garden
Putting tiny baby clothes in the dryer :o)
View from the street
Middle of the street
View looking the other way (and one of the hand full of street signs we saw)
Fanose's first bed (at the Gladney Center)
Fanose, her first main caregiver and her giant mama
And giant daddy :o)
More laundry (at the older toddlers house)
Fanose with her caregiver at her most recent house
The bed she slept in...just a few days ago!
The walls she looked at during the day
One of her caregivers
Back in her bed for ole' times sake
Julianne and Travis
Coffee Ceremony
On the way to lunch:
View at the restaurant. The yellow building is a kebele.
That's Belay...and a sleeping Julianne. Man, I love that Ergo :o)
Our table with a great view!
Check out the street...and what is that in the street up there?
Oh, no big deal...just a herd of oxen


ourfamilyfun said...

Amy I just can't get over how beautiful Julianne is! How wonderful you were able to visit her living quarters over the past year and get pictures with her caregivers. YEAH that she spent the morning wiht Neil. So fun! Now when are we going to see a picture of the three girls together???? :)

Ryane said...

Great pictures! Can't wait to go there myself! We hit a bit of a bump and aren't sure when our next cout date will be.

Wondered if I could maybe use a few of the pictures you just posted (not the ones with people, just the ones of care centers/scenery) fot the photo books I am making for Belay and the Norwoods. Let me know if it's okay.


alleycat said...

Amy- What a wonderful post. Love the pictures! So happy that our kids spent time together, and a little sad for Tamirat that Julianne left (but excited for you guys). Hoping that you are settling in nicely, Alley.

Tracy said...

Wow! So much to take in.

Welcome home!

Faith said...

Do you have any more info about the terminally ill children?? Did they mention what they are dying from?? My heart is breaking....

Tenille Rauls said...

I saw Julianne yesterday at MDO and she is just beautiful! She fits right in with her family :) What an answered prayer~