Well....we have had a VERY busy first couple of days. Not sure how to fit all this in but I will try. First, we arrived at almost 2 in the morn. Did I mention that we are walking through the airport in ISTANBUL, TURKEY, and a girl walks by and says "Hey, I have that shirt!", pointing to Lauren's OH shirt she had on? So it just so happens we met a sweet girl on her way to ET as well and she had purchased three of our shirts from our adoption month to help her friend who is adopting :) How cool is that to see your shirt a million miles away? We took a pic with her.
Got to hotel about 3 and left for the south at 6, so I never went to bed. We left out with Sue and her driver and our wonderful friend, Bisrat, and headed south. It almost feels like a dream as you drive through the countryside and pass hut after hut, small (sometimes naked) children along the roads and in the fields, women working in the fields, carrying heavy loads on their backs that would kill the average person. You dodge cow after cow, pot holes and everything else in the roads, but yet it is so beautiful! You have to remind yourself, "I am driving through the middle of Africa right now." And if I needed any reminder....this next scene we passed could have gone into National Geographic but Kristi saw it as we were passing by and I didn't have time to photograph it. It was a goat nursing her baby goat, with a child underneath it nursing as well, at the same time, AND there was a line of little children waiting to have their turn next! CAN YOU EVEN STAND IT??!!
So....anyway...yes, it hit us we are in Africa! We are also driving with us on this many hour journey, a precious child who had been in town for his medicals. It appears he has some kind of Cerebral Palsy but they are not sure. He is about 3 but looks 2 or younger. He has a developmental condition but he still responds, smiles, grabs at things and seems alert of his surroundings. He is from one of the farther away orphanages in the south and rode with us in the bus back. Did I mention that he had some obvious stomach bug going on as well, so we had bouts of diarrhea blowing out all over the place? I REALLY felt sorry for this little one. He is trapped in his body somehow and needs physical therapy. He has been on the waiting list for a long time so here I am to SPEAK UP for him. I know there HAS to be a family out there that adopts special needs children. He is beautiful, and in that 7 hour journey, NEVER said a peep. He just slept or looked around peacefully. He would smile at us when we talked to him. So we had to return him to the orphanage where he sits and waits AGAIN. It broke my heart because unless someone steps up to care for this child, I don't know how long he can make it there. He is precious!! If ANYONE is interested in adopting him and you are even close to being paper ready or would like more info and pics of him, email me. We have to find him a home. He only has 1 month left for us to advocate for him.
We arrived at the first orphanage which was pretty small. It had mostly toddler girls and a couple of babies. These kids were sooo cute. We fixed them up for their pics and put some of Lucy's big bows in their hair. They were just precious! We gave out a bag that one family had sent for their daughter who was at this orphanage. She was so cute looking at all of it with her GREAT BIG SMILE. I got tons of pics and some video.
We left that orphanage and headed 3 or 4 hours further south. Lucy Lane's birthmom happened to be on the way so we stopped off in her village where we were welcomed with such great love and joy. We picked her up in the market first. She was so sweet. It was amazing watching all this with my sis, Kristi, unfold right in front of me. This sweet girl is VERY young and has Lucy's beautiful face. They had a beautiful meeting and then we headed with her to her home where we were greeted by her WHOLE fam. They were full of so much appreciation. They are very poor and it was amazing to be in their home and picture what Lucy would look like running around there with all of her cousins. They all gathered around Kristi as she took them through the photo album. They all laughed at her funny faces while the birthmom kissed her picture. They seemed so proud of her and what she was becoming.I could go on and on but I will let my sister do that.
We left that village and headed further south. After several more stomach blow outs by our little friend, we arrived at a remote village where we were greeted by the cutest smiling faces you had ever seen. This is where one 3 yr old girl that has been waiting for a while lives. Her GREAT BIG grin is what greeted us first, matched with a big kiss. She literally never took the smile off her face. I have never seen so much joy in a child before. I am DETERMINED to find this PRECIOUS, AMAZING, child a home! There is also a new 3 yr old girl that had just arrived. She was so beautiful I could hardly stand it. She was still in a little bit of shell shock from arriving there that week but OH SO SWEET!! She had warmed up to us by today and I even got a cute smile out of her.We played with the kids and I took tons of pics. This particular orphanage had several children whom I got to give a package to by their new family. I some of the cutest pics of them opening their stuff and seeing their new family for the first time. Trust me, we loved on your kids a lot.
After our time was through there, we went and found a hotel to stay in for the night. Well....of course it didn't have water, right? We are in Africa. An awesome kid was brought to our hotel there in order for me to photograph him for adoption. We looks around 8 or 9. He was sooo cute and polite. He is currently being treated for TB. We NEED to find him a home! He is so patiently waiting. Contact me for pics and more info on this great little guy if interested. So we left this morn not feeling too fresh but that's ok because after we spent some more time back at the orphanage with them today, we loaded several up (6 to be exact) to make the 7 hour trip back and bring to the transition home. We had one little one that got car sick once in the back seat with Lauren (who took it like a champ), and then once in the front seat all over me (who took it like a champ). My first reaction is to catch it, Ha! which never works out good. Bless her heart! So we finally made it back. We brought 4 babies and two 3 yr olds back who never cried the whole time. It was amazing!
We got them settled into the transition home and made it back to our hotel, where I am STILL in desperate need of a shower! It is truly amazing here. In the city at night you hear noises, dogs, roosters, muslims chanting, and everything of the like. But staying out in the country last night in the middle of no where, all I heard were crickets. All was quiet and I felt like I was back in Kentucky on a summer night. This country is beautiful. It's people are beautiful! I'm so glad I'm here.
I am going to try to upload some pics from today. I can't say who is who in the pics but you can guess and try to figure it out :)