This morning, I had the privilege of visiting the Kids Care orphanage in Addis Ababa. As we came off the bus, many children gathered all around. Eager hands reached for the fruit snacks we had brought. Desalegn, who I was holding, was not impressed with all the boys and girls taking the fruit snacks that he has been gobbling up this week.
I made my way toward a building where several nannies stood at the door. One began speaking quickly in Amharic and grabbed Desalegn's cheeks. It became apparent that she recognized him, but couldn't quite come up with his name. When I said "Desalegn," she smiled largely and made motions with her hands. I said "Abu," and she smiled and chattered on again. Meanwhile, she had kind of turned us into a small room with 4 or 5 small beds, and 8 or 9 young children, maybe ages 2-4. One of the other adoptive fathers in our group had already found his way into this tiny space and had been claimed by a girl with terribly skinny legs. She could not really walk, but could pull herself along and pull herself up against you. He held her and asked about her while I played with many of the other children, talking to them, touching them, kissing their heads, and praying for them.
After a while, we moved on to an area where older children seemed to be having some form of music class. They sang several songs (which Desalegn enjoyed) and then someone rang a bell and they all left the room. For the rest of our time there, I tried to entertain Des while still touching and kissing and smiling at as many children as I could. How I hope that those small gestures provided some hope for those children!
Mike and Abu joined our group after this morning's appointment, and we had a pizza lunch with all the families. Then it was home for naptime. All three of my boys had a nice nap. I was afraid of sleeping during the day (I haven't been sleeping all that great at night--let alone throwing in a nap to mess me up some more!), so I set to work creating a game to play with Abu. I used several sheets of paper and drew a game board with colored squares similar to CandyLand. I made color cards and player markers out of paper as well. Earlier in the week, I had been wishing that I had packed some playing cards or Uno or something to pass the free time. Now I wanted something to help connect with Abu and let him use some of his English skills (he knows colors and numbers pretty well).
After the boys' rest, we got reorganized and decided to walk down the street to a restaurant called the Zebra Grill. It was fun to watch the boys eat their meal with the traditional injera (a thin bread that is broken up and used to wrap around fingerfulls of food). They can both eat! When we returned to the guest house, there was excitement in the air. Now, you must picture this: this place has less than 20 rooms and our travel group has 10 families. Several of those families are adopting sibling groups, and many of these children are between the ages of 2 and 7. In other words, there's a lot of action to be had. So, anyway, we enter the lobby and many of the families are having supper in the lobby (There is a cook on staff who you can pay to cook meals for you--very convenient!). Someone mentions that there is cake. Cake????!!!! Apparently, the owner of the guest house had purchased cakes for our group since there has been a problem with the power here this week. That's right...six days with no power (except when the generator was turned on--mostly for cooking).
So we families savored cake together, played, talked, and enjoyed each other and the miracles of our families. Abu was a whiz at my game, and, although Desalegn apparently doesn't like cake, he has picked up a new phrase which he repeated through most of the party: "Thank you, God. Amen!"
Amen and amen!