Seeing our Boys for the First Time

The driver arrived to pick us up at noon on Saturday. We drove over the roughest roads I have ever seen, weaving in and out of crowds, past herds of goats, and cars driving in all directions. The horn is one of the most important parts of the vehicle. Addis is undergoing major construction as Ethiopia prepares for the millenium on Sept. 11, 2007 (by our calendar), so the roads were shredded and there were many new buildings going up around the city. The Sheraton had a countdown sign already running. We stopped at the rather impressive gate, the driver tooted the horn, and the gate opened before us.

We arrived as the children were having lunch. They took us into the eating area and there we saw E. for the first time sitting next to the little guy in the yellow shirt.

He was being fed by one of the nannies, so we weren’t able to scoop him up in our arms, and besides, he seemed a little bit wary of us. We talked to him for a minute and then Dagne, the director, told us to follow him to go see Little Man. It all felt very strange, here was our new son, and we hadn’t held him yet, but we were leaving him to finish his lunch in such a matter of fact way. We went into the baby room and I saw a nanny feeding a baby who I knew was W. because of his big eyes. She put him in my arms and I sat down to feed him which felt both practical and incredible at the same time. He felt smaller than I expected and was so sweet.

Soon a nanny brought E. to us and we were able to hug him and get a little bit acquainted. As you can see, he was still a little bit hesitant. I’m sure he was wondering who on earth we were.

Then Dagne, the director, told us it was time for E. to have a nap and they had prepared lunch for us. I felt like I was being moved from one thing to another so quickly that I couldn’t absorb it all. The nanny came to take W. from me, but I kindly declined to give him back to her. When we sat down at lunch Dagne asked me if I was sure I didn’t want the nanny to keep the baby while I ate, but I told him that after many children I was a pro at eating while holding a baby.

Here is a photo a one of the cooks wearing an apron which was made by a young woman in our church. Thank you, Rachel!

After lunch they loaded us up in the van to take us back to the guest house. E. was still asleep, so they had Russ pick him up from his crib and carry him to the van. The poor little guy woke up as we were driving, took one look at us and closed his eyes again. We felt so sad for him knowing that he was confused and anxious.

Once we were back at the guest house we took the boys in our room and held them on our bed for awhile. E. was dressed in very warm clothes and was sweating heavily, so I peeled them off of him. At first he cried, but then relaxed. Russ put him in the bath and began to play with him and slowly a happy boy began to emerge. He began to smile and respond to Russ as he had his first bath ever. From that moment on he began to bond with Russ and the attachment continued to grow over the next several days.

More later.


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Let me introduce myself. Russ and I are the parents of twelve children by birth and adoption, and sometimes more through foster care. I'm the creator of One Thankful Mom which has been as much of a gift to me as to my readers. In 2011 I became a TBRI® Pracitioner* and have lived and breathed connected parenting ever since. I'm deeply honored to be the co-author, together with the late Dr. Karyn Purvis, of The Connected Parent; it is her final written work. I love speaking at events for adoptive and foster parents. I'm also the co-founder of The Adoption Connection, a podcast and resource site for adoptive moms. I mentor and encourage adoptive moms so you can find courage and hope in your journeys of loving your children well.


  1. NathanA
    March 11, 2007

    Wow; what a posting spree! I’ve been waiting to hear stories! 🙂

  2. Jenny
    March 11, 2007

    Oh, a hug to all of you dear, dear people. I purposely waited to read your blog until I had ample time to absorb it. What a beautiful story I found. You have not only a gift for sharing your love with the children, but for sharing it with those of us who are blessed to be reading about all of you. Thank you. Jenny R.

  3. PastorMac's Ann
    March 12, 2007

    So good to see pictures of the boys and of you and K. i’m so happy for you. Praying that you’d be able to bring K home soon. The pictures of you two with K make me cry. What a wonderful day it will be when you all are ALL home together.

  4. Anonymous
    March 15, 2007

    What joy! The Lord has truely blessed your family.
    ~Kate C.


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